Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Dog Magazine Reviews

I've been looking at dog magazines to sort of discover what kind of information is out there. I've gotten a couple and here's my opinion.

"Dogster" I just scanned this one, but it looks like fun. The website is great!

"The Bark"  A little off the wall information on mindfulness, but mostly reality based. Some medical stuff, some training stuff, and a few bits on rescue as well as breeders. I really liked the recipes and DIY information. Supported with a significant website, as well.

"Modern Dog" Should be called, 'Pricey Dog' as there is nothing cheap listed or recommended. Dog jewelry, custom dog dishes, custom dog furniture, designer dog jackets, imported interactive dog toys... Yeah. Well above my pay grade. They did suggest a free app that I downloaded for pet first aid. Other than that, I just didn't want to spend the money, and I do plan on spoiling my puppy. I just also want to eat and heat the house.

Oddly enough, Modern Dog was $5.95 and The Bark was $6.99. Both are published quarterly. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Flying With a Puppy

I'm expecting to fly with my puppy before he is 16 weeks old. The official limit is 8 weeks of age at a minimum, so that's not a problem. I've been reading up on what to do. The one thing I can tell is that folks who are writing some of the lists of things to do have never actually done it. They don't include  important facts.

You can't just 'call ahead' to the airline. You will have to pay about $125 per flight to fly with your dog. And some airlines charge per leg of the trip. Changing planes? Another $125.

There are limits to the number of pets per flight. If you book too late, your pet can't fly with you. Since there are different limits for first class, you might have to pay to upgrade if Fido MUST travel with you.

The seats are smaller than they used to be and they can vary from plane to plane within an airline. A pet carrier that fits under a Southwest seat might not fit under some Delta seats and be just fine under other Delta seats.

Your pet counts as one of your carry-on bags. You can't have luggage, a briefcase/purse, and your pet. To be honest, you don't want to lug three bags.

Because it may take additional time to settle your pet, you may want to board with the 'families with small children' group. It's OK.

Let the people sitting beside/in front of/behind you know you have a pet. They may not care, they may request a different seat.

Pet relief areas are now a requirement in airports due to service animal regulations. Don't expect much. You might find it in a disgusting condition, or not be able to find it at all. Look for a picture of a small dog on a leash. They used to require you to leave the secure area, but new legislation mandates pet relief areas on the secure side, too.

Addendum! I shopped long and hard for an automotive/air carrier for my dog. I selected a Sleepypod Air. It can fold down to smaller than the Sleepypod Atom if needed. I also liked what I saw on the crash test video. The Air shifted and deformed less than the Atom,  though both the Atom and the Air passed the crash test.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dog Accessories on Pinterest and You Tube

Bon Bon has been born and will be old enough to take home BEFORE Christmas! Yahoo!!! His dam and sire produced three pups and all are male.

I've got most of the basics that will be needed. The harness I purchased is pink, but there is a chance that he will outgrow it quickly. To store his things, I got an inexpensive plastic dresser.

 I've been sewing a few things to make his arrival go a bit more smoothly. I hit a sale at the fabric store and got a bunch of polar fleece. I made a dog bed using a basket I purchased for $6.00.

I also made a couple of crate pads and a flat, rectangular bed. Hey, it's not rocket science.

Bon Bon will also need clothing. The Farmer's Almanac (and the caterpillars) are predicting a rough winter. By mid December, I am expecting it to be cold. I found a You Tube video on turning a sock into a dog sweater. Bon Bon will be coming home in a sock. Not an ordinary sock, one of the thick and woolly ones used for hunters. I don't really want to spend lots of money on XXS dog clothing for a puppy and have him out grow the clothing in a matter of weeks.

 I've been playing with patterns that I found ideas for on Pinterest. My challenge has been to create clothing for a tiny puppy that I have no idea what size it will be, other than 'really, really small.'  So far, I've made one sock-sweater, one sweatshirt sleeve sweater, and two out of polar fleece. I also made a few bows for his top knot that are masculine. The directions are on You Tube, but I used several different videos to determine what to do.

Hubster thinks the black one is for the opera and the black and blue one is for a wedding. I don't care, I just don't want Bon Bon to have pink and floofy bows.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Dog Happiness

I have been communicating with a breeder and will be (I hope!!!) taking a puppy home between Christmas and New Year's. Bon Bon will be a pure bred Yorkshire Terrier, and she will be registered with the AKC. I want to be able to see my dog interacting with her dam, sire, and siblings before I take her home.

I have decided to follow the advice of a single dog trainer, Cesar Millan, as well as the advice from the breeder and my vet. I've been watching old episodes of Cesar's TV shows, reading and listening  to his books and slowly getting ready to have my own puppy.

Why do I want a puppy?

  • My husband travels for up to 10 days at a time away from the house. I want some company.
  • I need a daily schedule that is consistent and motivation to keep to that schedule. 
  • I need a reason to get out of the house, and goals to complete while I am out.
  • I need a way to connect to other residents of this town. 
  • I don't want to have to correct behavior learned from a previous owner.
  • I want the responsibility of helping a puppy grow up into the dog I want her to be. 

I'm having a lot of fun preparing for Bon Bon's arrival. I get to shop, I get to make things, I get to do lots and lots of research, learn new things, identify, and solve problems. All of these things make me happy.

Reality check.  Bon Bon's dam is going to whelp around October 24, 2017. Bon Bon hasn't even been born yet! I have a deposit on file with the breeder. I have requested a female puppy. Bon Bon is still a hope and not a reality at this time.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Basketweave Stitching

The basketweave stitch is one of the three tent stitches. They all look almost the same on the front, but they don't look the same on the back. It is good for filling in large areas of all shapes, though stitch diagrams often show this stitch as a neat square or a triangle.  It distorts the canvas very little and is just as easy to work in hand as in a frame.  You do not have to turn the canvas for each row.  The front of the work is a tent stitch, with each stitch covering a single intersection of the canvas from lower left to upper right.  On the back of the work, the basketweave looks like a woven fabric, with horizontal and vertical threads.  At the edges of the work and at the edges of areas of each color, the basketweave looks like a single row of the continental stitch.  You have to look very closely to see this, and it is not visible on all edges.

As you work the basketweave stitch, you bring your needle up at the lower left and go down at the top right of each stitch.  You will come up in an open hole and go down either in an open or shared hole.  On the back your threads are either over two horizontal or two vertical threads.  The exception is at the edges, where it looks like a single row of continental stitches.

This stitch diagram has each pass of the needle marked.  To make things more clear, I will mark an identical diagram, but just number each stitch in the order you should place them.

In this diagram, each stitch is numbered.  Bring your needle up at the number and go down to complete a tent stitch over a single intersection.

When you are working a row from the bottom to the top, this is the stitching order.  If you look at the back of the canvas, your threads are horizontal, crossing two threads of the canvas.  Most of the time a row like this is referred to an "up" row.  Up rows are more fun and easier for me to work.  I have to be careful to not pull my thread too tightly when working in this direction.

In this diagram, a "down" row has been indicated. The overall stitching direction is from the top to the bottom.  Your thread on the back will be vertical over two threads of the canvas.  Because of the angle of the needle, I find this row to be less fun to work.  It isn't any harder than going in the other direction and I don't have tension problems with this row.  Win some, lose some, I suppose.

Please remember that these up and down rows of stitches usually share canvas holes with other rows, leaving no empty intersections.   You bring your needle up in an empty hole and go down in a hole that is either empty or shared with another stitch.

When ending threads using the basketweave, the first impulse is to run the needle under the work at a diagonal on the back.  Please don't do this. It will leave a line you can see on the front.  Either go along the horizontal or the vertical when burying your ends on the back.  This will be much less visible on the front.  When you bury your thread on the diagonal, you are using a single row of stitching and disturbing that row.  When you go along the horizontal or vertical, you will be using a single stitch out of several rows each. I know that if you use the "other" diagonal, you won't be disturbing a single row of stitches, but it is easy to become confused or grow careless.

If you stop stitching at the end of a row, it is possible to do two up rows or two down rows one next to the other.  This is not a good idea as you will find a diagonal line becomes visible on the front of your stitching.  If you stop stitching in the middle of a row, you will find that it is easier to start up again in the correct direction.  It is also easier for me to end my threads neatly.

This was plenty for me to keep sorted out as a beginning basketweave stitcher and if you have grasped this much, you will be producing some good work.  For the ultimate in basketweave, you should be paying attention to whether or not the top thread of the canvas intersection is horizontal or vertical.  If the top canvas thread is crossing in the vertical direction, you should be in the midst of stitching a down row.  Your thread on the back will be vertical.  If the top thread is crossing horizontally, you should be stitching an up row with horizontal threads on the back.  Fortunately, you establish this pattern with your first stitch and every other stitch should fall correctly,  without you having to check every single stitch.  This is also a useful way to keep track of where you are when jumping from one area to another and when starting and stopping rows.

If you need to make a shape other than a square or triangle in basketweave, you simply don't turn and go back for the next diagonal on the same row or column of the canvas threads.  On a doodle canvas, try filling in some circles.  You should not be placing your first stitch at the very top, but more to the right and slightly down.  Your first stitch will then not be a singleton, but will be one of a row, going up or down, depending on where you started.  Remember to avoid long tails of thread on the back when you move from row to row.

If your shape has very long, skinny areas, you may find yourself trying to stitch a single row or line in basketweave.  You will immediately see that you produce the continental stitch.  That's correct.  You cannot stitch a line of single stitches traveling horizontally or vertically using basketweave.  If you are working on the diagonal for lines that are a single stitch wide, you may want to use the basketweave for the \ rows and a backstitch for the / rows.  Do not turn your canvas sideways for diagonal rows of a single stitch.  Try to always work in a right to left and top to bottom pattern similar to writing a page of text.

I find it is better to work both background and pattern together, rather than filling in all of the pattern first and then doing the background.  Hold your canvas up to a strong light and try to look through it to check for missing stitches.  Basketweave and continental each use up about the same amount of thread.  The general rule is one and one half yards for each square inch of stitching.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Coloring Books

I used a Christmas gift card to purchase some adult coloring books. Then, I took my books to an office supply store with a printing area and had them cut the spines off. About $2 per cut. Since all my books were the same size, it could be done with a single cut, saving even more money. They have a massive, guillotine style paper trimmer, with a vise built in and a motor driving the blade. The gentleman doing my cuts has a GF who has him trim her coloring books for her, so he took the least amount of spine. Some of my pages were still in folio format.

I can work on one sheet of paper at a time. I don't worry about messing up the other sheets, and I am not fighting the valley of a paperback book.

Go me!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Colored pencils!

I have fallen victim to the latest craze of adult coloring. Being me, I've gone out and done some research on how to color. Yes. I really did research.

Here are the websites where I gathered information that I found to be useful.

  • Dickblick.com  You will have to scroll to the bottom to find the videos that are tutorials on colored pencils. 
  • Elfwood.com   More text than graphics, but lots of useful information. Was I absolutely wowed by his finished graphic? I wasn't sure it was finished. 
  • Art is Fun  This one is a brief, direct, useful set of instructions. They also include links to more information and some very good instruction books. 
  • The Virtual Instructor Comparison chart of some different brands of colored pencils. Also has a lot of the instruction you will find on Pinterest, like drawing and eye and a nose.  
  • The Coloring Book Club Blog This one has a good bit of instruction, but also is part of a monthly club, where you pay to download coloring books that you then print out for yourself. 
There are three basic types of colored pencils. 
Wax based -the most common type. 
Oil based -not nearly as common.
Water-soluble -also known as watercolor pencils, can be wax or oil based. They are not actually watercolor paint in a pencil form. 
It is OK to use all three types of pencil in a single piece of artwork.

When making a pencil, pigment is mixed with wax or oil, some copyright ingredients, and clay to form a colored paste. That paste is extruded into a thick, noodle-like core. The cores are dried, cut to length, and put inside a shaped 'sandwich' of wood to create a pencil. So, you talk about the 'core' of a colored pencil, not the lead of it. 

Within the three types, there are sub-types based on whether the cores are very hard or soft, the size of the core, the shape of the wood, and whether there is a wood casing at all. 

The amount of pigment, the final rigidity of the core and the quality of the wood used all combine to create a better or not so nice pencil. Cheap wood doesn't sharpen well. Fragile cores break easily, even breaking inside the wood casing of the pencil. Dropping a colored pencil isn't a good thing. Heating a wax based pencil will soften the core and reduce breakage. Since I live in Florida, just working outside on my lanai can change how my pencils respond to pressure while I'm using them. 

Don't assume that all cores should be soft and responsive. There are times when a much harder core is desired. Detail work is best done with a harder core that can be sharpened to an extremely precise point.