Archive for category Pets & Problems

A Cautionary Crochet Tale

All our dogs, past and present,  have had different predilections for things they liked to chew.  Susie liked hard plastic toys – preferably complete with batteries.  Taz liked rolled up pairs of socks which, miraculously, would pass through him and emerge in the same form at the other end.  Stan used to like soft furnishings to name just three.  One of Stan’s earliest conquests was a cat shaped doorstop which made me realise how much stuffing actually goes into one of these things

I say he ‘used to like’ but bad habits sometimes just lie dormant .

This blanket was over the back of a chair and not draped across the shoulders of one of my antique mannequins where I displayed it for this photo,  which is probably a good thing.

The culprit looked suitably abashed and made a vain attempt to hide although couldn’t resist peeking out to see if we had spotted him.

And just in case you were wondering what had happened to all those ‘Nature’s Walk’ crochet along squares I’m supposed to be joining.

My progress has been somewhat impeded.

Pets.  Who’d have ’em?

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43 Comments

Yuki’s Ears

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a cat

 and not care when nature has played a mean little trick on you like giving you hairy ears

even though you’re a girl.

It would be of no concern at all.

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Tight Lipped Tuesday #17

Three days to go before the collar comes off.

Any cuddles gratefully received, even if it’s from somebody you’ve only just met.

 

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19 Comments

The Cat In The Collar

Henry has been in the wars again.

The poor thing has already been diagnosed with hypertension so has to have medication syringed down his throat every day but now he has ear trouble too.

Firstly it was diagnosed as an ear infection so I had to administer drops twice a day for 10 days.  This didn’t seem to sort out the problem completely and then I felt a lump under his ear.

I was going to take him to the vet on the Friday but he didn’t come back for the whole day then, Saturday morning he returned with a large wound underneath his ear where I’d felt the lump.  The vet kept him in for the afternoon and, when I went to pick him up this was the inevitable result.

The vet thinks the ear infection made him scratch at his ear which, in turn. caused an abcess which then burst but, other than that, she says the two things aren’t connected.  I’m not so sure but time will tell.

In the meantime, that plastic buster collar seemed overlong and the sharp edge was just on the wound and I was worried it would dig in to him.  Also, those ribbon thingies that hold the collars on aren’t that efficient and kept dangling in the water bowl.

So, what’s a sewing person to do but improve upon the original?

As I make dog collars to sell to help raise funds for a dog refuge, not to mention having a rather large fabric stash, I had all the necessaries to hand to make him a small webbing collar with quick release buckle.  I cut the top of the plastic collar down low enough to improve his peripheral vision but still high enough so that his foot can’t reach to scratch the wound.   Then I traced round the shape of the plastic collar and. after adding a seam allowance, cut out the shape in two pieces of fabric, added some tabs in the seamline to thread the webbing collar through, sewed up the seams leaving one end open to slot the plastic collar through and installed a snap to close the ends.

He managed to get out of the house the other day (Mr Tialys isn’t that good at remembering to close doors 🙄) and I was panicking but I think he’d just gone to show off his headgear to his mates next door.

I wonder what they thought.

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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.

 

36 Comments

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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84 Comments

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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44 Comments

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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22 Comments

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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52 Comments