Oct 12, 2013

PIllows, big and small

Here are the pictures of my recent pillow finishes.  The witch pillow is currently on display on a bookshelf along with all my other Halloween finishes (and it looks less bumpy and lumpy in "real life.")  The bluebonnet pillow is very small and I have it hanging over my computer.  The pictures aren't the greatest, but you get the idea.  ;-)

"Be a Witch" by Angel Stitchin'
"Bluebonnet Blooms" by Redbird Designs
Bandana fabric used for back.

DH got up way too early to go hunting this morning.  Normally, I would go back to sleep, but my sinuses are driving me crazy so I got up, too.  Annie is always happy to get up and greet her humans before taking care of her morning chore of running around the yard for two to three hours on rabbit, deer, and squirrel patrol.  

She comes in the house on occasion to check on her humans (thus tracking dirt/mud into the house) before resuming patrol.  She also checks to see if her humans have set out her breakfast.  If one of us has, she pauses to scarf it down and then goes back out on patrol.   Around mid-morning, she ceases her labors and comes in for a long nap.

Speaking of dog food, DH and I have been feeding Annie a raw dog food diet that we make ourselves.  Our previous dog, Emma, had health problems for the last several years of her life.  She was on an expensive prescription diet dog food, but still experienced problems.  The dog we had before her, a pit bull named Bailey, was plagued with severe skin problems his whole life.  He, too, was on a special diet, took prescription medication for itching, and was bathed frequently in special shampoos to help his skin, all to no avail.

When we rescued Annie, I began researching healthy dog food on the internet.  I spent several weeks researching and finally settled on a specific recipe I found here.  If your dog is itchy, scratchy, and/or licks his paws, here is information on why and what to do about it by using this raw food recipe.

This recipe takes DH and I about 45 minutes to make from start to finish.  We mix it in my turkey roasting pan and use a kitchen scale to form the recipe into half-cup meat balls for freezing.  (We measured out a half-cup on the scale and took note of how much it weighed.)  One recipe lasts us about 45 days.  For her weight, Annie eats one cup a day, one-half in the morning, and one-half at dinner.

The LickOchops and Dinovite for Dogs can be ordered online directly from Dinovite.   

Annie is thriving on this diet.  Her coat is healthier, she has toned up (although that may be partially due to her dedicated yard patrolling), and her teeth are healthy.  Your mileage may vary.  If you do use the diet, follow the recipe EXACTLY and make no substitutions.  Also, follow the guidelines for introducing this new food to your dog EXACTLY to prevent digestive issues. 

I am firmly convinced that if I had known of this diet when we had Bailey, that he would have been spared a lifetime of itchy, scratchy, bumpy, irritated skin.  He wouldn't have been plagued with lick granulomas.  He wouldn't have licked and chewed his feet constantly.  He wouldn't have endured endless vet visits and medication along with frequent baths in special shampoos.  I wouldn't have felt like I was beating my head on a wall in frustration as nothing we did seemed to really help in the long run.

In my research, I found the history of commercial dog food in the USA to be very interesting.  Most of what comprises commercial dog food is food waste not deemed fit for human consumption and food manufacturers were looking for a way to get rid of it, and the dog food industry was born.  

As I learned more about a dog's digestive system, I realized that store-bought dog food was not "natural" or in my dog's best interest.  It's kind of like how so many of the foods Americans eat today are not in our best interest - it's no coincidence that the acronym for the Standard American Diet is SAD.  But I'll not get on my eating healthy soapbox as I could spend days there.  ;-)

My Halloween cat and pumpkin are coming along.  I need some sunshine to come out today so I can get a WIP picture.  I hope to get it finished before Halloween so I can finish it into the pillow the design calls for.  

And I really hope DH gets another deer this morning on his hunt.  It's supposed to rain the rest of the weekend, so no more hunting.  A deer this morning would greatly curtail the "it's raining/grumpy hunter" syndrome that would otherwise afflict DH.


Oct 9, 2013

Finish finishing

I was spelunking around in my cross stitching fabric looking for a particular color for an upcoming project when I realized just how many stitched-but-unfinished projects I had languishing in drawers, so I've spent the last few days finish-finishing most of them.

I started out by finishing some some hanging ornaments.  For the round ones, I used metal Finishing Forms I ordered from 123 Stitch.  The forms come with instructions for use that are very easy to follow.  The "Joy Y'all" ornament I sewed myself.

The Halloween ornament is currently hanging on a bookshelf for October.  The Santa, oil derrick, and harp will be going to a friend.  The harp is actually a Chrismon, or Christ Monogram.  These symbols of the Christian faith are used as ornaments on Christmas trees.  For more information on them, click here: Chrismons.  Most of the patterns I use for these are OOP by Designing Women Unlimited and can be found on eBay.  The pattern booklet numbers are 9, 19, 54, and 57.

Mr. Scary Pumpkin Face, a blog freebie
"Joy Y'all" by Redbird Designs
From "A Cowboy Christmas" by FTL Designs (OOP)

From "Fifty-Five Christian Symbols" (Book 54) by Designing Women Unltd.

I sewed two other finishes into pillows (pictures tomorrow) and stuffed them.  I'd probably make more pillows except that I loathe blind stitching them closed.  I've never been very good at blind stitching despite great effort to improve, so I avoid having to blind stitch if at all possible.  DH thinks my blind stitching looks fine, and that I'm suffering from my usual perfectionist tendencies.  He's probably right.  ;-)

And last but not least, I still have several projects to frame.  I dislike framing as much as I do finishing stuff.  If I were filthy rich, I'd have someone else do framing and finishing for me, but as I'm not, I do it myself.  DH needs to make me frames for two projects, and then I need to purchase a wooden box with a lid for another project.  DH could easily make me the box, but he doesn't have a lot of spare time right now with all our other projects.

I'll post pictures as I get the projects framed and hung on the wall.


Oct 8, 2013

I'm a hunting widow again

Bowhunting season opened on September 28th.  It was a rainy weekend and the deer were not moving so I had a grumpy bowhunter in my house.  Luckily, this past weekend was better as DH was able to harvest a doe.  

He is allowed two doe, a spike buck, and an antlered buck this season.  One down, three to go.  The freezer was looking kind of bare, so fresh venison is welcome.

On weekends when DH hunts, he gets up when his alarm goes off at 5:00 a.m. so that he can get out to his tree stand before dawn.  Whee.  He lets Annie out of her crate and she gets on the bed with me and we both go back to sleep for an hour or two before getting up ourselves.  Annie and I feel that 5:00 a.m. is just too early on weekends for sensible beings to get up.  DH also hunts in the evenings, too, but at least there are no alarm clocks involved in evening hunts.  ;-)
DH camouflaged and ready for an evening hunt.
By the end of the weekend, I have a pile of camouflage clothing sitting by the washer waiting to be washed in the special soap they require.  You can't wash hunting clothing in regular detergent as the chemical brighteners used in them can be seen by deer.  The soap also "de-scents" the clothing so that the deer can't smell you coming.  I don't mind running them through the washer and dryer, but I make DH put all of it away after it's clean.

I've stitched some on my Halloween cat and pumpkin, but not much.  I'll post a picture soon.


Oct 4, 2013

She brings us presents

We finally got the "wonderful" Jetta back yesterday.  The mechanic did a good job and it's good to go until the next needed repair.  Our pocketbook is a lot lighter.  Stupid Jetta.

Annie has started showing us a rather unusual (to us) personality quirk; she loves to bring us presents.  

Soon after she was allowed unregulated usage of the dog door and the backyard, I began noticing acorns and sticks on the mat near her dog door.  I just figured she was bringing them in tangled in her hair as she enjoys a good roll in the grass.  That is until I caught her bringing them in the house in her mouth and depositing the proudly on the mat.  She looks so sad when I throw her "gifts" in the trash.  Goofy dog.

Then she began to bring us more "interesting" gifts such as a dead, dried up lizard and a mostly dead frog.  These presents she delivered personally to us by dropping them right beside us on evenings we were sitting on the couch while watching television.  Oh yay!  At least the presents were (mostly) dead.

I sincerely hope that she never brings me a bug or spider, dead or alive.  

DH has caught her trying to pick up toads in her mouth twice.  Did you know that if your dog picks up a toad in her mouth that she will froth and foam at the mouth like a rabid dog?  Yeah.  Toads secrete a poison on their skin (I assume it's a defense mechanism) and besides causing foaming at the mouth, it will cause your dog to barf at least twice.  Oh yay!

And in spite of her quirks, we love her to pieces and enjoy her company.  She still "oozes" when she sleeps.




Oct 2, 2013

Throttled and an unfortunate event

No, I didn't decide to take another blog hiatus, I got throttled.  I went over the bandwidth usage limit with my internet service provider and my internet speed was throttled.  As in slowed down so much that a passing turtle gave me wind burns.  As in slowed down to the point that Blogger timed out each time I tried to post.

I was finally unthrottled on Monday and will keep a closer eye on my "Usage Meter" to avoid being throttled again.  Lesson learned.

DH and I went up to Dallas on September 22nd for a quick day trip.  The family was celebrating my dad's 80th birthday with friends, most of whom have known him for over 50 years.  It was a fun time.

On the drive home, we had an unfortunate event occur that reinforced our resolve to never buy/own another Volkswagen product as long as we live.  We were driving along going south on I-45.  We went over a bridge and there was a very slight bump on both sides of it where the concrete bridge meets the asphalt interstate.  

As we hit the bump on the south side of the bridge we heard a bit of a thump and then the Jetta immediately started sounding like it was flying to pieces.  There were growls and groans and shuddery vibrations.  But the engine didn't seem to be losing power, the oil temperature remained steady, and we weren't leaking any fluids.  So we gingerly drove it on home (another hour), being nearly vibrated into next week the whole way.

Monday morning we took it in to DH's mechanic.  Turns out the bracket holding the alternator had broken and fallen off, thus ruining the alternator itself.  When the bracket flew off, it sheared off two of the engine mount brackets (thus the vibrations).  It dented the timing chain cover.  And it may have caused other damage that can't be seen until the mechanic begins repairs.  (Stupid Jetta.)  

The Jetta was supposed to be fixed last week by Thursday at the earliest, or Friday at the latest.  The mechanic had ordered parts that were coming in on Wednesday by truck.  Wednesday morning, the truck got into an accident about two miles from the repair shop.  While the driver was okay, all the parts he was carrying were not.  So the mechanic had to reorder the parts.  Hopefully, it will be fixed before the weekend.  

The Jetta has been a sad disappointment to us.  It has nickled and dimed us to death, needing to go in for one pricey repair or another at least twice a year.  And then there are the cosmetic problems like the headliner completely coming unglued and falling down the third year we had it.  Volkswagen doesn't seem to care.

It does have comfortable seats and gets good gas mileage, but that's about all the good I can find.  It has not been comfortable for our pocketbooks.  Your own Volkswagen mileage may vary.  ;-)

With the Jetta in the shop, DH has been driving my truck to work since then and I have been stuck at the house.  Not a big deal, but it did make DH have to do the grocery shopping last week.  He had to go after work on a Friday.  I could have taken him to work one day and had the truck to myself for grocery shopping, but then I would have had to go back into town to pick him up, thus making two round-trips in one day which goes against the grain of tightwaddery and conserving gas.

I've been stitching and will post a progress picture soon.  My cat finally has a face as I like to backstitch as I go.  I don't hate backstitching like some stitchers, but I don't enjoy it as I'm too much of a perfectionist.  My backstitching never looks good to me even though other stitchers who have seen my work disagree.  Oh well.


Sep 17, 2013

WIP - "Cats, Bats & Pumpkins"

The weekend got away from me.  DH was laid low by sinus problems so we spent most of the weekend watching football.  The Aggies and the Cowboys were a disappointment to us.

I was able to stitch on my WIP "Cats, Bats & Pumpkins" from the JCS 2013 Halloween issue, page 64.  It's stitched on Charles Craft white Monaco with Sullivans floss.  I find it a very fun stitch and look forward to Annie-free-lap stitching sessions whenever I can get them.

I'm stitching the top pillow with the bats.

Design 1 as of 9-17-13

The pattern called for Sullivans metallic floss.  After using DMC metallic floss and loathing the experience, I discovered Rainbow Gallery Petite Treasure Braid.  Once I found RGPTB, I never looked back and I refuse to use anything else when a pattern calls for metallics.  

As my LNS is 2.5 hours away, I had to buy a couple of colors online.  My favorite online cross stitch store 123 Stitch doesn't yet carry RGPTB, so I used Needle in a Haystack instead as they carry the full line and have pictures of the colors on their website in addition to giving excellent service.


Sep 12, 2013

Improper supervision

This past weekend, DH decided to continue doing electrical work in our den.  He pulled a few wires and wired up a few switches and plugs.  He installed the overhead light fixtures we bought five years ago.  ;-) 

Annie was interested in what he was doing, but her interest quickly faded.  She is not a good supervisor as she often grows bored or distracted.  But she likes to be near DH and this proved to be a problem as she decided to play with a toy right at his feet.  DH is having to learn to look behind him before he moves when doing inside DIY tasks.  Goofy dog.

Wiring a switch
Playing with her Duckie behind DH.