So this weekend I was able to video the boys working outside…  today…  SNOW!

A while back, My Canon Rebel XTi broke….  dead.  doornail.  Well, I found out that Canon sells refurbished equipment at deep discounts.  I was able to get a much more recent version of the Canon Rebel with an Image Stabilizer lens for about $350!  Unbelievable!  A new camera body only is pretty close to $700 or $800.  I have several thousand dollars in lenses and haven’t been able to use them.

Well, it came yesterday!  Since I was stuck at home with a dead battery in my truck that was blocking my SUV…  I decided to play around with my camera after lunch.  Why is LOVING the snow!  He’s such a playful boy anyway.

Running for Joy!

He thinks there is something small and furry hiding under the leaves in the flower bed… hunting…

On the hunt…

My future agility dog! Speed Demon!

Still Hunting!

Killing a (toy) skunk. Shake it up boy!

That’s a hard (toy) skunk to kill!

Ahhh… Victory!

“Ok, mom…. I’m getting cold now.”


Fun day with the dogs!

Had a great morning playing with the boys and taking some video clips…  this is the first time I’m going to try to embed a video.  Should be interesting!

Why was amazing….  he did his FIRST Jumpers with Weaves sequence.  We had a little bit of a bobble in handling on the first try and then on the second try he didn’t want to weave on the right and got distracted with a stick…  LOL.  Silly dog!  This was also his first time working in the side yard!

Take 1:

Take 2:

Judd was also a REALLY fantastic boy!  He did his Scent Discrimination exercise for the second time outdoors.  This is huge.  Judd is not typically a dog to work Obedience well outside and he only recently learned this exercise.  He does show a broken Stay but the rest of it was pretty fantastic.

Judd also did the agility sequence.  He’s quite a bit (ok…  A LOT) more advanced than Why but Judd has been in serious agility training since April and I have only had Why for a few months!

Take 1:

Take 2:

This is the course we followed.  I got it out of an old Clean Run magazine.  I LOVE the Backyard Dogs articles… they always have short sequences that can be worked in a small space focusing on key skills.  This course is a Mary Ellen Barry course.

There were a couple of challenges on this course, especially for Why.  This was his first time doing a 270 degree turn which occurs between #2 and #3. Then the entry to weaves is tough.  Why struggled with this because he just learned how to weave this month and has a hard time still weaving on my right.  Judd knows weaving…  he was able to pick his entry easily without help from me.  The next challenge is from #7 to #8.  It’s a 180 degree turn.  Not a big deal for Judd but for a very beginner dog like Why, he still needs to learn.

When Judd is confident he’s actually a very advanced dog….  his challenges are with ring nerves.  I showed him a bit this Summer in CPE and he finished Level 1 and has a Level 2 title, CL2-H.  He’s competing in Level 2 and Level 3.   I’m VERY proud of him!

Back from Charleston and More Stitching

It seems that everytime I sit down to the computer lately I feel obligated to list stuff on eBay so I never blog anymore.  Well not today!  Today I’m blogging!

Lots has been going on.  I’m back from Charleston.  It was a good visit.  It was good to see my grandmother and I think it lifted her spirits.  Joey was a good boy for the most part but he was obsessed with my grandmother’s cat, Mo.  Mo is indoor/outdoor so he stayed outside during the day and then when I went to bed with Joey, he came inside.  It was pretty warm down there, in the 60’s, so it wasn’t bad.

I wanted to share a picture of my grandfather when he was just retired.  He built his own house from the ground up out in New Mexico.  He and my grandmother stayed there until their health started to get the better of them and they moved to Charleston to be near my Aunt.  This is a picture of my grandfather building his house out in New Mexico.  He was strong then and could do ANYTHING.  You should see the tools he has.  I have one of his old tool boxes and a few of his tools now.

Grandpa in New Mexico building his house

That’s how I like to remember him.  He used to call me “Racy Stacy!”.  I’ll always remember that.  He could keep me glued in my chair with stories of when he was growing up or in the Navy.  He lived a long a life.  He would have been 90 in April.  I loved him very much.

The week went by quickly.  I got a lot of stitching done!  I brought down three projects but really just focused on Village of Hawk Run Hollow.

Joey had fun.  I took him to a dog park.  It was muddy though.  My poor grandmother.  She was sitting on a bench when a very muddy Golden Retriever decided that it loved her!  We left after Joey got a little too obnoxious with a more dominant dog.  I didn’t want there to be trouble.  Joey had to take a trip into the bathtub at the house to wash his legs off.  He was muddy!  The next day, my Aunt Sheryl brougt Bailey over.  Bailey is my cousin Jeff’s dog.  Here’s pictures…

Joey and Bailey

Joey and Bailey playing

Here’s a picture of Joey just enjoying the backyard.  He loved that there was a fence.  I don’t have a fenced in backyard so it was really nice for him.

Joey in Grandma's Backyard Running

Joey in the backyard at Grandma's

When he was in the house, it was normal Joey….  he made himself at home.

Joey Making Himself at Home

I also got my haircut wile I was down there!  I cut off 11 inches believe it or not.  I donated my hair to Locks of Love.  I hope they can use it.  Here’s the new me!  The hairdresser took this picture at the salon. Since I have to find a salon up here I thought it would be good to be able to show the new hairdresser what my hair looked like coming out of the salon in Charleston.

New haircut!

I really like how it looks and I’m getting more used to doing it everyday.  No more long hair!

After I got back work got crazy immediately.  Then I got sick….  I had to present a technical presentation on Orthogonal Array DOE to a group of about 35 people for 2 hours the other day.  I got through it with Sudafed and Afrin.  It actually went really well and people said I was actually a very entertaining speaker!  I’ve come a long way from my stage fright of talking in front of people.  Now I can crack jokes.  I got a big laugh when I described the guy sitting next to me on the plane to Orlando when I was reading up on Orthogonal Array.  He thought I was a rocket scientist or something.  As soon as I mentioned Black Belt he thought Karate.  LOL….  Actually I’m in process improvement and Black Belt is my level of certification.  I’m working towards my Master Black Belt which will mean excellent job security and some major bragging rights (not to mention a little cash).  The DOE was a part of that.  I gota big round of applause at the end of the talk.  Very new for me.  It’s just this year that I’m comfortable speaking in front of people.

Well time to share my progress on stitching!

I finished the second block on Village of Hawk Run Hollow.  I’m leaving the backstitch to the end so that it doesn’t get messed up.

Block 2 of VoHRH

Since finishing the second block I’ve been working on a small new project by Miss Crescent’s Crowne called All in a Heart.  I’m getting close to being done.

All in a Heart WIP

It’s a pretty quick stitch.  All in Crescent Colors but I LOVE the frame it goes in.  It will be even prettie when the green leaves go in and the wod Love in the yellow color.  I don’t know what color linen I’m using.  It’s just a piece I found at Tawny’s.

Today I’m going to Tawny’s to stitch (Where Victoria’s Angels Stitch).  Nashville stuff is in including my orders. Yeah!!!  I can’t wait to get my hands on Autumn at Hawk Run Hollow and the new Blackbird Designs book…  oh yes and the new Shepherd’s Bush kit….  I have my weaknesses….

Joey’s New ‘do… in a Lamb Trim this time

Yesterday was grooming day for Joey.  I did it again.  I quicked him and he tracked blood from stem to sturn in my house.  Thank goodness for the steam cleaner!  I need to be more careful about his back nails.  It’s hard since they’re black so it’s hard to gage how far I can trim.

I do all my own grooming with Joey.  Honestly it makes me feel good.  It’s a lot of work but I feel like it strengthens the bond between Joey and me.  He trusts me completely even when the grooming is uncomfortable.  I don’t even have to tie him on the grooming table.  I use all professional level tools and I have to say that my grooming jobs are just as good as what I’ve paid for in the past.  To get a Standard Poodle groomed professionally it’s between $85 and $150 every 6 weeks or so.  So I save a lot of money this way.  Plus he’s so darned good.  All I have to do is tell him to get in the bathtub and he does and he stays like a rock on the grooming table all the way through the high velocity blow drying (I have a Master Blaster) and the clipping.  I learned everything I know from a book on grooming poodles.  I wouldn’t want to do it for a living but I really appreciate my dog’s temperament everytime I groom him.

Lately I had just been putting him into a sporting cut where I shave the legs and body down to a half inch and then scissor the topknot.  This time I tried a Lamb Trim for the first time.  I scissored his legs so that they are longer and then blended his legs into this body which I clipped at a half inch.  I also made the back of this neck a little longer and blended it into his topknot.

I really like the results!  It’s more grooming upkeep which I need to be better about doing but it’s so cute on him.  I might keep him in a Lamb Trim at least while it’s cold outside and then since I will have the longer legs I can put him back into a Miami Trim (pom-poms on the ankles) at a later time if I feel like it.

I found that the real trick to grooming him is fluff drying.  It’s where you use a slicker brush in one hand and the blow nozzle in the other hand.  It cuts drying time and the hair dries straighter.  It’s a technique that I’m still working on but getting the hang of.  My scissoring isn’t bad.  I have a cheap pair of shears but they do the job.

Here’s my boy!  He’s also wearing  new collar made by my mother with little snowmen on it.  I love the collar!

Joey in a Lamb Trim Side View

Joey in a Lamb Trim front view

So I’d say that my first Lamb Trim ever was successful!  It really wasn’t much different work wise from doing a Sporting Trim.  He sure needed a grooming though.  My poor boy was looking a little scruffy.  His face was curly and the hair on his feet was so long!  I tell you though…  he’s so good.  How many dogs put up with have their face shaved, even around the eyes, and toes shaved.  I have to get all the hairs off around the nail beds and everything.  It really is a lot of work.  I’ve been doing his face, feet and base of tail since he was a small puppy so he’s used to me doing it.  It was just the next logical leap for me to do the whole dog.  It takes anywhere from 3 to 4 hours from start to finish but he looks so good when he’s done!  He knows it too….

So today will probably be mostly eBay and then I plan on maybe actually stitching some!  Novel idea for me lately….

All that jazz…

It’s been ages since I’ve blogged.  I’ve really neglected this thing.  New Year’s Resolution is that I stop doing that!  Actually I don’t know what my New Year’s Resolutions are yet but I know they include staying smartish with my money, getting my Six Sigma Master Black Belt, stitching more, actually finishing a quilt, blogging more and doing less exchanges.  Wow!  I guess I really DO have resolutions!

Anyway, one bit of news.  My entire hard drive crashed.  Totally destroyed.  I lost everything since I didn’t have a backup drive.  My biggest loss besides all my precious photos (and tax returns) are my Martina Weber files.  I had most of the older designs.  Ugh…  I really don’t have the $1200 to see if I can restore old files from a recovery service.  Totally sucks.  At least I have this blog so not all my pet pictures are totally lost, nor are my stitching pictures…  like all the exchanges that I stitched and sent away!  Anyway…  it was BAD.

I have been doing some stitching and some finishing.  First I would like to share finishing on Honor Thy Needle.  It only took me a year to get around to doing it.  What I don’t like is that you glue everything together.  I don’t think glue has any business being anywhere NEAR needlework.  Also, the instructions weren’t great and my panels ended up mixed up order.  Oh well…  at least it’s done.  I did change the finishing on the inside though to make it more interesting and I made the cording from an hand-dyed silk perle.

Twisted Oaks Designs Honor Thy Needle

Close-up of the Tassle

Inside View of Honor Thy Needle

Pretty on the inside isn’t it?  It’s charted to have rather plain bands on all four sides.  I changed the design for the scissors to have a swan and placed a pair of Swan Etui scissors in them.  I also added floss rings and a piece of hand-dyed wool for needles.  I secured the hand-dyed wool with a mother of pearl button and added some purple marking pins.  I also thought that the mother of pearl threadwinder was a nice touch too. 

My latest start is Carriage House Samplings Village of Hawk Run Hollow.  I had started it with Vikki Clayton silks but was unhappy with the conversion so I switched to NPI’s.  I am much, much happier.  My very, very, very good friend Elizabeth took pity on me and frogged everything that I had started with the other silks.  How nice was that?!?!  So I got re-started and I can’t put it down.  I’m now on the second block.

VoHRH Progress to Block 2

VoHRH Block 1

VoHRH Block 2 progress

I’m stitching it on 36 ct and although I’m using the called for linen, my linen seems to be darker than anyone else’s I’ve seen.  To be honest I’m thrilled!  I think my linen is beautiful.

What’s a blog entry without a pet picture….  this is just to prove that you really CAN have harmony in a house with 9 cats and a dog.  Here’s a picture of Kirby (black & white), Little Al (gray) and Zack (orange) all napping together on the same bed.  It’s actually Joey’s old bed from when he was a puppy but it makes the perfect multi-cat bed.  Al is so fat though that Kirby doesn’t have much room.  Poor girl has to lay on top of the bolster.  Al is gassy too so I’m not sure Zack is much better off to tell you the truth.

Harmonious Napping - Kirby, Little Al and Zack

Well, I need to run.  I have a DATE tonight that I’m very excited about!  I’ll be even more excited if it turns into a second date.  My track record in 2009 was pretty poor.  Hoping for an upswing in 2010!

A Bunch of Finishes and a Gift!

I’ve been so remiss about blogging lately.  Life is a little hectic.  If I’ve been on the computer lately I’ve been working on my eBay business (which has been doing very well lately).  On the plus side I have been stitching more!

I wanted to show some pictures of some finishes and a very special gift.

My very good friend Viv gave me a birthday present a while ago.  I am finally getting around to posting pictures.  It’s magnifiscent.  She stitched Where Stitchers Gather by Victoria Sampler for me.  Her finishing is just beautiful.  She changed around a lot of the colors and I have to say I think she really made it special!  I love it.

Where Stitchers Gather from Viv - Front

Where Stitchers Gather from Viv - Back

Isn’t it gorgeous?  It’s even more beautiful in person. 

So I actually finished Shepherd’s Bush Sail Away!  I finished it a little while ago but never posted the final picture.  I really love how it came out.  It was a fun stitch but I have to say that I’m not sorry to be done.  the chart was hard to read since it was hand written.  But the design is gorgeous.  I especially love the little landscape towards the bottom.

Shepherd's Bush Sail Away

Lately I have been getting back to some of my class projects.  I actually made a list of all of the class kits that I have.  I bought a few second hand and bought some of these directly from the teacher but a good portion…  I took the class and never finished the piece.  I have 44 class projects and up until recently I (believe it or not) have never finished a single class project.  Horrors…  I know.  It’s motivated me to start to focus on them on a bit.  Right now I’m working on Sherri Jones Rings of Roses Reticule.  I already finished the miser bag earlier in the year.  The smalls are stitching up quickly so I’ll be able to show another finish soon.

My first class project to finish was Catherine Theron’s Quaker Scissor Pocket.  I had the florentine on the back done and one of the over 1 motifs.  Once I got going on the over-1 I couldn’t put it down.  The finishing was a breeze.  It’s basically whipped together through a chain stitch.  I needed magnification to do it but it was very straightforward.

I took this class a couple of years ago at Celebrations in Nashville.  I was able to show my finished piece to Catherine just this past Saturday!

Catherine Theron Quaker Scissor Pocket - Front

The little letters scattered about mean something to me.  I took the first letter of all of my pets (including Jazz and Sandy who have passed) and added them to the sampler part.  It really made it mine.

Catherine Theron Quaker Scissor Pocket - Back

After I finished the scissor pocket, I moved on to  Betsy Stinner’s Love Is sampler.  I took this class at a retreat a little over a year ago.  I had the whole center portion done so I only had to do the side panels and the outside border.  It stitched up quickly.  I have to say I’m not looking forward to doing bullion knots again for a while.  I did find out that they are easiest in hand with a glass of wine.  Trust me on that.  It’s the secret….

Betsy Stinner Love Is Sampler

What’s a blog post without some pet pictures?

I’ve always posted pictures of Joey post-grooming.  I thought it would be nice to post a picture of him pre-grooming.  Here’s a picture of him just out of the bathtub.  Soggy Poodle….

Soggy Poodle... Joey just after his bath

And of course the finished product…

Joey Clean and Shiny!

One more pet picture.  My cat Phoenix…  what a hoot.  I guess she was listening to my advice on the bullion knots.  I had a glass of wine.  (Pink of course and out of a box) in my office with me one evening.  Phoenix is apparently a lush.  I couldn’t keep her out of it.  She would actually put her whole face into the wine glass to try to drink from it.  I snapped a picture with my phone.  The picture is a little hard to see but I have to share.  I’ve never heard of a cat wanting to drink wine before.  I couldn’t keep her out of it!  I had to quick drink it of course…  And yes…  there are ice cubes in my pink wine.  I don’t have a palate at all.

Phoenix in the Wine

I’ll try not to wait so long for my next blog post…. 

Ahhh….  one more week of work then some time off for the Holidays….  I can’t wait.  My tree and my lights are up.  I still need to shop though!

Happy Holidays!

Rubber Chicken

There is no doubt about it. My dog is goofy. He also has weird taste in toys. Today I took this picture of him with my camera phone and I just had to share. It’s him playing with his rubber chicken. How cute is this???  And by the way…  that thing makes the most gawdawful squack!

Joey and his rubber chicken

Joey and his rubber chicken