Tuesday, June 29, 2010

More sneak peak....BFAC

I actually ran out of beads from the Beading for a Cure kit! I had purchased additional beads because I knew I wanted to do a bigger piece than last year, but after running out of tube extra tubes of the size 11 orchids, I decided I needed some help. I went onto my Delphi Group "All About Beads" & let the girls there know that I needed more beads. Instantly, Gretchen responded & told me she had both the translucent & the matt...yippee! I know, but I still won't haven enough so Tracey said she had part of another tube...I jumped on that too. I still hope there is enough to finish the beaded hair. I finished the "baby" with what Gretchen sent, but haven't started to complete the head of hair. Usually I like longer hair on a doll, but the weight would have made the doll topple over, so I gave her shorter curly hair. I still need to finish more surface embellishment on the Mother & then use the crystals for a fringe for the Baby. I have until August 3rd to finish, get pictures and mail her off. Whew...but I can get it done. I'm leaving next Wednesday for a week out in Seattle visiting my friend Cynthia & would really like to get it done before I leave. Don't know if I can do that as even though I have the next three days off from work, I'm going to take my Mom up to Holmes County Thursday as she's never seen the Amish (plus I want to get more wool felt in Berlin & Chris wants to try out his new camera), and Friday I'm working a full shift at Byzantium. Oh and barbeque at my cousin's on the 3rd...work four more days, pack, mail stuff...and try to bead & relax. I'm tried just writing about it. But anyway...this is for Gretchen & the girls on Delphi-Mother's Love. By the way, if you want to know how big this doll is, I just measure her & she is 14 inches tall.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Frodo's teeth

No pictures today to go with this post...maybe because I'm afraid to look in Frodo's mouth! He had FIFTEEN...count them...15 teeth removed today. I'm still in shock. PLUS...he was missing two molars lost somewhere. He's okay now and was very very very happy to see Chris & I when we picked him up. Fiona had two teeth extracted a couple years ago and she was semi-comatose when we picked him up. All the Vet Techs were amazed at how he was acting with all those teeth missing, but he's the high energy boy around here.

How could a wee Scottish Terrier lose so many teeth? Well, it all started when he was a wee puppy. Our backyard faces the school property with 6 big blue spruce trees against our fence...and the rabbits love to live there. Early on, Frodo decided he hated the rabbits. Just as a little guy he would stand on his side of the fence and put his big Scottie head through the gaps in the slates. Then as he grew and his head grew, he decided he needed to do something so he could get his head out just to bark at rabbits. I have no idea how long this all took as we have lots of shrubs and flowers along the perimeter of the fence to give our backyard a English garden look. So imagine our big surprise in the Fall of Frodo's first year to find holes all in our fence...chewed out Frodo head size holes! He actually gnawed away the wood to make himself places to observe his favorite barking obsession. He never stopped no matter what we did. We put kennel wire along most of the wooden fence...he pulled the kennel wire away. We put black plastic so he couldn't see the rabbits...he ripped that away. He had to see. He had to bark. He had to put his head through that fence!

Eventually he stopped that behavior when he realized that if he could climb onto the boulder on the back of the property, he could see OVER the fence and look down onto rabbit kingdom. Oh wasn't that enjoyable when he taught Arwen how to climb the boulder & there would be two barking snarling rabbits. Thank god, Fiona's legs are shorter & she can't climb or else there would be three Scotties squeezed onto the top of that granite boulder screaming away at the top of their lungs. I guess there is mercy in this world for my ears.

Then Frodo discovered that on the other side of the chain link fence covered with ivy there was a magical sidewalk where other dogs and children would walk to get to the school property. He was in dog heaven trying to figure out how to use his teeth to pull the chain link out so he could...yes you figured it out...stick his head under the chain link so he could bark, bark, bark. I'm sure that might be where he lost those other two molars. We reinforced the chain link & yes, even eventually put MORE kennel wire up. He is just a very determined Scottie. You see dogs with their heads hanging out the window as cars are speeding by at 50 mph...I guess Frodo having his head sticking out the fence is in the same area of dog enjoyment.

But now he's paying back for all those years of gnawing like a beaver at our wooden fence. I'm still in shock. You know all those tiny teeth top and bottom between the two canines...gone! All them molars on top and three on the bottom...gone! Plus more...so between Fiona being sick all last week from eating a dead rabbit and now Frodo's dental disaster, we only have one healthy dog...Arwen. So it is all boiled hamburger and rice for another week in the Lewallen household. I was reminded when I shaking signed the VISA slip that at least I don't have to send them to college or pay for weddings...at least I guess that is a plus.

So anyone want to buy some of my stuff??? I have a nice Scottie purse for sale...call it Frodo's teeth sale!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Behind on May

I finished my May BJP back in May, but it has taken me this long to catch my breath and tell the story. For me this is becoming the most creative part of this year's journey with beads...telling the stories behind the items. I usually can whip up the beading in a day or two, but pulling that story out from my gut is hard...especially about May. Why? Let me first tell you what I found and what it means to me.

I was cleaning my bedroom closet which is no easy chore as it is stuffed from floor to ceiling with boxes of Scottie things that I've collect over the years. There are cards, novelties, scarves, shoes, and shirts all stacked one of top of the other. Do you really believe they are NEATLY stacked? NO! So I decided to reach back in there & pull some things out just to see how big of a chore this was going to be. I reached way back between two big tote bags (Scotties on them of course) and my fingers touched a plastic bag the likes of which you bring groceries home from the store. I couldn't figure out what it was. So I tugged it out, sat on the bed and opened the bag. It was fur-black and gray fur. It was Fala's fur from the very last time I cut his hair two weeks before he died. I pulled the fur out, lifted it to my nose and breathed in Fala...it still after 10 years smelled exactly like he did. In the very bottom of the bag was a small pin of a Scottie angel that someone sent me the month he died. I'm sorry, that I can't remember who gave it to me as that was a very terrible time of my life. Fala touched so many lives besides mine, and so many people gave me something or wrote me wonderful messages about Fala. I have them all printed out someplace (probably in anther box in that closet) and someday will find the strength to get them all out and read them over again.

Now why did Fala touch so many lives? LOL! Let me first show you this picture of me & Fala when he was barely 4 months old. He came to live with us back in 1989 in our brand new house. I'd always dreamed of having a dog of my own. I grew up with dogs, but they belonged to the family and mostly either to my brother or one of my sisters. So I'd never really had a dog all of my own. At first, I wanted a wire fox terrier like Astra in the Thin Man movies, but I could not find a puppy back then. I wasn't very well educated on exactly how to buy a puppy, so I searched the want ads in the Columbus Dispatch. I found an ad for 3 black male Scottish Terriers $250 each. I took the ad to Chris and asked him what he thought. Well, he'd never had a dog in his life...ever! So he wasn't sure he even wanted a dog at that point, but I can be very persuasive when I want. I promised we'd go just to see. When I saw the two remaining puppies with their Mom, I KNEW I had to have one. The next day, I went back with a box and brought my puppy home. Next the hard part. What to name this living breathing creature a name worthy of their love and devotion. I agonized and finally came up with Fala after Franklin Roosevelt's Fala. I'd seen a picture of Fala hanging out the side of FDR's convertible while at Hyde Park and fell in love with that doggie smile. So he became Fala, but he needed a middle name...I finally picked Pink...for...wait...Pink Floyd as I adored David Gilmour at the time. So he became FalaPink.

Did I say I'd never raised a puppy before? Now that can be an entirely different story in itself! I had to figure out how to house break a rambunctious puppy in a house with beige carpets, a yard with no fence, a crate that was too big, and a husband who was on the verge of a nervous breakdown with each puppy accident. Finally I figured it all out, got a smaller crate, gates for the kitchen, and A FENCE! As Fala grew and grew and grew, my love for this dog grew even more. He loved me no matter what I did...cut his nails...loved! brushed his teeth...loved! He loved to lay on my lap, sleep on my feet, and do just about anything I would do. He and I adored each other. I felt that the big gigantic hole in my soul was filled with this one medium size Scottie dog. Fala became very protective of me. He and I would be sitting on this atrociously ugly blue couch we had at the time, and Chris would decided to come over and sit next to me. Fala would lift his head, glare and Chris and give him the "elvis snarl". Chris told me Fala hated him...well, no not really...Chris had to learn to relax. He did finally, and I saw him once on a vacation show someone a picture of "my boy" so proud of Falakins.

When Fala was about a year old, Chris was upstairs while I was down in the family room doing what Fala loved more than anything in the world...brushing his fur until my arms ached. Chris said..."Dot, there are Scotties on the Internet". This was 1990 and the internet was not at all what it is now with Facebook, blogging, twitter, and probably more new things that I know about. It was pretty clunky back then and most of the "chatting" being down was on bulletin boards or e-mail groups. Up until then, I had no interest in the computer at all. I worked with one and that was enough for me. Why would I come home and spend hours on end trying to get the computer to draw a circle inside a box? But when Chris said there were Scotties on the Internet, I was intrigued. That is when I found an e-mail group called Scottie-L. How it worked was that you would join the group, the owner would approve, then you send an e-mail to their server and that e-mail would got out to all the other people who had "subscribed" to this e-mail group. So every day, I'd get between 10 to 20 e-mails from strangers all with one thing in common...the love of the Scottish Terrier. I was thrilled to write to people and find out their Scotties had done what Fala did and slowly built up a group of online friends. It was miraculous! I had to have my own computer as I spent hours writing to these people long e-mails. I bonded with them, and even would exchange phone numbers and spent hours chatting on the phone about our dogs.

Then Chris asked me if I was interested in having a webpage. Our server was introducing something new. I believe this had to be around 1992-1993. I said sure! It was tough going as everything had to be coded to be downloaded to the big server. Chris did a great job formatting all the stories I wrote about Fala. He then started to format pictures. Suddenly there was our FalaPink out on the internet. It was called Scottie Obsession, and it was all about Fala. I have to put a little brag here as it was one of the very first personal webpages about a dog on the internet. Every day I wrote more stories about the adventures of FalaPink. Every day, I'd get more and more people finding the website and writing to me. I'd point them into the direction of Scottie-L to join the wonderful online community of crazy nutty Scottie people. Then one day a person wrote and said, she didn't have a way to post a picture of her Scottie. Back then you could not embed a photo into an e-mail on the early groups (this was way before Yahoo came along). So I told her to snail mail me a picture, I'd scan it, and post it to my Scottie Obsession webpage. We called this "Fala's Furry Friends". Soon we had over 100 pictures of people's Scotties from all over the world on Scottie Obsession. Most people did not know how to scan or convert the the photos to a .jpg format to post on the internet, so I'd get letter almost every day with photos of stranger's beautiful Scottish Terrier. With each photo was also a letter introducing that person to me starting the beginning of so many friendships with people from as far away as South Africa, Norway, Japan, and all over the United States. It grew and grew and grew! Then I began to travel across the US meeting some of these wonderful Scottie people. We shared a glass of wine, a good story, and lots of laughs about our favorite dog in the world.

Me and Fala when he was 8 years old

I cannot tell you how many people I met over the years that Scottie Obsession was live. I still know many of those people, and have watched as the Scottie folks have come aboard the Internet each making it a place for someone to share stories and met friends. It even changed me by introducing me to a crazy woman from Seattle who sent me a picture of her Lucy the Scottie and Darby the Wolfhound. She and I met at Scottie antique conference and instantly knew we'd be friends forever. We tried to figure it out and think that has been almost 15 years ago! She was the first person to drag me to Byzantium to buy a pair of ear post. She was the one who told me about a group called BeadArt on DelphiForums. She was the one who sent me ultra suede, beads, and talked me into at least trying bead embroidery. Yes, I met Cynthia online may years ago on Scottie-L and through my FalaPink's website.

FalaPink and me about a week before he died

Scottie Obsession brought other people together also, and though it hasn't been on the Internet it over 10 years, I still have people write and tell me that it was one of the first things they found when first on the computer, type in Scottish Terrier in the search, and found Fala's face looking out at them. So this wee rascal of a puppy brought me into a different world than the one I had thought would be my destiny. Because of that one loving dog, I found friends all over the world. I found communities of like mind people who wanted to share and link with each other. Fala died 10 years ago this coming August, but he is still living with me every single day. I love my boy, and think that now I can possibly find all those stories about him and share them with the World Wide Web again.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Mz. Fiona

Fiona has been getting sluggish lately. I know it is because she is so hot. I do need to get her downstairs and give her a haircut. I use to spend hours giving her a "Scottie-do", but she doesn't seem to care what she looks like. She is happier, when I shave her down all the way, get rid of the skirt, and even the beard. The first time I cut her beard off, Chris was upset because she looked so weird, but let's face it...Fiona is a slob of a dog. She never cleans anything & seems to be the only Scottie I've ever own that have food in her beard constantly...my friend Cynthia said she just does that to have some "late night snackers". Okay, that might be true, but they stink! So I often just clip off her beard which on a Scottie does look strange. I figured out how to shave most of the offending hair off leaving her something so that people who look at her don't scratch their heads wondering what kind of dog she is. So, probably Monday & Tuesday she & I have an appointment with the groomer...aka, me!

Fiona is 10 years old plus. She is getting slower, and sleeps many hours. Her favorite place to sleep is under the kitchen table with her head hanging over the support of the table. She'll sleep there for hours having her "puppy-mares" of chasing something. Sometimes she has dream barks and you can hear her moaning & yipping while her legs are jerking away in dream chase. She has decided that she does not like to accompany Arwen and Frodo racing across the yard barking at anything out in the field. She prefers to sit on the patio and do a few "woofs" just to show she's helping out. BUT..if anything gets in the yard or darts across the top of the fence, she is like greased lightening rushing out to investigate. Right now, she's all excited because something must have died on the other side of the fence (probably a baby bird or mole). She's is walking circles in the yard with her nose up in the air catching the delicious scent...she probably wants to roll in the "stink" and smell nice & doggy. I sometimes forget how much I love this old dog. She is the first to see me in the morning when I get home from work. She sits on the stairs with her head sticking out until I've given her what she considers the right amount of "stair love". Then we go upstairs, get Frodo and Arwen out of their crates & go out back for the morning & then breakfast. And god forbid if I'm late on breakfast. She lets me know if I'm too slow in the preparation. I do love this old girl.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Not easy and another sneak peak

I'm back from a 4 day class on Tambour beading with Bob Havens who teaches costuming at the University of Kentucky. If you are like me, after watching this YouTube video on how Bob does this incredible beading stitch, you'll think...oh I can do that. I thought that, so when I signed up for the class and headed down to Kentucky last Tuesday afternoon, I was full of excitement in learning a new beading technique. The first day we spent the morning mounting our piece on to the frame, drew out the pattern, and was introduced to the tambour hook. It was all downhill after that. I became so frustrated trying to work the hook, that I was almost in tears. The second day wasn't any better after Bob tried to help me get the mechanics of the hook. I could feel my stomach aching so around 11am, I left the class and went back to my hotel. I was ready to go home and just say forget the fact that there is 2 1/2 more days. I didn't go back to the afternoon session, but instead took a nap & drove around Lexington checking out the bead store (okay, don't bother) and the thrift stores (again, don't bother). I had a nice dinner all by myself and slept 9 hours. I dreamed about that tambour hook. I dreamed about holding it, manipulating it, and trying to work with it on the frame. I woke up with an idea, but since I left my frame back in the class room, I couldn't experiment. So on the third day at around 10am, I had that "aha" moment when it all clicked. So I spent the rest of the day just practicing with the hook doing rows and rows of chain stitch. I hadn't even picked up a bead or sequin at this point. Bob was happy that I the "slow" one finally got it as everyone else was just speeding along. He then tells me that it took him 10 years to figure it all our & that most of the other students had taken a 2 day class with him in Chicago the previous year. Then one by one the other students told me they had taken many embroidery classes. Me? This was my first. Bob then noticed that I sew left to right. I've always sewn left to right for bead embroidery, cross stitch and crewel. Well, I guess to correctly be able to securely hold the beads/sequins to sew them down using the hook, I have to sew right to left. Talk about trying to teach an old dog new tricks. So, then I had to practice trying to do chain stitches right to left...it was hard! I did get some fibers out to play around with as I need to relax so I wouldn't feel so frustrated. I enjoyed this, and Bob thought it a great new way to use the hook. So the question that everyone was asking me...did you have fun? No, not really as it was frustrating and hard. Will you do it again? I am not giving up on tambour beading, but I see that it is going to take many many hours of practice before I can even get to the point that the other students were when I left Saturday. Will I ever get to the point that I can make something using the tambour hook...after 10 years, maybe? So all in all...valuable lesson....if you are going to take a class that falls out of your comfort zone...ask more questions than I did and be prepared to struggle before you finally get that moment of "yes, I got it".

To keep myself from totally getting to the point where I would break down, I sewed on Mother's Love to keep my fingers nimble and to relax my screaming mind. Didn't I say how much bead embroidery is a therapy? It is! So here are a couple pictures. I have not done any surface embellishment and the face needs more work.