Tag Archive for 'uk'

Folksy Friday: Lather Up

This week Martin & Is’ first batch of cold process soap, which has been curing in a cupboard for the past month or so, was finally ready to use. I’m relieved to say`that neither of us have suffered any caustic burns, or so much as broken out in a rash (though I did make Martin try it first!!).  In fact I’m rather pleased with the creamy, fragrance free bars we’ve produced – rather good for a first attempt!

We made our soap using a blend of olive oil, coconut & avocado oils, & cut it into rather plain looking rectangular bars. But handmade soap can be much more creative than this, as demonstrated by the Folksy sellers who have made the beautiful, & no doubt wonderfully fragranced, soaps below:

Sheep soap by Bits N Bobs, Yummy Chocolate soap by Miju Beauty, Ice Lolly soap by Sophie’s Soap,  Honey Buns soap by  Oakwood Soaperie, Natural Forest soap by Karramandi, Tea Tree & Fresh Mint soap by Original Soap Co

Encouraged by the results of our first batch & inspired by all the gorgeous handmade soaps above, I now feel ready to graduate to more fancy scented & moulded soaps for our next batch, which we plan to distribute as favours at our wedding later this year. Will keep you posted with the results… ;-)

Dashing Through The Snow

For the past month Max & Molly have been enjoying their walks in a rather different landscape on venturing outdoors. In the last week of November, snow fell over Edinburgh, wrapping it (along with much of the UK) in a thick icy blanket. Record low temperatures & further snow fall have caused all sorts of disruption across the country, but have formed the most beautiful backdrop to our walks & been thoroughly enjoyed, at least by the dogs!

the scene at Blackford Glen, our local walk

Max & Molly explore the snowy landscape

It was wonderful to see Max in particular enjoying the snow, as this time last year he was really suffering with his limp & wasn’t taking any pleasure in it at all.  This time round though, he can’t get enough of it, & as soon as he’s off lead he bounds off, frolicking through the powder like an overgrown puppy! It doesn’t take long before he gets tired & out of breath, but his solution to that is just to stop & immerse himself in the snow for a few seconds to cool off,  before embarking on the whole daft routine all over again…

Max (in the red coat) shows Molly, Danny & Fidra how it’s done!

Molly, on the other hand, has her own unique way of enjoying the snow, preferring to burrow into it with her nose with her bum up in the air! Meanwhile, snow is flowing freely into the neck of her snuggly waterproof coat, soaking her from the inside out & making her a little regretful about her actions afterwards…

Molly fills her coat with snow…

& then needs a little TLC to help deal with the consequences later on!

Unfortunately the icy weather conditions have meant that my dog walking business more or less ground to a halt for a few weeks  with treacherous road conditions making many of my clients unreachable. However, local walks continued, with greyhound Danny & border terrier Fidra regularly joining Max, Molly & I on our outings into the snow. On one occasion we met a gentleman cross country skiing through Blackford Glen – he suggested I get myself a pair of skis & hook myself up to the dogs!

walking with Fidra, Danny, Molly & Max

the dogs at Blackford Glen

Severe disruption to UK postal services has even affected my printing business, resulting in the delayed arrival of supplies, with knock on effects on order turnover times, & then further delays with delivery of orders themselves. Whilst offering to gift wrap & ship directly to recipients has helped counter these problems to an extent, I’m devastated to think that some of my customers will be without  their Christmas orders due to the delays. =(

berries in the snow at Blackford Glen

However, whilst I’m not impressed with the disruptive effects the wintry weather had on my businesses, it has been lovely to see the fun my dogs have had in the snow. ;-)

with Max & Molly at Blackford Glen

Folksy Friday: Sweet Charity

This Friday I’m sharing some beautiful handmade Christmas cards which I found on Folksy. These cards are extra special because for each card sold, a donation is being made to the artists’ chosen charity.

Artists (clockwise from top left):

Pop-up Zoo Greeting Cards (charity: Sands stillbirth and neonatal death charity)

Rhiannon Thomas (charity:  Hue Help Vietnamese childrens charity)

Ruby Wren Designs charity: RSPCA Woodside Animal Sanctuary in Leicester)

Miss Baclart Designs (charity: Macmillan Cancer Care)

Sales of my own handmade Christmas cards, which are also available to purchase of Folksy, support my local greyhound rehoming charity, Gracehounds.

The cards feature a black & white photograph of  my rescue greyhound, Max, looking comical in a pair of reindeer antlers. (Lots of turkey titbits were supplied!) Glitter has been carefully applied to give a shiny red nose & glistening silver antlers! The greeting inside reads, “Have a Greyt Xmas!”

Count Down to Christmas!

Our count down to Christmas has started early this year. Maybe it’s because Martin & I have been invited to spend Christmas itself overseas with his Dad & consequently have to fit in various pre-Christmas celebrations as early as 4th December with other family members! Or maybe it’s because I want to let you know about a very special screenprinting project I’ve been working on in plenty time for you & your pets to begin your own count downs on 1st December…

Introducing my paw prints advent calendar for pets!

The calendar features 24 festive red & green cotton pouches…

… each decorated with hand printed white paw prints numbered 1 – 24, counting down the days to Xmas!

The pouches can be filled with small toys or snacks of your choice…

… so that your pet will receive a special treat every day in the lead up to Xmas!

I screen print each numbered pawprint onto the fabric sacks by hand using non-toxic fabric ink.

The pouches measure 6 x 9 cm & are attached by drawstring cords to a length of natural jute cord measuring 170 cm (approx).

The whole thing is very light & can be hung in your chosen location using just a few drawing pins (or similar) to secure the ends.

The calendar is eco-friendly & can be used again year after year.

As with all my handmade products, 5% of the profits from the sale of these calendars will be donated to my local greyhound rehoming charity, Gracehounds.

Calendars are available to purchase via both Max and Molly Designs on Etsy & Max and Molly Designs on Folksy, priced £20 GBP / $32 USD each.

Martin, the dogs & I had so much fun photographing these calendars – we went a whole lot of treats, & I can tell you that Max & Molly definitely started their Christmas count down early! ;-)

Raffle for the Rabbits

Shhhh, don’t tell Max & Molly but I’ve been fraternizing with ‘the enemy’*! My good friend Annette organises an annual Winter Raffle to raise funds for Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare, & I am one of several artists who have donated a prize.

* the bunnies, not Annette ;-)

After being found covered in blood & urine on a disused railway line, Annette’s rescue rabbit, Wesley, was looked after by Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare. He now lives as a much loved & very well cared for house rabbit with his adoptive sibling, Arabella, & his new Mum, Annette.

Many rabbits & guinea pigs are bought as children’s pets by people seeking the ‘cute & cuddly’ stereotype portrayed by the media. However, children often tire of them quickly & lose interest (usually by the time they reach around 6 months of age & are starting to grow larger & less cutesy)  & every year thousands of them end up abandoned or neglected. Established in 1995, Rabbit and Guinea Pig Welfare in Rugby, England rescues as many of these animals as possible & rehomes them responsibly.

Every penny raised through the sale of raffle tickets will go directly to help abandoned rabbits & guinea pigs at the shelter. You can purchase your tickets here, to be in with a chance of winning one of 11 fantastic prizes.

The item I have donated as a prize is a tea towel rather aptly hand printed with my ‘All Ears‘ design:

The printed image is derived from a photograph of my rescue greyhound, Max, wearing a pair of bunny ears (whilst no doubt dreaming of chasing rabbits!):

My towel is just one of  a total of 11 prizes though, so let’s take a look at what else you can win in the raffle…

Jeanette of Square Hare has donated her Celestial Hare, Dancing Hare & Faun brooches:

Pey of Peylu has donated a set of her Esme the Brown Bunny prints:

Jen of McGuinness Photography has donated  a set of 4 of her Bunny Rabbit Photo Greeting Cards:

Carly of Naked Carly Art has donated her Original Rabbit Collage:

Alison of Eastwitching has donated her original watercolour painting, ‘The Protector’:

Eline of The High North has donated her Doggy Bag: (even my greyhounds would approve of this!)

Kirsten of Kirsten’s Clay has donated her Snowshoe Hare Footprint Mug:

Debbie of Shaded Memories has donated her Snuggle Sweet Nothings 8×10 photo print:

Kim of Veganessa has donated her White Rabbit Brooch:

& last, but definitely by no means least, Annette of Dragon House of Yuen has donated her own life-sized Mother Hare textile ornament ‘Ermine’:

For more information about each of these prizes, please visit Annette’s blog (where you will also find lots of adorable pictures & tales of her rescue rabbits, Wesley & Arabella). To purchase your tickets, please visit the Rabbit & Guinea Pig Welfare website where you can pay via PayPal.

& remember, I won’t tell Max & Molly if you won’t! ;-)

Pet Portraits

Recently I have been busy with a lot of custom work, creating hand printed pet portraits. Here are some of the animals I have been working with & the resulting prints I have made:

Penny & Fletcher are 2 rescue greyhounds. Don’t they look just adorable snuggled up on the sofa together?

Penny & Fletchers’ owner asked me to print her dogs onto a T-shirt for her & chose a chocolate brown colour paired with lovely golden yellow ink. She wanted the dogs to ‘lie’ along the bottom edge of the shirt. I have a special soft spot for brindle greyhounds since my own dog, Max, is a brindle, so I loved working with the beautiful brindle markings that this pair have!

Dinky & Bomber are another pair of rescue hounds, Dinky is pictured on the left & Bomber on the right.

Like a lot of greyhounds, Bomber likes to chase! His owner had a great idea for a caption to print along with the image of him running onto one of my hoodies – Show me the bunny!

Dinky & Bomber were also treated to some personalised treats pouches for taking on holiday with them, Bomber’s in black & Dinky’s in turquoise.

This was such a fun custom order to work on & I was delighted to hear that Dinky & Bomber & their owner were pleased with everything:

“Thanks for everything Jane, such a great person to work with. Dinky and Bomber love their treat bags, especially when the chocky buttons appear from them! We’ll be back! xx”

I’m not sure what kind of dog Gomez is, but one thing’s for sure – he’s super cute! Just look at that smile…

Custom prints of Gomez were ordered as a surprise gift for his owner, one on a tote bag & one on a doggy bandanna, both in co-ordinating bright yellow. The dog’s name was printed alongside his image.

& here’s what the buyer had to say about their purchase:

“Seriously awesome seller with a seriously awesome product. Ten days from order to my doorstep — for a custom order and halfway around the world!”

Meet Penny, pictured here basking in the sun with her owner.

Penny’s portrait was also purchased as a gift for her owner, this time printed onto one of my men’s T-shirts in a lovely olive colour. I love the way the shadows fall in this picture – it makes a striking print.

Here’s what Penny’s owner had to say about their T-shirt:

Fast delivery. Fantastic item, Wonderful Communication. Great seller, highly recommended!

Last but not least in the line of subjects I have printed recently is a special family dog, Pippin.

Pippin sadly passed away recently & her portrait was purchased as a special memento for her owner. I printed Pippin’s image in indigo onto a white tea towel , which the owner was going to have framed.

It’s an honour to think that someone is going to frame & hang one of my prints & I hope I did old Pippin justice. Here’s what the customer thought:

“Brilliant seller – patient, accommodating and informative. Produced a fantastic image of a very special dog. I cannot thank you enough for producing this for me!!”

At this customer’s suggestion, I have been prompted to look into the possibility of printing my designs / portraits onto stretched canvas boards, so watch this space for some experimentation!

If you would like me to work with you & your pet (which need not be a greyhound, sighthound or even a dog!) to  create a custom hand printed pet portrait on anything from a tea towel to a hoodie, please email me at thedoghouse.etsy@googlemail.com or enquire via my Etsy or Folksy shop.

You can see a full gallery of all the custom work I have completed here.

Agility For Greyhounds!

On the last Sunday of every month, our local greyhound rehoming charity, Gracehounds, hosts an open day at Vogrie Country Park in Midlothian. It’s a chance for anyone keen to learn more about greyhounds to chat with the volunteers & meet the foster dogs. Anyone is welcome to attend, with or without a dog – the aim is to have fun whilst demonstrating what wonderful pets greyhounds & lurchers make.

Along with a nice walk & the chance to meet other sighthounds, there is also a fun agility course for the dogs to try. Now, greyhounds may not be renowned for their prowess in the world of dog agility, but once they get a whiff of one of  the tasty cocktail sausages which Gracehounds provides, all of a sudden they become very keen to please…!

Molly loves agility!

Our Molly is a little star when it comes to agility, & she is very popular with the children who attend Gracehounds’ open days – they practically queue up waiting for a turn to take her round the agility course! I’m so proud of how gentle  & patient she is with them – she absolutely adores all the attention & exercise (& sausages of course!).

Molly jumps over the hurdle…

… then gets her sausage reward!

Last Sunday there was a new addition to Gracehounds’ agility course: a balance ramp. It didn’t take Molly very long until she had mastered that one too & was scampering up & down it for her little titbit of sausage at the end!

Molly quickly learnt how to do the ‘balance ramp’

For the foster dogs especially, the fun agility course is a great way to introduce them to new things which they won’t have experienced before & show them praise & reward. Often they will sit & watch curiously while other dogs have a go at the course, noticing the number of sausages that pass hands, before feeling confident enough to have a wee go themselves! There are always plenty sausages to go round, though whether a dog is interested in agility or not ;-)

Gracehounds currently has 4 dogs who are looking for homes: Katy, Ben, Tom & Charlotte – I have had the privilege of meeting them & they are all absolute darlings, each special in their own unique way! You can find out more about  Gracehounds’ foster dogs by clicking on the pictures below or visiting the Gracehounds website.

Katie is a gorgeous 18 month old brindle girl who is full of fun

Ben is an adorable 5 year old gent who loves to play

Tom is a sweet 6 year old boy

cute little Charlotte is only 6 months old

You can see more photos from Sunday 25th June as well as from all Gracehounds’ open days here.

Folksy Friday: Elderflower Champagne

BuySellGoFolksy is a UK based place to buy handmade things &  for makers to sell their work and find supplies. I’m pleased to announce that Max and Molly Designs now has a Folksy shop – that’s good news for UK shoppers who no longer need to convert prices from US dollars ;-)

‘Folksy Friday’ is is a great way of showcasing the wonderful variety of items made by talented Folksy sellers & (hopefully) spreading the word about the wide array of quality handmade items that can be found on Folksy. My first Folksy Friday is inspired by the elderflower champagne that Martin & I are currently making & hope to be able to enjoy at our wedding next year!

Featured are (clockwise from top left):

Elderflower Champagne Soap by Hea’ram-Skearam Soap Company

Blue Gin Bottle by Fired Art

Mustard Flower Hoop Earrings by  Lazy Giraffe

Bridal Champagne and Ivory Bubbles Bracelet by AMI Designs

Wine Lovers Corkboard by I Used 2B

Wine Glass Tea Towel by Charlotte Macey Textiles

Please take time to visit each of these makers’ shops, which are packed full of unusual & unique handmade goodies!

As for Martin & I, the elderflower champagne is the first of many DIY projects we’ll be working on in preparation for our wedding next year – look out for future blog posts about what else is in the pipeline for our handmade wedding ;-)

Moss is Missing

Update 1/4/10:

Moss’s body has now been found & he has been laid to rest. Thank you to everyone who has helped us in our search.

This is an appeal to bring home my Mum’s dog, Moss, in time for Mothers Day this Sunday.

Moss on the beach with his ball

Moss is a 10 month old border collie type dog who has been missing for a whole fortnight now. He disappeared suddenly towards the end of his daily hour-long morning walk with my Mum along Broughty Ferry’s Grassy Beach at around 7am on Friday 26th February. She walks him at this location at the same time every (weekday) morning, before going out to work, & very rarely meets anyone else along the beach. There are occasion cyclists, & Moss wears a fluorescent yellow visibility vest on these walks so that they can easily spot him. He was wearing this on the day he went missing, along with a black half-choke collar with a silver bone shaped ID tag with his name & home address engraved on it.

map showing where Moss was last seen in Broughty Ferry

Moss has a longish, rough coat, which is mostly black with some white markings, including one white sock on his left foreleg & a white tail tip. He is only 10 months old so not yet quite fully grown. He is very biddable & always stuck within sight of my Mum (or whoever was walking him), coming whenever he was called. He loved nothing more than having his rope toy thrown for him, retrieving it, throwing it around a bit & (eventually) depositing it back so it could be thrown again for him. He would never venture further from his walker than the toy was thrown, & was always more interested in his toy than any other dogs or people around him.

Moss near the spot where he went missing at the Grassy Beach

Despite extensive searching of the area at the time & the surrounding area over the forthcoming weeks, no trace of Moss has been found. The initial worry was that he could have somehow gotten onto the railway line which runs parallel to the beach, but this has been fully investigated by Network Rail, who have confirmed his body has not been found along the railway. Dundee City Council have also confirmed that his body was not found on any local roads. The local kennels have been checked regularly & Moss has not been handed in there, & both the local dog warden & police are aware of his disappearance. Posters & fliers have been distributed widely across the local area & the public have been very supportive in their enquiries about Moss’s well-being. Unfortunately, however, no-one has been able to locate him.

Moss plays with his ball on the Grassy Beach

Moss’s details have been posted on both Dog Lost &  the National Missing Pet Register, as well as on Gumtree, but thus far to no avail. Many smaller organisations, including Lost Doggies, Animal Rescuers, the Evening TelegraphThe Border Collie SpotCollie Corner & Freebirds Border Collies, have also publicised Moss’s details. Thank you to everyone who has helped so far. If you can think of any bases that we haven’t covered, please let us know by leaving a comment on this blog post, or via the contact information below.

Enjoying his ball at the Grassy Beach

Please, please help us to find Moss & bring him back home by spreading the word as widely as possible within the UK. You can download a poster here. It is quite possible that he has been stolen & transported thousands of miles before being sold on to some unsuspecting person. Unfortunately Moss is not microchipped, but the hundreds of photos we have of him from as young as just 10 weeks old are testament that he belongs to my parents. It would break their heart if they never find out what has happened to him, especially after the loss of their old dog, Brandy, not even a year ago.

Moss at home, where he belongs

If you have any information at all about Moss’s whereabouts, please contact my Mum Jenny by telephoning 07902 221301 or 01382 477246 ,or alternatively by emailing her at macleod.jenny.m@googlemail.com. A substantial reward will be offered for the safe return of this much loved family pet.

Click here to download a poster.

Update 1/4/10:

Moss’s body has now been found & he has been laid to rest. Thank you to everyone who has helped us in our search.

The Dog House Turns One

It’s hard to believe but The Dog House turned one at the end of last month! My little greyhound-inspired screen printing project started out as an experiment, but one year & 147 sales (& that’s just the online ones!) later it has turned into a successful little business. Although it hasn’t generated a massive profit in its first year, 10% of what it has made has gone directly to my local greyhound rescue, Gracehounds, which is responsible for rehoming many of the dogs who have inspired my designs.

Some of The Dog House‘s best sellers

Firstly, I would like to thank the following individuals, who have all, in one way or another enhanced my Etsy journey through their acts of kindness: Gordana of ajawin.etsy.com, Doris of dadamietz.etsy.com, Annette of dragonhouseofyuen.etsy.com, Vicki of VickiDianeDesigns.etsy.com, Christina of Christianitees12.etsy.com, Olga of ovgilliesdesigns.etsy.com, Lois of Bluebelldesign.etsy.com, Heidi of RedChair.etsy.com, Pey of peylu.etsy.com, Ellen of classichound.etsy.com, Angie of rememberwynn.etsy.com & Alene of IndigoIsland.etsy.com.

A selection of items made by the sellers who have helped me on my Etsy journey

I also want to thank my fabulous Etsy team mates from Handmade 4 Hounds, McEtsy & Etsy for Animals for all their help & support through my first year.

To celebrate its one year anniversary, The Dog House is having a Spring Sale! Lots of hand printed items, including adult & kids clothing, tote bags & doggy accessories have been reduced by 1/3 until the end of March.

A selection of the items on sale at The Dog House