November 30, 2011

Let The Merriment Commence...

If you know me, you know that I'm really silly about my Birthday. (See? I capitalized the word "Birthday".) I consistently s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the celebration of my BIG day every year. In that spirit, it's time for the merriment to commence.

The celebration officially began last Saturday when a package arrived from my friend, Denise in Vermont. Denise always includes Vermont maple treats in her surprise packages, and this year was no exception. Two sweet maple lollipops in the shape of maple leaves are always a welcome treat!

A cute Corgi Birthday card was included, with a much appreciated message from my dear and generous friend.
Denise also sent a box that revealed these perfect little pewter acorns. Danforth Pewter is located in Vermont! Two are buttons and one is a tac pin.
As soon as I realized that it was a pin, I knew where it would reside. This is the quilted name tag I made to wear to our Disconnected Piecers Quilt Guild meetings. Now, whenever anyone asks about the acorn, I can proudly tell them that it was a gift from my friend in Vermont.

Thank you, Denise (and Neil). I love everything! I promise I'll share the lollipops with Handsome. He just loves that maple candy you send to me him. I'm so grateful for your gifts - but much more grateful for your friendship. Sending warm and grateful hugs your way.

So, it's official. Let's see how long I can stretch out the celebration this year.  I think I'll host a giveaway on my actual birthdate. You'll have to keep track all week to find out more! Don't you love surprises? (giggling) I do, too.
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November 29, 2011

Tuesdays With Tag - First Day of Camp...

Last week was pretty exciting for Tag. It was time to take him to "Camp" to learn good citizenship (and a few other useful and fun things).

Handsome and I have had a long, long relationship with the Sommers family in Wisconsin and now, in Florida. So, when it's time to call in the pros, we head to wherever the Sommers are.

We took Tag over to Mike and Joann's facility the day before Thanksgiving, and were so happy to know that we'd be spending the holiday with our friends this year.

We arrived late Wednesday, settled Tag in his "suite", and then the four of us went off to share a relaxing dinner. Tag's "evaluation" would wait until Thanksgiving morning.
Although Tag sauntered into his kennel and ate dinner without hesitation, he was a little overwhelmed by the nighttime proximity of dogs he didn't know. He's used to sleeping on the bed with me, or in his nice comfy crate at night, so having the "open air" arrangement with a leggy goldidoodle on one side and a little black lab (sharing accommodations with a little spaniel) left him barking on and off all night (even though he played with the spaniel through the wire during the day).

Mike (and later, I) both checked on him overnight, but he was less than thrilled to be in his otherwise comfortable kennel. (Don't fret. He was completely fine on Night Two, after we put him in his own crate inside the kennel. He just likes to be a little cozier when he sleeps. Once Mike figured that out, he didn't make a single peep all the second night!)
Thanksgiving morning, Handsome and I settled into lawn chairs so we could have a ring-side seat of the evaluation. Mike started out with a little obedience (heel and sit) and then wanted to check out Tag's fetching skills.  Tag was happy to show Uncle Mike how smart he is. Mom was so proud!
After about a half hour of obedience work and running, Mike took Tag for a little swim in a safe, monitored family pond.  As you can see in the distance, there's a swim platform that the family uses regularly. No alligators allowed!

Even so, I was nervous about him being in the pond and voiced that to Mike. The rest of his water work will be in their pool instead to put my mind at ease. Thanks, Mike!
Tag loved the swimming, but he wasn't ready for his water retrieving yet. (See the dummy floating in the water behind him?) By the time he's finished with Camp, he'll be jumping into the water to bring that back...and he'll do it with true Corgi flair!
Somebody pinch me. He's so stinkin' cute! Even wet!
Look at his tail nub up in the air!
He's such a confident little man.
Did I mention the mud?
Yeah. Mud.
After all. What's Camp without a little mud?

I've asked Mike to make sure that Tag sends postcards home from time to time. You may think I'm a really brave mom for letting Tag go away for seven painfully long weeks! a while. Not really. It's taking everything I have not to travel the three and a half hours across the state to kidnap him and bring him home! I have to keep telling myself that when he comes back, he will be trained and well-mannered for a lifetime of harmony with us. And he won't lose a single ounce of all the traits that make him uniquely Corgi

I can just imagine him lying upside down in his little crate at night (perhaps missing me), but proud of his daily accomplishments. I'm really looking forward to that first postcard!

So, 'til next time...

"More Wagging and Less Barking!"
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November 27, 2011

Memory Lane Monday - Remembering Grandpa...

L-r: My great-grandfather, Percy; unknown; and my grandfather LaVerne. circa 1927.
He was born in Buena Vista, Wisconsin on January 11, 1911, was forty three years old when I became his first grandchild. He was 16 in this picture. It was taken in my great-grandfather's garage. This was before the building burned to the ground, necessitating a complete rebuild not long after.

Grandpa always worked with his hands and he was a genius when it came to building or repairing anything mechanical. But he had other talents, as well.
Grandpa was also well-versed in the fine arts of pickling and wine-making. He made some fierce dandelion, currant, gooseberry and grape wine (to name but a few).

When we'd visit my grandparents, he'd delight in bringing out jugs of his favorites (especially if they'd fermented for a few years) so that Mum could be his taste-tester. He'd sit with a wide grin on his face, offering her a jigger at a time, and watching her get silly from all those little sips.
I now own two of Grandpa's crocks. One has a two gallon capacity and the other is a beautiful twenty gallon crock with metal bands. I have them where I see them every day, and not one day passes that I'm not reminded of him.
I adored this man. He was hard-working, and although he could turn a room blue with his colorful language, he never raised his voice or passed a cross word with me.
Grandpa and me. Taken 1995 in Cedar Grove, WI
When Handsome and I still lived in Wisconsin, I was only about a half hour away from the nursing home where he spent his sunset years. I'd visit him at least once a week, and ask him to tell me stories from the days working in Alaska, where he helped build the Al-Can Highway. They were stories he was always happy to share with me. Stories of bears, the great outdoors, big machines and his adventurous life in "the wild". I knew he frequently embellished those stories for me, but I didn't care. 

He lost his right thumb as a child, and it wasn't until he passed that Grandma finally told me the true story. (He always said that she cut it off in a fit of pique, but we all knew that wasn't true!) When he and I spent all those hours chatting and sharing the past, he'd punctuate his stories with that left hand held in the air, fingers wrapped around the stub of his thumb. If I close my eyes, I can see him to this very day.

As we parted at the end of each visit, I'd always ask him if he wanted me to bring anything when I returned. He'd always say, "No, Honey. Everything is copacetic. See you next week." As I headed for the door he'd add, "But if you'd like to bring a couple of O'Henry bars with you, that would be nice." I always brought them for him. (From time to time, I'll eat an O'Henry bar in his memory now.)

He died January 15, 1999, only a few hours' drive from his birthplace. I was at his side, holding his hand. As his eldest granddaughter, I was honored to give the eulogy at his funeral. It gave me the opportunity to share my memories of his gigantic personality with his many friends and family.

It's with great affection that I share just a small portion of my memories today. I'm proud to have been his granddaughter, but more than that I'm proud to have been a part of the life of this honest man.
Thank you for joining me for another Memory Lane Monday. If you have a memory you'd like to share, please link up your post below.
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Sunday Scripture...

 "Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving
And pay your vows to the Most High;
Call upon Me in the day of trouble;
I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.”
- Psalm 50:14 
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November 26, 2011

Two Silhouettes On The Shade...

...well, on the wall, actually.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with friends, and hope that your celebration was memorable, too. Thank you to everyone for your holiday messages. I'm so thankful for all of you. As we're still eating (another meal with friends this evening!), I wanted to share a little something special from our family archives.

I know that silhouettes are returning in decor lately, so I decided to hang our precious family heirloom in my studio. I think it's perfect above my vintage baby dresses adorned with Michelle Palmer's acorn art.
These two silhouettes were created of my Handsome husband and his younger brother when they were children. Their mom protected the images behind glass in a black oval frame with gold trim.
I always consider myself fortunate to be able to choose from beautiful items that my mother-in-law kept safe and protected during my husband's lifetime. Because of her care, I'm able to continue that tradition, even as we enjoy them in our own home.

So, at a time when we remember all those things for which we give thanks, I can add my husband and his family - and the heirlooms that mark the moments of their lives - to my list.
You'll remember from last year that I don't "do" Black Fridays. I prefer to create many of my gifts or buy from other artists. I'm going to enjoy the rest of this weekend, and then I'll prepare my list. You can look forward to my annual flurry of activity as I make those gifts that will be shared with family and friends. It all starts next week!
Don't forget that I'll serve up another memory for you on Monday - and hope you'll share a post from your past, too! That leftover turkey is waiting, so I'll close for now. Make the most of your weekend!
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November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving...

 Thanksgiving Blessings 
to you and your loved ones.

Wishing you a day filled with
family, good food and relaxation.
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November 23, 2011

Now For Something New...

I've been working on a new project for a while now, and I'm finally ready to share my excitement with you! You know how I've become totally smitten since my first exposure to Corgis, and how much I loved Fezzik, and now Taggart. I wanted to create a line with which to share my new found Corgi love.
You'll find a new category in my Brynwood Boutique and my Etsy shop called "For The Love Of A Corgi".
You'll find note cards, mug mats (mugs not included), can coozies and more. I've been so busy in the studio, and I'm still working on new things for you. (Quantities on some items may be limited before Christmas, but there's still plenty of time to place an order.)
I hope you enjoy browsing my newest creations.  They'll make perfect gifts for your favorite Corgi lover - or anyone who knows the love of a dog (or two, or three!).
This has really been a Labor of Love, and I'm looking forward to creating new Corgi items for other Corgi fans.

If you're traveling to celebrate Thanksgiving this year, take care and travel safely. This year I'm thankful for all of you!
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November 22, 2011

Tuesdays With Tag - Off To Boot Camp...

Taggart and I have been having some important conversations lately.
(I took all these pictures yesterday so you could see what a good-looking boy he's turning into.)
He's already seven and a half months old. Handsome and I have been working on his training, but he can be obstinate and I'm not as consistent as I should be. It's really important to me that he learns his lessons, and I admit his stubbornness has been a little frustrating.

Handsome and I had a long talk about this and, after much deliberation, we agreed that Tag is the most strong-willed dog we've ever owned. Handsome could certainly do all the training, but when finished, Taggart would be more his dog than mine, and that wasn't the plan.

We decided it would be best for Tag to learn from a professional. We want him to learn everything he needs to know without diminishing his unique Corgi personality.
So, this week Taggart is going to train with a man with whom Handsome and I have worked for over thirty years. He is also the son of a trainer we always referred to as "The Maestro".

Ray Sommers had a way with dogs of all breeds, and he trained Handsome's father's first retriever.  His son, Mike shared his passion for dogs, and with Ray, they taught us much of what we know about working with our own. They were the original "Dog Whisperers" in Wisconsin.
Michael learned through hard work at his father's side, and he later built his own training business on his personal considerable talent. Sadly, Ray passed away a number of years ago - and he is missed by all who knew and loved him, including Handsome and me.
We're so fortunate that Mike and his wife, Joann chose to relocate to Florida before we came here. Taggart will be moving over to their facility tomorrow, where he will remain for the next seven weeks. Mike will teach him the finer points of citizenship, and then follow up with training to retrieve.

We've decided that Taggart should learn to retrieve because it's some of the best exercise available for a dog, and it will be a great way for Tag to burn off excess energy and stay in shape.
I've been telling Tag about this since I made the arrangements. He's not quite sure what to make of this program, but I know that once he gets into his "school mode", he's going to fall in love with the regimen.

I'm going to miss my little guy, but will see him about three times during "Boot Camp". I'll be taking lots of photos on my visits, so you can follow his progress, too. He'll be practically grown up when he comes back home!

One other thing we discussed is the fact that I haven't let him write his own posts like Fezzik used to. I've promised him that once he finishes his training, I'll let him start sharing in his own voice for Tuesdays With Tag. He can hardly wait!

So, 'til next time...
"More Wagging and Less Barking!"





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November 21, 2011

They're In The Mail...

I signed up for the Button Floozies Ornament Swap this year, and had so much fun making the ornies to mail to my three swap partners.

I decided that a Nutcracker theme might be fun, so I sorted through my machine embroidery designs and chose this one. I decided to embroider them onto canvas. Three Nutcrackers in a row...
My sister, Diana recently sent me a surprise care package. She found some gorgeous, vintage, crocheted doilies and wanted to share them with me. There were two that I knew would work perfectly for this project.
They were 3" in diameter, so I cut them in half and used each half to embellish the bottom of my nutcrackers. I sewed my parts together and then started hand sewing my vintage buttons along the bottom. The little blue ones were from my contemporary stock, but the rest are old.
I made one more, but that one is a little different from these. I'm going to send it back to Diana to thank her for all the goodies she gave me.

They're all on their way to new homes today. My swap work is done here. I'll be starting my Christmas projects now, and I promise to show you what I'm working on in the coming days and weeks.
This week is going to be full of family and celebrations, so I want to remind you early that next Monday is Memory Lane Monday. As you spend time reminiscing about holidays past, perhaps you'll write about one to share with us?

Just write the post on your blog and then link back to my Memory Lane Monday post. I'll be writing mine on Sunday evening so that you'll be able to link in plenty of time. The link will be active for one week, so if Sunday or Monday is too hectic for you, you can add your story at any time prior to the end of the week. I'm looking forward to sharing mine and hope you'll join me for another stroll down Memory Lane.
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