Thursday, October 29, 2015

Animal Quilt - Frog

I have completely forgotten the name of this little frog. Golden Mantra is sticking in my head but I guess it doesn't matter.

I worked on the background first and then the frog.  I had some slight bleeding into the background but I'm not sure I care. This little frog was pretty easy to do and its a decent painting but I just don't think this one is doing anything for me.

I was going for some diversity in my quilt but I may have to find another animal to paint.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Barn Hunt Trial - Anything Goes for Dogs in Marysville October 17 & 18

River and I took a barn hunting class last August and did well. She's participates in scent work trials already and barn hunt is similar. She has to find a rat in a tube vs. scent. Barn hunting is an off shoot of Earth dog. Earth dog classes are where small dogs, usually terriers, go "underground" or go under a faux ground and hunt rats hidden in PVC piping. Big dogs can't go through little tunnels so barn hunting was developed for bigger dogs. Terriers can still participate but now your bigger dogs such as Dobermans and mixes like River who is a Shepard/Husky mix can join in the fun too.

In barn hunting, a search area is roped off and a course is built with bales of straw. PVC pipping is hidden on the course which can contain a rat, litter or nothing. The pipping can be on the floor or up on bales and are covered with loose straw. The dog must go through the tunnel, climb on bales (all 4 feet off the ground) and of course locate the rat. And of course, you are timed. If you get all the elements within the time frame you qualify or "Q".  Qualifying ribbons are given to everyone who qualifies and additional ribbons are given to 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. If you get 3 Q's on any level that's considered a title for that level and a title ribbon is awarded.

We participated in our first Barn Hunt trial in Marysville, Ohio at Anything Goes for Dogs. Although River does scent work, you could tell she was really a lot more interested barn hunting. She really liked that "hunt" feel to it. She had to dig in straw piles of straw and climb up on bales to get to possible rat hidey holes.

Our first trial consisted of 2 runs. I got too anxious and when she started digging at some loose straw I called the alert and it was a litter tube. I called it way too quickly, although River is usually pawing at the tube she thinks the rat is in. So it can be tricky. The next trial we qualified. River's alert was to try to shove herself under a small ramp to get to the pipping so it was obvious. We qualified and got 3rd Place.

The next day, we had 2 runs at the Novice level. The first run was beautiful but once again I screwed it all up. I told myself not to be too quick to call the alert but I apparently wasn't listening to myself. River ran through the tunnel, did a climb and found the rat immediately. She sniffed then went on and continued searching around the room. She found a little cubby of loose straw and starting digging, I called the alert without even seeing if there was even a tube! How dumb was that? And of course, the rat was in the first tube she found and checked out. We would've had a time of 15 seconds but no. So the second run was better. She found the rat tube but didn't show much interest and continued searching. I got her to tunnel and climb and she went back to the tube she found first, but I was more on board. She started pawing and I called the alert for a 55 second run.

I thought we had a good time but some other dogs we're getting around 20 seconds so I wasn't sure where our time would fall but out of 5 dogs, River had the fastest timeout of those who qualified. We got a qualifying ribbon, a 1st place blue ribbon and a High in Class Novice ribbon. Not a bad weekend and certainly not bad for our first Barn Hunt trial although I could've done better. River did great!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Ribbon Board for my Dog

My dog River, participates in C-WAGS scent trials and has won or qualified (Q'd) in several levels. You need 4 Q's to get a title in each level 1-4. She has her title in Level 1 and 3 and 3 Q's at level 2 so we have quite a few ribbons.

I thought I'd organize them on a piece of black foam core that I had laying around. So I got out my Cameo Silhouette and got cutting. I had some paper left over from my in-laws 50th anniversary party and then I found some paw print paper and stickers in the scrapbooking section at Joanns.

The board isn't really all that big so I started with the Level 1 ribbons at the top left of the board then I dropped down a little and went to the right side of the board for Level 2 and so forth. I was trying to maximize the board space and I think this way worked out well. The Title rosettes are large and colorful and I didn't think it would work hanging at the end of each level. They are a lot longer then the purple ribbons, so I figured I would just hang them across the bottom of the board.

River still needs one leg at level 2 for a Title and she only recently got her Level 3 Title so now she can play at Level 4. Any additional Q's at the lower levels will go to her ACE Titles, which will mean another ribbon board. I think you need 10 additional ribbons for an ACE level but I'm not sure. Anyway, I think my little board turned out well and organized the ribbons. Its better than them laying in a pile on my coffee table.

I'll have to make one for Barn Hunt trials since we have 2 in October and one for K9SD trials that should start next year.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

50th Wedding Anniversary Party

I was doing a lot of planning for a 50th wedding anniversary party that was held on September 12.

I started planning this in June since my in-law's 50WA is September 11, which as you all know is now a perfectly depressing day here the U.S. Location? Done. Caterer? Done. Save the Date postcards? Done and done. 

I don't work so I've got a lot of time on my hands to kill, so I decided I would do some things myself. Honestly, after the caterer/location rental the budget has dwindled anyway so it's a good thing I'm crafty. I decided to stay away from the large bakeries for the cake so, I went to Giant Eagle Market District in Upper Arlington, since the caterer recommended them for the cake. I spoke to one of the cake decorators and found out a small 3-tiered wedding cake that will feed roughly 60 people will cost just over $300. Normally, I would say "great!" but after thinking about it, I can't image paying $300 for cake and buttercream is simple. I can bake and now with all the cake decorating stuff out there surely, I can do something simple and it won't cost $300. I can make a giant 4 tiered cake that will feed 200 people for $100. Trust me I can. I just know it. I'm creative. I'm artistic. I'm determined. 

I bought a test cake mix from Global Sugar Art, which was great, so I'm going to go with that. I've got two blog posts dedicated to the cake and the cake lace. 

So the cake is project #1 for this party but I'm not done.

I asked my mother in law about gifts. They certainly don't need any and she agreed. So I suggested that instead of gifts, to consider giving a donation to Nationwide Children's Hospital here in Columbus. My MIL and her friends have all worked for decades raising money for NCH, so it seemed logical. A lot of people still brought them gift cards and I don't know how much if any, people donated to the hospital but that's okay.

Project #2 is to work on my quilling, which I think, I've pretty much got down. I decided to get them a keepsake item so I've ordered a custom photo mat and frame. It's  a double mat (cream/metallic gold) and has 2 5x7" insets, an engraved gold plate at the top with their names and 50WA on it and one plate for the year they were married and one for 2015. It turned out much smaller than I originally planned but that's okay. I was originally going to use it as a sign in book type thing with people writing their names and saying something nice. But then I thought that most people's handwriting is ugly and if they write teeny tiny then there will be giant open spaces and well, you get the picture. So I made it smaller and decorated it with some pearl bead sticker type things, my quilled flowers/vines/leaves and some pretty paper. You can see how it turned out below.

Project 3 is to work on decorations. I made a few rosette paper banners that we used to decorate the head table and the cake table with. I attached them to a burlap and lace ribbon which we also put around the vases for the centerpieces. Since I still had a lot of paper left, I made little 4" rosettes and put a pin on the back and we used these for name tags. I had a bit of help on the paper rosettes. I went ahead and bought a Cameo Silhouette to help with all the cutting.

Another decoration I had printed is a menu for each table. That way people have an idea what's on the buffet table instead of trying to figure it out when they get there. It has a chalkboard look to it and little pink victorian roses.

This menu design is straight from where I bought stamps, invitations, stickers and of course this menu design. I was really impressed with all the hundreds of different styles of invitations they had and how super easy it was to customize everything. I also love that its actually affordable. The only thing I didn't like was that the text came out super small. So overall, not a good idea when most of the guest are 65+ with vision problems. I'm no where near 65 and could barely read it.

I ordered peach roses to drown in a vase with a floating candle for centerpieces and then 3 smaller peach/white and gold arrangements for the head table. I wanted some fresh flowers but didn't go overboard.

I'd thought I'd get some gold/white balloons and weigh them down with something like a bag of candy, coffee or a box of lifesavers or whatever I find, and put a riddle or brain teaser on them or trivia from 1960's. I'll let people know that if they want the prize attached to the balloons they need to provide the answer. Well, turns out the location wouldn't let me have balloons due to the high ceilings. So that idea got nixed.

I also thought that having zoo animals come in for an hour would be awesome. The Columbus Zoo will bring in some really cool animals that you just don't see everyday let alone up close. I called in July and they were already booked for September. It would've been awesome but no...

I also thought that since both family and friends were going to attend, they may not know how my in-law's met. So I wrote a poem about how they met, when they got married, when they had kids and how life wasn't always a bed a roses. I wanted to let them know they are an inspiration to others and of course, to congratulate them on their 50 years of marriage. So here's the last few lines:

The last 50 years, your marriage has seen joys and endured difficult times
yet it remains a shining example of courage and love 
you’re an inspiration to friends, family, your children and grandchildren 
You’ve set the bar high for future generations

There’s a long road behind you and your story’s not over
In hard times look to the threads you have woven and remember this day
your story, your life
take comfort in knowing your threads are strong, still bound, still twisted and still tied
May they give you strength, joy and a great sense of pride. 

So here we sit before you all family and friends on this day
to celebrate the joys of today, the memories of yesterday
and the hopes of tomorrow and if we may say

Congratulations to you both on your marriage and astounding success

We wish you love, joy and may your future be blessed.

I had 3 victims (I mean volunteers) read the poem. I was going to have them pass threads along to each other then at the end, I was going to take the threads and attach them to the picture frame but my husband thought that was too sappy so I didn't do it. I think I had pushed him to his limit with the poem idea. And after giving me grief for a week, he finally said at the party, "Okay. The poem thing was good." Seriously, I about fell out of my chair!

We also used a prop from their wedding 50 years ago. They still had in the their closet an unopened bottle of pink champagne in its original box! You can see it in the picture below. We thought they could drink it but after some research, we didn't open it but instead got a new bottle of champagne so they could drink that for a toast. The contents are more likely to be champagne vinegar by now.

I also asked my mother in law's sister to make a card box of some kind and she found a wrought iron bird cage to decorate. We also put a slide show of old pictures on a computer and let people watch it if they wanted to.

The other thing we decorated was the cake board. This was a very heavy cake and we put a masonite board under it. Well, the only covers I've seen is pretty much foil. Well, foil is boring. So I asked another sister to make something to cover the board. Its a large white square with a black dresden plate on it with pearl beads sewn on it. I was going to put some gold cake lace in the corners but I barely got the cake together let alone worry about the corners. Its slightly tilted but it didn't seem to matter much. It held up and it was delicious. Each tier has 2 different filings and most people ate more than once piece, the guests took cake home, the catering staff complimented me on the cake and they had plenty to take home as well. I also had several 6" rounds of cake in my freezer and I used the remaining fillings I had left and made more cake that I gave away. Believe me, we had plenty of cake. In just the cake (mixes, fillings, buttercream icing), it cost me around $175. It was a lot of work and it took my entire refrigerator to handle. I had to make sure we ate everything we could and not buy more stuff for the refrigerator for several weeks before hand. But it got done!

Everything was very pretty and coordinated well. I got a lot of compliments on the cake, our caterer was awesome and easy to work with and the building was nice too. It turned out to be a very nice party for a very nice couple.