Monday, December 26, 2011

A Special Christmas Gift

I grew up in a family that always had a dog, even though the only dog who was a part of my family while I was growing up was our dog Jody. I didn't remember a time without her because my parents got her when I was 1 and they put her down due to old age when I was 13. However, around the time that we were making the decision to put Jody down our neighbors adopted a little yellow lab puppy who they named Gus.

Jody in bed with my brother and I watching Sesame Street

At the time, our neighbors had two little girls which I babysat so it worked out in my favor that while I was sitting for them, I also got to cuddle a tiny bundle of sweet puppy softness. Nothing makes me happier than playing and cuddling with an adorable baby pup. Unfortunately as Gus grew bigger, he also grew farther away from his family. Whether it was his size, or the family's loss of interest in him, they eventually secluded him to a kennel in the backyard that was left over from our previous neighbors.

Jody near the end of her life.

Gus's kennel ran along the fence that separated the neighbor's yard from ours. It consisted of a fenced-in area where the grass had gone bare and it included a ramshackle dog house. Gus spent all of his time in his kennel, receiving the majority of his attention from the daily feeding from his owners. They would come out, fill his bowl, and walk away.

Maybe it was because we recently lost our family dog, or maybe it was because my Dad couldn't stand to see Gus alone day in and day out, but he decided to do something about it. I don't know how exactly it came about but if I remember right, it started with a hole in the fence. One day my Dad got the idea to saw a hole in the fence so that Gus could stick his head through and watch my Dad's never-ending projects, as well as receive a pat on the head every now and then.

Me giving Gus a pat on Easter.

The hole eventually turned into a door that allowed Gus to come all the way into our yard to play and run around. Over the years Gus spent more and more time in the yard with my Dad. Time passed...I left home at 15, my parents divorced, my brother moved out, but my Dad and Gus remained. The neighbors changed too...the girls grew up and the family added a new dog to their household...a smaller, yippy dog that they could carry and walk around the neighborhood with. And yet the attention they gave Gus never evolved past the daily filling of his food bowl.

Gus aged but never lost his spirit. When I adopted Maisy I would take her over to play at my Dad's and Gus would allow her to jump on his arthritic back and he would follow the best he could as she raced around the large yard looking for a squirrel to chase. His tail never stopped wagging even when they would finally lay exhausted in the yard or when they stopped to get a drink of water.

Little puppy Maisy.

In the winter my Dad would bring Gus into the garage to keep him warm and then eventually he bought him a dog igloo that included a heated mat to ease his arthritis. A couple years ago it became achingly apparent that Gus was in a lot of pain. My Dad spoke with the neighbors and not surprisingly they gave my Dad permission to put Gus down. I know it didn't happen right away, I don't think my Dad could bare the thought of losing Gus, but he did eventually make the appointment, and Gus was gone. I don't remember my Dad crying over our other family dogs but I know he cried when he lost Gus, because I heard him.

For the last year or so my Dad had been bugging me about making him a BeBe Baby. He said he didn't care what kind of doll, I think he wanted something he could show his friends. I admit making him a doll wasn't my top priority, but it was mostly because when I make something for someone, I want it to be meaningful, either representative of their personality or significant to their life. So as Christmas rolled around an idea hit me...

I decided to make a little yellow lab BeBe that would have a little dog tag with Gus's name on it. As I worked on him I thought of little things to add like angel wings....

I think my Dad was shocked, and I hope that he is happy with what I came up with for his very own BeBe. It felt good to make something in tribute to a forgotten dog that found a home in an unlikely place. In fact it gave me a bunch of other ideas and feelings about all the puppies that have passed on, loved and unloved. I believe there will be more BeBe tributes to come...

In memory of Gus and all the pups in my life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Food Fail

I'm going to this cardigans and confections party tonight and I had all these ideas of what sweet treat I wanted to make (and I should have stuck with what I know) but instead decided to make these doughnut hole eyeballs in the spirit of Halloween. I originally saw the "recipe" on some Halloween treat site but I couldn't find the same exact site when I went back to make sure I had everything. I remembered it required melted white chocolate and colored icing. That seemed easy enough!

Yesterday when I was trying to find the original site I found all kinds of other people making the same thing and I thought the way this blog displayed them on a fork was cool. So I bought some black forks and a black bowl to display them in along with the chocolate and other ingredients. Unfortunately I didn't read the blog or notice that it was icing and not chocolate. I should have known that me and melted chocolate don't go together because of the long ago Christmas truffle disaster I survived only because my friend at the time was working at a chocolate store. She sailed in and saved Christmas just like Rudloph.

It's a good thing I bought an extra thing of doughnut holes because I'm not sure anyone is going to want these eyeballs. They really don't look that bad but it was not at all what I envisioned. I thought the chocolate would coat them nice and even but instead it would hardly stick and when it did it was goopy. Not only that, but I didn't have any parchment paper so they stuck to my cutting board where I decided to sit them to harden. Of course that meant when I picked them up the bottom chocolate stuck to the board. This actually might have been a good thing because I was wondering how the fork was going to poke through the chocolate without cracking it to pieces.

In addition, the icing I got doesn't appear to harden (I have no experience with icing) and so I have no idea how I am going to transport them without all the icing smearing all over them and whatever container I can figure to put them in (the bowl is not going to work). Ultimately what I have learned from this experience is that I am lost without my Sarah. Whenever I had to make something for a party she always made it with me (for me) and it always came out beautifully.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Winner and How To

The winner of the Mingle mag giveaway is LEFTZ!!! Yaaaaay!

Remember how I was on that diet? Well it got a little derailed (as in I stopped following it strictly but still mostly follow the principles). I have officially lost 20 lbs since the middle of August. I have about 5-10 more pounds to go and am kind of at that plateau stage but that's ok, it isn't my top priority right now.

One problem with weight loss, or weight gain for that matter, is clothing. Most of the pants in my drawers right now are several sizes too big. Luckily I had a tub under my bed of smaller pants so I got it out over the weekend to see if any of the pants fit me. In the tub I found a great pair of black pants that fit at the waist but had these really flared out legs. I have gotten so used to skinny jeans I just did not like how they fit so I decided to alter them.

The process was super easy. I turned them inside out and then took my favorite skinny jeans that fit like I like and layed them on top matching up the outside leg seams. Make sure both pairs of pants are inside out. I used white chalk to mark the inside seam of the pant legs I was altering from the crotch to the bottom following my favorite jeans as a pattern. Then I just sewed along the line, cut the excess fabric and put them on. Instant new pants!

I hope you can tell...I know it is hard to see because they are so dark. Next I have to figure out how to take in some of the other pants I have that fit in the legs but are too loose in the waist.



Sunday, October 16, 2011

Mingle Magazine Giveaway!

Alright everyone, today is the day for the Mingle magazine review and giveaway! Let me start by saying it was a beautiful day today and I was able to sit on my porch with a cup of tea and read the entire magazine from front to back. It may have been because of the rare fall sunshine in Oregon, or how pleasantly quiet my street was today, but the atmosphere for reading through such a beautiful magazine was perfect. Now that evening is approaching I have moved inside, brewed some apple cider tea and am now ready to tell you all about Mingle.

Mingle magazine is dedicated to providing "creative ideas for unique gatherings" and boy is it chock full of ideas and gatherings of all kinds. My first excitement occurred when the second gathering featured was held on my very own Oregon coast. The gathering itself is called Be Present Retreats and there is an abundance of information on what they do and where they are held. What struck me most about the article, other than it happened so close to my home, was a beautiful poem in the middle that was accompanied by pictures of the Oregon coast. I could not find who actually wrote the poem but it pulled at my heart through the words and familiar images. There is more of it but you must pick up the mag to read the poem entirely.

Sometimes life is hard, we said
You are not alone.
There is pain and there is beauty mixed together, we said.
You are not alone.
What is so amazing about this magazine is how they include a real wide range of gatherings, from childrens' birthday parties to weddings to anniversary parties to friends having Saturday beer night to a group of 60 women on a chartered bus antique tour and so, so many more. In 144 pages I think everyone can find something in this magazine to inspire them, but I am going to share a few that inspired me.

I seemed to be struck most by the retreats featured in the magazine which led me to believe something similar would be great for me right now. Even though I'm sure it won't happen due to time or money the pages of Mingle gave me just a little bit of a taste of the goodwill that a wonderful retreat can provide. The below pictures are from a creative retreat by Beth Nicholls and the photos are by Her retreats are called Do What You Love if you would like more information. Can't you just feel the warmth in this room? I would probably never leave.

I think what it is that struck me about these inspiring stories of people coming together to share fellowship is that at this point in my life it is my friends that are keeping me strong. Without good friends and heartfelt companionship it is a lonely, lonely world.

In addition to the heartwarming stories of people connecting with others Mingle is also full of beautiful pictures of food and drinks (because really, what get together is fun without them). Honestly I think I love pictures of food and drinks more than I actually like making them. There are so many beautiful ideas and pictures I barely could figure out what to show you but I decided on two that I might possibly make myself. The first is a ginger ale drink with fresh fruit which is one of my favorite things (although I generally like to toss in a little alcohol hee hee).

The second is a sweet treat because there are just too many in this magazine to ignore. I think there is just about every kind of sweet treat throughout the pages of Mingle to satisfy any ones sweet tooth. I chose to show these because they look delicious and are clever. Find more about the creator at The TomKat Studio.

I would highly recommend this magazine if you love beautiful pictures, reading inspiring stories and/or need ideas for your next amazing gathering. If you want to win your very own copy I have an extra to giveaway to a lucky reader.

The giveaway is going to be up for a week and there are several ways that you can enter (and enter more than once for more chances):

1. Leave a comment on this post to be entered. Also if you do any of the below additional entry options please let me know in your comment so I enter you the correct number of times!

2. Join my mailing list to receive an additional entry. Email to join. You will only receive one email a month (on the first of the month) with news and other special notices for BeBe Babies.
3. "Like" my brand new Facebook fan page and receive an additional entry.
4. Follow my blog and receive an extra entry.
5. Visit my Etsy shop and let me know your favorite doll listed to receive an additional entry.
6. Blog about my giveaway on your blog and receive an additional entry (make sure to give a link to the blog post).

Good luck to everyone and thanks for visiting!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Life Marches On...

Sometimes all we really want to do is hide under the covers and pretend that we never have to get back out again. Unfortunately life marches on with or without us. So we get up, we persevere, and we try our hardest to not let hardship ruin all our hard work. What I needed today was a day to catch up on projects as well as sprinkle some cheer throughout my home.

Besides some much needed yard work, I did a ton of laundry and put up some Halloween decorations. It is already going to be the 4th week of the new school year this week and I can't even believe that much time has gone by already. I feel like I have been running a mile a minute, trying to get used to being on a new campus and a new way of life.

Due to school and all the changes I have barely had time for BeBes but I am excited to say that when I finish this post I am going to get some sewing done. Tomorrow I plan to sew even more as well as post the review I was selected to do for Mingle magazine. Remember I have an extra copy that I will be giving away to one of you lucky readers. Make sure to check back tomorrow! I have already thumbed through it and it looks amazing. I think it will be really fun going through it slowly. Until then...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Last Minute Getaway!

School started this week but last week I was fortunate to spend an entire week at the beach. There was hiking and reading and eating and family and all the things that make a week long vacation perfect. The weather was beautiful the entire time (which if you know anything about the Oregon coast is a miracle in itself).

Cascade Head Trail was amazing. It was perfectly long and ended in an amazing view that was viewed from a high coastal meadow.

I have visited the Yaquina Head lighthouse several times but never knew there were so many trails around it to explore. All the trails are short but make up for it in spectacular views. The clear weather also provided some pretty sweet views of the resident whales that live in the bay.

And finally Beaver Creek state park was super different and interesting. At the trail head there was a sign that stated there had been bear and cougar sightings over the summer which was a little intimidating. The trail starts out on a marsh that is inaccessible in the winter because it is covered in water. It felt a little eerie to walk over squishy marsh grass that is surrounded by water. The hiking trails began after the marsh and wound through the forest and all over a small hill/mountain. It was challenging as well as beautiful. Next time I would love to rent kayaks and paddle through the marsh.

It was a perfect end to the summer and now the hectic school season has begun!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mingle Magazine Giveaway!

Hey everyone! Just want to let you know that my blog was selected to host a giveaway for a brand new magazine from Stampington & Company called Mingle. Look for it coming soon!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Living Room Painting.

I have been spending the last week painting my living room. I don't know why it took me so long to finally do this project because it turned out to be super simple and quick. Not to mention I LOVE how fresh and new it is. I hated the old color, a dingy yellow, and am so happy with my bright blue walls. The only real hiccup was that I had planned to do the trim in white but the white was too bright. I then tried vanilla and it was still too white. Finally the third time was the charm and I settled on antique white which looks awesome. Unfortunately the pictures really aren't doing the blue color justice but here are some photos!



Sunday, September 4, 2011

Doll Show Aftermath

The doll show was a success! Well, at least my most successful show. No matter how much of a success it was there are of course BeBes that didn't find homes so I have just listed them on etsy in my shop.

My Mom and I headed out yesterday morning at 5:30 am and coasted in and out of Portland smoothly. It turns out our table was text to an AWEsome artist I had never met before. My Mom and I were both smitten by her work. Her business name is Marca, check her out! She even gave me some free passes to Faerieworlds Harvest Celebration where she will be exhibiting. I have never been to Faerieworlds (and really have had no desire to go) but I would love to see her work again. I definitely won't let the passes go to waste.

The kits and teaching stuff I was so stressed out about finishing turned out ok but was kind of a flop at the show. I did hand out a couple of my sheets and sold a kit. I ended up doing a kit for making a very, very basic plush pumpkin. The kit was intended to be more of an explanation of my plush design process using the pumpkin as a simple example of how to make a pattern. I think people were confused on how the demo worked at my table and maybe weren't interested in sewing skills. I'm not sure if I am going to list these kits in my shop but I might.

After the show we high tailed it home so I could attempt to be at part of a friend's wedding. The ceremony was at 6:30 and I cruised in at around 7:00 which was just about perfect considering I left Portland at 4:15. I was glad I made it but also exhausted by the end of the night after getting up at 4 am. Overall a great day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Doll Show Preparations Final

Well I am about hit the hay because I will be rising at 4:00 am tomorrow to head to the doll show. At the last minute I finally got my kits done as well as one more big baby. I would like to say more but I am so sleeepy. I hope you will enjoy the photos.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Doll Show Preparations Part 2

Well everybody is tagged and packed. I always do a trial run at my Mom's house to get an idea of how my table is going to look and what I need to bring. I was so worried about not having enough dolls that it was a pleasant surprise that I think I will have more than enough. I snapped a few quick pictures so you can see who will be there and a couple new faces too.

I have one more big OOAK doll to finish as well as the kits for the teaching part I will be participating in. Sure I can do all that tomorrow! Nothing like the last minute! Stay tuned...

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Doll Show Preparations Part 1

Hi everyone! I am running around like a crazy person getting ready for the doll show on Saturday. I have been fortunate that a lot of my dolls have been finding homes lately and it has been hard to build up a stock. I say fortunate because sales are always a good thing but it leaves me feeling anxious that I won't have enough BeBes. I think I have enough, I have to have enough, there is no more time! Aaaaahhhh!

Ok. breathe.

I thought I might need a little break from the crazy thoughts to write a blog post about BeBe goodies. When a BeBe is adopted I always try to send along a little gift with my packages. I have given all kinds of treats like note pads, pins, postcards, stickers, etc. I have been needing something new for a while and I had been contemplating what to get or make. Then I saw this blog post about making InstaMagnets. I thought they were really cute but decided not to use InstaMagnets (mostly because I couldn't figure it out but also because I ended up buying a new printer, which by the way is a long, frustrating story in itself where by the end I had forgot about InstaMagnets anyway).

So! I used an app called Lomo Studios and it allows you to make your pictures look all old timey. It is super easy to use and you can do sepia, black & white and more! Then I printed them out on my snazzy new printer and stuck them to the magnet sheets. It was super easy and I think they look amazing. I think they look so good I might list some in my shop for sale. What do you think?

Monday, August 22, 2011

More Summer!

Yesterday James and I went on an awesome bike ride along the Row River trail which was suggested by my Dad. We started at Mosby Creek and rode to Harms Park were we had a pleasant diet-approved snack and waded in the lake. The ride was awesome and we want to do the entire trek once we are a little more fit and able. I think we probably could do the whole thing but we probably would have been dead because even the small leg we did do made us both sore.

The entire path is paved which was awesome! It was also awesome that there were lot's of places to stop along the way where you could rest or use the bathroom. The trail weaves between farm pastures, forests and lake shores. It is truly beautiful! I had to stop and take a photo of these cows because they were so cute and shy.

When we go again we know we will want to pack swimming suits, towels and wading shoes because when we finally reached the lake we had the whole beach to ourselves. There were a few picnic tables and fire pits but no people! When we were leaving a couple people showed up but not before we had our fill of wild blackberries and wading in the water.

DIET UPDATE: In one week James has lost 12 lbs and I have lost 3.5!!!

Oh and check out the Etsy shop I am adding these two shortly!