Category Archives: dogs

Neck adornment

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necklace

I hope my sister-in-law doesn’t mind her gift sharing a post with a dog collar! Both of today’s items go around necks that are dear to me. Giggle. This is a crocheted necklace I made as a birthday gift. I got this idea from Pinterest, and it originated on Craftsy. I used Gloss lace-weight yarn from Knitpicks because I already had some, then put it on a black metal chain. I felt like it needed to hold its shape so I soaked it in some Stiffy (why oh why is it called that?) that was a little watered down, and now it’s just right. It holds its shape without looking…stiff. Now that I’ve made this and given it away, I sort of feel like making another one for myself. I could just make sure not to wear it where Molly is, right?

collar

I got some new embroidery software for my birthday. My embroidery machine is a simple, inexpensive model (the Brother PE 500), but it does basically all I think I’d want in an embroidery machine. I’ve considered upgrading to a bigger or more complicated model, but I like things that are simple and straightfoward, and I really appreciate owning things I can afford to replace if a rowdy child “accidentally” knocks it across the room. One thing I wished my machine had was more fonts, and the ability to lay out more than one line of text at a time. So for my birthday I got this Letter It! software. It’s great, and it makes me feel like I can now get even more out of my little machine. It works basically like a word processing program. It comes with a nice variety of fonts, and you can purchase and import more if you want. Then you lay out your text just the way you want it to look on your final product–with multiple lines, mixed fonts, and distortions like curves if you wish–and then just save it as a file that you send over to your machine. I tried it out on this collar for my dog Belle. I liked being able to line up her name and my phone number just the way I wanted it, and she likes not having a dangling metal tag.

 

Sewing for me and the dog too

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collar

As I’ve been glancing back over our summer photographs, I noticed a couple projects I’d like to share. Here is Belle in another of her handmade collars. I make these periodically, whenever I think she needs a cute new one, or I have a pretty scrap that would like nice against her fur. I bought buckles and webbing in bulk because it was so cheap and it really only takes a few minutes to make a one-size collar. She got into the chevron trend with this one.

scalloped-skirtAnd in this photo, taken by our pretty Ohio River last spring, I am wearing a skirt made from a pattern in The Colette Sewing Handbook. It’s the only pattern from the book I’ve made so far. I loved the way the scallops turned out, and the inside of the skirt looks just as tidy as the outside, thanks to her careful instructions. My only complaint is that I did measure carefully before cutting the pattern but mine was still too large. I think I may try it again in a fall print in a smaller size.

Cats and Dogs

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puppy-hatThis is a hat I crocheted for my cousin’s little boy. He’s having a puppy-themed first birthday party! He’s going to rock this hat if he keeps it on, because he’s even cuter than it. I’m making one for Worth too because he saw the work in progress and decided he needed some of that in his life too. I used this pattern by Sarah Zimmerman and the washable merino wool from Knitpicks.

kitty-costumeThis is a project I’ll definitely want to blog about again, once I can get a picture of it on the newborn kitty herself. Dorothy decided months ago that she wanted to be a witch for Halloween and that she wanted her new baby sister to be her black cat, which seems like a totally fitting Halloween costume for a baby who is just going to be dressed up and paraded around to suit her mother and big sister for at least the first six months of her life. Dorothy was set on a really expensive witch costume from Chasing Fireflies, but fortunately we encountered a much cheaper but equally awesome version at a TJ Maxx. I looked all over the internet for a newborn kitty costume, since as I said before I’m not that into sewing costumes that are only going to get worn once or twice. (I did break my own rule last Halloween and sewed Dorothy’s Little Red Riding Hood costume and Worth’s wolf suit. Dorothy’s dress was just as disappointing to me as I’d thought–she wore it on Halloween and never again, even though I thought I’d made it in such a way that she might consider wearing it as a regular old dress without the cape, but no. Worth, however, has worn the wolf costume enough that I don’t regret the time. He even wore it to music class at least once last spring! And he looks so awesomely Where the Wild Things Are when he wears it around the house.) Anyway, I could not find a ready-made newborn kitty costume. I found many infant costumes, but my baby due October 12 would surely be overwhelmed by a costume intended to fit a child up to 3 months. Plus comfort is a big issue for a newborn, and many store-bought costumes are itchy. So I ordered a newborn-size black onesie and thick black tights (not pictured). I crocheted a kitty hat, mittens, and booties and fabric glued felt on them for the paw pads and inner ears, then I stitched a kitty tail and little pink belly onto the onesie. There’s no reason I can’t put the booties, mitts and hat on her sometime again, except that I’ve made so many at this point they may never make it into rotation!

I admit to feeling pretty miserable here in these last weeks. I’m totally feeling the “advanced maternal age” stamped across the top of my chart at my obstetrician’s office. As the weather finally turns cooler and fall decorations and winter squashes start cropping up everywhere I’m feeling very ready to reap this little harvest of my own. I’m trying to remind myself that another two weeks aren’t a big deal in the big picture, but I have to say that 16 (or so) more mornings of dragging my huge, sore, cumbersome self in and out of bed and around to all the places life requires seems a little daunting at this point. I think all the baby projects are done, she just needs to show up and try them on!

Spring fashion…for my dog

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new-collar

I thought my Belle needed to have some new accessories for spring. I made her a collar from scraps of Dorothy’s new dress. These collars are easy to make because I don’t make them adjustable, I just make them the right size to fit my particular dog. I stitch fabric onto 1 inch webbing, sew on a reinforced D-ring, and put parachute clasps at each end.personalized-collar

On the second collar I tried something new. Sometimes it is difficult to get Belle’s metal tags off the thick D-rings on these collars. I had a half-sheet of iron-on transfer paper for dark fabrics sitting around, so I printed Belle’s name and address (some of which I rubbed out in the photo) several times onto the sheet, clipped them out, and ironed one on to this second new collar. Now all her pertinent information is right there on the collar instead of dangling below. This will be the perfect collar for walks in the woods because she won’t get her tag snagged on sticks, and it will make changing collars easier because it can go right on without my having to change over her metal tag. I saved the other printed addresses for future collars.

Painted canisters and a dog collar

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I feel like this is one of those instances where the final product looks much cuter in my kitchen than it does in this crummy picture. I should outsource my photography to someone with better skills! Disclaimers aside, I gave my kitchen canisters a little update. The sturdy glass jars where still in perfectly good condition after ten or so years of wear, but the metal lids were starting to rust. I used craft paint on the lids, then coated them with a polyacrylic sealer. The top of the lids don’t come into contact with food, nor do they need to be dishwasher safe, so I’m hoping this solution stops the rust and improves the look of them.I tried to get a picture of one of the lids in front of the curtains that inspired the design. In retrospect I could probably have stamped on polka dots in the same paint colors and it would have looked nice with less work, but I didn’t think of that in time.

Belle the dog was the victim recipient of another of my recent projects. I’m quite pleased with this one and foresee homemade collars to match every season and holiday in lucky Belle’s future. I purchased inexpensive parachute clips, nylon webbing and D rings at my local crafts shop. I sewed decorative fabric over the webbing and then assembled the collar. This would have been a more complicated project if I’d had to make the collar adjustable, but since I was only sewing it for one full-grown dog I just based it on the measurement of one of her other collars already adjusted to fit her. The whole project only took a few minutes and a couple dollars–now I have to figure out which of my camper fabrics to use on the next one!

Belle models her new collar.

For my happy canine camper

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It’s a good thing we have supportive families. If my mother hadn’t come and cleaned my kitchen (thank you, Mom!) and my in-laws didn’t have my daughter for a sleepover, I would never have been able to ignore the rest of my life quite so thoroughly these couple of days while I sew for my trailer. It’s fun to get wrapped up in a project.

This morning I tackled the issue of Belle’s sleeping space. I made her a little doggie bedroll. It’s a quilted cover with sturdy upholstery fabric on the bottom over a core of 1 inch foam. The cover is removable for washing. She seems to like it.

It can be easily rolled up for storage when not in use.

Now if I can figure out how to build a mudroom on the front of this 14-foot trailer so I can wipe down her muddy paws before she comes inside…

Training pants and a dog toy

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I did some sewing for the boy this week. At 23 months Worth is on the young side for potty training by today’s standards, but we’ve decided to give it a go anyhoo. He’s not potty aware or anything, but I figure even if we spend a month wiping up messes from the floor we’re still coming out ahead of spending another year waiting for him to initiate the thing himself. I don’t really buy the arguments that one should wait until kids ask to be potty trained. Like really? It’s the toilet, not the shaping of his ego or creativity or anything touchy-feely. I’m not going to beat him for making messes; I’m just his mother explaining to him that life without diapers is better. We’re taking a low-pressure, high-enthusiasm approach and it is going well so far. We’re letting him hang out at home in the new pants, encouraging time spent on the potty, and then putting him in dipes for trips out. On the first day he seemed totally clueless; on the second day he consistently told me when he was peeing, and today (day 3) he actually made it to the potty once. Dorothy and I danced, we cheered, we passed around chocolate cake. Seems like progress. Anyway, Worth needed big-kid pants for this experiment but I got sticker shock when I went to look for some. Then I remembered my sister-in-law Molly had made some for Maggie, so I decided to do the same. I used the same pattern she used and they were easy to make and turned out really stunningly adorable. I used some cotton knits left over from a recent scarf project (stay tuned for a blog about that one) and mixed up the colors. I made six pair and spent $0 on materials, since I was using scraps. That’s totally in my budget.

And while I was being so frugal I hated to throw away the long, skinny leftover shreds of fabric in those bright rainbow hues, so I braided them into long braids and then knotted the braid into a new toy for Belle. She seems pleased.

 

A winter wreath and some other projects for the home

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I never know what to hang on the front door after Christmas. Holly berries no longer seem right, but it’s definitely not time for spring flowers either. I decided to buy a cheap thrift store wreath and winterize it. The photo above is the wreath I started with, purchased for about $2.

I lightly spray-painted the whole thing white. The original colors still show through, but it looks kind of frosty. Then I added silver snowflakes (white ones from a craft store, spray-painted silver), a colorful bow, and a vintage bird I found at a yard sale last summer. I like that the blue gives a little color to my winter front porch but I still feel seasonably appropriate.This might not be the best photo of my new pillowcases but at least it shows them in action. The striped print, Robert Allen Kukula Pinata, coordinates with my new curtains (finally all finished!) in Kiki Pinata. I like that the boldness of the stripe and color anchors my sort of washed-out old sofa, but that it isn’t so matchy-matchy with the curtains that anyone is going to get seasick from all the flowers. The kids and dog obviously like them as well. It has been part of our daily homeschool routine for Dorothy to read a book or two to her brother, so that is what is going on here. I don’t actually want to talk about why my 22-month-old is sucking on a pacifier, and since this is my blog, well, I won’t.

Belle’s doggie bed was originally intended to occupy space on the second floor of our home, but it ended up being more useful in our main living space. The downside to finally finishing the curtains in this room was that the bed, covered in fabric to match my bedroom, now looked kind of clashy in the family room. I found a nice, washable fabric to make a new dog bed cover at Joann. It’s the Lisette brand but I didn’t see this print on the website. It looks like an Ikat print and is a color that should both match the room and the dog–so her hair won’t show so badly! Both the person who cut my fabric and the person who checked me out asked what I was going to do with the pretty fabric. It was kind of funny to tell them it was for my dog, but she should have pretty things too. Why not?

 

After the holiday buzz

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I love that after-holiday feeling. As eager as I was to pull out the Christmas tunes after Halloween, I’m equally satisfied to have packed it all up now, returning to life as normal with a new zest. Doesn’t everything in the house look serene and uncluttered once the holiday decorations come down?

I guess I took a little break from blogging during all the whirl of celebrations, but here are some photos I’ve collected to share.

Belle got a new collar and tag in her Christmas stocking. Her collar came from this Etsy shop, and the tag (check out that awesome camper stamp!!) came from this one. Maybe I should be embarrassed that my dog’s accessories will match my camper but I’m not. Belle seemed impressed with it, but was more impressed with the chocolate she stole from our kitchen counter on Christmas morning. If I’d had to make that phone call to the emergency animal hospital before Christmas I might never have been so generous with the dog gifts! But it all turned out fine…nothing says “Merry Christmas” like inducing dog vomit. Oy. At least she’s nicely accessorized.

The owner of Stamped with Love also sent me this fantastic key chain, which I think speaks for itself. It’s stamped with the same words as our camper sign. I love it!

This is my favorite picture from Christmas 2011. My boy refused to let anyone remove his new shoes from his feet and he slept with his arms around his beloved new fire truck. He’s still too little to grant affection to Christmas gifts on any other basis than how much he loves them in the moment, and these wee running shoes and charming fire truck took the day. Dorothy’s favorite gift (I think), after all was said and done, was the new “pet” mouse Santa brought. We’ve been reading the Ralph the Mouse books, so I purchased a very cute toy mouse and stuck it in a real cage with a real rodent water bottle and clean shreds of scrapbook paper. The cage has a handle, so Dorothy totes the whole setup around with her. She loves it. It wasn’t a homemade gift, obviously, but I did feel like my creativity in assembling it made it more special than the ready-made gifts she has played with less.

These are the sugar cookies the children decorated at our New Year’s Eve celebration with another young family. I baked the cookies using Martha Stewart’s sugar cookie recipe, then iced them with plain white royal icing, then let the kids do the rest.

I put a shark applique on a plain white cotton tee as a birthday gift to a little friend who turned one on Christmas Eve. This felt like a useful and simple gift and I hope he likes it.

And last but not least, one of my own favorite Christmas gifts was a bit of a long shot. Some time last fall before Rob injured his heel we concocted a plan to acquire family pogo sticks this Christmas (with the exception of Worth, who has just perfected jumping on his own two feet). I don’t remember now what made us think this was a good idea. In any case, Rob got a pogo stick but can’t use it until his physical therapist and surgeon allow him to do so (maybe March?), Dorothy got a pogo stick with a nice, wide, detachable base to ease the learning curve but is still a bit of a stretch for a novice pogo-girl in chilly weather, but  me, well I’ve gone pogo crazy! I love it. I thought I’d never be able to get up on the thing, but it turns out that pogo jumping is rather like riding a bicycle; the muscle memory of the skill perfected as a young person followed me, forgotten but not gone, into my adulthood. Jumping on the pogo stick is the most fun exercise I’ve gotten in recent memory. It’s intense and makes the legs burn, but it’s so fun and thrilling I barely notice. I’ve been adding sets of pogo jumps to my day before and after our evening dog-walk, and the increase in heartbeat makes the whole endeavor more worthwhile, health-wise. If I’d just lay off the sugar cookies (see above) maybe I’d lose a few pounds too!

I hope your holidays were wonderful!

A lemonade stand

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I’m afraid I haven’t done a single thing crafty or blog-worthy (with the possible exception of some newly invented cookies, but I forgot to photograph them so what’s the point?), but I’m posting anyway because Worth doesn’t feel well and won’t get off my lap, and if I’m going to sit here captive I may as well do something. So here is a random post about things that have been going on! The neighborhood kids had lemonade stand in my front yard. Unfortunately their accounting was almost as bad as their spelling, so it is unclear if the enterprise earned money or just annoyed the neighbors.

Worth got his first favorite pair of shoes. He tried these on at an outlet mall on the way home from an out-of-town wedding last weekend and we couldn’t even pry them off his feet to pay for them so we just snipped off the tags and he wore them home. He kept cooing over them and touching them and giggling in his car seat.  Hilarious and cute. I love that we finally found shoes he’ll actually keep on, plus they are mercifully easy to clean. The adorable t-shirt was a gift and I love it like he loves his shoes.

This was a picture that appeared on my blog back in June of Belle on her homemade dog bed…

and an updated snapshot, two months later. I’m glad kids don’t grow that fast! (And a disclaimer, Belle is not allowed to play with the kids’ toys ordinarily, but she has a deep and abiding fondness for this little knitted animal. She doesn’t eat it–she just plays with it and loves on it and since it seems to be no worse for wear as a shared toy I allow it. She’s just a baby too, after all, even though she’s more than doubled in size!)