Monthly Archives: June 2016

Projects galore…

Now that I’ve got several hours on my new sewing machine practice under my belt, it’s time to crack on with some projects I’ve been itching to do for a while. I didn’t have the time then, but I have all the time in the world now.

The projects I have in mind are dog leads, collars and other accessories, but with a difference. I intend to make them more utilitarian and functional. And where possible, I will repurpose old dog leads and harnesses, that I can purchase from the Refuge where I’m a Volunteer. There’s so much hardware that can be salvaged from old collars, leads and harnesses that have been consigned to the bargain bin just because some parts are frayed, cracked, rusted or broken.

Just the other day I hit the jackpot with a purchase of 4 items from the bargain bin : 2 Easy Walk harnesses, 1 coupler lead (for walking 2 dogs together) and 1 rather odd-looking contraption by Sporn that I had to Google Search to find out that it’s a head halter. They cost AU$5 each, but the amount of hardware on them made them priceless.

I’m keeping back 1 Easy Walk harness and the coupler lead for future projects, or to use them on Shelagh or Scruffy, but these 2 others are due for the chop soon:

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PetLife Easy Walk harness. Webbing is frayed in parts. Look at the hardware on it! 3 triglide slides, 2 “O” rings, 1 “D” ring, 2 rectangular rings, 2 sets of side release clips. Wowzer!

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This is the odd Sporn head halter. I tried it on Shelagh, but she looked so miserable I took it off immediately. Has a host of metal hardware on it that I can cannibalise, my favourite though is the metal side release clip.

Some photos showing just a few of the ideas I want to try (and some handy tips and a reminder to myself of the hardware needed for my projects):

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Dog Slip Over Collar Bandannas

Et voila! Our little experiment with the new sewing machine worked a treat. Not too many wonky stitches, ahem! πŸ˜„

Jack proved to be a dab hand at threading the machine and making sure the bobbin thread caught the needle. The sewing machine has its own built-in light, which made threading the needle much easier. No need for needle threaders, yay!

Here are Scruffy and Shelagh sporting their new bandannas. Admittedly they could do with being a smidgeon shorter, but they’re not bad at all for our first attempt, don’t you agree? And the dogs seem to not mind wearing them, either!

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It’s really easy to reverse the bandannas so the other side shows. You don’t even have to slide out the collars from the channel. Simply twist the collar in the channel until it’s facing the other way, clip it over the dog’s neck and there you have it!

What we did next…

So, we bought a Jeep I mean sewing machine. Yes, we did. Now, with my not so great experience with these infernal things, would history repeat itself? Would the new sewing machine be thrown out the window out of sheer frustration? Or would this new beast behave itself beautifully and do what it’s meant to do?

This morning Jack and I set up the new machine on the dining room table.

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We wanted to make slip-on bandannas for our dogs, Scruffy and Shelagh. I’d bought a bundle of Fat Quarters from Spotlight, so we both chose 2 fabrics each. The bandannas would be a different design on each side, and simply slide over the dogs’ collars. That way they wouldn’t bunch up around the neck uncomfortably.

This is the site we followed for instructions:
http://www.sparklesofsunshine.com/how-to-make-a-reversible-slip-over-the-collar-dog-bandana/

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Let the sewing begin!

My Brain Right Now

I feel like my brain has woken up again after a hiatus. It’s abuzz with all sorts of creative ideas, like there’s a swarm of busy bees inside that were humming away quietly for months and months, then suddenly the buzz has become louder and incessant and more demanding.

And now, after months of being repressed and just simmering under the surface the hive has exploded into a flurry of activity.

I have so many ideas that I can’t wait to try out. So many innovative, creative thoughts, visions of the future. Never mind the logistics of it, never mind that I’m presently unemployed and haven’t got two pennies to rub together. I have a Dream, and I’m excited to begin working on making it come true!

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What am I on about? Watch this space, all will be revealed shortly. πŸ˜‰

The Hunt for a Sewing Machine

My son Jack is not very good at woodworking in school, but surprisingly he’s not bad at sewing. He’s come home with pencil cases that he made (complete with zip), a tissue-paper holder, a coin pouch. His handiwork is not bad at all πŸ˜„.

So, after listening to Jack talking about the things he would sew if only he had his own sewing machine, I decided to see if I could get us both a decent sewing machine, at a fraction of the price in the shops. If that was at all possible.

After all, it is my birthday next Friday, the 1st of July. It could be my birthday present to myself, as well as a gift for Jack. Hopefully we’ll get some mileage out of it! I remember when Loom Bandz were all the rage 2 years ago, and Jack was busy making all sorts of bracelets and necklaces for months and months, until his interest suddenly stopped cold. I hope his interest in sewing doesn’t peter out too soon.

(I’d had a cheap sewing machine back in Ireland. It had cost me less than €70 at Lidl, and although I could use it, I had a love-hate relationship with it, as there was always something wrong with its tension. When we moved to Australia at the end of 2010, I remember seeing it once in the garden shed, but I haven’t been able to locate it since. Maybe because part of me just doesn’t want to find it?!)

With all this in mind, I scouted around the local shops for a suitable sewing machine. I remembered there was a Janome sewing centre in Rockingham, I’d been there looking for fabric a couple of years ago…

It was no longer there 😒.

I went to Spotlight next. Spotlight, for those who don’t know already, is a chain of haberdashers + crafts stores, where you can get anything from party supplies to cake decorating to Art supplies to knitting and sewing supplies to curtains and linen and even wooden blinds.

Spotlight had several sewing machines, ranging from AU$129 through to AU$699. After speaking to a store assistant, I decided the best thing to do would be to bring Jack to Spotlight after school, and we could choose the machine together.

Best laid plans and all that…

I stopped by Cash Converters on the off-chance they had sewing machines for sale. They did indeed!

And what was more, they had a Brother JS1700, brand new in box, unopened. And it was AU$100 CHEAPER than the one in Spotlight. It was a no-brainer. Of course it had to come home with me!

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Coming up: What we did next with our new sewing machine.

Cooper the Chihuahua

I love my Staffy/Bully dog breeds, but somewhere along the way Chihuahuas have somehow managed to wriggle their way into my heart.

Last year I fell for a little brown Chihuahua at the Refuge, called Mojo. He was supposedly a resource guarder, but the only thing he ever guarded that I noticed was his soft round dog bed. He was in love with that bed, and would hump it. Sometimes he’d get so carried away humpinh that bed that he’d fall asleep mid-hump. Which was hilarious to see.

Then there was Harry. He was a little white Chihuahua who supposedly liked nipping people and wasn’t too keen on men. I was told to be careful with Harry, but he was totally fine with me. He was a bit timid and wary of me when we first met, but 5 minutes and some tasty tidbits later he was quite content to be my lapdog. Harry was around a couple of weeks, before he got adopted, so we got to know each other quite well. He’d come rushing up to the fence to greet me whenever he saw me, tail wagging, with a great big grin on his face. I missed him quite a bit when he got adopted.

Recently, it was another timid Chihuahua that captured my heart. What is it about these diminutive little dogs with their big perdonalities? This time it was a dog called Cooper.

Again, 5 minutes was all it took for Cooper to trust me enough to come nosing around for treats and a cuddle. Damn, he’s such a cutie pie! The first time I played with Cooper in his enclosure, but when I found out he was still around the week after, I decided to take him into the Refuge’s Snuffle Yard, so he could have some mental enrichment exploring the different herbs and shrubs there.

Cooper, like Harry and Mojo before him, was adopted soon after. But I will always remember these gallant little beasts that we know as Chihuahuas.

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If It Fits, I Sits

Jack and I went to Aldi the other day, and plumb forgot to bring our own shopping bags with us. Not wanting to spend money buying bags that we already had in the car (which was parked 5 minutes away in another carpark), I spied a pile of cardboard boxes the Aldi crew had left for customers to help themselves to. It’s amazing how well one soon learns to pack things tightly into a small space!

On the way back home, we joked about making a little cardboard house out of the 2 boxes, for the cat, Boo.

Back home, the disparity in dimensions between the 2 boxes meant it wasn’t possible to stack them together to make a reasonable looking “house” for the cat. So, we just left the boxes on the living room floor, side by side.

Which box would Boo select? Would it be Box No.1, the smaller orange one, or Box No.2, the slightly larger and squarer box?

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Still on the subject of Animals

Here are my own personal feathered friends. 3 hens, 24 Japanese Quail, 7 budgerigars and 2 cockatiels (weiros), to be exact.

Mine are fed a poultry mix, along with budgie seeds, lettuce leaves and shredded cheddar cheese. Yes, I discovered years ago that they go mad for shredded cheese, maybe they think they’re worms.

When we first came to Australia in December 2010, we had only Scruffy the dog. Then came an aquarium with some goldfish and tropical fish. Then Angus and Julia, the pair of cockatiels. These were joined by 3 budgies – Prince, Tweety and Madonna. Prince is the only original budgie left, and he now has 6 other friends to keep him company in a large aviary cage.

We moved from rented accommodation in Ascot near Perth to our own house in Rockingham in August 2012. Soon after, we got 2 chicks, which had to be kept under a heat lamp for several weeks until they were fully feathered. We named the chicks Alice and Bella, after the girls from the Twilight film series. The original Bella passed away last March, and I got 2 young Leghorn pullets to keep Alice company. The 2 new girls are also named Alice and Bella.

The Mini Zoo expanded even further with the arrival of 3 Japanese Quail. The 2 females started laying eggs, and I purchased a cheap egg incubator and before we knew it, we had 20 more Japanese Quail.

Japanese Quail = Licensed Breeder = More eggs = more chicks = more adult Quail = ads on Gumtree = pin money, yay!

So, if you thought you’d pegged me by now, you haven’t even scratched the surface. I’m far, far crazier than you’d ever imagined! πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

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And then, there are the visitors to our garden, that also get thrown a handful of birdfeed every morning. Last year we had an English pigeon that I named “Louie Cooey” that used to hang out with the local pigeons.

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I literally had this bird in the hand, it had been caught in the netting over the henhouse, and I managed to free it without harming it. It was quite tame and didn’t struggle at all in my hand.
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Some of the local birdlife at a nearby pond:

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Enough of the fluffies…

Okay, my 2 most recent posts about super cute animals were about the fluffy type. As in warm-blooded, furry animals.

That’s not to say that I don’t have a soft spot for our cold-blooded friends, or insects, jellyfish, fish, nudibranchs, anemones etc. Or for our not so furry, feathered friends. My son and I absolutely loved watching “Finding Nemo“, and we’ve just gone to the cinema and watched the sequel to that, “Finding Dory“. Which I must say was really good all round. I’ve always loved Ellen DeGeneres, and her characterisation of blue tang Dory is delightful. If anything, Finding Dory is even better than its predecessor.

Anyway, back to Pinterest and my “Animals” board, here are some lovelies of the not-so-furry kind, to cheer up your day. Please as always respect the copyright holders. If you need further information on any of these photos, do look for their corresponding images on my Pinterest board “Animals”, click on them and you will be whisked off to the websites/links attached to them.

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Super cute animals on Pinterest – Part 2

More cuties from my Pinterest board “Animals”. Please remember to look on Pinterest for more details of the photographer or website behind the photos. All copyright remain with the original photographer, of course.

Enjoy!

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