Welcome to my blog

If you enjoy finding a lot of different outlets for your creativity, then we may just be kindred spirits.
This blog is an outlet for my interest in miniatures, crochet, plastic canvas, and many other various arts and crafts.

I also love walking, taking digital photos, and most recently, have rediscovered an old love...bike riding! I purchased an amazing new bike, a comfy Townie by Electra this summer, and have been having a grand time exploring the area as though for the first time. It's like being a kid again!

If you enjoy any of these things too, pour a cup of coffee and tea, sit down, and join me.

Take care!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Country Road, Take Me Home...

...To the Place, Where I Belong...

Well, I've been looking for a house in the country.  I went to visit 3 of them today (and took pics of the 2 that I like).  Both houses have pros and cons...one has waterfront property, and is very pretty and quaint looking, but it's an awful mess as it's been empty for awhile.  It would  need new painting, wallpaper, floors, and one part of the ceiling would need to be restuccoed (or whatever that stuff is).   It also had hundreds of flies on every window sill, and I saw some mice traps that had been set and left.  So, even though it's a great property, and the house itself is really nice...or could be, with work...I'm hesitant.  Plus I don't know anything about the well or septic tank.
The other white house was in much better shape looks-wise.  Sparkling clean with bright, airy rooms and lots of windows.  It was a lovely house, but it also had flies on the windowsill, and on the ceiling in the basement...the lady there said that almost all of the country homes have them.  I wouldn't like that at all.  That house had a really scary basement, and the tenant said that it had 3 feet of water in it in the fall.  I asked if they had a sump pump and she said no...I wonder if a sump pump would help?  I was surprised to hear about the flooded basement, because the house is up on a hill.  Oh, the other problem with that house is that it doesn't have a well...they share the well with the neighbours.  I don't like that.
I'm not in a hurry; I can keep looking.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

New Baby Doll Tayla

Here's my latest reborn doll; made from the Tayla sculpt.  I had a hard time painting this one because the vinyl was pink; it took a long time to neutralize it to a more normal looking skin tone.  I made this doll for my little niece Clarissa's birthday.  I don't normally give preemie sized dolls (this one is 17 inches long) very much hair, but I figured that since this doll was going to have a little girl for a Mommy, I'd better give her some hair.  I know I wouldn't have wanted a half bald doll when I was little, lol.  The poor doll has a serious case of bed-head in this pic because she had a hat on before I snapped this pic.  I took this pic with my daylight lamp, but even then, it is so dark out that my flash kept coming on. I'll try to get better pics later.  I hope my niece will like her.
Now I just have to finish crocheting an ami dog, and then I can put the package in the mail.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Well, I've been procrastinating all day long.  I am making a reborn doll for my niece's birthday, and I'm finished the painting and rooting.  I made a magnetic pacifier.  All I have to do now is sew a body, then put everything together.  Sewing is my least favorite thing.  I swear, it seems like I have to read the instructions on how to thread the machine every time I need to make a new body.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Black Mirror, completed

Well, I finally finished the game.  It had a dark ending.  I guessed at the ending, but hoped that I was wrong.
It was a pretty good game, story wise.
A fun way to escape into another world if you have some extra time and a few extra dollars.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Black Mirror, Game review continued...

The Black Mirror Screenshot

OK, so I'm still playing this game, and I have to say, I enjoyed chapter 3 more than the first two chapters.  I'm on Chapter 4 now...exploring the basement of an old Sanitarium...the story line is getting pretty interesting now.
I've managed to "die" several times so far...and I'm happy to say that I found a way to bypass the end credits...just click enter, then left click (duh; why didn't I do that yesterday?), and the credits disappear and you can reload the game.
So far, I've died by wolf and by beheading today.  I forgot how I died yesterday, lol.
I don't know why, but the pace of the dialog isn't bothering me as much today.  Maybe because some of the annoying characters have died off, or maybe because I'm just getting used to the slower pace of speech?  I don't know, but I do know that I'm now enjoying this game.  Yesterday I wouldn't have recommended it, but today I will...it just sort of grows on you, lol...on me, anyway.  I like the length of the game...I have no idea how many chapters there are left, but it's nice that the game didn't end quickly like some others I have played.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Black Mirror, Adventure Game review

As some of you know, I am learning how to make adventure games.  Part of that involves playing a variety of adventure games, so that I can get a feel of what I like versus what I don't like.

The Black Mirror, by Dreamcatcher Interactive, was published in 2003.  As an older game, it still boasts nice graphics, with good 3D effects such as rain, fog, flickering lights, etc.  The sound effects in the game are good...the pitter patter of raindrops, lightening strikes, and other noises immerse the player into the game world.  The background music is also good.
Voice acting is a big problem with many adventure games, and the Black Mirror is no different.  The voice acting left me wanting to throw the computer in frustration at times...especially since I have yet to find a way to bypass the spoken parts.  
If you play the game., save often so that you won't have to go back and listen to the same stilted conversations.
The voices themselves are OK, but the script is read in slow motion...or so it seems.  I have never in my life heard a group of people speak as slowly and deliberately as do the characters in this game. It makes them sound wooden.
The character animation is good for it's time, but the lack of close ups detracts from the game, I think.  The characters are always shown at a distance, and it's not possible to see facial expressions.
In fact, most of the game is shown at a distance; the camera angle doesn't change very often.  There are a few close ups, but not many.
The settings are interesting...an old manor, a creepy morgue, a quaint medieval-style village, an underground crypt...to name a few.
The story line is interesting as well...the game opens with an elderly man writing a letter.  He's up in the tower of an old castle, which we quickly learn when the scene changes to show him toppling from said castle tower. Samuel, our main character, comes home for his grandfather's funeral, after a long absence.  We quickly learn that his sweetheart perished in a fire, a fire that Samuel blames himself for, but we don't learn much more about this story line in the first 2 chapters. Instead, we, as Samuel, must investigate Samuel's grandfather's suspicious death.
The game's puzzles do match the game, which is a nice change from other games I have played, however, there is too much emphasis on finding keys for locked doors, chests, and the like...a common pitfall of adventure games, in my opinion.  There is also too much walking back and forth to get objects that could have been picked up earlier in the game, if only we were allowed to do so.  For example, the hammer in the stable is found early on, but you can't pick it up until after you discover the boarded up attic door.  There are also several areas that you can't explore until the game allows you too...the cursor will change colour, and you can click on the doors, but Samuel will say things like "I have no reason to go there".  
I did not finish the game; toward the end of chapter 2, Samuel will fall into an old mine, which lies below the crypt in the Church basement.  The only way to get out of it is to turn off the power and clip the dangling live wire; however, whenever I turned off the power, the hotspot on the live wire disappeared.  I tried again and again, but the hotspot would not appear when the power was off.  Despite warnings from a walkthrough, I had no choice but to try to cut the wire with the power on...which ended with a cutscene to the cemetery, showing Samuel's tombstone.  Which led to the end of the game, including the rolling credits, which went on and on.  The game makers didn't even allow for an easy way to get back into the game.  I did save the game before I cut the live wire, and had hoped I could just reload it, but wasn't given the chance.  I think sometimes that game makers try to frustrate the players on purpose...they know full well that players will just reload a saved game after a "death"...why on earth would they force players to watch the end credits?  
Anyway, it was a learning experience.  It's not a bad game, for it's time, and you can find second hand copies for under 10 bucks.  
I may add to this, if I go back to finish the game...the credits should have stopped rolling by now.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Poor Benji

Benji in his Christmas Sweater & Hat set.

 I had to rush poor Ben to the vet yesterday because he was bleeding rectally.  It turns out that he has an anal fissure.  Thankfully, he doesn't need surgery...he does need 2 weeks worth of medication, then I have to bring him for a follow up.

I crocheted him this outfit for Christmas; I think I'll crochet him a squeaky toy tonight, to help distract him from any discomfort he may be feeling.  Poor little guy.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cholodin; a Wonder Supplement for Old Dogs

I recently started my elderly dog, Annie, on Cholodin Canine Chewable tablets.

Let me just say, these supplements are AMAZING.

A few short weeks ago, I thought I would have to put my beloved Annie down.
She was having accidents in the house...sometimes 5 or more times/day.
I crocheted her a diaper, lined it with a pad, and tried to adapt that way, but it was difficult to see her like that.
She was having what I call "foggy" days...increasingly more "foggy" days than clear days.  On foggy days, she'd walk into a corner and stare at the wall, unmoving, for ages.  Or she'd get lost in the house or yard.  She'd be unable to find the door to come in, or, when she did find the door, would stand on the wrong side, near the  hinges.
She didn't appear to hear me when I called, and she didn't make eye contact with me.  Sometimes she'd fall over...almost like she'd just forgotten that she was standing.
She would either not eat at all, or want to eat repeatedly...almost like she'd forgotten that she just ate.
She slept all day and wanted to pace through the house all night.
I googled these symptoms and discovered that she may have canine dementia.  I googled "pills for canine dementia" and found a drug company, but the pills were way out of my price range.  WAY out.  So then I googled "nutritional supplements for canine dementia" and found out about choline.
I learned that choline helps with the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine...if you want to read about it try this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Choline .
From there I found Cholodin tablets; supplements for dogs that contain choline and other minerals.  They were only 10 dollars for 50 chewable tablets, so I figured I'd give it a try.  It couldn't hurt, and maybe it would help.
I waited with bated breath for the tablets to come in the mail.  They arrived within a few days; very quick delivery.  I read the instructions; Annie is a small dog; she'd only need half a tab a day.  I cut a tab in half, gave it to her.  She spit it out.  I tried again.  She spit it out again.  So I tucked the (by now soggy) tab into a lump of wet dog food, buried it, and gave it to her again.  She ate it.
I did this every day for a week, and I started noticing changes.
Annie was no longer having accidents.  In fact, she was asking to go outside...something she hadn't done for awhile.
Annie was no longer staring at walls, or getting "stuck" in corners.
I would have been happy with just that improvement, but now, a week later, there are more improvements.
Annie is more energetic.  She wants to run, and play.  She still has a slight limp, but she no longer topples over.
She wants to stay outside, even in the snow, and she wants to run in the yard.  When I call her to come in, she responds...she RUNS to the door.  Runs.
Her appetite has improved.
She is no longer pacing all night long.
Seriously, Cholodin has been a God-send to me and my little furbaby.
It was her birthday yesterday and she's either 19 or 20...I can't remember if she was born on Jan. 13, 1990, or 1991.  Either way, she's acting years younger than she was only a few weeks ago; it's like I have my little friend back again.
I highly recommend this supplement for dogs.  They make them for cats too.
I'm so happy with these tablets that I think I'm going to look for a human version.  Perhaps if I add choline to my diet, I'll remember if my Annie was born in 1990 or 1991, lol.
If you do try this supplement on your elderly dog, please leave me a note to let me know how it worked for you.  Just give it a few weeks first.
Good luck!

                               Here's Annie opening her Birthday Gift.  Happy Birthday Annie!

Annie's Birthday (19 or 20, lol)

Happy Birthday Annie!!!

Well, Yesterday was my Annie's Birthday!  She turned either 19 or 20...I can't remember if she was born in 1990 or 1991...I'll have to dig through my old diaries to find the exact date.  I know her birthday is January 13th though.  Anyway, the result of my confusion meant that I really MEANT it when I sang "Happy Birthday"...especially the line about "How old are you, now?"  LOL.

She enjoyed opening her present...first she picked the bag up by the string handle and carried it up to her spot on my couch, then she guarded over it to protect it from her brothers. I gave her brothers each a gift bag too, but ended up having to put Benji, the toy poodle, in his crate so he could open his gift       in peace without getting harassed by Mac, the standard poodle.  I sat with Annie to help her guard her gift from Mac, lol.
Annie really enjoyed her gift.  So did Ben and Mac.

The pic of Ben in the crate is funny; you can't tell, but he's lying on TOP of his gift bag, hiding it from Mac.

The pic of Mac is priceless, as I caught him licking his lips as he watched Annie eating her treats, lol.

These dogs are adorable.
A lot of work, but my furbabies are worth it.
Happy Birthday Annie!  
Here's hoping you live to see many more!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Memory...hello old friend

Well, I finally remembered that I was a member of Blogger; I even managed to remember my name and password so I could log in; woohoo!

Is it me, or does anyone else have an awful memory?

I crocheted this little Siamese cat last night; I've been wanting to try the pattern for ages and I'm very happy with it.  You can see the actual pattern on my laptop in the pic, lol.

This patten was designed by the very talented Beth Webber.  She graciously posts her free patterns on her blog, By Hook, By Hand.  http://byhookbyhand.blogspot.com/2009/07/one-of-things-ive-really-wanted-to-do.html

It's a great blog; if you like crocheting, you should follow it.  I decided to leave a comment, and in doing so, was prompted to sign into my own account, which made me remember that I actually had a blog here, lol.  I figured it was time I started using it.  I've been putting a lot of my finished crocheted items on my "Ravelry" account, and there's a way to link blogs, so I'm going to try that next.

Wish me luck!