Monday 29 February 2016

Poodle collars

I'm happy with the testing my dogs have been doing, so I am now making my rolled leather poodle collars with the special smooth 'no edge' seam available for people to buy. Send me a message by email/facebook/blog message/telephone/post/pigeon etc. if you would like one, prices and information on here. Alternatively you can order them on Etsy although they are slightly more expensive.

Current colours are:

Poppy, red with black stitching
Sunflower, yellow with black
Marigold, yellow with orange
Iris, dusky purple with yellow
Nightshade, dusky purple with pink
Fuchsia, pink with white
Echinacea, pink with burgundy
Woodsorrel, green with purple
Cactus, green with orange

I have found a supplier of the yellow leather in the right shade, so I am hoping to have it soon.

Taking emus for a walk

Spring is in the air, or so it feels like today, so the emus went for a walk...

Thursday 25 February 2016

Pied Piper bags with animal motifs

I'm making available for people to buy my 'Pied Piper' bags. These bags are about 8" x 8 1/2" x 2 1/2". They can comfortably fit a trade paperback or small tablet/ reading device, and have three flat pockets (two in the bag itself and one in the front flap) and by default have a pocket that can fit a mobile phone 2 1/2" wide and two card pockets, but if people want to request custom bags, I'm happy to do more pockets or different sizes, or work out something new for e.g. if you need to carry a medical device like an inhaler.

The bag is made from leather with solid brass fittings. It is entirely handmade, with robust saddle stitching throughout (saddle stitching does not 'run', so if the very strong linen thread does manage to break, the bag will not fall apart). It comes with an adjustable strap so it can be worn either as a shoulder bag or a messenger (cross-body strap) bag. I currently have one bag available featuring a poodle in a Scandinavian trim with a red butterfly, and another bag without a motif, so its new owner can choose what they would like. So far I have done poodles in various trims and an emu, but feel free to request something else.

Price for this bag is £95 GBP.

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Emu update

Slimy the Emu chick has not been doing as well as the other two chicks from the start. Pink Jess and Purple Jess have been growing and thriving, but Slimy although it did eat and poo and move about, was not as vigorous and did not grow, and developed a swollen abdomen instead. Last week I took the emus to the vet suspecting a yolk sac infection and got antibiotics. Slimy did seem to be managing for a few days, but on Sunday evening it unfortunately deteriorated and died that night.

The other two emus are doing well and today went outside briefly:

And I now have some more emu eggs that I bought from a lady in a pub, so hopefully there should be some additional emu chicks this year.

Saturday 13 February 2016

Emus Day 6

The emu chicks have only really today started to develop a proper interest in food, and the two more advanced birds are now eating the ratite grower pellets, whereas previously they tended to pick up pieces of food and throw them around. They have been trying fresher kinds of food the past few days, and in particular seem to like apple.

This mat looks grubby, not because emus have poo'd all over it, but because I left the emus in the pen with pot of water and a pot of food, and they threw the food about and managed to kick over the water and the food soaked up the water and got trampled on the floor. Any poos the emus do get scraped off and the mat gets wiped down from time to time. Emu chicks should not have bedding that can be torn up or is made from small pieces such as woodshavings, in case they eat them. When the emus are not exercising and being fed in this pen, they sleep in a warm box lined with a rubber mat and an old hand towel.

More collar stuff

Two new collar colours: 'Poppy' (red with black) and 'Jungle Cactus' (green with orange).

This thing that looks like a Liquorice Allsort is a sample of very thick leather rolled up to see how it would look as a rolled seam:

This is a possible future project to make a very strong collar for poodles who tend to break collars because they are unusually large, or just unusually violent on the lead! It shows quite well how the collars have an entirely circular cross-section with no 'edge' to the seam to chafe the dog's coat. Here it is compared to the seam of the 'Poppy' collar:

So far, the normal collars have been working very well on my own poodles (who are not unusually large, nor particularly violent, apart from perhaps Loki who is normal-sized but muscular and can pull hard when he wants to).

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Emus Day 4

The emus have tried some food today (chopped-up apple and a boiled egg served with bird grit). Probably it would be a better idea to feed the food in smaller portions, as a mess was made by all. Pink Jess is the cuddliest emu, who keeps trying to sit on my lap and falling off, and Purple Jess is hellbent on escaping.

Slimy is obviously runty compared to the other two but did try some of the food

Monday 8 February 2016

Emu Arrival

The three emu chicks have hatched! For the time being, they are called, Purple Jess, Pink Jess, and Slimy. Samples from their egg shells will need to be sent to a laboratory in order to determine what sexes they are.

Images and footage from hatch:

Prodigious Purple Jess is the first to hatch

Purple Jess enjoys a cuddle

A cardboard box containing a rubber mat and towel, with the edge over a night storage heater, makes a cosy corner for the hatchlings

Pink Jess and Slimy have pipped

'Identity jesses' made from leatherworking scraps

Slimy egg

Saturday 6 February 2016

Emu eggs

These eggs have pipped internally and are due to hatch on Tuesday or thereabouts. One of the eggs towards the end of the clip is whistling back in response to my Major Clanger impersonation, although the camera hasn't picked it up very well.

Thursday 4 February 2016

Collar testing

My poodles have been testing the poodle collars for me. This is one of the early prototypes that Loki has been wearing for about a month now. It was made of not-so-nice quality leather and a rubbishy buckle. The leather has discoloured slightly where it has been in contact with the buckle, but otherwise there has not been much change in it.

I put a purple collar on Cally (my dog with palest coat) and sprayed detangling solution with silicones and ethanol in it on her to make sure the leather didn't react with it and the colour didn't come off on her. Neither of those things happened, although if you are going to use detangling spray or any other grooming product on your dog, I would recommend taking its collar off first and allowing the coat to dry before putting it back on!

Adhara and Hobsey have been wearing collars at agility and obedience respectively (both of them to pull and be silly there because of other dogs and people) and going for lead walks in them. Neither of them have knots in their neck hair.

Adhara decided to make hers dirty by running with Indi into a filthy field that is planted with grass seed after rain had saturated it. This is her collar before and after cleaning with saddle soap.

Fortunately she too is washable.