Saturday, June 28, 2008

Licensed to thrill!

This week, I got word from our vet that Scout's rabies titer required to travel to the UK came back with a good result, and yesterday, her Authority to Compete certificate arrived.

Happiness is a pair of well-socialized dogs

After a too long a period of self-imposed hermitness (hermitage?), I gathered the corgis, attached the coupler leash, and we went out on the town to Nightfall, our every Friday night free concert series. I found a parking place a couple of blocks away, amazingly close to where some friends parked, which saved me from walking back alone in the dark.

Spencer had been to Nightfall a few times, but I think this was Scout's first time. It's loud, with both music and the incessantly annoying banker, I mean BIKER, gangs showing off their obnoxiously loud Harleys and wearing their little leather costumes. It's also hot - too many people, too little air moving around. Sounds great, right? Actually, it's where everybody goes on Friday nights and I always run into lots friends.

It's also one of the few venues in Chattanooga where dogs are welcome, and several folks bring dogs along for the evening. The dogs that we see there are generally well behaved - they have to be well-socialized, confident dogs to be in this environment and not drive their owners crazy.

The cardis made me proud. Besides being exceedingly cute, they handled all of the noise and hustle-bustle beautifully. They got lots of attention and willingly took all of the pets and scritches offered. I was especially proud of Scout. Sometimes she can be a little distant with people, but she was eating up the attention.

It was a nice evening - we need to get out more often.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Quilted Postcards

I have been making quilted postcards for a little while. I had seen some at my local quilt shop, and I was surprised that they would actually go through the mail, but so far I have had no trouble at all with them. I have made these for all kinds of occasions, including sending thank you cards to handlers and judges when we have had nice wins in the conformation ring.

I am way late on making my Father's Day cards for my brother and nephew, but thought I would go ahead and use this opportunity to make a little how-to post for those who have asked how to make them.

As I said, they go beautifully through the mail - here are the requirements:
  • They should measure 4 x 6 inches.
  • The word "Postcard" must be on the card.
  • Requires first class (not postcard) postage.

Here are the supplies:

In Microsoft Publisher, I have made a template where I can print off two postcards on a sheet of cardstock. My templates are 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches in order to give me some trim room. Sometimes I will go ahead and address and type in the message, as I did today, other times I will address and write the message by hand.

For the picture on the card, I use paper-backed cloth which is available at hobby and sewing shops. The fabric comes in different colors and textures. I recently found some very sheer fabric where you can see the underlying fabric through it - I want to try a project with that someday.

I generally cut 3.5 X 5 pieces of the paper-backed fabric and run them through my photo printer. However, if I am going to be making several postcards, I will just put several photos on the same page and run the entire sheet through the printer and trim afterwards. This paper-backed fabric is not cheap, so I try to make the most economical use of it.

For the background, I cut a 4.5 x 6.5 piece of fabric (today using scraps of Amy Butler fabric I had left over from a little quilt I made). Also cut same size pieces of batting. I like to use the thin but dense all cotton batting.

I also use a spray temporary adhesive to hold everything together as I sew. This stuff is also unbelievably expensive. So - I always use my 40% coupons at Hobby Lobby to buy it.

Speaking of cutting, this is my very favorite tool lately - and I found it at Wal Mart. It is a rotary cutter made by Fiskars and it is attached to big ruler. I am the world's worst at cutting a straight line, so this little tool is a wonderful thing. My mother used to say that she could tear a straighter line than I could cut.

Here's everything cut and ready to go.

First, spray adhesive on the batting and lay the fabric on top. Be careful when spraying - if you are not careful, everything around you will be sticky.

Peel the paper backing off the photo.

Spray the photo and attach to the fabric. Now you have a sandwich of batting, fabric, and photo.

Sew the photo to the fabric. I like to use a decorative stitch and basically applique the picture. Note that I am using a walking foot - this keeps the layers of the "sandwich" together better. The walking foot pulls the fabric from the top while your machine is pulling the fabric through from the bottom. I use this anytime batting is involved! I bought this foot at a fabric store - it's a off-brand but alot cheaper than the foot sold by my machine manufacturer and it has worked just fine.

Here it is after sewing. I like to use variegated thread too - this thread is yellow and pink.

This is what it looks like from the back. Now I spray this and attach it to the postcard.

Now the sandwich has a cardstock layer.

Sew again, this time using a straight stitch, a quarter inch from the edge, all the way around.

Finally, I use pinking shears to give it an interesting edge. Pinking also tends to obscure any little sewing boo-boos.
The finished cards, front and back.
One last tip - when I mail these, I always take them to the post office and ask the clerk to hand cancel them. I read this tip somewhere online when I was first trying to find out how to make them. I have never sent them through the mail without being hand cancelled, so I can't say for sure that this is a must-do.
Let me know if you give this a try! I'll be happy to send you my Publisher template if you would like to use it.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Among My Favorite Things

I have always loved Mike McCartney's artwork and the doodads he sells. A couple of years ago on my first trip to the the big Louisville dog show, I was surprised to see him there doing custom work. When I was up there this past year, I decided to part with some of my hard earned annual bonus to immortalize Spencer and Scout.

Spencer went first. Mike asked about his personality. I described him as being far too smart for his own good. I also wanted a sheep in the picture since he is so crazy about them. While we were chatting, Spencer broke into his trademark sit-up, so that is what we ended up with. Several folks stopped by to watch the artist and to pet Spence, and several commented on the white tips of his ears, so Mike was sure to show those.

Scout was next, and I explained that Scout and Spencer were as different as night and day. Scout is happy happy happy all the time, and certainly not burdened by overthinking! I'm glad he added a duck in her picture, since she is such a nice little duck herder. He also did a great job getting her yard-long Yardican tongue.

I have these framed and hanging in my bedroom now. (I was going to take a picture of this, but the batteries are dead in my camera tonight.) Everytime I look at them, I smile.

Edited to add pic after batteries recharged:

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I don't do toys

Even though she has lived with me for a couple of years now, in many ways Scout is still a mystery to me. She came to live with me at 4 months old, so I missed out on those formative early weeks. She lived in a house full of other cardis, both older dogs and other puppies.

On the other hand, I got Spencer when he was exactly 8 weeks old. After a few days, I wished that he had stayed with his momma and siblings a little while longer, so they could have had the job of teaching him bite inhibition, and would have saved my toes and fingers from his sharp little teeth. But we got through it, and by 10 weeks old, he was going everywhere with me, meeting lots of new people, and playing with other dogs at puppy class.

Spencer has always been a playdog - either with other dogs, kids, people, or just by himself, playing with toys. He would toss them around, stalk them and "catch" them and give them a good shake. When I picked him up at his breeder, I took a little sock monkey for him. We rubbed the sock monkey all over his mom, and for several weeks, he carried his sock monkey around the house, and would play with it often. One day he discovered how to dissect (and de-stuff) the sock monkey, but even after I threw the stuffing away, he still played with the monkey "skin."

Since then, he always promptly de-stuffs his toys, but continues to play with the skins. He loves to play tug with them. He will jump around in front of me with one in his mouth until I grab it and tug with him. He tries this with Scout, but she just doesn't get it.

So this brings me back to the mystery of Scout. She does not do toys. She does not understand when Spencer tries to lure her into a game of tug. I've tried to find a toy that would get her excited so that I would have something to reward her with in training - nothing gets her excited. I think she could be a great flyball height dog, except that I can't get her excited about getting the ball.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Angelina should be so pretty

We took the Dogster "What Celebrity is your Dog" quiz:

Scout's results:

Angelina Jolie
Traditional Beauty

Just like with Hollywood superhero Angelina Jolie, they broke the mold after they created Scout!
Defying the conventional meaning of the word pawpular, Scout can't scratch behind an ear without it being reported and talked about. Scout leaves pets of the opposite sex blubbering and babbling nonsensically after each encounter, their cuteness and charm receptors bubbling over with excitement. Always one to entice a broad audience, Scout not only loves to strut her stuff on the dogwalk, but digs every chance she gets to make a difference, adopt a pet in need or dish out for her favorite charity.Wow, your dog is Angelina Jolie!

And Spencer is:

Will Ferrell
The Comedian

Keeping a straight face around Spencer is a cheek muscle-wrenching nightmare. Try as you may, but giggling is inevitable because Spencer is comedian Will Ferrell!
For a while Spencer was just funny on Saturday nights, but that's all changed now that he's taken his act on the road. Whether he's being silly in real life or on the silver screen, Spencer has a true knack for making people crack up. Spencer has even managed to make the crossover to the cyberwebs, where he delivers raw, fresh, uncooked humor to his countless cyberpet fans. A fast runner, Spencer runs marathons when he's not dreaming up his next slapstick routine. Widely talented and able to impetsonate any number of two and four-legged critters, Spencer's fans will be lapping it up for a long time to come.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Road Trip 2009!

5th - 8th March 2009
The NEC, Birmingham
I had no idea, but by winning an Award of Merit at the National Specialty, Scout is qualifed to compete at Crufts.
Every year I get a flyer from a company selling travel packages to Crufts, and I always enjoy looking through it and say that "someday" I'll go. This may be a once in a lifetime opportunity to actually go and watch my dog compete, so we are going to go!
According to the Crufts website, the show is 275 days away. Today, we went to the vet to get Scout titered for rabies prevention. She has to have an acceptable level at least six months before we go, so we tested now in case she needs another innoculation. I also sent in the application for her ATC (Authority to Compete) number today.
Stay tuned!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Too sweet

Spencer's head on Scout's paws, Scout's head on Spencer's head.