Spring: Early Arrivals to the Bunny Garden

IMG_9258**(Be sure to click each photo to see it in full!)

I was so excited when I saw the two new arrivals to the Bunny Garden; the first this Spring. They’re a continuation of the ongoing evolution of my hand knit bunny creations that began a little over a year ago. Each bunny is one-of-a-kind & I never know who he or she is until they’re totally finished. I’m always  excited to see who emerges from the crossing of two needles and a ball of yarn.

The first arrival this Spring was Olivia.  As it turned out,  Olivia was just passing through the garden- (she sold immediately,)  Assembling her,  a little voice in my head said,  Hmm~  I wonder how she’d look if I attached her ears more behind her head- kind of like this-  and I held them about where I thought they should be…  They might look cute that way!  I’ve seen bunnies hold their ears like that before- and certainly if she was a lop her ears would be like that… but what if they didn’t look good? Once I sew them on I can’t take them off without ruining the bunny-IMG_9247

Then  another little voice sounded in my head~ Why take a chance? Just sew them on top of her head like the others, where you know they’ll look good-  Yes, but…  Back and forth the two voices went- until I couldn’t stand it anymore. I held the ears up to the back of her head one more time~ took a deep breath and began sewing them-  onto the back of her head.  Once I’d finished sewing them on, I looked at her and she seemed to have a little grin on her face. She looked back at me~  (I could swear I saw her wink~ )  with a grin that said, ” Yes!! I’m so cute now!”

That’s an example of the way my bunnies are constantly changing & evolving. I hadn’t planned on putting Olivia’s ears low on her head when I began to knit her. Each bunny is determined more by the shape of their head than anything else.IMG_9246

For some reason I don’t understand, every time I knit a new bunny their head shape ends up being different than any of the others that I’ve knit-  even though I do the same things when knitting them. Once I see the head shape that I’m going to be working with, ideas start coming to mind, guiding me on how to best sculpt the head and stitch the facial features;  my goal being to create a bunny that embodies the unique irresistible nature of live bunnies that I’ve known and  loved so much over the years.

Finished just yesterday, Rebecca is the second of the new Spring bunnies to the garden this year. You can see the difference in head shapes, between Olivia’s, pictured above, and Rebecca’s, (to the left.) Rebecca’s head has a shorter, rounder shape than Olivia’s did. IMG_9382 copyWith Rebecca, I again experimented with the placement of her ears. I also tried to fill her little cheeks out a bit to go with her more rounded head shape, the way real bunny’s cheeks appear. I once had a Netherlands Dwarf bunny that Rebecca’s  more compact, rounded face shape reminds me of. Soon I’ll be ready to begin another bunny. I’m curious to see what my next attempt with the needles is going to produce.
I wonder~ could this be the way a “real” bunny mom feels? Perhaps I’ve discovered the reason bunnies have such large families; they simply can’t wait to see who’s coming next-?
IMG_9396 copyIMG_9384 copy 2

Does Your Dog Hoover?

IMG_8406Pascal, my previous bedlington terrier did this, but it wasn’t until I saw Pippin do it that the nickname “Hoover”popped into my head- and stuck on Pippin! Seriously; he does this every time we go on a walk,  which is to say, daily. Usually he’s on a lawn when he decides to “hoover”. His head goes down and he starts sniffing the grass.
In a split second he’s off!  His legs follow his nose in a line, his head bob-bobbing mechanically up and down like a child’s pull toy.

Watching Pippin and laughing this morning as he did this, for a split second in my mind, his body transformed into a vacuum cleaner. That’s it! I thought watching him, his nose lured along an invisible line; the intrigue of a new scent.  Obviously on a mission, with his nose sniff-sniffing and his head down; he was not to be side-tracked by anything.

He looks like a little vacuum cleaner! He’s my little Hoover! Thus the nickname Hoover- and a new word, “hoovering;” defined as,  The action of putting one’s nose to the ground and running it in a straight line while sniffing methodically,  head bobbing enthusiastically with each sniff. Usually attributed to the action of a dog~
So I’m wondering, does your dog “hoover?”IMG_9331 copy

Pippin, New Beginnings Part #2

 

IMG_8359 copy

(Cont. from previous post)

After what seemed more like forever than the 30 minutes it actually was, we arrived at the warehouse-like cargo site of Delta airlines. It appeared deserted. There was one man standing out in front looking for us. It seems we were given the wrong arrival time and poor Pippin had been waiting in his little crate for a half hour already. He was the last of the cargo to be picked up. I ran over to the crate that held him to look inside~ My heart absolutely melted seeing  him sitting there, calmly looking back at me, probably thinking, Who is she, and where am I, I want to go home! I wanted so much to hold him and hug him tight and tell him he was going to be fine.

I loaded Pippin in his crate into the back seat of the car then climbed in next to him and opened the door to his crate so he could come out. Curious, he’d take a few steps towards the front of the crate, but then quickly retreat. I put a little of his kibble in my hand and offered it to him. That got him to come forward again but only for a few secs and then he backed up. It took a little while before I was able to coax him out of his crate, but finally he came out.

In an instant I had the softest, sweetest,  little furball in my lap! I held him tight in a hug, he wrapped his front legs around my neck and we rode that way all the way home. The rest of the trip home is a blur.  I was aware only of the softness of his thick coat, the warmth of his hug, and the beat of his heart against my chest; soothing the dark emptiness left by the loss of Pascal-  Pippin too, had losses-

Feeling his little arms wrapped around my neck I knew everything was going to be  fine-  We’d found each other~

IMG_8480 copy 2

2014~ A New Year~ New beginnings….!

And here comes Lamb Dog #2!IMG_8356 copy

(This is an introduction to an ongoing series of posts about adventures with my new puppy, Pippin, that I plan to include in my blog whenever possible.)

If you’ve read my blog before you may remember that I often wrote about the antics and quirks of my funny beloved best companion; my Bedlington terrier, Pascal. Pascal came to me when he was 4 1/2 months old and I was fortunate to have him with me for fourteen and a half years! Though that’s considered a nice long life for a dog, compared to a human life it’s way too short! Pascal died on November 7,2013. On November 13, after spending a very sad week desperately searching for a Bedlington pup, I was at the cargo drop-off station of the Oakland airport to pick-up my new puppy! I was so excited anticipating seeing him for the first time that I felt like I was about to burst with impatience. Fortunately, my parents offered to drive me there. The way I was feeling I think had I been driving I never would have made it~  or if I did, it would be with a streamer of traffic violations  waving like a flag from the antennae of my car.  (to be cont.)

IMG_9184 copy IMG_9169 copy

IMG_7990 copy

It’s been awhile since my last post, but in my last post I wrote about the goings on in my Bunny Garden. I have continued making bunnies for the garden and over the past several months, little lambs have come to join them. The little guy pictured here is Wooliam. He is the result of my own design and experimentation with combining knitting and embroidery. Wooliam’s head consists of two days of embroidering individual layers of French knots over his knit head- a painstaking job, but one with very pleasing  results. I wanted to make a knit lamb that had the gentle warmth and loveable quality that’s commonly associated with lambs.~   More on the happenings in the bunny garden in my next post!

Springtime In the Bunny Garden

Enjoying the sun

Enjoying the sun

Aha!  I managed to convince a few of the bunnies to hold still long enough for me to snap their picture!  It’s been so long since I’ve written that I thought today I would try to update my blog. I was surprised to find that even though it’s been so long since I’ve last posted, I’m still working on the same thing; knitting bunnies!

When I last wrote, I had just finished knitting the first few that I’d ever knit. To date, I’ve knit 16 ~ and just started on my 17th bunny! They are all one-of-a-kind and as you may be able to tell from the photos I’ll post; each has his/her own very distinct personality. I love knitting them and get so excited as I get close to completing one, because even I don’t know who they are or what personalities they have, until they’re totally finished. More than once,  I’ve stayed up all night working  because I was close to completion and couldn’t wait until morning to  find out who it was.IMG_6594 copy

The bunnies, as I’m sure you’ll notice if you look at pictures of the first ones  I made, (see previous post,)  have been gradually evolving. In creating them, my desire is to capture what I find most dear about rabbits and try to convey that essence in the bunny that I’m making. It’s definitely a challenge! The one thing that seems to really define the bunny, and make one bunny different from another, is it’s head shape and the size and shape of it’s facial features. When I say that they have evolved from the first few that I made, I’m referring to things about their heads and faces.IMG_6664 copy With each bunny that I make now, I’m sculpting their heads to make them closer to the shape of a real bunny. I have no pattern telling me how to do this it’s done purely by how I perceive it to be. The same is true with  stitching the facial features: it’s a process  mostly of trial and error, based purely on my perception at the moment~ about as far from an exact science as it could be and that’s what makes it so difficult to do.

As I’m creating a bunny, I can feel it’s story starting to develop in the back of my mind. At that point, I just “feel” it. I don’t really “know” it yet. It usually waits until I begin writing a listing for it to be revealed. I have enjoyed so much writing the beginnings of each of their stories in listings, that I have a new idea in mind that will involve each bunny being accompanied by a little book that will have an expanded version of that particular bunny’s story in it, illustrated by photos similar to the ones I’ve posted in their listings. The small book and the bunnyIMG_6702 copy IMG_6709 copy will be sold together as a set and will, of course, be one of a kind. This is still in the idea stage, but I’m very excited about it and hope to be able to begin the project within the next few months! Below are a few photos of my most recent bunny, finished 3/30/13, and just listed. I am going to include the beginning of her story as I have it listed and that will give you an idea of the kind of thing I have in mind to do. If my idea were now in the finished stage, what you would see in my shops is the bunny and an accompanying little book with an expanded version of her story, illustrated with photos of her~IMG_6960 copy something similar to this abbreviated version about Peony~
Everywhere I look I see Spring! If Spring were a flavor,  it would most definitely be sweet. Think about it.  ~  The spring trees are abloom in cotton candy shades of pink and white that hug their branches like puffs of spun sugar. The spring sky is unpredictable; one minute sun, the next- showers. The clouds pulling sun minutes into  shower minutes are the puffy billowy kind; marshmallow clouds. Sweet again! Spring is also about babies~ and all babies are sweet. Spring simply is~  Sweet!
IMG_6986 copy
Spring has definitely come to the bunny garden! Aahh~ take a deep breath. What do you get? Sweet! The air is intoxicatingly sweet with the scent of Freesia. Looking out over the garden I see bunnies hopping every which way, heels so high in the air it seems they’d pull a bunny right over in a back flip! Like Spring, bunnies are sweet and Spring is bringing new bunnies to the garden.Looking out over the garden I can tell the bunnies are extra excited. They’ve discovered the crop of new spring greens, always the sweetest of the year. A pretty, large, pink flower suddenly hopped into the air with the bunnies. Wait! A hopping flower?? I looked closely before realizing that what I’d been staring at and thinking was a newly opened flower, wasn’t a flower at all, it was a new bunny!!! This little one kicked her heels higher into the air than the other bunnies & because she happened to be in front of a tree, she looked just like one of the tree’s pink blossoms. No question about her name. This was Peony, the sweetest little flower bunny; Sweet as Spring, Sweet as a marshmallow cloud, Sweet as the flower-scented air-  Sweet—– as a bunny! Peony is the newest bunny in the garden, and Peony is a genuine baby bunny, Springtime Sweet as Sweet can be!!

IMG_6969 copy IMG_6965 copy IMG_6957 copy

 

June, 2012

It’s hard to believe it’s summer already. I feel as if I’ve just taken a giant leap into June from January, 2012. The past several months have been very busy, presenting surprises,  not all of them welcome-  but also, lots of exciting and challenging projects for me to try. You may have noticed my website was down for a while~ that’s because it got hacked. A lot of work on my son’s part, set me up with a new website.  Unfortunately, I’m having problems uploading my photos onto the site. A listing with no photos,  doesn’t work-   but my items, (currently 96 products,) can always be found here, at my Etsy shop. Please come and take a look and as soon as I’m able to get my website working smoothly, I’ll let you know with a new blog post. I’m hopeful it will be soon!

I’m very excited about the recent completion of one of my newest projects,  a hand smocked, hand embroidered decorative throw pillow. This is something I’ve wanted to try making for a few years now- you may even remember me mentioning it, many, many blogs ago. It took a long time to summon the courage to give it a try, but I finally decided to jump-in and tackle it. I found it extremely challenging, taking weeks to make since it’s almost entirely done by hand. It’s one-of-a-kind, and I think you’ll agree, definitely unique.  I’m very pleased with the results. Here is a picture,  and other views can be found in my Etsy shop~

Most recently, I’ve been spending all of my time knitting. I just finished knitting a baby blanket for my nephew’s soon-expected, baby boy. I created this blanket  without a pattern, designing it as I knit. It was a lot of fun to make! Here are a few pictures of the finished blanket- 

  I learned to knit when I was 12 from a good friend whom,  it seemed, could do everything. She was 13!  Little did I realize then, how invaluable her teachings would become. I have now been knitting for most of my life and it’s absolutely at the top of my list of favorite things to do.

I’m excited to try some new patterns that I got for some knit animals that will join the lambs and bunnies, of which I now have several,  in my shop. Currently I’m in the process of completing a little knit outfit, size 12mos., consisting of hand knit long pants & a little hand knit poncho, so that will be the next new item you’ll see in my shop~ as well as in my blog.

The past year’s been kind of a tough one for Pascal, who turns 13 July 4th. Though he no longer hears or sees well, we try to continue our walks as much as possible- weather permitting. Although yesterday’s 102` heat didn’t motivate either of us to even walk out the front door! I try to bring my camera on most of our walks, constantly looking for new pictures for the note cards that I love making. Within the past few months I’ve listed several new sets of cards with lots of fun and beautiful images to see, so if you have a minute, and enjoy looking at pictures, please feel welcome to stop by my etsy shop and have a look~

I hope you are enjoying summer, with it’s beautiful flowers and long, carefree days. I hope to be back soon with news that my website is fully working-  and with lots of new listings for you to see~  Until then, Enjoy!

    

A New Year~ A New Pascal Story~ Nice Job, Pascal!

~*~ For some reason, the large photos at the beginning of my posts are getting distorted. Until I can resolve the problem, if you click on the photo, you will see it the way it is supposed to be. ~*~

To really get 2011 off to a good start, I think a new Pascal story is in order~  Though he turned eleven in July, (4th,)  Pascal hasn’t lost any of his funny quirks; if anything, he’s been busy adding new ones & refining the old ones.  Last night was a perfect example of a classic “Pascal” maneuver~

Every night, I prepare his dinner when I prepare mine, so we both eat dinner at the same time. He eats very slowly for a dog, but being a slow-eater myself, he always finishes eating before I do. Every night as soon as he’s finished his dinner, he comes over to where I’m sitting at the table to let me know he’s finished so I can wipe his face- ( I discovered early-on  that he really likes to be clean, so if I don’t wipe his face when he’s finished eating, he’ll wipe it himself- by running his chin along the cushion of the couch!)  Once I’ve cleaned his face I finish my dinner while he sits on the floor at my feet,  patiently waiting for me to finish eating.

Because he’s always been such a “picky” eater I have to have something I can use as a bribe to make sure he eats his dinner,   as  his medicine is mixed into his food. Once I’ve finished eating, I take both of our plates into the kitchen & if he’s eaten, give him a treat to eat in the other room while I wash dishes. Normally his treat is potato, but occasionally I’ll give him a small dish of sherbet,  which is what I usually eat while I do dishes, however he doesn’t usually see me, because he’s in the other room eating his potato.                                          

Last night I brought him his potato & went back to the kitchen to wash dishes. I had taken sherbet out of the freezer but hadn’t put it into a dish yet. Standing at the sink while it filled with water, I had the feeling that I wasn’t alone.  I turned around, and guess who was standing there staring at me?  “What are you doing?” I asked. I had just given him his potato, he couldn’t possibly have finished it! He continued to stare at me. I thought maybe he needed to go out,  so I asked~  No- that wasn’t it. He wouldn’t follow me to the door. He just stood where he was, not moving . I walked into the dining room where I had given him his potato.

At first I didn’t  see his dish where I had left it. I walked closer to take a better look. Nope! No dish. No potato! BUT I saw the plastic bag that I lay under his cloth placemat,  & his placemat-  both were pushed way back under the wooden stand that holds his water dish, carefully arranged in a lump-  over the dish with his potato in it! He had done a great job! He hadn’t left one bit of dish sticking out from underneath the placemat & plastic bag!  I lifted the placemat. There was the dish with his potato-  completely untouched!

While I was in the dining room looking for his dish,  Pascal sat totally still in the kitchen. He hadn’t budged-  I knew what this trick was about, he’d done it before,  but I pretended that I didn’t. With his dish in my hands,  I walked up to him & said,  ” No potato tonight, huh? What do you want?”  He stared at me~ “What, Pascal?  Show me what you want! Do you want ice cream?”  Suddenly the statue broke it’s silent stance! He  stood up,  tail wagging in circles excitedly-  I showed the carton of ice cream  to him and asked,  “This? Is this what you want?” I got a chorus of barks & a fanfare of tail wags. Clearly, I was on to something-  something good!

Pascal got a small dish of ice cream~  and oh! Life was good!

Nice job, Pascal!

Pascal And His New Sweater

09 copy

Sew? I haven’t. I’ve been knitting Pascal a sweater-  For the past ten years I’ve been knitting Pascal a sweater! So you can imagine how thrilled I was when I finally finished it last week. Ten years to knit one little dog sweater is, well, at the least, a long time—–  but it’s not quite as bad as it sounds. It’s not like I’ve been working on it non-stop for ten years & just finished. This is what happened.

I actually started the sweater eleven years ago, and it wasn’t for Pascal. It was to be for the dog I had before Pascal, a schnoodle named Shadow. Shadow lived to be 18; a long life for a dog, but not long enough for his sweater to be a reality.

The first winter that I had Pascal I thought,  it’s cold and we have a long winter ahead. I should finish the sweater I started for Shadow, for Pascal! I pulled the bag with the beginnings of Shadow’s sweater in it, out of the closet. It was indeed a beginning. I’d knit only about 4 inches of the back- and that was it!  I had started the sweater on a whim, thinking it would be a good way to use up left-over yarn as well as help Shadow stay warm during the cold months. I had never knit a dog sweater before, but I decided that I didn’t need a pattern to make one- it couldn’t be very difficult-  I measured Shadow’s back and started knitting.

When I picked-up the beginnings of Shadow’s sweater a year later to finish it for Pascal, I had nothing written down to follow- I hadn’t even left myself notes.  I hadn’t gotten very far on it for Shadow, so I measured Pascal, and continued knitting-  for a few days. I had planned to knit the sweater in my time off from  hand-smocking & embroidering the girl’s dresses I sell. As the days passed I got busier & busier with my dress-making and never seemed to find “time-off” for working on the sweater. After weeks of dusting around it, I finally put it back in the closet to wait for “time off”. Each succeeding year I’d pull the sweater enthusiastically from the closet telling myself- and Pascal-  “O.k.! this year- soon- I’m going to finish your sweater!

But every year the same thing happened-  although each year a little bit got added to it. This year when I pulled it from the closet I realized that all I had left to knit was a small portion of the underside and the two sleeves. THIS was going to be the year!~! Pascal was going to find himself toasty-warm in the middle of a new sweater!! This time I put my sewing aside to finish my knitting. And finish, I did! Twice, actually!

Here is a photo of my first finish~ (Notice, he’s smiling~)

IMG_1407 I couldn’t wait to put it on him once I got the pieces sewn together. Interestingly, he seemed to be as excited to try it on as I was. As I slipped it over his neck I saw right away that the neck was too wide. Four inches too wide! Hmmm…….

I made a tuck on each side with my hands to see how that would work. Perfect! I slipped it back off his head so that I could figure out how to make a permanent tuck on each side & still be able to easily stick his legs through the sleeves. I needed something that I could open & close~ like a tie-  Aha! I’d crochet a tie, make a tuck again at each shoulder & tie it shut! That worked perfectly. If Pascal were a bit concerned about having a bow on each shoulder, he didn’t show it. He actually seemed very pleased with it. In fact,he did something he never does; he sat there willingly and posed while I took pictures.

The more I looked at him the more I was aware that something just wasn’t quite right. Pascal’s sweater from the front, looked more like he was wearing a pair of pants. It wasn’t yet quite a sweater, it was a “pantser”. The neck of the sweater looked more like the waist of a pair of pants. His sweater needed a turtle neck!  I took his sweater back off, picked up my knitting needles and started knitting again~ Two days later Pascal had a full-fledged, turtle-neck, soft warm sweater~  It was everything we both had hoped it would be! I pulled out my camera and once again, Pascal did what he never does; he sat still and posed, looking very proud~  the perfect model!

Pascal in car going to park in new sweater!

IMG_1457 Pascal at the park in new sweater

Leading the Life of Pascal

9/19/09 Recouperating

It’s been awhile since I’ve written.  Pascal and I had a little ordeal to get through,  but we made it and I’m happy to say, everything turned out well!  Pascal managed to avoid two weeks worth of walks, as well as a trip to the groomers,  so, with the extra attention and as much sympathy from me as he could get, I think he didn’t consider it a totally bad trade-

One evening I noticed that the upper corner of hisl eft eyelid looked red. My first thought was that it must be an eye infection.  I hoped that I could put hot compresses on it and it would go away. After applying hot compresses several times a day for five days I saw no improvement at all. I started to think that maybe it was something else;  a spider bite, perhaps, or-?  I was stumped~!  When my daughter saw it she said that one of her dogs had something that looked like that & it turned out to be a tick- Tick? I hadn’t thought of that-  Uh-oh—— I don’t deal with ticks! I decided that I’d better make an appointment with the vet.

I brought him in the following day and was shocked to hear that this little red bump was a tumor. I was told they are usually benign and it could possibly remain there as long as it wasn’t touching the cornea~ and his wasn’t. We decided to try antibiotic drops in his eye for a week and see if maybe they would shrink it a bit. I was supposed to call back the following week & report on how the eye was doing. The day that I brought him in, (the picture on the right,) it really didn’t look very big to me-For blog But six days later, after using the drops to shrink it all week, this is what it looked like~(the photo on the left.) Not a pretty sight!

Eye after 6 days When I reported this to the vet he said to bring him in & he’d remove it. So~ I spent 2/3 of the next day in the waiting room at the vets while Pascal was in surgery. Finally, after what seemed like forever, they brought Pascal out to me, groggy & miserable,  with stitches in his eyelid and a “cone” around his head. I carried him carefully to the car and strapped him into his seatbelt, where he lay down, moaning & breathing funny; making the entire 10-minute ride home feel more like 30 minutes.  It was awful to see him like that. The first two days were rough, but I could see improvement each day and by the third day he was  himself again, running to the window to bark at squirrels, and picking through his dinner, Pascal-style, scattering it around the dish so that it would look like he’d eaten more than he actually had- and thus garner his favorite treat, some baked potato.

**Pascal 9/26/09

I took this picture two days ago and you can see, other than the skin being a bit pink,-  and that’s probably because all of his fur hasn’t grown back yet from where it was shaved, his eye looks “like new!”

The weather has finally cooled off, so I’m hoping  he’ll be ready to  go for walks again~  as long as it’s not too hot or too cold, or raining, or windy, or muddy- or too many prickly stickers, or~~~~~never mind! Feeling good!! C’mon Pascal,  let’s go!