Monday, October 26, 2009

The Beginning of Puppy Parenthood

Sorry this has nothing to do with art or books. But I had to share. If you've been wondering what I've been up to, this is it.


First of all. We gots a puppy! She came home with us Saturday night, and today is our Third day with her. Her name is Rayna (RAY-NAH). She is a Bernese Mountain Dog Puppy. About 10 weeks old give or take.

(For those of you who are like, "Wait a minute, you've never mentioned a puppy", have no fear. The taller half and I have been talking about this and researching it for at least a year. So we knew what we were getting into. This is no random choice, and has been prefaced by a lot of behind-the-scenes work you didn't get to see).

That said, Wheee-oooooohhhhh.

It's just the two of us today. Rayna and I just got back from the vet and boy are we pooped. I was feeling great about it. And she did splendidly, although she prefers to look around in the car so there was a bit of crying on the way to and from (she was in her little crate, next time we might try the seatbelt harness so she can watch).

I didn't realize that I was a bit stressed about it. We've been home for almost half an hour, she's sleeping and I finally feel a bit upset. I am so relieved she liked our vet and that she had a really positive experience. But I was really wound up. And now that I'm relaxing I'm realizing how hard this all is. I'm only a bit upset but it is definitely difficult.

But wonderful! I just feel like a nervous new mother I guess.

Rayna is a sweet sweet little puppy. And we are doing our best to be the best puppy parents. Today is my day off with her, helping her to adjust to the house and to us. She's been pretty regular and seems great, and we'll get the results of her preliminary stool tests tomorrow to see if she has any problems we can't see.

Saturday night was our first night with her and it was a bit tough on all of us, but last night we started really getting into the routine of her asking when she needed to pee or poop, us taking her to her spot, and all of us peacefully going straight back to sleep after.

Thank god.

I think a lot of baby animals (including humans) have to go through some icky poo situations before they grow up. It's gross but feels totally natural. At least I've had some exposure to stinky babies before. Taller half isn't quite used to it. :D

It's still a rocky nights sleep however you cut it though. We were lucky to get a two hour chunk of sleep last night. It was pure bliss.

I can't really imagine having a human baby. I'm sure it's much much harder.

But really, revel in the cuteness.


It's hard to believe she's gonna be bigger than me (most likely) when she's full grown! Those tiles are about 1 foot square each.

Here's a short video of her (there's no sound because all you could hear was the thrum of the car).

A link to basic information about Bernese Mountain Dogs here.

A really nifty website here. Bernese Mountain Dogs.Org

I love my little Rayna. Maybe she'll let me nap with her for awhile. I'm so exhausted.


Monday, October 12, 2009

Wild Thing Hat

I was given some lovely fabric by the wonderful Nicole of Astulabee fame. And I didn't know what to do with it. And then, inspiration hit and I decided to make myself a Wild Thing Hat from it.

The movie comes out this week, and of course, since I work in a Children's Bookstore, we are talking about it, and will probably sell some of the books this week.

I have always loved Maurice Sendak. So I went straight to the source for inspiration on the size and shape.

There were some mistakes made, but I simply stitched them into the design. Originally the ears weren't supposed to have yellow edging or be tucked in like that.

I was going to make it from a sort of muddy white or terrycloth, and then realized that I A: didn't have any, and B: didn't need it to be Max's Hat. It could be Rose the Wild Thing's Hat. So I let inspiration and necessity lead me astray.

It's quite warm and fuzzy, and the interior fabric is actually the same fabric as the exterior fabric on the Kitty Hat. This one fits a lot better though.

I was going to put Max Whiskers on my hat, but I like to wear my ear hats in daily life, and giant whiskers didn't seem like much fun explaining to people. Simple ears on a warm winter hat are a bit easier to explain.

This is my third winter ear hat. I seem to be making one each fall. Maybe I'll keep it a tradition. I like my head toasty warm in the winters. I have a little bit of scrap fabric left from the lovely gold brocade. I might make glove-y claw hands too! We'll is going to be a busy week.

It was a lot of fun to make it though. I estimate it was a four hour hat from start to finish. One of those 'I have an idea and will now work until that idea is fully realized' moments. Thankfully the Taller Monkey knows when to let me have my space and just do those things. I haven't been making much either lately, so it was good to see a project from start to finish.

Unfortunately, I think he might have given me his sickness. I'm a bit lethargic this morning. Here's hoping it's just the aches and pains of the cold weather kicking in and nothing more serious.

Kitty hat was last years hat. See it here.

Bear hat was the first one. See it here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Mount Holly

The Taller Half and I went for a fall colors walk/hike in Mount Holly on Sunday. It was really nice out, not a bit cold, and super sunny. Which was weird because that morning it was rainy and overcast.

We saw spiders and fuzzy caterpillars and Wood Frogs.

There was pretty light coming through the stained glass ceiling of leaves. And every few minutes a breeze would hit high above and send yellow leaves cascading down around us like confetti.

Lots of little mushroom friends were popping up. Very different from the ones we've seen the last few months.

Can you spot the Taller Half in this photo?

How about this one?

I really love the Nature Conservancy sites in New York. I highly recommend going to all of them. They're well maintained and not very highly travelled, so you see a lot of wildlife. If you navigate to the Mount Holly page of their site you'll see you can click on the red dots just north of NYC for great hiking!

In related news:
The Tall One is sick and I think I might have to come to terms with the fact that I'm pretty depressed right now. It has been suggested that I find some cute helpless animals and snuggle them. Maybe that would help. I think it would just make me feel guilty that I couldn't take them home.

Note: Apologies to Margaret Oomen for totally stealing her layout the last few posts. It's just so addictive to narrate every little photo!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Painting the Sadness out

My wonderful Mother bought me an easel for my birthday.

I've been super busy so I hadn't played with it yet (I'm a Virgo, so it wasn't that long ago, but still).

And since I've been working on a secret project for a local, while letting layers dry I worked on two new paintings.

I think the last time I painted was over two years ago. Not sure though. These are both around 11"x14" I think.

Here's the first one.

A little scary. Sorry about that. Reminds me of a wolfish version of the Bunny in Donnie Darko. I'm not sure what I was going for. I let the brush and the palette take me where it wanted to go. Click all of these photos to embiggen if you wish.

And the second one is sadder, although less scary (I think). I was thinking about time passing, and death, and robots. Not sure if that all comes across.

I spent a lot less time on the first one and I think I like it better because of that. It has more of that rough 'five minute sketch' quality that I've always loved. I think I did spend less than ten minutes on it...

I do most of my drawing as a sort of emotions-pulling-from-the-subconscious sort-of-thing. Which means I'm lazy about technique. But I really have fun when I just let my hand wander. Usually I let myself play until something starts to look at me out of the page/canvas. Then I go with that. I have a tendency to do side portraits like these. Not sure what it is about the left side of a face, but that's usually how I draw them.

I'm still trying to take it slow. But work has been pretty busy now. And as usual I'm juggling side projects with my own art, with work reading, with pleasure reading...

I can't complain though really. I'm still here.

Love to all.