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Red and polka dots

Red and polka dots

Motoring along with the dress after leaving it to “rest” for 24 hours as recommended. Now on to the binding…

Jetlag, notions, exciting times ahead

Jetlag, notions, exciting times ahead

I have to say I am so incredibly excited about what’s to come in my business life…

Just before we left on our holiday, a wonderful lady got in touch with me via my Etsy shop saying that she had found my shop and was very keen to strike up a mutually beneficial relationship: seamstress and serious client.

She is looking to get one or two new items every season, and LOVES the idea of her garments being tailored to her exact measurements (she struggles to find well fitted items, just like I do, for our “vintage” body shapes) and even better: SHE LOVES VINTAGE!!!

So we’re in the process of ironing out the details and I am going to complete the dress I started (before Azzie arrived and put everything on pause while we trained her and settled her in with our beautiful Gina) a while back and start putting up photos of it (with images of the detail work, as best as I can show it) on my Etsy site and this website. She is busy purchasing vintage patterns for things she wants made, and is also sourcing fabric and notions for them all. She’s also had some interest from other people she knows and they will see how our first collaboration turns out…

I am so nervous, but so thrilled that this chance has happened! It’s exactly what I was hoping for, dreaming of, and I am keen to get started and show my skills and attention to detail and my meticulous nature at work…

In other news:

Azzie has settled in nicely, and her training is coming along very well. Gina has taught her some very good lessons in behaviour and strangely, Azzie has even managed to show Gina some things (not all bad, either!) as well. The time they spent together at the pet hotel (2 weeks) has also brought them a little closer together, and you can see they are starting to form a good bond: Azzie just needs to learn to calm down, as Gina does not like a “stressed” or overexcited dog. No dogs do, really. Azzie has, however, come a long way and we are very proud of her. They have both stuck by our sides since we picked them on Monday and you can feel the love (and relief I suppose – I think perhaps Azzie thought she had been dropped off yet again, at another foster home, so she was even happier to see us than Gina – if that’s possible!) coming from their big beautiful eyes. You can tell that Azzie is doing her absolute best to be on good behaviour, and please us as best she can. She’s growing up into a sweet dog. Gina has grown up in a matter of weeks too… It was her 4th birthday on the 27th February (a few days before we picked them up) and she’s definitely left the “pup” days (even for a Berner) behind her. Luckily, Azzie is still keeping her a happy girl by forcing her to react in a puppy like way to her antics.

They were pretty unfit so we’ve been trying to take it easy, but also get them back into a routine for their walks. So they are both pretty exhausted the last couple of days…


Brutally truthy

Brutally truthy

One thing I can always count on my husband for, is the brutal truth. He sees me from a totally different perspective and sometimes he sees far more than I realise. In an argument recently, he called me a hypocrite. I vehemently denied that I […]

Guest Post – Ways Veterans Can Stay Healthy

Guest Post – Ways Veterans Can Stay Healthy

I was not aware of it, but apparently I actually do have an “audience” out there on the internet. I became aware of this a few days ago when a lovely lady called Emily mailed me and asked if she could do a guest spot […]

A mental raccoon moment

A mental raccoon moment

*rustle rustle*

Hello 🙂

I realised I haven’t posted in a while and I wanted to gather myself a bit and put down my thoughts from the last few weeks.


* Azzie is coming along very nicely. We seem to have sorted out her tummy issues with careful application of 100% pure pumpkin for when it was very bad (yes, I will swear by it) and boiled chicken and plain rice (white or brown, it doesn’t matter – they both work) – first as total meal, and then adding her dry food very slowly. Now she is eating her full portion of dry food, but still with chicken and rice (just a little bit) which I am slowly removing, once we know her stomach is completely settled and stable.  I think they both got a bug, which they passed back and forth between them for a few days. So I washed all their toys, bowls, Kongs and bedding and blankets and it seems to have gone away… We’re taking it slow, and we’re sticking to one brand of food, too. I don’t think our search for the “right brand” helped her puppy tummy, either.

As far as her training, manners, behaviour are concerned: we are impressed. She sleeps through the night, no issues and she is learning very fast. They are highly intelligent, these dogs, and she’s definitely on a par with Gina, despite her young age. We’re working on a few bad habits (that she picked up from Gina as well) with both of them, but we see progress every day, so it’s a positive thing. I’m trying my best to use positive training – but I would say I use a mix of it. I’m not 100% positive reinforcement, as much as I would like to be.

I adore Azzie, and I am learning to love her (I will admit we butted heads a lot in the beginning and we still do sometimes – she’s very stubborn) but I must say that it was much simpler with just Gina. She and I were tight. Close. Amigos during the day and when husband went away. I just hope she doesn’t feel like she’s been usurped by Azzie, because I still love Gina far more – that’s being honest. I don’t dislike Azzie – not in the least – and I wouldn’t want to lose her now – she is part of our family and we stick by her through everything –  but I think that it was such a huge undertaking, such an enormous jolt to our quiet little lives, when she arrived, that my … id? my ego? my… nature?… something… it’s still settling. She’s only been with us just on 2 months now. It feels like forever though – and not always in a good way, to put it bluntly. I was so used to my calm, gentle, well-behaved G-Girl, that it was just an attack on my senses: this wild, stubborn, enormous pawed, white toothed monster who took whatever she wanted, ate everything, lay where she wanted, didn’t listen to anyone, pushed Gina around and jealously destroyed toys that Gina had had for years if we paid too much attention elsewhere. At least _that_ has eased off.

She is lovely though, and her personality is finally emerging and she’s calming down and settling in with us and I know she is happy now she has a family too – and I would never take that away from her. I would never want to! She grows on you 🙂 I am sure that in a years time we will look back and laugh (and sigh in relief) that all this “crazy” is over and she’s a sweet, kind,  gentle, CALM, little munchkin – like her big “sister” Gina.

* More snow! We’ve had a few days of snow now, and apparently a few more to come… which is awesome, as I love the snow and so do my dogs! Husband is not so keen, but he knows the dogs love it, so he grumbles less when he takes them out and they play around like hooligans in it 🙂 You can’t help but pick up on their enthusiasm for the weather… it makes you smile.

* My sewing should pick up again as soon as my sewing paper arrives – tracing paper for patterns. I tried wax paper and it worked, for one brand, but every other brand I tried is too slippery to write on, so I had to give that up and just buy proper stuff online.

My material for my pencil/wiggle skirt arrived, so I can’t wait to start on that either.. that should (SHOULD – without puppy interruptions, of course) be a one day thing, maybe two. I just really want to COMPLETE something now… I’m tired of sitting here in seamstress limbo…

Starting with this one Just need some snaps


* I was asked to take photos at another military ceremony (a promotion for an awesome man and great officer) recently and I was honoured to be asked. Photos came out well, despite my Speedlight giving me issues. I know that I have grown as a photographer, when something like that doesn’t phase me and I still manage to get the job done! The Viper Pit has honed my skills, for sure.

* I’m missing home terribly, recently. My friend Steph says it’s probably because everything is settling into a “normal” routine here, and I finally have come down to earth and feel the distance because I am no longer focused on other things (my green card, viper pit, school, moving). I miss my mom. I miss my beautiful dogs back home too, and my gorgeous cats. I even miss my brother.

* My husband is moving forward nicely in his school, and I am exceptionally proud of him. He’s almost completed his Maths module and has seemingly discovered a strange love/hate relationship with mathematics that he didn’t realise he had. I think I felt the same at one point, when I was in school, but after my head injury my brain is just too scattered sometimes to focus as one should. I’ve managed to keep up with him, so far, and managed to help him figure out some steps a few times… but mostly I just feel a bit pathetic and lost. It’s a horrible feeling for me – I’m not saying I was a genius before, but it’s times like that when I become aware of how much my thought processes have been scrambled from my head injury, and because I have not had to “use” those processes necessary for mathematics and more “logical” thought (which is surprising, for someone who is, generally, very logical and rational) I seem to have “lost” the pathways necessary for it. I’m very sure that with repetition and practice I would get it back, with new pathways formed in my brain, but I am a little scared that if I try, and it doesn’t come back… I am scared of how I would feel. I would feel humiliated. I would feel “less’ than I was before. I think I avoid “trying” so that I can’t disappoint myself.

That’s being pretty honest with myself. I didn’t think I could put that down in writing. There it is.

I need a cup of tea and a headache tablet.


Stay strong, TBI sufferers. There’s always hope, and we have more strength than we know.


End of the world? Just as we know it?

End of the world? Just as we know it?

Woke up this morning and had REM’s song “It’s the end of the world as we know it” running through my mind 🙂 21st December 2012. (21.12.2012 in normal usage… 12.21.2012 for the Americans) I’m hoping the “end of the world” just means an end […]

Upon reflection…

Upon reflection…

Another much better night with Azzie after my husband and I made some compromises with her – I came to some conclusions about myself and about the dogs, and about life in general. Very deep, I know – but it happens sometimes. She slept 4 […]

Clean slate, fresh start.

Clean slate, fresh start.

Due to some technical issues, I have unfortunately kinda “lost” my old posts and media.

My techno-whiz friend Vanessa (of The Vanessa Macleod Creative Agency ) has done what she can to save my archives (all the way back to 2006!) and they will be available as she gets the chance to import them.

But for now…

It begins again, from here.


So this is my first “proper” post on my new host.

A small update, I suppose, as I try and remember what I last posted about and what has happened since then!

First things first – just over a week ago (Saturday 24 November 2012) my husband and I made the decision to adopt/rescue another Bernese Mountain Dog. She was being moved from foster to foster and was already 7 months old and we wanted to give her a good home.

Her name is Azerenka Victoria – we call her Azzie.

She is a gorgeous girl with enormous paws (larger than a Great Dane’s, actually) and lots of puppy manic energy.

She’s learning fast – very intelligent, like the rest of her breed – but we are in the middle of house training her. Yes, 7 months old and not house trained. She’s from a litter of 11 so she was initially used to fighting for every scrap of food or treat or anything, and she never had her own toys.

She’s come a long way in the week or more that we’ve had  her – no more hoarding of toys, no more snapping at Gina when it came to food, no more panicked hoovering of her food to the point where she can hardly breathe.

She’s calmed down, has learned “sit” and “wait” and “uh uh” and “no” and “good girl” and is happily going in to her crate at night.

She has, quite understandably, quite severe separation issues, but we will work on those once we get her house trained – she’s growing DAILY, literally, and soon she will be too large for her crate, so we need to work on the house training first! Right now my husband are exhausted, as we have to take 2 hour shifts to take her downstairs to pee or poop (or both!)  – slowly extending the time by a few minutes each night. But it’s slow going – we don’t want to have any accidents, so we go backward in our training with her.

Gina has bonded quite well with her – after the initial posturing and figuring out who is in charge – G is starting to stand up for herself (a lot of that confidence is from playing tug of war with my husband – he goes on hands and knees and uses his teeth like a dog) and there is no more tension between them. Sometimes Azzie oversteps a bit, she’s a puppy – but Gina very clearly and quickly puts her back in place, without drama. She’s a gentle soul, our G-Girl, and she’s being every bit the “big sister” – including bad habits! But we’re working on that too.

One thing at a time, and baby steps!

Secondly – SNOW! SNOW SNOW AND MORE SNOW!!! It’s WONDERFUL!!! Bloody cold at night, when husband and I do our shifts taking Azzie down… but I’m still enjoying it immensely! My only issue is that my snow boots don’t do well with lots of water – they handle snow fine – so I get soaked, cold feet when we walk out in the slush, or in the wet grass. Meh. So I’m going through a lot of socks!


Thirdly – due to the new puppy and our tiring schedules with her, husband and I have not been swimming, and I have not been running since we got her 🙁 We can’t leave her on her own yet, as she barks (LOUDLY! She has a HUGE bark) and we don’t want her to be a nuisance. We’ll work on that later. I told husband he needs to go though, on his own. I will give him his training schedule and he must just do it. However, with all the snow and icy weather, the roads (especially the very long, steep hill up to the swimming pool) are pretty dangerous, and Helga sometimes gets so cold she doesn’t want to close her door… Plus, husband is so tired from our up and downs at night that he is just not up for it.

We’re hoping that as we get the time extended between pee breaks, for Azzie, we can start finding a bit more energy for other things!


Try Something New

Try Something New

My husband and I make a point of trying something new whenever we can. Food is a large part of our lifestyle – we both love good food and we are always trying to maintain a balance between healthy food and tasty food and of […]