Canine Exercise

Alright! The warmer weather is slowly creeping in and it’s time to physically condition my dogs. Dog shows in Canada are still in question however if you’re a dog lover like I am, putting my dogs in their top condition is a major goal. Showing dogs is not just about their coats it is about bringing out the best of the best out of the show prospect. Usually within the first few months to 2 years of my show prospect’s life, I have a better idea of what they can do in the ring and whether they will be part of my breeding program.

Structure is so unbelievably important to me so I tend to choose my puppies that are of show quality. To me, that means that the breeder has used their professional knowledge, time and effort to ensure they produce dogs that best represents the breed standard be it from the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC), American Kennel Club (AKC), United Kingdom Kennel Club (UKC) etc. Yes, the breed standard is up to interpretation, so make sure you find a good mentor in your breed club or your kennel clubs to help guide you. One thing to keep into perspective is what showing is about. As the names suggest “Canadian Kennel Club”, these are dog kennel clubs. As a member of these clubs I can openly admit that we are dog enthusiasts and most members are breeders. In my last post about dogs ( Purebred or Not ) I explained why I choose purebred dogs, so you can get a bit of my reasoning.

Watching a dog’s gait or the way the move while they walk is another way that I condition my dogs. Much like horses move or “gait” the same is true for dogs. No matter how big or small, the dogs are they should look effortless as the move around the ring. For a show dog, this can be the most important 5 minutes of the show day. I remember my first time in the ring, a total rookie but I did take handling classes ( a handler is the person that takes the dog in the ring and presents the dog to the judge, this can be the owner or a professional handler ). My adrenaline was pumping and it was only a practice show. My fellow students were just as nervous.

We all lined up, stacked our dogs ready for our once around the ring. All I kept thinking is “I hope I don’t fall on my face”. From application forms, show entries, different formation patterns the judge would request, it made all us students sweat as we were all preparing for a weekend show. At the time, I showed my female Boxer who was full of energy, but she turned it down a touch and I won third place. Several years down the road I showed a male Lhasa Apso. This guy was the easiest dog to show. He loved moving around the ring like he owned it. His flowing long hair made him look like he was floating. It was so much fun but a LOT of work. Taking him to different shows and getting his Championship at 9 months of age was a group effort but it was so exciting taking a Best Puppy in Show win! Yes it was a proud moment to know I ran around the ring with my dog and I working as a team. There’s something magical about the bond I have with my dogs an unspoken quiet understanding that we’ve got a job to do.

Babbette has been my sidekick and my shadow for 2 years throughout this pandemic. Babb let me cuddle her when I had a loss in the family I literally cried into her coat while she licked my hand, she helps me stabilize when I walk or when I stumble she’s so quiet and kind. Babbette and dogs like her are why I choose to show and breed the best dogs humans can bond with. Dogs have been bred to help us humans for more than a century and I see responsible dog owners now more than ever.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll see our human-dog team in a show one day. For now, I will be out and about bonding with my dogs and getting myself conditioned as well. Bring on that Spring weather!

Babbette’s favourite frisbee is a Kong Flying Disc from RenPets. I am currently using a soft rope slip collar similar to this one on Amazon, I do not recommend this type for smaller dogs or puppies. Happy canine exercising!

Post Mortem

I have been intrigued by true crime which you know. I am not alone in this fascination but in going down that rabbit hole of videos I had more and more recommendations of documentaries. I let my YouTube algorithm choose my videos and BAM I was hit with a 3 minute clip Dr. G Medical Examiner. I was like, “Why the heck haven’t I been watching her shows?!” I immediately used Google-magic to find all her shows. I am on season 4 of 7 and let me tell you guys. This show ticks off all the boxes for a fast paced and a “who did it?” type of feel. I find myself shouting out guesses of the cause of death with her examinations. It’s a thing.

Some bodies were on the floor of the funeral home. Two decomposing, unembalmed corpses were in a battered brown hearse. One was wrapped in sheets; the other was in a plastic bag. Days later, more bodies were found stacked in a closet. One body had been in the funeral home 10 years.

Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew

One of the breakthroughs of her career was in 1988. A government funded funeral home, in Jacksonville, Florida, was found using poor embalming and body preservation practices. Dr. Jan Garavaglia had a huge task of not only identifying quickly decomposing bodies in the Florida heat, she also had to contact each of the families as well as provide a long list of evidence to help prosecute the weirdo who committed such heinous acts.

Most of the dead had been poor or did not have relatives. Despite finding funeral home owner Lewis Howell’s performance “marginal,” the city had continued to pay him $100 to $450 to have some of the bodies cremated or buried. City officials said they were not aware that the state also had problems with Howell.

Orlando Sentinel, Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew

The clock never ends for the many medical professionals who do the jobs we don’t always know about. In 2015, Dr. G. retired and married her first love. She has not only contributed to the education in medical forensics, she has also taught many young budding medical examiners how to keep searching for answers within each case. She has also opened my eyes to my own health. I will make more of an effort to keep my arteries clean and organs hydrated. I’ve had some recent bloodwork and MRIs done so I’m taking this opportunity to wipe the slate clean and create a healthier me.

The beauty of being alive is that you can reinvent yourself and start over as many times as you want.

Cheers to a clean slate!

Full Article: Funeral Fiasco –Why No One Knew, Orlando Sentinel

Alright this Saturday Night

My children wanted to learn our traditional dish of Filipino Lumpia. In a short description, they are small egg rolls usually made as appetizers, snacks, sides etc. I had so much fun teaching them how every piece is made with care and love. It was a nice bonding moment shared with my young men. I hope they will pass this recipe and technique to my future grandchildren.

I remember helping my mom and aunties make hundreds of these egg rolls. I was responsible for carefully pulling each wrap away from the other making sure they didn’t rip.

Overall, I’m proud to say that, despite the efforts to cut corners, they did a wonderful job and it’s nice to have help to make these traditional treats. The delicious Homemade Lumpia was devoured.

Enjoy the video! There will be more recipes and adventures soon!

Stiletto S

The Battle of the Platforms Part 1

I’m sure we have all been swirled in the mixing pot of updates and platforms it can be frustrating and confusing. I created my website around 10 years ago with my goal of doing reviews and self expression. I have always highly encouraged people to own their own websites then push it out to as many social media platforms as possible. Unfortunately, over time we got it backwards. I see more and more social media platforms take precedents over our voices. I see more and more users silenced and encouraged to become puppets and the social media platforms hold the strings. Giving up your data to apps is kind of like paying the piper with no real return. Through the years of observation I would guess that 90% of people don’t actually read the Terms and Conditions of their soon to be downloaded apps because most users are so excited to get the latest and greatest apps. I’ve watched people of all ages make themselves physically sick with worry about what they wrote, what others wrote and more and more I see good people crumble within themselves.

I’ve watched the steady decline of every “big” app and I experienced the rise and fall of the latest and greatest. I’ve produced and promoted my own shows and content which is, in itself, tough work. The best part is that I have the freedom to push my content to specific platforms. These platforms are designed to make money. They make money from paid promotions, audience size and use your data to justify their rankings in the stock market. Too much truth right? Let’s continue…

Let’s start with Facebook…

Ah yes the all powerful Facebook was designed with specific AI (Arificial Intelligence) from the time it was launched. I come from the background before internet, there were bulky monitors, green texts and symbols. We used our computers to look up products and place orders. I worked in an IT firm where we sold Microsoft licenses, hardware, software, dongles, Nikon cameras and more. We sourced for huge companies and I made really incredible contacts. Dial up Internet was the rage and Nokia cellphones were the main phone you could drop it you could easily replace its broken casing. Y2K was the biggest fear to companies but as IT specialists, we knew way in advance and it was a simple code to move our systems from 1999 to 2000. Crazy right? This was also a moment in time where Apple was not even a key player in business, we referred to Apple products as toys for kids, like a cute video game. Apple products didn’t fit in a Microsoft world of business. Moving forward, with our plastic Nokias and the business version, that you could only buy for business, was the Blackberry. I’ll get into phones in another post.

Back then, technology was getting faster and more advanced. The dial up was now in almost every household. We were getting more tech-savvy and we wanted a way to stay in touch because texting was still pricey per text. Gone were the days of ICQ and other online chats where we met people and yes people would troll each other in those rooms too. Think of these chat rooms like a bunch of mini apps where the administrators create the room and monitor them online dial up. Facebook was born and offered a way to keep in touch and share photos and such. It was an exciting way to catch up and communicate. It was especially important to families who were spread out around the world. We wrote posts updating our lives and main life events. Eventually, businesses were added and the rest is what you see today. Facebook became an obsession and a platform for adult and children bullying. Chain letter forwarding through private messages breeds more stealing of identity, unsatisfied customers making horrid reviews destroying businesses. What I see on Facebook now is so far from what it was meant to do it is sad. When Mark Zuckerburg got himself into some hot water over the AI and gathering of information he unknowingly unleashed a “beast” that is now impossible to undo. Facebook itself has a questionable future despite these so called ratings that favour Facebook by users alone. I’m watching Facebook crumble and despite these Facebook loyalists, I’ve been in the tech biz long enough to see the signs. My personal opinion is not in favour of the Facebook platform for my mentioned reasons and so much more. The AI and information gathering has transformed itself into an intrusive way for others to know about intimate details of your lives. This “safe space” has developed TV shows like Catfish and movies like Unfriended. It saddens me that a seemingly innocent app started off with such promise has now turned into a mixed bag of good and crazy.

Let’s move on to Twitter…

Twitter has been my go-to social media spot but I have observed their huge decline over the years as well. Twitter is like a huge chat room. Nothing like Facebook. I found Twitter to be filled with amazing writers, poets, comedians, business partners everything I love. There really isn’t anything to “get” about this platform. You basically write words, let off some steam, make people laugh and even make business connections which are an excellent way to network. It was freeing to be able to express myself and not be judged. You receive real time news and information which is excellent. Over the last few years I see where Twitter has been failing. It’s turning into a bad generic form of itself. Censorship is starting to run rampant as more and more people leave the platform. What was once a playground of expression is now turning into a long list of rules that don’t apply to anyone. For business and promotion it’s been growing it’s commerce flooding timelines with ads which is great but if Twitter keeps banning tweets reprimanding paying business accounts, they won’t have any users and business partners left to send these ads to.

In short, my stance is still “Find your voice and own your space online”. Getting wrapped up with follower numbers and complaining to tech support is not going to get you far in your online adventure. Social media is an extension to bring people to your content. I often ask people who talk about their follower count, where are you taking your followers to? 98% of people cannot answer this simple question. I’m a strong believer in self empowerment and I believe that users need to understand that no app is forever. All content you upload belongs to that platform. Let me repeat every picture, every word, every account belongs to your favourite app. You’re a number and if you bring more people to their app you can fill their pockets and potentially lose your “followers” should they choose.

The Battle of the Platforms will be an ongoing battle as apps come and go, users come and go.

My questions to you is..

Who are you? What do you do? Where can people meet you? Why do you want to be online? How will your voice be heard?

Battle of the Platforms continue to Part 2..

To rerun or Not to rerun..?

With everything that is going on, I feel like almost every show I watch has serious problems and issues. I’ve been taking a break from all the visual noise and just let myself dive into a world of reruns. My favourite series is Three’s Company. I literally watch it all day. The physical comedy in this show is above anything I’ve ever seen. The talented John Ritter is so animated and seems to gracefully glide through each bump into a wall or a trip on a random object. Joyce DeWitt plays the lovely Janet Wood, the brains of the trio and the bit of Janet and Jack bounce off each other like a perfect dance. It’s refreshing to watch how simple things were.

I fight my insomnia with reruns and I will try to watch newer problematic shows. The Office is another go-to show I tend to watch when I need to hear some background noise. I guess it helps me to focus more on my art or when editing. I know I’m weird that way.

The guess in this crazy 2020, I find solace in watching the simplicity of the past. I hope sleep will come back into my life sometime soon

Cakes & Pies

Summer is in full force and things are looking pretty amazing.  I am finally able to move things around and get organized before the Back to School storm.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been focusing on my baking skills and some snacks for the boys after they have their many sessions of basketball, football and playing catch.

Many years ago, when I had 4 kids all under the age of 10 and living in Alberta, Canada, my children’s favourite snack were chocolate chip cookies.  They were very particular about the kind of cookie the requested, though, they had to be “Hockey Cookies”.  My neighbour introduced the recipe to me and told me they were the perfect recipe for those cold after school days and we found very soon after that they were good for every day for my kids. My neighbour explained that she would make these cookies for her sons after hockey games and practice.

Now that I have some extra time on my hands, I’ve decided to resurrect my joy of cooking and what better way than cookies?  Naturally, I turned to Pinterest to see if I could find the recipe and I also wondered if it was the same?  The name is now “Hockey Puck” chocolate chip cookies and using a muffin tin is a fabulous “Eureka” moment!  I used the good old baking sheet method with this recipe and it didn’t hold at all which had NOTHING to do with the recipe!  I had to finagle the recipe, for example, I didn’t have Vanilla Extract, walnuts nor corn syrup.  I also forgot that 2 sticks of butter does not mean a full bar.  At my grocery store, I usually get a bar of butter that is equivalent to 2 cups of butter instead of 1 cup of butter. So yup, you guessed it I totally over buttered the whole recipe.  I problem solved my way into finding a deep dish casserole baking pan and scooped the rest of the batter into it.  I set the oven for the same baking temperature and time.

IMG_5537.jpg

After cooling the Hockey Puck cookies turned into a dense Hockey Rink Cookie Cake!  In less than 12 hours the rink was devoured.  With more requests from my pterodactyls, I corrected the recipe with using the proper amount of cookies, I still didn’t add the walnuts, corn syrup nor the vanilla extract however it still tasted delicious!  The third try remained fluffy with the denseness of a brownie or a Hello Dolly dessert. I was thinking of doing a spin on this Hockey Rink Cookie Cake with Hello Dollies hmmm… a Hockey Hello Dolly, a Rinkside Hello Dolly Cookie Cake?  I’ll work on the dessert and I’d love for you to give me ideas on a name!

If you try the original and my spin on the recipe let me know!

Thank you to Great Grub, Delicious Treats for your inspiration and your fantastic recipe!

Much Love,

SS

#chocolatechipcookies #baking #stilettosupermom #noms

Instagram photo

Dry Paint is a no-no for doll making!

I’ve been a reborn Doll Artist for 10 years and I want to share my experience for new artists who have asked me where the best quality of supplies are. I will demonstrate through videos and pictures below about what to look for and what is poor quality supplies.

When I started painting my first art dolls they were made of polymer clay and I purchased Genesis Heat Set Paint off of eBay. For making reborn dolls, I purchased my first set of GHSP from Bountiful Baby and I never had a problem and the paints and they baked beautifully. I actually still have them and they STILL work perfectly on my clay dolls.

Fast forward to 2-3 years ago and I started buying paints from MacPherson Arts and Crafts to paint my reborn dolls because I wanted to support a Canadian store. Little did I know that buying off brand paints through them would almost completely ruin my dolls. I purchased GHSP from MacPherson Arts & Crafts as they claimed the paint colours and mediums were mixed onsite and put into smaller jars. I never thought twice about buying from them because the staff was knowledgeable. The below video was filmed back in Feb-March 2019 showing how the paint was cracking and not sticking to the vinyl. I sent this to my best friend and fellow artist asking what I should do as I was creating dolls for the doll show. I didn’t understand why my doll was cracking and the paint wasn’t sticking to the vinyl. I’ve made MANY dolls over the years with a base paint of Flesh 08 and I never had this weird anomaly happen. After going through my painting steps backwards with my friend, like a couple of sleuths on FaceTime lol, she also had the same issue with one of her dolls. We both compared our dolls and couldn’t figure out what was going on. We deduced it down to our base colour of Flesh 08 off brand from MacPherson’s. See below:

I demonstrate here (with a much needed manicure so don’t come for me ✋🏼 lol ) that the paint is chunky and no matter how much I tried to mix it, it would not get to the consistency that I’m used to working with. FYI I used up all my on brand Genesis Heat Set Paint in Flesh 08 so I figured they would be the same ☹️ sadly not!

Here are some pictures of the beautiful Tobiah by Laura Lee Eagles that I couldn’t save for the show.

Since there is a warning that heating the vinyl is not recommended I figured I was simply out about $200CDN for my kit. I posted a picture on my personal Facebook page of the old paint and tagged my friend thanking her for spending hours with me trying different mediums and mixes to save it. I spent more time fixing the dolls that were fixable. I will make a video and post on how to save your reborn doll and do a comparison on what the consistency of Genesis Heat Set Paint should be.

To keep it real, I was offered a new Tobiah kit however I was to return the ruined kit first. I also received a private message saying it looked bad for the “MacP” store. I wasn’t sure if anyone else experienced a problem and had to return their ruined kits first before they got a replacement. I bit the bullet and chose to keep my kit and try to save it or use it as a booboo kit to try some techniques.

To explain, every artist has their own style of painting but the first base coat is the most important. It’s the “glue” that keeps all your details and layers in tact. GHSP is an oil paint so they should not dry out or be chunky at all. I have left my on brand GHSP paints out and with a quick stir with a brush they are the perfect consistency and I have never had a problem.

People can be nasty when they are faced with the truth about their products but as an artist of over 10 years it’s important that I give a factual no nonsense truth to new artists that I have introduced to reborn doll making to. Your tools and supplies should always be top quality because these dolls take many hours and days to make. When you are halfway through your painting and then notice paint cracking away from the vinyl, it is such a devastating and defeating moment because no matter how many layers you try to use it may not ever stick. I would never want any artist to go through this. It is also such a victorious feeling when your experience and techniques are applied and you can save your doll’s paint.

I also talked with a couple of very professional and seasoned artists and they suggested how I should store my kits. I now store them in air tight plastic bins to keep the oils in the vinyl. It makes sense that vinyl could change its composition over time in an overly dry place like a former morgue, yikes! 😳 I will do more research on this and see if this could’ve been a factor in my Tobiah kit.

To my new artist friends, that asked for tips. I recommend that you only use on brand Genesis Heat Set Paint to prevent this from happening. I also recommend that you support your favourite sculptors and purchase kits directly from them. They do such an amazing job and you will be put on newsletters and such letting you know when their next new kits will be coming out. I have started doing this and it is so great because you get to deal with the sculptor on a more direct level.

I will be tossing these out 😩 and be replacing them all with on brand GHSP paints ONLY possibly from the great Bountiful Baby as they haven’t let me down. I’ve come full circle with my supplies too! Lol it’s always great to start fresh armed with knowledge and experience and I will NEVER go off the path for cheaper low quality supplies ever again!

As requested, I will do some demos and supply comparisons. Keep creating, stay strong and put that passion into those beautiful baby dolls!

Much love ❤️

SS

Fried Frog

Vlog #30: Fried Frog

The heat is on and it has been scorching hot outside over the past few days. With weather history in the making we have the lava flowing in Hawaii and poor air quality readings which seem to be triggering a lot of allergy suffers. I don’t have allergies, but even I notice how hard it is to breathe outside. I’m praying for safety and good health for our dear friends in Hawaii.

Summer Umbrella is up!

So much is happening that I was starting to feel like I was even giving myself enough time to rest. I evaluated my current status and I was slowly starting to slip back into my workaholic tendencies. My worst “crash due to exhaustion” left me so mentally drained I couldn’t even remember how to write my name! I had orders booked and was working at a great pace, I was trying new techniques and really having fun, BUT I was working around the clock. I was designing as I was doing detailed work then taking pictures and shopping for supplies.. I was all over the place. The thing that was the most exciting was how productive I was and how ahead of schedule I was in all that I did. I was down to my last two orders and I remember working all day and I stayed up until 4am. The birds were chirping and I got up from my desk and stood out on my patio deck staring at the rising orange sun. I stood out there for, what felt like hours, 20 minutes and felt all my lack of sleep hit me so hard my knees buckled a little. I had to struggle to keep myself balanced. I went right into the house and straight up to bed. I was completely exhausted and in bed for 4 days. My deadlines were getting closer but I was done. I could hardly stay awake. I do not need a repeat of that!

Dog Days of Summer

I decided to keep the weekends as my designated “No Work” days, so far so good. 👍🏼

SS

Video: Fried Frog