Thursday, April 14, 2011

bentley loves new collars

Many weeks ago, I found a short dog collar tutorial online, and thought how great it would be to make Bentley a new collar! I subsequently found and purchased the very inexpensive supplies - a clasp, a D-ring, a slider piece, and the appropriate amount of webbing. I actually purchased materials for 4 collars - brown, red, navy, and purple. I then made a trip to the fabric store and purchased quarter-yards of three fabrics, and one fat quarter. Enough to make 4 collars!
[Note: When purchasing your slider, be sure it's wide enough for the webbing to go through each side twice. My original sliders weren't big enough, so I had to re-order...]I wanted a little webbing to show, so I chose to have my fabric be 1/4" skinnier than my webbing, which technically gives me 1/8" on either side of the fabric. For wider collars, you might adjust this. In general, with this method, you want to cut your fabric 2 times wider than your desired final width. I had 3/4" webbing and wanted a final width of 1/2" (leaving 1/8" webbing on either side), so I cut my fabric one inch wide.

The length of the collar is a little harder to determine - it's based on the size of your dog. Here are some general ranges, you can specialize for your own dog.

Beagle Size: 20" webbing originally, to make a 12-16" collar (Bentley's neck size is 14")

Medium Size: 26" webbing originally, to make a 16-20" collar

Large Size: 32" webbing originally, to make a 20-24" collar I cut my fabric length to fully cover my webbing plus a little more. It probably was about 21" long. So heat up the iron and fold half of your fabric down, "hot-dog-style." If you want to be super exact, iron your entire fabic strip in half lengthwise, unfold, and then fold in each side to meet the halfway line. In the photo above, I've done half the work. Do the same with the other side, and your two ends should meet in the middle. This will be the back.
Then lay it on your collar, and slowly begin stitching. Go all the way down one side, making sure your ironed folds stay crisp, giving you a straight and even border. Do the same on the other side, getting as close as you can to the edge of the fabric as you can. Sewing it on with a zig zag stitch in a contrasting (but complementary) color would probably look nice too, now that I think about it! Then you go about stringing your clips on. I don't have great photos of these steps, but if you've got a dog collar already laying around, its easiest to use that as your guide. I strung one end of the fabric through the slider, leaving an inch of overlap, and sewed that on. Then I fed the loose end through the slot on my clip and back through the slider, as you now see below.

Take your empty end and feed it through the D-ring and the other half of the clip, bringing the end about an inch or two back under the webbing (which is underneath the collar in this photo). Sew as close as possible to the clip. Then slideyour D-ring as close to your seam as possible, and sew on the right of your D-ring. This locks the ring on the webbing between two seams.

And add your tags, of course!
Here's the whole collar in its finished state... all strings clipped and seams sewn tight!
And in its upright, connected form, waiting to be slipped onto a doggie neck!
And Bentley trying on his new collar. Not really sure what his leg is doing in this photo.
Here he is in his morning sleepiness, after spending the night with his new collar on! I didn't get a great new-collar-on-dog photo yet, but I'm sure I'll get one eventually.
Just keep up with my posts, since Bentley shows up all over them, and you can see more shots of his fancy new neckware. The most exciting part about his new collars? Even though I only bought quarter-yards of fabric for each collar, I still have plenty extra. That means that I can make him matching bowties! Stay tuned!

Monday, April 11, 2011

bentley loves martinis

So in case it wasn't obvious already, Billy and I are not the greatest dog parents. Sometimes we feed him people food, like on Sunday, when Bentley tasted pancakes (one little bite!), strawberries, and oranges. (We did look up to see if the foods were safe for dogs, at least!) We also let him on the couch and we've given him small tastes of beer (he likes it), wine (he likes it) and scotch (he doesn't like it). Well the wine and scotch were accidental - so not really our fault.

Anyway, Billy made a Manhattan the other day and when he was practically finished with it, our naughty little dog gets his front paws up on the coffee table and takes a lick of the empty glass. We of course pushed him off and said no, but we thought his cute little nose in the martini glass was pretty adorable, so we filled the glass with a little water so that we could get some pictures of our little drinker. Responsible doggie parents would punish the dog and move on, but we're just not that responsible, I guess!
In this one, Billy's getting in on the martini action. Good to the last drop!
I bet Bentley wishes there was alcohol left...
And this one is my favorite - he must be saying,
"Dad, It's all gone! Can't I have some more please??"
Maybe more exciting news tomorrow.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the goose loves blue & yellow

So at this very moment, my cousin's fiance Elizabeth is having her bridal shower in southern California! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to travel down for it. But I decided to keep practicing my sewing skills, specifically my apron-sewing skills, and make her an apron and oven mitt! I don't know Elizabeth very well, so I wanted to go with basic and fun colors that might appeal to any taste. I probably could have been more adventurous, but I like how the combo came together. I used a pattern out of my new apron book.
Here's the pocket piece, lined with bias tape across the top, laying on the main apron piece.

And a wider view of the whole apron, with pocket piece on top. I sewed bias tape around the outer edge of the whole apron, connecting the pocket piece with the apron back. I also sewed two lines through the pocket and apron pieces to make three relatively-equal pockets!
Here's a close up of the bias tape sewing. I used yellow thread throughout, and sewed the bias tape on with a zig-zag stitch to make it more interesting.

Here you can see the zig zag stitch on the outer bias tape and pocket-top bias tape.

Forgive my poor photography skills... I should switch hobbies for awhile, maybe...

And then I sewed the waistband on. I'm always so focused (or frustrated?) when sewing on waistbands that I never seem to take photos of it... so POOF! Magic apron all finished!

My dining room chair is the trusty model for this one, but the skinny rectangle shape of the chair back doesn't quite do justice to an apron made for a live human, with rounder sides and a wider width. I'm not saying Elizabeth is large - she's FAR from it! But you know what I mean...

And then the oven mitt. Here's Side 1:
And then Side 2:
And a close up of my decorative stitch on bottom:
I was being pretty clever, so for Side 1, I quilted the apron with straight lines, but a zig zag stitch.
For Side 2, I quilted with zig zag lines, but a straight stich. What built-in fun!

And the set together:
And the set together, folded up, ready for shipping!
And wrapped with my home-decorated tissue paper (we are seriously lacking in the wrapping paper department, unless you want a couple hundred yards of xmas paper. yay for sales!)
I dug out my wedding stamps from my formerly wedding creative days...
Including the one from the invitations!
And to go with the aprons but to keep things easy to travel (Elizabeth is flying back to PA where she lives, so she didn't want anything big and bulky), I typed up 10 of our favorite recipes to share with her.
I got a binder of recipes from my CA bridal shower, and Billy and I are still enjoying trying the recipes from different family members, so I thought Elizabeth and Peter might enjoy the same.
We sent them recipes for Broccoli Cheese Soup, Crepes, Pizza Crust, Quiche, Ricotta Gnocci, Tomato Cream Sauce, Cheesy Polenta, Mini Cheesecakes, Scones, & Apple Turnovers. Yum.

So Happy Shower, Elizabeth! I hope you have a wonderful time!

Friday, April 8, 2011

the goose loves chicken pillows

So a few nights ago, Billy and I were going to make chicken with fontina, prosciutto, & mushroom sauce for dinner from one of our Bride & Groom cookbooks. Yum, right? But we didn't have fontina, prosciutto, or mushrooms. Meanwhile, I was casually perusing the blog of the best food-photographer recipe-collector cooker-baker I "know" (I don't really know her, but I wish I did) The Girl Who Ate Everything. On Tuesday, April 5, her post was about these beautiful-looking and strange but still tasty-sounding dinner treats called "Chicken Pillows". YUM. (Be sure to click on the name there, which takes you to her wonderful blog and even more beautiful photos. I mean, when I look at pictures I took of food I made, I think they look tasty, because I remember how tasty the food was. With her pictures, the food looks AWESOME, and I've never even tasted it! She must have a nice camera and/or more-than-hardly-basic photos skills, too! :) But anyways, I had the ingredients on hand, so I whipped up two chicken pillows, one for Billy and one for me. Not so bad looking, right? I probably could have used more light in the photo, but when it comes to finding light or just sitting down to eat, I went with the eating choice...
So Billy's pillow stayed mostly closed up (above). Mine must have been a little over-filled or something, because it sprung a leak. No problem, just more gooey goodness spilling out!
I made slight changes to the recipe, based on what we had, but it came out great. I followed the ingredients for the basic filling, which includes cooked chicken, cream cheese (I used fat-free), sour cream (again I used low-fat), onion, chives, salt, pepper. Then, for heath and for fun (in that order) I added chopped fresh spinach and pesto (premade, from Costco, that stuff is awesome). We're not cooking for kids (yet? hahaha jk) and Billy eats (almost) anything, so I didn't worry about adding things. Also, fat free cream cheese by itself tastes pretty bad, and the consistency is less than awesome. It wouldn't work great for things like bagels or cheesecake. But when mixed in things like this recipe, casseroles, green enchilada sauce, or other things, you really can't tell you're missing the fat. Unless your a fat professional. haha.
Also, I'm not a big gravy person, so I skipped the gravy. This did make Billy gasp in awe, and say something about me being sacriligous or heart-breaking, but to no avail. We had a creamy tomato sauce on hand from a few nights ago (also homemade, and that stuff is awesome) so I used that instead. So I baked up my pillows, topped them with the warmed creamy tomato sauce, threw some parmesan cheese on top, and they came out great! Kind of a puffier take on chicken parmesan...
So overall, thanks Christy (the girl who ate everything) for this awesome recipe. You've inspired me to make pillows out of any cuisine - have you tried breakfast pillows (a filling of fruit?) or mexican pillows (like enchilada/burrito type fillings?) or a quiche pillow (filling of veggies, cheese, eggs)?

The possibilities are endless!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

the goose loves her parents

Hoo-ray! My parents are coming to visit! Yay!

So, in good fashion, here are 101 reasons I'm excited for them to come to Portland. (When I wasn't sure they'd make it, the post was going to be "101 Reasons My Parents SHOULD Come to Portland, but now that they're coming for sure, I can change my list title!!!!!)

I'm excited for my parents to come to Portland because...

1. I haven't seen them since last July!

2. They finally get to see our place with things moved in, unpacked, and cleaned up!

3. They get to meet Bentley! (Believe me, I'm way more excited than they are about this one...haha)

4. They can take us to our favorite Indian restaurant.... yum....

5. We can finally do the 4-T trail! Even though I'm scared of the tram...

6. They can finally fall in love with Bentley! ha.

7. They can spend some time together, relaxing, rather than just working all the time.

8. They can sleep in!

9. They'll have to refrain from going to work for 4 days of their spring break... St. Clare's is TOO far away to go in for a few hours, Mom & Dad...

10. I can cook them tasty breakfasts, lunches, and dinners.

11. We can talk about lots of things.

12. We can play scrabble! And my dad can't hide in his office upstairs, avoiding us...:)

13. They can check out places in Portland they've never been.

14. We can all go on a hike.

15. We can all go wine tasting!

16. We can go to Slappy Cakes and drink mimosas!

17. We can go to the coast and walk on the beach.

18. We can catch up on all the important things.

19. We can go on long walks around the river.

20. I can give my mom her birthday present!

21. They can shop tax-free.

22. They can be reintroduced to Furry Bear!

23. They can check out rental houses with us.

24. They can see the things I've sewn!

24. They (meaning my dad) can enjoy a scotch (or two) with Billy.

25. They can buy us things. hehe

26. They are cool.

27. They can taste Billy's beer.

28. They can baby-sit their grandpuppy (HA.)

28. I can have them all to myself (I mean I'll share with Billy and Bentley, but won't have to share with Monika. Sorry Monika!)

29. They'll have so much fun.

30. We can have Easter baskets!

31-101. I'm excited for them to come to Portland because I miss them and love them!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

the goose loves hiking

So I'm still playing catch up a little, which is why today we're talking about a hiking trip that happened a couple of weeks ago.

Carolyn, Billy & I decided to go for a hike. Sunday of that weekend was supposed to be a nice sunny day, away from the rain, and so we were going to venture out for a couple of miles.

And of course we brought the dog, who fell asleep in the car (rather awkwardly) even before we had started to hike. (He usually travels in his crate - cleaner for the car and more cozy for him).

However, we ran into a few problems along the way:

1) It was very rainy, not sunny.

2) We couldn't find the right trail.

3) It was cold. And rainy.

4) Pancakes at Elmers sounded WAY more tasty than hiking.

5) We had lost our best hiking book, so we were forced to use another.

(we have since found the good hiking book - hooray!)

But we went out anyway, for a short stroll.

Bentley had lots of fun smelling EVERYTHING and he found more than a few sticks to gnaw on.
Then we crossed a bridge: And Carolyn was having a blast: And on our way back to the car, Bentley found the biggest stick ever!

He dutifully carried it all the way back to the car - at least half a mile. I'm pretty sure that thing was twice as long as he was, and probably weighed almost as much as he does. Maybe he wanted to take it home as a new toy?

But in the grass before the car, he dropped it, and plopped himself down next to it to enjoy his prize! We let him chew on it for a little while and then headed back home.
Maybe the super-fun adventurous hike will happen another week!

Monday, April 4, 2011

the goose loves penguins

A week ago, my coworker's son turned 7 years old, and he is the cutest kid. He also LOVES penguins. So I thought I'd further develop my craftiness skills and sew him a penguin plush. I didn't find any great tutorials or patterns, so I thought I'd try to draft up my own, until I realized that penguins are generally kinda-sorta shaped like geese. Just bigger... maybe a different beak and legs, and they need a tummy patch too. So I enlarged my goose pattern (with Billy's help - thank you, dear hubby) and got to cutting. I used black fleece for the body and wings, orange fleece for the beak and feet, and a white cuddle fabric for the tummy, under-wings, and eyes. I also sewed on buttons for the pupils. My end result turned out pretty darn cute, if I may say so! I didn't forget to sew in the wings and feet this time, like I did with my goose.
Here's a side view of the little guy... not everything is perfect. The eyes are a little crooked, and sewing up the hole at the bottom by the legs (where I put the stuffing in) didn't work perfectly, but who can tell?
He's about a foot tall, and maybe 6 inches in width (not really sure, didn't measure). But he seems to be a good size for a gradeschooler to hug and love and play with!
Oh and the beak isn't quite straight - the seam line is a little crooked, so it looks like the penguin is smirking a little!

But overall, my coworker's son loved him! He's named his new buddy "Penguito"!