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Good Read: Sashi, the Scared Little Sheltie

I recently was given the book entitled, Sashi, the Scared Little Sheltie!  This book is a good read, especially if you enjoy illustration and a book about a rescue sheltie friend!

Sashi, the Scared Little Sheltie, is the true story about a little dog who loses her home.  Sashi does not understand why she was left at an animal shelter, and because she cowered in a corner of her cage, potential adopters passed her by.  However, the Sheltie Rescue helps Sashi; and ultimately, Sahi is adopted into a home where she blossoms into the dog she was meant to be!  This story reminds me very much of our experience with Biscuit and Victory.

Importantly, this book was made possible via crowd funding via Kickstarter!

This book would make a wonderful gift for anyone who is a sheltie lover and/or anyone who supports dog rescue!


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Documenting Life in Tangible Images

I love photographs.  Photographs are virtually accessible to every single person despite one’s background, country of origin, and language spoken.  Everyone can look at an image and it typically evokes a feeling.  A photograph is a great way to communicate, to preserve our history, and photographs make wonderful family heirlooms.  For the past several years, I have made a concerted effort and commitment to document our daily lives with my camera some of which I have shared here on the blog.  Below, I have outlined my process for how I document the everyday.

Take Photographs: I keep my camera with me as often as possible to enable me the ability to photograph moments in time.

Download Images: Usually one to two times a week, I download the images from my camera’s memory card onto my computer.   I keep an archiving and filing system of all of my digital photographs.  I always back up my images and work in two to three places to ensure I do not lose my images and work.

Edit Images: After downloading my images, I go through every image and make copies in another folder of all of the images that I like.  Then, with the selected images, in Photoshop, I make minor alterations with each image.  Depending upon the number of photos, this is quite labor intensive.  (I prefer Photoshop over Lightroom).

Print and Frame Images: After I am done editing a batch of images, I print the images that I want to keep in paper form to place in our photo albums.  I like to have images that are tangible, which creates a record.  (I keep all duplicate paper images filed by date.)  For the images I really, really like, I have Giclée fine art archival prints made, which I then typically have professionally framed and preserved (museum quality) or give as gifts.  I am also going to start experimenting with creating photo books as well.

Hang Images: Finally, I hang the framed images around our house to enjoy each day!  Doug is very good at measuring and hanging images — Doug always helps me hang the images to ensure precision!

For the above process to work, I have to continually stay on top of my editing, which can take quite a bit of time depending upon the images and number of images.  Sometimes, life gets in the way, and I just do the best I can to not fall too far behind.  While documenting our everyday, I continue to simultaneously work on my long-term photography project — therefore, I am constantly working!

For those of you who like to document your everyday, I hope that this above process proves helpful!

Happy Tuesday!


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What I Learned in 2014

I have been reflecting upon 2014 over the past week.  Here are some things I learned this past year:

1.  Dreaming big — dreams require boldness, a lot of hard work, and follow through.

2.  Learning to enjoy ‘the middle.’

3.  Practicing habits that aids my creativity.  Showing up and doing the work is the only way to attain my goals.

4.  If I commit to my work, the Universe will be supportive in kind.

5. Taking more risks and getting outside of my comfort zone can lead to positive results.

6. Taking breaks and resting is necessary and it can also lead to invigoration and renewed creativity.

7. Learning not to let fear and uncertainty get in my way.

8. Continuing to follow my curiosity is a good practice.

9.  Nothing matters more than the present moment.  Today is for living.  (Doug is really good with this practice and he and Victory are my teachers.)

10. Finally, always keeping a grateful heart!

And with that may you truly live every day of 2015!


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Victory: Photography Project — 45

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

Victory is pretty in pink!  Isn’t Victory just adorable in her pink fleece and pink hat!  I put together some recent images of her in pink!  She looks really good in this color!  Victory is ready for winter with her clothing and gear, as winter has indeed arrived!  She even has new boots!  We got them in Québec, so we will see if she likes to wear them outside, as we have not yet tried them on her outside!  (Victory tolerated me putting them on her in the store!)

Sometime during this coming year, Doug and I plan to commission a painting of Victory in the similar vein as her brother Biscuit’s portrait.  We have to figure out what Victory will wear and what image to base the painting, but I am sure the color pink will be involved!  The portrait of Victory will be hung right beside Biscuit’s painting in our dinning room.

Happy Thursday!


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Around Here: January

It is a new year!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in January!

-cleaning off my desktop and filing and archiving files on my computer.

-finishing up making our photo albums from the last quarter of 2014.

-finishing collecting data and coordinating photo shoots to take place shortly for my long-term photography project.

-editing images for my photography project.

-making paw art with Victory!

-listening to Hozier on repeat.

-scouting for a few more fine art prints to fame and display in our home!

-finished The Missing on Netflix.

-finished the BBC’s Broadchurch on Netflix — this show is pretty good!

-began watching Season 5 of Downton Abbey!

-making and having homemade breakfast with Doug on the weekends!

-making this soup with Doug.

-Finished reading this book.

-Began reading this book

-burning lots of candles around the house!

-having date nights with Doug!

-planning a fun trip with Doug!

-Doug (with Victory’s help) got his new Lionel train up and running!

-taking Victory on outings to get her out of the house to prevent cabin fever since it has been so cold here!  Our options are limited, but we have been resourceful.

-resting.  We are trying to incorporate more rest in 2015 — Victory sets a good example for us below!

-gaining many more blog subscribers again this month!  Yay!  Thank you to all of my blog readers!

Happy Tuesday!


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Advice for ‘Puppy Parents’

Since we have been ‘puppy parents’ for over a year now with our little Victory, I thought that I would share some advice and tips that have helped us with transitioning Victory into her new home with us.

1. Set a daily routine.  Victory loves her routine, just like a kid who likes predictability and likes to know what to expect each day.  So we try to set a routine so that Victory knows what to anticipate.  She definitely is keenly aware when there is a change in her routine, and she even puts herself to bed after he final walk.  On the weekends, we have to call her back downstairs as we stay up later!

2. Be consistent.  It is important to be consistent to ensure your new furry family member understands you, which also helps sets boundaries with your new family member so he/she can learn what is appropriate behavior and what is not appropriate behavior, etc.  Plus, being consistent will help each furry family member develop confidence.

3. Have patience.  A new furry family member is in a new environment, and it takes time for he/she to bond with his/her humans.  It took several months for Victory to feel comfortable in her new home with us.  She is sometimes still a bit shy with new people who come over to visit.  However, with a lot time, consistency, and patience, Victory is totally bonded to us as we are to her.

4. Be understanding.  When we first took Victory home, we quickly learned she loved to chew — specifically, chew our things.  She has chewed our pillows, pillow cases, sheets, duvet, and my clothes!  I was not happy at the time, but we understood that she did not know otherwise.  Fortunately, by telling her “no” when we caught her in the act of chewing our things, helped to mitigate this behavior over time.  Fortunately, most of her chewing of our items has subsided!  However, since Victory loves to chew, we make sure that she is thoroughly stocked with chew toys so that she has something of her own to chew constantly!  I highly recommend these types of chew toys.

5.  Start grooming early on.  I brush Victory every morning, with few exceptions.  I stay on top of her grooming because she always wants to looks her best and it prevents mats in her fur coat, which makes brushing easier each day.  I also put a dab of baby powder behind her ears each morning to soak up any oils.   Victory is pretty cooperative with me.  However, I believe that if I did not start brushing her early on, she may not be as cooperative.  Plus, she has learned that this is part of her ‘morning routine!’  (We have the vet’s office clip her paws and nails each month.)

6. Start brushing teeth early on.  I brush Victory’s teeth every morning after her walk with few exceptions.  This takes commitment.  Victory is pretty cooperative because she knows that she get a treat after she is done getting her teeth brushed.  Most importantly, since we have been brushing, her teeth are in much better shape versus how her teeth were when we met her with tartar build up on her back molars.  We use this toothpaste with a small toothbrush and this oral spray after teeth brushing.  In tandem, they work really well to keep gums healthy, fight bad breath, and fight tartar build up.  Most of all, we do not want Victory to go under anesthesia unnecessarily for a teeth cleaning, and this is another incentive to brush her teeth daily.

7. Attend training.  Take your furry family member to training in order to have you trained on how to work with your new furry family member.  We went to training with Victory last year, and we are considering attending another training class with her.  The training class was helpful because it got Victory exposed to other dogs and people; and the class helped train Doug and myself to train Victory on basic commands.  Plus, it is a good bonding experience.  I recommend doing thorough research on local dog training organizations in your area to ensure a good fit.  We only do positive-based training.

8. Go on outings.  Take your furry family member on outings, adventures, to help your furry family member get exposed to new environments.  Most furry family members enjoy a change of scenery.  Plus, this helps your new family member get socialized as well.  We make a concerted effort to go on outings with Victory.  She loves to go in the car and go to new places!   In the winter months it is tougher as there are not as many places available to us due to the cold weather and snow.  However, we are resourceful and find places to take her!

9. Take many photographs.  Time goes by so quickly, in a blink of an eye.  Therefore, I believe it is important to make a commitment to photograph (and make videos) to capture everyday moments with your furry family member.  I have heard many stories from people who did not photograph their furry family regularly and are deeply saddened to learn after their furry family member’s passing, that they wished that they had more photographs.  Photographs are wonderful because they capture moments in time forever, especially in this digital age.  I am really happy that I did this with our Biscuit and I am happy to be documenting ordinary moments with Victory as someday these will be extraordinary moments.

10. Give love.  Importantly, always show and give love toward your furry family member!  They give us so much unconditional love and support!  They are a constant in our lives and we should always be grateful for their presence in our lives.

I hope that these tips are helpful!

Happy Friday!


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Victory: Paw Art

When we went to Annapolis over Thanksgiving weekend, we purchased a Paw Posie Kit.  With this kit, you first place the paint on a wet sponge and then you take your furry family member’s paw and place his/her paw in the paint and then you immediately place the paw on the paper.  You repeat this process until you have roughly three to four paw prints on the paper, heavy card stock.  (We purchased a red kit, which came out looking a little pink — Victory’s favorite color.)

On a weekend after Victory’s paws and nails were clipped at the vet’s office, we decided to make her paw prints because there was less fur to get in the way of her prints.  It took both Doug and I to make the paw prints.  As a result, I could not photograph the process of making Victory’s paw prints.  Doug held the paper and I dabbed Victory’s paw in the paint and placed her paw on the paper three times!  Victory was extremely cooperative, and she made beautiful paw prints — she is a Pawcasso!  Then, we gave her a bath, much to Victory’s dismay, to wash off the paint, etc.

After the paint was dry containing her beautiful and dainty paw prints, shown below on the lower right, we sent the paw prints along with background information about Victory to the artist, Rosemary Williams, located in Annapolis, who uses water colors to create flowers from the paw prints.  We decided we wanted red roses to be made out of Victory’s paw prints.  Thus, Rosemary made wild red roses out of Victory’s paw prints and you can still even see the detail of Victory’s prints from her paw on the final watercolor, shown below!  We are going to professionally frame and hang Victory’s Paw Posies in our home in order to preserve her paw prints!  We think that this is a really unique keepsake; we had fun making the paw prints together; and we were pleased with the result — the final watercolor feels like our sweet Victory!

Happy Wednesday!


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