why I wasn’t around

Yes. Its been a long time since I posted.
I have very good excuses:
I ran outta gas.
I had a flat tire.
I didn’t have enough money for cab fare.
My tux didn’t come back from the cleaners.
An old friend came in from outta town.
Someone stole my car.
There was an earthquake,
… a terrible flood,
…locust’s.
It wasn’t my fault!!
Ok. So you’re not falling for that.
Fine.
Actually I was out of town for a while. Then I was lazy. And busy. Having a life. You know how it is.
I went to Sydney over the Easter long weekend to attend the Poodle National and help my good friends Iris with their poodles.
Yes. Two Irises. And 5 poodles between them.
Iris No. 1 is a toy poodle breeder, the breeder of my beloved Billybear. Iris No. 2 is a standard poodle breeder. I did up her beautiful black Tango for the show on Saturday and ended up handling her in the ring. (Tango that is. Not Iris.)
That’s something I wasn’t expecting. I mean, I was flattered that Iris asked, I’m not fit and certainly don’t consider myself a good handler, but on the plus side I am younger than she is… Anyway, Tango went well for me and got 3rd in a large class which was pretty good.
The rest of my time up there I groomed toy poodles before, during and after the show. I was exhausted when I returned!
On the Sunday I did up 4 toy poodles which Iris handled to win two 2nd places and one 3rd place. 
To non-showing people that might not sound like much, but trust me, to place at a National is a big deal. Its a huge speciality show and people with poodles come from all over Australia. Most classes are much larger than you get at any local shows.
To be honest, I’m really proud (and flattered) that people admire the way I present poodles and want me to groom for them… so allow me to brag:
Meet the toys I helped with:
I don’t have a photo of Tango unfortunately. I didn’t have my camera with me. Hopefully I’ll get one soon. And maybe one day I’ll brag about some other poodles I’ve presented for shows…
When I got back I just needed to rest, but you know there’s no rest for the wicked. I had dogs to groom here too. That’s the problem when you’re trying to build up a business of your own. You can’t afford to say no and put people off.
I also re-designed Iris’ website. Have a look: Toniri Toy Poodles
Doing websites takes HOURS. I’m not sure I enjoy doing them any more…
I’ve basically done nothing but run on the hamster wheel since I got back from Sydney. I have so many projects that are unfinished or unstarted its not funny.
Its sickening really.
One project I started while at the National was a necklace I’m making out of felted poodle hair. Stay tuned when I figure out how I want that to go together… and when I find a needle to thread the felt balls with.
Another project is a light shade for the wardrobe room I started a couple of weeks ago. I found something I think will work and while trying to clean it up yesterday I cut my finger and remembered we don’t have any band aids.
Then we’ve had a fire nearby. This is the hill opposite us on Sunday.
Lucky for us this fire happened now, when its not so hot, after we’d had some rain, and on a day with no wind whatsoever. If this had started during one of our horrible heat waves with the roaring winds we’d have had to make a quick decision.
I guess I better go figure out what project I should work on today. This will be my last Monday off for at least 4 weeks as they’ve asked me to work 5 days a week for a while to help out. NOT looking forward to that.
Between grooming dogs and the zillion projects I have in my shed, house and head there’s not much room to move!
z

pom poms and poodles

Yay! I did it!
I finally made myself a little pom pom posie!

 
I had made this bedspring vase a little while ago and really wasn’t happy with it.I think it was the pink flower that got me.
 
And when I saw the little pom pom flowers at Ecclectically Vintage, I knew they were exactly what I needed!
Since I have a passion for blue, purple and white flowers, I chose some purple and cream wool for my flowers and used florists wire for the stems.
The pom poms really are quite easy to make, using a fork to wrap the wool around, but when they come off the fork they really were the ugliest pom poms I’d ever seen. They really did need a haircut.
Lucky for me I’m a whizz at trimming pom poms as my poodle showing days will prove!
 Ahhh… I do miss poodle hair!
z

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Green Willow Pond
DIY Show Off




a box for ursa

When I first met Merrill she had a heart dog. Her name was Ursa. Unfortunately, I never really go to know Ursa as she developed a brain tumour and the first time I met her was also the last.
Its so sad when you lose any beloved pet… they are members of the family. Its even harder when its one you’ve hand raised from a baby and which is much a part of you as your own heart.
When I lost Billybear, my toy poodle – my special boy – I made a small box to keep his ashes. It wasn’t the first time I’d made a ‘memory box’. I made one for Scooter the year before. But with Billy I used the words of a song as part of the box. The song was The Dance by Garth Brooks. Its a song about love and life and how pain is part of loving.
I promised Merrill I’d make her a special box for Ursa’s ashes to take with her to her new home. I used a photo of Ursa’s paws… there’s something so beautiful and vulnerable about her paws.
I also incorporated both the words of The Dance, and the words Ursa said to Merrill through an animal communicator. They are beautiful words.
z
The Dance
Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared ‘neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye

And now, I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment, wasn’t I a king
But if I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey who’s to say, you know I might have changed it all

And now, I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance, I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain,
but I’d have had to miss the dance

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Beyond The Picket Fence

The Girl Creative

name and shame…

Yes, he’s so cute.
He looks so sweet and innocent. Dopey even. Mommy’s boy. A sook and a cuddler.
 
But leave him alone in the house with nothing to do and this is what I come back to:
Romeo.
Yep. That’s the one.
He’s not so innocent or sweet after all.
He’s a pillow killer. And a doona killer (who can forget this?)…
And, it turns out… he’s the chook killer.
Not that I have proof. But the circumstantial evidence is mounting up.
Yesterday he was out in the paddock for ages with Wayne as he worked on the stable (which, btw, is looking great). He was good all day.
Then, just as Wayne was getting ready to knock off and come in, Romeo went off after a chook. I heard the squalking and the swearing and ran out. We called him off the chase, but he did it.
There’s no denying the fact that he went after a chook.
Sigh.
Anyhow, here is the stable – the third bay is up, walls finished. All it needs is a roof (and guttering and a rainwater tank) which the guys will be putting up this weekend . If all goes well. Looks like we’ll have stables for the horses for this winter!
Meanwhile we’re looking after a friend’s golden retriever while she’s on a bushwalk for 3 days. He’s a gorgeous boy. Who can resist those soulful eyes?
His name is Maru. She adopted him when the chinese students who owned him returned to their country and left him behind about 8 years ago. She said she’d foster him till he found a new home and a week turned into years. He’s 12 now.
The poodles noses were out of joint but I’m not sure who’s more worried about who… I know Maru is a bit worried about going into poodle territory unless I’m there to usher him in (he clings to me, so sweet), but I’ve seen the way the poodles both give him ample personal space.
Maru will grumble and let them know when he’s not happy!
Anyway, there’s a truce going on now, he’s been accepted as part of the pack so all is well. Though he’s NEVER allowed out into the paddock. He doesn’t know horses and I thought Wally had surely killed him last time he went out there (while he was visiting with his mom). He went for Wally not realising that Wally doesn’t back off to dogs, then flopped into a submissive position when Wally returned fire. Our dogs know to run when horses go after them. So Wally stomped on him. That’s what I saw. Wayne says he didn’t… but I was sure we had a dead dog. 
Thankfully he’s fine and that was over a week ago now.
Phew.
A chook killing poodle is more than enough to deal with!
z

the pink shelves

Do you remember this little thing? I found it at an op shop crying out for some TLC.

It was painted white (badly) over a blue wash. I liked the idea of white, and I loved the blue (pity they painted over it), but I decided to do something different and painted it pink!

The pink is a colour I mixed up myself using paints I had on hand. It turned out to be the softest, sweetest pale pink. When I distressed it I varied the depth so that you could see both the original wood and the previous paint layers.

I just wish I had space in my kitchen for it! If it doesn’t sell at the market  I’ll find a spot for it!

I’m still busy as ever. Running around finishing projects for the aforementioned market, organising what I’ll need and restraining myself from starting any new projects at this point…

“Just finish what you’ve started Zefi…”

I leave you with this photo of me and my beautiful Romeo, taken at the work garage sale about a month ago. Isn’t he beautiful? Our clients loved him, as did just about everyone who met him.

Better go. Things to do, dogs to groom.

z

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it snowed in the dog room & public dog shaming

All I wanted was a quiet night. That’s all. Was it too much to ask?
I think it was. 
I stepped into the mud room and was greeted by this scene.

It had snowed.
Let me explain. Barney and Mischa sleep in the mud room on this bed. Together. 
I’ve been recycling old doonas, which I no longer want or need, as dog blankets.
The first one got very dirty so I threw it out, giving them this down-filled one.
They loved it. It was fluffy and snuggly and comfortable.
Then I made a mistake… I fed Montana and Romeo in the mud room, separating them from Mischa and Barney, cause I’d given them lamb bones and we have had a bit of growling over bones in the past.
I thought I was playing it safe. I reckoned without the Romeo Boredom Factor.
Sigh.
This afternoon I received a dog public shaming email and laughed out loud at some of them. So I’ve now forwarded the email with my own addition.
Here are my favourites in case you missed the email.

 z

i love the sound of munching horses

I sit here, at the outdoor table, in our yard. Surrounded by horses munching on the grass and dogs under the table, hiding from the horses.

Its a glorious day.

Wayne trimmed hooves today cause our farrier is out of action for a while. I held horses. Dancer, who had never had her feet done before we got her, was the best. Wally was like a bucking bronco with his back legs. Ben was just naughty with his front.

After that, neither of us felt like doing much but sitting in the sun and just enjoying. Listening to old 60s British pop bands, including Herman’s Hermits.

For some reason I woke up this morning with “No milk today” on my mind. Love that song.

So here are a few photos of the broncs enjoying the grass.

Ben, below, has started to fill out and put on weight. He’s looking good.


 I love Ben’s stripe and the way one of his eyes has a spot of white on the lid and some white eyelashes.

Ben and Wally, best buds.



 Dancer, also filling out, outside the woodshed.

Dancer eating around the pom pom bush and the columbines.

A close up of the columbine buds. Obviously the ones in here are purple. I wonder where I put the white ones…

Dancer and Wally. See the difference in colour? Dancer is going lighter and lighter as she loses her old coat.

The family… you can just see Mishca and Barney under the table. They stay out of the way when the horses are in the yard.

Wally, in front of the house.

So now you know why I’ll never have a nice yard. Horses and nice yards don’t go hand in hand. I think I prefer relaxing weekends with horses in the yard to a perfect garden.

z

day 8 – is it over yet?

Sheesh I’m tired. And all I managed to do was groom dogs today. Nothing crossed off the list.
Ok. If I’d put ‘do the washing’ and ‘hang out washing’ on the list I’d have managed to check those off.
Oh, and I did wash the dishes too.
And put out the bins.
Wow. I actually did do a few things… if I’d put those things on my list I’d be feeling a lot better tonight. As it was I feel like I’ve done nothing.
But I did get to spend time with some pretty nice doggies. This is Abby. A darling little shitzu they want all clipped off.
And this is Malty. A young little cavalier/poodle cross. Both are sporting the new bandanas. Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of anyone wearing a different colour. Polka dots seemed to be the right choice for black and white dogs.
Everett, the westie, went home with a pirate bandana, as did Bobby. Romeo kept me company in the grooming room all day, making friends with all the little dogs. I guess he was just happy to be with me and not to be groomed!
z

PS. Did anyone notice I changed the typesize on my blog? Thought it might be easier to read. 🙂

creative in a different way

Suzi, looking cute

Today has been a very busy day. A non-DIY busy day.

Just as creative though.

I spent most of the day grooming. Only three dogs. One blink-and-you’ll-miss-it monkey faced little shitzu cross girl (above) called Suzi, and two not-quite-so-small poodles: Chewie (aka Chewbacca The Wookie) and Zefi (aka Munchkin or Munch).

Chewie with her new bell bottom ‘do’

Grooming is creative work. Especially grooming poodles. I love making dogs look gorgeous. Unfortunately, with most pets, you have to balance practicality with as much ‘pretty’ as you can.

Most pet owners start off with ‘Don’t take a lot off, I like him fluffy’ and end up with ‘Shave it all off! I’m sick of the grass seeds/the mud/the matts/that he bites me if I try to brush him.’

With poodles its different. They have that sculptural hair – you brush it out, fluff it up and it stands there for you to scissor like a topiary.

Its respectful hair. It stands up, waiting to be scissored. It doesn’t just flop, making your life difficult.

Seriously.

Its the best hair.

And scissoring its a pleasure.

Then again, I love scissoring. Yeah, I use the clippers. But when it comes to finishing a trim, nothing beats scissors.

Scissoring is the fine tuning of a trim.

Zefi Munchkin waiting for her mommy.

As satisfying as DIY really.

Like when you find that perfect piece to fix up a piece of furniture, or you get the paint job just right.

Worth the effort when you see them go home looking great.

z

day in the bush

Wayne loved his manly wallet for Father’s Day. But I think what he loved most about his day was the walk up the back.
He packed up the “billy” and tea, biscuits etc, I packed the firelighters, and we got into blue and drove up to the picnic spot we saw when we inspected the farm before buying it. Its one of Wayne’s favourite places on the property.
Here is blue parked in the clearing.
Wayne set up the chairs and dug a fire pit. The man lives for the great outdoors.
 
He has this funky tripod thing for hanging the billy over the fire, old rusty metal. I love rusty metal.
 
The fire was a bit smokey. Guess things hadn’t really dried out even though we’d have a few gorgeous, warm, sunny days. If you look closely you can see Wayne hiding behind the smoke.
 Here’s me waiting for my tea.
 And the view around us.
You’ll never guess who this chair belongs to… I painted poodles on the back of my camp chairs so that I’d know which ones were mine when I was a dog show.
Here’s the rarest of native animals: the Tasmanian Barniferos.  Spoilt rotten dog. He’s the only one who got to come with us cause he’s the only one that can be trusted to stay close. (He really is the best dog!)
It was  a great day. We even managed to find the top boundary of our property. We’d never been up that far before.
Its important to take the time off to just enjoy. Its too easy to get caught up in all the things we ‘have to do’ and forget to just sit back and appreciate what we have.
I’m totally guilty of that. I’m working on it.
z