Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Have Thundershirt, will travel.

Have I told you about the time my dog locked my husband and I out of our car?  With the keys still in the ignition? With the motor running??  Ugh.  I'll get to that in just a minute.  Let me give you a little back story first.

My in-laws live in the Eastern Shore of Virginia and we go visit them once or twice a year, depending on our schedules.  LOVE to visit them.  The pace is so slow it's almost non-existent.  We get to enjoy the creek (I would call it a lake) in their backyard, the weather is usually awesome, my husband gets to completely unwind, relax and fish (which makes me incredibly happy) and we are always treated to fantastic, fresh seafood.  Spending time looking at the water and emptying my mind of stress leaves me focused and grounded and usually ready to go back home and create new product - in fact I bought a TON of fun, vintage buttons yesterday that will be made into new product!  But I digress.  To get to this awesome destination, I do have to endure the journey.

On a good day, the trip is around 12 hours long.  We drive because we take our dogs on vacation and my husband actually enjoys being in the car. Me?  Well, let's just say 4 hours in the car is about all I can take before I start feeling antsy. In the past we have given our dogs a mild sedative (prescribed by our vet - don't freak out on me) to allow both of our dogs to travel that distance.  Our boys love the idea of going for a ride, but after 15-20 minutes the whining and pacing starts. And that's just around town. Imagine how fun it must be after only 1 hour into the trip??? It's NOT. So in the past they were kinda drugged, which I really hated, because I hate the idea of drugging my dogs, but not as much as I hate the idea of being trapped in a SUV for over 12 hours with two frantic, pacing, whining dogs and an ever increasingly frustrated/perturbed/angry husband.  You get me on this?  (And did I mention that on a good day the trip took 12 hours?  This has happened only once.  Depending on the number of potty breaks/food stops/gas stops the trip has lasted up to 15 hours.) By the end of the trip, I am trying to figure out how quickly I can get a glass (or gallon) of wine and/or if the dog's sedative is safe for human consumption.

Enter Thundershirt. My very sweet hubby says that he would like to try a Thundershirt on Dyson (our most anxious boy), because he thinks it could help his anxiety in the car, and therefore we would not have to drug him. He tells me that if Dyson is calm, then Wyatt will be calm as well. This suggestion, although appealing to the Mommy in me that does not want her babies drugged, is terrifying to the part of me that loathes an eternally long trip in a car full of anxious critters and husband.  Thundershirt also makes a spray, my well meaning hubby tells me, that has pheromones, lavender and chamomile in it that will further increase the sense of well being.   He is so adamant about trying this that I relent - I mean, agree to try it.   For two days prior to the trip we let Dyson wear the shirt for a short period of time to get him used to it. He really did not seem to appreciate it at first - not a good sign.  And for the first few hours of the trip, I drove and the hubby actually sat in the back with the boys to keep them calm.  Not impressive.

BUT..... after a while they did much better. There were still a few bouts of whining, but not as bad. They were, however, alert and active whenever we stopped for whatever reason.  That's the important part - did you remember the question I asked you at the beginning of this story? We were going to change drivers.  Instead of pulling over on the side of the road, I suggested that we stop at a gas station, which we did. When the hubs gets out of the driver's side - keys in ignition, car running, cell phone in the dash - I also get out to move to the driver's side - shutting the car door behind me, of course, so my very excited boys don't decide to hop out and go exploring. As I walk around to the driver's side, my 57lb bundle of love, Dyson, bounds into the front seat to meet me, jumping up and down. I tell him to get back and go to open the door, and LOCKED. What??  Did the hubby lock the door? I try the passenger door. LOCKED. The back door. LOCKED. The other two doors. ALSO LOCKED!  WHAT?!?! I look at the ignition, and to my horror, the complete set of keys are in the ignition (my hubby's keys have a separate attachment that allows him to keep the motor running while taking the remainder of the keys with him - so he doesn't get locked out. Irony, no?) The only thing that was a comfort was the air blowing high speed on my doggies as they looked out the window at their Mommy and Daddy trying to figure out a way to get back in the car.

Approximately 40 minutes, a couple of good Samaritans, an a Virginia sheriff later, we were back in the car and on our way. Due to that fun mishap, traffic from an existing wreck on the interstate, ridiculous traffic from construction on the Hampton Road Bridge Tunnel and a crazy rainstorm, we arrived at my in-laws.  Total drive time?  16 1/2 hours. I was BEYOND stressed. But thanks to the Thundershirt and lavender spray - the dogs were happy and ready to play when we stopped. Are you serious?  Guess that stuff works. 

On the way back - Mommy may take the sedative!

Here's my Dyson, sandy and smiling after playing in the creek!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Where have I BEEN?

Long story short, EVERYWHERE! (In my mind, that is.) New products, new directions, new interests, new HOUSE!

My husband and I just finished building a new house. Literally.  We closed on it a week ago.  It has been a crazy long process and one accompanied by a TON of changes, which spilled into my business, too. As some of you know, I fell in love with my sewing machine again. Now not just content to sew collars, I began making pillows, ornaments, etc. As is often the case with me, when I started a new project, it spurred my interest in several different directions!  So I am exploring them all. AND I'm much less stressed, so I will be much more communicative! 

Here's where I'll be going, and in no particular order or time frame:
-cat collars
-martingale collars for dogs
-home furnishings
-dog beds/pillows
-party decorations
-greeting cards
-tassels and tassel garlands
-dog tee pees
-tutus (for dogs, maybe even babies, or myself!)
- fabric flowers
-basically anything DIY that looks like a lot of fun

Would you like to join me??  I hope so!  And I'd love to hear about projects that are keeping you interested!  In the meantime, here are a few pics of the new cat collars you can find in my shop! (You can also get them made into collars for mini dogs, just let me know!)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Learning curve - and a giveaway!

Guess what I've been working on???  Accessories!  I've been wanting to add bow ties, flowers and harnesses for a while, but have been having a hard time getting started.  Finding the right pattern, making it work for you, and then learning how to make the new product is a challenge that takes me out of my comfort zone. (Then, of course, you begin to start to master making the product, another fun challenge!)  I started working on a step in harness, but after spending the afternoon creating it - didn't like it at all! LOL   So back to the drawing board (or cutting board, rather) for that one.  Two more patterns have been ordered, so we'll see which one feels better!

Working in my first big craft show diverted my energy away from new products, but I have ventured out of the comfort zone again, this time with the bow ties.  Didn't exactly love the first one - but the more I stuck to it, the more comfortable it became.  I am determined to have bow ties and flowers at the next show, in addition to the collars!  Growth can feel a little stressful and uncomfortable, but I know it will be worth it!  Here's a sneak peek, my friends, of what will be available in the shop next week!  Only three patterns so far, but many more are coming. The more I make, the more I want to make - guess I should step out of the comfort zone more often, eh? 

What do you think, friends?  What kinds of patterns would you like to see for your pups?  More stripes? Solid colors? Dots? Fancy fabrics (like satins or silks) for weddings? Seersucker?  Comment with your suggestions, and you could win one for your pup!  Winner chosen May 10! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Dog collars, chevron and Elvis

Friends!  Do you know how many blogs I have written in my mind over the last month?  A ton.  I think of you guys often - wanting to tell you how things are going, sharing the latest exploits of my crazy critters. 

Let me tell you where I've been - I've been hitting the craft fair circuit!!   Oh my goodness - it seriously is so much fun.  Granted, it is also a ton of work, and I have been rather stressed, but it's been a great time.   I am going to make sure to tell you all where I will be next, so you all can come and say hello!

This past weekend, I participated in a great venue called Sweet Tea and Shopping, held at Bottom View Farm in Portland, TN.  Sooooo amazing!  I truly felt like I stepped into the magazine "Where Women Create" (if you don't know about that magazine, RUN, don't walk to your local bookstore - it's truly inspiring).  I was surrounded by amazing, talented women, and got a ton of ideas about how to decorate my booth! I learn something new every time.....  Here are some pics from my booth:

Can you believe all this came from falling in love with my sewing machine again??
Loving life, my friends!  The next show will be May 11, at the Factory at Franklin - it's the Mother's and Daughters Cupcakes and Tea event.  Lots of shopping and fun to be had by all.  Can't wait to show you pics from that show!
(Oh, and by the way, YES, I have fallen in love with chevron - like everyone else - and the "Elvis" is the name of my new doggie pupcake!  Oat flour, bananas, carob chips and peanut butter!)

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Flash Sale on my etsy shop today only! (3/20)

Friends, I KNOW I haven't posted here in a little bit, but I have been thinking about you!!  New pics are coming soon to show what I've been working on!  I have been having a WONDERFUL time getting ready for, and participating in craft shows!!  Can't wait to show you some pics.  :)

In the meantime, here's a one day sale on my etsy shop to celebrate the first day of Spring!!  FINALLY!!

Today, enter coupon code SPRING20 at checkout to receive 20% off your total purchase.  Give your dogs a big hug, and maybe a new collar or all natural dog treats for Spring!  :)

And if you are in the Murfreesboro, TN area - come by and see me Saturday, 3/23 at the Canonsburgh Yard Sale!!  I'll have dog treats, collars and leashes for sale!  :)



Saturday, February 16, 2013

Bake your (dog's) vegetables!

Do you bake for your doggies??  I do. When I first started my business, Little Black Dog Boutique, I started out baking all natural and organic dog treats for my dogs.  I'm relatively new to being a dog parent, and when I started finding out all of the stuff that dogs weren't supposed to eat, and/or were not the best for our dogs to eat, I decided to pay attention to what was in the food my dogs were consuming.

Now don't get me wrong, there are plenty of good dog treats out there, and there are even more healthy choices now - but if you are so inclined, you can make your own doggie treats in your own kitchen!  It'll save you some money AND you'll be able to control the ingredients. It's a win-win!

I bought two dog cookbooks to start, but I also alter recipes that I find to suit the dogs.  I try not to let them have salt, sugar or corn in ANY of the recipes. All natural works best for me. I've even made some treats gluten free, since some dogs have gluten sensitivities - mine do not, thankfully, but be aware of what works best for your pup! The two cookbooks that started me on my journey are:"the organic dog biscuit cookbook" from the Bubba Rose Biscuit Company and "Three Dog Bakery Cookbook" by Dan Dye and Mark Beckloff. (Both are available on www.amazon.com.)

My dogs love everything I have cooked them, but the recipe that almost made them fight each other was for the Carrot Cake, which I found in "the organic dog biscuit cookbook". I actually taste everything I make - if I wouldn't eat it, I don't serve it to my dogs! This cake was actually so good that I ate one fresh out of the oven.  Since it uses all organic, "human" ingredients - you could even make it for yourself! lol (Or perhaps a diabetic friend or relative.)  Copyright laws prohibit me from publishing the recipe, but if you email me I bet I could help you figure it out......  ;)

Try something fun! Find a recipe for yourself and get in the kitchen - I bet your fur babies would LOVE it - even if it doesn't look pretty, or you overcook it. You don't have to be an award winning chef to make treats your pups would love.  :)  Bone apetit!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Champagne wishes, Puppy Chow dreams...

If you haven't been a reader of any of my earlier blogs, then you probably don't know that I am a BIG supporter of rescuing/adopting dogs.  Don't misunderstand me - I love ALL dogs, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying your dog from a reputable breeder - I just have a soft spot for those that have been abandoned and/or need a second chance. Both of our dogs are rescue dogs and we hope to be adding to that number within a few months.  Which brings me to yesterday. 

Friday, actually, was when the seed was planted that started the thought process that had the most potential for trouble. My husband, B, was looking on www.petharbor.com (for those of you who also might want to adopt....), finding some buddies that were available at our local shelter.  That's when I saw the Great Pyrenees puppy. Ok - seriously - it was the cutest puppy, ever. Must. Have. Great Pyr Puppy. I figured the chance for me to get said puppy was a long shot, since we really only have enough room for a third dog if we could get one that fits in a cereal bowl, but I figured I would make it work, right?  Where there's a will, there's a way.  And I will have a Great Pyrenees one day...... but I digress.

All Saturday morning, I am thinking about this puppy.  My logical mind was telling me not to get my hopes up, because we don't have the room for a dog you can ride to the grocery store, but my heart is telling me that I am coming home with this dog!  (You see, we don't have the best luck at the animal shelter.  Both my husband and I love dogs. A lot. One day we were going to drop by very quickly on the way to a vineyard and visit the dogs. I had emphatically told my husband I was not ready for another dog and was really going over there to humor him.  Several hours later we came home - not with a bottle or two of wine, but with this:
 Most expensive wine substitute, ever.)
Long story short, we go to the shelter yesterday, I am very expectantly ready to fall in love with my new dog, and........ nothing. He was already gone. Adopted. I was crushed.  Of course, there were another 20 dogs that I would have gladly given a home - and would love to, one of these days. More and more I want a home with a TON  of land, so that I can give a home to a pack of awesome dogs that we were able to save from being destroyed, and shower them with love.
If anyone wants to donate several acres of land in middle Tennessee to the cause, let me know..... I guess until then, there's the lottery.
GO ADOPT A DOG!!! Or at least give yours a hug. :)
See ya next time.....