December 25, 2008

Bad Dogs on Christmas

Beau decided he didn't have to sleep on a dog bed on the floor. In fact he looked right at me when he climbed up there and lay down. Do you think it was encouraging when I laughed?
{Today we are shopping in Panama - Merry Christmas everyone}

December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

I found a studio that would let me take all 4 dogs in. So, I made an appointment when The Princess was home - and this is what we got. There wasn't one picture in the bunch where Beau had his tongue in his mouth! Back to Front:
The Musical One
JB, The Princess
Lucy, me, Beauregard
Dudley & Abigail Jane
{I'm currently in Costa Rica enjoying a bike tour}

December 22, 2008

This One's For Jess

Jessica who's been to my house asked for a picture of the deck from the pond/patio. I don't think she meant when everything was covered with snow - but that's what I've currently got - so that's what you're getting! First photo - from the deck looking at the patio. On the left side of that photo you can see a table - that's the patio. This photo was taken from just above the table. Looking down onto the house and deck. You can just see the outline of what we call the upper deck. Because there is a step between the two levels.
In this <----- last photo, JB was standing just under the patio. Our back yard is all levels. From this view you can see how long the deck is and how deep the snow is. Yes for Western Washington that's deep!
The lower deck is 10' from the edge to just under the upper deck. The upper deck is 38' from that edge to the far edge. So - it's large. And of course because Beau is the best boy around he was out with JB running and playing in the snow.

December 21, 2008

I Might Have to Re-Knit These

The Love My Way Charade socks for Miss L are finished. However as I was grafting the heels closed I thought these feel really tight. I did knit most of them during all the worry about Abby. Most of the time knitting relaxes me and I don't knit super tight - I knit tight, but not super tight. Good thing I enjoy the process as much as the finished project. Specs: Pattern: Charade Mods: Worked toe up with afterthought heel. I also alternated the pattern so that slipped stitch moved. Yarn: Lotus Yarns Nirvana Needle: 40" US 0 magic looped Started: November 29, 2008 Finished: December 18, 2008 If they don't cut off all circulation to her toes, I'll get modeled shots of Miss L. wearing them when we get home. If they do - well anyone who cares will have to wait until they've been knit again.

December 20, 2008

Project Bag

Okay - for the cruise, I decided to make a project bag. I've seen this cute little grab bag all over blogland. It was quick and fairly easy. Of course, I made it out of a dog print fabric. But this will just look like I'm carrying a little handbag around with me. It will hold a couple of pairs of socks (inside their zipper bags of course) as well as my wallet.

December 19, 2008

My Bags Are Packed

Project bags - who needs project bags when I have plastic zipper bags? How do you transport your knitting projects? So - do you think I'll have enough knitting for 2 weeks and 2 long flights? There's enough yarn for 4 pairs of socks. First - Mmmmmalabrigo Sock in the a lovely grapy colorway. US0 needles and a lovely pattern in the current issue of knit 'n style (scroll down). The pattern is lovely and will knit up well with this fiber. The pattern is designed for a heavier weight sock yarn so I will need to fiddle with it (don't laugh Cami)
Also going - Eagles sock yarn for simple no thought knitting. Us1s, toe up, both at the same time for JB. Either straight stockinette or rib - we'll see. Next - Claudia's Handpaints in Tropicanna. I'm thinking blueberry waffle socks but the pattern might be a bit much for the bright colors - in which case they will be plain jane stockinette, again from the toe up on US0s.
The last baggie you see up there? The Pink Dalmatian yarn gifted from Cami. I loved the pattern I was working on them but since I was doing both at the same time on a single circular needle, I was freaking out about how I was going to get the eyelets to travel around the leg when I got there. I loved the pattern I just worked for Miss L, so that's what the Pink Dalmatians will become.
Do you think I should take an extra hank or two, just in case?

December 18, 2008

Baby It's Cold Outside

It's been bitterly cold in Western Washington. So - without the little Houdini around the dogs have had inside/outside access all week. I cleaned up and moved all of my edible stuff on the sewing desk. However, when we got home on Monday, we did find out they had destroyed something. Poor Big Bear - he's beyond surgical repair this time. Monday night I cleaned up his stuffing and left him downstairs. Well he got killed again yesterday. By tonight he'll just be a shell of his original sell. He's been Beau's favorite toy for years. The good news - he loves to play with the shell just as much as the stuffed toy.

December 17, 2008

Techno Travel Rolls

So the last thing that I made for The Three Amigas was a techno travel roll. I saw this in one of the magazines I had - but really, I don't remember which one and I'm too lazy to walk downstairs and see. When The Princess came home for Thanksgiving - she forgot her cell phone charger. She also travels with a computer, camera, and Nintendo DS. I had recently picked up the premier issue of stitch and it had the idea for this travel roll in it. I'm all little concerned because it's flat. If I hadn't been following the directions - I think I would have added a pleat or something to the edges you fold over to give depth to the pockets. It's also very stiff so hopefully this will work and actually hold all the cords and cables the girls travel with. Of course - getting ready to embark on my own trip - did I make one for myself to try out? Nope! I did add two little pieces of ribbon in the center to trying cables and other small connector cords too. I really hope it works and holds everything in it's place.

December 16, 2008

Thanks Angie

Sunday, I spent the day down in the studio. I had decided to make embroidered bone stockings for the vet and his team. So, while the embroidery machine was running, I cut strips of the print fabric and serged them together following Angie's tutorial for patchwork tissue covers. Mine aren't nearly as cute as hers, but they will do in a pinch and they kept me occupied. Again - thanks for the idea Angie.

December 14, 2008

Finished Friday

But yet to be tried on. And seriously - how hard is it to find white buttons? JB has started wearing bowling shirts ala Charlie in Two and a Half Men. I have had this dart themed fabric for quite awhile. When Debbie posted this shirt that she made for her son - I immediately purchased the pattern. With leftover Eagles fabric (but not wanted to be seen anywhere in public with JB dressed head to toe in homemade Eagles garb. I decided that Simplicity pattern was perfect to break up the novelty fabric. But then I couldn't find the pattern! I did find McCalls 4399 in the pattern stash (by the way, the Simplicity pattern? I had put it away!) So, I grabbed a similarly styled shirt from his closet and measured everything between the tissue and the shirt he wears. This should fit the same. I tried really hard to match the pattern on the pocket and make it invisible. But I messed up. I placed the pocked piece on the shirt front and traced the fabric onto the pocket. Then I lined up the traced lines and cut out the pocket. But once I had stitched and turned it -- it only matched up in one place. Anyone know what I did wrong? I have been working on gifts all weekend. Hopefully I'll have something to blog about before I go radio silent until the end of the year.

December 12, 2008

Coffee Swap Package

Monday when I got home there was a pick-up slip from the post office. I was pretty sure what it was as I had received an email from my Coffee Swap partner Miss Reb, saying the package was on it's way. Why I didn't throw the camera in the car Tuesday morning I can't say, but I didn't. After spending a good bit of time in the post office line - I ripped into the package in the car! I may have even eaten one of the little chocolates before I even got back to the office. <---- Over there you can see the entire package. There were two packages of coffee, flavored cocoa mix, candy, double pointed needles and yarn! There was also the cutest soap shaped like an ice cream sundae cone. See the top of it? How cute is that?
The two skeins of variegated yarn? It's fancy free luxury sock yarn in color 101 - the blues. I love it! Sock yarn with alpaca in it is a bit of a luxury - no?
The grey/gray is baby alpaca lace. My ability to switch between metric and imperial measure sucks - but there is 400 meters in this tiny little hank - that's a bunch! I'm pretty sure this will make a fabulous scarf to wear with my red coat (it's a new year project - I promise!)
So, thank you Miss Reb - I love it all and seriously can't wait to knit with those lovely yarns.

December 11, 2008

Battle Scars

Last week, I introduced you to Abigail Jane and asked you to keep her in your prayers. I will say that my vet (whom we love and trust with our animals' lives) does take the wait and see approach and while they do surgery - they refer out for major medical issues. I will also say that my vet said she hurt her neck, he just didn't know how - if resting didn't help then they would refer out. Well as you know, resting didn't help - we self-referred to a local doggy orthopedic and she meet him on Friday afternoon. My good friend - the Anonymous Miss D - meet us at the vet. It's a good thing she was there, she asked all the right questions that I was unable to even think of. Dr. Duke did the x-rays and bloodwork eliminating anything easy. He said the next step was an MRI. By Friday evening Abby was so weak that she couldn't stand on her own, she would often stumble - falling on her chest. She was, however, still pottying on her own which I took as a great sign. Saturday morning I took her to Seattle Veterinary Specialists who did another exam, determined that she hurt her neck somehow and that the next step was an MRI. They said I could bring her home and make an appointment as a referral to have her seen on Monday, but if I left her with them, they would manage her pain and she was be examined first thing in the morning by Dr. Sanders. Dr. Sanders called me Monday morning after doing the exam and again in the afternoon after her MRI. The MRI showed a severely herniated disc between C4-C5. He said it was a low risk operation and she would have a great chance at being a "proper" dog again. So, Tuesday Abby had surgery on her spine to remove the herniated disc which was putting so much pressure on her spinal cord, causing extreme pain and weakness. Last night, JB and I went to visit her. Because of our vacation - she will be boarded at the vet until we get home. So (again thanks to Miss D) I finished the felted bone (Sorry Henry,I'll make you another) - I let Lucy play with it for a minute. I also took a piece of fleece - we had Dudley sit on it for awhile and JB rubbed him all over with it. Hopefully this will bring her a little comfort. As for Abby herself - she's still a little whinny. Probably indicating she's still in quite a bit of pain. She is managing to move around a little bit by herself, although her legs are still really weak. The front more so than the back. She had gotten a bath shortly before we arrived and her toenails were cut during surgery. Poor girl - they are doing all the things she hates! She did managed to roll onto her side so she could get tummy rubs. We will know she's doing fine when she can roll over on her back for belly rubs - her all time favorite thing in the world. Her incision is huge! Poor baby and she's stitched up like Frankenstein. But she seems to be in a fairly good spirits. And I am impressed with the techs that have helped us with the visits each time we have gone. The guy last night (who's name I didn't catch) seemed to really like her. I went to get him because she drank a ton of water and started whinging again - usually indicating she needs to potty. As hard as she was to housebreak - she now hates to potty in the house and I can't imagine soiling yourself would be very comfortable. He came back with a shoulder harness so she can walk as much as possible on her own. Giving her shoulders support without putting any pressure on her neck and allowing the human to lift her front legs and shoulders off the ground. She was in heaven outside sniffing and took a long time to find the right place to potty. The Musical One is going to see her today and Miss L has agreed to visit her while we are on vacation. So - all in all - she is now the most expensive dog I know but she will be fine. Other than the intense stress and fear I felt of the unknown and the pain she was in - I wouldn't trade her for the world or do anything different. I need to give a public shout out to bloggless Miss D, Jessica (go read her blog and leave a comment please), Cami and Chan all of whom spent countless hours on the phone with me, reassuring me, checking on Abby and making sure everything was okay. As well as several of the members of Dogs on Thursday who sent emails, support, prayers and good wishes. It worked everyone. thank you.

December 10, 2008

All Decked Out

December 1st saw the last of the decking put down. The under structure of the deck is all treated lumber. JB sealed all cut edges so there is no cut wood exposed. The top of the deck is all cedar - it was less expensive than some type of composite decking. JB stained the bottom, sides, and cut edges of all the boards before screwing them down to the foundation. He stopped staining the tops due to the weather, he could put the boards down in a drizzle if they were bare, but not while staining them. So that will get done in the Spring or on a good sunny Winter weekend. The french doors were completely installed before my brother left. But not the inside trim. He did, however, help measure and cut everything before leaving.
JB painted the interior trim to match the rest of the creamy white woodwork in the house (chair rail). Here's a close up of the inside trim he decided to us. JB is now chomping at the bit to change out the remaining mill work in the house. Since there's a good possibility we'll be installing new windows in the next year or so - I imagine it won't be long before all the trim work matches.
How about a view of the unstained french doors from the deck? I believe the doors will be painted to match the front door.
This past Sunday he finished up the last bit of the deck he can do before Spring - trimming the edges of the boards that hang over the edges. He didn't put them down even - but trimmed them afterwards. Glad to have that money sucking project done!

December 9, 2008


Maybe you can't tell, but Saturday after getting out all the embroidery supplies I wanted to cut out a shirt for JB. After looking everywhere for the pattern I knew I had purchased. I finally gave up. I pulled all the piles of fabric and patterns off the top of the table. I opened up the cupboards and pulled all the unfolded fabric out. I emptied those three baskets at the back of the table. All that stuff on the top of the table? Had nothing to do with the project I wanted to work on!! Frustrating. So, before starting on the shirt - I refolded all the fabric and tucked it into the cabinets. I store the fabric in color families - with the exception of linings and quilting cottons which are all just lumped together. So, the gist is it only took me about 30 minutes to put everything away. I found the pattern I was originally looking for, but by then I had traced the other one and decided to just run with it. I sorted, folded and tossed. I even have a bag full of patterns to part with come the new year.
Next up - all those bins and baskets under the table!

December 8, 2008

This Weekend I Embroidered

Saturday, I finally got around to playing with my embroidery software to make some gifts for friends. No, I did not design these - they came from Moose B Stitchin and can be found here. What I did was resize them, because I wanted bigger stockings.
Here's a close up of the stitching, these are really very cute and I have been giving them as gifts for years.

December 7, 2008

Small Sewing

Thanksgiving Weekend I managed to get a few minutes down in the studio that weren't spent making quilt blocks. I have seen several people make new straps for their cameras. I knew that JB would love to have an Eagles strap for his camera. So, armed with the current strap made of webbing I headed down. I took a clear ruler and fussy cut the fabric. Realizing that it was directional and putting a seam in the center so the words were right way up around his neck. The problem here is that the words are wider than the original strap. So, I tapered it down to fit into the leather pieces that came with the original. I was also able to really pad this out to help take some of the strain off his neck when he's carrying his camera. I added 2 layers of batting the length of the fabric piece and 2 more layers just at the back. Since he has a 35mm film camera as well as his digital, I may try making another but this time centering the Eagle rather than the word.

December 6, 2008

Knitting with a Deadline

Many of you know that JB and I will be vacationing over Christmas this year. We aren't doing gifts, but I was unable to just stop them cold turkey. And am sending The Musical One off to spend the holidays with The Princess with stockings for them both. Just after Thanksgiving, I informed JB that I was doing that. The only thing that allows us to take a 2 week vacation with 4 dogs is Miss L. Miss L. stays at the house, taking care of the dogs just like we would. Her family lives close so she won't miss Christmas with her family, either. Anyway - JB asked if I was leaving a stocking at the house for Miss L. Opps! So, I immediately went shopping in the sock yarn stash and searing through my Ravelry Queue. I decided upon the charade pattern. I had a fair amount of the semi-solid pink left over from my girly-girl socks. Certainly enough to make a pair of socks for a narrow size 7 1/2! So, I grabbed a long circular size US 0 needle and got started. However, I decided to alternate the pattern so that it traveled around the sock rather than creating a rib. The pattern is easy to see - simple 4 stitch repeat. This yarn is lovely and I love these socks so much that I want to keep them! But I wouldn't have enough time to get another pair made for Miss L. before we leave. Bummer!

December 4, 2008

Abigail Jane

Ab is our first girl dog. She has a personality just like The Princess. She doesn't believe she is a dog and I have often said, if she were a person she would be Gladys Kravitz. She loves to sit in the front window and watch the world go by.
Abigail turned 9 on Monday, December 1st. By Basset standards, she is not an old dog.
Abby is not doing well this week. The worst part is we don't know why. We don't know what is wrong with her. Sunday evening she was rather lethargic and wouldn't eat. Yes, you read that right, a basset hound with no interest in food! JB was rubbing her neck and she screamed, ran across the room and piddled on the carpet. Her neck appeared swollen. We gave her a double dose of rimadyl.
Monday she did a little bit better, but was moving slowly and eating again. Tuesday morning she looked like she was having trouble walking - she was doing something funny with her back legs. Loaded her up in the car and she spent the day visiting with the staff at our vet's office. The opinion is that she somehow hurt her neck. The problem is that we don't know how she did it or how bad it is.
Wednesday she spent the day being an office dog. She would occasionally eat a cookie. But I noticed when she would follow me around the office that she was dragging one of her front feet and occasionally she would stumble - like her other front leg just wouldn't hold her up. This morning, she tired, her front legs aren't working so well - walking is very slow for her. She had no interest in her food and at the vet's suggestion we have taken her off rimadyl and put her on a huge dose of prednisone.
Please - send good thoughts for Abby out.

December 3, 2008

Maybe I Didn't Tell You

but earlier this year when Miss D and I went to Madrona, I bought a kit that had been put together by a yarn store fairly close to my house for the felted hedgehog. This same store also had the felted dog bone on display but had sold out of the patterns. Well the hedgie kit has been taking up space in the studio since last February. A couple of weeks ago, I decided to throw it into my bag and take it along to knit night. Even though it involved counting - I was able to get most of the body done that night at knitting. When I got home, I finished the little contrast feet but had to wait until I could get a new needle to finish the back. About that time, I decided I was ready to start the bone. I had thought I could download the pattern on ravelry - but I was wrong! I called the same store I got the hedgie kit and had them ship me the pattern. Tuesday evening I finished hedgie and started on the bone. Friday I dumped them in the washer with some of JB's jeans. The bone is almost dry and ready to be finished. Hedgie will take a little bit longer. The top picture is pre-felting. The bottom is post-felting. The bone ended up a little distorted, but I think it will be fine. I'm not positive I'm going to give it to Lucy though. I have decided it's probably not the best idea to give a dog a felted wool toy in a house where wool lives.

December 2, 2008

Fall Foods

The final weekly topic of the Amazing Autumn Coffee Swap is all about fall foods. I love anything with pumpkin - sweet or savory. I've made some really good pumpkin pancakes and the newly named punkies (Easy Pumpkin Brownie), pumpkin muffins, pumpkin pasta and pumpkin stuffed shells. I love pumpkin ravioli. However, JB doesn't love the pumpkin like I do - so the good ol' Fall standbys are - in no particular order: *Beef Barley Soup *Turkey Shepherd's Pie *Lasagna *JB's Spaghetti Unfortunately, there really aren't easily sharable recipes.

December 1, 2008

Quilting for Camilla

Let me just start by saying - I am not a quilter. Camilla asked for help making quilts to warm and comfort a family who lost those father last Monday. Because I believe what goes around comes around, I like to help where I can. Therefore, I agreed to make 6 quilt blocks for this effort.
The one pictured on the left is one of my favorites and I may try to recreate it once or twice more. As well as these two black and orange blocks, I made three random pink blocks. I really admire the random blocks made by Beki and Erin, I just can't do it.
Next I pulled out three coordinating prints from Denyse Schmidt's Katie Jump Rope and cut 2.5" strips. Then I sewed them together and cut them apart. I know - if I'm going to take perfectly good fabric and cut it up - I'd rather have something to wear at the end of it. Anyway, I then sewed them back together into what I believe is a rail fence quilt pattern. I had enough strips cut to sew up 16 blocks. I am also sending the remaining fabric - just in case either Cami or the quilter want to use it to finish up.
Finally, I grabbed this red and white snails trail quilt top that I made in my piecing days. I love 2 color quilts - but I know that I will never finish this and it's just taking up space in my house. I picked up my phone and called Cami asking her if she would like to have it. She agreed, so once it arrives she will have one top done -- 5 more to go. If you are interested in making a square, please see the link to Cami's post above, or contact her directly at camillaknitsATgmailDOTcom for details and mailing information.

November 30, 2008

We Interupt this Deck

Last weekend The Princess and I moved furniture. What was the dining room is now the sitting room. The dining room window is now french doors.
Friday night my brother and I met JB at the door store. We picked out doors and hardware and asked them to rush our job through. They nicely agreed. As soon as we got home the boys got busy taking the window out. First the drywall was cut and removed, revealing electricity running under the window.
Holes were drilled in the floor and the electricity was rerouted.
The siding was removed from the outside of the house. The window was loosened. Insulation pulled out. Big messes were made.
The dogs got into the act. They really weren't sure what the big hole in the house was. The the remaining wall was removed. It has taken up residence on the deck.
The boys went to pick up the doors and the frame was installed. Finally the first door went in.
The second door was hung and all the hardware installed (see the construction mess on the deck?). Finally there are the doors. They still need the interior trim installed, but that's been purchased and should be done tomorrow. The brick moulding outside is already in place. Brother heads home tomorrow, but JB has Monday off so hopefully there will be more deck progress soon - it's almost done.
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