Monday, December 2, 2019

A Pomsky Pup for Me

     I've been wanting a dog for a long time.  I had a great Shepherd mix when I was a kid.  But when I married and began working, a cat seemed like a much better fit.  So for years we had cats and even a wonderfully fun ferret, but no dogs.
     For last six or seven years we've been petless.  Our last cat lived a nice long life, but we never got another one.  I've been thinking about a dog for quite a while, and always talking myself out of getting one.  We travel a bit.  I can't handle a large, energetic dog now. And on and on.  Lots of valid, logical reasons to not get a dog. ... But I wanted one.
     Then I discovered a type of dog that I had never known about --- a Pomsky

      A Pomsky is a mix of a Pomeranian and a Siberian Husky.  He has the look of a Husky, but the smaller size of a Pomeranian.  I found out about them while looking for huskies.  I really like their wolf-like appearance and their medium dog size. It looked like a compromise that could work.
      A search on the internet showed me puppies that were available around the U.S.  Interesting, but not practical. Finally I found some in Arizona, about two hours south of Phoenix.  First I contacted the breeder about their newest batch of puppies.  She said she would contact me when they were old enough for visitors.  Then a day or so later I saw a slightly older puppy on her website.  She had named him Nike. He looked adorable.
      All of the research I read advised to not buy a puppy you had not met first.  That seemed smart, although lots of people buy a pup and have it shipped.  I decided we should make a visit first and see how the puppy acted.  I wanted a friendly, happy puppy, and only seeing him in person would let me know if he was the dog for us.
       So last Friday we drove to meet our potential buddy.  I had not puppy proofed the house or bought any of the essentials we would need.  In my mind this was going to be a meet and greet only. If he looked like the dog for us, I planned to put down a deposit and pick him up a few days later after buying supplies and preparing for him properly.
       But fate had other ideas.  It was pretty much love at first sight, on both sides.  He was cute and cuddly and very friendly.  For lots of reasons the seller couldn't keep him until next week. We talked her into keeping him overnight to give us time to buy a few things.  She did better than that.  She was planning a trip to Phoenix the next day and offered to meet us half way.   Super!   
       So that's how we came to bring Tikaan (our name for him) into our lives.  He's a joy.  He's energetic and still needs lots of training.  Kinda like a furry toddler.  If there's something to get into, he'll find it. 
       But I've fallen in love with him.  He keeps us on our toes and makes us laugh. In his quiet moments he gives great puppy kisses and snuggles like a baby.  All in all, it's been a match made in heaven.


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Gift Wrap

     It's only September, but artists and crafters have been thinking about Christmas for weeks. Ideas need to be honed into plans. Supplies have to be ordered. Hands have to get to work.  Art and handcrafted items take time as well as creativity. 

     Getting a hand crafted present at the holidays is always a treat.  But I think it's even better if the package is festive and pretty.  I love to look at gift wrap ideas on Pinterest and in magazines.  A pretty box makes the gift all that more special. 

      So this year I'm trying to improve my gift packaging. It needs to reflect my brand, Desert Dabbler, as well as look festive and fun.  Different items require different size boxes, too.  I have wildlife paper for the larger sized boxes that hold my wildlife necklaces.  But most of my packages are smaller and need a properly sized box.  I've been using gold and white boxes.

I bought labels for the tops of the boxes.  Then I began adding a pretty orchid bow.

This year I'm thinking of replacing the label with a coyote.  What do you think?

Do you like the new gift wrap?  Drop me a comment if you have a preference or idea. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Summer is Ending???

    It's hard to believe that summer will soon be over. Here in the part of Arizona where I live we haven't even had our monsoon rains.  We've had excessive heat warnings for days and days. Our skies should have looked like this:

     Instead its been hot and dry.  For the entire year we've only had 3.70" of rain.
Whether we'll get some rain between now and September 30, the official end of the monsoon, remains to be seen.
    But while the end of September may be the official end of the monsoon, the unofficial end of summer is Labor Day.   And Labor Day is fast approaching.  It's only about 14 days away.  Schools, which used to start right after Labor Day, started here last week.  The calendar does seem to be spinning faster and faster.

     According to Etsy, Labor Day is now a big shopping event. School supplies and new shoes were always bought at our house around this time of year.  But the experts say other items are in demand today.

      To mark the occasion, Etsy is sponsoring a sale event and encouraging shops like mine to participate.  So I am. 

       Beginning August 30 I'm offering 10% off of summer items in my shop.  You'll find summery floral earrings as well as bracelets in bright colors.

     Click on the shop sign on the right to go directly into Desert Dabbler Handcrafted Jewelry.   Hope you'll find something you like!

       In the meantime, send some rain our way.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park

Wildlife in Rocky Mountain National Park

    Last week we went to Estes Park, Colorado, where the Rocky Mountain National Park is located.  It's not a huge park, but a beautiful one.  A third of the park is above 11,000 feet.   
     We went up to the alpine visitor center a couple of times. It was nice and cool.  No wonder the elk like to hang out there in the summer.  We saw lots of elk and a family of marmots.  

One of the smaller herds of elk enjoying the sun.

An elk cooling off in one of the many snow patches in the high country.

The mountain weather was a nice treat and break from the heat of Arizona.  I hated to leave.


Sunday, July 7, 2019

Fairy Door Bracelet

     A few weeks ago I wrote a post about fairy houses. I mentioned that I was working on a bracelet that featured a fairy door. It’s finished now!

Here’s a long view

     The project was very different from the jewelry I usually make. They usually involve animals or gemstones. This features fairies and glass beads and pearls.  Plus it was based on a design by Kate McKinnon in her book “Jewelry Architect”.
      The clasp started out as a pendant that I bought from an Etsy shop in England.  The bail was cut off, and it was glued to bead embroidery backing.  The clasp was a project that involved a village - my husband and his saw and my beading friends who gave me great advice.
       The door opens!  I glued fairy scrapbook paper inside, but it could have held a little picture.
        It’s one of a kind!  Fun to make and fun to wear.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Quail Chicks in the Courtyard

Quail Chicks Hatched

      A pair of Gambel's Quail made a nest in the blue flower pot this year.

   I couldn't get a good count, but it looked like 10 or 12 hatched.  I never could get all of them in the same photo.  They're very fast!

I hope they come back next year!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Fairy House Card

    I'm working on a new bracelet project that has a fairy door for the clasp.  It's a WIP that's almost done. I hope to show it here soon.  In the meantime, while trying to find what I wanted for the clasp, I found a variety of fairy doors and fairy houses.  Some were big garden ones and some, like this one, were DIY ones. Perfect for card making.

     I bought some fairy and tree paper at the local Scraps of Love paper store.

   I made a tree pattern and cut it out.  I bought plywood fairy door parts on Amazon and painted them. They came in 4 parts so it was easy to paint.

The only down side is that it costs a lot to mail the card.  The Post Office treats it (and prices it) like a small package. So far they haven't accepted fairy dust as payment either.

Are you a card maker or a DIY'er?  If you'd like free instructions and a list of where to buy the components I used, sign up to follow me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Orchid Update

Last year my son gave me a beautiful Phalaenopsis orchid for Mother's Day.  It looked great for a few weeks, but then my "care" was killing it.  I was doing all the wrong things.  Watering it with an ice cube and failing to re-pot it were my two biggest mistakes.

Fortunately I found "Miss Orchid Girl" on YouTube and started following her instructions on how to care for orchids.  Her name is Dani, and she is amazing.

I bought an orchid pot and orchid medium from Amazon.  It's two bloom spikes were nearing the end of their life cycle. One had lost all of its blooms and the remaining ones were faded and limp.  I cut them off and removed the orchid from its original heavy soil.

After re-potting the orchid I stopped putting an ice cube a day on it and began to water it properly.  The leaves, which had shriveled up, began to fill out and look beautiful once again.  It took weeks and weeks for this to happen so I had to learn to be patient.

The orchid in September 2018.  New roots were appearing and the leaves were looking a lot better.  

In December a bloom spike starting growing!  

Most of the time my orchid sits on the edge of my art table. It gets light from windows on both sides of the room, but no direct sunlight.  I water it by soaking it for 20 minutes, then draining it thoroughly, about once a week.  Over the winder when it wasn't blooming it often went longer than a week between watering.  I watch the roots and don't water unless they have turned silver grey.   It's thriving now on this better care.

When it was new it arrived with 2 bloom stalks, but it only has one this year.  But I'm thrilled that it's alive and blooming at all.   It's all due to Dani's great videos and lessons on how to grow orchids.  If you want to know more about orchids, check out "Miss Orchid Girl" on YouTube. You'll soon be growing orchids like a pro.


Sunday, February 17, 2019

An Owl Cell Phone Purse

An Owl Purse in Neutrals

      Owls are messengers in many Native American cultures and in fantasy worlds like Harry Potter.  Remember the great scene where the owls fly into Hogwarts bringing letters and packages from home? I love that scene!  Recently I had a chance to use an owl and a feather in a project. 
     I'm taking a color class based on "Color & Design" by Heather Thomas.  It's a beautiful book - full of great color illustrations and valuable info.  The class is being taught by Ann Petersen, a world class quilter and member of Grand Stitchers. 
      I'm not a quilter, but I use color all the time in making my jewelry.  Taking a class about color has been a great learning experience and a chance to try out new ideas. Every month we are expected to make a new project based on a different aspect of color.  The first project was to create an item using neutrals.
     Normally I use much brighter colors so this was a challenge.  I had a beige  acrylic owl face and a feather from a Great Horned Owl as inspiration.  Since owls are messengers, I decided to make a cell phone purse.  I've been making Tree of Life jewelry so placing the owl in a tree seemed like a perfect fit.

     I placed the owl on a feminine Tree of Life to counter the negativity that some tribes associate with owls. Plus I love trees.

     I used Simplicity pattern #8356 for the purse. I altered the basic pattern to use lots of neutrals for the class requirement.  Although I bought 6 or 7 neutrals in a variety of patterns, I ended up using only 5 of them plus leather for the tree.  

I beaded a peyote tube and glued the owl feather inside it to protect the fragile feather.  I added some beads, crystals, and a chain handle to complete the project.

    If you'd like complete directions on how I made the purse, sign up on the e-mail list or send me a comment with your e-mail address.  The directions are free.  The pattern and book are available at many places.  I bought mine on Amazon Smile so I could support Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary with my purchase.