Friday, April 17, 2009

A Tragic Interruption to the Day. And Cute Bunnies.

It was simply awful and heart wrenching. It was tragic. We had the first mowing on our property today. We don't own a mower. To mow 5+ acres would require a 4-figure mower that turns on a dime. We have a guy who mows for us. He sometimes dresses up like a pirate, but that's taking me off topic.

So the mower guy has been busy and our grass has grown with all the rain of the season, and it was pretty tall in some patches when his brother came by to take care of the lawn business. With his big mower, it wouldn't take much more than an hour. Perfect, I thought, it was a beautiful afternoon, the sun was shining, it was pleasantly warm, and my studio windows were wide open. Twilight was playing and I was highly productive.

And then there was a soft knock on my door and the mower came in holding a very small bunny in his hands.

As sweet and gentle as that little bunny was, the story is just as tragic. Mother bunny and several siblings were lost to the mower today. What to do, what to do! How old was it? Could it eat on it's own? Wow, it was precious!

And then another bunny came to me. A sibling. A pair. Just too sweet and adorable for words. And not a responsibility I was prepared to accept. With a recuperating dog, and a 14 hour work schedule, how was I to work feedings for 2 little bunnies every 2 hours into my schedule?

I took the bunnies to the vet who volunteered to euthanize them. I left, bunnies in tow, to retrieve my daughter from school. I paraded the bunnies in the pick-up line, flaunting their cuteness, to no avail. Everyone loved them. No one wanted them. We then headed to the Tractor Supply Co. resigned to the challenge of trying to save the two bunnies on my own. With the promise of help from my 10 year old daughter, of course, who by that point had named them Daisy and Dandy.

To end this saga abruptly, because I have to go put more glass in the kiln, my plan was to pick up the formula for nursing bunnies, along with the smallest bottle feeder I could find, and with my fingers crossed, and lots of begging to a greater power, the hope of stumbling into path of someone more knowledgeable than your average suburbanite (me) who would scoop the bunnies up and take them home.

Luck was smiling on those bunnies, after all. At the local Tractor Supply Co., I found a rabbit enthusiast who was expecting a nest of rabbits at any moment. She generously offered to take the babies off my hands (about 3 weeks old, I learned), with hopes of convincing her mama rabbit to nurse them along with her own. And I will be able to sleep through the night believing those two little bunnies will have a fighting chance at survival. The happiest of endings for a very tragic afternoon.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Constant Companion. Angus Update.

I've finally brought Angus back to the studio with me to hang out for a few hours. He spends most of the day confined to a cage, which I've tried to make as pleasant as possible by adding all the toys to it. Still, he whines and whimpers to be let out, and when possible he gets quality lap time and plenty of skitches behind his ears.

The update is he's healing nicely and in excellent spirits. He's snarling at appropriate times (with and at his toys and Zeta), he's barking enthusiastically at absolutely nothing once again, and he'd like to rough house with Zeta if given an inch. So tonight he's out in the studio with me on his little green pillow at my feet resting calmly as I print orders. I'm so happy he's doing so well!

Twilight. A Guilty Pleasure?

I've finally caved and have joined the millions of readers in the guilty pleasure of the book Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer. OK, not exactly the book in the paper form, the traditional way of consuming a story, but rather the audiobook. I would much prefer to have the luxury of time to relax in a big comfy chair with a cup of hot tea and read a book, but that's just another luxury I simply can't afford with 14 hour days in the studio.

The truth is, I don't really mind having someone read to me. There's so much talent in audiobooks, and I've listened to my fair share in the past year, many several times over, and all through my iTunes account on my computer. Because I work alone, this helps the time pass and I really become attached to the characters, just as I do with the paper version of books.

So now, with Twilight airing in my studio, I feel compelled to share that it's really an engaging story and the narrator, Ilyana Kadushin, is a likable and convincing storyteller. I'm only in the first chapter and I'm thoroughly engaged and can't wait to finish this blog post so we can get back to the business of meeting this Edward character. I think I'm hooked.

I'd love to learn about the great audiobooks you've read. Twilight won't last forever, and sooner or later I'll be looking for my next satisfying read.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Surgery Complete and Successful!

As promised, the skillful surgeon called at 3:40 this afternoon to say the surgery went very well, that Angus was doing well, and to give particulars about his condition that were all very good news. We couldn't be more relived than we are at the moment knowing that Angus will be OK.

I also received another call from the vet student, Julie, to give me a new update since Angus was coming out of the anesthesia. Still groggy but responding to his name, he was bundled in a couple of fleece blankets and hooked up to an IV with morphine type drugs. Poor wee Angus. We have a long road ahead of us, but I'm encouraged by the apparent ease of the operation and his good overall health. Let the healing begin.

Thank you everyone for the lovely and encouraging emails and comments. You have no idea how much that means to me to hear your thoughtful words of encouragement.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Angus Goes to Purdue.

Angus. My Stinky Buttcake. All 8 pounds of him. Last November, right around his first birthday, Angus began limping, favoring his left hind leg. Worsening over the winter months, we realized it wasn't something likely to go away on it's own. According to the local vet, Angus was suffering from a congenital condition known to small dogs called a luxating patella. In layman's terms, the ligament and patella (knee) were slipping out of alignment and causing lameness.

So I arranged a referral from my local vet, Dr. Hays (if he were my dawg, I'd take 'em to Purdue), and I scheduled an appointment for him to be examined for surgery at the Purdue Small Animal Clinic. Why not give him the best of the best?

Sure enough, after 4 hours in the car to get here and a stop along the way to Grandma's and Grandpa's to drop off my daughter, the vets and students alike converged on a very cautious Angus and they determined he has a Stage 2 Luxating Patella, with 4 being the worst.

Ranked as one of the top Veterinary Schools in the country, I have the utmost confidence in their veterinary skills. Back when I was a student at Purdue in the mid-90's, my dog, Biscuit, was a patient at the vet clinic at Purdue. She was given shots, and was once treated for kennel cough. But overall, her treatment and my experience was ordinary.

Seeing the variety of much-loved pets today solidified my convictions and helped dissolve any reservations I had about who should perform Angus's procedure. There was a small grey, long haired dog who survived a spinal injury related to bone cancer, and her enthusiasm at being in the vet waiting room belied her 13 years. Strapped into a contraption, part harness part wheelbarrow, the little dog dragged her owner through the room. Given a month to live last October, this little companion wasn't going anywhere she didn't want to go, soon. A part lab dog who had her eyes scratched by an angry raccoon was surely going to get her eyesight back. A sheltie with an unexplained swelling of her face. And a big 8 month old mastiff named Titan who was there probably for routine maintenance. These were just a few of the pets I got to know a little bit about.

I haven't seen Angus since we first arrived there. I had to relinquish him for examination, then, for x-rays. After they sent me to lunch (as if I could eat), and I had time to mull the whole idea of the surgery, the risks involved (varied, but real) vs. the benefits (many and valuable), the recovery time (lengthy: 6-8 weeks), I decided to go ahead with his surgery. He's a young dog and the condition only worsens with time and with wear. His surgery is scheduled for Thursday afternoon and we'll be returning home on Saturday.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A Fabulous Collaboration. Piddix Royalty Free Images & an Annie Howes Jewelry Kit!

I'm pretty darned pleased with working in collaboration with Corinna, owner and operator of Piddix on Etsy. Her shop boasts the highest quality, royalty-free images, and there's no doubt about that. After receiving the gorgeous digital collage sheet for this exclusive kit, I was absolutely blown away at the clarity of each image.

The Custom Image Glass Pendant Kit includes an updated version of my Glass Pendant Tutorial which explains how to create these beautiful glass pendants using your own images, or those included with this kit. As the leader and innovator in the glass pendant kit arena, I've worked tirelessly to improve the customer experience and I believe this kit adds a valuable choice in the kits I have to offer.

Want to know more about Corinna? Please check out her feature on Etsy's "Quit Your Day Job" spotlight series. And stop by her Piddix Etsy Shop for more fabulous digital downloads!

Spring Cleaning. Out with the Old, In with the Fabulous!

Yes, it's true, even websites undergo routine cleanings, and I just swept the cobwebs out of my site and added in some very exciting items.

The first new additions are two introductions to the Annie Howes line of products, Glamour Glaze and Glamour Glue. These products have been in the works since last September and I'm so very excited to be offering them both in full sized containers.

The Glamour Glaze is compared closest to 3D Crystal Lacquer. It's a water based, non-toxic clear drying crafting glaze that builds up quickly to a nice three dimensional finish. You'll love crafting with this product.

The Glamour Glue is a fabulous pva glue that's non-toxic and acid free. It dries to a clear, flexible finish and is perfect for gluing paper to just about anything! Used by serious crafters the world over, Glamour Glue is one studio must-have.

Other fabulous additions include bezel cup pendants, rings, and a key fob. You can now purchase Scrabble Tiles, wood circles, and two new kits: The Glass and Wood Pendant Kit, and the Wood Circle Pendant Kit.

I've also expanded the paper selection page to include an exciting addition of about 12 paper packs! Let's hear it for fine Italian and Chiyogami papers!

More new and exciting features coming soon! There's always innovation in both my shops.