Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Santa Revisited

I spent a few minutes today working on Santa's eyes.  If you scroll down to my last post you can see the Santa with the alluring eyes.  Too much mascara!  Pat suggested I take out the black eye lid and replace with brown.  I did and I think it is an improvement.  Pat will have some more suggestions for me on Friday, but I am happy with him for now.  He looks alert, but not sexy.  Much improved!

Till next time…..


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Unleashed Dog Spa

Blue survived his first professional haircut, but not without protestations.  Fortunately for him, we found  a gem of a groomer in Mandy McMenamin of Unleashed Dog Spa in Elkhorn Nebraska.  This darling young woman could not have been more patient and understanding of this 20 lb mass of wriggling, uncooperative fur.

A friend who owns three poodles recommended Mandy to me.  Then at the gym, I brought up my impending need for a dog groomer.  I told the other ladies that I had gotten a terrific recommendation.  Our trainer spoke up and insisted he knew the BEST dog groomer ever and said I needed to try her.  I told him I felt pretty good about the recommendation I got, since this woman works out of her home and will even let you wait and watch your dog being groomed.  The trainer said "Well, this one is close by, just in Elkhorn."  I said "Well, the name I got is just in Elkhorn too!!!"  It was at about this point that we realized we were talking about the same person.  We were both right, she is a terrific, super nice, sweetheart of a dog groomer.  It turns out Mandy's mom lifts weights at the same gym that I go to!!!!

Even Blue had to agree that Mandy was really swell, even tho she was involved in some puppy torture, like blow drying and toenail clipping.  He had forgiven us both within minutes of his hair-do completion.

I decided to make this an every 2 week event until he gets used to the process.  I don't think it will be long before he gets the drift.  And it is soooooo much better to teach him to like grooming at this age and size instead of as a 60lb 6 month old.  Mandy agreed it is a good plan, so in two weeks, we go back for more.

 The plus side to this, other than the really terrific smelling, adorable dog……is that Blue preferred to be carried around like a baby all day.  I had Carl take the picture below to prove it.  Yes, it is true, this spoiled pooch has me soooooo wrapped around his little paw.  However, he is getting to be quite an armful.  Perhaps he would consider some kind of papoose arrangement.  Thank goodness, I lift  weights as a past time.  It has prepared me for this moment.  Sort of like Owen Meany for those of you who have read it!

Pictured above is Blue and Carl and me at Jean Miller's in Seneca Nebraska the day we picked him up.  Jean posted this on her website at Solo Standards.  It is no wonder this dog thinks I should carry him everywhere……we started out that way!

Next post……Santa is going to be de-mascara-ed.  My pretty boy Santa is going to lose some of his eye liner to see if we can make him look like a little tougher, yet still jolly old elf.  Stay tuned.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Santa Class Confidential

 Here is my Santa project from last Saturday's FACE class taught by Pat Shafer.  I love my Santa, but we have been laughing that he may be just a little too pretty.  Sandy says it is the eyes that Mrs. Santa fell for.  Colleen says the eyes definitely have that 'come hither' look.  It is definitely a Santa with a certain twinkle in his eye.  With those rosy cheeks, I would hate to think he had one too many egg nogs.

The class was great and here are a few things we learned.  The bottom of the pupil is a lighter shade of blue or brown than the top.  We worked in 3 values for the face.  The lightest shade, Pat taught us was in the center of the forehead, alongside the nose and cheek bones.  I high-low hooked the eyebrows and mustache at Pat's suggestion and I love the way it came out.  I am going to add a wider black border.  This Santa will become a pillow, like the one I showed a few weeks ago, that I did in a more primitive style.  This is Kathy Morton's Santa of the Mittens.  I have all of her Santa patterns on hand.  We are doing another of these FACE classes next week with another batch of rug hookers, then…..we decided in February we are going to do a class with black or mahogany Santa faces.  I think those will be fun and challenging too.  Let me know if you would like to be a part of these great one day classes here at the store.  Pat Shafer brought all her talents as a china painter as well as a rug hooker to the table for this one.  Everyone in the class learned a lot and each of us made a Santa with a very unique look.

And now to the very important topic of BLUE.  Here is a picture of him the day we brought him home.  He looks so tiny here with me on a Sandhills road side.  He was 7 1/2 weeks old and weighed about 13 lbs then.  He is now 9 weeks old and weighs in at about 17.5 lbs.  The center picture
shows him making friends with our old barn cat Tiger Lily.  He wanted her to play….she let him know she considered him an insipid youth.  That did not keep him from trying.  He is also making progress with his 2 old lady dog friends.  He idolizes Biscuit the black lab, but since he is more Torrey, the blue heeler's size, he harasses her more frequently.  She has no patience for his nonsense, but her growls have little affect on Blue.  His feelings rarely get hurt for more than a few seconds and then he is back at it.  I told Carl I was feeling sorry for Torrey until this afternoon, when I saw her go wake Blue up from a sound sleep.  Here we were, all peacefully enjoying this respite from his antics…….and she had to go purposely wake him up.  Obviously she enjoys the nonsense as much as he does.

Below is a picture of Blue enjoying his bed in my voice studio at the theatre.  He slept for over 2 hours of voice lessons on Wednesday.  I don't know how he did it, with children coming and going and stepping over him to make copies, piano playing and all the singing and singing and singing.  But he did.  He is obviously a natural at being a theatre dog and a store dog.  The fit for him is like a glove.  He has not had an 'accident' anywhere, rides in the car like it is his life and is clearly a genius of a little (soon to be big) dog.  Monday we go for our first official haircut.  I will post a picture after the new hair-do.

Have a good week.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Welcome Home Blue

The long wait is over.  On Tuesday, Carl and I drove to Seneca, Nebraska to the home of Jean Miller to pick up our new puppy.  This is him pictured at age 7 weeks.  He was just a few days older when he left for home with us.  We were thrilled to visit Jean and her husband Mike at Solo Standards.  We enjoyed the 6 hour drive and saw some landscapes that were gorgeous, even in the middle of winter.  We met the entire litter and the mom and dad and Jean's other beautiful dogs.

I will admit that the first introduction did not go so well.  While his litter mates raced to greet us, Blue took one look at me and turned his face away, like "maybe if I look this way, she won't see me'.  He had been to the vet for shots the day before and had a bath and a clip that very morning.  I think he sensed that more escapades were in his future.  I think Jean felt bad that Blue, VERY OBVIOUSLY dissed me, but I assured her that I am an acquired taste and I was sure he would come around.  Well, the 6 hour ride home was all that it took.  He now thinks I am the bomb!  The vending machine of life and source of all his outings and fun.  The two old girls Torrey and Biscuit worried me at first, they very obviously did not want another fur ball around, but Mr. Charisma is wheedling his way into their space too.  I won't say he has won them over completely, but he is not very afraid of them for sure.  Biscuit growled a warning to him this morning NOT to come onto her bed, so instead he jumped right on top of HER.  She constantly looks at me like "Is he staying???", but I would guess she is starting to be as amused by his antics as we are.

All the books say you should give the pup a few days to settle in, but we had lots to do… Blue settled in by greeting the customers in the store for 3 days, sleeping in on a workshop we had here on Saturday and today he went for his first voice lesson.  He slept thru that and didn't mind the piano at all.
Such a good guy he is!!!  Very laid back until about 8pm, when he turns in to a complete raging monkey tearing around the kitchen, rearranging the dog beds and hassling the old ladies.  Then, he collapses and is ready for bed.  All right, I am going to admit it, right up front.  I let him sleep with us from the first night.  He wakes me up when he wants to go outside and everyone is sleeping soundly.  I suppose I failed the Cesar Milan school of dog training for that, but one of the authors of a poodle book I read said "If you are not going to let your poodle sleep with you……why bother owning one?"  I may question this decision when he is a 90lb dog like his gorgeous dad Reuben,  but for now,we all fit fine.
I will have more pictures of Blue and the ladies at the FACE class taught by Pat Shafer on Saturday, tomorrow.

It was a wonderful class.  Pat is a terrific teacher and we all learned lots about the techniques to hook faces, which are always a challenge.  We have another class on January 25, if any of you would like to join us!  It was well worth the $75 class fee.  Thanks Pat!

Next is a picture of the rug I am working on for daughter Leah.  This, of course, is Mij the Wonder Dog, captured in wool.  Leah picked out the colors for the flowers.  We added a squirrel, cause Mij loves a squirrel.  I will show more pictures in the week to come.

I better run for now.  We had auditions for Fiddler last Sunday night.  We have a great cast, including 2 of our favorite rug hookers, Pat Shafer and Colleen Cochrane.  Pat's husband Steve is our sound man…..couldn't do without him.  We have practice tonight and I have to make a run to PetSmart for 'you know who'.

Talk soon,

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year

 I waited til after midnight to post this, so it would be officially 2014. Happy New Year to you all.  Here is hoping you all have a healthy and prosperous new year.

I thought I would start the new year out with some pictures of a great rug done by Larry Walton.  Larry is the dad of Cammie Bruce.  Cammie taught him well, he is a very fine rug hooker.

This is a rug Larry started in an heirloom rug class I taught last fall.  I was telling the class about some of the antique rugs we saw at Sauder Village last August.  I remarked how some of the reds and blues were amazingly vivid on 100-150 year old rugs.

Larry decided he would like to use those kinds of blues for the background of his rug.  We decided on very neutral colors for the animals, all creams, tans and browns.  Then the background became the fun!  We selected 5 or so different blues and Larry hooked them in this 'banded sky' technique.
That is one of the 15 different techniques the class learns to make a rug look like an antique or vintage style rug.

As you can see in the bottom photo, the blues are clear and bright and interesting, but still have the look of an old rug.  Larry did a great job on this one.  I can't think of a better way to start out the new year than to show his wonderful project!

Happy New Year to All,