This Saturday I decided to take the camera outside with the boys while Sheldon raked the yard. I've been wanting to get cute pictures of Dash because he's always running around with big sticks or toys in his mouth. He makes those happy dog faces and cracks me up. Dewey wasn't interested in running around, he was more interested in eating pecans. It was a perfect day for just hanging out. I'm glad we did this because we actually have cold weather outside now.
I love my silly dogs :D
P.S. I don't know if I'm back to blogging yet or not. I'm still reading more than I am crafting unless it has to do with a teen library program and blogging just doesn't have the appeal that it used to.
As I said last week, our Christmas cards have turned into quite the ordeal over the years. The first year was really thrown together at the last minute. Sheldon had this idea to take a picture of us dressed up fancy in front of a fireplace with the dogs, I had an idea of us in ugly Christmas sweaters. We couldn't decide which to take so we took both and I photoshopped the Christmas sweater pic over the mantle like it was the previous year's photo. We don't have a fireplace so we went to a friends house who has one and he took our photo. It was pretty frantic and all done in like 10 minutes.
The next year, we had a plan in place early on, then Bella passed away and we decided we didn't want to do our photo without her. But at the last minute, I got the bug and made our costumes for a blog party I was a part of and then turned our dining room into a winter wonderland in one afternoon when Sheldon was away. Could you imagine coming home to this?
We added Bella's embroidered portrait to the tree so she could be in the photo with us. I'm still sad that we didn't get to have her in the photo with her little antlers on. It would have been sooo cute! The only thing photoshopped into this picture is the text "happy holidays". We opted to print these as photos really cheaply through bonusprint who at the time was the cheapest for getting 125 5x7s printed. I backed these cards with card stock and a message from us and Dewey's paw print.
I thought I'd share our process for any of you that might want to do the same thing next year.
We usually think of ideas for our card all year long. Sheldon is really great at coming up with the idea for the card and I'm really good at all the visual details and technical issues (basically putting his idea to life). This year we had a really awesome idea (The Grinch) and then we got Dash and couldn't really figure out how to fit him into our plan so Sheldon decided it would be fun for the photo to be of us opening presents on Christmas morning with him being disheveled and bummed to open the box with Dewey and me being excited to open the box with the new puppy.
Every year I try to find some kind of visual for me to get my creative juices flowing. This image conveyed what we wanted the first year. Last year was of course elf. This year I came across this photo on pinterest and knew it would be the visual inspiration for our photo this year.
The next thing I do is combine Sheldon's idea with the visual inspiration and start making a list of what we will need to pull off our photo. This year was actually really easy. We have a huge roll of kraft paper that we wrap all of our presents with and we had a bunch of chalk left over from our wedding (backdrop finished). I had two sets of sock monkey pajamas that we could wear to be cute and matchy and we had boxes from previous craft show props we could put the dogs in. We also set up a time-line.
We usually set one day to do all the set-up and photography. This year since the backdrop was so big, getting everything done in one day was a must because it covered the whole wall (door included) in our living room.We ended up having to do it all in an evening after work because our weekends were all crazy. In one night, we (me and my friend Meg) drew the backdrop. Then it took the three of us to hang it up.
It was probably 11 by the time all of that was finished. Then I set up the camera (with our remote) and lighting. This is when the fun happens. We had a lot of issues with the dogs this year and had to call in reinforcements (you can see the outtakes below). Levi came over and was able to keep the dog's attention enough for us to get enough photos. He would make a sound to get them to look at him then take the photo using the remote. He really was a lifesaver this year.
Edit, Design, and Print
I edited this photo pretty minimally. I smoothed out the background and lightened it up a bit. We usually just pop the photo into a pre-made photo card design. Last year we didn't but it was a lot of work making the backs for all of the cards. Picking a design is always hard for us. Sheldon doesn't like anything too girly and of course I always go for pink ;) The photo is always the most important part though is it's often difficult to find a pre-made layout that works with the photo. This year, I just happened to come across a perfect one! The colors matched and everything!! Next year, we're picking out the design we want before we take the photo so I can make sure the photo will fit the card.
Like I said, it is a process, but it's worth it in the end. We always have fun and end up with a great photo in the end. And I didn't say this before but Sheldon hates being photographed unless we're doing something silly so this is pretty much my only way to get photos of us together ;)
Ok, Ok, Here are the outtakes from the last two years. I lost the photos from the first year when our laptop got stolen :(
The dogs are getting along, happily chewing on their antlers. (My tiny puppy is now a 15 pound big boy)
These ladies are sitting on top of our T.V. awaiting a makeover.
Yarn is all over the house and I got new socks :)
I'm whipping up hats and ear-warmer headbands as fast as my hands will let me.
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! We still have a lot of time with friends and family ahead of us. I'm enjoying my long weekend!
Dash is FINALLY getting used to us and we are finally getting used to him. Getting Dash has been one of the most frustrating events in my life. I've posted about this quite a bit, but I don't want it to seem like all I do is complain about him. The most frustrating thing about bring Dash into our home was the fact that he was a surprise. No offense to my in-laws who surprised us with Dash out of great intentions. We just had no warning -- no time to make sure our routine was ready, no time to prepare Dewey, no time to buy puppy necessities. Mentally, we were ready for another dog but we weren't prepared at all for a puppy's needs, especially a high-energy Jack Russell puppy.
Our first big hurdle was to get Dash to sleep all night. This was actually a pretty easy one. We put him in a crate next to our bed, gave him a treat, and let him cry it out until he went to sleep. It only took a few days of him crying for a little while, now he whines for like 10 seconds and is out. Note on the crate - we only crate at night and we have to be in the room with him or he flips out. For times we are not in the house, he stays in the bathroom with his dog bed.
Next, we had to get our routine down. Especially our morning routine. Dash still hasn't fully learned how to let us know he needs to go out, so if I'm not paying attention to him we have accidents. He usually goes out three times in the morning while we're getting ready. That means we all have to get up about 30 minutes earlier than we are used to. Also, we all have to make time for playing. This is probably the hardest for me. I like dogs that are glorified throw pillows not ones that needs constant exercise and attention. Dewey plays sock ball (a sock with a tennis ball in it) for about 10 minutes a night when it is his idea. Otherwise, that's it. Dash on the other hand will sit and bark at me until I find him something to do and then he wants to play for what seems like forever. That cuts into my crafting time like crazy! And I know he will still want to play a lot when he gets older. This is something I will have to adjust to.
Here are some of our tricks for beating the new puppy blues:
- two tennis balls. He runs around chasing both of them and we don't constantly have to throw them for him. We do have to spend a lot of time getting them out from under the couches though. Has someone invented under-the-couch gaurds yet? I'll have to look in sky mall when we fly to Denver next month.
- The puppy kong. He loves to chew on this thing when there are a couple of treats inside and maybe a little peanut butter under the rim.
- We turn feeding time into a game with the Kong wobbler. This thing is AWESOME and Dash loves it. He chases it all over the living room and gives us at least 15 minutes of free time.
- Our last resort toy is the sock ball. Remember, Sheldon's parents had him for two weeks before us and this was the only toy that he had with them. This is by far his favorite toy and he'll run himself around for hours with it, but it also turns him into a lunatic, making him forget all of his manners and he tends to get pretty aggressive with it.
- School: When he's being pretty calm and not running around, I get in the floor and have school with him. He learned to sit in about 10 minutes and each night we work on something new and practice what we learned last time. I was tempted to enroll him in obedience school, but I'm cheap and know how to train a dog so we do it at home. It's amazing how fast he learns. I've never had a dog as smart as him and I know he'll learn more than the common "sit " "speak," "lay down," and "shake" drills.
- The Spray Bottle- We tried every trick in the book to keep Dash from biting. Everything was either making him bite harder and get aggressive or think it's a game and keep trying to bite. So we started spraying him in the face and saying "no" when he's biting and not listening. It really works! Now he's associated the "No" and we don't really need to spray him, but we keep it nearby just in case. He still tests his limits with us constantly!
Now I know I told you all that Dewey wasn't doing so well with Dash in the beginning. We read up on introducing a new dog and took some advice we read and decided to keep them completely separated for a few days. We brought them together when Dash was sleeping and calm, but all other times they were separated. Sometimes one of us went in the room with Dewey so he wasn't always excluded from the family (he wasn't in trouble after all). This really helped Dewey get used to all the new puppy behaviors without getting nervous about them. I'm happy to say that this Saturday we let Dewey out for some supervised co-mingling and he did really well. He played with Dash and never once tried to snap at him. We still separate them for meal times, and when Dash is being super spazzy, but we're ok with them being together for the most part now.
Oh and I have to say, thanks to the in-laws, Dash is an angel during the day. They trained him to stay in their bathroom all day without any accidents and he does the same for us. He sleeps the day away and never potties in his room.
All this to say, we have adjusted. Dash is officially part of the family, and we love him like crazy -- even when he is being a little monster. I'm sure as he grows we'll have more hurdles to jump, but right now we're all one big happy family :)
I made chocolate peanut butter cupcakes (at first I thought this was the perfect peanut butter frosting but Sheldon didn't agree. I'm trying out the recipe Kori sent me next.)
We had build your own pizza night with some friends. This was soo much fun! We'll have to do it more often. I even made the crust! ( I use this recipe and make the changes the first reviewer suggests)
I had a super fun weekend! Of course as you can see below, I didn't get my list finished. Thank God for the 3 day weekend that is coming up! I'm going to crochet my butt off. I did do some crafting but it was for Motif so you'll get to see it when the fall issue is out ;) I also finished printing out my blog organzier and I can't wait to show you when it's fully assembled.
My in-laws surprised us with an 11-week-old Jack Russell puppy this weekend. They have had him for two weeks with the hope that we would want him to be a part of our family. Sheldon's dad named him after Dash Riprock from the Beverly Hillbillies haha and also thought Dash and Dewey were good names for new brothers.
We're still in trial mode. Dewey is really nervous about this new addition (you can see it in his face above) and we don't want him to continue to be stressed out. So if things don't work out in a few weeks, Sheldon's parents will be taking him back.
Neither of us has had a puppy in forever! I forgot how needy they are and how much you have to watch them. Dash is really good, but is full of energy when he's awake. We're both getting really good at taking him outside to run him down. Since he's a puppy he get tired pretty quickly. When he's older we'll start taking him to the dog park so he can get his energy out with other dogs. We're working on manners, learning that night time is for sleeping, making sure pottying happens outside (he's pretty much house broken already), and learning that Dewey is an old grump and doesn't want to play.
Things may be a little slow around here until we get in a good rythym with Dash. We have to either separate both the dogs or watch them like hawks when they are together so Dewey doesn't snap at Dash so there is little time left for crafting or blogging.
1. Our cherry tree blooming, 2. Celebrating my mom's 53rd Birthday, 3. Adding the final square to my blanket,
4. A Dapper cat, 5. An old sign, 6. Angel's Diner in McAlester, OK,
7. Angel's Diner in McAlester, OK, 8. Ombre Nails, 9. Houndstooth Manicure,
10. Our backyard with a fisheye lens, 11. Cutest photo of Dewey ever!, 12. a new macro lens for my iPhone
And this video:
My husband told me I had to watch this video and lo and behold I have a new favorite band. He knows me. I secretly want to be in a girl band just like this. I have the musical background, who wants to join me? We can wear cute vintage clothes and red lipstick and sing songs about puppies, rainbows, and our love of glitter.