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    Tuesday, April 26, 2016

    Hello World! - Meet Our New Puppy!

    I usually try to post on Sunday evenings - but this week had other plans.

    So - sorry for the delay, but it is well worth the wait - say hello to Pyewacket Taco Venture!

    We picked her up after an intensive training weekend with Familiar, our other dog. We went camping in the Gorge and checked out all the waterfalls...but you don't want to hear about that, you want puppy pics!

    She is the 7th butt from the right!

    What a face :-D

    Left side spots - ears still down

    First time swimming!

    Serious gremlin-face!

    Hard at work
    So today is day 2. Today was our first work-crate day. We would take a 10 minute bathroom-break and running through the grass adventure every hour, or whenever she woke up, and we practiced COME and NO. As in, come Pyewacket, and no - no eating wood chips.

    At lunch we took an hour-long walk...I carried her a couple times...but she saw lots of things and did a surprisingly good job of following my coworker Sarah and I through a garden.

    Things she has done:
    • Met her new pack
    • Found her at-home crate - her bed, her food and water bowl
    • Found out what a collar, harness, and leash are. She kind of thinks the harness and leash are things to chew on...so working on that.
    • Ridden in the car - falls asleep fast! I think she likes the car!
    • Found her spot in the Doggy Garden for her business.
    • Traded toys with Familiar - they swapped bones and chewed on them within sight of each other. Not bad for day 2!
    • Chased her braided fleece toy.
    • Chewed on everything.
    • Bossed Familiar around - when she has had enough, she has had enough!
    • Worked on COME, NO, DOWN, SIT, QUIET TIME (us playing with toys in her crate together before she naps), CRATE
    • Been introduced to my co-workers, flowers, loud airplanes, a robin, some elderly folks on a walk in the garden, a bumblebee, and whatever else she has discovered at her line of sight that I can't see.
    Today's awesomeness - she saw rabbits! We were out on the lawn of my workplace running around and practicing COME and I saw two rabbits. I wondered how she'd react and so we slowly, calmly, walked toward them. We actually got pretty close.

    When Pyewacket saw them her ears perked up facing front, her front paws got a little stiff but her tail was high and waving, and she started to walk toward them. She didn't bark! What? Yea! a corgi that didn't bark!

    She did bark and run toward some very loud construction noises but we did some distracting with her new favorite treat - chicken jerky and the fleece toy. No problem!

    So, what about that name?
    Blaming this one on my mother :-)
    Naw, not really, though she did think of the name. I was trying to think of a good name that would be in line with Familiar's...you know, a familiar name. You can Wiki it HERE

    Taco is from Hubs. He really wanted a dog named either Taco or Burrito...man-reasons.

    Where is she from?
    She is from Pawcific Cardigans & Pawcific Border Collies South. Emily is an awesome breeder and I went to visit a few times before bringing Pyewacket home. She answered all my questions and asked me a bunch of questions too. Seriously, awesome breeder.

    She is from the "Gem" litter of CH Toreth's Rock Me Like A Hurricane and Pawcific's One Hand One Heart (Cloe). The litter was born on February 17th, 2016. Her original name was Opal.

    What is her personality like?
    We have only been with each other for 2 days - but she seems like a pretty middle-of-the-road puppy. She is a little into resource guarding - growling and whining at me and trying to push my hand out of the way when I stuck it in her bowl.
    1 - puppy growls are hilarious
    2 - totally understandable if she was pushing her way into food from the other pups
    3 - she isn't resource guarding anything else so far - she actually brought me her fleece toy after I threw it for her!
    4 - totally fixable. This morning for breakfast we starting playing impatient waiter game. I made her food and she watched me and waited well and sat. I told her she was doing good and then I gave her another bowl with just a tiny bit of food from the bowl in it. She gobbled it and then looked at me like I was a crazy magician and got a little FEED ME tantrum. Once she sat down again, I put another pinch of food in the bowl and stroked her side. We did this - bite of food, calm down, more food delivered by hand, and petting - until I put my fingers in her food bowl and she didn't growl. She actually sat down and waited nicely by the end! We have been keeping it going with treats and will continue with her other meals until I can put my hand over her food bowl and take her food bowl without issue.

    She is VERY food motivated. She is somewhat praise motivated and toy motivated.

    She is not very mouthy...well, she is a puppy, but she hasn't really bitten me or tried to nibble me. That's awesome. :-)

    She is fine with her crate and sleeps sprawled out on her side or back and twitches like she is running while she sleeps.

    She sleeps fairly well.

    She goes to the bathroom outdoors. I have some puppy pads but I just use them in case - she actually hasn't used any of them - though she does like to put her paws in her water bowl. Whenever she wakes up the very first thing is TREAT for being patient and sitting or standing calmly while I open the crate, then LEASH, then BATHROOM TIME for getting picked up and brought outside.

    Eventually we will walk to the hallway door, then the outside door, then the front stairs, then the gate to the backyard, then the gate to the Dog Garden...but really, we have time to get there and it doesn't have to be done today.

    What's in her future?
    Short-term - This week is getting used to home and initial routine. We also have a vet pre-visit just to say hi and a vet visit for reals. I have people-only orientation at a training school that hosts puppy socialization on Saturdays. There is a corgi-meetup group and various cafe's, shops, neighborhoods and etc that we are going to check out together.

    Eventually I'd like to see her as an outdoor-loving adventurer. She'll keep me company at the office, visit with the elderly folks, kayak and swim, and I could see her in agility or flyball.

    That's it for now :-) someone just woke up from her nap!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Backyard Remodel - The Dog Garden

At SilverMoon the backyard isn't huge, but it is large enough for a patio, raised planting beds, a fire pit, fruit trees, a storage shed, and maybe even a small greenhouse one day. I can see it...in my mind, but to get there involves a lot of work.

The backyard started out as a mechanic's garage. Even after the structure was removed, the underlying cement slab was still there. We removed most of the slab - leaving a trapezoid shape for use as a patio and using the chunks of concrete as reinforcement along the fence. But it is still an old 1950's mechanic's lot. You can't dig the ground without unearthing windshield wipers, chains, hunks of twisted metal, and lots of glass.

I'd hate to see the soil toxicology report. The ground is good for grass and flowers but we won't be eating anything from this soil for the next 100 years. Raised beds will be required for anything edible.

To that end, we have (mostly) leveled the soil, removed as much of the surface debris as possible, and begun several projects around the yard. We have a half-circle raised bed for flowers at the fence and the fruit trees have been installed.

The most recent project has been the addition of a Dog Garden. We came to the realization that our dog needed a steady place to go and that with the constant changes going on in the back yard he didn't have a consistent "toilet" area.

Solution - build one!

It started with 4 layers of black landscape cloth to prevent weeds but also allow drainage. For the fence we reused a shipping pallet that had delivered the house siding a few months earlier.

Note on reusing shipping pallets: seriously consider time/effort over money here. To reuse the pallet we had to rip the old nails out of all of the wood, cut each plank to remove the previously nailed part / damaged edges, then measure what we had left and trim down again to the lengths we needed, then sand each piece, and then stain each piece. This was not a cake-walk. Reusing is cool, but in the end it may cost more than going to the lumber yard and the quality of pallet wood can be questionable.

I trimmed the area with flexible landscape edging and broke up the rectangle with an arc. The larger section was filled with pea gravel and the arc was covered in rubber mulch. I went with rubber mulch over traditional wood shavings because it is paw and finger friendly (no splinters!), recycled, can be rinsed off to keep it clean, and it doesn't hold water unlike wood mulch so it is less friendly to bacteria.

The fence is made of the recycled shipping pallet and black mesh netting. Since it is an area less likely to sprout seeds - I put my birdfeeder in the arc and we decorated the pea gravel area with a "marking" stone. The space also holds my hanging hummingbird feeder and it has a cement disk that will be the base of a tall planter I'm currently working on.

So far, and it has only been a week, the dog seems to love it. He has a space all his own to do his business and then, once he is done, he can come out and run around and play in the rest of the yard. It is nice for the humans too because 1- it is easy to clean, and 2- we can stop worrying about stepping on poo and start working on other backyard projects.

Next up - finishing the pea gravel border around the house and the fruit trees and running drip irrigation!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

How To Do This: Capsule Wardrobe - Part 2!

So, after How To Do This: Capsule Wardrobe with Coordinated Colors - Part 1 you have your color palette but are you unsure of what to do next? Do you have 27 white tank tops and you aren't sure how many you really need?

Well, while one method won't work for everyone, I can share what worked for me. Take what you can and use what fits with your life.

Step one - Ask yourself some questions!

Why do you wear clothes? Really, besides protecting your body from the elements - what do you see as the purpose of clothing?

Do you have a uniform, are jeans and steel toe boots a requirement, or do you have to manage a professional office?

Do you need to look a "certain way" to fit in? Do you need to look a "certain way" to express yourself and stand out?

Are you outdoorsy, a soccer mom, a busy blogger, a crafter, a student? How would you describe yourself? How, and be as objective as possible, are your clothes describing you?

As a fun side-experiment - go to a place with lots of people and watch them for a while. Check out what they are wearing - do you get an idea of their gender, status, wealth, mood, attention to detail, self-respect just by looking at their clothes? Can someone tell that information about you?

Is there a certain style that appeals to you? Are you retro? Corp-goth? Steampunk? Sporty? Princess?

One way to determine your personal style is to do the same thing as Part 1 but, instead of focusing on colors,  look for outfits you like! Are you currently wearing something you feel smashing in? Add that picture to your collection! Build a page of outfit images that you'd like to wear.

Be wary of body image issues. When searching the internet for images of clothes look for body types similar to your own. You should feel excited and good when you see the outfit, not sad or envious of the body in the clothes. A good place to start may be looking at bounding outfits as they often will not include bodies. Google "bounding outfit" or "Disneybound outfit" and you'll see what I'm talking about.

My sample board - Things I learned: I love pinup, pencil skirts, and peplum tops.
I'm a wedges over pumps person and all my sweater sleeves are 3/4 length or shorter. I prefer bold color-blocking and simple patterns over intricate designs, and my skinny jeans should be dark wash or black.

Once you have an image-board of outfits you like, your style should be obvious. You may have more than one style, perhaps in your 9-5 you are refined corporate casual, but on the weekends you're a sporty soccer player. But once you know your style, you can determine how much space and how many items of clothing you need to pull off both styles.

Step two - Shop your closet!

Now that you have an idea how you want to look - find the things you already own that fit your new requirements. Make sure the items fit both the style/s you are going for and the color range from Capsule Wardrobe - Part 1.

Pull everything out - keep things folded if you like, but get everything out and take a look at what you really have.

There is a saying that the things you own - own you.

You either spend time or money (sometimes both) to buy and maintain your clothes, so make sure the ones you have are worth that investment.

A few questions for sorting clothes -
  • Do I adore this?
  • Does this fit my body and is it in good repair?
  • Does this fit my style choices?
  • Does this fit my color scheme?

Pay attention to the fabric - most linen requires ironing, cotton can wrinkle too and is easy to stain. Synthetic blends may save you time but you don't want to be the polyester queen. Keep a mix of natural and blended fabrics and just be mindful of the extra care some items may require. 100% cotton T-shirt = great basic, 100% cotton pleated skirt with a wide band and pockets = mandatory line dry and 10 minutes of ironing to get the pleats perfect - is it worth it?

If you aren't sure about something, set it aside in a 'maybe' pile. You can pull from it to fill in any gaps in your new wardrobe, but give it a month or two and then reconsider. If you haven't missed it, chances are aren't going to miss it.

Be wary of sentiment. If you are holding onto a pair of jeans from 30 lbs ago - ask yourself, do these inspire you to drop that weight? If they were tucked into the bottom drawer in the back, chances are they are serving more to shame you like a dark secret rather than inspire and uplift your heart.

Keep your wedding dress if you love it, but if it would be better donated - wish it many happy memories and send it off.

If you are scared of letting go - keep a small part of that thing and reuse it. Take a pearl from your wedding dress and make it into a necklace you wear on special nights out, or cut out the patch from your favorite T-shirt from your youth and frame it.

Have something you want to give to your kids? Make a box, and put those things into that box. Stick with your box - fill it, but when you run out of room that's it. Your kid may love that one pair of passed down bell bottoms, but they don't need to inherit your entire personal style.

If you have seasonal items - a beautiful vintage woolen hat, a winter jacket, or snowpants - set them aside. Just like a work uniform, those clothes are for specific activities / seasons and should be stored accordingly. Now, if you have 7 winter jackets and live in Florida it might be time to reconsider, but if you have one classic winter jacket that fits, is in good repair, and suits your style - stash it away for the colder weather.

Step three - Put it all together!

So - you have a pile of clothes you absolutely adore and that fit your body, your style, your color palette, and make you super happy to wear. You are almost done!

Check for duplicates - how many white tank-tops can you wear in a week? Two weeks? If you do the laundry once a week, wear a fresh white tank-top every day, and allow for a couple of replacements due to stains / wear, then 10 should get you through a year. If you only wear a white tank once a week but you wear at least one every week, then allowing for stains / wear, 3 would get you through a year easily.

Try pulling together some outfits. See how long it takes you to pull out something to wear. Since all your clothes now fit, blend, and make you happy it shouldn't take more than a minute or two. Can you make up outfits for tomorrow and the day after? Could you spend 10-15 minutes now and know what you are going to wear for the entire week and have it all grouped together?

Put things away properly - folding and hanging items correctly takes up less space and helps you later when you need to find them. Hopefully you now have a lot more room to work with as well.

Try working with what you have for a few weeks. Take note of the items you could really use and anything you haven't touched since putting it away, maybe those items can find a new home? When you go clothes shopping have your style guide and color guide in your mind (or in your purse) and reference it in the dressing room.

Turns out I don't buy nearly as much as I used to - I still love to shop, but the items I buy have to match my style, color choices, and be worth their storage space in my dresser.

Ready to give it a try?

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Fighting evil by moonlight - Bad-ass Motorcycle Makeup

I've been pimping my ride - sticker style!

First - I made a rough estimate of the area I wanted to sticker. Just visualizing the style. By the way - Sailormoon / Pinkie pie crossover is what I was going for.

See that grey "x"? Say goodbye to the grey!
Second - Wipe down and prep the area. I used painters tape and leftover Christmas wrapping paper to protect the rest of the bike. Spray a few layers of plasti-dip on the surface of the bike. Follow plasti-dip directions! It came from DipYourCar and those guys make instructional videos - watch them first!

Painters tape first, then wrapping paper and masking tape to prevent overspray
Third - Stickers! I roughed out the layout on my couch and made final adjustments on the bike itself.


Right side

Left side - you can see the shine of the mod-podge, this is before applying the final coats of clear plasti-dip. After application that shine disappeared.

Fourth - After applying the stickers - I lightly brushed over the sticker area with mod-podge. A few of the stickers kept lifting because I'd had to move them once....maybe ten times to get the design right. A little patience and podge fixed it!

I was a little nervous since the podge was high gloss - but once it dried and I sprayed another coat of plasti-dip over it the shine faded and after 3 more layers of the plasti-dip...well, my bike is winning love by daylight!