Monday, December 31, 2012

Coupon Code Revealed (Just in Time for January Bow Wow Blockbuster Sale!)

Hi, everyone!  Here it is...(drum roll)...the coupon code for my January Bow Wow Blockbusters Sale, which starts at the stroke of midnight 2013 with savings of 50% on everything but my cravats and bow ties, and runs through the last day of the month: JANUARY50

I just listed a truly feminine pet bow tie (one for the "gentlemen" is next on my agenda), which is accented with a daisy button in the center and, on each side, a ducky button:

As you can see in the "piece de resistance" pic of Dom modeling the bow tie, her winter coat has grown by leaps and bounds.  Quite a transformation from what would have easily passed for a shorthaired breed during the summer.  Florida summers are that hot and muggy!

Gotta go now.  Have a safe New Year's! Too many drinks and driving don't mix, so by all means find a designated driver or take a cab home if the need arises.  Be back later.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Promise Kept

I'm back, folks, with the recipe I promised earlier, an absolutely yummmmy and, best of all, simple one-pot one for Butternut Squash-Chicken Pan Roast.  Once you've survived the hectic holidays, doesn't the idea of a simple one-pot dinner dish sound like what the doctor ordered, as the expression goes?  Here it is (serves 6):

One 1 1/2-pound butternut squash, cut into 3/4" dice
1 TBSP chopped sage
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste
freshly ground pepper
6 (3 pounds) whole chicken legs
2 TBSP unsalted butter, thinly sliced
3 Fuji apples, peeled and cut into 3/4" dice

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  In a large roasting pan, toss the squash, apples and sage with the olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Season the chicken legs and set them on top.  Dot with the butter and roast for about 1 hour 15 minutes, until the squash and apples are tender and chicken is browned and cooked through.



Correction to Wednesday December 5 Recipe Post (Apple Cranberry Crisp)

Hi, friends!  In an email Victoria (my Liebster Award nominator) sent me yesterday, she asked me what happened to the cranberries in the recipe I'd posted December 5.  I took a peek at the recipe, annnnd...aha, the cranberries were missing from the list of ingredients!  I looked up the recipe, and here they are: 5 cups of fresh cranberries.  Thanks so much, Victoria!

For an Etsy seller, the task of perfecting listing photos is never finished, which means the learning curve is ongoing.  I just reviewed my pics and found eleven that are in need of reshooting.  I've learned from posts on Etsy's main Forums, which are a great learning tool, that the best time to shoot outdoor photos is during the so-called photographer's golden hour - that is, during the last hour before it gets dark, when the sun is going down - so in a little more than an hour I'll be back on the lawn next to my patio with my camera, Dom the Pom, and eleven garments.

What I've found interesting about the photo improvement process is that we sellers can think a pic is fine until the day arrives when...BAM!...we'll look at one and see that there's room for improvement.  But now that I've reached the point of no longer having to reshoot all of them (I have the location and editing techniques down pat), I'm no longer finding reshooting a pain in the neck; it's become fun!

That's all for now.  I know I promised a recipe in this post, but right now I don't have time, so I'll post it later today.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Back Already...Liebster Award

Hi, everyone!  You might remember my closing yesterday's post with, "Be back in a few days."  Well, it's been less than a day and I'm back, now that I have some spare time and can get to work on something I'd put off due to lack of time: working on some requirements associated with my nomination for a Liebster Award.

You're probably thinking, 'Liebster Award...huh???'  I too had never heard of it until a fellow Etsian and friend of mine, a lovely lady named Victoria (who, by the way, has three Pomeranians) emailed the nomination to me along with the requirements, which are time-consuming AND fun.

Liebster Award nominations go to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers (mine are much fewer).  I suppose the purpose is to acquire a lot more - something every new blogger wants, and what a fun way to get them! 

To satisfy the requirements and end up with more followers, each nominee must post eleven things about themselves on their blogs and answer  eleven questions that the nominator has asked.  Second, the nominee must create eleven more questions to ask the eleven special bloggers he or she nominates, each of whom must have fewer than 200 followers.

Eleven things about myself???  Censored!  Hust kidding.  Here they are:

My musical preferences are classical music, New Age and music from the late 50s and early 60s.  I love everything vintage and hate modern art and architecture as well as the profusion of plastic that's manufactured nowadays.  I enjoy being out in nature, which brings me close to God.  As you already know, I'm a dog lover (actually love all animals, which are God's creations, but dogs - especially the little ones - are my fave).  I'm a peace monger and hate any kind of conflict.   When it comes to thinking, when I'm alone my best thoughts are voiced, when means I talk to myself a lot when I'm alone.  Booze and cigarettes are not part of my life, and I can't stand the smell of cigarette smoke (I used  to smoke).  I don't wear makeup unless I dress up, in which case I use blusher and, maybe, lipstick (if I remember to put it on).  I've done professional writing and still enjoy doing anything involving use of the English language, which extends to corrupting English words (for example, saying, "assembubbly" instead of "assembly").  Politics is one of my least favorite subjects.  Besides English and animals, my hobbies include traveling, photography, acrylic painting, design in general (interior, landscape, jewelry, and of course dog apparel), sewing, and making semiprecious gemstone jewelry.

Now for the eleven questions Victoria gave me to answer:

1) Name a historical figure that you admire, and why?  Answer: Christ, because he was truly a humanitarian.

2) Describe your idea of an ideal day.  Answer: having my dog sitting next to me in her white wicker chair (yes - HER chair!) while I'm sewing dog clothes people have ordered from me (and listing more on Etsy).  But for me no day is complete without starting it with some Bible reading and prayer.

3) What are your pet peeves?  Answer: being interrupted; malfunctioning machines - especially computers.

4) If you could change something about yourself, what would it be?  Answer: I'd give anything to stop getting so aggravated when suddenly confronted with a malfunctioning machine.

5) What are the names of some of your favorite books, or stories, from childhood?  Answer: The Poky Little Puppy; Paul Bunyan.

6) Share a favorite Christmas holiday or birthday memory.  Answer: Dom the Pom's first birthday party, which was attended by eight human guests as well as a Chihuahua.  I made a cake for the human guests and one, of a dog treat recipe, for the guest of honor.

7) What's the best compliment you've ever received?  Answer: the buyer of the satin one shoulder gown, a copy of which I'm marketing as the "Penny" gown (named after its canine recipient) waxed ecstatic over it, and so did her sister when she opened it on Christmas Eve.  The buyer emailed me pics of her sister, who grinned from ear to ear as she looked at it and the two tuxedos I'd also made for her dogs to wear.  Each communication made my day!

8) What's your favorite meal?  Answer: baked salmon topped with grated fresh ginger, and steamed artichoke with  a tangy mayonnaide-base dip.

9) What would you do with an extra three hours today if you had it?  Answer: sew more dog clothes to list on Etsy.  What a great site!  It's not only wonerful for marketing handmade and vintage items as well as craft supplies, but it's also a great way to make friends.

10) Name a place you'd like to visit.  Answer:  since I enjoyed my recent trip to the Bahamas so much, I'd like to see more Caribbean islands.

11) Name a goal you'd like to accomplish or a skill you'd like to learn in the next two years.  Answer: do more traveling, which I wasn't able to do from 1989 to the time of my Bahamas cruise.  Seeing how other cultures live as well as their architecture and scenery is awesome!

Must close for now.  Have a wonderful weekend, and give your pets a hug if you have them.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

And More Pet Bow Ties!

Hi, everyone!  I hope everyone is surviving the holidays, which are enjoyable for many but can also be a stressful time of year.

As promised in my last post, I have two masculine bow tie styles to report.  One is of the same cotton fabric as my Navajo print dog coat and is embellished in the center with a turquoise stone and pewter feather, both of which aew securely sewn on.  The other, which I listed today, is of a beachy theme, with a securely fastened (natch!) shark tooth in the center and, on each side, a glass fish bead.  Here are the pics:

Business has picked up lately - something that can partly be attributed to the holidays.  What's so exciting about getting four orders during the past month - one of them for three items - is that some of the buyers have promised more orders in the future, which could well start materializing in January, since...well, I'll start by saying this: if you thought 30% off was a good deal, you haven't seen anything yet; I'll reduce the prices of everything in my Shop but the cravats and bow ties 50% during my month-long Bow Wor Blockbuster January Sale!  For now the coupon code is a secret; more shall be revealed on the 31st.  Who doesn't love a sale?
Florida gets pretty hot and muggy during the summer, which makes the cooler winter days welcome to some Floridians including me (I hate the humidity), and the last few days have been sweater weather, with more cold days on the way.  I find cool weather so invigorating and the summer weather just draining.  This reminds me of a local TV station's commercial aired in the winter, in which  the star was a young boy who was an avid viewer of the station's weather forecast.  He would be so excited whenever the meterologist predicted cold weather, because the boy loved to wear his coat.  I thought the commercial was so cute!

That's all for now, folks.  Be back in a few days with some easy-to-fix recipes and more good stuff.==

Thursday, December 20, 2012

New Bow Tie Line for Small Dogs AND Cats (Definitely Not "Same Ol' Same Ol'), Etc.

Hi, everyone!  I'm so very excited about my new pet bow tie line!  The first one I listed - not counting the Dazzling Gold one, which is in the "party apparel" section of my Etsy Shop, was unadorned, but nonetheless cute, with a colorful print of boots on glittery cloth.  But wait'll you see my two newest creations, both of which I listed today (first time I've ever listed two items in one day, I was THAT excited about both of them!).  Don't worry, I'll post pics.

I have a pretty good idea of what the next bow tie will look like.  The design is a secret, but I'll reveal this much - it'll be of an unmistakably masculine design.

Here are photos of my two newest items, which, as you can tell, will be very becoming on "les girls":

Yesterday I read something really touching about three therapy dogs deployed to Newtown, Connecticut, to provide comfort to those emotionally affected by the school massacre (let's face it - who hasn't been affected by that tragedy?).  The dogs, whose names are Chewie, Ruthie and Luther, arrived in Newtown Saturday evening and were present at the vigil visited by President Obama.  Townfolk can pet the dogs or talk and pray with their handlers.  The president of the organization that sent the dogs to Newtown was quoted as saying, "Dogs are not judgmental, and they are loving.  They are accepting of anyone.  It creates an atmosphere for people to share."  Being the owner of a dog, I couldn't agree more, and it makes me think of the bad rap given to certain breeds such as Pit Bulls and Rottweilers, which I think are made mean only if they're  made that way by their owners.

Time for more recipes.  These are for three simple party canapes.

Tomato-Basil Skewers: Serves 16

16 small fresh Mozzarella balls
16 fresh basil leaves
16 cherry tomatoes
extra-virgin olive oil, to drizzle
coarse salt, to taste
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Thread Mozzarella, basil and tomatoes on small skewers.  Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Date Wraps: Serves 16

16 slices of prosciutto
16 whole pitted dates
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Wrap a slice of prosciutto around each date.  Grind pepper on top.

Roast Beef & Blue Cheese Spears: Serves 16

2 TBSP. reduced fat sour cream
2 TBSP. crushed blue cheese
2 Belgian endive or Treviso spears (separated)
4 oz. thinly sliced roast beef, cut into ribbons

Combine blue cheese and sour cream in a small bowl.  Top endive with roast beef and a dollop of the blue cheese/sour cream mixture.


Enjoy your weekend, and if you're going out of town for the holidays, have a safe and enjoyable trip.  Be back soon!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Etsy, Etc.

Hi, everyone!  Like many other Americans my thoughts  are on an event that has rocked the nation: the horrific Connecticut school massacre.  There have been so many shootings in public places lately, it makes you wonder if it's safe to go anywhere!  My heart goes out to the loved ones of the victims of these heinous crimes.  President Obama and his wife have expressed what parents of school-age children should do: tell them that they love them and hug them a little tighter. Experts say that parents should allow their children to talk about their feelings while protecting them from exposure to media coverage of the event. Let's keep the loved ones of slain children and school staff members in our prayers.

Time for more pleasant information.  Yesterday I listed a dog coat in a Christmas-y color: red.  A reversible garment, it's quilted on one side and of a smooth cotton fabric on the other.  On the smooth side (pictured) is a little red and white checked bow where the belly band is fastened and another at the back of the neck.  The quilted side has a red and green plaid bow at the back of the neck. 

Enjoy your day, and stay safe!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

First Time Using New Sewing Machine...

annnnnd...I LOVE it!!  First I took some time poring over the user's manual, then bit the bullet and sewed an additional piece of Velcro on a dog coat to make sure it would fit the buyer's mother-in-law's Chihuahua, who is a little smaller than Dominique (this coat is a ready to wear item).  The Velcro went on as if I'd effortlessly poured it onto the coat - sewing it was THAT easy, with no sense of resistance whatsoever, unlike what it's immediate predecessor had produced; it always had a borderline sense of hesitancy, like the needle was trying to jam but not succeeding.  Sometimes it did jam right after I'd threaded the machine, necessitating rethreading right then and there.  You can probably imagine the frustration I felt when that happened.  In contrast, this machine purrs like a contented kitten!

The child deep within me surfaced right after I sewed that piece of Velcro on (I was so excited!).  Since the model of the machine is Huskystar, I Googled "Siberian Husky photos", printed one out, cut it around the borders and taped it to the front of the machine.  Siberians are beautiful and so is this sewing machine!

Here's a pic of the dog coat, which I'll mail to the buyer Monday.

Have a wonderful weekend and give your pets, if you have any, a big (((hug))) from Dom the Pom and me.  Be back soon with a recipe and a photo of what will be my next Etsy listing, which I'm looking even more forward to sewing than my previous ones (guess why?)

Friday, December 7, 2012

Freedom, at Last, From Sewing Machine Woes

I think i've shared in a few previous posts about the trials and tribulations I'd experienced with a sewing machine of a brand reputed to be top of the line but to me was the top of the contents of a trash can.  Thread would break and the needle movemnt mechanism would jam while I'd be sewing, and those things came to a head last week during construction of the pair of doggie tuxes and the one shoulder gown.  Mailing was delayed as a result of the problems.  Thankfully the buyer was very understanding (she's a sweetheart!), and in my last post I shared how excited she was when she saw the pics of the gown.

Things came to a head again this morning when I tried sewing a longer piece of Velcro onto a fleece dog coat which was ready to wear aside from the Velcro addition, which I felt would be a good idea in view of the intended wearer being a little smaller than Dominique.  The needle kept hesitating, and when I pulled the coat from the machine I saw to my dismay that there were long loops of thread hanging from the back of where I'd tried attaching the Velcro.  That did it!  I made a beeline for a sewing machine store to buy a reliable (for a change!) machine. 

Did I just take a quick look at the machines and then make a hasty decision as to which one I'd purchase?  Far from it!  I arrived at the store armed with some fair-sized pieces of cotton, fleece and Velcro, and did I put the salesman's recommendation to the test!  I was impressed, and after spending a good amount of time making a serious decision, headed for home with a Huskystar 244, made by Husqvarna.

What a joyful experience sewing is when it's trouble-free and each stitch brings you closer to completion of the project.  I love the hum of a well-made machine such as my brand new one!

That's all for now.  Have a glorious weekend!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Yummmy Dessert Recipe, and...Etsy Gift Cards Simplify XMas Shopping

Hi again, folks!  I tried to post more after uploading the pic of the "Penny" Gown, but this site mysteriously started having a mind of its own (grrrr!), preventing me from scrolling down to add more text, so here goes.  A while ago I came across a mouth-watering recipe from Country Living magazine:

                                                       CRANBERRY APPLE CRISP:

4 large green apples, peeled, cored and sliced 1/2"
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/3 cup butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375F.  Lightly coat an 8"-square baking pan with butter.  Add apples and cranberries to the pan.  Combine the sugar, flour, oats, cinnamon, nutmeg and softened butter in a bowl.  Sprinkle over the fruit and bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes.  Serve hot with ice cream or cold with whipped cream.  Serves 6.

Don't know what to buy for your small dog owning friends, coworkers and family members?  Etsy's Gift Cards could well be the solution!  Throughout Decemner, one of these, as well as any ready to wear or custom items ordered from my Shop, will cost you 30% less.  Before we all know it, December 25 will be here, so you might think about making your next online stop Bloomingtails Dog Duds.  I would love for you to stop by!

Have a wonderful day, and if you have any pets please give each one a (((hug))) from Dom the Pom and me!

Ever Heard of a One Shoulder Dog Dress? Presenting the "Penny" Gown!

Hi, everyone!  It had never occurred to me that a one shoulder dog dress could be made until a lady ordered one last week.  Her order was accompanied by a photo of a bridesmaid's gown of a style identical to the one she wanted for her sister's dog, whose name is Penny.  Being a positive thinker, I was pretty sure I could accomplish what she wanted, so I pulled out a conservative dog coat pattern, and after mulling things over for a minute or so, decided to sew a duplicate and then cut one of the shoulders off, passing the scissors on one side to just underneath where the sleeve would go, and omitting the sleeve on the other side.  To keep the shoulder from falling due to the shape of a dog, I fastened a thin elastic neck strap, which would be slipped over the dog's head, to the top of the shoulder where the bow is.

On completion of the gown I sent photos of it the buyer for approval prior to shipping, as I normally do when I've finished sewing a custom order.  That she was happy with it is an understatement - she praised it to the skies!!  I was so excited at her feedback, I decided to list it as just a made to order small dogs' item, which was my only option due to my having mailed the garment to the buyer.  This way, shoppers will know what it looks like. 

Now, dear readers, you get to find out what it looks like.  Presenting...THE "PENNY" GOWN (drum roll):