Saturday, November 24, 2007

Not exactly what I expected for "Silly Dog Toys"

I am not really sure what I expected once I published my first book, Silly Dog Toys. I figured I'd sell a few, and maybe get lucky with a bright review somewhere, and sell a few more than expected.

Once I started working on the book, I really didn't focus on those expectations. I was completely engaged in the production. Now that it's complete and getting into readers' hands, I find myself incredibly surprised by the impact, especially on a little 9 year old girl, my niece, Rebecca.

It's only been a few weeks in print, so I really hadn't thought about the book much as a finished piece. On Thanksgiving, I received the best kind of reward for my work. No, it wasn't the $25. It was the utter fascination and delight it brought to my brother's daughter. From the moment she saw it, touched it, she could not put it down. It reminded me of my fascination and love of books as a child. She loves little dogs and her grandmother is an accomplished seamstress. Her fondness of my book was touching, and that response was the gift I'd hoped to give the world. (Yeah, I know. It sounds a bit sappy). I mean really, there's no way an arts and craft book will make the NYT Best Seller list, nor will I get rich with such a book.

The real point of the book was to share my passion for the arts and creative expression with others who have the same passion, especially kids and dog lovers.

Today, I achieved another small goal with Silly Dog Toys. I sold and shipped my first copy of Silly Dog Toys through eBay. So what if it sold for $1.50. A very nice lady who loves her two cocker spaniels bought Silly Dog Toys. Yeah, I will go broke selling Silly Dog Toys at that price, but it was one book I put up for auction.

This eBay sale was important, because it put me through all of the motions of a sale, a good exercise for me, as I expect to sell my high-end dog beds through my store on eBay too. It's a pretty cool system, the eBay way that is. To list, promote, sell and ship an item with such ease is remarkable.

To Barb and her cocker spaniels, and to my lovely niece, I hope you find the same joy in making toys for your dogs is as rewarding for you as it already has been for me!

Shown above is the cover of Silly Dog Toys, and a sample project spread from the book. Each project is designed to be very easy for anyone to accomplish. Silly Dog Toys can be found for sale on and in my eBay store. Search using the title "Silly Dog Toys", and on eBay search eBay stores using the same search phrase.

If arts and crafts are your thing, you have kids and you are a dog lover, then Silly Dog Toys is the perfect gift for you and your family, or a family as described above!

(Forgive the sales pitch. I couldn't help myself!)

And for those Barley fans out there, yes that is Barley on the cover!

-- Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Barley - Newest member of the Crew

Two little yorkies just didn't seem to be enought, I guess. About 4 months ago I ran into a lady in PetsMart. She was pushing a shopping cart out of the door with a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier in the basket. He stood out of the basket with two paws up on the front of the cart, nose working the wind, almost as if he was piloting this ship. He was such a handsome dog, and had such an unfamilliar look, I had to compliment him, and ask for his breed. She endulged me and then noted with emphasis "He's available for adoption!".

Wow. "Do I need another dog?" I'd been thinking about a third dog. Chloe and Paisley are small, Yorkies. And if you'll read below, they are quite different from one another. While they differ in personality, they are very close. I worry about taking one for the day without the other. Plus, around here in Louisiana, neither, at 4 and 5 pounds, they are not the kind of dogs you'd want to take Kayaking! Around here, the marshes, bayous and swamps are full of very large alligators. While they don't attack people, they don't hesitate when it comes to small pets. I can't even think about that...

So, I need a dog to join me in my adventures, I thought. A larger dog, maybe, with a love of the outdoors. Barley, walked in, or actually out, and within a few days we began our new friendship.

Wheaten Terriers are know for their affable, lovable personalities. They have the spirit of a terrier, but a more gentle and loving nature toward other animals and children. He's a handsome dog and everyone compliments him. If he has a fault, it's what's called the Wheaten Greetin'. When someone shows an interest, he stands up on his hind legs, wraps his front legs around their waist, and with a hug, often lays a big kiss on the admirer. That's a little too much for some people (generally people without dogs). So we're working on that.

Barley loves Chloe and Paisley, and has taken on many of their habits; like jumping up on the sofa, jumping from the sofa to the love seat, playing chase and fetch, but thankfully, he's managed to avoid their poor potty habits. He's great. He goes out and goes on command. What a change!

Yes. He thinks he's a little dog. He plays with Chloe and Paisley as if he's their size. He crawls into my lap while I'm driving. And he'll jump straight up off the floor onto the love seat arm. He'll balance there as if he's a 4-pound dog. The crazy thing is that when I'm laying on the love seat with my head propped up against the arm, I usually don't even notice when he jumps up. Crazy.

As you can see here, he takes great pics.

Expect posts more often. I've launched my website and expect to do more writing here, posting pics and video.

Friday, March 23, 2007

A Diva and a Princess

Two dogs are better than one, especially when they are both Yorkies. You'd think they'd both grow to favor one another, sort of conform to the other as they grow up together. With Chloe and Paisley nothing could be more untrue.

Paisley the Princess

She's the younger of the two, a mere year and a few months. She was raised for six months among other dogs before we got her. Paisley loves other dogs, but is timid around new people. She's mildly timid and prone to use her charm to get her way with me. She's the smaller of the two and has no idea. She has a natural sweetness about her that makes me forget about the fact that she is still not house trained. When she wants some affection she'll run to her bed, jump in and roll over onto her back and look up at me with sweet eyes. If that doesn't do the trick then she'll rub her paws across the sides of her face, and then look up again. That usually does the trick. But if I'm distracted and that doesn't get her what she wants, she then get's a little more aggressive. She'll prance over to the carpet and do her little bucking dance. She cocks her head up, arches her little back, and kicks them one back leg at a time. She kicks backward on her back legs, like a bull about to charge. Except instead of her front legs, she kicks her back legs, one at a time in quick succession, making a swift, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh, swoosh across the carpet. She kicks so hard that her front two legs come up off the ground and then she gives a couple of deep muted barks. If that doesn't get my attention, it gets the attention of her older sister, Chloe.

Chloe the Diva

Chloe gets what she wants by demanding it as if it were her right. She loves to play, and the rougher the better. She's vocal and she is quite the little acrobat. Normally, she wants to play fetch, except fetch turns into chase after you throw whatever toy she's set on. Right? I throw it, she chases after it. When she gets it, she then won't give it back, but insists that we do it again. So she sets it down where I can't get it from her, and then barks incessantly at me. Only if I ignore her for a few minutes does she set it down next to me. But if I'm not fast enough, she gets it again and takes off. Of couse it's my fault. As the oldest and first dog, I was a bit ignorant to raising a little dog. I would chase her around with her toys, thus teaching her to keep it from me. I also played rough with her as a puppy, making her a very active and athletic little girl. But she has her ways of getting to me. At night she loves to snuggle up in bed, getting as close around my neck as possible. She is always up for giving a kiss. (especially at 2 am, and again at 4 am) She's learned to cover herself any time, anywhere there's a blanket or towel laying around. She curls up underneath and off she goes to sleep. She loves to dress up and go for adventures to Target, Lowes and PetSmart. Unlike Paisley, Chloe loves to interact with people, always looking for attention.

The two are getting very good on walks, and getting better all the time. They are learning to be more obedient and I am enjoying my time with them more and more. I just need to figure out how to keep them from waking me up by licking my face in the middle of the night!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Hello World

Tune in for random ramblings of The Dog Designer.