29 September 2012

Goodbye Charlie

Charlie came to us as a rescue dog at the end of 1996. He was a tiny fur ball covered with old flea bites and he was quite stand-offish. We were told he had been found abandoned in a cardboard box in a parking lot somewhere in Tulsa, OK.
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He was quite scrawny when we adopted him.

I don't know what happened to him in his very early life to make him the way he was, but it can't have been good. He scared easily and that never changed, even after years with us, he often still cringed when somebody reached out to pet him. When scared, he became aggressive and had to wear a muzzle every time we went to the vet with him.
I wonder if he tastes good.

 We used to call him our "***hole meter" - he seemed to be able to weed out the bad guys. Or, maybe, he just didn't like anybody but family. But, on the way home from the ER vet last night, we went over the list of guys he growled at and came to realize that we didn't like those much ourselves.
Having been kind of distant when we first got him, he quickly became attached to me - obviously, I spent more time with him than anybody else, and he quickly became my shadow (or I became "his human") and followed me everywhere, including climbing into bed with me. L used to say he'd crawl into my socks if he could. He also fancied himself a lap dog and, once he was fully grown, that wasn't such a good thing.
Charlie loved toys and when he came to live with us, all the doggie toys became his, never mind that Maggie had been there before him. The toys were HIS. He would boldly march up to her and take things away and she came to have this resigned look on her face, "There goes that little butthead again."
Not such a captive audience.
I remember the first Christmas, we had bought toys for both dogs and, of course, wrapped them. Maggie tore into the wrapping of hers, but Charlie carefully picked up his packages and dropped them all in his little dog bed, he did that with all his toys. And not just his toys, some of my Christmas presents magically appeared under the mattress in his dog bed, a little worse for wear.
We never quite knew what breed he was, obviously, there was Shepherd in him, maybe Chow, but he was smaller than either of those two breeds, but he definitely had that herding instinct. Whenever Maggie became too aggressive, he'd insert himself between her and us and try to steer her away.
There were fights with Maggie, quite a few of them in the early years, and, in the very beginning, we could not leave them alone. In the beginning, it could have been jealousy, but later, the fights tended to be about food.
I know there are treats in there.
Both Charlie and Maggie could climb 6 ft. fences, but, unlike Maggie who was intent on escaping, he only jumped because we were on the other side and he wanted to be with us. Definitely a family dog, and a one-family dog at that.
He loved car rides. When things got too crazy at home, I'd pack him into my car and we'd go off exploring and he seemed to realize that it was a privilege that I took him along and would sit as still as a statue in the passenger seat. 
He had always been in ruddy good health until shortly after Maggie died when he developed old dog vestibular syndrome and stopped eating for a while and slimmed down considerably (for the first time in a long time he had a real waist). We hadn't quite realized until that time that he had been eating Maggie's food for quite a while.
Even though he mostly recovered from his illness and started eating again properly, he always leaned a bit to the left side, especially when going down stairs.
Earlier this year, he developed a spinal problem. The vet recommended just watching and waiting, any procedure could easily have shortened his life and we had another 6 months. It had gotten worse recently, but the warmer days seemed to do him good. Yesterday's vet visit really did him in, though, he couldn't get his hind legs under him and was clearly frustrated by his inability to get up.
I wasn't ready to let him go that afternoon, but realized, as the evening went on, that I hadn't done him any favors. 
He'll be with Maggie (and Henry) again now, hopefully, as a healthy version of himself and I hope he'll protect Henry from Maggie's wildness the way he used to do.

25 September 2012

All those metalsmithing classes are paying off

I drink my morning tea while reading email, blogs and Pinterest pretty much every morning. This morning, I came across this tutorial and decided I had to try it.
After a bit of texturing, doming and soldering which didn't take long, I ended up with this:

It was fun and I decided to try a few more. Only one of the pendants didn't stick after soldering and had to be re-done. There were a couple of gaps in a couple of others and I re-did those, too.

I used patina on the two shown on the bottom, Vintaj, along with some alcohol ink and I'm not sure they'll stay this way. Couldn't find my Gilders Paste (what else is new?). I'll try that as soon as it surfaces.

I'm sure the soldering would have been easier if I'd had paste solder, but I don't so I used what I had on hand.

21 September 2012

Space shuttle Endeavour

It's been on the local news here every morning for the last few days: the space shuttle Endeavour was going to do a flyby in the San Francisco Bay Area on its way to Los Angeles and retirement. We decided pretty much at the last moment that we would like to see it. Traffic sort of cooperated, although it wasn't fun, parking was another matter. We had wanted to park on the north side of the bridge, on the Marin Headlands, but, by the time we got there, the road up into the hills was closed off, according to the news, the headlands were packed. So, by default, we drove across the bridge and found a dicey spot in the Presidio (and didn't get a ticket; and, believe me, it would have been heaven for anybody enforcing parking in that area this morning.). A bit of walking took us to one of the old WWII batteries where we had a good view of the bridge and the bay.
The shuttle was late, almost by an hour, but the wait was well worth it. Two passes over the bridge and lots of photo ops. Should have brought the real camera, I apologize in advance for the marginal quality of the pictures. I used my phone and the sun hit the screen and it was hard to focus.
But, here they are, just a few of the photos I took during the two passes.

Yes, the shuttle is in there, but I really just like the blue sky :-)

The weather cooperated for a change, although, September is one of the warmer months in San Francisco (really) and there was no marine layer. Made for great visibility.
And here's a link with some more (and more professional photos):

07 September 2012

05 September 2012

New listings in the etsy shop

Linen pouch

Mary Engelbreit box bag

Lila Tueller fabric

Kaffe Fassett fabric

A few new items in the etsy shop, a box bag, a couple of small zippered pouches and one of the linen pouches I have been working on recently. I am having a hard time letting go of those, but, I figure if one sells and I end up with serious separation anxiety, I can always try to re-create it.
Have a look and let me know what you think.

04 September 2012

A giveaway at Summerfield Designs

To celebrate the re-opening of my etsy store, I am having a little giveaway.

The little pouch above is the prize, one of my new favorites, scrappy and quilted on the front, a solid piece of fabric (not solid color, mind you) in the back, also quilted. There's a layer flannel between outer and lining fabric for a bit of padding.

Here's how to enter:

Visit my etsy store.  Like Summerfield Designs on Facebook and leave a comment there telling me which of the bags in the store you like best.

The giveaway is open until Friday evening. I will draw a name on Saturday and announce the winner both here and on Facebook. Please make sure I have a way to contact you for the address to send the bag to.