Scenes from a dog park

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In today’s episode we find ourselves in a rainy situation.

We find a rabid tree.
Rabid tree

A tree foaming at the trunk wasn’t covered in my botany class, but it turns out an accumulation of sap and other things that build up on the trunks of pine trees can actually form a crude soap. Who knew our trees so desperately wanted to be clean?

I don’t know why I’m fascinated with this tiny forest of tiny trees. They are just so cute!
Tiny forrest

And instead of two tiny galls on a large tree, today I saw this huge gall on a small tree.
Gall

We also got a rare glimpse of the elusive Woodland Fluffy Badger stalking through his native habitat.
Elusive Woodland Fluffy Badger

I also learned that the best place to walk in the park is about 100 meters behind someone else with dogs who roam through the woods. Wixer ran and jumped and sniffed and it was awesome. He did go up far enough to interact with the other dogs maybe once, but clearly that wasn’t the fun part. Checking out where the other dogs had been at top speed was.

Stick

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Coming back to Muskegon is sometimes odd. I only lived here for 3 years or so, but it seemed like a much larger part of my life than that short time suggests. We’re visiting Dave’s fam for Thanksgiving and taking advantage of the 48 acre dog park that’s not far from their house. Its great because its so large you rarely, if ever encounter anyone. Granted we are usually there at times when people are working so that helps as well. The area we usually head to is a the Canine Frontier a 24 acre wooded area with a nice walking trail.  Yesterday was kinda harsh because there was a layer of slushy icy mess that was hard to walk on.  Given that I was counting on this to exercise the dogs I was not encouraged.  Today was much better though, yay!

 

Hey guys! I found a thing.  Its awesome.  I’m awesome.  Do you want it?  No?  Okay, I’ll just be awesome with my awesome thing.
Stick!

We also saw this tiny tree, it was just so adorbs.
Tiny

And then this tree had testicles.
This tree's got balls.

 

Grilled Cheeses

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I had nice response to my post about the way I’ve been making grilled cheese sandwiches lately.  I thought if anyone was on the fence they might want to see how I make them specifically and then they’ll be tipped right off that fence into the land of gooey deliciousness.

I start with a hearty white bread slice cut in half then covered in a layer of swiss cheese.
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Then spread on the cream cheese.

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I find the mildness of the cream cheese further diminishes the already mild taste of the swiss cheese, so I like to add some Fox Point spice mix.  I’ve also considered using scallion cream cheese, but haven’t tried it yet.  Other spice mixes also taste delicious, but Fox Point is my fav.  You might also try Sunny Paris or a Sandwich Sprinkle.

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Over low heat melt 1/2 Tablespoon of butter.

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Add your sandwich.  I prefer to do this over a lower flame to for a couple reasons.  First it allows the cheese time to melt.  If the heat is too high the bread gets done brown too quickly, not allowing the cheeses a real chance to show their gooey stuff.  The other is to reduce risk of burning the bread.  I like my grilled cheeses lightly toasted, and too high of heat means my window of golden goodness is too small.  After a couple minutes use a spatula to gently lift the sandwich and check how done it is on the bottom.  When it looks like your level of brown add 1/4 Tablespoon of butter.

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After allowing the butter to melt flip your sandwich onto the freshly melted butter and cook until the second side is as golden as the first.

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This sandwich isn’t quite as brown as I’d like it, so after cooking the second side I flipped it back over and let it go just a while longer.   It was delicious.  My favorite presentation is along side a bowl of tomato soup.

Grace

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Here I am again in Florida.  Wesley Chapel represent!  I got to attend another Aaron Robbins flyball seminar and this one was especially cool.  Previously, nearly all participants were racing dogs who had an issue or three that they were working on. This seminar was predominantly baby dogs, ranging from 12 weeks to 9 months.  So the tone and content was subtly different and I enjoyed it.  Lots of foundation games and getting to see different dogs of roughly similar ages learn differently.

After getting back to Jaimie and Bryan’s house from the seminar they had a wonderful surprise for me.  Bryan heard of my computer woes, took his old MacBook, cleared it and set it up for me.  Totally unexpected and full to the brim with awesome.

Just wow
With the large amount of forced home improvement this fall a new laptop was so far down on the priorities list as to be non existent. Now the only problem is learning about Macs, as I’ve only ever been a PC!  What a fabulous problem to have.

They also have a fine assortment of world class dogs available for snuggling.  Tor is like taking sleepy time drugs when he lays across your lap, and Traffic is very close to my heart and is a total neck snuggler.  But now and then even big ol’ Alix demands his fair share of snuggles. I mean just look at that face.
Even big giant shepherds demand snuggles. Alix is a great snuggle buddy

And when you stop petting him he make this tiny little whine that’s barely audible, but totally pitiful.

To top it all off I opened a mini pack of Starburst just now and totally won!  Pink is my favorite flavor.

Starburst win!

Update

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Things haven’t been running very smoothly in my world as of late. The Flooding of Lost Acre sent things all cattywampus and it hasn’t been an easy time. Repairs are moving along, but the costs keep mounting. We did get to go on a wonderful trip to Disney’s Food and Wine Festival. But it was marred by the fact that with the repairs we really didn’t have the money for it. By the time the flood happened we couldn’t cancel it, so we went and had an amazing time and I am grateful for the time I got to spend remembering why Dave is the love of my life.

Wixer is also injured again (still?). He came up limping after a flyball practice a while back and its been a long process of trying to figure out what the bajabbers is wrong. I feel like I’ve spent his whole life doing that! The best we have are guesses and I’m working with those guesses to try to help him get back to being active. I have to face the possibility that, with his structure and the turn I trained, running flyball might be too much for his joints to deal with. Its really feels unfair and I find myself struggling to maintain a positive outlook.

With CraftyTown a piecemeal operation for the foreseeable future I am also struggling to catch up on some late late laaaaaate orders.  Some stuff I simply can’t find.  I know its there…in a  box, somewhere, but for the life of me I can’t locate it.  I also spend twice the time doing anything because everything is here and there and not in my work triangle at all.  Probably because its less of a triangle and more of a curved path between two rooms.  But I have managed to get some things done that I’m very happy with so I’m going to focus on those and post pretty pictures.

This adjustable martingale leash is for Anthem and might be one of the best things I’ve ever made.  It just came together really well.

Anthem

And to celebrate Skye, this blingtastic leash. I thought about doing the leash in the lighter blue color, but I was afraid of it looking dirty very quickly.

Skye

This pair of leashes are going to the very handsome Viking. Hopefully he will look as dapper in them as I imagine he will.

VikingViking

Then there is Torment. Torment is a whippet who is doing some pretty amazing things in the world of disc, especially the extreme distance events. But he has a little drooling problem while he’s doing it and all those waterworks make catching the disc harder. So Jaimie asked for some towels to sop up his slobbery enthusiasm. I have a few more ideas for different ones, but I very pleased with how this design turned out. Now he can have a least two Torrible Towels.

Torrible TowelDrool towel for Torment

I think this particular design is perfect because Torment has Jaimie’s heart wrapped around his worry stumps and because she is a doctor.  Perfect, no?

Back on the farm-adjacent, a mystery has been solved.  I had a plant growing out of my compost pile all summer, but other than something in the squash family  I wasn’t sure what it was.  Turns out its a pumpkin.  I’m guessing a pie pumpkin seed from Anne’s collection as I’m pretty sure I had planted some of those that didn’t take indoors so I threw them in the pile.  Guess they weren’t done afterall.

Tiny pumpkins!

I also took a walk yesterday.  It was the first in far too long, but the last time I tried, I was sent running back to the car by a wall of mosquitoes.  Didn’t make me want to go back out and try again.  As usual while I was walking along with the dogs I was mindful of watching for poison ivy.  But what I was seeing seemed more strawberry-ish.  Turns out it was.  Wild strawberries all along the path.

Wild strawberry

Not much fruit this late in the year, but one here and there.  So that’s what’s going on over here.  Hopefully I will make a post about our trip to Disney soon.

 

Busy

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Lots going on here at Lost Acre.  On September 5-7 I hosted a dog training seminar with PVybe as presenters.  It was a lot of work to put together by myself and that wasn’t helped with the flooding at home, but I think it ended up going very well.  Ron and Apryl did their usual amazing magic and it sounds like everyone who attended liked what they heard and got good stuff out of it.  We also had two people taking pictures besides me and they were pretty amazing. You can check out all the pictures over here.

My favorites of Wixer were him totally listening to Ron talking about how to present a toy in his discussion of the plague of the free bite.

PVybe Canine DriveTrain

And this one of him at least looking like he’s doing ‘go do dog stuff’ pretty darn well!  This was during his turn at multiple target targeting and Ron was talking to me so Wixer is doing exactly what he should be, and being adorable to boot.

PVybe Canine DriveTrain

Quickly thereafter work started on our house to fix the potential for future flooding, I hope.  They started with turning our basement into the set of ET.  No tunnel, sorry Kate!

Garage

The garage and two rooms got this treatment, plus a lot of coverings on the floors elsewhere. They dug out a trench and put in a giant long drain in front of the garage.

Drain

This connects to a pit just inside the garage with a pump in it.

Pump hole

That in turn connects to a pipe leading outside the garage and out away from the house.

Pump hole out Pump hole drain line

Next up they will be dumping a lot of dirt around over there and regrading everything away from the house.  In the backyard they dug out for egress windows in the two downstairs rooms that will now actually be bedrooms.

Mess

Goodbye garden, hello windows.

Egress windows
Having seen what the windows will look like from the inside I kinda want to do this to them.  But that will have to wait.  A long long time.  Baby steps to the elevator.

I also finished up most of my ribbon bobbin project.

Ribbonsplosion

So far it seems to be working very well! If only I could now find all the non-ribbon stuff that I need to make things. Starting projects only to have to stop every five seconds to go try to find something I need isn’t fun. Or productive.

I also started trying it out with regular yardage.

Regular size

And teensy ones for fat quarters.

Fat quarter size

With just a small sample I’m liking the possibilities for this as well.  These boards are only 1/16″ wide making them a little more space saving, but quite a bit floppier.  I still like the thicker foam core board for the ribbon since it doesn’t flop about so much, so I will keep using the two different materials.  I hoping whenever I get to put CraftyTown back together maybe I can store them on an IKEA Billy bookcase or somesuch. They have a glass door option that would allow me to keep the dust off of them while still getting to see all the pretty colors.  All three bobbins are short enough they should fit nicely.

Then today I went up to TOPS to have Wixer evaluated.  Almost a month ago he came up lame after a flyball practice again and his subsequent rest hasn’t really done the trick.  So I bit the bullet and had them give him a once over.  We didn’t get a definitive diagnosis, but I wasn’t expecting one given his inability to speak and refusal to show pain.  Top of her list for possible issues is an old patella injury that is still causing him difficulty.  Seems crazy that something like that could cause all the issues I’m seeing, but I guess if its ouchy and causes him to use that leg differently it could mess up everything from the bottom to the top?  I’ve already made two appointments with Lisa, who is a canine massage therapist, and the vet suggested biweekly chiropractic appointments so I need to sweet talk Lyndsay into making room for us in her schedule.  I’m thinking pizza, beer, and games might sweeten the pot?

Then this happened during our laser treatment.
Doggles and lasers

I can’t even take it.

There’s a bee in my apple

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Not so shockingly the work on our flood issues isn’t going exactly as planned.  Apparently due to the rain this past week they didn’t finish the jobs before ours so ours has been pushed back until Monday.  Too bad they didn’t actually call us to let us know that.  Apparently one person thought the other was going to let us know and vice versa.  A bit frustrating as its kind of a problem next week because we made sure we could be home for them on the days the originally stated. We may have to have them take a break on Thursday as Dave has a meeting and I made an appointment to take Wixer to TOPS for an evaluation.  I’m hoping they can maybe give me more answers about his rear leg issues.  I’ve had him off of running for a few weeks and it still just doesn’t look right, and looks a LOT like what he was doing almost 2 years ago when he was out of flyball and agility for almost a year.

So making the best of it Dave was awesome and took me to the orchard instead.

Secret weapon

We picked some Gala, Fuji, and a few Honeycrisp apples that I will be making into sauce next week.  We saw tons of apples on the ground that made me wish there was a better way of making sure they all went to good use.  We also saw this totally wasted bee.  He was a happy happy bee.  Not nearly as happy was the bee that stung Dave for picking apples from his tree.  Sorry Dave.

Totally drunk bee

Out in the parking lot we also saw this license plate.  FTW

At the orchard

Reboot

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Since my last post we’ve had a bit of a setback. Our basement flooded a bit and CraftyTown was a casualty. So that whole thing where I finally made a back piece for my Expedit after over a year? Yeah that’s destroyed now. All the furniture in there was soaked and its been a pretty low time for me. Add to that hosting a dog training seminar on my own and finding out how much all the repair is going to cost, and I’ve been one foot in front of the other-ing it for a couple weeks.

My ribbon shelves were also destroyed in the flood, so my ribbon is currently in a giant box all willy nilly.  Yesterday I went to start on a couple orders for people who are being super patient and couldn’t find anything!  So very frustrating. The only way seemed to be dump it all on the floor and I find this unacceptable. Especially since my sewing machines are currently located in the living room which is irritating enough without that added mess all the time. Down with clutter!

I decided I should try to figure out what I’m going to do with the ribbon and fabric whenever it is that CraftyTown gets rebuilt. After some Internet research and a skull session with a fellow crafty friend Emily, I decided to try something like this.  However,  not knowing if it will do what I want I didn’t want to spend much money.  So I got some 1/8″ foam core board, it’s thinner than the standard 3/16″ and I’m hoping its thin enough to not create too much extra bulk when I shelve them.

So I gathered materials and today I cut out the first of what it looks like will be many many boards. I did end up having to dump out all the ribbon on the floor to sort it, but hopefully it will just be the once. While I slowly work my way through it seems I have help, apparently he prefers the purple pile.

Helper

My plan is to also use these boards to store my fabric as well keeping everything uniform.  I started with the size of the fabric organizer sold on that site, but now I’m concerned that they are too tall for practical shelving. The size makes sense for the size of fabric thought (usually 44″/45″ wide, folding in quarters lengthwise fits nicely on this height). Not sure how to reconcile that yet. I also spent all evening and only got to the greens. Its going to be a long process.

Ribbon boards

 

Title

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TraffiRabbit has gone home and things are pretty quiet here at home.  He wasn’t particularly noisy (which might come as a shock to people who knew him before!), but he was very busy and I did a lot of work with him.  Going back to just the two has been an adjustment.  Its just as well since I’ve been disturbingly tired since I returned from Nationals.  I’ve taken more naps in the last week than I did in the previous year.  Not sure what’s the matter with me, but it can move along any time now.

In between my naps I’ve been trying to finish up more projects in CraftyTown and around the house that I’ve been putting off for one reason or another.  I finally finished one today that’s been a problem for me for what feels like forever!  When we moved in and I put CraftyTown where I did, I knew I wanted to make it more of a discrete room than it is…you know 4 walls and a door-ish.  To that end I put the Geherkenflutz next to the pillar creating a wall between the room and the garage door.  And making an aisle behind it that still allows access to the workshop.  A year ago I found some fabric that I could put on the back of it in order to create even more of a room feel (and work to hide the mess that CraftyTown can sometimes often be).  Due to a series of unfortunate errors on my part it kept not getting finished.  Very frustrating!

Now that its done I think it turned out very well.  The walls (you can’t see) are Tiffany Blue and this fabric compliments it nicely.  I’m still working on finding an organization scheme for most things in there and I’m sure I’ll be rearranging whats in each cubby to make best use of the space.

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Here is the back.  Meh.  I should have run Velcro along the whole length of the shelf to avoid the slight sagging.  Live and learn.  At least it looks nice from the inside!

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I also ran a strip of magnets along one shelf to be able to pin up pattern instructions etc.  Biggest issue there is the strip magnets aren’t terribly strong.  So I need to find some of the super strong magnets to hold up the patterns.  If they were cool/cute/stylish that would be even better!  Maybe something like this?  Or this?  I wish I could find something suitably nerdy!

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Next step is to get some Kvartal rails from IKEA and make the final wall/door.  I have no idea what fabric to use and what configuration it will take.  And it’ll probably take me another year to get to it.

I also made another pair of pajama pants.  This time out of an adorable monkey flannel.  I love how they turned out.  There will definitely be more of these in the future.

Monkey pajamas

Then there is this.  Not sure if he knows I’ve been very tired, that I am sad about Traffic leaving, or happy he doesn’t have to share me with him anymore, but Wixer has been in gone full snuggle this week.

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FO Friday

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Okay, so I’ve been waiting to post about this until it was safe, but its been hard!  Last month Val contacted me with a rather large crafting project, she was looking for a b-day present for her girlfriend Lisa who loves quilts.  We decided on some adorbs pink Snoopy and Woodstock fabric which I would supplement with coordinating prints.  I decided to go with a 50″ by 60″ quilt as that seemed to be a common size among the blankets I use to snuggle under.  I’m not a very experienced quilter so I went with a classic design of simple squares with the interest lying in the arrangement and quilting.  I am extremely proud of how it turned out, it definitely ranks up there in the best projects I’ve ever made.

Quilt

Every other row alternates between individual squares or squares in sets of two. I think it lends a bit of randomness to the design that I really like and makes it feel more like some of the older quilts.

Machine embroidered quilting

I chose to use my embroidery machine to do the final quilting and I really like how it turned out. One of my favorite embroidery design sites had quite a few to choose from which made it easy to find one that fit the style.  That being said if I’m honest, I would say that I still like the full machine quilting that most quilts have where the design doesn’t end from edge to edge, but I think this is a great compromise for me.

Quilt back

I thought this design really fit in with the fabrics on the front. I love it when everything ties together! Val also requested a special quilt square with a rainbow heart and personal message. At first I wasn’t sure how to best accomplish that, and started digitizing a fully embroidered rainbow heart, but then I realized this is a quilt! It should be a quilted heart, obviously. It came out wonderfully!

Custom quilt heart

I am just so proud of this quilt!  Val reports that Lisa loves it and that makes it even better.

 

I’ve made a few more things this week including some additional EarWorms.  I’m really enjoying making them and it reminds me to take a break from doing the same thing over and over.  A little variety is a great boost.

EarWormsEarWorms

A few tug leashes (only one of which I remembered to take a picture of).
Xena

I also came to the conclusion that I need to commandeer some space in one of the rooms downstairs as CraftyTown Adjacent.  I started by looking into a stand to hold my photography backdrop (okay its really just a roll of white curtain backing on some 1″ PVC, but photography backdrop sounds so much fancier).  But then Karl told me they had just mounted it right on the wall with curtain rod brackets.  There are so many awesome things about that idea that I made it happen immediately.  I have tons of other stuff to clutter up my floorspace with!

Stage one photo studio

Its not ideal as the room doesn’t get much natural light at all so I’ll have to make due with the awesome set of photography lights Dave got me last Christmas.  I also don’t love the table I’m using right now as its a little long for the space so I might look into a shorter one the next time I’m feeling flush.  Its also a bit low and not very deep…so yeah, not my favorite.  Baby steps.