Aug 27, 2013

The doughnut bone

Annie has several toys and she likes to play with all of them.  We find her unusual because she entertains herself with her toys.  All our previous dogs wouldn't play with a toy unless we played with it with them (with the exception of chew toys).

Annie likes to get one of her toys and gallop back and forth through the house with it tossing it around as she runs.  When she slides onto her target - a throw rug - she stops and gives the toy a hearty shaking while growling at it.  This never ceases to amuse her humans.  Well it mostly amuses me; I'm getting tired of putting the throw rugs back in their proper place.

Her funnest toy is the Intellibone.  Annie likes to grab one end of the bone and gallop around, shaking the whole thing.  Usually when she does this, one of the rings or doughnuts will fly off and she'll get distracted by it and play with it for awhile.  You have to keep an eye on where she is when she plays with this toy as I've gotten hit by a flying doughnut on occasion.  ;-)

When all the rings are off the bone, she'll stand at our feet wagging her tail furiously as we put the doughnuts back on it.  And then she's off again!


Aug 26, 2013

A weekend project

We seem to be cursed when it comes to appliances that use or generate water.  We have two window unit air conditioners. One is old and the other is very old.  We've been hoping that they would last until we get our central HVAC installed, but no such luck.

Recently, the very old one died and could not be repaired.  Well, it could have been repaired, but the cost of the repair would have been more than the unit was worth and more than the cost of a new one.  As it will remain summer here in south central Texas for several more months, we had to buy a new one or risk melting.  The new one is much quieter and more efficient than the old one.

As a by-product of its demise, the very old window unit leaked condensation down into the wall unseen by us for an unknown period of time until the water reached Niagara proportions and flooded the floor.  Water in walls equals potential mold, so DH had to tear out any of the wall below the window that looked or felt wet and replace it.  This wall in our den will be completely replaced and updated sometime in the future, so this was a patch repair.

DH tore out the inside wall with a little supervision from Annie.

Then he tore out the outside wall with a little supervision from Annie.

Here, let me lick that sweat off your face.

Next, he reframed under the window and patched the hole from the outside while Annie supervised.  (DH did not poop his pants, he sat on a muddy patch on the ground.)

The next afternoon, DH and I covered the outside patch with tar paper and shingles to seal it.

It looks a bit wonky, but then our whole house is a bit wonky-looking at this point.

It was a very hot afternoon, so DH came into the house for a cool drink and Annie took advantage of his lap, not minding that he was sweaty and dirty.  She is very relaxed when she sleeps.

Speaking of Annie, we sure wish we could get her to talk and tell us of her history.  She has a weirdness with DH wearing gloves where sometimes it will scare her and she runs from him.  Other times she doesn't mind the gloves and will play with DH or let him pet her while wearing them.  We wonder if she was traumatized by someone wearing gloves in her checkered past.  Goofy dog.

Playing with the "glove monster."


Aug 21, 2013

Canine manicures and new floss colors

While our previous dog, Emma, didn't particularly like getting her toenails trimmed, she submitted to it, uh, ungracefully.

"NO! Don't trim my nails!"

The owner of these hairy feet and legs, however, is proving to be a problem.

Annie's nails - sharper than a kitten's claw!

Annie has yet to let us trim her very long and talon-like toenails.  Her toenails are wreaking havoc on my legs as it is summer and I'm always wearing shorts.  She is learning not to jump up on a standing human, but still has her moments where she jumps up and scratches my legs.  When she is happily sitting on my lap and spots a rabbit/deer/cow out a window, she launches herself off my lap and scratches my legs.  My thighs look like I fell into a bob-wahr fence.

DH was able to stealthily trim a few of her back paw nails during the first few days we had her home, but now she runs whenever she sees him with the clippers in his hand.  She does the same when I pick them up.

We've tried holding her firmly and speaking to her calmly while trying to trim the nails, but she reacts with fear, snarling and putting her teeth on us in warning (no, she doesn't bite us).  Either she was traumatized earlier in her life or she just REALLY doesn't like having her nails clipped.

I guess we could let the vet clip them (and have to pay for it), but we really don't want her to associate going to the vet as being unpleasant.  We could cart her off to Petsmart or Petco (and have to pay for it) to let the groomers tackle it, but that doesn't seem right to us either.

So for now, we're trying to daily hold/pet/stroke her feet while brandishing the nail clippers without actually trying to trim a nail to desensitize her.  We'll see how that goes.  Hopefully it will work with consistency and time as I may need a blood transfusion here pretty soon if we can't keep her from scratching me and drawing blood all the time.  Multitudinous Band-Aids aren't exactly a fashion statement.

I started stitching "Bluebonnet Blooms" by Redbird Designs.  You can see it here at 3 Stitches or Stitches From the Heart, both are local needlework shops here in Texas.  I have done online business with both and they are quick and reliable.

I read on the internet that DMC is releasing 16 new colors in October.  Here is a link to see them: DMC Blog.  I will be adding these colors to my collection as soon as they are available for purchase.  These will be the first new colors released since 2001. 

I have two complete sets of DMC, my working set and my back-up set.  As I live a half-hour from town and the nearest store with DMC, I keep the back-up set for when I run out of a color in the middle of a project, thereby saving myself from angst.  When I pull a skein from my back-up set, I make note of the color and pick another skein up the next time I am in town and near Hobby Lobby or Jo-Ann Fabrics.

I picked up 85% of my back-up floss several years ago when Wal-Mart sold off all their stock of DMC for 10 cents a skein.  They have since decided to restock DMC, but don't carry the whole line of colors.  Retailers - go figure.


Aug 19, 2013

Monday muddlings

DH took the day off to finish gathering up scrap metal and hauling it to the scrap metal buyer in town.  He had quite a load.  He left a few minutes ago and I decided to write a blog post in his absence.  Hopefully, he'll come home with a decent amount of cash for his fun money budget.


Loaded and ready to roll

I finished my Halloween ornament.  I found it on the Cross Me Not blog.  It's called "Pumpkin Time."  I stitched it on an ornament-sized piece of unknown linen I had in my stash with DMC.  I was drawn to the bright orange colors in this design.

Mister Scary Pumpkin Face

Annie is a total lap muffin.  If you sit down anywhere in the house - on the couch, in a chair, on the floor, anywhere - she gets in your lap and makes herself at home.  DH decided to read a bit after lunch yesterday and soon found himself with a lap of Annie.

Humans make the best nap laps.


Aug 18, 2013

No broom lending here

Here is my latest finish, "Be a Witch" by Angel Stitchin'.  I stitched it on 28 ct. lime hand-dyed linen by Zweigart with the indicated threads (DMC and WDW).
"Be a Witch"
And I have a complaint - don't you hate it when the designer doesn't tell you on the floss key that you will need TWO skeins of a particular color of floss?  Especially if the floss is hand-dyed and will typically have a dye lot number?!  Yeah.  If you stitch this design, you will need TWO skeins of WDW Mascara.

I made some changes to this pattern.  All the checkerboard and lines above and below the witch hat are stitched with orange and purple.  The purple would have been black if the designer had let me know that I would need TWO skeins of it.  

I think it looks fine, but how hard is it for the model stitcher to let the designer know that TWO skeins of a certain color are needed?  Maybe the model stitcher did let the designer know and she was too lazy? inattentive? rushed? brain-dead? to make note of it in the floss key.  Geesh.

I am now stitching on a small Halloween ornament I found on a blog.  Actually, I saw a picture of it stitched somewhere on a blog or message board and the stitcher included a link to the blog with the free design.  I'm close to finishing it and will include information on how to find it when I post a picture of my finish.

And thanks to everyone who has welcomed me back to blogging and posted kind comments.  I do appreciate them!


Aug 15, 2013

Noodle versus tank

When you have more than one pet throughout your lifetime, you can't help but notice the similarities and differences between them.  While our previous dog, Emma, and our present dog, Annie, are both Jack Russell terriers and possess the common traits of the breed, there are definitely some differences between them.

Emma was built like a fullback (yeah, a sports analogy) as she was compact and muscular.  She was fearless and bulled her way through life (and into snakes and skunks).  Annie is built like a dancer, slimmer and graceful.  She is taller than Emma was and has a narrower chest.  She is wary and cautious, but ready to meet a challenge.  And although Emma could jump up pretty high, Annie bounces up like a spring or Tigger; she can jump completely over the couch without touching it.

When you picked Emma up, you picked up a little tank.  When you pick Annie up, it's like picking up a wet noodle as she's kind of floppy and loosey goosey.  If you're not careful, she'll ooze right out of your arms.  And although she likes to sleep on her new bed, she oozes off of it, too.

When you snooze you ooze!


Aug 14, 2013

Junk = $$

I was going to post a picture of my WIP, but I'm so close to finishing it that I'll just wait until it's finished before I post.  I was hoping to finish it up this past weekend, but as I often had a lap filled with a happily sleeping Annie while in my stitching chair, I didn't stitch much.

DH spent a day this weekend loading up the truck with junk and then hauling it to a local scrap metal dealer.  It was one of those niggling things that he's been wanting to do since we moved here nearly five years ago.

Included with our house was a nice loafing shed with a small corral.  DH uses the shed to house our tractor and other lawn equipment.  Also included was a small ramshackle storage shed that leans precariously - we call it the Shrieking Shack - and a small tumble-down barn that is dank and half-rotted.  We plan to tear both of these eyesores down at some point as we really don't use them.  And we'd like to tear them down before they fall down.  ;-)

The Shrieking Shack

The Shrieking Shack and old barn

Both of these structures had piles of old metal in them and around them.  There were things like old pieces of drill pipe from the fence project, old rolls of fence wire, an old washtub, old rusty tools, etc.  DH had no use for these things and as the local scrap metal place pays for old metal, DH wanted to load it up and sell it.  He had 1560 pounds of metal and 45 pounds of copper wire (at nearly a dollar a pound) which netted him just over $175.00.  And he has another pile ready to take this coming weekend, although it probably won't fetch as much money as the metal isn't as heavy.  But it's a nice bit of "found" money for his fun money savings and will probably go for things that are hunting related.

Personally, I'd spend the money on stitching stash, but that's just me.


Aug 11, 2013

The gate

Here is our new gate made with recycled components.  The only thing we had to pay for was the welder's time and DH had to buy a couple of nuts for the gate hinges.  I took the picture standing across the road from our driveway.  You can't really see it too well, but there is hog panel welded to the iron pipe frames on either side of the gate.

DH and I played with Annie a lot in the yard this morning, so she will probably spend the afternoon sleeping.  Hopefully I can get some stitching time in without her trying to sleep in my lap.  I'm nearing the end of my current WIP.  I guess I should get a picture of it tomorrow and post it.  


Aug 10, 2013

Another post-slump finish

I was digging through my fabric drawer yesterday and came upon another finish in my "stitched but not finish-finished" pile.  This is "Summer" by Redbird Designs.  It was a stitching retreat project WIP that I got in 2008, and as far as I know, the pattern was never published for sale.  I finished this after "that durn flag" but before the "August" Crabby square.  It was a very fun and enjoyable stitch.

"Summer" by Redbird Designs

It is stitched on light blue Jubilee with DMC and GAST.  The pattern came with WDW floss, but as that was before Weeks was colorfast and I wash everything after I stitch it, I chose not to use the included floss and substituted GAST.  Now that WDW is colorfast "based on industry standards," I've been using their floss and like it.

We're having a cold front today.  The high will only be 98 degrees instead of the 100+ temperatures we've had most of the week, so DH and I will be doing a little work on the property.

We recently had a gate installed at the entrance to our driveway.  You'll remember that we have a long dirt driveway - the length of a football field - and that we own the land that comprises our driveway.   Our driveway is not "public land."  If you look at a satellite photo of our land, it kind of looks like a trapezoidal lollipop (our acreage) on a crooked stick (our driveway).

Anyway, the locals know our driveway is a driveway.  Once every month or so, we get non-local looky-loos or lost people mistaking our driveway for an actual road and driving up it to our house.  There is a dirt road up the way from us that is an actual road, but as the local kids pull the sign off it a lot, it is usually not marked as such.

I'm a friendly person.  If I'm expecting you or I know you when you drive up to my house, I'll greet you happily.  However, as I live back in the woods off the main road, if I don't know you and I'm not expecting you and you drive up my driveway to my house, I'll come out on my porch with my shotgun cradled nonchalantly in my arms to inquire as to your purpose for being there.  That's just the way it is.

A while back, a gal drove up to the house, got out, and seeing me out on the porch with my shotgun, asked if this was [name of road up the way].  I wanted to say, "No, you brainless airhead, roads don't end at a person's house.  You've come up my driveway!"  But I didn't, I was polite and gave her explicit directions to the road in question.  She thanked me and got happily back into her Cadillac SUV.  

Anyway, DH and I wanted to keep the looky-loos and the lost off the driveway so we had a gate and short fence installed across it at the road.  We recycled and used bits and pieces of drill pipe and a gate we inherited when we bought the place.  We only had to pay the welder for his time and one length of pipe.  DH and I need to clear the pile of brush he cut to give the welder room to work off the side of the driveway.  I'll get a picture of our new gate and post it soon.


Aug 8, 2013

A Crabby finish and a PSA

When my stitching slump ended, I plodded through "that durn flag" and finished it.  Then I tackled the next monthly block in "Crabby All Year."  Here is the "August" block.  I found it a very boring stitch with mostly dull colors.  But then again, I guess weeds are pretty boring (and annoying).

And as a public service announcement for dog owners, I want to tell you about a product that DH and I bought after we had lived with Annie for awhile.  Our previous dog, Emma, made small, dainty poops that "composted" and disappeared from the yard rapidly.  We never picked up her poop.

Not so with Annie.  She poops in much larger piles and likes to poop in the front part of our yard right near the front walk.  (Emma was an equal opportunity pooper and used the whole yard.)  So, after stepping in some fairly fresh poop bare-footed, I decided that it might be wise to pick up Annie's poop on a regular basis.

But what should we do with it?  Dog poop in the trash can is very stinky, especially in the the south central Texas heat.  I guess I could chuck it over the fence into the neighbor's pasture, but flinging poop is not very lady-like, especially if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.  ;-)  

I remembered seeing a dog poop septic tank called the Doggie Dooley Waste System in a pet product catalog and researched it.  Unfortunately, it does not work in soil with a lot of clay in it, which is what we have.  So I researched some more and found this product:  Doggie Doo Drain Dog Waste Sewer Line Attachment on Amazon.  We bought it and I have to say it works well.

You screw it in to your sewer pipe cleanout and dump the poop in it, following it with water (either a pitcherful or from your hose) and it goes into the city sewer line if you live in the city or into your septic tank if you have one.  We have a septic tank.  In the second picture, you unscrew the handled cap to dump in the dog doo, replacing it after you've dumped.  ;-)

Septic clean-out cap before.

Doggie Doo Drain attachment after.


Aug 7, 2013

Changes: Annie has a "fur-ever" home now!

One of the biggest recent changes in our lives was the loss of our dog, Emma.  In June, she suffered a massive, severely debilitating stroke and we had to euthanize her.  It was a very sad day at the vet's office.

We took our time in grieving over our little friend of 12+ years and we will always miss her.  As the days passed, our grief grew less sharp and we realized that the house was a bit empty.  We talked it over and decided we wanted another Jack Russell terrier (JRT).  DH was leaning toward getting a puppy.  However, due to the influence of my stitching friends Lynn and Jennifer who have both adopted several adult dogs, I went to the Texas Russell Rescue website "just to look."  I was both amazed and appalled at how many JRTs there were out there needing homes.

Long story short, we recently adopted Annie.  She is a young (1-2 years old) JRT.  She was found wandering the streets of Wichita Falls, Texas, last December by animal control.  Very emaciated at nine pounds, she was taken to the animal shelter and was slated for euthanasia due to her growling and snapping at everyone.  Besides being underweight and bad-tempered, Annie also had a missing right eye.  The shelter vet was unable to determine it if was from a birth defect or an injury.

A wonderful lady named Sue came in to the shelter to pick up a couple of chihuahuas.  Sue is involved with Little Dogs Big Hearts rescue and specializes in chihuahuas.  She saw Annie sitting sadly in her cage and she sat down beside it.  Annie soon calmed and came over to Sue for some petting.  Sue decided to rescue Annie and took her home with her and two chihuahuas, even though she had no experience with JRTs.

Annie's JRT personality was a bit much for Sue and her chihuahuas, but she persevered and Annie was very well cared for until we adopted her.   (Sue had named her "Sassy," but DH thought that "Sassy" sounded like a stripper name, and I didn't think she looked like a "Sassy" so we changed her name to Annie.)

She is a joy and all JRT and we are happy that we could give her a "fur-ever" home.  (As I type this, she is galloping back in forth in the house, tossing a toy repeatedly over her head - she entertains herself well.)  I am finding it hard to stitch as Annie wants to sleep in my lap every time I sit down in my stitching chair.  Oh well.  We must all make sacrifices!  ;-)

Sitting with my male human.

I see you!

Playing with my purple ball.

Aug 6, 2013

I breached the space-time continuum...

I really had no intention of neglecting my blog this long.  Yeah, a whole year.  Life happened.  I lost my stitching mojo for many months.  Other things happened.  Changes happened. 

At any rate, I am back and will be once again posting of my stitching projects and our DIY projects around the house as they occur.  

I finally finished "that durn flag" or "One Nation" by ByGone stitches as it is properly named.  I hated each and every stitch of this project.  I dislike stitching long lines of one color, repetitive motifs, and alphabets.  This project had all three.  But my DH really liked it and asked me to stitch it, so what's a gal to do?  

This gal gritted her teeth and stitched the durn thing.  And yes, I complained about it the whole time I was stitching it.  Here it is stitched on Charles Craft tea-dyed Monaco with DMC floss.

"That Durn Flag" 

The picture is small and kind of wonky, but you get the idea.  It's a big project (400 x 210) stitches, so it was hard to get a good picture.