Friday, March 26, 2010

high time for a Preacher update!

Not one of our better pictures, I know. But he hasn't been in the mood for posing I guess. But the good news is we are coasting along very well. He may have slowed down a tiny bit...but I am hyper aware of his every move. He eats like a horse, is a big goof ball, demands his people time. So it's all good. And considering he is 11 1/2 and 9 months post diagnosis, well, what more could we ask for?

Just last week a close friend of mine lost her beloved dog Virgil to cancer. He was diagnosed shortly after Preacher, different kind of cancer, a more aggressive, less treatable form of cancer, but they had a wonderful 8 months together. But the end came so suddenly, everything was fine one day and then within three days they were having to say goodbye. It scares me. I spent the evening with Lisa last night and she is so strong and has such an amazing attitude. She is concentrating on how lucky they are to have had those 8 months. The other day my vet said to me "If they lived to be 50 it wouldn't be long enough." That is so true.
Rest in peace sweet Virgil.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Everyone's talkin' spring

Whether I like it or not I think winter is behind us. I know most people are more than ready for spring, I'm just more of a winter girl. I like winter clothes, winter food, fires in the fire place, etc. But it is nice to see all of the flowers and trees blooming. My wisteria is going nuts (I'll have to post pictures soon because it is gorgeous!).

Along with spring comes Austin's SXSW music and film festival. Our city fills, I mean fills to the brim with visitors here to see band after band after band. It's four days of insanity. Fortunately this also means lots of shopping. Today I received a lovely e-mail from an out-of-towner, Indiana I think, who found my work at Parts and Labour while here for South By. She liked my work and blogged about it today. So sweet! You can check out here blog post here. It's pretty awesome when someone takes the time to says such nice things about you. Thanks Martha!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

meet Vivian

This is Vivian. Vivian Corrine Caldwell to be exact. She came to live with me when I was a teenager having been rescued from a dumpster behind a clothing store that was going for a more "modern" look with their models. Unfortunately we were not able to save her arms. And her top and bottom don't match. But who cares, it just makes her more unique. I named her Corrine after a character on LA Law. Caldwell came from some ritzy family with their own signature umbrella on the beach in Destin. That was her name. But then my friend Natalie said her first name needed to be Vivian from Pretty Woman. I liked it so it stuck. She has lived with me for over 20 years now. Even scared the crap out of a maintenance man in an apartment I was living in. And now, after all of these years, Vivian has a job.
She is modeling again!! I have finally gotten around to opening an etsy shop to sell my scarves. Like I said in a previous post, if I don't start to sell them I will start to drown in them! So, my cute little Metalsgirl logo got a face lift - she lost her hammer in favor of a scarf, super cute if I do say so myself. Anyway, check out my shop and let me know what you think... it's called Yarngirls!

ps. I am curious, I have gotten some feed back that mannequins are creepy. Should I not be using Vivian to photograph my scarves? Please tell me what you think. Thanks!

Friday, March 19, 2010

new work

After the craziness of the holidays I always look forward to the beginning of the year when I can work on new ideas. I've had this idea of a more dressed up version of my Lyric bracelet and necklace for awhile. I like the tiny bit of resin mixed with the rich oxidized sterling silver.

This particular necklace quote comes from the book Where the Wild Things Are. I loved that book as a child and I loved the movie as an adult. This line is so achingly fantastic it makes me hurt!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

just because

I was looking through photos today and came across this picture. I love this picture for several reasons. First, Seven looks so regal and perfect. She posed beautifully as if she new that she was the subject matter for the shirt Tom is wearing. Second, Tom looks so handsome. And third, it's the classic boy and his dog photo. Seven is 100% Tom's dog. She adores him, she listens to him (not me. ever.), and while I'd like to believe she loves me equally, she doesn't.

I had this shirt made for Tom a few years ago. Kathy Sever is the artist and I have admired, coveted, and respected her work for years. I met her at a show we did together a few years back and now I feel lucky to call her a friend. Tom told her what he wanted but she went waaaaaay above and beyond. All of her work is stunning, but her custom western shirts are true artwork. We call Seven The Princess (she was out first dog so she rules the roost) hence the crowns on the cuffs. There are seven stars around each number seven, seven stars on the back, seven dots of thread on each side - I am telling you Kathy is a Rock Star!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

life is hectic

I feel like my life has been insanely hectic lately. I have been trying to remind myself what hectic is really like. Several years ago Tom and I took in a litter of five puppies. They were two weeks old and their mom had died, hit by a car we figure because she was found on the side of the road with the puppies still trying to nurse. At two weeks old their eyes hadn't opened and they looked like tiny little bear cubs. When the shelter called they said they had a litter of golden retriever puppies...but when I picked them up they looked suspiciously like chows. Nothing against chows (I have two mixes) but they are definitely harder to adopt out than a golden would be. Long story, but if you have never bottle fed puppies it is THE definition of hectic plus no sleep. They have to be fed every two hours - and when there are five by the time you finish it's practically time to start again. So, all night, all day, feeding, cleaning,'s so hectic.

We ended up keeping the puppy on the left...Vincent.
Here he is all grown up...from just under two pounds to sixty pounds. Taking care of five tiny little lives is one of the hardest and most rewarding things I have ever done. So today, when I was thinking how busy life has been I looked over at Vincent and thought it could be much, much more hectic.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I have an obsession...

...with yarn. On one hand I would love the make these precious little chicks with their little side-by-side Easter eggs...but my obsession has kind of stopped at the scarf. For a bit I was telling myself "okay, you've got the scarf down, now it's time to conquer the hat, and then the socks, and eventually little knitted chick-a-dees" Okay, I never thought I needed to knit chicks, but the other stuff, yeh. But I've had a realization. I love yarn and I love knitting. I don't have a burning desire beyond that. The only real problem I see is that I am going to end up on that hoarding show because I will be buried alive in scarves.

So I am thinking of starting a scarf etsy shop. What do you think? I am thinking that spring might not be the right season - but hey, it's cold in Australia, After having spent some time at Purl while here in New York I do know that I need to do something to be able to feed my habit. At home we have Hill Country Weavers, here it's Purl. Both fabulous in their own different ways. Bellow is my recent haul from Purl.
I guess there is something about working with your hands. As much as I do love to watch tv, it's hard for my hands to be idle. Knitting totally solves that. Thank you Casey for teaching me to knit. I sincerely thank you for the skill and I sarcastically thank you for the yarn addiction.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

a pig in a skirt, a romanesco, and a prom king

There are innumerable reasons why I love New York City. But one of my very favorite things is around every corner is the unexpected. Things you have never seen before, never thought you would ever see, things that make you laugh out loud, make you wonder, make you think, make you cry... On this particular day it was a pig in a skirt outside of a cute little clothing store (that I would love to carry my jewelry!)...
...a romanesco at the Union Square Green Market. Have you ever seen one of these? I haven't. They were beautiful and odd looking at the same time. The vendor had them on the same table as a pile of orange cauliflower and pale green cabbage. The table as a whole was gorgeous! I still need to look up the romanesco...
...and apparently you can find a prom king! He's the cutest prom king I have ever seen, that's for sure! It's funny, I've gotten desensitized to the graffiti I guess, I don't tend to notice it. It's a shame because some of it is really beautiful, some funny - like this one. But Tom does notice it. So when we were walking up a street in Williamsburg and Tom stopped and laughed I quickly shoved him under the writing to pose as my prom king - this is even better than a crown!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

odd little adventures

Tom and I are not ones for the typical. It might surprise you to know that in our many trips to New York we have never been to a play. We may very well be missing out and maybe one day we will go to one, but in the mean time we like our odd little adventures. This time it was the search for Steve's Key Lime Pies.

A little history: several years ago we adopted out a precious little dog, Finnegan, to a wonderful girl named Julie. A couple of years later she and Finnegan moved to NYC to go to law school (Julie, not Finnegan). Hooray for dog owners who move and take their dogs with them!! Anyway, Julie has been a fantastic resource for all things off the beaten path while visiting NYC. This time it was the key lime pie. I don't think she knew that Tom is insane for just about anything key lime. But it was a no brainer that we would go when he heard about it. However, it is not easy to get to. And we are not cab people. To and from the airport, that's it. Subway all the way. But the train gets you no where near Steve's Key Lime Pies. It's in Red Hook, a neighborhood of Brooklyn. Long story short there is a free Ikea shuttle that gets you kinda close to Steve's. So we hopped on the shuttle and pretended to be eager to arrive at Ikea for some unpronounceable furniture. We got off and headed away from Ikea towards a somewhat sketchy looking area along the water. Soon we started to see odd looking, Florida inspired signs about key lime pie. We found it. Notice there are no pictures of the pie itself. Once we got the pie all we did was eat! It was ridiculous. This pie from this place that had no real interior to speak of, at least not for the public, that sold four things: small key lime pie, medium key lime pie, large key lime pie, and key limonade, had a shop dog named was THE best key lime pie either of us had ever had. We ate it on a rickety picnic table looking out over the water on a beautiful, sunny, 55 degree day. It was perfection.
Leaving the heavenly pie place we did not want to ride the shuttle back, it made us both a bit queasy, so we decided to walk to the nearest train. The walk took us through the literal projects in Red Hook. It was yet another area to see and I am always wide eyed and fascinated. It was a pretty long walk and when we found the train I was pooped. We walked up to the platform, an elevated platform, and when we popped out we saw this most fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty (not the best picture, she looked much closer in person, but you get the idea). It was breathtaking. Here we were in this not-so-great area and it had one of the best views of Lady Liberty that I have seen, even from out IN the water. It was one of those serendipitous moments that you could only have on an odd little adventure.

Monday, March 8, 2010

replenish, renew, reinvigorate, and rejuvenate

There is something about New York City. I am sure a lot of people would never think of New York as a place to go to relax. It's fast paced, it's noisy, it's crowded and for some I'm sure that would be sensory overload vs. calming. You know that saying, "I need a vacation from my vacation"? I totally get that - when you travel to new places you want to make sure to see and do everything! So, I'm not sure if it's the fact that I have been to New York so many times that I don't feel like I have to do everything or if it's just the city itself - but it is so relaxing for me. I like the subway, closing my eyes until reaching my stop, I like the parks full of people where you feel so anonymous, the buildings so tall that you feel sheltered from every direction...I don't know, maybe I'm an odd ball, but it does feel like a true vacation.

Tom and I stole a few minutes on the steps of some Municipal Building in Brooklyn yesterday while waiting to hop on the free Ikea shuttle - not to actually go to Ikea but to take advantage of the free transportation that would get us closer to our destination than the train would - anyway, it was so nice to just sit on those steps for a few minutes and talk and laugh. You'd think we would do that all the time, not having kids, having time to ourselves, but the fact is life gets in the way of having time to just talk about nothing. You know, light hearted, fluff conversation. Most of the time you talk about specifics, life, the dogs, taxes, grocery lists, schedules, etc. But the unexpected moments of true "down" time are fantastic. We giggled at each other's silly jokes and talked about, well, nothing. It was precious.

So, this week is a wonderful time to restore my energy. Hopefully I will come away from this trip with more enthusiasm and inspiration to pour into my work. It's only been a day and I am feeling it already!

Friday, March 5, 2010

travel = anxiety

Well, at least for me it does. I love to travel. I hate to leave my dogs. The sad truth is that there are not a lot of places that can accommodate 12 dogs. And there are not a lot of cars that accommodate 12 dogs. So when we do travel the pups stay home. The truth is, it's good. They get to stay in an environment where they are comfortable. My very fabulous parents and brother who they know and love come and take care of them. But I am a worrier. Always have been. And let me tell you, I am a pro. I have found ways to worry that would put the best worrier to shame. For example, as a child the opening into the attic in our house was in my bedroom closet and the door was always a little askew, just a little open. That worried me. I wanted to close it all the way BUT what if I did and then one day it was open again? There's just no good answer there so the worry stuck with me until we moved, like five years later.

I worry before every trip. But I do think there is a bit more validity to my worry this time, what with Preacher's stuff and Clarence's bout with, well, poopie issues. I have been to the vet to discuss my travel plans and I have called them. My dad asked me today if I have considered slipping some sort of GPS device into the vet's shoe so I can know where he is at all times. I know, I know, I am totally over the top - but these are my kids. I don't have people kids, I have dog kids. My name is Laura and I am a worrier.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dogs are good medicine

I have found that a hug from a dog can cure a lot. Now, if you're not a "dog person" I guess you may not agree. But there is something about the undivided attention that a dog gives you, you know they are not thinking "I don't have time to comfort her, I have to do my taxes!" or "I'd rather be watching Animal Planet than sitting here getting pet!" While we may have a million things on our mind and in our lives, for our pets we are their lives. That unconditional love is some kind of great medicine.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Preacher - one face of canine lymphoma

I found this cool online tool to make videos and just thought I would play around with it. So I made this video of my big sweet boy... Preacher

How is it March already?

It really still feels like I just put all of my Christmas decorations away and all of the sudden it's March. It's going to be a busy month - my mom's 60th birthday, my best friend's birthday, Tom and I are headed to New York for a week and that alone requires a fair amount of preparation when you have 12 dogs. I am having some fairly serious anxiety about leaving Preacher for a week, but I know life needs to be normal for all of us, including him.
I am hoping to make this trip to NYC a bit of a business trip and search out a store or two to carry my work. So, if you have any suggestions please send them my way.
And, if you're needing a little St. Patty's day luck, grab up a shamrock bangle with lime green resin with allspice for money and luck!