Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Bloggers' Quilt Festival!

Thought I'd join in this time, as I always enjoy looking at everyone else's quilts.  Here is a link to the festival, so you can see everyone else's quilts.  

I've decided to share a quilt I made last fall, but never showed on my blog.  I call it Autumn Crush.

I chose this quilt because I love it, but also because I can share a lot about myself in the story of its' making.

Some friends of ours were getting married last Labor Day Weekend, in the town where we used to live (and that we hope to move back to one day).  As soon as I knew they were engaged, I knew I'd make them a quilt.  But hey, Labor Day was a long way off, so I didn't have to worry about it yet.  Two days before we were supposed to leave, I finally decided to get serious about making the quilt.  I needed inspiration, quick!

Well, it was turning into a lovely fall, and we were traveling north, to Jackson, WY, where fall was well on its way.  I had a fat quarter bundle of Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush, just begging to be put to good use.  Great!  Now, a pattern.  It needs to be simple to cut and sew, because, oh yeah, it should have been done a week ago.  I can't remember where I got this idea, I checked my flickr favorites and folder of ideas, but couldn't find it.  However I'm sure I lifted this off of someone else's blog, so thanks, whoever you are.  Love your work!

So I sliced and sewed, added some Kona Bone and Burgandy, and basted.  And then...it was time to get in the car and drive 8 hours.  With 3 dogs and a sewing machine.  We were staying with friends, and the minute I got there I took over their dining room table and started quilting.  I had some orange variegated thread that I love, and I just did a simple, loose, meander over the center of the quilt.  I wanted something a bit different for the border, but wasn't really sure what to do.  In the end I took a hint from the shapes in the quilt, and did rectangles of different heights.  It looks almost like a city skyline-possibly a weird choice for my friends who live 5 hours from the nearest sky scraper, in the wilds of NW Wyoming.

This pictures is not great, but gives you an idea of what I'm talking about.  It really did look better when seen on the whole quilt, I promise!  

Once I finished quilting, I machine bound it using the same Kona Burgandy and a zig-zag stitch.  That left me just enough time to shower, get dressed, and have a quick take photo shoot (because, again, I love this quilt).  Here a few of the other pictures.

My friends have a lovely home, both the little you can see here, and the rest.  And they have flowers!  That aren't dead!  (I don't).

Now, from the above you have learned that I like autumn colors and Jackson, WY, and that I tend to procrastinate.  The other thing you can learn about me comes from the following gratuitous puppy pictures.

I am a crazy dog lady, and in addition to being momma to three dogs, I foster dogs and puppies.  This is Moses, who was called Cameron or Fluffy at the time this picture was taken.  He is my favorite foster dog ever.  He was tiny and cute and fluffy and had such a personality!  He was, and still is, a gremlin.  He lets you know in no uncertain terms when he is not happy.  However, when he is happy, which is most of the time, he is just delightful!  Look at how alert he is, watching me in that photo.  He weighed about two pounds in the picture above.  He now weighs about 8 pounds, and his momma tells me that he rules the roost, ordering her two boxers around and NEVER sharing the couch.  I had him and his littermates for a month and a half, from the time they were 6 weeks to the time they were 12 weeks.  All three of them went to fantastic homes.

This picture isn't quite as cute, but you see Moses with my 6.5 lb pommie mix, Sirius.  Sirius' leg is shaved because he had broken it about a month before, but he is now fully recovered and back to his normal bouncy self.  Sirius' coat probably inspired my love for that variegated orange thread I mentioned above.  This picture isn't his greatest angle, but he is one beautiful boy.

Seen here sunbathing.

Hope you enjoyed!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Motley...Post

So, wow, there are many things to say.  Let's start with photos, shall we?

Sirius got new sunglasses, and a backpack.  He looks cool, no?  He's er...getting used to them.

We kept a puppy!  He is cute, and awesome.  He is about 17 weeks and weighs 38lbs.  His name is Polaris.  I think he's a St. Bernard mix.  Here is he pretending to be Daemon.

He and Sirius are close.  They play.  He loves Daemon way more, and follows him everywhere, but I haven't got any good photos.  Polaris wants to be Daemon when he grows up.  Could be a lot worse.




Kisses again.

Polaris Sunday, after his first visit to a dog park.  We took a black and white dog in, and left with a gray and white dog.  He met a Great Dane pup, and they had a fantastic time.  Polaris slept for the rest of the day.

"Momma, leave me alone...I trying to sleep."

We watched Piper, who was Teal that we fostered before.  Our friend adopted her.  Polaris thought she was the best thing since sliced bread.  He is a dogs' dog.

Then she had to go home and he was sad.

We fostered a boxer.  Daemon was terrified of her.  She got adopted Saturday and I got no pictures.

We ordered a tag for Polaris on Etsy.  It is completely adorable.

I made Polaris a collar.  It was easy and cheap.  There are so many girl collars out there, but not many boy collars, so this way I can make him whatever I want.  I ordered the hardware, it was around $7, and I'm sure you could get it cheaper if you looked around, or got plastic, but we are uppity around here.

I am making good progress on my terrain quilt.  Not so good progress on the quilt for my sis, but I need to just do it, and if it's not perfect, so be it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Four Dogs Down!

EDITED TO ADD:  I started this post a month ago-3/19/12.  I can't believe its been that long, I only had the pups for two months and now they've been gone for a month.  Time flies, when you're having...hmmmm.  New saying: "time flies when you're not picking up shit all the time."  I only have adults right now.  It's great!

Four of my babies (well, Brownie's babies, really) were adopted on Saturday.  I think they all went to great homes, and I have already gotten emails from two of the homes telling me how well the kiddos are doing.  They also said the pups are almost house-trained?...could have fooled me.  And the rest of them are still doing a good job of convincing me they aren't house-trained.

The remaining three were almost adopted, but one fell through (refused to buy health insurance?!-seriously, $30/mo tops) and I told the other two they couldn't have my babies.  Yup, I'm a hard-ass.  But it really sucks to raise and love these guys and then regret/worry that you sent them to the wrong forever home.  I've only done that once, but I still feel guilty about it and worry about her life. It'll never happen again, no matter how mad I make people who want to adopt.  One person just gave me the heebie-jeebies, the other said she couldn't be bothered to get out of bed and let a puppy out at night, yet she wanted to keep the puppy in a crate.  The general rule is that a puppy can be expected to hold it for their age in months, plus one.  So my 8 week old babies would be able to go 3 hours without a potty break.  Any longer than that is asking too much, and could force the pup to pee or poop in their crate.  This goes strongly against their instincts, is cruel, and can set back house-training by quite some time.

One thing that is really great about the rescue I work with is that I get to interview people wanting to adopt my babies, and I have veto power.  People often ask how we can let them go, saying that fostering would be too hard for them.  Given that I haven't thought this through thoroughly or edited it very well, these are my answers.

1-I know from when they come into the house that they'll be moving on-it's a different perspective
2-I truly want to save animals, and I'm doing it.  That has huge rewards.  It brings a lot of meaning to my life, and that is very important.
3-I don't love all the dogs who come through the house.  I mean, I care for them and give them affection, and I have compassion for them and want to help them but I don't fall in love with every dog.
4-I can save a lot more dogs by fostering than adopting.  And, if I adopted all the ones I really like, I would soon be too full to foster.
5-Puppies, especially, are cuddly, adorable and fun to play with, but they are also messy, destructive and have not developed their full personalities.  I find it easier to let (most of) them go than adults.  There are also less people who will foster puppies because of the aforementioned mess and destruction.
6-There is a huge opportunity for education through meeting these dogs' eventual adopters and just talking to  people about why I have so many dogs.  I love to give people new information, and hopefully it makes their dogs' lives better

There's a beginning to why I foster and how I let the dogs go.  I'm sure this list will be added to.

Holding Pattern

So, again, nothing new to report on the quilting front-am I lazy? bored? scared of the next project?  I don't know.  Let me know if you do.  However, two things that never quit around here-dog stuff, and trouble.

So, dog stuff-we still have Starla and Brownie, and I don't see that changing any time in the near future.  That's OK, though, as fosters go they are pretty easy, except for Starla's bitchy attitude with newcomers.  Brownie is spending more and more time in the house and is actually approaching me to be petted around the head and neck!  I think having all these adult dogs around is good for her.  They set her an example of how dogs should behave.  Starla has started staying in the house more, and is sleeping in a crate in our bedroom.  She is being quite good.  There's got to be a dog lover out there who's looking for a dachshund with a chihuahua personality.

The adorable lab puppies did go quickly, and the families who adopted them are getting some awesome dogs.  Tulip (in the front) went home on Saturday the 7th, and we were able to keep Orchid until the 11th.  She was adopted by the cousin of one of our fosters, so I should be able to keep in touch.

Pretty Cute, huh?

We got a new boy on Monday.  His name is Clay and he is out of a shelter in New Mexico. 

He's a very striking boy!

This shelter is right outside of a reservation, and unfortunately a lot of dogs get dumped there after terrible suffering.  The shelter has very little money, and more than half of the dogs surrendered there are euthanized.  This guy has a better tale than most; he was left with a letter saying that he was a good dog but that the owner couldn't give him enough exercise.  Now, it seems like the owner didn't think this through, right?  I mean, a 50% chance of death, rather than figuring out a way to wear out the dog?  Walk, bike, play ball, hire someone else to do those things?  A lot of people don't realize what happens in shelters, I think, or they choose not to.  This guy probably has some bully breed in him, in addition to the obvious Catahoula Leopard Dog.  That could have been very bad news for him if was adopted directly from the shelter.

There is a wonderful girl/woman/whatever the proper term is doing Teach for America on the reservation, and she has taken it upon herself to help these dogs.  I really admire her.  I wonder how many of us (meaning me) would think "oh this is terrible" and do nothing about it.  She drove about 60 dogs up overnight on Sunday.  I chose this boy because of his looks and the letter that came with him, but it turns out I really helped him out.  All of the other rescues who took dogs were located in cities with breed specific legislation (BSL), which means they can't take any dog who might be a bully breed mix.  So it was me or no one for this guy.

He is a great dog, and I'm so glad we are able to help him.  He is a lover, always wanting to be with me or Tony, and he is very well behaved in the house.  He is great with the other dogs, and very submissive, which is good, given his looks.  Any aggression on his part could lead very quickly to an early death.  I was walking him yesterday and a group of little boys ran up.  "Is he a pit bull?"  "Maybe." I responded.  "Does he bite?"  "Nope."  So they petted him and swung their toy swords at him, and he wagged and licked and was generally awesome.  His only problems are that he chases kitties and he has never been leash trained, but those are easily overcome and we are already working on it.  He's sleeping on the couch right now, and he will make someone very good companion.  If we had unlimited money and time, he'd stay right here.  He's a good one.

If you are interested, look up BSL and find out why it doesn't work to lower dog bites/attacks.  Dogs should each be judged on their individual merits, not their heritage.  Vicious dog legislation is reasonable, BSL is not.  Be an advocate in your area.  That's not where this was supposed to end up, but there you go...BSL makes me mad.

OK, the "trouble" part.  This is what my car looks like now:

Yes, a deer ran out in front of me while I was going 75 mph.  Legally, might I add.  Luckily, Sirius and Daemon and I are all OK, but the car is on the edge of totaled.  So, either they decide to fix it and I am car-less for a while, or they total it and I have to buy a new car.  Which is a giant pain in the ass.  But!  Also!  The police were called to write an accident report so the insurance company wouldn't think I drove into the side of a building after 2 bottles of wine, etc.  They did the whole rigamarole which included running my license.  Turns out, my CODL has been suspended since December of 2010.  Which is interesting, because I got a WY license in  the summer of 2010.  I also switched insurance companies so Tony and I were on the same policy.  Turns out, Pro-fucking-gressive decided it was their job to report to the state of CO that I was driving without insurance.  The story is longer, but that's the abridged version.  So, thought no fault of my own, and without ever being notified that my license was suspended, I am the proud recipient of a ticket for driving on a suspended license.  I have to go to court to defend myself, and I have to wait 2-3 weeks and pay $95 for the DMV to get off their asses and fix their mistake.  Lovely.  Now I have a chauffeur, albeit an unwilling and very busy one.  But, we'll see how he likes running all the errands-ha!  Plus, we retrieved the deer-it was very, very dead-and butchered it to feed to the dogs.  Yup, that's right, we butchered a deer in the backyard.  Tony did the really gross parts, but still, living in Wyoming for 2 years made a different person out of me.  I'm a real cowgirl now!  I dunno, just looking for an upside.  Sigh.

The dogs are really digging the venison.  If you have some to spare, let me know.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Only the Momma

So, first off,  a picture of Starla, who has been living with us since 3/10.  We thought she might be pregnant, but she wasn't.  However, she did have kennel cough.  That meant two weeks of antibiotics and being separated from other dogs.  We are a bit lax around here, because I feel there isn't any chance of true separation, and I know that my dogs, with their minimal vaxes, raw food, and no chemicals, are very healthy, and unlikely to get sick.  So, I put the babies inside whenever she was outside, and vice versa.  She slept, and still does, in Tony's office to keep her separated.  Now she sleeps there because she is used to it and she likes to mark, so I have to keep a close eye on her when she is in the house.

This is by far the cutest picture I have of her.  She is a chihuahua/dachshund mix, and though she's not the most adorable dog in the world, she is not nearly as ugly as my picture taking makes her look.  She weighs 13.5 lbs, is very cuddly, and can live with or without walks, so she will be a great dog for a retired person or couple.  She would probably do well with kids, too, though, she wouldn't mind being dressed up or pushed around in a stroller.  She does think it is fun to play chase though, and has run up the street twice, so her new owners will have to be careful about that.  I hope she gets adopted soon, as she is not getting the attention she needs/wants here.

Brownie is doing very, very well.  She seems to have realized that the whole house is her "area" and has only had one accident in weeks.  That one looked like there was no choice, if you know what I mean.  Her babies are all gone, so while she loves our other dogs, too, she is able to relax more and focus on humans.  She curls up on the couch regularly, and I even caught her in our bed yesterday!

She goes for walks with us now, and even went to the big (100 acre) off-leash park with us the other day.  I didn't intend to let her off leash, but she slipped her collar, so I let her stay off leash, and she walked with us and let us put her back on leash at the end of the walk.  She does get a bit carsick, so we will work on that, and her eventual adopter should take her for lots of short rides to get her more used to the car as well.  There has been some talk of transferring her to a different foster home.  This makes sense, as it will help her get used to more and more people, but honestly-I'll miss her.  However, there are no firm plans, so I don't have to worry about it right now.

I also have two adorable purebred black lab puppies. (Oh, and on another note, I have been looking at breeders' website, mostly for poms and mals-what? yes, those are very different dogs, and I plan to have at least one of each in my lifetime-and some of them spell purebred wrong "purebread!!!"  Seriously people, if you are going to the trouble and expense of putting up a website, get someone to proofread it.  Especially if you are an idiot!)  They are both girls, and their names are Tulip and Orchid-lovely spring names, don't you think?  I need to get photos of them tonight, because I am pretty sure they will both be gone tomorrow.  They are so cute, roly-poly, not biters, and pretty clean.  They will be great pets for someone!

PS-Happy Birthday, Sis!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Heirloom Skipping Squares Quilt

Coming in at 96" by 80" before washing, this is by far the biggest quilt I've ever made.  It was hard to photograph, too.  What's going on up there is my boyfriend and a friend are each holding a pole with the quilt clipped on the top of the poles.  It was that or climb on the roof! 

The quilt is based on Skipping Squares by Allison Harris of Cluck Cluck Sew, which is so far my favorite quilt pattern ever.  I just added one extra row of blocks vertically and horizontally, and then a border that will finish at 10" for a queen sized quilt.  This will go on my sister's bed.  She said she wanted colorful, but with pink, so I hope this makes her happy.  

Since I can't imagine trying to quilt something this big on my little machine (it's a Bernina 440, and I love it dearly, but it only has 8" of throat space), I laid it all out, and then sewed it up in quadrants with a backing of plain Kona Bone, quilted those individually in a large meander-in purple of course-and joined them together.  Now I have to add the backing fabric and bind.  I'm planning to back it with Joel Dewberry's Heirloom Rose Bouquet in Sky.

Picture from fabric.com

I figure, this way, it could be turned over for a different look every now and then.  I am thinking just some stitch in the ditch quilting to make sure there is no shifting.  I hope this doesn't completely destroy the look of the meander on the front, but apparently I'm all about finding out the hard way.  Fingers crossed it all works out!

I'm trying to decide whether to bind the quilt in green or the same Kona Eggplant I used for the front.  I'm leaning towards the purple, for the continuity and for the hope it won't show dirt.

See those flowers by the bottom of the quilt?  They are just some of the beautiful flowers in our yard, and they smell wonderful.  I claim no credit for this, it's all the landlords' doing, but I do enjoy it.  This weather is crazy...it was 79 degrees out today.  And it's still March!  I dread to think what will happen come July and August.  I may have to drive up to 9000 feet and camp just to stay cool.  Luckily, this place does have central A/C; a lot of houses don't around here because it just didn't used to get that hot.  A swamp cooler would do fine for all but the few hottest days of summer.  Climate Change, people...it's all our fault.  

My last three puppies, the ones I've had since January 25th, were adopted today.  They were 10 weeks old, and I hate to admit it, but it was a relief to see them go.  I finally have my kitchen back and I can walk around without dragging teething monsters on both legs.  It helped that I feel that all the pups adopted to day went to absolutely fantastic homes.  I am positive they will have great lives, and hopefully their new owners will keep me updated.  Several of the adopters of the pups who went two weeks ago have contacted me already, and they love their pups dearly, and tell me they are all doing great on house-training.  (They weren't when they lived here!).

I still have Brownie, their mother, and she is doing quite well, all things considered.  She deserves her own update, and I'll try to do that soon.   I also have Starla, a 1.5 y/o chihuahua/dachshund mix.  She's sweet with people, but not house-trained and a bit growl-y with other dogs, so we're working on that.  I imagine I will be getting a few new pups this week, as well.  Hopefully they will be sweet, cuddly, quiet and not destructive.  What?...it could happen.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Go Gators! or something

So, remember that post I made a while ago...goals for February?  Hmmm, well, most of the way through March I'm finally more than halfway done!  A friend of mine has a son who is obsessed with University of Florida.  My Mom went there, too, so I am familiar with the rabidness of Florida fans.  Never make the mistake of calling my parents' house during a game, really, your hearing will never be the same.

When my friend asked me to make the quilt, I thought, OK, an orange and blue quilt.  But it turns out I'm not the only one looking to make things with a Florida theme.  There are at least 7 different Florida fabrics out there.  I bought the 5 that were in stock.  Then, she wanted a "simple quilt, just squares, for a boy."  Believe it or not I have never actually made just a plain old patchwork quilt...weird huh?  They just sound boring to me, especially since there would only be 3 colors in this quilt.  The birthday in question was being celebrated on March 17th.  So, being that I'm a procrastinator and I was waiting for inspiration to strike, I only started on the quilt around March 9th.  I cut out the pieces, made some four-squares and log cabin blocks, and put them on the design wall while the dogs were outside.  Yep, the tail of the big one can make a mess of a design really quick, plus the crazy freakin' wind blows everything around.  I got the top together, and then stalled a bit when my cat got so sick.  I basted late on the 14th-thank god for spray basting-and quilted, bound, washed, dried and over-nighted on the 15th.  Whew!  Why do I do this?  Everyone out there who is more mature than me, feel free to share your secrets.

I'm pretty please with how it turned out, mostly squares and a few other blocks to add some interest.  Then some loopy all-over quilting.  It's pretty big, 60" x 80" before washing.  I was in too much of a hurry to get it in the mail to measure afterwards.

I'm told the room will be re-decorated in an all-Gators all the time theme after he gets the quilt.  I really hope he likes it.