Monday, October 11, 2010

Ties that Talk

I got started on a new alphabet, which I used in my Old Skool rabbit print.  It's meant to look like old-school typewrite font, and I like it because it's not too big and not too small.

I have a helpful hint for all you block-carving people out there: when it comes to alphabets, you don't need to do it all at once.  I printed up the alphabet I wanted in the size I chose, and have been carving the letters I need as I go.  When I'm done with the letter, I put a check mark under it on the paper, and put the paper away in a binder for another day.  Keeps me from getting overwhelmed with all the caps and punctuation and numbers and lowercase letters I have to do.  I'm kind of an instant gratification sorta gal. :0)

So I used this alphabet to make this "nerd" tie, the text of which I then outlined in purple paint for crisper edges.

Then, I got on a tie kick, and I pulled out two ties I made years ago that never sold, mostly because the text had straggly edges and looked unfinished.  So I did the same thing as I did to the nerd tie, and I went around the text edges in black and added a little decoration and here you have it:

They look better now than they did before, fer sure.

I also worked on the photography a little.  I don't have excellent photo skills or cool backgrounds, so I've been putting everything on plain backgrounds and altering the background using  I think it looks pretty cool and fits with my personality and my store's personality as well.  Even with the photo-editing, it still is easier than trying to set up the perfect background shot.

I also added my etsy mini to a tab at the top of this blog.  You can go there if you're interested in buying or in looking or in getting ideas.

I've had a three day weekend.... can you tell? :0)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bunny Old Skool block print

I've been working on block printing for a while and decided to go for something a little bigger than I had before, and with multiple blocks and colors. 

I also wanted to do something where I could vary the main print a bit by having different add-ons.  In this case, I have the rabbit as the main image, and the walkman can easily be exchanged for a cookie or a cross or a flower or whatever, and the text can be changed as well, making a totally different type of image.

I started out by carving a large (10") bunny in a different style than I am used to (usually, I do outlines, but this was filled).  I carved some alphabet blocks too, in a typewriter font, and then decided to add to it by making a walkman-style image to stick in the bunny's hand, and some earphones for his rabbity ears.  Here's the result:
So I made a giant patch with it and put it on sale in my etsy shop, figuring people could stick it on the back of their hoodies or jackets, or on a tote bag or something.  Clearly, the patch would need to be trimmed and sewn on, but I think it would make a cute design.   You can get it here in my etsy store!

I also used it as the basis for a zazzle design.
And you can buy the whole series of Old Skool walkman-wearing bunny stuff here in my zazzle store.

Not sure if anyone else will think it's as funny as I do, but just me thinking it's funny is a start, no?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

What An Awesome Day!

What a great day today has been!  It's 65*F, the sun is shining and there's a nice breeze.  My mom and I took the dogs out to the hunting training grounds for the first time since we stopped going because of the ticks.  The ticks were gone, and the place had mowed a 2 mile trail by the river so that the dogs could get to the water.  Even the thickets of cattails were mowed.  Hooray!  It seems the dogs may actually be tired!

I cleaned out my closet and found this great, green-toned skort / skirt thing from Ann Taylor that I no longer wear.  I decided to turn it into a kawaii-cupcake skirt.  It's a size 4 ladies and can be purchased here on etsy.  Here's a pic:

I haven't made anything in a while, so I'm glad I found this.  I found a bunch of other things I can upcycle, too.  Can't wait to print more!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

One Week Left!

One week left till I get my first class of 5th graders after teaching ten years of 7th and 8th.  Monday is an Institute Day, Tuesday is Meet The Teacher, and the Wed. is out first half day.  How very, very scary.

My classroom looks almost pulled together.  My class library is set up mostly, and I bought about 40 bins at the dollar store.  I am trying for something like this: by Beth Newingham.  I saved all my personal books from 4th grade on up, so I have a huge amount of girl-protagonist books, but not a lot of boy ones.  I'll have to work on that.

Two of my old students helped me set up the room, and we hot glued stuff to the walls.  I came in this morning, and even that had fallen off the walls.  Nothing sticks.  We spent three hours doing that gluing yesterday.  Gr.

I have been in the classroom every day this week and will probably continue through Sunday.  There's so much to do and so many boxes to unpack.  But.... I found out I could bring the dog while I work!  Three other dogs were in the building today with teachers who were fixing their rooms.  I know my pup would prefer that to being home alone.

On an unrelated note, I wrote an article on HubPages about losing weight with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis or Hypothyroidism.  You can find the article here.  I checked the Hub stats to see how people were getting to my page, and all the search queries on google were saying things like, "Can I lose weight with Hashimoto's?"  It made me sad, because it is hard to do, and it's sad that all people's doctors aren't as good as mine, who really takes care that I feel good and healthy.  I hope it can help someone out of a health jam.  It's a sucky disease, to be sure, though I figure as far as autoimmune diseases go, I'm sure glad I got this one over some of the other options!

Stay healthy, ya'll!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Make a Screen Panel for a Sliding Glass Door... and other stuff...

So I've got less than two weeks left till school starts again.  I've been doing a ton of online writing, some of it for Demand Studios, which actually pays twice a week, on time, and is pretty cool, though some people hate it  That's a post for another time.

Anyway, been writing for HubPages a lot, too, and I wrote a Hub about how to make a pet-proof screen panel to use in a sliding glass door.

Here's the address:

Here's a picture:

It's really awesome if you have pets that are constantly trying to crash through your screens to get to something juicy and tasty in the outside world.

The directions are kinda simple, but it may be tough to do without actually seeing it being done.

Hope you can make sense of the directions and that the project lets you enjoy some nice summer days!  feel free to leave comments on my Hub. :0)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Blog

I have been posting more often on my new blog:

It's a humorous blog about life as a teacher, life with pets, life as a foreigner, and it's completely illustrated with my awesome images.

I hope some of you will follow me there, and I'll follow you from there if you'd like.

Have a great summer!

Monday, July 19, 2010


Riley's paw is better and he's finally almost done with the antibiotics.  The weather has cooled down a bit (only in the high 80s!) so that we may actually go to flyball again tonight.  The training school is in an converted warehouse and it's not air-conditioned, so it's rather awful in there when it's hot out, even at 7 pm.

Speaking of antibiotics, one of my friend's dogs had the runs for the past week or so, and it wouldn't stop.  As my poor pup had ongoing diarrhea (he had colitis) for almost a year, I figured out a four-prong approach that almost always gets rid of diarrhea in dogs (unless the dog has worms or a parasite or something).  I figured I'd share this in the hopes that it helps someone else out.

Doggie Diarrhea Solution
  • cook ground turkey (frozen bullet packs) and mix it with cooked white rice.  Feed this for several days with no dog food
  • add a teaspoon or two of canned pumpkin (check label - must be 100% pumpkin, not the pie filling) to each meal
  • grind up a probiotic tablet and add half to the dog's meal.  You can use doggie probiotics but they are harder to find and are more expensive
  • get slippery elm capsules and empty the contents of one capsule or more per meal into the dog's food.  Slippery elm bark coats the bowel and works in humans of all ages, including babies, and for cats and dogs as well.  It has very few side effects (one, actually, that I've read: inhibits vitamin absorption if taken incessantly over weeks) and helps in cases of nausea, acid reflux, colitis, Crohn's, IBS, and most other stomach complaints.  You can find it here on Amazon.  That's the brand I use.  You can read more about it here at Alternative Healthzine.

Rice binds, turkey is low in fat and grease, pumpkin is fiberous and absorbs moisture, slippery elm coats the GI tract, and the probiotic restores good gut health.

I eventually switched my dog and cats off kibble entirely, which helped out a lot, but occasionally when my dog eats, say, a dead mouse out in the field, this helps.  Your dog should be better within three or four days, if not by the next few meals.

If you're interested in this and would like to read more, I wrote a HubPage about it here:

In the last few days, I made a whole set of new designs for my zazzle t-shirt shop.  Most of them included dog photos that I altered using the free program paint . net, mostly because it's free and easier for me to figure out than the professional programs that cost a bunch.  Here are some of the designs.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

It's only week 5!

So, for a while there, I thought my summer vacation was almost over.  Then, yesterday, I went to my calendar and counted off the weeks.  It's been five weeks since summer started and there are still SIX weeks left!!  So, really, I still have more than I already had, and since what I already had has seemed long, that's really good!

My pup got injured last week Friday when he was playing ball at the doggie forest preserve.  He stepped on something and ended up with a puncture wound in his paw.  He walked it off then, but the next day, I noticed his paw was swollen to the size of a tennis ball.  We went to the vet, he got 8 pills to take the first few days, and had to wear a cone on his head for a day and a half.  Poor guy.  You can tell he's feeling bad when he doesn't want to walk at all.  Hooray for his Tramadol, though!  It's a great pain reliever, and one I can vouch for, because they gave it to me when I had knee surgery.  Non-narcotic, but super-strong.  No dopey side-effects!

It was very odd having two and a half extra hours in my day from not walking him.  I actually began to feel restless and antsy and, dare I say it.... bored.  At any rate, it's Wednesday, and he's almost back to normal and is walking and running again.  Vet said no walks for at least ten day.  Clearly, she does not have a 2 year old herding breed dog.

Here's Riley yesterday, playing with the puggle I puggle-sit in the evenings:

And speaking of the puggle, he cracks me up.  This poor dog will never understand certain things.  For example, every day when we leave his condo, we turn left. We have been doing this for two and a half years.  And yet, every day, he runs out to the right and doesn't turn around till I tug his leash in the right direction.  I used his face for these items in my zazzle store:

Granted, I stretched the nose out a little using, but it's such a hilarious facial expression, and the text kinda says it all.

I finally sold a ladybug / kanji skirt I had in my etsy store.  It took over a year and it had a lot of hearts.  I'm not sure why it took so long.


So I've been working on a new skirt (yellow and blue with daisies), but my sewing machine kept jamming and it took me a while to realize that it was because there was some sticker residue left on an area where there was a seam.  In the meantime, I have to figure out how to rip out this messes up seam done in such tiny tight stitches (because of the jamming and sewing in place) that I can't even get my seam ripper in to it.

Anyone on yelp?  I have an account there and I spend a lot of time writing reviews during the summer.  You can see my reviews and stuff here.  I wrote so much that I got listed in the newsletter for my "Doggie Places of Interest" list, for being a top yelper, and I got a review of the day.  Wahoo.  Rock on.

That's it for now.  I've got more to say, but why put it all in one post that will get so long that it will inevitably bore someone to tears?  Have a great Wednesday.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Help for neurotic dogs and more!

Happy day after the fourth of July!

I ended up not going anywhere on this fourth of July.  Why? you may be asking yourself.  Well, my poor neurotic dog decided he was afraid of fireworks and thunderstorms within the last week.  Last year, he was fine.  This year, he was clawing his way into the drywall.  Not knowing he had developed this phobia, I did not have time to go talk to my vet about tranquilizers.  I guess that's just as well, because the idea of doping up a pet with hardcore drugs does not seem like the best idea in the world to me, though I completely understand those of you who need to do this for your animals.

So, I went to the store and did some internet research and came up with a plan of attack.  I read about TTouch and "wrapping" dogs for calm behavior.  You wrap the dog in an Ace wrap following a certain pattern.  The dog is calmed  because of the steady pressure.  Apparently, this has been used on autistic children, fussy babies, and anxious horses.  You can find directions here for how to wrap a dog .  I also got valuable information from the helpful people on the English Shepherd yahoo group.

I went to PetCo to try to find a pre-made dog anxiety wrap, but did not find one.  Glad I didn't, because the Ace wrap I got ended up working very well.  I got a 6" wide, 5' long one for $9.99 at Dominick's, though I'm sure it would have been cheaper if I'd driven to Wal-mart.

Anyhow, when I was at PetCo, I found an herbal pet calmer, incidentally, Pet Calm, by Richard's Organics.  Here's the Amazon page for it.  I wrote a review for it yesterday, so if you look at the one for the fourth of July, that would be mine.

July 3rd, I was at my mom's with Riley and left the stuff at home.  He was a complete mess.  Eyes bulging, muscles almost vibrating, bunching up, shaking, pacing, drooling, trying to climb into my mom's clothing, hiding in the bathroom.  The above photos are pics of him at home after the kids outside my house dropped a few pop-pops on the asphalt (just tiny things).

July 4th, I stayed home, wrapped him in the Ace wrap, gave him 3 droppers of Pet Calm and here's the result:

I live in front of a large park where kids were setting off illegal fireworks, so this is nothing short of a miracle.  As you can see, he is not hiding, he does not look concerned, and he is sleeping (it was ten at night).  He occasionally would get up and move around when there was a huge bang, but he did not look groggy or panicky.  When I took off the Ace wrap later, he seemed a bit more agitated, but still not so much, so the combination of the Pet Calm and the Ace wrap is a good one.

Hooray!  Next year I might actually be able to go out on the 4th of July!!

Anyway, since he's given me so much grief, I decided to put him to good use and use him for a model in my Zazzle store.  Here are two items I made with his gorgeous face:

I also made mugs, t-shirts, buttons, hoodies, etc., with the two designs.  You can see the English Shepherd Big Nose design here, and the Back Away design here.

I got a new camera, so there's my reason for all the photos.  It's a purple Nikon CoolPix, 12 mp, which is more than I need.  I mean, do you really need to see the individual pores in a person's face in a picture?  Not really.  But it makes for some good animal pictures:

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Updates and Print-Your-Owns

Soooooo..... I'm on break now.  Summer break.  It's nice to be totally free for a few months, and it's a definite perk of being a teacher.  Fo' sho'.  At any rate, gonna have to start learning 5th grade curriculum soon, as that's what I'm gonna be teaching next year.  Scary after teaching ten years of middle school foreign language.  Ten't believe it's been that long.

Been kinda dividing my time between drawing, carving, cooking, and relentless hyperhund-walking. The drawing has been benefiting my Zazzle store.  Check for my new Chinese Love Cat design.  Super extra cuteness!

Chinese Love Character Cat shirt
Chinese Love Character Cat by PetiteFrite

At any rate, as far as ETSY is concerned, I've been trying to find a solution to my perennial problem of what to print, what size, and how many. For example, say I print a hoodie in size large, yellow. Someone wants it in a size small, yellow, or a size large red. Then the actual sample sits around for years waiting for the perfect buyer. Sometimes the perfect buyer never comes and I get another few sales for something almost exactly like it. 
So, I decided to try a new idea: letting people send me a favorite garment or one of their choice to be printed.  That way, I just do the printing, I don't have to worry about maintaining a stock of inventory, and stuff may be easier.  Plus I can provide the design more cheaply, and people could get exactly what they want without me having to scour stores.  Sounds ideal.... but we'll see if it really happens.
I started here with a print-your-own Peace Wiener shorts!  Tomorrow, I'll post up some other designs people have bought tons of, and see how that works.

Well, I'm sleepy and overly warm and it's raining outside and I'm about through for tonight.  Good night!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

New Hoodie and Doggie Update

Sooooo..... here's my latest hoodie, a pink, kawaii-style upcycled Old Navy hoodie, with cupcakes and hearts and everything.  It's in my etsy DaisyDreams shop.  It took me several hours to make, but it was worth it.  It's extra-super soft and awesome.  I keep thinking I should keep these for myself, but again, my hoodie collection is far too large as it is.

Puppy hurt his paw last Thursday, no idea how.  I came home from work and he was limping and did not get an answer from dog-walking friend as to whether something had happened when they went out.  Took pup to the vet and they said paw infection, antibiotics, and rest.  I dunno about an infection, since he's not licking his paw, but whatever.

The vet and the tech, however, did wax poetic about Riley's white teeth, saying they'd seen white teeth before, but these were ridiculously white.  I told them it was a healthy raw-based diet, and for the first time ever, they did not chastise me.  They apparently now have a holistic vet working there, so they can't say much anymore. :0)

So, I'm taking it easy with Riley and we're walking in our local park instead of at the hunting training grounds. I don't think I'm going to the training grounds anymore till tick season is over.  Staying in our sprayed park from now on.  It's worth having a slightly hyper doggie if it means no ticks!

Tomorrow is my 34th birthday!  My students are all up to something.  I think they just want an excuse to bring food and not do class.  I told them we could eat cake and do class at the same time. :0P

More to come...  two days till the weekend!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Hoodies, yay!

I've come to the realization that I have an unfortunate hoodie addiction.  I have roughly 57391138362520.3 of them in my closet.  At least 3/4 of them are in various shades of gray.  Many of them come from thrift stores, and they still look awesome.  I wear them whenever possible.

Anyway, I stopped by a new Salvation Army the other day, and I found a lovely NIU Huskies hoodie for $2, which was awesome since I went to NIU and my last hoodie from there died a year ago, and the ones at the bookstores cost $50.  This one is a dark gray, with red satin words and white embroidery.  It's awesome quality, and the only defect was that one of the metal rivets for the hoodie string had fallen out, so I used my magical hoodie-fixing skills and removed the other one.  Now both side are equal, and I have a great hoodie.

Then, I had a magical moment of truth in which I realized that the thrift store is full of awesome, once-but-no-longer-loved hoodies, often with only a few small stains being the reason for their heartless abandonment.  And, I realized that I can block print them, thus covering the stains.

So I went crazy and bought four of them.

The first one I made today, a lovely way to spend a Sunday morning (and part of the afternoon).  It's a very high quality, bright yellow, cotton Nike hoodie in size L men's (no tag, but it's bigger than my M Huskies hoodie).  It's got a blue and silvery logo.   It had some paint stains on the pocket. I covered all the paint stains with block printed penguins and stars, and am quite happy with the results.  I wanted to keep it myself.  maybe if no one buys it, I'll do just that.  There are still some VERY faint marks on the sleeves that I couldn't capture on camera because they are so light.  Looks like some pen lines or something, but so, so faint it's barely visible.   Lovely Swoosh on the hood, too!  All-in-all, a great and happy hoodie.

You can see more pictures, or purchase it in my etsy shop Daisydreams / Dylan Mars And Riley.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Rose Geramium Oil, Ticks, Frontline, Pets

Hooray!  I'm back!  And I finally built a website.  Get to my website here.  Then, you can get to know everything about me.

I've been, for the past few weeks, trying to figure out some sort of tick repellent for both me and the little shepherd dog.  He needs to run every day, at least 20 miles off leash (yes, that is per day, still) or he's a nervous wreck.  The only place to take him is a local training ground for hunters.  Unfortunately, it's full of ticks, and ticks are disgusting.

I always thought I was "immune" to ticks, mostly because I went 33 years without ever having one stuck to me. There was, obviously, grave disillusionment on my behalf when I found a tick embedded in the crook of my knee later that night. There was actually more shaking and feelings of nausea than disillusionment, actually. I know, I know. I'm such a wimp-girl, but I live alone and I had to pull it out by myself, and oh-woe-is-me!

Sooooooo.... I put Frontline on every being in the house except me. If they made Frontline for humans, I'd be all there. I hate the idea of sticking all those chemicals on the cats and the dog, but ticks are not my idea of good times.

I researched natural repellents, and came up with, from many Google searches, essential oil of rose geranium. I can't use it on the cats (be careful with cats and essential oils), but I apply it to Riley's collar and to myself (mixed with a carrier oil on me). I also spray my neck and hair with a solution of water and rose geranium.

And the results?

We both smell like the grandmas-of-yore, with rosewater perfumes. They don't call it rose geranium for nothing. But... in the past week, I've found only one attached tick to Riley. This is a definite improvement from 3 a night.

Riley hates the smell.  Apparently, putting a strong scent on a dog inhibits their sense of smell.  So they get disoriented somewhat and feel the urge to roll in such attractive smells as dead fish and deer poop.  Yummy.  Riley did this, and he rubs his nose on the ground.  After he gets outside and starts running, he forgets about it.

Luckily for us, these are dog ticks, not deer ticks. I don't know how this would work on deer ticks, but I do know it seems to be working on the dog ticks. It's been a bit cooler here this past week than it was two weeks ago, so maybe temperature has something to do with it. I did read, however, that ticks are active over 45*F, so I guess being that it was 65*F as opposed to last week's 80*, it's not really an issue.

I'll continue with this, because I'm curious. It would be nice to know that it works. I also purchased some Palmerosa Oil, which is cheaper and is said to have the same effect. I'll keep you posted, mostly because I have become neurotic about ticks.

I purchased both the Rose Geranium Oil and the Palmerosa Oil from Ananda Apothecary online. It was excellent, quick service, with degradable wrapping, etc. Very nice stuff. I'm not affiliated with them. But I am their Facebook Fan!

Above are some pics of the little Shepherd dog at the training grounds. He found a construction helmet and a dead fish (mmmm....sushi), and spent a lot of time toting them around.