Friday, January 31, 2014

Dogs Are More Than Pets - Part 2: Rooney

Rooney: (noun) - puppy known to cause more than her fair share of trouble despite having a face you cannot refuse.

I mean, seriously, look at that little face.  How could anyone refuse such a cutie?

She does not even look like a real puppy here, does she?  Right?


First, some backstory.  We lost our beloved and lovely Molly in February, 2013.  Suddenly.  Terrifyingly. Sadly.  And I missed her even though I never thought of myself as a dog person.  The search for a new Golden began, but we had a difficult time finding dark red puppies.  We were used to dark Goldens.  We thought they were smarter than the average Golden.  (We were right - see below).  We could not find any that would be available any time soon.  So, we went looking for regular yellow Goldens.  I was dubious (for good reason - see below), but went along with the plan to get a pup from a couple of vets in Delaware near where my son goes to college.  I mean, what could be better than two vets breeding Goldens?  (Plenty - see below).

Come early July, we drove to Delaware and brought home Rooney, named for Wayne Rooney who plays soccer for the Manchester United Football team in Manchester, England.  She was not named for Andy Rooney or Rooney Mara or any Rooney other than Wayne. It beat out Maisie when push came to shove (and I lost).  I should have known trouble was brewing with a name like Rooney.

Yes, for you see, Rooney, a.k.a., Roo, RooRoo, Roonster, and the Rooster, is also known far and wide and on Facebook as THE EVIL ONE.

Yes, I said it.  Evil.  Pure, unadulterated puppy evil.

Why, you ask?? How could that be??  After all, she is so cute and looks so sweet and innocent?

She cuddles with stuffed animals on the sofa (which is a forbidden place, but, geez, look how cute!).

She plays adorably in the snow using her nose as a plow like a cow-catcher on a steam engine.

She could catch anything thrown her way from a young age including this pint-sized Frisbee.

Good looks and talent.  But do not let this adorable face fool you. Behind that sweet little nose and those cute little eyes, lives a heart of puppy evil. . . .

That's right.  Rooney is a toilet-paper-eating, shoe-stealing, receipt-devouring, bedspread-defiling, teenage-boy-jumping menace to humanity.  There is nothing on the floor that she has not nibbled.  No finger goes unbitten. No baseboard or kitchen cabinet remains unchewed.  No shoe (on foot or off) is safe from the ravages of her teeth.  We have spent more money on toilet paper since she came into our lives that we did in all the years before put together!  Forget stocking up for the inevitable three-inch snowstorm.  Snow has nothing on this beast when it comes to our need for hoarding toilet paper.

We consulted friends.  We engaged the skills of a trainer.  We bought every treat known to dog-kind.  We got nowhere.

So, in desperation, we sent the evil one (who was also labelled Gooney by a Facebook friend) out for training.  Oh, sure, they called it a puppy training camp, but we knew the truth.  Boot camp! Military school! Juvenile detention!  All I knew is that for two weeks we could leave shoes on the floor.  We could put toilet paper in the toilet paper holder!  We could leave paper and magazines on the sofa for reading later on. Food on the side table?  No problem!  A real bedspread on the bed?  No worries!!!


Those two weeks flew by in a blur of items left where they did not belong, but neither were they chewed, nibbled, or destroyed!

And then she was to return.  We waited with baited breath, wondering if she would be the same evil dog we knew (and, yes, loved).  We hoped.  We prayed.  And back she came. . . .

It has been just over a week.  In that time, she has eaten no toilet paper.  She does not pull when we walk down the street.  She has not gone in the house.  We wondered who this dog was and what she did with our Rooney.  Friends suggested this thing was a robot who had been substituted for our pup.  We were cautiously optimistic.

And then she ate a shoe (one for the trash, but, still, it was a shoe).  And a receipt.  And posters that had been a gift to my husband for Christmas.

And we knew.  The real Rooney was still under there - somewhere, just waiting for the opportunity to show herself.

Thank goodness.  For what would I post on Facebook without the EVIL ONE for ammunition and inspiration?

After all, how can anyone refuse THAT FACE????????

And, I am sure, there will be more tales of the Rooney in the months and years to come . . . . Stayed tuned.

Layout Notes:

That Face - Supplies: cardstock - unknown; ink - Ranger Distress Ink; metal letters - Making Memories; chipboard letters - Pressed Petals; tag/card - 7 Gypsies; hinge - unknown; diecut strip - unknown; ribbon - unknown; metal charm - Tim Holtz; marker (on journaling under card/tag) - Micron.

Go Ahead and Jump - Supplies: patterned paper - Basic Grey; cardstock - Bazzill, stamps - Evalicious; findings - unknown; chipboard - Tim Holtz Grungeboard; paint - Ranger Adirondack, Ranger Distress Paint, Viva Paint;embossing powder - PSX (silver), unknown (clear); embossing folder - Sizzix; metal tape - unknown;marker - Y and C Gel Extreme; ribbon - 7 Gypsies.

Busted/Guilty - Supplies: cardstock - Fancy Pants; patterned paper - BoBunny;chipboard - Blue Fern, Tim Holtz, Bazzill; charms - unknown; buttons - unknown; acrylic - Clear Scraps; paint - Ranger Distress Pait, Fold Art; wordband - Tim Holtz; sticker letters - Making Memories, Thickers.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Dogs Are More Than Just Pets - Part 1

Andrew,  Lucy and Peter
Tarzan. Elke. Lucy. Molly. Rooney.

Five names for five dogs over the course of a lifetime. All very different and, yet, also the same. They are different by breed, by personality, by size, by where they live, but the same in that there is nothing like the love of a good dog.

I used to be embarrassed to admit that my first dog was a very black miniature poodle. And, yes, my grandfather named him Tarzan. No one could ever figure out where he got that name or why it applied to a dog under one foot in height. He came to me for my first communion when I was but seven years old.  My mother was not amused. He was a lovely little thing, but eventually decided he was a cat since he shared space with the kitten my brother received for his first communion a couple of years later.  Dandelion (another name courtesy of my grandfather) was the alpha dog in that pair. Tarzan lived until long after I left home for college.  He was a feisty little thing who drove my mother nuts.

Although my mom was no fan of canine or felines, they soon got a Norwegian Elkhound for my much younger brother as a companion when my middle sibling went off to college.  They gave her the creative name of Elke. She was an outdoor dog, preferring the sunshine to the house no matter the temperature. She may have been my brother's dog, but she really belonged to my dad.  He would let her roam the neighborhood after dark.  She always returned in thirty minutes or so for her daily dose of peanut butter.  I do not quite remember when Elke left us, but my younger brother was off in law school by then.

Like my mother, I was not a dog person.  No way. No how. Tarzan was fine, but my married self did not want to be responsible for a dog. My husband felt differently and friends of ours knew it. So, after my husband did some work for them, they left their dog in a box in our kitchen as a way of telling us they wanted to get us a dog in payment. Great. I resisted, but eventually gave up the battle. And that is how Lucy came ended up as our first baby
We named her Lucy because those friends who lived next door moved away soon after and we felt as the Mertz's did when the Ricardo's moved to Connecticut.  Besides, Lucy was a dark red Golden Retriever. She was also quite possibly the smartest dog I had ever known. She knew the boundaries of our property without a fence. She seemed to be able to tell time. She guarded our youngest in his cradle against my trespassing mother soon after his birth and never took to the uncle who came waltzing into my parents' house without ringing the doorbell. If we let her out to do her thing and forgot her, she sat by the door until we let her in. She never roamed. She never took off. She never whined. Smart girl, that lovely dog was.

Lucy lived with us for 16 years.  By then, my boys were in elementary school.  It was a hard goodbye.  So, I wanted one dog-free year.  A year to travel without a dog sitter.  I got four months.

And so, Molly, another red Golden, came into our lives. Although I thought Lucy was a smart dog, she had nothing on Molly. Molly understood English. I could tell her to go upstairs and she would go. I told her to go to the basement and she went. We could leave the front door open and she would just sit there, watching and waiting, but not leaving. If she wanted to come up on the bed when we were in the room, she would lay her face on top and wait for permission. She knew the rest of the furniture was forbidden. She never jumped on people. She played well with others. She sang Happy Birthday and We Wish You a Merry Christmas to family members with us over the phone in her own unique way.  She was simply the most intelligent and most lovable dog one could ever hope to know.

She was also nothing if not crazy.  She had a talent for catching her treats, but none whatsoever for catching balls or Frisbees.

Molly liked to sit by the front door, just watching the world go by.  I had read that you should not leave a door open as it frustrates a dog, but no one told that to Molly. 

Sadly, Molly left us unexpectedly after just seven years.  It was a horrible day.  This is the last photo I ever took of her.  Little did I know she would be gone just two weeks later.

I was the one, this time, who could not wait to bring another dog home. But that is a story that will have to wait. The next dog, Rooney, deserves a posting all her own.

I have no pictures of Tarzan although I know one exists somewhere.  I was gone from the house before Elke came along.  I have many pictures of Lucy, dozens of Molly and probably already a good hundred of Rooney.  Now that my kids are gone, she has become my new baby.

For dogs, like children, worm their way into your hearts.  They are more than pets.  They are family.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Opening a Window

Earlier today, I ran into someone I had not seen for almost thirteen years.  We were in our local bank, an old fashioned Savings and Loan not much different from the Bailey Building and Loan in "It's A Wonderful Life." The teller said her name and I turned around to see my sons' pre-kindergarten teacher. As I said, it had been thirteen years and she had not changed one bit in all that time. For her, it seems as if time has stood still, more or less, since she looks the same and still teaches little tinies who are all of four and five years old.

Yet my little tinies are now 17 and 20 and are hardly tiny anymore.

Oddly enough, I just finished putting together the layout for our last first day of school for my 17-year-old is a high school senior with just five months between now and the final last day of school, a day I am looking forward to with both glee and dread. He and his classmates are impatiently waiting for the letters from college and universities which they think will determine their fates while we, their parents, know they will end up wherever it is they are destined to be.

I distinctly remember the four years I spent driving my children to and from their pre-K classes at our local Catholic school where the woman I saw today still teaches.  I remember the Fischer Price Little People toys and Weebles strewn around the room.  I remember the plastic slide and tiny desks over in the corner.  I remember the little girl who followed my son around the classroom. I remember the pageants at Christmas and the end of the year. I remember the last time I saw their teacher, someone I missed terribly because of her endless kindness, patience and wisdom.

I miss it all - every last drive and every last minute of those early, simpler years when everything was a first.

Now we are in the midst of so many lasts - the last soccer game, the last bowling tournament, the last college letter, the last homecoming game, the last prom, the last day of school. 

But we are not quite there - yet.  So, instead of waiting for the end, I will share with you the beginning.

My son refused to let me take his photo before he left on the first morning.  So, I snapped these photos as he drove away.
These photos are for the yearbook.  He did not enjoy having them taken.  (Photos by Prestige Portraits).
While it is hard to believe we are in the home stretch, I am reminded of a piece of dialogue from my favorite movie: "When God closes a door, somewhere He opens a window."  So, now we wait to see where that window opens up.

Layout Notes

The (Last) First Day

Using a tag as a template, I cut the tag out from Tim Holtz paper, stamped the phrase on a Tim Holtz ticket, and punched the edge of beige cardstock.  The title was cut with a Cricut machine, but instead of using the letters, I used the negative, inking the edges with a blending tool. Ink was also used on the red test paper to tone it down a bit.

Supplies: cardstock - unknown; patterned paper - Cosmo Cricket, Bo Bunny, Tim Holtz, K andCompany; tickets - Tim Holtz; ink - Ranger Adirondack, Ranger Distress; stamps - Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous); steering wheel - 7 Gypsies; key unknown; fortune - Anima Designs; markers - Yand C Gel Extreme, Micron; punch - EK Success; ribbon - unknown; eyelets - unknown;title - cut with Cricut Mini using a variety of fonts.


For this layout, I manage to pretty much use up what little school paper I had left.  The small blue tags were made by running blue metal tags through a diecut machine in an embossing folder.  I then sanded the high points to reveal the gold- tone underneath and then coated them with Glossy Accents.  They are adhered with Glossy Accents as well.  The red letters (G and R for our hometown) match the varsity letters each varsity player receives down to the color.  I took a C and a R from a set of Thickers, trimmed the C and then put them together. The chipboard letters were painted and then edged with a gold pen.  I glued a sliver of the book paper on the letter I.  The 14 was punched from some Tim Holtz paper and edged with the same gold pen.

Supplies: cardstock - unknown; patterned paper - Basic Grey, Teresa Collins (Moments), Tim Holz (school book, number 14); chipboard letters - Creek Bank Creations; paint - Folk Art; marker - Y and C Gel Extreme; metal tags - Fire Mountain Bead and Gem; embossing folder - unknown; Ranger Inkssentials Glossy Accents; sticker letters - Thickers by America Crafts; brads - Tim Holtz Mini Brads. Photos by Prestige Portraits.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In the Depths of Winter

In the midst of this strange and frigid winter, I have been scrapbooking summer photographs. Not surprisingly, it does not make me any warmer, but it has sent me looking for my favorite winter photographs and layouts.

Most of my summer photos are from my beloved Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire.  We are there every summer, but we have been there only once during the winter.  It is an other-worldly place under the snow.  You can hear the frozen lake shifting and cracking all day and all night.  The snow is measured not in inches, but in feet. There have been winters there that exceed even their expectations with dire consequences. As a result, year round residents have taken to shovelling their roofs.

I took the photo above during that one winter trip.  It was back when my boys still wore snowsuits and boots when the flakes began to fly, back when a trip to New Hampshire in the winter would be considered an adventure rather than something to be endured, back when sliding down the plowed mountain of snow at the top of the driveway was still considered awesome.  

Unfortunately, the layouts from those days are in old Creative Memories albums that measure 12x15, before I had a scanner.  Going back to scan them now is a place I do not want to go.

So, instead, on this cold winter's day, I thought I would share some of my favorite winter layouts from the last few years.

My husband took these fabulous photos of our boys and our beloved dog, Molly.  The new pup loves snow, too, but not quite this much.

That is a diecut snowman coated with beeswax that was melted in a Melting Pot. The letters were coated with the wax as well. It was great fun painting on the wax.

This paper was tough to work with as I did not want to cover up the wonderful snow image on the right side.  That is mica for the title.  If I recall correctly, I put stickers on the mica and then added tons of ink, peeled off the stickers, added embossing powder and heated it - from below to prevent the powder from blowing away.

This layout is from last spring.  The snowflakes are wooden ones from the craft store, inked and embossed with various colors of embossing powder.  The "stiches" are fake - I pierced the paper and then used a white marker to simulate stitches.  I have no patience for sewing on a page.

This was another layout from just last year after the big blizzard (Nemo, I believe they called it) in February. The snowflakes are from EK Success (Jolie's). The cardstock was sprayed and dribbled with Glimmer Mist.

This layout is very old (2006) and was published is some magazine or other that no longer exists.  

These photos are from the night before Nemo last February  I cut up the lace paper since I really never know what to do with it and added lots of embossing powder.  I seem to use a lot of embossing powder of winter layouts.

 Despite the snow this winter, I have not taken a lot of snow photographs so I am still hoping (and praying and begging Mother Nature) for more snow.  Those of you who know me know that I am a snow junkie.  It is the kind of weather I love best.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

In The Beginning - Again.

These photos were in a tiny photo book with a plastic binder.  I removed them from the book, but left the border.  I was able to use my mother's handwriting since two photographs were exactly the same.

As I get older, I find myself becoming more and more attached to old photos - of my children (one in college and one about to be), of my brothers, of my parents and, of course, of me.  I tell those jaded children of mine that they, too, will one day be glad I took all those photos of them over the years. I tell them that they will be glad that I had them printed out and that I put them in albums rather than leaving them on tiny camera drives or in random folders on my computer.

My children have outgrown their tolerance for my camera.

And this leaves me in a difficult position since I need to scrapbook.

The solution?  I started scrapbooking myself.

A few years ago, my mother sent me photo boxes filled with photographs - those little 3x3 pictures with white borders.  They were all curled up, spooning the ones before and after them in their yellow envelopes from the developer.  Some were stuck to each other, but I managed to separate them with a little bit of alcohol. Fortunately, that did not harm the pictures themselves. There were multiple prints of some photos. Others had descriptions on the back, written by my mother in marker - black marker.  Miraculously, the writing had not bled through even though some forty years or more had passed.  There were three with the same description on the back - "First day, first grade."  However, I was wearing different dresses in the three photographs and my hair was longer in each.  Clearly, they were not all from the first day of first grade.

I began by sorting the photos as best I could - by year, guessing in many cases as I went along. Using an old album that I had made in high school (the kind with the manila paper and little silver posts), I was able to make fairly educated guesses as to dates.  The places I almost always recognized as being our house, the house where my mom's parents lived and the house where my dad's mom lived.  The rest  - the vast majority, in fact, were taken in New Hampshire on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.  Those were a bit harder to sort by year.

For a few months, I lived with myself - enjoying old cracked photographs of me, my parents and then, after a while, my brothers.  It was great fun getting to buy the baby embellishments that did not exist when my boys were babies.  It was even more fun getting to use pink - paint, paper, glitter, ink.  So much pink!

I have finished my childhood, my toddler years and my teen years of which, sadly, there were few photos. There is virtually nothing from high school - no photos of my school, my friends, my house - nothing.  I have finished my freshman year of college, but it took up only two pages because, again, I took so few photos. Were I attending college now, well, that would be a different story and yet I cannot convince my boys to take more photos of themselves and their friends either.  I think it is a girl thing.

And so, here are the first few photos of my own album.  I wonder, in the years to come, who will look at it?

This is the title page.  I had to scan the photo with my parents as the color had faded to the point where it was almost impossible to see anyone.  Photoshop is an amazing tool.

My mother had a sleepover for my cousins when I was fairly new.  I always liked how this one turned out.

Ah, pink!  The image on the lower left side was stamped on Stampbord - a wonderful substance for stamping.
The source for all the supplies used on these images was lost when Google deleted all the photos.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Trying Again

It has been sometime since all of my photos disappeared from my blog posts.  I had thought - and written - that I would just give up on blogging since I found that singularly annoying and disappointing.  However, instead of jumping ship, I thought I would just start again.

So, in the near future, I will begin again.  However, I am going to change the name of this blog to reflect the new start.  The next post will be from  Since my blog used to be as much about the story and the pictures as the layout and I enjoyed that much more that just posting how I made the layout, I am going to go back to that format.

The title of the blog comes from the song, Bookends, by Simon and Garfunkel:

Time it was, and what a time it was, it was
A time of innocence, a time of confidences
Long ago, it must be, I had a photograph
Preserve your memories, they're all that's left you.

The line might be "I have a photograph," but that blog title is taken.  Close enough.

Thanks . . . see you soon.