Thursday, June 19, 2014

He's Allergic, Harry Doggy Woggy

All week long I've sang the "Harrified" version of the electric slide.  This time last year Harry started itching, and we visited the vet several times and dosed Harry with a multitude of antihistamines, steroids, and antibiotics.  We then put Harry on a strict hypo-allergenic diet of what looked like corn pops and cost more than our monthly grocery bill.  After a while we introduced new foods to the hypo diet and watched for reactions.  Aside from a horrible explosion after the egg series, Harry didn't react to anything except his former Blue Buffalo dog food and cream cheese.  We went two months on a venison and sweet potato diet which was significantly cheaper than corn pops and at the start of this month Harry started itching again, developing two major hot spots.

Before Harry had a chance to completely inflate with an allergic reaction we reached out to our dermatologist at UPenn.  It seemed as though Harry was displaying strong signs that he had been suffering from environmental allergies all along.  We scheduled a skin test only two days later.  
His bad side (side where he had swelling from itching)
Harry's skin test consisted of him being put under sedation (not completely knocked out, but drugged), shaved in a patch, and pricked with 74 different allergens.  After each allergen was injected, the doctor recorded a reaction.  It only lasted about 20 minutes and we were called to pick Harry up only an hour and a half after we dropped him off.  
Harry's patch and all the dots are his allergy injections :(

Upon arrival we were given a packet of what Harry had gone through and a long list of Harry's allergies.  Harry is highly allergic to grass, yeast, dust, and mites.  But then he's also slightly allergic to a slew of other things, humans included.  My dog is allergic to me.  Here's the list:

On the bright side, we finally figured out what Harry's allergic to.  From now on we have to dose Harry for the rest of his life with allergy drops.  We opted for drops instead of shots because neither of us are comfortable with injections....but the drops are kind of a pain.  Harry doesn't like me sticking anything but treats in his mouth so this is a process he's going to have to get used to.  The first set of drops are diluted so that Harry's body starts to adapt to them.  Then as we move on he'll be put on a stronger solution.  In high season we'll likely have to pair it with a zyrtec.

Only a week or so of steroids left and then we'll see if the drops are working.  I'm so happy we went ahead and did the test.  It was a little expensive but I can't imagine having another year of breakouts, panicking about Harry's health.  If you're thinking about doing this test, I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

DIY Tutorial: Souvenir Style Sign

When the foo and I travel I become a hoarder.  Any paper product be it a ticket, receipt, brochure, or sometimes even a decorative bag I stash it in a corner of my suitcase.  My bag is like the wallet of Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch me if you Can.  Then when we come home the hoarder's pile of paper treasure sits in craft storage until I think of something to do with it.  Our Peru travels inspired me to to decoupage a frame with travel mementos.  It's taken me up until this past weekend to do something with the paper collection from our Eurotrip of September 2013.

On said Eurotrop, foo and I hit up four countries:  England, Netherlands, Belgium, and France.  As you can imagine, I collected a decent amount of "treasures".  I tried to make a point of getting a newspaper from every country, but failed in Belgium.  However, because it was absolutely necessary, we did end up with a map from each country.  I decided to use this as a backdrop for a letter sign that we'll be hanging in our new home (yea more on that later) and also at our upcoming wedding (whattttt).  It just so happened that visiting four countries gave me the perfect number of maps to spell a special four letter word.  

To start, I needed four frames - one for each of my letters.  I bought Ikea RIBBA frames particularly for their ability to stand if set on a table (dual purpose people - wedding & home decor).  I printed out the word LOVE using Arial Bold font in size 350 and used them as a stencil on my maps.

I used the frame matting to make sure I got all map and no ads in my end result.  Most of the maps we got were fo frizzle!  Measuring on all sides of the letters, I ensured I was centered.  Above is Amsterdam.  When I positioned my matting I tried to get some cool landmarks in sight.  Above you'll see Centraal Station in the upper right and in the bottom right is the famous church, Zuiderkerk, known for being a subject in a number of Monet paintings.  The O is surrounded by the many canals of Amsterdam.

Once I got my letters centered I taped them in place.  Using an exacto knife (on top of a cutting mat) I cut out each letter carefully.  Above is letter E, ending the word LOVE and also our Eurotrip as Paris was our final stop and the location of our super romantic engagement on the Ponte de Artes bridge.

Once cutting was complete, I layered the map over white paper and secured it inside the frame.  I actually just flipped the grey paper that came inside the IKEA frame.  

Final product!  It's not hanging on the wall yet, as we're not officially moved in.  Our wedding has a bit of a travel theme in our cocktail hour and I'm hoping we can use this as decor somewhere on site or set up on a table.  I love how each letter is unique but still cohesive.  Also, I'm ecstatic that the letters go in the exact order of our trip.  L is a map of London, O is a map of Amsterdam, V is a map of Brussels, and E is a map of Paris.  Plus Paris has the Eiffel Tower in the bottom right corner.  Once we've got it hanging I'll add more pics.  But for now I'm super jazzed!