Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween Harry!

It was a fluke whenI discovered Harry is the type of dog that actually enjoys wearing clothes.  When I impulsively picked up some choice pieces at the Fairmount Pet Shop and tried them on Harry, he had no qualms with sticking his head in the head hole and letting me maneuver his paws into the arm sleeves.  This was great news for me, since my Halloween plans involved dressing Harry up to extremes.

Halloween 2012 was inspired by the Internet sensation, Keyboard Cat, specifically the video in which Keyboard Cat is featured in the Hall & Oates music video.  So the boo and I were Hall & Oates, and Harry was Keyboard Cat.  I had so much fun making Harry's Halloween costume and I can't wait to debut it for trick or treating today.

Since Keyboard Cat is an orange tabby, I bought a Zack and Zoey orange hoodie from Fairmount Pet Shop to be my base.  These hoodies are legit sweatshirts, featuring a kangaroo pocket on the outside.  Keyboard Cat wears a blue t-shirt so Harry needed to wear a blue shirt over his hoodie.  I trimmed one of my own t-shirts down to Harry size using his sweatshirt as a guide as to how wide and long it should be.  
I cut my t-shirt to size by cutting it lengthwise, almost like you'd cut a muscle tee and width wise as if you were making a crop top, leaving the neck as is.  My sewing skills aren't the most advanced and I couldn't see myself making a new collar for the shirt.  I folded the raw edges down in preparation to sew the t-shirt into a tinier t-shirt that was Harry size.  
After pinning my shirt in place, I started sewing by feeding the shirt through my machine 1/4 of the way on each side of the shirt for the sleeves.  Then I sewed the two pieces together by running the remaining 3/4 of the shirt through the machine.

I followed the same procedure on the other side of my shirt and then moved onto the bottom.  Once the bottom was folded and pinned (yes, I did avoid pressing for the costume...just didn't feel like it) I arranged my sewing machine so that I could sew all the way around to create a neat hem for the bottom of the shirt.
The result was a little baby tee for my baby!  It could actually be a cute project to turn your favorite old t-shirts into dog shirts.
It took a bit of stretching, because I didn't measure the best, but Harry's shirt fit him!  In my opinion if I had done this with a white tee, Harry could have gone as Simon Cowell for Halloween.

The next step for Harry's costume was making him a cat.  The only necessity was adding ears to his hood.  I bought some orange felt, free hand drew a pair of ears on it, and cut them out.  I did the same process on white felt.  With my two pieces of felt and a glue gun, I attached the white inner ear on top of the orange ear.  Then I used my iron to press a crease into the ears.  This would be the part of the ear that I sewed onto his hood.
I really just eye-balled where Harry's ears should go on his hood and then hand sewed them.  Harry's hoodie is really good quality and I didn't want to glue his ears on in case I wanted to re-use his hoodie for another costume or just some gangsta lounging.  Glue would leave residue, while stitches can be torn out with a seam ripper.  The boo and I like to make Harry dance and rap while he wears his sweatshirt.
The last thing Keyboard Cat needs is a keyboard.  With three colors of felt (black, white, and red) I drew and cut out a keyboard.  Using a hot glue gun I glued the black keys onto my white keyboard and drew in pen with a ruler the ivories inbetween.  Then I made an on/off key with the red felt I bought.  The whole keyboard piece was attached with glue to the keyboard base.  I made the keyboard base by folding in half a black sheet of felt and sewing it on two sides.  
Then I turned it inside out and stuffed it with poly-fill.  After it was pleasantly plum, I hand sewed it closed.
The final step was figuring out how to combine the keyboard with the cat.  I didn't want Harry to eat his keyboard right away - it could be a fun toy for him to play with later - and I didn't want to damage his hoodie.  I decided to cut a strip of velcro and secure it to his t-shirt and the keyboard, and then stick them together once the costume was on.
I am pretty proud of the results.  I'm not sure if all of the trick-or-treaters will know who Keyboard Cat is, but Harry will have a pretty genuine and home-made costume just like all the best costumes out there.  Harry posed for some great pics.
I'm so excited to share Harry's costume with the neighborhood!  Hopefully he scores some extra milkbones for originality!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Harry's First Hurricane

Philadelphia is currently in a state of emergency due to the incoming Hurricane Sandy, which means that I get to work from home and Harry gets crate freedom for two whole days.  The boo and I have done absolutely nothing to prepare for this storm...except for take the plants off the deck and tie down the grill.  As far as stocking up on bread and milk...I made chicken wings and chocolate chip cookies, so if need be we'll sustain ourselves on that.  Harry, however, just has been restocked on bones and treats, so if we are stranded maybe he'll share some of his Scooby Snacks with us.
The best part of the hurricane, besides getting to stay home, is Harry's raincoat.  I bought this from back when Harry was tiny, and it finally fits him!  Harry's raincoat is made by Waghearted and is a size XL - their stuff is more for tiny dogs.  It fastens under his belly by velcro and has a mesh lining.  Harry sniffs the ground a lot when we walk which causes his hood to droop over his face.  And then he can't see where he's walking and he bumps into stuff, which is really funny and cute but obviously I pull him out of harm's way. 

Harry is not a fan of going potty outside when it's raining out, but hopefully his rain jacket will make it Hurricane Sandy a more comfortable storm!  Don't worry Harry we'll be ok!

Friday, October 26, 2012

DIY: Dog Food Storage

I'm a big fan of the website that features boutique sales by artists and hand-crafters...something I aspire to be one day.  I recently saw a Helvetica boutique that sold dog food and cat food storage along with bowls and treat jars.  Although the boutique does not exist anymore, you can find their products on Amazon.  I saw the container and thought, good idea!  And I didn't want to pay big bucks just to store Harry's food so I went about making one myself.

I picked up a generic "homer bucket" and lid at Home Depot for super cheap and used the enamel paint that I used in this project to paint the words DOG and FOOD on my bucket.  I liked the way I had written Harry's name on his bowl so I decided to use the same font for my bucket. 

By strategically holding the handle upwards, I was able to paint my words with a generic paint brush all the way across.  It's not rocket science. 

It's not perfect, but it makes storing Harry's food cuter, more compact, and easier to carry than dragging the bag around (picture helpless infomercial woman spilling bags of dog food all over the floor, dropping to knees and crying).  Once it was dry, I poured Harry's bag of Blue Buffalo into the bucket. 

Now when Harry sees the bucket he knows exactly what's about to go down.  Sprinting up and down the stairs (cause he's not sure if he's being fed in his crate or not) ensues and the boo and I can pretty much get him to do whatever we want so long as we bait him with "dinner".

Unrelated, but look at this creepy sticker on the bucket.  What child walks into a bucket like that?  This goes along with my question of what child actually enjoys playing with plastic bags and thinks they are toys?  Harry must be smarter than the average human because he has yet to topple face first into his bucket of dog food...but I bet he does in his dreams.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dog Shaming

There are a host of sites at the moment dedicated to shaming your dog.  Whether your dog has gotten himself into an unfortunate predicament, eaten a pair of your shoes, or left you a stinky present in a mystery location, the cool kids are all taking pictures of it, captioning it, and posting it on the internet.  Some shame sites include this one, this one, and this one.  

Harry did something a while ago that inspired me to shame him.  After his Dad bought him a bunch of fancy new toys, Harry went to town completely ripping the head, guts, and wings off Mr. Duck.  I heard a ruckus downstairs and assumed he was just having a good time with his new toys.  I came down to discover this.

I'm fortunate to have a dog that causes only this type of damage.  Besides eating half a bag of dog food, chewing his Dad's hiking pack, and the destruction of his own toys, Harry is a pretty tame dude.  Regardless, I still asked him what he did to his friend Mr. Duck and why would he do such a thing to his new friend...which led to this...
I ate my best friend.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Day at the Dog Park: Seger Park

Several weeks ago, the boo and I brought Harry to another dog park, Seger Park located on 10th & Lombard right behind South Street.  This park is much more well kept than our closer dog park on Schuylkill Banks and has a plethora of mulch rather than the dust that accumulates under Harry's harness when we go to Schuylkill Banks.  We parked in the Whole Foods parking garage and walked Harry down the stairs and for a tiny bit through Whole Foods to get out the front door. 

There is a dividing fence to separate small dogs from big dogs but it's much smaller than the one at Schuylkill Banks.  When we visited there were baby husky puppies wandering in cute.  As soon as we let Harry off the leash he mingled with everybody there, humans and dogs, and proceeded to sprint until every dog in the park noticed him and chased him.

Water at this park is provided via this nifty red water fountain that you fill by pressing with your foot.  Harry stopped for some drinks with his curly haired girlfriend in between bursts of energy.  There is a wall that stands against the fence of the dog park about 5 1/2 feet tall that will descend down via steps along the wall so the dogs can hop up there to relax.  Harry scaled it from ground level.  We were seriously impressed. 

I was happy to find that the owners here were chill, welcoming, and responsive to their animals.  There were some humping sessions that continually got broken up and we held down Harry a few times to force him to give the other dogs a chance to catch their breath.  Above Harry gets tickled while his new friends laugh.  

Our visit was a success, and it was nice that Harry wasn't a dust ball when he left here.  Only his paws showed evidence of wild sprinting and a few dog loogeys graced his forehead from close interactions.  He was pooped afterwards and spent the rest of the afternoon snoozing.  Harry LOVED Seger Park, and can't wait til we go back.
Thanks Mom!  Can we go back?!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Doggy Dining: RyBread

On a glorious fall afternoon after a grueling 20 mile Philadelphia Marathon training run, the boo and I took Harry with us to one of our favorite places to eat on Fairmount Ave, RyBread.  Harry has joined us on many occasion and on most of our walks he has benefited from their public dog water-bowl that sits outside the store all day.  A note of caution to those of you excited to bring your dog to RyBread:  there is a large amount of dog traffic.  Although RyBread is super accommodating with their jar of treats and water bowl, if you have a runt that loves to greet every single human, dog, squirrel, and pigeon with the exuberance and enthusiasm of me meeting Britney Spears, then beware that you may end up with spilled coffee caused by the jolting leash that unexpectedly pulls out of no-where due to said human, dog, squirrel, pigeon, and pop-star.

On this occasion, Harry spent the majority of our time checking out Astro, a Hungarian Vizla with an enthusiastic owner.  Apparently Astro has eaten a Christmas tree + ornaments, crayons, and his owner's salmon dinner.  Hopefully they weren't sharing trade secrets.  The boo and I both had Tucson sandwiches, mine with the added bacon and avocado.  Tucson hit the gaping spot in my belly that 20 miles had carved out.  Chock full of turkey and swiss, the avo and bacon add texture and variety to the sandwich.  If you're in a hurry and really want a sandwich from Ry, you're able to call ahead and order your sandwich for pick up.  This is a key advantage that the boo and I have yet to implement.  The lines can get long and you end up waiting a little bit for your sandwich. 

You'll notice that Harry is looking exceptionally preppy and stylish as he decided to display his new fall wardrobe.  On the last half mile of my run I stopped at Fairmount Pets sidewalk sale and picked up Harry's navy blue sweater for $7.  Harry looks like he just read an arsenal of leather bound books.  Afterwards, I snuggled with my genius while icing my tired legs.  When Harry clasped my arm and nuzzled me, my heart started exploding rainbows.

Monday, October 1, 2012

I'm My Own Grandma Part II

On another one of those weekdays that I needed to de-stress yet feel accomplished at the same time, I decided to create another Harry-esque craft in the same style as my previous masterpiece featured here.  I found the pattern here, and used a 6-inch hoop to complete the piece.  I actually didn't stitch within the hoop this time, instead I mounted it in the hoop after I was finished.  
Now this doggie day of the week is for Sunday, the day of "self reflection" according to the vintage pattern description.  I'm sure Harry does plently of self reflection while we're working all day, but when Harry looks into his reflection of the windows of the shops on Fairmount, I'm pretty sure he's not thinking "what is life?".  He's wondering who that handsome stud is looking back at him.

As you can see, I substituted Sunday for the choice of Harry's true thoughts.  Or at least what I think of him.  When I first started the pattern, I didn't realize that the little doo-dad to the right of Harry was the handle to the mirror.  I thought it was a leash and subsquently stitched it in blue.  Then realization hit and I had to pluck the stitches out and redo it.  In hindsight, I probably could have been more meticulous but I was in a frenzy to complete my project. 

I found a really great "finishing" tutorial here but opted to use felt and pretty fabric like I had finished the last one.  The results of the tutorial really make the piece look nice and neat afterwards. 

I'm pretty sure Harry appreciates his Mom's efforts.  Or he's wondering why I act like a 78 year old woman most of the time.  Regardless, this was a fun way to keep my hands busy that ended up looking cute in my house.  I love those free vintage patterns!