Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Stuck Inside

For once the weather report was totally accurate and except for before the sun came up there has been constant snow and/or rain.

It is nail-dremel day. To do Nim's nails I roll him on his back. My breeder does her dobermans like horses (standing with one foot at a time), Rusty laid on his side.

He doesn't love it, but he doesn't have a choice.

Next all his pads are treated with Tuf-Foot I am not sure if the product works or not, but it is an easy way to clean up and check his feet at the same time. He did tear his pad a couple of weeks ago and it was a week in which I hadn't kept up on the treatment.

I completely forgot about this toy! My mom gave it to me for Christmas and I have never tried it.

This is the simple set up.

The larger block and the thin bar shown down below are intended to make it harder. I will use them the next time.

Nim realizes I am loading something with treats...

This process was extremely hard to photography because the dog is moving so much. He figured it out really quickly and alternated between using his nose and his paw.

Left alone with the toy I am pretty sure he would chew down all the wood pegs. This toy produced the desired mental exercise because when I tried to recall him later I thought he was blowing me off. Turns out he was actually sound asleep on his pillow and didn't hear me. He usually doesn't sleep that solid during the day.

Later in the day we worked on crawling. It has been months since we have done this. What I was really impressed with that he has definitely gotten bigger however he is a much more powerful crawler too. When he was a puppy he would more hop through on his stomach, this time I saw him alternating legs and literally crawling and he was actually really quick at it (I don't often see dogs move like that).

This is our "perch" exercise. We have to watch not overdoing the repetitions on these but they are a great obedience and strength exercise.

I am only able to photograph him head on but I actually have him side step all around the perch while at my side. We also start with him in front and maneuvering to a heel-side "finish" while on a perch.

Happy Leap Year

Nim's first Leap Year is dark and stormy. Last night the weird and expressive weather kept Nim and the cats up on and off all night. Which means I was too.

Even the cats were chasing each other more this morning. If only Nim and the cats could do homework, housework, and work-work...they might all be tired too.

Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue was featured on New Day Northwest. This organization does a lot of good and means a lot to me personally. I met Rusty through them and Toshia Maund (the rep on this show) was my first main contact in the world of dobermans. I get their regular updates for doberman needs and many of the stories are amazing. I still remember when Rusty started appearing on the list and my first transfer of him from Burien to Spokane - followed by his transfer back to me in his depends and belly band. :)

(Rusty's ride back to me is a funny adventure in itself. Because of his lack of potty training, the foster family put him in depends and a belly band and and a kennel and arranged a ride for him with a very nice, but non-dog lady. We decided the best thing was that he not come out for the duration of car ride. She was a singer coming back to Seattle to perform and I am pretty sure she sang most of the drive over...which kept him fairly silent. I met her at the outlet mall and lifted the entire kennel out of her car with Rusty in it and that was that. Rusty came home.)

Toshia made a lot of introductions for me and helped lead me to reputable breeders which very importantly lead me to Odin. Toshia Maund does so much for Seattle Purebred and for the doberman breed in general. It is a fun little piece if you are able to view it...enjoy!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homework and Knitting

Due to exciting plans on Friday to attend the Sewing Expo in Puyallup with my mom, I have put non-negotiable requirements on myself for homework completion before Friday. I want to enjoy Friday with zero thoughts about things I need to get done. :)

This means I got very little sewing done, but as you can see, a ton of progress on kitting while I marathoned two chapters worth of instructional videos. I am so grateful I can knit while I watch these. Most of the videos are generally interesting, but at least one on Monday was painfully boring. I also simply have a hard time staying engaged with that much consecutive videos...the knitting helps with that too.

Other big excitement for me is that I have joined my first ever Relay for Life Team! It is Team Super Trooper. The team leader Jackie is just a really nice person and it is an honor to support her. One of our fund raisers is going to be a bake sale and you know how much I love to bake. Apparently we are doing a garage sale too but I never get excited about those. :) When I know about the bake sale I will put up dates!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Scrappy Broken Dishes

This has been a stormy and dark weekend: good sewing weather.

I was able to make progress on the Broken Dishes block. I am glad I assembled some more half-triangle squares to make more blocks. I think it will help the variety a bit.

It is definitely easier to see the pattern if you use all the same fabric (photo above) but I really wanted to mix them all together.

Nim had a good active morning before the snow really picked up (fortunately we were in Bellevue which was a little nicer than North Bend this morning).

Friday, February 24, 2012

Caterina's Club

Good morning! Wow. How is everyone sleeping these days? We are all a little tired this morning - not much sleeping at night. Is it the new moon?

Imagine my surprise this morning that things are actually starting to form buds! I didn't think with the constant darkness that was even possible right now!

This Friday I am very excited to talk about the non-profit Caterina's Club. Based in CA, Bruno and his mom saw a huge need to hungry feed area children a filling dinner. This calling has now grown to providing dinner 7 nights a week.

The bio on Bruno Serato and his involvement in his community is really enjoyable. He is one of those people you want to meet! :) He saw a problem in his community and he actively works towards positive change.

There are also three upcoming area events that I am excited about mentioning:

March 8, 2012 - Skagit Adult Day Care fund raising luncheon (another organization that is losing funding)
Speaker is Teepa Snow!
Cost $15/person - benefits the Bradford House in Burlington and the Gentry House in Anacortes.
Skagit Adult Day Care - 360 755 1235
Teepa Snow is one of my most favorite and inspiring speakers in the field of Alzheimer's and Dementia.

March 25, 2012 - 1st Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser to Benefit Mt. Si. Food Bank. I love the Mt. Si. Food Bank. They are a VERY positive local organization and like many social services their demand has gone up while there funding has decreased. I saw one of the handcrafted bowls in our local paper and it was beautiful!

April 28 - April 29 - Chocolate Shoebox participation in the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale! This particular sale will benefit Action for Animals and Precious Life Animal Sanctuary. The Worldwide Vegan Bake sale is actually a week long global event and on their site you can search for a bake sale in your area. I promise even if you aren't vegan you will find something there you will enjoy and the Chocolate Shoebox was a very friendly store when I went out there for the Valentine's Day bake sale.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fat Tuesday

Clearly my indulging started yesterday, but I did want to make pancakes for Fat Tuesday. I am truly surprised how much I liked these as I am not a huge pancake person. This is the Chocolate-Covered Katie Snickerdoodle Pancakes and I can't wait to try her other ones.

I did whole wheat flour ( my favorite for pancakes) and only a tsp of the sugar which is perfect for me but I promise they are not sweet. I tried powdered sugar on the top but honestly enjoyed them without. It is a really pleasant and mild cinnamon/wheat flavor. I think if you went all out with the sugar it could be quite a dessert but I personally prefer them this way.

I enjoy Lent and the Easter season despite not being a particularly good Catholic. Easter always makes me think of my Grammy Mary.

After massively failing Lent last year I think I am ready to try again this year. I am not really under any less stress than last year but this year I think I am more able to gain from the focus of Lent. It isn't like I haven't had a slip during Lent season most years, but last year was a catastrophic failures in all areas...I gave up very quickly.

This year I am considering giving up peanut butter which is going to be exceptionally hard and I have never tried that one before. I will probably give up chocolate as well (I do that most years).

A couple of years ago I planned each Friday of Lent to learning a bit about a new non-profit/cause/rescue which I totally enjoyed and I will do that again this year and try and post them. And as usual I will challenge myself on a few thoughts I want to change.

I also hope to finish two charity blankets I have in the works towards giving.

Enjoy Fat Tuesday! I hope you are out there indulging!

Monday, February 20, 2012


It is only Monday and I have baked cookies and scones...on the same day. This is either the start of a great week or preparation for another hard one. :)

These are a berry modification to the Daily Garnish Ginger Currant Scones recipe. You will notice mine look better this time around. This is because I wasn't talking on the phone while making them and actually did a better job with the final cutting and transfer.

This time around I will freeze part of the batch. Even eating 1 or 2 a day they did get a little stale last time around (not that I didn't finish them off anyway). So I am going to see how freezing works. The truth is, they are at their absolute best to me right after baking.

I can't wait for peaches to be in season to make a peach version.
I hope everyone has a great week. I think it is going to be a rainy one for us, but we will do our best.

****Quick Edit****

Apparently Thursday, February 23, is National Dog Biscuit Day (official title is actually International Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day - who thinks this stuff up?!). Earth Pet in Issaquah will be having the following sale:

"Mark your calendars for February 23rd. This Thursday is National Dog Biscuit Day. Save BIG on your animals favorite baked treats. All baked cookies are buy one, get one half off! And all of the bulk biscuits are 25% off, that makes them $2.99 a pound! We are open from 10am - 8pm. See you then."

I don't bake dog biscuits as much as I used to. But maybe I will in honor of this bizarre holiday.

Cleaning and Cookies

So despite waking up to a dusting of snow this morning I still got out to Pacific Fabrics in Bellevue (gosh I miss the Issaquah store) for their President's Day sale. The fabric I purchased I almost didn't want to post on the blog because it is a questionable backing choice for my New Year's Day Mystery Quilt. But I figure it is going to come out sooner or later.

If I had been able to figure out how to make "Home To Roost Pink Sheep" fabric work that would be featured right now.

The quilt just didn't want to be matched with a nice sensible darker fabric...or perhaps it was just me in this lame weather that didn't want a darker fabric...

Later in the day, as I was eating straight peanut butter and chocolate chips (bag and jar side by side), I realized I was in serious need of dessert. I have two desserts right now that I really want to make off the Chocolate-Covered Katie site and didn't make either of them today during this dessert emergency (both are more involved, but I hope to make them soon).

So I put on my standby baking movie "The Fifth Element" and got to work.

I made the Flourless Oatmeal Raisin cookies Katie posted today only I used chocolate chips, vanilla, and peanut butter so they were more the flourless chocolate chip cookies instead. I didn't need to add the additional white sugar, the brown sugar was enough.

Basically the oats are ground down to make a flour. I have no need/desire to eliminate flour from my diet, but this worked well.

Really, I like that she is full of recipes that are smaller serving or "single lady" style. Better for a girl on her own. :)

Because I used peanut butter for my fat rather than oil or margarine I did realize part way in I needed to pat them down in baking. They baked up fast and as you can see I already ate one. I would have probably eaten them all had I not already been eating my weight in peanut butter earlier. :)

I am making the berry vegan scones again tonight that I made Christmas Eve so I should be well stocked for a few days.

During my baking Nim worked on a peanut butter kong.

And both Leela and Nim surveyed my curtain cleaning mess.

I have been catching every single cold that I have crossed and I have decided super cleaning is in order to see if that helps.

It was hard to be in Pacific Fabric today and hear some really terrible coughs out there. Not sure if the cleaning can compete with that or not.

Emile never likes my cleaning frenzies.

Leela just wanted me to stop watching her...

So that Nim will come and play.

Please let more light and longer/warmer days come soon...

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Stormy Day

Today non-stop rain and wind changed plans a bit. Basically we were stuck in the house and I alternated between homework and sewing. Nim alternated between sleeping and trying to punish me with his boredom.
I am SO done with yard clean-up. I have replaced that section of fence before. Fortunately this just bent the fence instead of collapsing it.

I have also managed to keep power despite a lot of flickering.

I decided I really wanted to do the broken dishes block and so I needed a lot more 3.5 inch squares to pair up for half-triangle squares.

Monday is the President's Day sale at Pacific Fabrics which is motivating more to do my homework and work work this weekend so that Monday can be a lazy day. If you visit their Web site they do have a blog going which has a pre-Sewing Expo post on it. Now I have no interest in paper piecing (at least right now) but you have to admit it is a pretty neat quilt.

I wish I had known about this Madrona Winter Retreat sooner. I considered driving to Tacoma for some of the public part (especially the talent show on Thursday considering it was being organized by the Yarn Harlot) but just didn't want to drive that far. It seems like a fun retreat and I might look more into the mini-classes and evening events next year.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Half Triangle Squares

I was desperate to start a more mindless quilt this week. I found a collection of fabric donations that I actually forgot about and several 3.5 inch squares. I turned these into half triangle squares thinking I would make broken dishes blocks. I still may, but I am a little shy of quite enough squares to make any ideas I am finding online work.

Monday is the Pacific Fabric President's Day sale too and hopefully I will go to that to get backing for another project that is waiting. Compared to last year this has been a sewing heavy year, and it is only February.

The rain came in heavy this afternoon making it a good time for sewing and indoor projects.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Good morning all and Happy Valentine's Day!

I am really hoping the rain stops and then I can get Nim out for awhile later in the day. It is the last day for his Valentine's Bow-Wow! Bandanna. :)

"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward in the same direction." - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's "Le Petit Prince"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Bar Pie

The moment I unwrapped and sampled the Rescue Chocolate Peanut Butter Pit Bull bar I knew I had to quickly start making my planned dessert or eat the entire bar and head out to the store. Stated that way - I really couldn't lose could I?

It is pretty amazing that this small company is able to do so much good and with a nice quality (and vegan) chocolate. I keep finding all these really neat small businesses or causes and I am so inspired by them. It reminds me to be open to all creative options to succeed in life.

This is the first bar I have tried by this company and I really enjoyed it. It wasn't overly sweet at all and peanut butter/chocolate is one of my top flavor combinations.

The recipe I am following is from Chocolate-Covered Katie's blog and it is the Chocolate Bar Pie recipe. I love her blog (talk about another inspiration). I love that she her job is blogging about her creations and that she tries to devote each day to making new recipes. Can you imagine?!

I did 3, 15 second microwave sessions to get that level of melt. It might not seem melted, but trust me, the second it was poured into the mixture it was clearly melted enough.

I used Mori-nu silken-firm tofu. I put in all three chocolate bars (minus my "samples"). These are slightly smaller weight bars than the ones Katie uses in her recipe. I don't think it is an exact science anyway.

My non-dairy milk choice was almond milk (my new current favorite - why did I wait so long to try it?!). I didn't add any sugar. I would definitely recommend anyone making it sampling before adding sugar. I could see someone finding mine not sweet enough, but it was perfect for me.

I used a pie dish but my big plans is to heat berries from my Costco frozen berry mix and eat them with this pie so I really don't care if it sets up like pie or stays more like a mousse. Not only that, it taste amazing already and I am the one eating it regardless of its form.