Archive for category Pets & Problems

Nosy Neighbours

There’s nothing like spending a Sunday morning spying on the neighbours.

Of course, they’re mostly interested in the four legged and winged ones.

I hope your Sunday will be slightly more interesting.

 

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A Tale of Two Gingers

My lovely ginger boy, Henry, has had to have a trip to the V….E…..T.

He’s normally a big boy but was looking skinny, always looking for food and his back legs seemed a bit weak.

Anyway, a blood test, a blood pressure check and couple of hundred euros later, it turns out he has hypertension caused, probably, by some kidney problems.  Who would have thought such laid back animals as domestic cats could get hypertension? Anyway, he now has to have two different medicines administered orally with a syringe every day.   At the moment I’m keeping him in overnight then putting the medicine on a bit of tuna first thing so he’s hungry enough to eat it.  I’ve tried administering it directly down his throat but he chokes and spits and generally makes a huge fuss and the medicine often ends up on the floor.  The medicine for the hypertension will be for life so if anybody knows how to do this without causing stress – and thus more hypertension – I would be grateful for any tips.

The second ginger in my life is my pair of Ginger Jeans.  Yes! They’re finished – I was waiting for silver rivets to arrive before showing you.  If you remember my first pair – they turned out O.K. but I couldn’t bend my knees (or much else) due to using fabric with no stretch.  I made these ones in exactly the same size but, due to using the right fabric, they fit.  Who would have thunk it?

Here’s a full length pic.  I wouldn’t normally wear everything so cropped on the top with skinny jeans but, as this is all about the jeans, I wanted to show you them properly.

I probably wouldn’t normally wear skinny jeans with heels either but, because the pattern on this denim is so ‘extravagant’, I probably could ‘posh them up’ with a dressy top and heels.  Just thinking aloud here.

A few close ups of jeans laid flat so you don’t have to study my nether regions too much to see the details.

The silver rivets were ordered from Japan as I couldn’t find them anywhere else and wanted them to go with the silvery grey pattern and the top stitch thread I used.  I was quite pleased with my top stitching overall and I managed to hide a bit of a ‘wobble’ on the waistband with one of the belt loops.

I did a simple design on the pockets and stressed for a long time about where to place them.  Apparently pocket placement is a big deal with jeans.  How close should they be to the centre seam and the yoke, what angle of slant should there be, how high or low to place them – apparently all make a difference to the way your derrière will present itself to observers (should there be any).  In the end though, I pinned them on in the position I thought would be right but nearly did myself an injury twisting round to look at my own denim clad bottom in the mirror – Mr. Tialys being unavailable for comment – so on they went for better or worse.

I don’t think I’m being unreasonable when I say I’m excited by a coin pocket.

I’m wearing a belt, mainly because my jeans button is, unfortunately, half an inch too far in from the edge.  This is one of the two things that have made these jeans less than perfect – there’s always something isn’t there?  My sewing machine couldn’t manage its one step buttonhole function because of the multiple layers of fabric at the edge of the waistband so would stop mid-buttonhole.  I had to unpick it about three times and the fabric started showing signs of damage in that spot.  In the end, I resorted to the four step buttonhole on my very basic Singer machine (not my 1950s one) and subsequently remembered I had to do exactly the same thing with my first pair.  Shame I didn’t remember earlier.  It worked but I had to position it where the unpicking had happened to hide it so a belt will probably be the order of the day.

Since then, I’ve heard about a gadget called a ‘buttonhole height compensation plate’ which apparently solves such a problem.  I had a quick look – they’re only cheap – I just need to check if I can get one compatible with my Janome.  Because, yes, I’m going to make more jeans.

The second thing to moan about is that I have leg twist.  The inseam is trying to twist itself round on to the front of my leg at calf level. Apparently this is very common – even with high end ready-to-wear jeans – especially the skinny ones.  The pattern I used was Closet Case’s Ginger Jeans and Heather has you lay out the pattern pieces for the legs in a way that attempts to avoid this happening.  That is, the legs are cut out from a single layer of fabric and the front and back legs are laid on the fabric in different directions. Or, in Heather’s words ‘to help prevent leg twist, the best way to layout your pieces is front leg, back leg, front leg turned 180 degrees, back leg turned 180 degrees (make sure these last two are also flipped wrong side up so you’re not cutting the same leg twice!)   I cut mine out on a double layer 🙄  and couldn’t turn the leg pattern pieces because it would have meant the design on my jeans doing a different thing on each leg.

As I usually wear skinny jeans with boots, here’s a couple with me wearing the jeans ‘booted up’.  It’s usually too hot to wear jeans in the Summer here  but I think they’d look fine with sandals too.

And just to prove I can bend my knees this time…….

Now I’ve got the fit right with the Ginger Jeans which is an excellent pattern, by the way, with a very useful sewalong on the Closet Case blog, I will definitely make more pairs, but thought I’d make some more traditional jeans next with rigid denim (i.e. no stretch) in indigo and gold top stitching which, of course, will be much more visible so has to be perfect.  I’ve ordered the new(ish) Dawn Jeans pattern by Megan Nielsen and will try to source the perfect denim to make them.  Of course, the fitting issues will be different so another challenge but, hey, sewing projects would get boring if everything was too easy wouldn’t it?

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Another ScrappyDoo Scraphappy Day for March

Using scraps to make something new was all about the dogs again this month.

Well, apart from these cotton dishcloths I have been making as a ‘must do something useful while I’m binge watching a Netflix box set’  in the evening (which is ‘Dirty John’ at the moment by the way).  Recognise the colours? It’s the leftover cotton yarn from the niece’s baby blanket.  I’m actually going to start a new Eastern Jewels blanket – and keep it myself this time – because I had almost enough yarn left over from the first one to make another.  I just needed another four 100g balls and am waiting for those to arrive.  The cable cardigan I’ve started is far too complex to do without staring at it fixedly so these fit the bill.

But, I digress – back to the dogs.

Remember those fabric samples for car seats I showed you before ?  I made a dog collar for Stan with some of it on Scraphappy day in January.

I decided to have another look at the samples for March’s Scraphappy day and, bearing in mind the state of Flo’s blanket which she regularly pulls out of her bed and then uses it to tempt Stan into a game of tug of war, I thought it might be time for something new.

I feel quite guilty about that blanket as somebody had put a lot of work into making it but, if I tell you I rescued it from a charity shop initially, then used it as a throw over the back of a chair before demoting it to dog bed status, I hope you’ll forgive me.  It has certainly had a life.

Anyway, with ScrapHappy day approaching,  I got a few of the samples out again and took them off their hanging cards.

I decided to use an orthopedic pillow for the insert as I bought it for when I had a neck ache and it made it worse.

I joined a couple of pieces together for both back and front and closed one end – a bit haphazardly – with a snap closure.  I might as well have sewed it right up I suppose as the fabric pieces claim not to be washable but we’ll see about that.

Here’s the side with the ‘depression’ in the middle in case Flo wants to avail herself of its orthopedic qualities

and here’s the other side which is smarter in my opinion so will be placed facing up in the bed.

Like so

At first Flo studiously ignored it.  I expect she was upset that her old blankie had gone and was busy thinking of ways to destroy the new one.

Then she came round to the idea.

I must say, this monthly ScrapHappy challenge is good for me because, in an effort to join in, I usually come up with something useful that I probably wouldn’t have  bothered with in the normal course of events. Plus, my scrap bin gets smaller.

Joining in again this month with Kate & Gun’s monthly Scraphappy Day where you too can use your scraps of fabric, yarn, paper, wood, anything to make something useful or lovely or both and show it off to the world.  You don’t have to join in every month, only when you have something to show.  Details and a list of other participants’ scrappy endeavours over on Kate’s blog.

 

 

 

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #7

 

Do you ever get the feeling you’ve been given a glimpse into your future?

 

 

 

 

* photo taken from a story in La Stampa – an Italian newspaper – concerning a decision by city officials in Rome to clamp down on the unregulated feeding of the city’s 200,000 stray cats by the gattara, mostly elderly women, who lovingly feed and tend to them.  It looks to be an unpopular decision.

 

 

 

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Scrappy Doo January

This post has nothing to do with that annoying little nephew of Scooby Doo but I couldn’t resist the title as there are both scraps and a dog.

A friend of a friend bought an old textile factory in our local town which used to be a centre for the textile industry in days gone by.  In fact, the one remaining working factory still produces upholstery for the automotive industry near and far.

The friend of a friend is converting the old factory into offices and is clearing out all the remaining bits and pieces. The friend didn’t want to see the stuff going to the dump so asked people she knows who sew and craft generally if they wanted to take some of it.  I have a few rolls of quite fine, plain coloured, slightly stretchy stuff I’m not sure what I’m going to do with but I also got some of these sample cards.

I have a sort of ‘woollen quilt’ in mind which I could achieve by cutting the rectangles into squares – there’s even some teeny squares showing the different colours that were available in each pattern – any ideas what I could do with those?

I wondered if I could extend my range of dog collars and make a sort of ‘Country Walks’ selection by covering the webbing totally in the wool mix fabric.  I had to join two lengths together and, instead of sewing the resulting band to the top of the webbing only – as I do with the ribbons and tapes I generally use – I made a tube of the fabric and threaded the webbing through so it was completely enclosed.  All the fabric has a slight stretch to it – possibly as it was produced for car seats – so worked well for this but not sure what implications that would have for a quilt.  Although it would probably be more a blanket than a quilt.

Here’s what I came up with

and here’s Stan doing a grand job of modelling it.

He is my own personal product tester and not nearly as annoying as Scrappy Doo.

Joining in again this month with Kate & Gun’s monthly Scraphappy Day where you too can use your scraps of fabric, yarn, paper, wood, anything to make something useful or lovely or both and show it off to the world.  You don’t have to join in every month, only when you have something to show.  Details and a list of other participants’ scrappy endeavours over on Kate’s blog.

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38 Comments

A Bit of Light Relief

Protests against high fuel prices in the form of road blocks permitting, we are holding a fundraising Christmas Fair this weekend for Twilight,  the home for old and disabled dogs I support here in France (you can read about the amazing work Mike and Leanne do here)

I am ‘womanning’ the Twilight stall which will have calendars, Christmas cards, tea-towels, tote bags and aprons for sale along with a few of my hand made dog collars and some key fobs made from the leftover collar materials.

Remember my big crochet dog with the slightly sad face I made with super chunky wool?

Well, I thought I’d offer her up as a prize in a ‘guess the name of the dog’ game at the Christmas Fair.

I think she looks like a female dog so I racked my brains to come up with 30 girly dog names – which proved much harder to think of than male dog names for some reason.  People can choose a name for a euro and the winner can take her home.  With any luck, and just a little bit of friendly cajoling, I might be able to donate 30 euros to the cause which we wouldn’t get if I just put her up for sale.

I haven’t had the most wonderful month.  November has become the anniversary of some recent sad events in my family and I’ve had a couple of other stressful situations to deal with.  So, just for a bit of fun, and because it’s approaching the festive season, I thought I’d ask my readers if they’d like to guess her name and, if anybody gets it right, I’ll send them one of the aprons I’ve been making out of the fun tea-towels Twilight produce or I can leave it as a tea-towel if you prefer.

Here’s a close up of the possible choices

First come first served – once somebody has chosen a name, I’ll cross it off – if I can work out how to do that – otherwise you can just have a look at the previous guesses.

Just leave your guess in the comments and, because I think it’s only fair, the game is only open to those already following me.  So, if you are a follower but don’t usually comment, and you would like a free apron/tea towel – and who wouldn’t? – now’s the time.

The fair is on Saturday 24th so I’ll reveal the answer on Monday 26th.

Go on – have a guess!

 

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Three Became Two

We had to say goodbye to Taz on Friday.

Having survived a spleen removal operation this time last year and being almost totally blind and deaf – he was diagnosed with a tumour in his mouth in August and it became more and more difficult for him to eat which was, really, the only pleasure he had left.  Friday morning, the side of his face was swollen badly and I decided it was time.

He was with us for thirteen years since being dumped out of a car as a puppy, picked up by a boy who’d seen it happen and taken into the vet’s office where I just happened to be, a few hours later, with one of my cats.  Obviously, he came home with me.

We’ve had dogs for a long time now and, to be honest, Taz wasn’t one of the dogs for me.  You might know what I mean – there’s always one or maybe two that really get deep into your heart.  Like some sort of canine stalker, he spent most of his time outdoors ignoring us and being obsessed with the dog next door who he could see in the garden below ours and ran up and down for hours, watching him and barking at him, until he wore a path in that particular part of the garden that has never disappeared.

He had his moments though.

He liked a snuggle with the cats.

Even though he wasn’t a team player, he occasionally turned up for a game.

He suffered our traditional ‘dog hat photos’ at Christmas even though he gave us the stink eye.

He’s now gone to join Phoebe the German Shepherd (who was the dog for me) and Susie the gentle Golden Retriever over the Rainbow Bridge.

We’ll miss his silly face.

 

 

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Flora, Fauna and Fleas

Just to prove the weather’s gone crazy, I took this photo yesterday – from the car so it’s not brilliant, sorry – but these sunflowers are in full bloom and it’s the end of August.  Usually they’ve all finished around the end of July in these parts.  That’s what having rain almost every day in June will do I suppose.

This appeared in the storage box thingy next to the pool.  I want to move the box further up the garden away from scantily clad bodies but nobody has volunteered to help me.  Funny that.  Sorry for the blurry photo but I was in and out of there faster than you can say knife (or wasp) but they don’t actually seem to be interested in doing anything else but looking after their nest so might as well let them be.

My old dog Taz seems to be on his last legs – he’s thirteen next month and is now completely blind, almost deaf and seems to be confused about where he is most of the time.  He still enjoys his food though so when he suddenly slowed down his usual scarfing down of dog biscuits I was even more worried so I took him to the vets.  We have a new vet – she is amazing.  She laid down on the floor, on her back, as if she was examining the underside of a car and, without further ado, attacked his icky teeth with what looked like a cross between a pair of pliers and some nutcrackers to remove the tartar caring nothing for the close proximity of randomly snapping jaws.  He has an infection which she’s given him antibiotics for but, unfortunately, she also spotted a tumour in his mouth which she says can’t be operated on.  I wouldn’t put him through it anyway at his age.  She’s given him some tablets which may or may not inhibit the growth of the tumour but we’ll see.

Taz

Open wide

When I told her I think he has some sort of canine dementia, she said she would try oxygenating his brain.  I was filled with trepidation as to how he’d react when given a blow through with oxygen and wondered if she’d administer it through his ears or up his nose.  I was actually a bit disappointed when she just gave us more tablets.  She thought I was very funny for some reason.   I’ll give it a couple of weeks to see how he gets on but I’m in ‘preparation mode’.

With the heat this Summer we have, once again had a problem with fleas.  Despite costing me the price of a foreign holiday to treat three dogs, five cats and a large house with top of the range flea and tick treatment, those little buggers have returned.  Last year the cats were the most badly affected, this year it’s the dogs.  They usually have a topical treatment which is supposed to last a month but, three weeks in, I’ve had to give them tablets too.  I think I’m on top of the problem now but it’s not been without its moments.

I’ve become paranoid about every little black speck I see and, the other day, I tried to drown a tiny piece of black velcro that had fallen off the strap of my sandal onto my foot.  I only realised my mistake when I was studying it floating around in the glass and wondered why it didn’t have any legs.

Then, following advice on the internet, I added some cider vinegar to all the pets’ drinking water and made up a solution in a spray bottle to wet the dogs’ fur with and put some on a cloth to wipe down the cats.  I also sprayed rugs and furniture.  Only after the bottle was empty and I went to refill it did I realise I’d used red wine vinegar by mistake.  I’ve waited a couple of days to tell you this in case I had to report ill effects or drunken capers but, as there was no dancing on the tables or lewd behaviour to report I will assume no harm was done.  Although I can’t speak for what the fleas got up to.

 

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More Fowl Thoughts

Hello again, it’s the last Tialys chicken here with news for you about my search for a new family after my last companion died of old age and left me feeling lonely.

On Monday, Mme Tialys let me out of my hen house and, before I could even have a sip of water or a peck at some food, she tried to pick me up.  Well, I wasn’t having any of that sort of nonsense, so I led her a merry dance round and round my run, hiding in the bamboo and behind some nettles until she gave up and went off to put cream on her nettle stings, change her nice dress she’d put on that morning and leave for a meeting – she was late apparently, serves her right.

The next morning, the same thing happened, only this time she was ready for me.  All exits blocked, cage ready, I was nabbed.

This is me in the back of the car with all my leftover food – it was torture as I hadn’t had breakfast. I’m sitting on a newspaper with a photo of a half naked man on the front – apparently it’s Aidan Turner aka Poldark.  He’s alright I suppose but he’s got no feathers worth a mention so I peed on him.

Half an hour later I was in a new place.

Mme Tialys has some good friends who she says, if ever she comes back as an animal and needs a home with humans, they would be the ones she would want to adopt her.  When they saw my ad on Tinder, they said I could go and live with them and their chickens (and horses, donkeys, dogs, cats, etc.) so Mme. Tialys took me there to see if I approved.

Mme. Karen is holding me in the cage while Monsieur John distracts the others with some noodles.

Let me at those noodles, I’m starving.


I was gratified to see that I am the fattest biggest chicken there so I did start duffing a few of them up just to show I wasn’t going to take kindly to them ganging up on me or anything.  Monsieur John asked Mme Tialys if she had a muzzle for me.  Cheek!

O.K., you’ve showed me where the noodles are kept, you can clear off now Lightweight.

So, I won’t be lonely any more – there are 14 other chickens here including some funny looking Leghorns and it’s obvious that Monsieur John is a complete softie where his chickens are concerned so I’ll soon have him wrapped round my little chicken foot and doing my bidding.  I might even try to squeeze an egg out for him every now and again.

What do you think of my new place?

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Chicken Tinder

Plump, attractive, mature lady with all her own feathers looking for somebody to strut with and possibly share some snails and bugs.  Has own transport and can sometimes squeeze an egg out.  GSOH (good sense of hens) essential.  

I am all that is left of the Tialys flock.

In the old days there were a few of us and we had a handsome cockerel called Darth who looked after us.

I used to chat with him and we sometimes had a laugh together by pretending not to see that a kitten was stalking us.

These black hens were the oldest and had been Tialys chickens since 2006.

Darth died last year aged 11 and only me and Grandma Black Hen were left.  We flew up into a tree earlier last year when the weasels came and decapitated our last two sisters right in front of us.

Last weekend, Grandma Black Hen started to fade and then she died – she was 12 years old and my last friend.

I came rushing out of my coop this morning as usual –

then I remembered I am all alone now.

I heard Mr. & Mrs. Tialys say they don’t want to keep chickens any more so they won’t be getting me any new friends but they are worried I’ll be lonely.

I am too.

 

 

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