such a dashing dog!

I know I’m biaised . . . but when I show you the following photos, I think you’ll all agree, Gibbs is one dashing dog!

First up . . . a reminder of what he looked like as a pup.  Here, aged 4 months, sporting a bandana made for him by Lynn.

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Lynn makes and sells bandanas and collars for dogs in her etsy shop ouafouaf and donates 50% of profits to Twilight, a retirement home for dogs.  Twilight is run by volunteers and financed by donations.

Anyway . . . now that Gibbs is all grown up and less likely to chew on things hanging around his neck, he’s been wearing his bandana recently

Gibbs bandana original 

. . . slightly hidden under all that fur and neck!  But it’s a bit Christmasy for autumn.  So what to do? . . . make a few “every day” ones, is the answer!  I had a good look at the bandana made by Lynn first, and then dived in to make my own. 

bandana back 

I used two different prints for the fronts and the same blue for the back.

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And doesn’t Gibbs look gorgeous?  He’s now almost 14 months old, so he’s finished growing.  Weighs in at 38 kilos and has the most glossy coat and the most adorable character. 

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and then there were two . . .

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Miss Marple (above) is now pecking & scratching in chook heaven.  I’d noticed she was under the weather a few days ago, and I probably didn’t react in time.  By the time I did  react, she was suffering from an enlarged crop (so google brought up various issues like “impacted crop” and “sour crop” for that).  Husband contacted a few vets in the area.  None of whom seemed to know much about hens so it basically became a DIY lesson in hen health (or ill-health), sifting through various articles/videos on the internet to find out what to do.

We isolated her from the other gals and adminstered a small amount of olive oil in the first instance, hoping this would help the blockage.  This was then followed, by some gentle crop massaging to help her vomit and empty her crop.  I thought I had got the hang of things, and was managing to help her bring up lots of foul-smelling gunk . . . but sadly, it was a case of too little, too late.

Miss Marple will be remembered as a very prolific layer, a very good-looking black & tan hen with a bit of an attitude. 

So for now, there’s just Miranda and Miss Moneypenny in the coop  . . . but hopefully, it won’t be long before a couple of new chooks come to join them.  I need to phone our local breeder to find out if there’s still time to reserve a couple of birds for this month, or whether I’ll have to wait until March next year.

In the meantime . . . guinea fowl are growing and seem to have settled in well.

pintades 9 weeks

Here they are, aged 9 weeks, sunning themselves in the back garden. 

We’ve been having an Indian summer this past week with temperatures around 23°C and gorgeous blue skies.  An opportunity to take a few colourful photos

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of what’s flowering outside . . . and one, just for laughs, of what Ducky is up to indoors.

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I know it doesn’t look like it, but he’s actually fast asleep, with his eyes wide open lol. 

“sweet peas” happy dancing

I sometimes wonder if I have my head screwed on properly.  There I was, a few months ago,  knitting when temperatures were high enough to melt ice-cream in seconds . . . and now summer seems to have been and gone, I’m doing some summer sewing!

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I pulled out NewLook 6889, which I used last year to make a long cotton dress (the model on the left) and a smallish piece of lovely floral fabric I bought a while back.  I’m no flower expert, but I think they’re sweet peas.  I didn’t have enough to make a second long dress, and I don’t have the legs to wear a shorter or mini dress . . . so I shortened a little more and have made a long tunic.

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With pockets!

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No attempts at pattern matching I’m afraid, as the floral print is rather busy.  But they’re rather nice, and very roomy and I do like the shaping at the top.

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You can’t see very well in the photo, but I did French seams, so the inside is lovely and neat.  And I did 2 rows of top stitching around neckline, armholes and on hem line.  I think this is the neatest piece of clothes sewing I’ve ever done.

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Gibbs seems to approve . . . or maybe he’s hoping there’s something (other than hands) in my pockets?

Anyway, even though the weather forecast for the coming days is cool and wet, I’m really pleased I made this tunic.  Autumn is almost here, so it’ll be going in the wardrobe, to wait for next summer.  And . . . I’ve cut pattern pieces in the feather fabric, so another (summer) tunic is in the making.

cats, “Yarn Cats” and some surprise mail

cats August

Couldn’t resist sharing this photo with you of a peaceful moment . . . that’s Ducky to the left, and Abby to the right (our brother & sister act) having a cuddly snooze in one of their favourite spots.  Aww, don’t they look cute?

Unlike this trio who have got themselves in a right tangle.

yarn cats finished

This is “Yarn Cats”, a kit by Design Works that I snapped up in the xmas sales on sewandso last year.  A nice little stitching project, even though I didn’t much enjoy all the backstitch at the end.  Anyway, a small happy dance going on with that . . . and thinking cap on already to actually make this into something rather than just stuffing it in a drawer.

from Kate

And not only was I happy dancing because of a finished xstitch . . . I was also prancing around with glee because I received some surprise mail (ie I had another unbirthday).  This little stash from Kate of by the babbling brooke.  A lovely hand-made “tag” with some pretty yoyo flowers; a bookmark cross stitch kit, and a quilting pattern. A big thank you to Kate!

Gibbs will do anything for his toy!

I’ve shown you the floatable toy I made for Gibbs, using an empty dairy cream bottle, and crocheting a simple cover to slip over it . . . well I can tell you, it’s the best toy he’s ever had!  Not only does he love diving into the lake to fetch it, he also loves to simply carry it around during our walks.

We have been spending time every day on the obstacle course in the park.  To begin with, we took a small bag of dog biscuits as treats/incentive to reward him, but we soon discovered the toy, and verbal encouragement,  is all it takes.

Here is he, coming out the end of the tunnel

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To encourage him to run up a high ramp . . . we put the toy on the very top, so he runs up to fetch it, and then comes down the other side.  Here he is, at the top, on his way down.

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And it works the other way too.

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I am so pleased that he loves his toy, and we are very proud of all the progress he has made on the obstacle course in recent days.  He can now do: the tunnel, several ramps (of various heights and inclinations), leap through hanging tyres, jump over hurdles and “sit & stay” properly on a raised platform.

We’ve still got a few obstacles he’s not too keen on but with patience, we’ll get there.  This week we’re working on the see-saw.  He walks up the plank to the pivot and stays on it while it tips down, but tends to jump off the other side rather than walk down properly.

Ducky’s home

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I wanted to share the glad tidings with everyone – Ducky is home!

He had disappeared on Sunday 6th, although a neighbour is positive he saw Ducky on the Monday afternoon.  We’d been searching and calling until we were blue in the face. Looking in all the probable and most improbable places.  I printed out flyers which I distributed in every letter box in the vicinty as well as the on-line ad and ads with the local vet. We asked all neighbours to have a good look in their homes and out-houses/barns etc.  I even went and rang on the door of the local château and asked the “Châtelaine” if she would give us permission to explore her 2 hectares of dense woodland.  Permission which was given, so husband and myself spent a couple of hours in wellie boots, with big sticks, fighting our way through the over-grown undergrowth. 

And then this morning, who should come scratching at the door?  Yep, Ducky.  Not a scratch on him, a little bit thinner and very hungry, but apart from that, he’s fine.  He obviously managed to get himself locked in somewhere and was freed or escaped this morning. 

So big sigh of relief here!  He’s been fed, had lots of cuddles, and I’m hoping he’ll now curl up somewhere indoors and sleep.  But then again, if he’s been trapped inside for the last few days & nights, he’s probably going to want to go out. 

a dog can never have too many toys!

You will remember the success of this

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The floatable toy I made for Gibbs, using an empty dairy cream bottle and crocheting in the round with some rather gawdy-coloured yarn.  You’ve already seen photos of the incredible floating toy in action, thus

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Well I decided it would be a good idea to make a few more, in case of loss or damage.  For the moment it’s holding up very well.  Okay, it’s now a bit flattened, but Gibbs’ teeth haven’t made holes in the plastic yet, nor has he ripped the crochet cover to pieces.  He’s a good boy – he knows it’s a “fetch” toy, not to be confused with a “chew” toy. 

Still, I crocheted up two more, just so we have a couple of back-up toys in the future.  And here they are, alongside the flattened first toy (on the right).  I’ve kept the idea of long chains which serve two purposes: 1) to knot together and therefore close the cover, which can be removed if the bottle is ever pierced.  2) when holding the toy by the chains, it’s easier to fling it quite far out into the lake. 

jouets flottants x 3

These were made to fit around 340ml drinkable yoghurt bottles, which have something of a waist-line.  They might be a better shape for Gibbs.  The new ones look very bright compared to the first one.  This isn’t because yarn colour has faded, but rather because the colour of the second ball had less yellow than the first one (despite being the same dye number).  Gibbs won’t care.  He sat beside me while I was making them, knowing full well I was making something for him. 

And, still on the subject of crochet . . . a photo to show my growing collection of crochet books.

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There are a total of six in the series.  I started out buying the first (with the monkey) and pre-ordered number 6 which came out in May this year.    Then in June and July, I treated myself to numbers 2 and 3.  Buying one book a month is fairly reasonable, and by this autumn I will have the complete set to drool over. 

I’ll do another post in a few days time to show you a couple of the inside pages, perhaps to make you drool too.