You are currently browsing the archives for October 2010.

I’m So Proud of Myself!

  • Posted on October 28, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Okay folks, I’m warning you right now. This is another probable TMI post. Remember the one I did a while back about doggy anal glands? Consider this a follow-up. You may wish to skip this post because it’s going to be a little gross. In fact, I’m not sure exactly why I’m posting it, except for the fact that I am excessively proud of myself.

Abby started having another problem this week. Yesterday, I realized that she hadn’t defecated in over a day, which is unusual for her because she’s a regular pooper. Once a day, every day. She’s very predictable. So, when she doesn’t go, there’s a problem. She start scooting yesterday, too. Which, for her, is very different from any scoot I’ve ever seen out of a dog. She doesn’t do the grinding her butt into the carpet as she moves across the floor. No, she can’t be normal. After all, she’s one of my dogs. 😉 She sits and spins around, left and then right, very rapidly. You can’t tell if she’s just wound up and being playful or what. I should have guessed, as I now remember that she’s done this before. Mental note made. Hopefully, my recall mechanism will work in the future.

< -- begin really icky stuff -->

Anyway, she was acting a bit odd, so after she did a sit and spin cycle, I had Terry hold up her hind quarters so that I could check her behind. Her anus looked just a little puffy, so I squeezed just a bit to assess and she gave a little squeak. Yep, that’s it. I had Terry take her outside to see if she would defecate. I told her, she was either going to poop for Daddy or get the finger. She didn’t poop, so she got the finger. And by that, I mean that I had to express her anal glands. From the inside out. Yeah, I went there. Into the nether regions of my poor dog with a finger.

Let me back up a second first, though. We were at the vet with Lily a couple of weeks ago when she was having the bloody stool. I probably didn’t mention that. Yes, she now gets probiotics and Metamucil with her dinner. What a fuss. Doggie daycare will love dealing with that the next time we board them. But that’s a whole different story. Anyway, while we had her in, I asked if they would show me how to express the glands. I had discussed this with a different vet (there are several at this clinic and I love them all) the last time we were in and he said it would be no problem. I decided that it was necessary since Lily is pretty full just about every time she’s in to the vet. Might as well save a little money ($25 for the office visit and $15 for them to express the glands) and do it myself. That way, I can take care of her as soon as she starts to scoot. So, this time when we were in, I mentioned it to the tech, along with my litany of topics to discuss with the vet. She looked at me oddly, like I might not be quite in my right mind. She might have even said, “Really?” I don’t remember. So, the vet comes in a few minutes later and we start talking through everything, mainly focusing on her bowel issues. I repeat the same thing to him that I told the tech. I want to learn how to express her anal glands, especially since she has regular issues with them. I got a strange look and reaction from him, as well. He told me that very few pet owners are willing to do it themselves. But then, I’m not your average furmommy. I’m all for regular, preventive care at home to keep my dogs healthy and happy. I mentioned before that Phoebe had a rupture anal gland once. It wasn’t pretty and it was painful for her. It’s not something that I want to have happen to another animal ever again. So, I’m willing to do what’s necessary. Bring it on.

So, the vet and I both gloved up and lubed up. He said that I am fortunate to have such thin fingers, so that I can still use my forefinger, even though Lily is so tiny. I inserted one finger, felt around and found the gland. Unfortunately, I then lost it and wasn’t able to find it again, so I couldn’t actually express it, but I think he was impressed that I was able to find it in the first place. So, we agreed that I would practice on her some other time, as she was quite done with us probing her by this point and was whimpering.

I hadn’t yet bothered to practice. But yesterday, the time had come. This was it. Do it or take Abby in and have them check her. I was pretty sure, though, that those darned glands were the problem. I took a deep breath and dove in (gloved and lubed, of course, with a tissue in hand). She was much easier than Lily, being larger in size. I felt something odd, though, as I started in. What the heck? There’s something definitely wrong or strange going on in her anus. Oh wait, that’s a poop. Ew. Yeah, she’s holding it in, so there’s a serious gland problem. I found the left one pretty easily and squeezed, with the forefinger on the inside and the thumb on the outside. I’m getting nowhere here. Am I really squeezing the gland? Or is it a roll of skin/tissue? Hmmm… No, it’s a definite bulbous structure. Long story short, there’s actually an art to expressing these darned things. And what came out was definitely not normal. That girl’s gland was stopped up like you wouldn’t believe. Terry said that she was really tense when I started, but as soon as I expressed the left gland, she relaxed noticeably. She still wasn’t happy, mind you, but then I wouldn’t be either, if I was her. Or is it if I were her? Anna?

Anywho… Left gland, check. Right gland, check. Well, while I’m at it, I might as well put on a new glove and get Lily, as well. She’s abnormal, big surprise. The glands are supposed to be at the 5 o’clock and 7 o’clock positions. Which is where Abby’s were, pretty much. Lily’s? No, she has to be different. This is why I had trouble finding them at the vet’s office and thought that I couldn’t possibly be in the right spot when I felt what I thought were her glands. Hers are at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock. That’s why. That’s my little Lily. She’s a little off. Her right eye is off and her anal glands are off. Oh, and her personality is off, too. She’s definitely… um… unique. 😉

< -- end really icky stuff -->

There we go. Both dogs taken care of. Now, the real proof would be in the pudding. Oh. Perhaps that wasn’t the best analogy. 😆 The next time Terry took Abby outside, I wanted to see if she would poop. And there she went. Awesome.

I have rarely been this proud of myself. I took on a challenge that most pet owners wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole. And really, there’s a good reason for it. That stuff stinks. I could smell it for hours. But the payoff was well worth it. And I can care for my dogs even better than before. I rock.

Birthday Weekend Crafting

  • Posted on October 26, 2010 at 10:46 am

My parents were supposed to come down this past weekend for my birthday, but plans changed at the last minute when my mom’s dog became ill and then my mom herself came down with a cold. So, when Terry asked me Saturday afternoon what I wanted to do, I came up with a couple of lingering crafty projects, of course. Terry really knows his stuff when it comes to sewing, so I knew I wanted his help to create the tote bag for my first counted canvas project. You may or may not remember that I bought the fabrics for it a while back. We took measurements and formulated a plan. The outside of the bag came out beautifully, with enough of the heavy fabric left to do a larger tote bag when I graduate to a canvas design larger than 12″ x 12″. Unfortunately, neither of us calculated correctly for the lining, so I ended up throwing a good chunk of that fabric into a scrap pile. That turned out to be indicative of how the rest of the evening would turn out. I had to do the lining twice. And Terry apparently burnt the first batch of sauce for my birthday dinner. Other things went awry, too, but the important thing is that I was able to successfully finish the bag Sunday night.

I think it turned out really well. It’s so cute!

I also have a photo of another framed piece to share with you. Again. 😉 This one is a quilled piece that I made over 3 years ago:

I think I may have mentioned a few posts ago that I happened to pull a frame out of my stash that fit this piece perfectly. The frame is kinda crappy, but at least it’s something! With the backing cardstock of the piece being white, as well as both of the mats, it needs a little bit of color, so I might try coloring the inner mat with purple or green chalk.

I was going to give this away to my mother or step-grandmother for Christmas, but I’ve decided to keep it to myself. I’m already stitching a piece for my mother for Christmas and my step-grandmother is looking to downsize into an assisted living facility in the near future, so she really doesn’t need anything more to have to make a difficult decision about keeping or letting go. Besides, I don’t have much quilled work to begin with and nothing on display!

Combining Stitching and Scrapbooking?

  • Posted on October 25, 2010 at 2:37 pm

Last night, I received the weekly newsletter from Nordic Needle and one of the topics was around creating a portfolio of stitching work. I have often considered creating a scrapbook of my stitching accomplishments, but I have yet to actually act on that thought. I think that I’m pretty good about keeping a photographic record, so really it wouldn’t take much to translate that into a physical medium. I would have to keep up with it, though, or it could become a monumental task.

My question to you, dear readers, is – have you ever created any sort of physical journal of your stitching? If you have, I’d love to hear about what you’ve done!

Bookmarks and More Framing

  • Posted on October 20, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Are you sick of pictures of recent framing work yet? No? Good, because there’s more in this post. After this, though, there are only a couple of pieces left to frame. :mrgreen:

First, though, I have more bookmarks to show that will be Christmas gifts for my father-in-law’s wife. These are made out of fabric. The front sides are made from lovely brocade fabrics that I bought in small bundles at Joann Fabrics some time ago and never used. The back sides are made from coordinating dupioni silk fabrics that I also had in my fabric stash and never used.

The first set is yellow and gold:
Front –

Back –

The second set is green:
Front –

Back –

And now for the framing.

First up is the large Tinker Bell poster that I bought in WDW last month. We went and picked up both framed posters from Michaels yesterday and they did an excellent job.

So, here she is, in all of her glory, though the colors are not captured quite correctly:

Next is my Brush Em piece that I’m giving to my dental hygienist (she’s also a friend) in a couple of weeks:

The frame is a Molly Made frame from my LNS and the piece was also framed by my LNS. Molly painted the frame to match the piece’s border color. I then had her mount a container of floss in the corner and run the floss along the bottom of the frame. The labeling on the floss container is significant because both my hygienist’s husband and I work for the same company and our company used to make Glide floss. So, I just knew that I had an old branded container around somewhere. I really had to dig for it, but I finally found one.

I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed in the work on this one. I think it was a rush job. I had dropped the piece off of July 31st and talked to Molly about what exactly I wanted. When I stopped in at the store earlier this month, I was shocked to find out that, after over 2 months, it wasn’t ready yet. In fact, it sounded like the frame hadn’t even been prepared yet when I talked to the framer. All of a sudden, about a week later, it was done, which surprised me. The paint job isn’t the best and there are a few other things that I could nitpick, but at least it’s done. Next time, I’ll do it myself.

The last framed piece I have to show (this time) is my Woof Blocks Flip-It by Lizzie Kate:

The frame is a new copy of the brown one that I found out was bad during my crafting day from h***. I figured out while I was trying to find a good one yesterday at Michaels what the problem is. They use a soft plastic at the corners for protection and the plastic is sticking to the finish and pulling it off in spots. I went through every frame they had before I found that the last one at the very back was decent enough to use.

I’ll be buying stripper tonight (hopefully; if I’m not too tired) to remove the bad paint from the other two frames and then new paint so that I can try again. I still need a white one out of the two and the other will just be a spare.

I have just a couple of more pictures to share with you. While I was heading to the checkout with the new brown frame for Woof Blocks yesterday, I stumbled across a bin of boxes on clearance. They really caught my eye and I just had to have one:

It’s not the highest quality, but: a) it was only $7.99; b) I can clean up a few spots; and c) it’s supposed to look like an antique. The nifty handle is unfortunately plastic, so I might keep my eyes out for an antiqued brass one that might fit nicely it its place.

I have no idea what I’m going to use the box for. It’s about 10″ wide, 8″ deep and 6″ high. Any ideas?

I Think That Something is Wrong With Me

  • Posted on October 18, 2010 at 11:20 pm

Now, don’t laugh. Yes, I know I’m a quirky, crazy gal. Let me be serious here for a moment, though.

For the past two or three weeks, I have been really, really clumsy. I mean clumsier than normal. Being tall, I have a high center of gravity, so my sense of balance is horrible and has been for many, many years. However, this is different. I have smacked into things until I’m black and blue in numerous places. I hit the same spot on my arm multiple times to the point where not only was the bruising quite ugly, but now that the bruise has dissipated, there is still a divot in the skin and a painful bump under the skin. Tonight, I closed the door to the laundry room on my right fingers. Gave a hard shove to the door and my fingers were still on the jam. I now have a little blood blister at the cuticle line of my right middle finger.

Terry says that he hasn’t really noticed, but I have. And it’s not normal. I haven’t been able to hear as well, either, but I suspect that relates back to the Maroon 5 concert. So, what’s up with the unusually bad clumsiness? I’m wondering if it has to do with the fact that I have just doubled my headache preventative in the last two weeks. When I started Gabapentin originally a few months ago, I looked up the side effects and the top few side effects were drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue and sleepiness. Just now, I looked them up and WebMd has changed their way of listing side effects. Number 2 on the list of common side effects of Gabapentin? “Uncoordinated – Severe.” Well then. I guess that settles it.

So, the question is, do I go to the family doctor and talk to her about it to see if she agrees that it could be the Gabapentin? Or do I call the neurologist and tell him what’s going on? Right now, I’m leaning towards the latter. I need to get a cervical spine series of x-rays, so when I go into the family doc to review those results, I’ll mention the problems to her then.

I guess I will go put a note in my calendar to call tomorrow. I’ll add it after the reminder to call the vet about Lily’s continued bloody stool. *sigh* My plate is full.

The Crafting Day That Wasn’t Meant To Be

  • Posted on October 17, 2010 at 7:58 pm

I should not have gotten out of bed this morning. Seriously.

I tried to do some crafting today. I started with two framing projects. Premade frames – check. Fusible interfacing – check. Stitched pieces – check. Okay, iron the pieces. No problem. Heat up fusing iron (I have a crappy iron to do fusing because, well, I ruined the iron doing fusing one time, so I’m not going to risk my good replacement). No problem. Cut interfacing to size. No problem. Fuse interfacing to stitched pieces? Yeah, now we’re having a little bit of a problem. My ironing technique was wrong for the first one, so the stitched piece got pulled out of shape. I had to rip off the interfacing completely, try to iron the piece (with the good iron, of course) back into shape and try again. I was able to mostly salvage the piece. I’m not happy with it, but it is what it is.

Time to fuse the next piece. More problems. Changed my ironing technique so as to not pull the piece out of shape. Flipped the piece over and there’s some kind of bubble effect going on right behind the stitched portion of the fabric. *sigh* I didn’t bother retrying the fusing this time. It’s not too bad, so I’ll just suck it up and deal.

So, now I’m ready to insert the pieces in the frames. Flipped over the brown frame and found spots where the finish was coming off. Crap. One frame shot. Flipped over the white frame. You have GOT to be KIDDING ME! It’s unusable, as well. #*%$!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m so mad at this point that I grab both of the frames and head to the garage. I start rifling through, trying to find every can of spray paint that we own. There it is – white spray paint. Hah! Take that! Except… in my extreme irritation, I totally oversprayed the stupid frame. Drips and sags. #*%$! I went through what had been left in the can, of course. So, I can sand it down after it cures and try again, but I’ll have to buy more paint. Fine, let’s try the brown frame. I don’t any brown paint. Fine. Be that way. I’ll go with satin black. I set it up out in the driveway and spray. The frame looked like it was clean, but apparently it was not. Or stuff came out of the spray nozzle. Either way, there are little bits all over the place. #*%$!

Okay, let’s try a different craft. I wanted to sew up some simple fabric bookmarks, to add to the pile of bookmarks. Oh yeah, that’s right. I can’t sew a straight line to save my life. Sew, re-sew, re-sew, re-sew. Throw out one bookmark. Sew up a second one. I manage to get straight lines after a couple of tries. How do I finish the ends? A decorative satin stitch would be nice. Yeah right. Try, try, try again. All failures. Bring in the sewing master (Terry). Try, try, try again. All failures. Hey, at least I know it’s not just me, at this point.

At least the last bookmark went a lot more smoothly. I reconciled myself to a boring, hand-sewn seam at both ends. Whatever. I’ll just be happy when they are both closed up and finished!

So, as you can plainly tell, this has been the day from h***. I am SO not a happy camper. What a bummer. 🙁

Paper Corner Bookmarks

  • Posted on October 17, 2010 at 12:21 am

More paper crafting photos ahead. I’m not feeling very wordy at the moment. Take advantage while you can. 😉

I have lost my mojo for stamping paper bookmarks, so I went looking on Splitcoaststampers for inspiration. I found inspiration alright, but of a different shape than that for which I was originally searching. Corner bookmarks! Of course! It makes so much sense. I’ve been drawn to the stitched ones, but hadn’t had the time to work out how best to stitch them up, as the originals pictured had been stitched on premade blanks that are no longer available. So, cut to yesterday, where I saw the cutest corner bookmarks made out of paper. I immediately had to run upstairs and make up two of them:

They’re not perfect (I’m having adhesive issues and my cutter must be very dull, as it’s leaving ragged edges), but they are sweet. Well, in my opinion at least. :mrgreen:

Fob Finish

  • Posted on October 14, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Last night and the night before, I worked on finishing one of the fobs from The Sweetheart Tree. I have had this one in my WTF (Waiting To Finish?) pile for quite a while – August 2009, to be exact.

Here are the photos of it stitched up:
Front –

Back –

And here are the photos of it finished:
Front –

Back –

Stay tuned for a giveaway for the remaining supplies…

Also, one other finish, but not in the stitching realm. This is a rubber stamped bookmark to add to the pile of bookmarks that will become Christmas gifts for my father-in-law’s wife:

The details don’t show up very well when scanned, but this bookmark has a sketched daisy embossed in a pale golden pearl against yellow cardstock, which is then mounted over a piece of dark gold vellum onto medium mint green cardstock. There is a small piece of vellum attached at the bottom of the green cardstock with the word “Daisy” handwritten with yellow colored pencil. The pencil gives a frosted look against the vellum.

Please trust me when I say that it looks better in person.

The Shower

  • Posted on October 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

There is nothing quite like a shower. Especially after you’ve worked up a good sweat working out or, in my case today, working hard around the house.

I suddenly felt very connected and aware during this particular shower. I felt and heard everything very keenly and clearly.

The luxurious foam of body wash on a puff as it glides across skin. The gentle scrape of the razor and the lovely smoothness left in its wake. The squeak of freshly shampooed hair and the sliding of the comb through it after a good conditioning. The softness of a deeply cleaned face and the brisk freshness after applying toner. The overall wonderful feeling of the water as it washes away all of the dirt and any immediate worries along with it. The slightly odd feeling of nails that are suddenly a lot shorter after being clipped. The fantastic smell of cherry blossom moisturizer and its gentle sparkle when applied.

Yes, it was a very pure, Buddhist, in-the-moment experience.

It’s too bad that reality comes rushing back in all too quickly. I think that maybe it’s time that I read some books on Buddhist philosophy.

Hanging Myself

  • Posted on October 9, 2010 at 10:21 am

Or at least some of my work. 😉

Last night, I suddenly got the irresistible bug to hang some of my more recently framed pieces, at least those upon whose home position I had already decided. These are my first stitched pieces to actually be hung in my home – ever. I have one other piece that was framed by my mother years ago that is sitting on my mantle (so, technically, it’s not hung). But, to be honest, I hate the frame. I love my mother, but the frame choice was… not my favorite. So, I’ll be pulling it apart and reframing it at some point. This may be my chance to do my own framing, as I’d like to reuse the glass and just replace the frame. The mounting is slightly wonky, as well, but I think my mother pinned it, so hopefully I will have the opportunity to lace it.

Anyway, on with the show:

First is Vintner’s Sampler by The Sweetheart Tree:

I finished this beauty as my last possible finish of 2006. I’m pretty sure I finished it in the evening on December 31, 2006 while visiting my in-laws.

Next is Seasonal Dragons by Sherry Stepp-Aweau:

I have this one hanging high over my TV and center speaker.

It has been nearly impossible to get a good picture of it, for some reason. I’m a little disappointed with the anti-reflective conservation glass, as it still has glare issues, even if it diffuses the glare more than regular glass would. In fact, the diffusion makes it exceedingly difficult to capture the details of the stitching.

I think that Michaels’ museum glass might actually be better, but I’ll reserve the final verdict there until I get my posters back in a week or so. Not that I would ever let them touch a stitched piece of mine, but I’m considering the possibility of ordering the frame, mat(s) and glass from them and then mounting it myself. Someday, I want to do all of the framing myself. I actually want to do all of my own framing now, but I’m still sourcing molding for the frames and haven’t even looked into the glass yet. I am one step closer, though, as I just purchased a mat cutter a couple of weeks ago. Even the low end one that I bought is pretty easy to use and produces nice results, if you are careful. I want to experiment with fancier cuts and see what I might be able to do myself that would cost a fortune to have someone else do. You know, in my oh-so-abundant spare time…

Anyway, back to this piece. It was a round robin piece. I stitched the spring dragon in the top left corner, then it went to Leslie for the summer dragon in the top right corner, Outi for the fall dragon in the bottom right corner and Christine for the winter dragon in the bottom left corner. It was started in 2007 and finished in 2008. For some reason, I never took a picture of the finished product before it was framed, which has turned out to be a real shame.

Okay, so I have one more picture for you before I go.

This is a Futurama poster that I bought for Terry last year for his birthday, I think. We finally framed it after one of our recent Michaels frame purchasing sprees. It will go up in our home office, once we finish renovations. Due to the work moves. Which is still a whole other post that I haven’t written yet.

Speaking of work, I’m working this weekend. We’re in the waiting period right now. Watching this job run is like watching paint dry. I think I have a couple of hours before it completes, so I’m off to do some cleaning. Or framing. Or rubber stamping. Or finishing. Or some of everything. I haven’t decided yet.

My Stick Family from