Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Happy July

Did we really just flip the calendars to July today?  No idea where time is flying so fast these days, but let's get wordless...

Happy Friday from Tut & Penny! #dogsofinstagram #instadog #ilovemydogs #rescueddogsofinstagram #rescuedpuppiesofinstagram #puppygram #happydogs #instapuppy #seniordog #adoptdontshop #muttsofinstagram

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We took Penny for a walk outside the pits where the demos and vendors are set up... Of course we got stopped every 5 feet and she was in heaven with all of the attention. But she's not too fond of walking thru the pit tunnel yet, so Daddy carried her back
 
Ouch...my eyes! What's that bright ball in the sky today??? #seniordog #coonhoundmix #rescueddogsofinstagram #instadog #muttsofinstagram #dogstagram #ilovebigmutts #ilovemyseniordog #happydog #smilingdog

Shopping for a collar for Penny...can't you tell? #chicks #chickens #toocute #babyfarmanimals #farmanimals #INeedSome

Sisterly love is the best ❤������#dogsofinstagram #puppiesofinstagram #houndmix #dobermanmix #seniordog #instapuppy #rescuedpuppiesofinstagram #ilovemydogs #puppylove #dogkisses #instadog #muttstagram 
 
Shopping for a collar for Penny...can't you tell? #chicks #chickens #toocute #babyfarmanimals #farmanimals #INeedSome
 
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It's hot here today...but heat is the old thing that makes Sophie "smile" :) #rescueddogsofinstagram #houndmix #happydog #dogstagram #instadog #adoptdontshop #muttstagram #muttsofinstagram #seniordog #ilovebigmutts #ilovemyseniordog 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Ten on Tuesday: Home Sweet Home

I'll admit... I had a review planned for today.  It's even half written.  I had another one planned for Thursday that is long overdue as well. But, with it being a short week, I suspect many of us are not reading as many blog posts.  Therefore, I'm holding off until next week. 

Speaking of reviews...

To complete today's fun, fluffy post, I'm participating in Ten on Tuesday where the topic is 10 Things I Love About My Home (which may be ironic for those who know me well, as there are quite a few things I absolutely do not love about my home and would like to change).

1. The occupants.  My kids and my other half.

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2. It's well lived in.  My home will never be one that you might mistake for a museum.  There are no "do not touch" signs, but there is dog hair... everywhere!

3. The new couch covers.  See above - couch covers are necessary and it's been quite awhile since I've had new, or matching ones. 

4. My yarn closet.  My honey did an awesome job and I absolutely love it... although I'm working on an eventual craft room.

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5. The location.  We are pretty centrally located to just about everything we love to do, although after being here for 14 years, I am ready to go further North.

6. Our little wild animal kingdom.  In addition to the many birds and squirrels, we have rabbits and woodchucks who make their home in our yard.  There's nothing quite like watching the babies grow every spring.  We also see the occasional fox, deer, turkey, etc.

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7. The artwork and photos.  I love photos, and I love surrounding myself with special memories.  I need to start framing more of the great shots I have taken. (and sure this is a really old shot, but I love it)

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8. The back deck.  I love quiet time out here.  I can knit while the dogs romp and wrestle in the fresh air.
Winding yarn while Zeus chills out on the porch... #love #dogstagram #mybaby #knitstagram #Madelinetosh #newengland #relax

9. Our apple trees.  Although they have seen better days, and we really need to learn to prune them.
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10. The tumbleweeds.  See #1 and #2 above.  If you don't like it, don't visit. 

Love my new spoon rest! #dogs #doghair #kitchen #fun #petstagram #dogstagram #funny

Monday, June 29, 2015

Three Goofy Lapdogs

Monday already?  I don't know about you, but I could really use a catch-up day between Saturday and Sunday.  Or maybe an assistant...

Anyway, we all know about the Three Wise Monkeys, right?  You know, See No Evil - Hear No Evil - Speak No Evil.

I present to you, the Three Goofy Lapdogs....

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Laugh at Evil - Stick Your Tongue Out at Evil - Give Evil THE Look

Aren't they the best?  Ask them to pose nice, and Tut sticks his tongue out.  Kids these days... 

In case you didn't catch our latest #InspiredByCrafted post last week, make sure you click over and get in on the $300 PetSmart gift card giveaway!  I'm having a blast working with Hill's and BlogPaws on this 4-month long campaign... and to top it all off, the Hill's folks chose my first campaign post to spotlight on their new #InspiredByCrafted landing page

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And, as if that weren't enough, they also chose a photo of Zeus to spotlight across the top of the page!  I don't think I have to tell you just how much it means to me to see my Happy Old Man up there.  I miss him terribly. 

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I am incredibly honored to be on the Hill's website. It is a bit weird seeing my face up there, but so cool to be recognized for doing what I love. And, to know a company like Hill's likes what I do enough to use it on their website... Wow, talk about giving me fuel to continue.  I am sure I am not the only blogger out there who has days thinking "why am I doing this?  who's even reading my posts? why isn't anyone commenting?!"  This crazy dog lady with the little blog hobby feels pretty darn special right now.  Thank you Hill's!   

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Black & White Sunday: Got Gumby?

It appears as though Gumby found himself with a new sidekick and his name is Teutul...

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Gumby seems to be happily hanging with Tut... but has anyone seen Pokey? 

Anyone?

Tut, did you eat Pokey?

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Clearly he's not telling... Enjoy your Sunday everyone!

Friday, June 26, 2015

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Increase, Decrease

Disclosure: Storey Publishing LLC sent a copy of Increase, Decrease to Lapdog Creations for review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Increase, Decrease: 99 Step-by-Step Methods

Find the Perfect Technique for Shaping Every Knitting Project

by Judith Durant

Spiral-Bound: 256 pages

Publisher: Storey Publishing LLC (May 19, 2015)


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Homemade vs Handmade - many crafters debate this on a daily basis.  It seems the term homemade gets a bad rap in the crafting community.  Some suggest that there is little value in homemade things, but great value in handmade.  Others talk about how they strive to ensure their creations look handmade, and not homemade.  

Regardless of whether or not you see anything substandard with the term homemade, we all know that the key to knitting beautiful pieces is in the details. Just as choosing one cast on or bind off over another can greatly change the look of your finished piece, so can the right increase or decrease technique.

Cast On, Bind Off, published three years ago, remains one of my go-to reference books to this day. The guide is indispensable, and one of the reasons I was so excited to learn of Storey Publishing's follow up, Increase, Decrease.

While nearly every knitting pattern calls for increases and decreases, many of them don't specify which of the many possible techniques to use.  "Increase 1" -- sure, but is that a M1?  Should I work into the front and back of the same stitch? While either option will render the same technical results - having one more stitch on your needles - they will not render the same visual appeal.  Different increases and decreases can greatly alter the look of your finished product.  After all, many were designed to improve the look of a finished pieces, so long as they are properly used with appropriate stitch patterns and shaping issues.

Whether you're just looking for the easiest, most effective way to increase or decrease, or if you want it to be a noticeable (or, in many cases, unnoticeable) design element, Increase, Decrease is where you'll find the answer! 

Judith Durant has assembled 99 methods for increasing and decreasing knitting stitches. Yes, that's right, 99 different methods! Who knew there were that many? I sure didn't, and I consider myself an experienced knitter.

Increase, Decrease is divided into three chapters, which are further divided into sections, making it extremely easy to find what you need:
  • Increase
    • Neutral Increases
    • Right and Left Leaning Increases
    • Multiple Stitch Increases
    • Centered Double Increases
  • Decrease
    • Single Decreases
    • Double Decreases
    • Multiple Stitch Decreases
  • Combinations & Special Circumstances
    • Increase and Decrease for Decorative Effect
    • Special Circumstances

Each technique includes step-by-step instructions with photos, as well as a swatch photo showing how the featured stitch looks, and best use suggestions.

Increase, Decrease is a spiral-bound 6" x 7" book, making it a handy reference guide that can be tossed in your knitting bag and taken anywhere you go. I really appreciate the spiral binding, which allows the open book to lie flat... which means I don't have to fuss to keep a book open while I'm trying to follow along with instructions! After all, we do need two hands to knit!  As an added "it's-going-to-be-thrown-in-a-lot-of-knitting-bags" think-ahead, the corners are rounded, helping to prevent sharp edges and tangles.

Grab yourself a copy of Increase, Decrease today (it's just twelve bucks through the Amazon link at the top of this post)... or better yet, grab two copies and gift one to a dear knitting friend!
 
About the Author: Judith Durant is the editor of the best-selling One-Skein Wonders series, which currently includes six volumes.  She is also the author of Knit One, Bead Too and co-author with Dorothy T. Ratigan of Knitting Know-How. Durant has been knitting for more than 50 years and has been writing and editing for 30 years. She currently lives in Lowell, Massachusetts.  You can learn more about Judith on her website.

GIVEAWAY!
How would you like to add a copy of Increase Decrease to your knitting bag... for free?!?!  Thanks to the folks over at Storey Publishing, we are giving away a copy to one lucky reader.  Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter (the first entry is to answer a question in the comments on this post -- please be sure to click on the Rafflecopter to find out the question before posting your comment).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, June 25, 2015

So Much to Be Thankful For

Happy Thankful Thursday!  I really do have a lot to be thankful for these days...

Penny is growing like a weed still very much a puppy, but she is beginning to turn into a fine young lady.  She started Puppy Class two weeks ago and is already showing everyone just how smart she is.  The first week, she was the only star pup in class.

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She worked hard for a full hour, learning look, come and sit.  She even got in a little bit of down, but not until the nice lady trainer brought out that fluffy white mat you see above.  After all, a little Princess puppy is not going to put her belly on a cold tile floor now, is she?  She certainly tired herself out with all of the hard work.  She napped all the way home, and once we finally got home, this happened...

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Another puppy joined us last week, and I wish I had thought to take some photos of the two of them (will do next week).  Penny and Patches, a 6 month old female Australian Shepherd mix who has the most beautiful markings ever, were instant buds.  They got in some good play time, as well as lots of learning. 

Speaking of playtime, I'm extremely thankful for how well Penny has fit into our pack.  She seems to have figured out both Teutul and Sophie's signals for when it's appropriate playtime and when they aren't interested.  If you follow us on Instagram, you may have already seen this video clip from two weeks ago.  It's quite precious to me, and I really wanted to share it on here at the right time.... what better than a Thankful Thursday?



Full speed puppy playing still happens on a regular basis, but so does puppy snuggles. My heart just might skip a beat each time little Penny asks for cuddles...

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Watching her crawl up and cuddle with her siblings always makes me smile too.  It's extra special watching the sisterly bond being formed.  I remember when Sophie was the little one, looking to Lola for guidance and protection. 

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Now it's Sophie's turn to pay it forward.

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Gosh, seeing those two photos side by side (well, one on top of the other) makes me smile and shed tears all at the same time. I miss Lola so much, and as we approach what would have been her 13th birthday next week, I know it's going to be extremely difficult. I am so thankful for the amazing 12 years we had, but it was not long enough.  Lola and Zeus both would have loved Penny so very, very much... sigh....

Seeing my girls' bond, I often wonder if Tut would like a little brother...

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And then I'm interrupted by Penny getting into something she shouldn't, or having an accident.  This just seems to be right in the world... for now.

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I'll leave you on this Thankful Thursday with something that I am sure all pet parents are thankful for... sleeping pups (whether adolescent or seniors). I simply adore mine. 

I was tagged by @wonderwhygal for #widn Watching my 3 kids snooze. It's my day off and we're having a lazy morning. #ilovemydogs #houndmix  #dobermanmix #coonhoundmix #puppiesofinstagram #dogsofinstagram #muttsofinstagram #adoptdontshop #rescueddogsofinst

Your Penny puppy fix for the day! #sleepingpuppy #rescuedpuppiesofinstagram #dobermanmix #puppygram #instapuppy #puppylove #dobiemix #muttsofinstagram #sleepypuppy #adoptdontshop