Conversation Hearts

Box of tiny conversation hearts

For years these little candies have been a staple of Valentines Day.  (Made, as some say, of ear wax and chalk.)  My Dad decided that he wanted to get some for my Mom as sort of a joke since she doesn’t like them but he does.  Imagine our surprise when no one could find these little hearts at the store.   I guess couples these days prefer candies that actually taste good as opposed to ones that spark conversations.

Tiny box of conversation hearts.

OK, so I did finally find some for the Fogies to share.  What shocked me was the teeny, tiny size of the box.  I could hear maybe 8 candies rattling around inside.  For shame, Brachs.

My boys, on the other paw, were pretty creative with their gifts.  Geordie wrote one of his special messages for me.  This was the closest he has ever come to saying that he likes me.

Heart shaped poo

I kid you not: it was shaped like a heart.

Poo shaped like the Chinese character for "fire"

Toby’s was the Chinese word for “fire”.  (Perhaps he has a more ardent personality than I give him credit.)

So, if you have ever wondered what the most romantic day in the year is like in Bitey’s world, this is it.

To everyone, we wish you a Yappy Valentine’s Day!





Kitty, Puppy or Fox?

Since Geordie’s cancer diagnosis, I have found it difficult to write about my boys or even draw and post silly pictures of them.  Instead I write about Toby and me going to visit the fallen tree.  It is my way of coping.  We have had some really good days lately, though, and I want to hold onto them here.

On Saturday, Geordie surprised me by waking me up an hour early to tell me that it was sunny and cold out.  He was so excited that he wanted to leave for a walk right away.  When I told him I needed to get dressed first he stormed off in a huff and threw himself down on the kitchen floor.

After a few minutes for my morning routine, I got the boys dressed in their harnesses, and we headed out.  I was totally stunned at how far my little boy was able to go.  We wandered for over a mile together as my two marked everything they could reach.  I could see a difference in Toby as well. He really loves walking with his brother.  The two of them were calm and cooperative.  It was a joy to be with them.

The day ended well with two pups who ate heartily and slept soundly.  When you have a sick puppy, those simple things are so significant.

While Toby behaved with Geordie nearby on our Saturday walk,  he did not do well when he and I were together.  It is my fault.  In most things he does so well that I don’t train him as often as I should.  This evening I decided to try some training like I used to with Geordie.

To start, I grabbed three of Toby’s toys: a puppy, a kitty and a fox.  I brought some treats, then I asked him to touch the animal I named.  Geordie heard us having fun and came over to join in.  Geordie always loved doing tricks like this.  He knew so many words and instructions that it was spooky.  He and Toby played this game until we ran out of snacks.  It was the happiest and most engaged that I have seen Geordie in a long time.

I was so excited about what we’d accomplished that I wanted to play again, but I know you can only teach a pup for a few minutes at a time.  I feel bad that I haven’t been doing this more with Geordie over the past year.  His diagnosis was hard on me, and I treated him as a delicate little china dog instead of a guy who liked puzzles and games.  I hope there is still time to make up for that. I want his memories of this lifetime to be happy ones.Two Cairn terriers sitting in the grass.

We got off to a rocky start, but we like walking together now.



The Possibility of New Life

For several weeks I have been trying to avoid working on the sideways tree since it affects my allergies.  Having a temp of -5 also might have contributed to me staying home, but only a little.

What is left of the sideways tree

The Sideways Tree

Since so many of the trees in this wooded area are elderly and falling down, I have been looking for ways to encourage new growth.  Not only does it look nice, but I am hoping it will keep the hillside from eroding.

Winter is the wrong time of year for seed production, so I haven’t been able to harvest any fallen ones…except for these guys.

I borrowed this picture from Tree Pictures .

Like a lot of people, I mistook the trees for maples and attributed these nasty seed pods on the ground to some other source.  Turns out they are from a plant that wears a lot of names.  Around here they are called Sweet Gum, but they can also be called Liquidambar, Storax or Alligatorwood.  They are often used in reforestation projects because they grow quickly.

There is an abundance of these seed pods on a neighboring street, so Toby and I have been gathering them up on our walks.  We take them to the area around the fallen tree and lob them into the woods.  To be honest, I have no idea if the pods have viable seeds or not, but I still fee like I am helping to bring the possibility of new life to the area.

These seed pods are so strong and spiky that they can be used around the garden to discourage interlopers.  They are hard enough that you can puncture a tire if you run over them.  By now, Toby and I must have tossed a couple hundred of these pods into woods.  If nothing else, maybe they will discourage some of the animals that travel the pipeline up into out back yards.

Two cartoon deer dying

Aagh!  Avoid the spiky seed pods!


The weather may have warmed up a bit, but we know it is temporary.  Come visit my shop and pick out your favorite quilt (on sale!) to help you keep warm when the regular February weather returns.

Handmade Madison House quilt.



Searching for Reputable Charities

See the source image

Public domain image of money.  I wish I had this much!

Writing of inheriting fabric recently made me think that I should probably plan ahead to those who might be inheriting what is mine.  My fabrics will likely end up somewhere local because of their weight, but I was pondering the few dollars I may have.

If I could, I would like to contribute to organizations that acquire and train working dogs like guide dogs and police dogs.  Also I feel strongly about programs that allow prisoners to help train those working dogs.  When I write my will, I would like to list specific reputable charities, but I am having trouble finding the names of what I want.

If anyone knows of an organization that does good work and whose charity rating can be verified, would you be willing to share?  My donation may be small, but I am hoping that every penny helps.

Two Cairn terriers pant in the sun.

We’re dressed and ready!  Can we be police dogs too?


To help make sure that my eventual donation is as large as it can be, consider picking up a copy of Poopiter today!  Poopiter is a lighthearted, illustrated visit with my boys as they get to know each other.

Bitey Dog and Toby in POOPITER

Poopiter is available from Amazon.


Tired of the cold?  Wrap up with a handmade cotton quilt from the Quilt Shop in my store.

Bear Paw Quilt(In honor of the Polar Vortex, we are having a sale!)

Bi-Polar Vortex

Thermometer reads below zero.

I don't care. Hold it till Spring!

Yup.  We’re having one of those days again…yet it is going to be 58 by Monday.  Can we please get the weather some lithium?


If you are tired of being cold, stop by my store and pick up a comfy-cozy handmade quilt for your home.

Handmade Butterfly Quilt.


While you are under the blanket you can read a copy of PoopiterPoopiter shows the illustrated lives of two Cairn terrier brothers.

Bitey Dog and Toby in POOPITER

Poopiter is available from Amazon.

What To Do With Old Fabrics?

Various fabric swatches

The question we have to answer is not only “What do we do with a drunken sailor?” but “What do we do with leftover fabric?”.

Over the years, I have acquired a number of different fabrics.  Some are still usable in small amounts for things like patchwork quilts.  Others really aren’t good unless you have enough for a garment.  In my case I have anywhere from 1-2 yds. of different pinstripe wools and suit weight linens that are still nice fabrics, but there isn’t enough for me to make anything for myself.

Since there isn’t enough for me to use, I would like to get them out of the closet, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to simply toss them.  I would like to donate them to some individual or organization, but I haven’t found any that need fabric.  They all seem to need yarn.

I hate that my desire to clean is being stalled by a fear of being wasteful. On the other hand, I hate to burden someone else with that which is useless.  That is, after all, how I ended up with so much fabric…I inherited it from other seamstresses who were cleaning out their closets.

Terrier pups waits next to his tennis ball.

Hey, when you’re done cleaning that closet, can we put more biscuits in there?


To take your mind off mid-winter closet cleaning, pick up a copy of Poopiter.   Poopiter follows the adventures of my two pups as they spend their first year together.

Bitey Dog and Toby in POOPITER

Poopiter is available from Amazon.

Chocolate Mouse and Other Posterior Epistles

If you’ve known my boys for any length of time, you know that they are very communicative – from both ends.  It is easier to read their missives in the Winter because snow gives them a fresh, clean canvas on which to write.

Toby started our week with a perfect capital “W”.  In real life, it was much nicer and looked something like Times New Roman.  I played around with Photo Shop to try to create one, but mine looks more like caramel or butterscotch.

Chocolate W

Geordie was next with a cry for help.  At least the Photo Shopped version looks a bit more like chocolate.

Chocolate 911

Toby’s latest creation looked like this .  I am just hoping that Michael Eisner never finds out.

Chocolate mouse


To read more of my pups’ unusual lives, pick up a copy of Poopiter.  (In it, you can read their story, The Lao of Poo.)

Bitey Dog and Toby in POOPITER