Friday, January 30, 2009

Greyfriars’ Bobby: A True Story

This is the sixth and last tag I've made for Karla's Puppy Love tag swap. I'll be packaging them up and sending them out this weekend! I've covered all different interpretations of puppy love and this last one is homage to the loyalty and love between a dog and its owner. I found this wonderfully heart-wrenching true story of Bobby and typed it out and made a little book. The cover shows the statue erected in honor of Bobby. I hand-stitched the book binding and included a cross charm (appropriate, as you'll read below).

And the story . . .

More than a hundred years ago, the great city of Edinburgh in Scotland was a busy, bustling place. The narrow, bumpy streets were filled with horse-drawn carriages, carts and wagons.

To this city every Wednesday morning came a farmer named Mr. Grey. And at his side, trotting along on short legs that moved so fast they seemed to twinkle, was Bobby. Bobby was Mr. Grey’s Skye Terrier — a small, intelligent, short-tailed kind of dog whose bright eyes and stubby legs were nearly covered by his long, flowing hair.

Mr. Grey would spend the morning at market. When the time-gun — a signal cannon that was fired at one o’clock — went off, Mr. Grey and Bobby would head for a small restaurant called Traill’s Dining Room, which was not far from Greyfriars’ Church. There, Mr. Grey and Bobby would have lunch. Lunch was always the same for the little dog — a crisp bun. Mr. Traill, who owned the restaurant, soon came to know the little dog well.

One Wednesday, the farmer and his dog did not appear at the restaurant. Several days passed. Then, one day as the time-gun sounded the hour of one o’clock, Mr. Traill was startled to see a small, thin bedraggled-looking dog standing in his doorway. It was Bobby, and he was all alone.

“Why, I believe he’s hungry,” Mr. Traill said to himself. “He’s come for a bun, same as always. But where is his master?” He took a bun and held it out to the dog. “Is that it, laddie? Are you hungry?”

Bobby took the bun, and with the quick, happy sort of skip that a hungry dog often makes when given a bit of food, turned and trotted from the restaurant. Mr. Traill watched him go, wondering what had happened. Was the little dog lost? Had something happened to his master, the farmer Grey?

Next day, at the same hour, Bobby came to the restaurant again. The kindly Mr. Traill quickly gave another bun to the hungry animal. Again, Bobby took it in his mouth and trotted off.

Overcome with curiosity, Mr. Traill followed him. With Traill close behind him, Bobby made his way to Greyfriars’ churchyard. There, near a grave that looked to Mr. Traill as if it were new, the dog lay down and began to eat his bun.

With a lump rising in his throat, Mr. Traill walked over and peered down at the simple grave marker. It bore the name of old Grey — Bobby’s master. Traill realized, now, why the dog looked so thin and uncared for. His master was dead, and little Bobby had been staying here, night and day, beside the grave. Only the terrible pangs of hunger had finally driven him to search for food. Perhaps the sound of the time-gun had reminded him of Traill’s Dining Room and the buns he had gotten there.

Traill bent over the little dog. “Come away, laddie,” he urged in a low, gentle voice. “It’s no use — your master’s gone. I’ll take care of you.” Bobby wagged his tail. But he did not budge. The man could not make him leave the grave. After a time, sadly shaking his head, Traill left.

Each day after that, always at the hour of one, Bobby came to beg for a bun, which Traill never failed to give him. The man told others about the faithful little Skye Terrier who would not leave his master’s grave. Soon, most of the people in the city of Edinburgh knew of the dog.

Many people tried to coax Bobby away from the grave. But he refused to leave. Then some of Mr. Grey’s relatives took the little dog away from the cemetery and tried to give him a home. But Bobby escaped, and returned to the grave! After a time, some of
the citizens of Edinburgh raised money to have a shelter built beside the grave. Now Bobby could take refuge from rain and snow, without leaving the graveside.

For fourteen years the little dog stayed beside his master’s grave. He became so much a part of the cemetery that he was known as Greyfriars’ Bobby. Visitors to the cemetery would see his small, gray form curled on the grass beside Grey’s grave.

Then, one morning, someone noticed that Bobby lay in a stiff, unmoving position. The little Skye Terrier was dead.

Greyfriars’ Bobby was buried next to Mr. Grey’s grave. At last, the faithful dog, who had waited so long, was with his master again.

[A year after Bobby died, the philanthropist Baroness Burdett Coutts had a statue and fountain erected to commemorate the dog. Several books and films have been based on Bobby's life, including Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson and the films Greyfriars Bobby (1961, Walt Disney Productions) and The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby (2006).]

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Last night when I checked my mailbox, it was stuffed with a package. Love that! (Bills don't come in squishy puffy envelopes or boxes wrapped in brown paper!).

It was a gift from a past co-worker, Deborah. Our company has always been big on nicknames (it's a gift I have that doesn't go to waste in a creative work and home environment), and Deborah's nickname had been Mother. Now let me set the record straight that the name didn't come about because Deborah is a rotund, matronly woman, with an ample, snuggly bosom, a house full of little ones, and a wardrobe of floral shifts, aprons and "sensible" shoes.

Quite the contrary. Deborah is athletically slender, with that lightly freckled and weekend-at-the-lake tanned face that gets by with a light moisturizer and a swipe of lip gloss (at least that's how I think her make-up regime would be). Fashionable and spright, a ball of positive energy.

I think the nickname Mother came about because of her deeds. Always putting others first, giving of herself and her home. She is a mom (to two daughters), but sorta was mom to everyone she came in contact with at the office. You felt comfortable with her, conversations were effortless, smiles and laughter were always doled out in generous portions. She is one of those people who make you feel safe and nurtured . . . a mother.

We keep in touch via the annual Christmas letter, and I hear about her and her family via current co-workers who keep up with her more consistently via email and visits. Needless to say, when I saw the return address on the package, I was excited, curious, and I had to tinkle real badly, so I combined that little chore with opening the package (Mother would appreciate this . . . both the humor of it AND my mad skills at multi-tasking).

She sent me three vintage pillowcases, lovingly crafted tags she made (that will help build a growing collection I've started), and the most wonderful handwritten letter. Her words of praise and encouragement brought a rush of all those feelings again. How I felt in her presence. And reminded me why we call her Mother.

Oh, and by the way, she's younger than I am. So it makes calling her Mother even more fun!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Homecoming 2009

This weekend we had so much to look forward to. Harleigh's Homecoming game and dance. A manageable amount of chores for Mamma G. All in all, a relaxing weekend with much accomplished and downtime around the fireplace, walking the dog, and stealing an hour or two here or there to watch TV, read a book, and catch up on gabbing.

For Homecoming this year, we decided an early birthday present was in order. We had Synett, a local hairstylist and makeup artist, come to the house and do Harleigh's hair and makeup for the dance. What a wonderful experience. We will most definitely use her for prom.

Trader Joe's Wine Bags

When checking out at Trader Joe's this past week (a store I don't often frequent except to buy my face soap, flowers and the best banana chips you can buy), I commented to the check-out dude how much I liked the wine bags. Take a bunch, he said. And so I took about 5. I'm sure there's a project in the making with these lovely bags. At the very least, next time I bring a bottle of wine as a hostess gift, I'm sure I could trick this bag out, covering the store name, and make a lovely presentation.

Fenton Find and Other Sweet Things

At the Goodwill yesterday I scored three vintage pillowcases and this umbrella candy bowl. I'll spray paint the umbrella handle since it's a little discolored; a perfect dish for a baby or bridal shower!

Then I came across this hobnail tankard (it's really too big to be called a mug). I turned it over and it's stamped Fenton. A piece of Fenton for $1.50! This particular stamping is probably dating the piece to the 1970's. I can use it as a vase (and can turn it so you can't see the handle). I love the scallop design.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Puppy Love Tag Swap — Tag 4: Lady and the Tramp AND Tag 5: Just a pretty tag

With the addition of these two tags, I'm up to 5, with just one more to go (will finish it this weekend!).

Tag 4 takes the puppy love theme literally . . . love between two canines. And who better to represent that than Lady and the Tramp in their famous spaghetti-eating scene. I used a piece of red gingham scrapbook paper to look like a tablecloth at an Italian restaurant. The bell with hearts was a nice find; it's like the bell that people often use to train dogs.

And the leather lace trim at the top of the picture ties into leather dog toys and rawhides.

Tag 5 really has no theme. The only reference to puppy love is the collie charm. I was just really jonesin' to create a tag using certain items I had on hand that I knew would come together nicely.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Puppy Love Tag Swap — Tag 3: Dear Diary . . .

My third tag (see two posts below for links to the swap I'm participating in) is made from the cover of an old diary I bought at a flea market a year or two ago. What speaks of puppy love better than the one place we young girls knew we could retreat to and pour out our hearts.

I ripped the cover off, leaving the jagged edge intact (as opposed to cutting it to a clean edge). I glued on a piece of white satin ribbon, tying it at the bottom with a diary key and a heart-shaped locket. For the "vase" I used part of the plastic vial that those eyeglass repair kits come in. Added a piece of lace, some off-white silk roses, and glued the whole thing on to look like a wall pocket vase.

For the reverse side, there's a red heart covering the end of the ribbon where it wraps around from the front. And then some scrapbooking buttons add to the vintage feel.

I hope Velma would be OK with me using her diary to make this tag!

Puppy Love Tag Swap — Tag 2: Tru Luv

Here is tag number two for Karla's Puppy Love Tag Swap. My first tag had more of an elementary school slant. This one is a teen kind of puppy love. The tag is covered in a pink canvas that mimics the blue canvas 3-ring binders we used way back when. I found a Puppy Love 45 rpm record as well as an old Tiger Beat magazine on ebay and adhered pix of those. At the bottom of the flower power ribbon is a puppy lock, reminiscent of the locks we used on our lockers. The jewel-centered silk flower is just for fun.

On the back I wrote stuff, just like we did all over our binders. The floral paper covers the backs of the record and magazine (that overlap the edge of the tag).

This tag took me back to middle and high school days and all the crushes I had on boys who never even knew I existed. And this list included celebrities like Donny Osmond and David Cassidy (to whom I sent a Holly Hobbie birthday card and truly expected a reply).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Puppy Love Tag Swap — Tag 1: "Check yes or no"

I have been beside myself with this tag swap that Karla over at Karla's Cottage is doing. The theme is Puppy Love. It has been a blast making the tags. There are set parameters, there is a deadline (and the timeline is manageable), crafting them takes an evening or two at the most, and I have all the supplies on hand; in other words, it's been an easy project to jump right into, and there is nothing daunting about it. I will share my tags as I finish them.

Tag 1: "Check yes or no"

This tag is inspired by the crushes we all had in elementary school. Side one of the tag is covered in a page from a dictionary that has the definition for "puppy love." Over that I put a small picture of a page from a yearbook where I put a heart around one of the little boys (the crushee) something we always did in our own yearbooks.

The card slips into a glassine sleeve, and in the sleeve is a piece of pink notebook paper which has the note which was passed in class. I added a velvet ribbon which holds a pencil for checking the appropriate box.

The back side of the card is a school library check-out card. The hole in the card has a reinforcement around it (it's a bit hidden by the tack I used to hang the tag for picture taking). I added the flowers for embellishment.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

Have picked the winner of one of my journals using the computer's random number generator. Jen (at babybeeandmommy), I will be in touch! You can pick a map from anywhere in the world (even the universe!) and I'll handcraft you a journal — or maybe 3! — complete with a ribbon bookmark adorned with a charm. Hope you fill them with wonderful musings and memories (of your little Bee, perhaps?).



Gahan Girls + Winter = Snuggletime

While Gideon is reveling in this cold weather and being outside, we Gahan Girls much prefer to stick to the confines of Chateau Gahan and its overflowing baskets of blankets and afghans.

Gideon + Winter = Heaven

Little man loves this cold snap we're having here in Georgia. He finds the toasty warm of the inside of the house rather stifling, what with all his fur, which isn't even at full coat.

Here he is playing fetch with a tennis ball. And then standing on a turned-over baby pool in the side yard (yeah, it looks rather trashy, but he likes it). It collects water which then ices over. One of his favorite outdoor pastimes is playing break-the-ice-with-my-big-hairy-paw-then-drink-the-water-that-I-find-below. Hello? Who doesn't like to play that game??

Friday, January 16, 2009

I ♥ Lunch

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, I couldn't resist getting a few boxes of these heart-covered ziploc bags for packing Harleigh's lunch.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Giveaway Reminder

If you've not commented on my giveaway post, please do so by the cut-off of midnight tomorrow! The winner (chosen this Saturday) will get one of my handmade journals with a map of their choice on the front and back covers.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Opening Up

My hands are where all the angst in my life seems to migrate. I sometimes wake up to find my hands in tight fists, curled up into the crook of my neck. I chew and pick on the skin around my thumbs, a nervous habit that makes for not-so-pretty hands. I catch myself rubbing and twisting my hands as I think, almost as if I'm rubbing on hand lotion.

And so I've been concentrating on bringing some calm into these two hyper and dysfunctional body parts. By simply laying my hands down with palms up, I've captured a peace that has long eluded me.

In church I always sit in the same third row, the same seat. Very few people sit in front of me (most people stick to the back pews), and this means very few distractions as I pray, meditate and just "be." This Sunday, as I listened to the sermon, I lay my hands, palms-up, on my knees, and it was so relaxing. I felt a sense of vulnerability and calm that almost seemed to heighten my senses, opening me up to experiencing exactly what I come to church for.

While driving, whichever hand is not on the steering wheel, is palm-up on my leg or armrest. Again, helping to create a sense of calm, especially on the hellacious commute I have to and from work.

I fell asleep on Sunday night with the same goal in mind. I always sleep on my side, but this time instead of the hands curling into my neck, I lay them on the pillow next to my head. It's almost as if, when I relax my hands, instead of being these magnets of negative energy, they turn into two resting souls lying on their backs in the warmth of the sunshine. I can feel my pulse, steady. I can hear myself think clearer. Things are put into perspective. And all because of my hands opening up.

I suppose that is what a lot of yoga is about, this positive energy flow. Now to concentrate on not using my thumbs as morning, afternoon and evening chew toys.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

My Very First Tag Swap

I could hardly contain myself! When I read about Karla's Valentine tag swap, I just about wet myself (easy to do, mind you) with excitement! A fun project, one that I can share with others, AND I get others' beautiful, artsy tags of my very own (crafted into a book by the very talented Karla)! And it has a deadline. Something that tops off the makings of a perfect craft endeavor. (Deadlines are my friends, big time.)

I'll be posting my progress.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

One-Year Anniversary and a Giveaway

We celebrate birthdays (of those close to us and even old boyfriends' from high school!), anniversaries of all kinds, remember the dates when loved ones have died, marriages began (and ended), dates when significant changes in our lives occurred like when we closed on our first house or got our first job or graduated from college.

And on this date, one year ago, I embarked on something that has proven pretty darn significant in my life . . . I began this blog. What a godsend it has been. Recharging my creativity. Connecting me with new friends (and all their creativity that is such inspiration to me). Even reconnecting me with friends from my past. I have loved every minute of posting, relished every single wonderful comment, and savored all the hours of reading others' blogs.

I look forward to many more years to come.

Here's a giveaway to celebrate my year! Please leave me a comment on this post to be entered. And if you post on your own blog about my giveaway (do let me know in your comment if you are doing so!), you'll be entered twice (and feel free to post the picture as well!). The giveaway will be one of my handmade journals. But the fun part of it is that the winner gets to tell me what map they would like on the journal covers! It can be a map of anything! The deadline to post a comment here and be eligible for the giveaway is midnight on Friday, January 16. I will draw a winner on Saturday the 17th!

In parting, here is a picture I took of three of my miniature chairs (they stand two inches tall). They represent The Gahan Girls . . . me, Harleigh and Gideon (well, he's not a girl. But who cares.)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Current obsession . . . mod vintage pillowcases

My newest mission is to find brightly colored vintage pillowcases. In the past I would have been more drawn to white, lacy, embroidered linens, but now I'm finding sheet sets from the 60's and 70's to be really happy additions to my linen closet! Found these two last weekend at a buck a piece. Harleigh saw them and said, "oooo, I want those on my bed. How fun!!"

They mix and match really well too, unified by their bursts of color!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 Resolution

As organized as I am, and as much as I can get done in a given day, you'd think my at-home paperwork situation would be picture-perfect. But it's far from it. I think my avoidance of filing, paying bills (I wait until the absolute last minute to tackle that ugly chore) and just plain dealing with all the paperwork has everything to do with the fiscally crappy situation that I was in during my married years. I'd sit at the kitchen table, buried in bills, bogged down with my ex-husband's medical bills and records, feeling overwhelmed and helpless. I've seen the light now. I'm financially fit and in control of my own fiscal future, but the memory of it all still cripples me.

This year I vow to get the paperwork under control. Does this mean a better way to organize the mounting paperwork? A set day every week to balance my checkbook and do filing? A reward system for moi for when I get a paper-oriented task done? Maybe it's a designated work space? (Right now we have the computer table in the rumpus room with my filing cabinet next to it, but it's more a family space and not one strictly for me and my stuff.) Maybe I enter the modern world and get rid of much of the paper I process, knowing that records exist electronically.

Any tips would be much appreciated. I'd like this burden lessened as I enter into 2009.

[Photo by: Camilo Rueda López]

Dollar Store Bonanza

For Christmas this year, my sister Karla (who also got me the subscription to Domino magazine), gave me a big gift bag of individually wrapped items. She prefaced it by saying that she went into the dollar store and thought "think like Dawn." It was so fun to unwrap each item. There's floral foam, popcorn tubs, raffia, silk flowers and picks, matchboxes (for me to cover!), glue stix and glue gun refills, tape, floral wire, tealights, glue sticks, paint brushes (which I go through at a pretty quick pace, using them for glue and decoupage projects), picture matts, magnets, Spanish Moss and even a Bing Crosby Christmas CD.

All will find their place in my craft storage, and all will be put to good use in upcoming projects!

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