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.


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.


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.

Eggs_5510 Chucky_709c

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)


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.

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....

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


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. 


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...


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


Tut, did you eat Pokey?

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)


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.

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).

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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.


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...


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...


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. 


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


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...


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.


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

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

REVIEW: Pet House Candle

Disclosure: One Fur All Pets sent a Pet House Candle to Lapdog Creations, free of charge, for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Pet House Candle

Where to Find: One Fur All Pets


When the folks over at One Fur All asked if we would review their new line of candles designed to neutralize pet odors, you know I responding with an enthusiastic "yes!"
"We couldn’t imagine our lives without our pets. They are family.  Every day with them enriches our lives and brings us joy. They are the reason we created One Fur All and why we focus on developing products that strengthen pet family bonds." - David Neuwirth and Robert Eichner, Founders of One Fur All
Launched at the end of 2014, the Pet House Candle line was created by pet parents who recognized a need for a fresher home environment. They set out with a simple goal - to create a product that is effective, safe, decorative, and had a beautiful fragrance.

The result is a 100% natural soy wax candle that is 100% non-toxic. Why soy, you might ask?  Simple, soy candles...
  • Are Natural - unlike paraffin wax which is made from nonrenewable resources, soy wax is made from soybeans, a natural resource grown by farmers in the US
  • Burn Cleaner - you won't see black soot collecting on the jar, as soy candles generate a much smaller amount of sooty byproduct when burned (and the wax itself is non-toxic, keeping your air cleaner)
  • Last Longer - since soy wax burns slower and at a cooler temperature than paraffin, soy candles will last longer
  • Have a Better Scent - due to the slower, cooler burn, scent is more gradually released resulting in a more even fragrance throughout your home

As if the benefits of soy weren't enough, Pet House Candles are also dye-free and hand-poured in the USA in a reusable jar.  Yes, that's right... they are made right here in the good 'ole US! And, they are currently available in five fragrances:
  • Vanilla Crème Brulee
  • Mandarin Sage
  • Lavender Green Tea
  • Fresh Citrus 
  • Pumpkin Spice
We received a Mandarin Sage scented candle for our review.

Mandarin Sage-front-large Mandarin Sage-side-large
Mandarin Sage is an inviting blend of sage, eucalyptus and bergamot
combined with a touch of cedarwood, sandalwood and patchouli
Since I am sure I'm not the only one out there that puts a candle or air freshener down as soon as I see "patchouli" in the description, I do want to point out that it is not overwhelming in the overall scent of Mandarin Sage.  The cedarwood and sandalwood combine to take control, with the sage and eucalyptus poking through for what I would best compare to a high-end men's cologne.  Woodsy, yet refreshing. 

In addition to providing pet parents with a fantastic product, One Fur All also gives back.  They are advocates for pet rescue and adoption, something very near and dear to our hearts here at Lapdog Creations.  The company has made it part of their mission to support non-profit, no-kill rescue groups all across the USA and have created a Rescue Fundraiser Program to help them raise funds

The 8.5 ounce candles, which burn for approximately 70 hours, retail directly through One Fur All for $19.95.  They are also available at some veterinarian offices, pet specialty stores, and grooming shops nationwide (click here to see if there is a store near you carrying the Pet House Candle), as well as on Amazon (see link at the top of our review).  I did find one location somewhat close to my home, but hope to find more retailers added to that list later this year. 

Connect with One Fur All: Facebook -- Instagram -- Twitter

Monday, June 22, 2015

#InspiredByCrafted - Made The Way You Would + Win a $300 Gift Card

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Crafted™, but Lapdog Creations only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

For the past couple of months, we have been gushing all about Hill’s® Ideal Balance™ Crafted™.  We certainly are enjoying getting to introduce you all to this uniquely crafted dog food (yes, it's available for cats as well). 


Ideal Balance Crafted is made the way you would make your pets' food at home -- if you had the time, knowledge and ambition to do so. Since most of us do not, we can rely on the experienced, dedicated craftsmen at Hill's who not only create unique recipes, but cook them in small batches.  You might be surprised to learn how similar their cooking process is to what you do in your own kitchen...

Crafted lineup

Hill's craftsmen take the time to add many of the ingredients by hand and carefully orchestrate the preparation of each batch. After rolling out the dough, each artisan crafted kibble is cut out and inspected to ensure every single one is just right. The kibbles are then oven roasted at 400 degrees until they're perfectly delicious.  

But, it's not just about the kibble.  Meat, gravy and vegetables are mixed into delicious stews and slow cooked at 250 degrees before being canned.  This results in a canned dog food that not only looks amazing, but smells incredible too!

Crafted Braised Salmon with Quinoa

As a concerned dog Mom, I am always extra careful of what I feed to my furkids.  Ideal Balance Crafted has certainly passed the test and topped our list.  Here are just a few of the things I love about the line...
  • Made in the USA
  • Crafted in small batches
  • Contains natural ingredients
  • High quality protein sources like trout, salmon and chicken are the #1 ingredient
  • No wheat, corn or soy
  • No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives
  • Uses ancient grains to support healthy digestion and provide a gluten-free source of energy

Hill's Ideal Balance Crafted (be sure to click thru that link to the #InspiredByCrafted page and check us out - we are honored to be featured!) sounds pretty darn awesome, doesn't it?  You know what would be even more awesome?  Winning a $300 Petsmart gift card which you could use to stock up on Crafted kibble, wet food and treats! 


This Giveaway is hosted by the BlogPaws Professional Blogger Network and sponsored by Hill's Ideal Balance CRAFTED. There is no purchase necessary in order to be eligible to win and is void where prohibited. This Giveaway is open to anyone that resides in the United States and is over the age of 18. Employees of Pet360, Inc., Hill's Pet Nutrition, PetSmart and their immediate families are ineligible. This Giveaway will be open from 6/9 - 6/30/2015 at 11:59pm ET.

Winner will be notified on or about Wednesday 7/1/15 and will have 24 hours to respond to the email before forfeiting their prize.

One winner will receive a $300 gift card to PetSmart to purchase Ideal Balance CRAFTED products for either their dog or cat at their local PetSmart store. The gift card will be mailed to the winner approximately 4 – 6 weeks from acceptance.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Connect with Hill's: Facebook - Twitter - Pinterest  
Find Hill's Ideal Balance Crafted at Pet 360

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Black & White Sunday: Daddy's Day

To All the Dads of Both 2 and 4 Legged Kids,

From the Lapdog Household to Yours...


Friday, June 19, 2015

#Craftsy Summer Steals - SAVE up to 70%!


There’s nothing better than a relaxing summer day spent doing what you love -- am I right? 

Perhaps that's sitting on your deck, sipping a glass of lemonade and knitting away on a breezy shawl?

Or, cranking up the AC in your house on a hot summer day while baking a cake for your friend's baby shower?

Maybe sewing a new skirt for your niece?

Whatever your crafting heart desires, during Craftsy’s Summer Steals event, it’s easy to find the supplies you need to fill your days with inspired creations – at incredible prices!


During the Summer Steals event, you can save up to 70% off yarn (woo hoo!), fabric, cake & baking supplies, art & paper supplies, and more!

You’re sure to snag the items you’ve been eyeing at major savings. Click on one of the popular categories below to begin shopping now...
  • Art 
  • Cakes & Baking 
  • Paper Crafts
  • Yarn - my favorite category, of course!
  • Fabric
  • All Classes - my second favorite category.  I absolutely love taking classes from the comfort of my own home and, best of all, being able to take them when it's convenient for me (and being able to re-watch them as well!)
Offer ends Sunday, June 21 at 11:59PM MT.  Don't miss out - discover your next project (or your next five) now

Thursday, June 18, 2015

REVIEW: Blue Buffalo Wild Bits Training Treats

Disclosure: Chewy sent a bag of Blue Buffalo Wild Bits Training Treats to Lapdog Creations, free of charge, for review purposes. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions expressed are my own.

Blue Buffalo Wild Bits Training Treats

Where to Find: Chewy.com


If you read Penny's first review on Tuesday, you know those amazing folks over at Chewy.com spoiled my kids rotten this month with not one, but two items for review!  The second item we received was a complete surprise, and boy were the Lapdogs happy when we opened up that familiar Chewy box. 


Blue Buffalo Wild Bits Training Treats (part of Blue's Wilderness Trail Treats line) are healthy, nutritious, grain-free and Made in the USA with no artificial preservatives, colors or flavors. They are currently available in three flavors - Salmon, Duck, and Chicken - and each recipe starts with real meat or fish as the first ingredient.

We received a bag of the Duck treats for review and while it's not a protein source I typically buy for the Lapdogs, it certainly seems as though they sure do love duck (which has been duly noted by this Mama).  Can you tell from the photos? 

20150614_121241-1-1 20150614_121250-1

As you may imagine, we are going through a lot of training treats with Penny at the moment. However, I'm finding the tiny rewards great for Tut and Sophie as well (it's hard to leave older kids out when a pup is working on - and being rewarded for - her training). While the treats contain DHA to support a puppy's cognitive development, I see no reason why my seniors can't enjoy a few as well. Especially since Wild Bits also contain Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids to promote healthy skin and coats.

And, because of the training going on at home, I am constantly shoving small treats in my pockets... after all, one must always be ready with rewards for studious puppies.  Because of this, I've not only been looking for good quality training treats, but ones that are pleasant smelling and not sticky. There's nothing quite like a pocket full of slimy, sticky, stinky treats on a hot summer day, right? Well, I am very happy to report that Wild Bits are not at all slimy or sticky. You can stick a few in your pocket and not have the skunks and raccoons chasing you around the yard (I can't promise the hounds' noses won't sniff you out however).

By the way, have you ever tried to photograph a puppy with treats before?  Treats that smell delicious and probably taste even better... did I mention these were duck?    

20150614_121233-1 20150614_121223-1

Penny is certainly enjoying her new-found job of reviewing items for the blog, however I'm sure we'll be working on her product-placement modeling skills for quite some time to come.

I will be adding Wild Bits to our regular line up of training treats as Penny makes her way through Puppy Kindergarten and then goes into Basic Obedience.  She is very food motivated and doing quite well (Teutul is also responding marvelously to "Penny. Come." these days).   

You can find all three flavors of Wild Bits, along with the rest of the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats line at Chewy.com where 1-2 day shipping is always free on orders of $49 or more.  Stock up for the summer... if you've got a new pup coming, or old dogs who want to learn new tricks, you can't go wrong with Wild Bits.  While you're at it, why not order one of Penny's new favorite toys as well, the Kong Squeezz Ball with Handle

Toys + Treats + Free Shipping = you can't go wrong with Chewy!
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