Sunday, April 28, 2013

An Old Needlepoint UFO and Critters

This week's been filled with happy things!  The flash flood receded and FH was finally able to get back to work.  The office building wasn't damaged at all!

It appears Pixel and Pollux might be closer to accepting Gus into their lives.

Pollux is also beginning to feel better finally.  We did have to put him back on steroids, but as soon as his IBD calms down, we're going to start weaning him off them immediately.

I did manage to find where I'd put the violet tool case this week.  It was in a seldom-used work bag.  So it's back in the queue of things to finish.  Hopefully this coming week.

I'd been wanting to do something different this week, but I also wanted to work on a UFO.  Happily my needlepoint heart sampler rolled out from the depths of the workroom.

I honestly don't remember when I started it, or even why I bought the kit.  I do remember having fun with the two green sections and being irritated when I figured out the two-tone pink section didn't look like the sample picture.  The lighter pink lines are supposed to be thicker.

Then I was frustrated by the cream sections of continental stitch until I figured out I needed to mount the canvas on stretcher bars.  Then I needed to rip out the cream wool (for the second time) and redo stitch those sections.  Then I figured out I didn't have enough cream wool left from the kit.  That's when it got shoved in a bag and forgotten.

When the heart rolled out, it was right before I was headed to a guild meeting in the next city over... the one where the needlepoint shop is located.  So I started frogging the cream wool.  When that was done, I did the solid pink section (reverse scotch stitch), just to have something else to do.

Well I got new cream wool on Wednesday and got going on the upper cream section.  The tension is still off, but that's due to a lack of experience/practice this time.  I briefly considered frogging it again, but the canvas was started to show signs of wear.  Samplers were meant to be teaching tools and proof of practice anyway, so I left it in.

The background was fun to stitch.  It's pearl cotton done in a reverse continental stitch.

I still need to get the embellishments done and fill in around the background with something.  That way plain canvas won't show along the edges when it's framed or turned into a pillow.  Unless I turn it into an ornament or something.  But then all the neat texture from the pearl cotton would be lost.

But since Wednesday I finished four sections of this canvas, so I'm pleased!

That's all this time.  Depending on how fast I get the embellishing done, I should have more than one project to show off next Sunday.  But we'll see when next week rolls around.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Busy Week

We've had some flash flooding in our neck of the woods this past week.  FH's office building is still inaccessible, but the building itself is intact.  Needless to say things have been really busy this past week.

 Between helping him make sure the business could still function (the power was out and their network was down) and taking care of Pollux, I haven't had much time for anything fun.

Pollux is starting to feel better.  He will finish the course of antibiotics on Monday.  Hopefully this means we're done with them.  The toe still looks icky though, so I'm wondering if a second course will be necessary.

Gus is settling in really well.  We've been going to the dog park every day, except when we had about 36 hours of rain in a row.  Hence the flash flooding in the area.
 I have been working on a design project for the guild.  The quilting group wants to make some blocks for an exchange, but they all need to be the same finished size.  I was elected to draw up the instructions to handout.  I was hoping to do a test run of the block yesterday, but ran out of time with everything else that was going on.  Hopefully this week.

I've also managed to misplace the violet tool case pieces.  I wanted to work on fixing the issues with it last week, but can't find it.  I guess it's time to clean the work room or something.  Perish the thought.

I'm going to leave you with a cute picture of Pixel.  She was doing her best to keep me sitting in the chair yesterday.  I think she wanted us to stay home instead of taking Gus to the park.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Puppy Sunday

More like "weekend, puppy weekend!"

FH and I took Gus to the local dog park both Saturday and Sunday.  He had an absolute blast on Saturday. We met several sweet dogs with friendly owners.
As far as projects go, I've been playing with some rough sketches for a bag  to carry essentials to the dog park.  Sunscreen, plastic bags, water, etc... I'm not quite happy with anything I've drawn up so far.  I'll probably sleep on it again and see what they look like in the morning.

I've also drawn up simple plans to make a washable cover for the old comforter that Gus uses for a bed in our room.  He ripped it on his first night here, so washing it is out unless I figure out how to repair the huge chunk of fabric he tore out of it.  I figure a box-style pillow cover made from fleece will do the trick.  Put a zipper in it and call it useful.  Nothing too fancy, just big enough for the old comforter folded into quarters (36" x 42") with a 24" sport zipper.  When the comforter finally disintegrates I can put a 2" thick chunk of foam inside it.

I've asked FH to make Gus a new collar with his name on it and some Celtic knotwork on either side of his name.  Not sure when he'll get around to it, but hopefully sooner rather than later.  Gus has been loosing weight (which is a good thing since he was way overweight!) since he was surrendered to the shelter last June.  He actually slipped his current collar of one day last week.  Happily he stayed right next to me instead of running down the street.

The cats are starting to adjust to Gus.  They aren't too happy, but things are evening out.  However, Pollux managed to rip one of his rear claws off sometime last week.  We're not sure what he got it caught on.  It's infected and nasty.  He's on antibiotics for the infection, but they're upsetting his stomach.  Hopefully we won't have to put him back on steroids to deal with the stomach problems.  His liver doesn't need the added stress.

Happily the medicine seems to be working.  The swelling is down enough for me to clean more of the gunk from around the quick easier.  I've been making him an Epsom salt soak and dunking the infected foot into it.  I'm not sure it's actually helping, but it doesn't burn or damage tissue like rubbing alcohol or peroxide would, and it helps my peace of mind.  Plus it gets him to wash the toe himself.  He's not too keen on bathing anymore these days.  That probably helped the infection take hold easier.  Ugh.  I'll let everyone know how he's doing next week.

 Here are some more pictures of Gussie having fun at the park.  He's one pooped puppy right now!  In fact, he's behind me, snoring away.  :-)

 See you next week!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Another Distracted Sunday

Another late post, but it's still Sunday here for another hour.  This week I worked on dying a piece of linen to stitch on.  However none of the pictures came out well.  It's not finished yet either.  Only the base color, a medium grey, is done.  I need to do a resist over-dye this week.

I've also been dreaming up designs for a leather collar for FH to carve.  Something with Celtic knotwork or some cool conchos.... or two leather collars.  Not sure yet.

As to why I've got collars on the brain, meet Gus!

Gus is my new ESA (emotional support animal), not to be confused with a service dog.  He's limited to places where pets are allowed, the cabin of airplanes, and (if I was renting my dwelling) he'd be permitted to live with me regardless of their pet policy.  He will be filling in the gap of time between now and when my turn on the 2+ year waiting list for a PTSD service dog comes up.  Gus just turned 10 years old, so we're hoping that with lots of good care and love he will be around until I'm paired with a more mobile K9 partner, if not longer.

FH and I specifically looked for a senior dog from our local no-kill shelter for a few reasons.  1) He's already trained on several commands and housebroken, so less stress for us.  2) Not many people adopt the older dogs, many of whom lost their previous humans due to death or moving into an assisted living home.  The lucky ones end up at the no-kill shelter, but have no idea why their set-in-stone routine has been up ended.  3) A senior dog is more settled than a younger dog would be, making it easier on the cats and us to get used to having a dog around.  4) In this case, the shelter was offering a break in the fee for people willing to adopt animals who have either been there for more than a year or who were older than seven/eight years of age.  This meant we had more money left over to get a kennel, food, toys, etc.

We met Gus Thursday night and he came home with us 30 minutes later.  I fell in love with his sweet face and gentle demeanor.  He's a big boy... a Labrador-collie-beagle mix.  I figure he has to be that big just to fit his heart.  He loves car rides, walks, and rawhide treats.  Oh and carrots.  He really likes carrots.  

The cats are adjusting to him so far, but it's not been easy.  For his part, Gus ignores them.  He'd love to cuddle with them though, if given the chance.  He was in a foster home and that family has a pet bunny.  Apparently Gus believes bunnies should be snuggled and kissed.  I can't disagree there.  Artie, on the other paw, believes that Gus is the Antichrist and should be both loathed and feared.  Pixel tends to waffle between fleeing in terror and sauntering past a snoring Gussie to get to us.  Pollux doesn't come up from the basement unless Gus is outside or we carry his up to bed.  Like I said... it will take some time.

Gus prefers to sleep at the foot of the bed, but on the floor.  That leaves the cats their usual spots with us, undisturbed.  They finally slept in our room again Saturday night. I'm taking this as a sign of future d├ętente.

In the picture above, we're headed to the Christmas tree farm that friends own.  We spent the morning watching Gus explore new smells, meet new people, and find something absolutely foul to roll in.  Needless to say he got a bath when we got home.   

That's all for tonight.  It's been a long weekend full of walks, the dog park, and learning to live with a dog.  See you next week, hopefully with some dyed linen.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Belated Happy Easter!

Our Easter consisted of a wonderful meal with our best friend, her two kids, her boyfriend, and his two kids.  It was total sugar-induced chaos, but it was sure fun to watch!  We didn't get home until late and by then the food coma had set it pretty hard.  In fact I'd forgotten all about the blog post not being done until a few minutes ago!  Better late than never!

Before I get going on the crafting stuff, I want to say that Pollux is doing really well.  He's to the point where you'd have to know him as well as we do to know anything happened to him.  I'm not sure he'll ever be 100% again, but frankly it's been a while since he was truly 100%.  His 14th birthday was this past Friday.  For 14, with his health issues, he's really doing well and we're tickled pink about it.

Last week I had the embroidery group from our Stitchers' Guild here for a meeting.  I made those dyed deviled eggs I tried out two weeks ago and had a veggie tray to supplement lunches.  The dessert and tea treats had a more interesting fate.

Dessert was a pink lemonade cake, the recipe can be found here, and it was divine.  Mine didn't get divided into the thin layers though.  There was an incident with the cookies I was trying out, namely I burned the heck out of a spot on my left palm.  By then I was tired, hurting, and just didn't care about making the cake gorgeous.  It could deal with just being delicious.

 I forgot about getting a picture of the cake before I cut it.  The top picture is all that's left to date.  The second one really shows the pretty pinks.

After burning myself, the cookies were abandoned and FH went out and bought goodies to have with tea at the start of the meeting.  I was tired anyway from all the cleaning and rearranging the furniture to accommodate the group. 

While the ladies were here, I finished a bit of some back stitching on a cross stitch. 
This piece is just a corner of a design that I made myself.  I'll show the finished piece off once we figure out how to get it copyrighted.  Everyone in the Stitchers' Guild thinks people would like to purchase copies of the pattern, so I think I'm going to look into it.  I've already made an electronic version of the pattern via some fun software FH bought for me.  That was my other project last week.

Thursday I took a field trip with a friend to a cross stitch shop, so nothing got done but shopping and girl time.  Oh darn! ;-)  FH had Friday off, so I spent it with him instead of crafting.  Darn again!

One of the things we did Friday was taking a trip to the local no-kill animal shelter.  My doctor wants me to have a dog.  Not just any dog, but a service dog trained to help me with my illness.  Apparently those exist now, and have been helping veterans cope with their symptoms.  The problem is there is a long waiting list for the local group who trains these dogs.  Minimum two years on the wait list.

FH and I were pondering rescuing an older dog from the shelter to keep me company during the day, and encourage being active outside, for the interim while I'm on the waiting list.  Then if/when I'm approved by the program, we can decide if I'm still in need of a service dog.  I may be better enough by then to not need one.  Plus we can get an older dog out of the shelter, making room for someone else to be rescued.

Right now we have two candidates in mind.  We've met one, who was a total sweetheart and liked us too.  The other we'll meet sometime this week, depending on the fosterer's schedule.  Then we'll make a decision.

That's all for now.  I'm headed back to the laundry after I finish this slice of cake.