Sunday, 14 December 2014

Handmade Monday 198

Hello and welcome to Handmade Monday!

This week started off being busy, then just got completely out of hand!  The reason was my wine o' clock clock showing its face in the Daily Express on Wednesday.  It was via Swanky Maison, who are very good at getting publicity for their sellers.

In other news, Quentin's mysterious leg symptoms are still being investigated.  He has another x-ray this week on his front legs.  He saw the Guide Dogs' own vet this week who still isn't sure of a diagnosis.

And I'm sorry for the short post this week - but I'm writing this surrounded by packages ready for posting, clocks waiting for mechanisms and other clocks and plaques waiting for finishing.  I think I need to ignore them all and put my feet up and eat something!  Or maybe find myself a real glass of wine instead of a painted one!

I'm thinking we might take a break from Handmade Monday over the festive season - is that OK with you?  I can leave this week's linky open longer to make up for it.  A huge thank you to everyone who has taken part this year.

Hope you have a fabulous Christmas and New Year.  In the meantime...

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Handmade Monday 197

Hello and welcome to Handmade Monday!

I don't have much time to do anything other than paint customers' orders at the moment.  It's nice to be busy (of course) but it will be nice to get a break, too, when Christmas arrives!  This one will be another wine o' clock...

In between painting, I've been cuddling Quentin when he gets a sudden (it always seems sudden) pain in his leg(s).  I feel so sorry for him every time it happens because he does seem to panic a bit.

He's still on "strict rest" which I'm told means no more than 15 minutes a day walking on a lead and definitely no free running.  I think he must wonder why we never go anywhere good these days!  His jumping in and out of the car is also restricted to necessary trips only (such as the vet).  He'll visit the Guide Dogs centre later this week to see their own vet.  He loves going there as it's always a treat to get attention (he thinks everyone he meets is his new best friend) plus he sees other dogs!

How has your week been?  Please add your link to join in with Handmade Monday.

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Handmade Monday 196

Welcome to Handmade Monday!

Well, with December upon us tomorrow, the madness that is the run-up to Christmas has arrived.  For me, this means lots of furious painting to get personalised gift orders out for customers...

There seems to be a widely-held misconception that painting for a living is always calm, serene and stress-free.  While the stress involved is minimal and couldn't begin to equate to my last full-time job (teaching young offenders), or indeed many other people's jobs, it never feels calm or peaceful when there are deadlines to meet and commissions to get right!

Every year is the same, and my seriously under-developed organisational (more specifically: advance planning) skills probably make it harder than it should be.  But it's truly amazing to think how many people will be wrapping and opening gifts designed and made by me.  I can never quite get my head around that one.  It doesn't fit in with my own image of my products, and it definitely doesn't fit in with the mess that is my workspace!

Quentin's x-ray came back with good news - there is nothing to suggest hip dysplasia, so his career aspirations are unchanged.  Not that he's aware of any of that, of course!  He's been prescribed rest and painkillers for a further 10 days.  It's still looking like panosteitis, though - one of his front legs is now affected too.  It's intermittent and in between he seems fine.  He may need a CT scan if rest doesn't cure it.

If it does turn out to be panosteitis, his exercise will be severely restricted for maybe a few months, and he'll be likely to stay with us for longer than planned.  But it won't affect his ability to carry on as a potential guide dog - his formal training will just start later than usual, which might give him a bit more chance to grow out of his excitability.  I'm not holding my breath on that one though.  Apparently, he knocked the vet to the floor in his excitement before being given a general anaesthetic on Friday.

What's been happening in your week?  It's over to you now...

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Handmade Monday 195

Hello!  Welcome to Handmade Monday!

I'm a bit like a rat on a treadmill at the moment.  Running fast, going nowhere!  Still, there is a little creativity time in there, which is something to be grateful for!

Quentin is now awaiting an x-ray on both hips.  His enforced strict rest hasn't gone as badly as I expected!  I thought he'd be a bit bonkers, and while he does have his bonkers moments, they generally don't last too long.  He's allowed very short walks, but that's all.  He is still in pain at times, and it does make him panic a bit.  Poor boy.

It's over to you now - add your link to join in with Handmade Monday!

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Handmade Monday 194

Welcome to Handmade Monday!

There hasn't been a great deal of artwork made this week.  The Christmas rush is starting over here and that's been taking up most of my time.  Still, it involves paintbrushes, pens and creativity so I can't complain!

a little artwork hanger being made

Poor Quentin!  I mentioned last week about him sleeping with his legs under furniture.  I'm not sure that the yelps he made when getting up were due to him getting stuck under furniture - it may be something else altogether that's going on.  He's been reluctant at various times to put weight on both his back legs (not both at the same time, fortunately).

The vet has prescribed painkillers and strict rest.  He's allowed very short lead walks, but a lot of them turn out even shorter than I anticipated - sometimes we haven't even made it to the corner 100 yards away - because he just doesn't want to walk.

here he is concentrating on a tiny treat - practising the stay command!

We're waiting to see if the problem persists beyond two weeks, in which case he'll have x-rays.  It could be something very serious called hip dysplasia - extremely rare in guide dog puppies because of their careful breeding.  But it can still happen.  He would be withdrawn from the programme immediately and - sadly - he'd need an owner with more money than me, because he'd be likely to need expensive operations to keep him mobile and pain free.

It could also be panosteitis which is less serious and more likely.  This would mean his strict rest will probably continue for several months and he'll be with me longer than he would otherwise have been - but he could still continue his training and become a guide dog.

Fingers and paws are very firmly crossed here this week!

How's your week been?  Join in with Handmade Monday and let us know...

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Handmade Monday 193

Hello and welcome to Handmade Monday.

I didn't get to try out the "portable design studio" (thank you Carie for that terminology!) as I had planned to.  In case you weren't around here last week, I'm referring to the scanning of dozens of hand drawn elements to make my digital art more mobile.

Mum and Dad both made it to the reminiscence group on Monday - Dad was having a good day - although Mum said everything went over Dad's head.  And Tuesday's scrabble group turned out to be just a bit too early for Mum.  She never was an early riser, and she sure isn't going to change at the age of 87.  Maybe it will just be an occasional visit on days when the mornings don't feel as much of a challenge to her.

I've realised I've let my parents' needs dominate my time quite heavily - it's difficult not to.  But I'm trying to work out ways of shoehorning in more design time and making the process more mobile has got to be a good start!

Quentin's not been the slightest bit concerned about fireworks this week.  When we were out walking and a quite loud and colourful rocket attracted his attention, he just looked interested rather than worried.  It's a good sign that nothing is scaring him - guide dogs need to be confident in all situations.

Recently he's been sleeping with his feet under furniture quite a lot (as above) then yelping because he can't get them out quick enough when he jumps up.  He's growing rapidly and I guess he has to learn about how his body works in a new size!

It's time for Handmade Monday - you can join in here:

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Book Review: Learn to Sew with Lauren

Some of you will remember Lauren Guthrie from when she appeared on the Great British Sewing Bee.  She was a lovely contestant and I can't have been the only one rooting for her!  Since then, Lauren has been super-busy.  She has her own fabric shop (you can buy online if you don't live nearby) and has now written her first book!

And what a gorgeous book it is.  It's the kind of book that makes me think of days gone by, simply because it's got a really substantial hard cover and full size pull out patterns - both rarely seen in these days of downsizing and downloading!

The step-by-step instructions look super easy to follow.  There's a mix of photos, pretty diagrams and clear instructions.  I'm not the target audience (it's being sold as a learn to sew book) but I could certainly use some of the patterns in here.

I have someone in mind as a recipient for my copy of the book.  She will love it, and I think she'll enjoy building her skills with the pull out patterns and clear instructions.

Thank you Lauren - a beautiful and useful addition to anyone's bookshelf.  It will make a great Christmas gift for anyone who loves to sew, but particularly beginners.

You can order a signed copy of the book on Lauren's website, Guthrie and Ghani.  You can also keep up with Lauren's news by following her blog.