Saturday, August 31, 2013

Dino on Saturday

Like only animals and small children are able to do, after a week of near-dead-Dino today marked a sudden turnaround in his condition.
This morning he ate his breakfast, sniffed the other dogs and the shrubs in the garden, then plonked himself down for a snooze in the sun.  This evening when dinner was announced Dino came running.
There is still slight seepage from the snake bite area on Dino's forehead, and we will continue with antibiotics for another week.  Today for the first time, he 'emptied his tank' on a bush in the garden so we know his kidneys survived the ordeal.  Barring any new nasty surprises  I would dare say that we have overcome this challenge.

A heart felt thanks to everyone who have been worrying for Dino with us this last week, and for the get well cards from Johann and Helena, and all the dog treats that Claudia brought.  Dino feels quite spoiled.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Dino's Friday

Well, just when you think the worst is over, the next thing happens.
Today Dino perked up a little bit.  His blood smear does not indicate a full blown attack of biliary and the lung infection is responding to the antibiotics, he is definitely breathing easier.  When I talked to him today there was a gentle twitching of the tail, and early this evening I managed to get him to eat most of his dinner. 
Shortly after dinner the swelling over Dino's right eye, the snake bite site, burst open and erupted in a geyser of blood.  We realized that we could not move him to go to the vet, and Henning rushed off to the vet's practise for emergency supplies while I compressed the area.  I sat for more than an hour soaking towel after towel with blood and puss, with the vet on speakerphone and Henning breaking land speed records over pot holed roads to bring medicines and supplies. 
In case you are wondering, I have no medical training, and as I write this I'm still in shock!
Eventually the bleeding stopped, the wound site is cleaned up, and Dino is neatly collared to make sure that he does not mess up my job well done. 
Poor Dino is out for the count.  I don't feel much better.  Let's hold thumbs for an easy weekend!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Dino on Thursday

Today we saw a very slight improvement in Dino's condition.  He ate a little bit and was awake for short periods.  We are on a regime of oral antibiotics and monitoring his vital statistics. 
The vigil continues, we are not out of the woods.
There is still a lot of swelling over Dino's head and especially around his eyes, but it is looking much better. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dino on Wednesday

Well.  Dino is on a course of antibiotics to clear up his sinus infection, and we are on biliary (tick bite fever) alert.  Living on a farm our dogs are carriers of the parasite, and with his immune system taking such a knock we are probably facing a flare up, which is why Dino won't eat or drink anything today.  The news just doesn't want to get better.  When the vet had a look at Dino this afternoon he concluded that nothing will kill this dog! 
I'm not sure that the owner is up for another round though.  It is not funny when a Great Dane sneezes on you.  After three sleepless nights I am going to chicken out early, have a hot shower and crawl into bed with a book shortly after sunset. 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dino Update

Just a quick Dino update.  He has been home since Sunday evening, and although he has been very apathetic and doesn't have much appetite, we were encouraged to see that the swelling is going down in the snake bite area.  Today Dino started with respiratory complications (lung infection) and we are fearing for his kidney function once again.  At this point there is nothing we can do exept let time do the healing.  The vet means it's a temporary setback, I'm sure he's right. 
In the meantime, I'm getting little sleep, and little work done. 
Hoping that we are going to see a marked improvement soon!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Dino is home!

Dino's condition did not worsen overnight, and this morning his breathing was easier.  During the day he removed his drip twice and the vet recommended that we bring him home to continue recovery.
Over the next days we will be spoiling him with tasty food and lots of drinks to help his kidneys. 
The swelling over his eyes still makes it difficult for him to see, and since we brought him home he has been lying quietly in a corner of my studio.
Other good news is that while I was at the miniatures fair today, Henning spotted the snake in the same place where I saw it on Thursday and was able to kill it before it disappeared again.  Can't tell you what a relief it is to know it's gone.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Dino Update

Dear Friends, thank you for all the messages and well wishes for Dino, I'm sure he feels like a celebrity dog by now.
Unfortunately the news today has not been good.  Dino's face continues to swell and it does not look as though we have reached a turning point.  His eyes have swollen completely shut and there is a danger that he might start having trouble to breathe, in which case a tracheotomy will be necessary.  The vet is monitoring his condition carefully. 
On the positive side, his vital statistics are OK, and his kidneys are holding up.
Here are some ghoulish pictures taken this afternoon:

 This is a healty Dino doing a bit of gardening last December.
 Let's continue holding thumbs that he will be back to his usual self very soon!

On a positive note, things went well at the miniatures fair today, and we are looking forward to more of the same tomorrow.  All a bit overshadowed by worry over the dog, but it was nice to see so many friends.  


Friday, August 23, 2013

Life happens

Yesterday there was a rather large and angry puff adder under the washing line.  I had to bring the dogs to safety before trying to deal with it, and by then of course the snake had disappeared.  Dino must have sniffed it out later, and got a bite on his nose for his troubles.
This morning he is not doing so well.  We rushed him to the vet and got an IV started immediately.  Puff adder venom is a cytotoxin, which means that it attacks tissue.  Apart from severe swelling of his head, there is a danger that Dino's kidneys might fail.  The vet says that Dino's prognosis for recovery is good.  Please hold thumbs for our brave dog.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Miniatures Extravaganza - It's happening this weekend!

Just two sleeps till one of the highlights of the year - Miniatures Extravaganza at Parkhurst Recreation Hall in Jhb. Fascinating small things on display, as well as the opportunity shop for gifts for yourself, or someone who shares your mini mania.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Sad about Ria

Our friend and fellow teddy bear maker, Ria, has left this life.  I am sad.

When Ria started making teddy bears at our studio I got to know her as a widowed mother with a full time job, doing crafts in her spare time. 
Over time she became a friend of the studio and the ladies at the workshops.  She was a positive person, practical and wise.  She shared the events of decades of her life with us.  Her children grew up and studied, made good marriages.  She retired from her job.  She got a grandbaby whom she adored. 

Whenever I saw Ria she was full of news and enthusiasm for her children, her animals, and her home life.  If Ria talked about someone, she would often start her story with “So-and-So, she’s such a good person…” Possibly the worst thing I ever heard her utter was when she called a criminal ‘rubbish’.  Ria’s pragmatism underlined how she drew strength from her faith, and how she trusted the good things to carry her through difficult times .   I can still hear her say “‘Liewe Jesus’ knew what he was doing when he gave me such good children/such a good friend in my sister.”  

We did talk about death, and how it would catch up with all of us one day.  Ria did not fear the end of her life.  She had many hobbies, and was always collecting treasures and taking supplies home to make something some day.  Someone would inevitably ask what will happen to all the teddies she made, and all the fabric she never got to use up.  Her answer was always the same.  “This earthly stuff will give me pleasure until my last day.  When I’m gone it will not matter to me.  I’ve told my children that I will leave them enough bin bags so that they can throw away everything they don’t want.”  This bit of wisdom had us laughing every time and I’m sure her words inspired more than a few people to stop fretting and get on with enjoying their crafts. 

On the last day that Ria attended a class at my studio, we were busy making a teddy bear with needle felt details.  She told me repeatedly how she had been looking forward to the project, what a fantastic teddy bear it was, and how she was enjoying working on the bear.  After the class ended I thought about Ria gratefully.  Her kind words and enthusiasm left me with a warm glow, I was thinking what a good example she is to live by.  It is a privilege to have known her. 

I will cherish memories of Ria.  She will be missed.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Living at the end of the rainbow

Today continued with intermittent showers while I worked on my website, and the dogs all snuggled up on blankets around me.  Late this afternoon the sun came out for a few moments.  Just look at the beautiful rainbow that I captured with my cell phone from the bay window in the studio. 
It lasted long enough that I had time to grab my camera and take more pictures outside.

 And speaking of pictures... 
Today we deleted pictures from a motion activated security camera on the property.  The number of visitors in a twenty four hour period is quite astonishing.
Shortly before sunrise, the neighbour's cat.
Then an early morning mongoose.
As soon as it starts warming up, there's a monkey.  I'm sure this is the one who poops on cars.
And here are his friends.
Late afternoon a family of mouse birds sunning themselves in the dust.
And at midnight comes 'dikkop', a nocturnal bird.

Woman's day

Today is international Woman's Day.  In South Africa it is a public holiday with most businesses closed.  There are cultural events at various venues, and lots of big wigs making speeches...  I hope that you are enjoying the day of freedom from routine, and that you will give a thought to the plight of the many women in the world who are suffering due to the injustices of society.  I believe that one does not need to make a grand contribution, or join a campaign or society to give meaning to this day.  A kind and uplifting gesture to one woman less fortunate is probably all the world needs to start coming right.

This morning I woke to the very first rain of spring, what a lovely gift!  It has put me in a mood to wander through the veld with the dogs, to sniff the air like an animal, and to run twigs through my fingers to see if they are budding yet. 

When I am done with that, I am going to sit myself at the computer, and get a whack of website pages to line up and link up and do what they are supposed to do.  The new website is coming along beautifully, and pages from the old website are starting to disappear as I replace them with the new more streamlined ones.

Wishing you a restful and creative day!

Monday, August 5, 2013

High Speed Car Chase

Made my second ever film today.  Two minutes long and features live actors, no less!

The story of the BBS (Big Black Suitcase)

Good morning, everyone.  I hope you had a relaxed weekend.  Intermittent internet problems prevented me from finishing this blog post on Friday as planned, and aches and pains put me in a ratty mood, so I did the sensible thing and crocheted all weekend and let the world take care of itself.   The crochet blanket that I am working on for three years now is only one square from complete after my marathon crochet effort.  Alas, it is Monday, the toys are packed away and back to work we go!

Nearly a year has passed since I made the BBS, and here I'm finally showing you how I did it.
What is the BBS?  If you have ever been to an exhibition were tiny hand made items were displayed, you would know that the exhibitors go to a lot of effort to get their wares noticed.  It is easy in a crowded hall to just look past some tiny detail.  I made the Big Black Suitcase to display my miniature dolls and bears.  As I'm sure you have gathered, it is BIG, people can't really overlook it.  And the fact that it is lighted inside really catches attention.

First, I have to admit that the idea was not entirely mine.  I saw this briefcase by Russian doll artist ligreego and fell in love.  I had to have one too!
So off I went to the charity shop only to find that they were clean out of briefcases.  They did have this very grotty looking old blue cardboard suitcase for R 20 (about $2).  I circled it suspiciously a few times, sniffed it and jumped back.  Someones cat probably had a pee in it. Then I checked my budget and decided at that price I could pinch my nose and give it a go.
The first thing I did was to rip out the lining and give the suitcase a thorough scrub.  I put it in the sun for a day, and was relieved to find that all traces of eau de cat was gone. 
The outside of the suitcase looked brand new after a coat of black shoe polish.  Starting on the inside, first I cut cardboard liners to make a sturdy backing for attaching shelves.Then I planned the interior layout and cut the shelves from masonite wood.
 Getting everything level, and the corners even was a job, the suitcase does not stand quite level when turned on its side.  Lots of glue and four letter words finally got everything the way I envisioned it.
The sides of the suitcase got new liners, and the shelves were painted white.
This is how I did the lighting.  A string of LED Christmas lights with batteries!  You can see the battery pack hidden in the bottom drawer.  Wherever I wanted light, I poked a hole through the cardboard backing with a screwdriver, and pushed a light through.  The light fittings are a combination of jewellery findings, old perfume bottle caps, and Christmas ornaments.  All from my stash, I felt very virtuous using up so much 'junk'.
To complete the interior, I lined the shelves with tissue paper dress patterns, and cut shapes to glue on the back wall.  Vintage buttons for drawer handles, some old keys, and bits and pieces of mirror, lace and broken bangles make the inside of the BBS look interesting, even when all my little treasures are sold.

So this is where I am today dearies.  One empty BBS, and only three weeks until the annual Parkhurst Miniatures festival.  Time to sit down and start making miniatures!