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Art Journal – it’s a dog’s life

I never really understood art journalling but have kept sketchbooks for years so this year decided to experiment.   The idea is to have fun no fiddling with details, no worrying about perspective and correct angles even colour is chosen through instinct rather than calculated thought.   I now understand the peace and freedom of those adult colouring books… I think…

 

The need to fiddle is really over whelming, this piece is not right and drawing on the crease of the book really causes problems, BUT, I had fun, I relaxed and I didn’t touch it up in any way!!

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ACEO – Art Cards Editions and Originals

 

I have been busy creating little works of art on paper, my doodles are now available in the shop as mounted originals or prints and I will be adding plenty more as the days roll by….  beads all start with a doodle and my first love was always pencils.  Hope you all like them.  Click on the shop link to have a better look with more details.

 

As always monitors do show different colour spectrums so I have included both a scanned image and a photographed image in the shop.  I love bright colour so the bright images are more akin to the ‘real’ piece.

 

 

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Roald the Whimsy World story teller.

 

Roald is, as his name sake suggests, is an author of Whimsy World stories, he loves nothing better than being immersed in a world of BFG’s (Roald Dahl’s BFG [big friendly giant] for those that have never read it.. you must go and read it but maybe pour yourself a glass of snuzzlebunger first 😛 ). So ‘this’ Roald is always dreaming up lands far far away, with dogs playing the centre roles.. obviously. He trades his stories for gravy bone biscuits oh how they make him drool 😀

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Fat camp.

Izzzy Wizzy Wizole Wumps… or Izabel for short.  10 years young this coming August, so technically 9 and a bit.  Heavy – that is those big sturdy Welsh bones – very fluffy and desperately in need of a good groom; which is this afternoon’s big job!
Iz in the snow 2014.
Gorgeous, isn’t she?  I might be a bit biased as she is my baby, the first.. .and last…. puppy we will ever own.  Having always had rescue dogs (and cats before Iz and since) Iz was the puppy we choose to live with us and our now departed Suki (Lurcher X).  Having never had a puppy, we, as a family, decided we would give it a go, she was hard work but worth it.  Obviously the family all wanted to help out with walking, grooming, picking up the poo, training and all the  jobs that go with being responsible dog owners.  It was them telling me how helpful they would be that convinced me to have a third dog.  Their good intentions barely lasted the week but by then my maternal instincts had kicked in and I was super protective of my fluffy bundle of mischief and despite her reluctance to be less than the stubborn lead tugging creature she still remains we enrolled in obedience classes. It wasn’t long before she made the trainer use the F word due to her refusal to come back preferring instead to wander over to the nursing home residents (the group ran in the grounds of a beautiful old nursing home) introduce herself and get fed cake! 
It was not her finest moment but in later classes we could console a young girl whose Spaniel was being particularly naughty and the girl was in tears, after telling her she wasn’t doing too bad the trainer was yet to swear at her dog in exasperation she cheered up no end.
And so life has pretty much been run her way ever since.  We tried the halti to stop the lead pulling, she threw herself on the floor and I dragged her down the drive on her side until she relented for a second – and a piece of sausage – and got to her paws.  She was not to remain standing the second the sausage hit the stomach she threw herself back down on the lane.  
We don’t use a halti.

Christmas Day 2015 up Skirrig Fawr with Jacqui (my friend), Defi on the left, Basil on the right and Dils at the back.

We have always had big dogs.  Our first dog together, the husband and I, was Ricky a big black and gold German Shepherd with ‘issues’.  He really set the precedence for having animals that needed a forever home and I learn’t very quickly that dealing with animals that have not had the best start in life was hard work but very rewarding.
Ricky lived to be 15 years old and was with us for 14 of those years.  In all that time I was very careful to balance his daily diet with his weight and exercise.  Big dogs, especially Shepherds, have problems with their back legs and carrying too much weight shortens their activity and life.  We found the right balance with Ricky and he was still wandering around, albeit slowly, on his own steam the day he died.
Time for a snooze whilst I work in the glass studio.  January 2016.

 Suki, our beautiful ‘old lady dogs’ as I called her was a barrel!  A Heinz 57 mix of just about every breed but narrowed down by the rescue home as Lurcher X.  She was lovely was Suki, biddable happy little soul that sadly left us too young at 13 with cancer.  It was Suki that welcomed Iz as a puppy, although welcomed was pushing it, it took a good 3 months for Suki to forgive us for introducing such a bundle of energy into her sedate life and accept Iz as a friend, once the bond was forged they spent 4 or 5 years playing together in the garden and taking long walks, made longer by Izabel’s insistence on not coming back!
January 2016, buddies in mud!  Izabel left, Defi right.

If Suki taught Iz one thing it was to be lazy, not that Suki was lazy she was an active little thing in her day charging about like a loon and jumping into my husbands arms at the end of the day when he walked in through the door and of course she grew up with two kids who were under 10 in those days and so much fun in the garden was shared as well as crayon eating: Suki did like to munch on a good crayon and our garden was often bright and sparkly from red, purple, green.. glitter poos!
Iz excelled in one lesson at dog training.  Down, stay.  She would lie down and go to sleep. She would probably be there now if I hadn’t woke her up with sausages and brought her home!
She loved agility, she ran the see saw like a professional in the agility ring, the tunnel was zipped through at the speed of light – once we figured out how to stop her lying down in the middle of it for a quick snooze, the other dogs crashing like a cartoon into the back of her and causing congestion round the circuit!  The long jump, she flew through the air her soft feathers floating like angel wings on a cloud.  She was brilliant…..
…right up to when the trainer tried to tell her how to do things properly, that is, not her way.  After weeks of her refusing to jump, get up, move at all.. we got busted down from the top group to the toy terrier group.  I was humiliated.  When the class ended and it was fun time, she was back on form and top of the group.  Tell her what to do……
We left agility soon after.
Iz @2012
Then there was Gordy.  The day he arrived Iz lay down in front of him and he climbed onto her back for comfort.  She looked at me, I looked at the husband, we all looked at Gordy and Iz went back to sleep.  When Gordy is having a bad day, when the dribble is flowing like a leaky faucet it is always Iz that he climbs onto for comfort.  He gets a bit hot does Gord and Iz will raise her head get eye contact which means ‘please remove him’ before getting off the sofa.  She is a great step mum to Gordy, she doesn’t play with him like Defi does but she does the important work of caring, when he is not his normal self.

Iz and Gordy December 2015
So Monday February 1st 2016 dawned on an unusually dry day here in Hereford and the husband and I set off for a visit to the vet with Iz.  Nothing serious just annual check up and boosters with a quick stand on the doggy scales to check that weight.
41.8kgs!!!!
Now I knew she had gained a pound or two but 10kgs in 1 year!! I couldn’t believe it.  Iz was fat!  The vet started talking to me about Fat Club for Dogs held monthly at the surgery, that made me choke a bit but the husband nearly passed out when the vet told him about this special new food for over weight dogs which of course in vet language means a small mortgage to feed your dog each month!  
I was mortified, I had an over weight pet.  I have never had an over weight pet before I had always been so careful, obviously with Iz not careful enough.  I am sure she was nearly in tears too as the vet discussed how she was at risk of diabetis, heart problems… death!  
Other than the ENORMOUS weight gain, Iz is as healthy as can be and now on a strict diet and exercise program.
I did get home and Google (I love Google he knows everything, he is like a husband to whom you are not married!) the dog food I am currently feeding my dogs having changed to this particular brand approx 9 months ago, the last food, excellent stuff, made the dogs poo orange and I was being a bit posh and snobby over having dog poo in the garden that you can see from space.  So Google told me that this brand of dog food is most likely one of the worst kind for additives and ‘doggy sugars’.  I did start reading about calorific value and it did get all scientific and clever so I turned Google off and advised the husband person that we are going back to glow in the dark poo and the brand that creates that.
We also take the ball down to the fields again.  In a week I have lost a pound and a half because Izabel thinks the game is leaving the bloody thing behind us and waiting for me to fetch it!

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January’s Spring Clean.

 Blowing the dust of my blog is just one of the areas I have been Spring cleaning in my life since we stepped into 2016. The kids are still refusing to leave home and now even talk about the high cost of rent and how they have an easier time at home with servants… that would be me then, chief washer upper, clothes picker upper, clothes washer, hoover pusher, but not shopper or cook as those skills still elude me.  One of my new ideas for this brand new year, is to learn to cook, last year (2015) I actually conquered the intricacies of cooking an omelette and to date I have cooked at least three, one of which my son actually said was good.  He was starving at the time, been at work for 12 hours and was chilled to the bone and just wanting food, but I will take my cooking compliments where I can get them.
Last week I got stuck into clearing the wardrobe, ten years of piling ‘stuff’ in a walk in triple doored cupboard of a wardrobe, in a modern house it would be called the small bedroom.  I love this space and have used it to store an air-con unit my husband insisted on getting back in 2008 (or so) which was probably only used that one summer and since been stored due to lack of summer heat.  On top of the air con unit is Aslan, a massive handmade (6ft with tail) lion that was made for me when I was a child and I refuse to throw away so Aslan has been carted from one side to the country to another and stuffed in a variety of wardrobes and under beds.
Charley at 17

Charley approx 1 year old.

With Aslan and other stuffed toys I can’t part with including my kids first teddies from when they were small, is shoes, camping equipment, a plastic skeleton for Halloween, the carved wooden elephant chair with the rattan seat my husband inherited from his Grandmother when she died, thought to be worth something but its one of those ‘pick one up from eBay for £50 on a good day pieces of furniture….  old canvas’ from my painting days amongst the discarded dog hairs that are embarrassingly large balls of hairy dust and the big box of photos and things that I have kept from the early 1990’s when my kids were born.  The first paintings, old school reports and lots of photos of my daughter (and son!) which show her off to be the ugly bug she was as a baby.  Charley, my daughter, was helping me sort through the wardrobe, she was instrumental in getting me to throw away most of my clothes that were outdated, threadbare, washed out and seriously tired.  She moaned at me a lot that day for not wearing the lovely collection of clothes she has brought for me over the last 12 months, her being the shopper of the family.  We laughed at her in the photos, covered in chocolate, sat in the washing basket, or my favourite of her in the garden trug looking miserable and fed up – she still hates being outdoors in the fresh air doing jobs around the garden and at 20 can honestly say she has never cut the grass!  That saying, ugly baby beautiful child, is right from an ugly bug she did turn out ok.

Some one cute and dribbly just laughed and laughed… and kept out of the way of any clearing out. 
 Gordy plays a huge part in my life as does Teeko, Izabel and Defi, both the latter having been in the wars this week, Iz has a black eye from a fight down at the river (which she didn’t start) and Defi managed to catch his nail on one of his front paws the following day and has been limping, when you stand near the treat box,  when he thinks he might get some sympathy.
Teeko has been snoozing on top of the fish tank letting the heat warm his old bones.
So this blog is going to about them and me, what we get up too, the trials and tribulations of living with an older cat, a cat with special needs, one dog with separation anxiety and the other that loves to roll in ….. stuff!
Until next time from Dust, Dribble and Dog hairs, long may the hoover suck!