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Gone Fishing…

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We are headed to Lake Michigan with our fur girl, Victory, for a vacation!  It has been an unexpectedly chaotic spring and summer for us, so it will be nice to have a breather.  The blog will be back with regular content in early August.

Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives — the links are shown below.

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Tips for planning and vacationing with your furry family member

Additionally, if you are interested, here are some links to some of our previous vacations — Nova Scotia, 2011; Nova Scotia, 2012; Vermont, 2013; Vermont and Québec, 2014; and Vermont and Québec City, 2015.

 

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P.S. While we are away, I do plan to post images via Instagram (our Instagram feed is also shown on the right side of the blog!)

Around Here: July

We have been enjoying some warmer temperatures recently, and it really feels like summer, almost like the dog days of summer!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in July!  Happy Summer!

-continuing to work steadily on my long-term photography project, and I have a few more months to go to finally finish!

-since it is officially summer now, Doug and I are checking items off our ‘summer bucket list.’

-took a trip to Delaware and Pennsylvania for the Fourth of July!

-took a trip to the Eastern Shore for crabs and shrimp with Victory!

-celebrated some positive news!

-working on the final details of Victory’s portrait, which is Audrey Hepburn inspired, to be finished next month, similar to Biscuit’s painting where they will hang side by side in our home!

-finishing up my new website, which should be finished shortly!

-tried acupuncture for the first time.

-we pretty much finished our spring/summer cleaning — we have a couple of closets left remaining to clean out!

-enjoying time at our neighborhood pool, relaxing and reading!

-enjoying evening runs to TCBY for frozen yogurt with Victory — her favorite is the peanut butter frozen yogurt!

-enjoying time on our decks together on cooler evenings, watching the sun set.

-burning summer scented candles in our home!

-enjoying long walks around the neighborhood and dinners together outside!  Victory still very much loves going for rides in her Hound About!

-began reading The Art of Possibility — a good read so far.

-watched the first season of Marcella, a really good series!

-began watching Stranger Things, which is a good and addictive series!

-happy that Doug is back home, as he was in Texas for work!

-still using my Fitbit and I’m hitting 10,000 steps per day most days.

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list!

Happy Wednesday!

 

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Mindfulness: Adult Coloring Books and Buddha Board

I recently discovered adult coloring books.  They are a great way to focus one’s energy and they are also a great stress reliever, too!  If you find yourself stuck on something or you need to occupy your mind, adult coloring books are great!  You can find a variety of adult coloring books here or at your local bookstore.

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Earlier this year I also discovered the Buddha Board, which is like water color painting, except that the painting does not stay permanently, it disappears, so you are therefore left with a clean slate each time, which forces once to be and enjoy the moment!  You can watch a video of the Buddha Board here and view the Buddha Boards here.

 

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Happy Monday!

Dog serves as a ‘Cheetah Mom’

I have previously written on the blog about the important role that dogs play in helping cheetahs.

I recently discovered a wonderful story that began this spring about a male dog named Blakely, an Australian Shepherd.  Blakey now serves as a ‘cheetah mom’ to five cheetah cubs (three males and two females) at the Cincinnati Zoo, after the cheetah cubs’ mom, Willow, died after a giving birth to the cubs via caesarean section.  You can view a video and see images of the cheetah cubs soon after their birth here.

As the cheetah cubs were being given round-the-clock bottle feeds, Blakely, was called into action to provide lots of snuggling and comfort to the cheetah cubs.

“His [Blakely’s] first job is to let the cubs climb on him, which they did as soon as they were put together,” explained the zoo’s head nursery keeper, Dawn Strasser.  This exercise helps the cubs to build muscle tone and get their guts moving.

According to Strasser, “It is important to keep their digestive system moving.  We’ve been massaging their bellies and giving them opportunities to exercise as much as possible.”

While the cubs grow, Blakely will continue to play an important role in their lives, shifting from “climbing frame and hairy body-warmer” to teacher and role model.

What a wonderful story, which illustrates the many roles that dogs play not only to humans, but to other animals as well!

 

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The above images of Blakely and the cheetah cubs are courtesy of the Cincinnati Zoo; and the story is courtesy of Express UK.

 

Amplifying Your Creative Work Space

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I have been thinking a lot about my work space that surrounds me when I am working on my photography.   Listed below are some tips to help make your creative work space more inviting for your creative work.  I love the light and airy work spaces shown below courtesy of Pinterest.

1. Light a scented candle(s) that you love.

2. Surround yourself with artwork you love.

3. Surround yourself with images of friends and family who are supportive of you and your work.

4. Listen to music you enjoy.

5. Listen to podcasts that are inspiring.

6. Surround yourself with inspiring books you love.

7. Allow natural light to flood into your work space.

8. Paint your work space a soothing color.

9. Have a comfortable/ergonomic chair that promotes comfort while working.

10. Lastly, having your furry family member nearby, while you work, is always comforting!

Happy Creating!

 

Amplyfying Your Work space

 

Interview: Lauren Sheldon, Photographer

Interview with Lauren Sheldon, Photographer

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Recently, I had the opportunity and pleasure of interviewing Lauren Sheldon, a London-based photographer, who is working on Rescue Me, a project where Sheldon explores the benefits of dog rescue by visiting the homes of the adopters.  Sheldon says, “I capture a glimpse of the lives of both them and their dogs in their environments.  The project reflects a true representation of my time with these families.”  Additionally, as part of the project, Sheldon records the conversations she has with the adopters to capture the touching stories of the dogs included in Rescue Me.  A selection of Lauren Sheldon’s work is displayed below.  Please visit Lauren Sheldon’s website to view more of her wonderful work.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What were your beginnings as a photographer and when did you realize it would become your chosen form of expression?

LAUREN SHELDON: During my last few years at school, I found myself gravitating towards the darkroom.  Photography was relatively new to the curriculum, at that time, and not a lot of money had been spent on the facilities.  I will always remember developing my very own print – from the enlarger to the three dip trays.  Consuming the very apparent smell of the chemicals whilst standing alone in a small cold room, filled with only the small glow of red light illuminating from the make shift red bulb that hung precariously on the wall, is when I knew photography was going to be the career for me.

 

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KATHERINE CARVER: Did you study art formally?

LAUREN SHELDON: I have an ‘A’ level Art, and went to college to do my Art Foundation Course.  I then decided I wanted to study photography as a degree so I converted my bedroom at my parents’ house into a darkroom, and created a portfolio that I took to the Universities for interviews.  I was lucky enough to be accepted at Manchester Metropolitan University where I completed a degree in Photography and Imaging.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: Can you describe the time when you first realized that creating photographs was absolutely something that you had to do?

LAUREN SHELDON: It was during a project I completed at University.  The assignment was to produce an image that could be used for a 48 sheet poster for a mock Levi advertising campaign to convey the longevity and durability of Levi’s product.  So I took a series of photos of a family friend, Jean, who was 80, wearing my Levi jeans and jacket.  She had incredibly beautiful eyes, and a wrinkly face full of character, making the photos eye-catching and engaging.  I realized that making images to represent an idea or a message could be a very powerful.

 

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KATHERINE CARVER: What was the impetus that inspired you to begin your project entitled, “Rescue Me?”

LAUREN SHELDON: As a child I was a little scared of dogs and, before I got my own dog, I had none or little knowledge about them really, and so when it came to choosing a dog it made the idea of rescuing one a scary option.  I’m embarrassed to say that I had the typical misconceptions about dogs that were in shelters — that they were all going to have behavioral problems, possible aggression issues, and I just didn’t feel like I was up for the job.  I was much more comfortable with the idea of nurturing a dog from a puppy.  In my opinion, I couldn’t have been more wrong.  In my experience, dogs in shelters are no different to any other dog, they have just had a less fortunate life than others and, if anything, are more loving and grateful and, during this project, I have seen this first hand.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What is the goal of your project, “Rescue Me?”

LAUREN SHELDON: The intent of the project is to explore the benefits of rescuing.  I hope I can use my work as a tool to get the message across about how rewarding adopting a dog can be; and to raise awareness because the more knowledge that can be put out there, the more chance these dogs have of receiving a second chance.

 

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KATHERINE CARVER: How did you decide to incorporate oral narratives into your project, “Rescue Me?”

LAUREN SHELDON: I photo documented a glimpse of the dogs’ lives, but to hear the adopters’ stories, in their own words, made the project complete, and probably more important than the photographs themselves in many ways.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: How has your own dog(s) influenced your work?

LAUREN SHELDON: Since getting my own dog, Sid, three years ago, my photography has been almost solely focused on Sid and dogs in general.  I’ve met many dog owners and dogs through Sid, and my love for them has grown and grown.  I hoped that combining my love for both photography and dogs, I would be able to help, if only in a small way, to raise awareness for the cause.

 

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KATHERINE CARVER: What does “being creative” mean to you?

LAUREN SHELDON: Thinking of an idea and seeing it develop.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What is the most challenging aspect of being a photographer?

LAUREN SHELDON: Individuality.  It’s been a long time since I have worried about it.  I realized that there are so many photographers that we are bound to be simultaneously compared and inspired by them.  For me, it’s the ideas behind the work that makes it individual.

 

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KATHERINE CARVER: What inspires you to keep going and what keeps you motivated?

LAUREN SHELDON: I want to keep telling stories and I strive to improve.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What are the most rewarding and satisfying part about being and artist and creating art?

LAUREN SHELDON: For a project like Rescue Me, the most rewarding part would be to know that my work has made a small difference; and it is extremely rewarding knowing that just one dog gets adopted because of it.

 

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KATHERINE CARVER: What are you working on now?

LAUREN SHELDON: I am currently working on the book for Rescue Me, which I am hoping to get published soon.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: What artists inspire your work?

LAUREN SHELDON: Martin Parr and Sally Mann will always be my two most inspirational photographers.  I was introduced to Mann’s work whilst studying for my degree.  Grayson Perry’s wittily satirical view on the world is a reminder that I shouldn’t worry about success, but to just enjoy it and live it.

 

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KATHERINE CARVER: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

LAUREN SHELDON: Know yourself.  Don’t worry about being cool and on trend.  “Coolness is a strait-jacket for creativity.”  Also, it is important to always put in the hours.

 

KATHERINE CARVER: How can people view your work?

LAUREN SHELDON: My website is:  www.watchdabirdie.co.uk  and I am on Instagram @watchdabirdie1.

 

All images contained in this interview are courtesy of Lauren Sheldon.

You can read additional interviews here.

Victory: Photography Project — 90

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.

Happy Tuesday!  I saw a post on Instagram that said, “this feels like the Monday-est Tuesday ever!”  We hope that you had a lovely long weekend!  Doug and I, along with Victory, went to Delaware and Pennsylvania, the Brandywine Valley, for the long weekend!  The weather and temperatures were great!  We enjoyed a low-key, relaxed weekend together.

We went to the Iron Hill Brewery a few times for dinner, and Victory enjoyed going to dinner with us!  (We wish there was an Iron Hill closer to us, as it is one of our favorite restaurants!)  While away, Doug and I got hooked on Marcella, a really good murder mystery series!

We took Victory to a vineyard with us, shown below, where she was a hit!  We also took Victory to the Plymouth Meeting Orvis store, shown below, where we previously took her brother Biscuit!  Needless to say, Victory is recovering from her long weekend away, as she did not get her daily, standard 16 hours of sleep!  We had a great time together, and it was really nice to get away for a few days!  We hope that you had a great 4th of July weekend!

Happy Tuesday!

 

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Things I Love: Summer 2016

Happy summer!  We are so happy that summer is officially here!   Below are the items I am loving, so far, this summer!

 

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1. Sticky9 Photo Magnets – I love photo magnets, and our refrigerator/freezer are covered in photo magnets, over 100 images and counting!  Using photo magnets makes it really easy to showcase photos and easily update photos without harming the original photographs.  A couple of examples of recent photo magnets that I made, are shown in the image above.  I enjoy making them and sharing them with family.  It is also fun to have a rotating ‘gallery wall’ in the kitchen using these magnets on your refrigerator and freezer!

2. Special K Red Berries Cereal – I love Special K Red Berries cereal.  I have recently been eating this for breakfast with almond milk and, some evenings, Victory and I also eat it dry for a snack and she loves it, too!

3. Lululemon Run Times Four Way Stretch Shorts – I love these shorts!  They fit well and the material breathes well, too.  They are perfect for exercising!

4. Yasso — We love Yasso frozen yogurt bars.  They are low-calorie, and they come in a variety of flavors and, most of all, they taste great!

5. Dove — I recently discovered this bar soap, Dove Purely Pampering Shea Butter.  I use this bar soap every day and it smells wonderful and leaves my skin soft and smooth.

6. Soapbox – I love Soapbox shampoo and conditioner.  The shampoo is sulfate free; and the conditioner leaves my hair feeling silky smooth and great!  I highly recommend this shampoo and conditioner.

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Friday!  We hope the you have a great, long, and restful weekend!  We are headed to Delaware for the long weekend with our fur girl, Victory, for a respite!

ID Your Pet Day

To help keep pets safe this summer season, the ASPCA has created ID Your Pet Day, a holiday on July 1, this Friday, to raise awareness about the importance of ID tagging your pet.  This holiday is especially timely, as July 4th is a time of year when many pets go missing due to fireworks.  Please see the ASPCA’s infographic below outlining the importance of using ID tags for pets.

You can also download the ASPCA Pet Safety App to access personalized instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.

Please keep this information in mind for the forthcoming 4th of July weekend!

 

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The above image is courtesy of the ASPCA.

Just Because…

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“And every day, the world will drag you by the hand, yelling, “This is important!  And this is important!  And this is important!  You need to worry about this!  And this!  And this!”  And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it on your heart and say, “No. This is what’s important.”
― Iain Thomas

Happy Monday!