Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Titus and Hurdles

I always thought Titus would enjoy agility training.  In Washington, there weren't any courses nearby, so we settled on teaching Titus how to jump hurdles.  Josh built 2 hurdles from PVC pipe- 1 was adjustable and could be raised to different heights and the other was a fixed height.  We honestly didn't use them all that much, but Titus really seemed to enjoy them every time we got them out.
Here in TX we have a bunch of old partial fences around our property.  One of them meets up with our mowed pathway and is the perfect hurdling height for Titus.  I try to make him jump it every night as we are out walking.  Sometimes he gets really excited and will jump multiple times without any command.  Sometimes he's not interested at all.  I have recently contacted a local trainer about use of her agility course.  If it's affordable, I would love to train Titus to run the whole course.  We'll see.  For now he's just fence jumping.
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Friday, August 26, 2011

2011 Garden, Part 7- Garden Guessing Game Answer

It's a...






CUCUMBER!!
Here are some other cucumbers that Josh found- not so pretty!
Speaking of not very pretty, here's a look at our weed invested garden these days.  Just keeping it real here, folks.  Maybe we should start calling it a jungle instead of a garden.
Titus says, "This place is a mess.  Do I dare go in?"
Titus is the only one doing any weeding!
At least the okra is taller than the weeds.
Remember what the garden looked like a couple of months ago after I weeded?  Sigh...
I took a short walk through the jungle this morning.  We still have tomato plants blooming, but no fruit.  Peppers are doing ok- we need to harvest a few.  I found some cantaloupe that should be ready soon, and of course the okra is still going crazy.  Josh says there are watermelons out there somewhere, but I didn't see them (I wonder why!)
So it has definitely been a hard year, but we are learning and will hopefully improve next year.  At least we know we can grow weeds!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

2011 Garden, Part 7- A Garden Guessing Game

Well, we are still getting a few things out our garden.  Okra and cantaloupe are still going strong, and we get other things occasionally too.  Sometimes the produce is not very pretty, like this guy:
Anybody want to guess what this is?  I'll be back with the answer and more pictures tomorrow...

Monday, August 22, 2011

Doggy Splash Day, Part 2- News coverage

So here's the video that was on the news last night. 
I feel the need to explain the situation that was caught on camera.  This was at the very end of our time at the pool.  In fact, we had already decided to leave when this young boy took a liking to Titus and wanted to play with him.  How could I say no?  I had put his big blue ball away and we were using his retrieving stick at this point.  The stick has a rope attached to it that makes it very easy to throw.  The boy tossed it for Titus a couple of times before this video.  In this video, the boy is standing next to Titus outside of the pool.  He throws it and Titus jumps in after it.  The problem was that he threw it clear across the shallow part and into the deep water!  With all the dogs and people around, Titus couldn't see it.  On top of that, I didn't want Titus crossing the buoys and rope and risk getting tangled up.  So what did I do?  I sent Josh swimming after the stick.
So in the video, you see the throw, the jump, and then Titus looks confused as Josh takes off swimming.  Oh, and I'm the one itching my nose- nice.  Not our best moment of the day.  Maybe we should have left 5 minutes earlier :) 
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Did you catch how the news anchor pronounced "dachshund" at the end?  Haha- that's still cracking me up!  

Doggy Splash Day- My Favorite Non-holiday Day

Well, yesterday was Doggy Splash Day here in Abilene.  It is officially my new favorite non-holiday day of the year.  I love swimming and I love dogs.  Combine them and I'm in heaven!
My goal for this year was to get Titus on video jumping off the diving board.  He did it a few times last year, but Josh was not around to run the camera.  This year, Josh stayed with us even though he does not get nearly as excited about this day as I do.
Titus has noticeably aged in the last year, so I wasn't really sure how enthusiastic he would be this time around.  Last year, he swam for the entire 2 hours.  This year he only lasted about 1 hour and 20 minutes, and he was beyond wiped out.  I know he had lots of fun, but he definitely let us know when he was done.  He took his toy over to the area where our stuff was, dropped it, and then just looked at us as if to say, "Ok- I'm ready to go.  Come get our stuff now."
Josh didn't take any pictures this year, but here are a couple videos of us in the shallow end. Titus cannot get out by himself, so I have to help.  Let me tell you, pushing a 95 lb dog out of the water is a great work out!  These videos were taken early on before a lot of people arrived.
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After a little time in the shallow end, it was time to try the diving board.  Here's a breakdown of his jumps:
Jump 1- Jump on the diving board, jump off the diving board, jump on the diving board, get to the end and refuse to jump.  I had to push him in.  I accidentally deleted that video before I even got to watch it- so sad :(
Jump 2- Much better, but Titus went to the side of the pool too far away from me so I wasn't ready to help him out, a little struggle to get out of the pool.  Note: pushing him out of the pool is much harder in the deep water.  I have to hold on the side and get enough leverage to lift him up.  It's hard work!  (Video 1 below)
Jump 3- He was a little more excited this time.  More graceful pool exit (Video 2 below)

Notice Titus refuses to use the dog ramp they have set up.  One big jump is all he needs.  Also, please ignore pasty white girl in all videos :)
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A little while later, we went back to the diving board.
Jump 4- a pretty normal dive
Jump 5- Sneaky Titus waited until I was up on the diving board then he jumped off the side onto the pool deck and jumped into the pool.  Little Stinker!
So that was our fun at the pool yesterday.  All 3 of us did make it on the news last night, but the video is not very flattering for any of us.  If I get a copy I'll share it and explain the moment they caught on film.  (Here's last year's news video)
I'm curious, do you have a favorite non-holiday day of the year? 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Baby leggings and other fun crafts!

Sometimes I think I should go into business selling baby stuff.  Seriously, I get such joy out of making things that are so stinking cute!  So my latest project involves baby leggings.  A friend of mine was looking for some affordable leggings or tights for her soon-to-be-born baby girl.  A friend of hers sent her a link on facebook for making your own baby leggings.  So easy and so cute, so I volunteered to make them.  I'm so glad I did because this is a gift I will go back to over and over (and hopefully improve on!)
Basically, you just lop off the foot of a sock and sew around the edge.  The foot can be used to make a cuffed bottom if you wish.  Here are the tutorials I followed:
http://cally-cruze.blogspot.com/2009/03/baby-legs-tutorial.html
http://everythingyourmamamade.com/2008/01/21/make-your-own-baby-leg-warmers/

Here are the leggings I made.  Yes, I went a little overboard and made 13 pairs.  This little girl is going to be stylin'!

I only made cuff bottoms on 3 pair- I just really really liked the lettuce edge better.
Some tips if you make your own:
1.  Find cheap socks.  I found mine at Kmart.  I used girls' knee high socks.  I also looked at Walmart, Target, the dollar store, and Kohls- they did not have cute socks for less than about $6.  I paid $1.99 for most of these pairs but found some on clearance too.  It averaged out to $1.40/pair!!  Online these leggings go for $10-12. I'm sure when it's not 105 degrees outside, more stores will have knee high socks stocked.  Toe socks would also work quite well I imagine.  (Ooh, Christmas leggings!)
2.  The name brand leggings are 21cm long for newborns and 33cm long for their regular size.  Mine all came out different sizes depending on the socks, but they were all in that range.
3.  Next time I will make the cuffs a smaller diameter than the legging part.  I just didn't care for the way they turned out.
4.  When doing the lettuce edge, go around twice.  It just makes a nicer looking edge.  Each pair takes about 15 minutes total (including cutting and sewing).  Super easy!

Ok, so then I had all these extra sock pieces left.  What to do, what to do.  An idea hit me!  I'm sure this has been done before, but I seriously came up with this on my own without looking at any tutorials.  It actually worked too!  I decided these leggings would look super cute with a jean skirt, so I whipped one up using some of Josh's old jeans, some elastic, and one of my old tank tops for the waistband.  Then (and here's where the wheels started turning) I added a button on the front and made interchangeable appliques to match the leggings.  Each applique has a button hole so you can swap them out!  I'll let the pictures explain:
Jean skirt with button
Little pink flower applique
Little heart applique
Here's a look at all the appliques I made.  Not all of the socks could be used, so I made a simple white applique from the tank top so there is always something to put over the button.  I basically stuck to 3 simple shapes since this was my first try and I had no idea what I was doing.  The butterfly was a bonus shape since all I had to do was sew around the design on the sock.
Here are some outfits put together







So cute, right?  So easy!!  Don't you want to whip some up right now?  I'm not super satisfied with the jean skirt itself, so I'll probably make another one with ruffles or something.  Of course, you could just add a button of the same size to any skirt and voila, 13 new outfits!  Overall, I guess it wasn't too bad for a whole bunch of first-time projects. 
I also made 2 hooded towels and a pacifier clip like I have done in the past.
So that's what's been keeping me busy lately.  What projects have you been working on?
(Funny side story:  Josh is so super smart, way smarter than I could ever hope to be.  His vocabulary is wonderful, while mine is stuck in about 5th grade.  Get this, I taught him a new word this week- applique!  I was quite proud of myself!)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Titus' Latest Discovery

As we were leaving for our evening walk last night, Titus stopped dead in his tracks.  Then he started jumping back and twitching- you know, going into freak out mode.  He was near some tall grass, so all I could think was snake.  When I caught up with him, he had indeed found a snake- well, part of one anyway.  It was just the skin again- a very large skin.  I ran inside to get the camera and Josh.  We stretched it out in the driveway and measured it.  Yep, just shy of 80 inches!!  So we have an 80 inch snake somewhere on our property.  Luckily it's not a rattler or I would be worried.
Of course we took pictures!  Sorry they're so dark.  We walk as the sun is going down.

Titus was very concerned about the snake skin.
Titus: "Do you see how long this thing is?!?  I can't believe I found such a big snake!"
Titus: "Mom, I don't like that head.  It worries me.  I'm just going to hide behind you if you don't mind."   Me:  "Yes, T-pot, you should be worried about that head.  It is not a toy!"
Just shy of 80 inches!  See, no rattle.
For the rest of our walk, Titus was on high alert.  He even stopped and went into freak out mode again.  This time it was just a stick, a stick about 12 inches long and the thickness of a pencil.  Oh, how this dog cracks me up!
Snake count for 2011- 6 alive, 2 skins

In other news, my craft room has been in this condition for a couple of weeks.  I've been working on another baby gift.  I'll post pictures in the next couple of days (as soon as the parents open the box).  I'm super excited to share some new craft ideas with you!