Thursday, March 31, 2011

Photographing Animals

          Patience is probably the number one requirement in animal photography, although, pure luck does play a part. Even with infinite patience and luck photographing animals has some special requirements. By applying a few simple methods (the ones professional photographers use) and by understanding your camera’s full potential you should be able to capture the essence of the animal on film.

          First, study animal pictures you like in magazines and on TV. Analyze the components: the background is usually uncluttered and in contrasting color to the subject; the angle of the shot is almost always at or below the animal’s eye level; the action is interesting, but typical of that animal.

          As an animal lover, you already know that animals are not very predictable, and that their actions and reactions are usually very fast. Therefore, you need to be ready to shoot when they are doing something worth recording on film. Knowing that, you will need only a camera with full battery power and a good working knowledge of it.

          A camera which permits you to change focus quickly while you shoot several pictures in fast sequence is the best to use. Make the camera controls work for you. The closer you are to the animal, the more precise your focus must be. Use aperture control to blur out a disagreeable or confusing background. To compensate for both your own and animal's movement use a relatively fast shutter speed.

          Lighting for outdoor shooting, the light on a cloudy-bright day or the open shade on a sunny day is usually best to use.

* Patience, patience, patience.
* A thorough knowledge of the aniaml's habits.
* A discerning eye for a well-composed picture--developed by looking at pictures you like and really seeing what has made the good.
* A fast trigger finger--to shoot and shoot and shoot a series of actions and reactions. Out of a roll of 36 photos, one or two may be winners. If so, you’re batting about the same as most professional animal photographers.
* A complete understanding of your camera and the film you have in it. Read these instructions accompanying your camera and each package of film. Together, they are your photographic guide.
* An understanding of how to use your camera’s controls to create the kind of picture you’ve composed in your mind’s eye.

Good luck and happy shooting.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What To Do If You Lose Your Pet

          Before you pet ever does get lost you should take detailed photos of your pet. The other thing you should do is get your pet microchipped. Microchips have more then proven themselves key in returning a lost pet. Just recently in the news a cat lost for 15 months was reunited with it's owner thanks to a microchip. Also in the recent natural disasters pets dirty, matted, and unrecognizable are able to be identified becuase of their microchips.

          You will want to search the neighborhood by walking and or driving. If you have other family members, friends, and neighbors that can aid in the search the more eyes the better. Ask neighbors and letter carriers if they have seen your pet. You will want to check through the neighborhood several times a day. If you think your pet may have been stole call the police.

          Call all animal shelters, pounds, and animal control agencies in your area first next call places increasingly farther from where your pet went missing. Some pets can travel far and quite quickly. Good samaritans may also unintentionally remove your pet from the area. These folks may take your pet to their home which may not be in your area. Many times if they are unable to keep the pet until the owner can be located they will take it to a no-kill shelter which may happen to be far away from your area. These are some of the reasons why you will want to contact shelters and animal control agencies no matter how far away they may be.

          The next step is to make and pass out fliers. Make sure you use is clear and up-to-date photo. Include all the important information on your pet such as breed of animal, color, sex, etc. Place them around the neighborhood especially the main streets, veterinarian offices, pet stores, grocery stores, community centers, and traffic intersections. Also place advertisements in newspapers and radio stations.

What to do if your pet is a Bird
          Time is extremely critical when dealing with a bird that can fly away. Spring into action the moment you know your bird is lost, because as time elapses chances of recovery grows slimmer. Look to the trees and any other obvious places a bird may perch. Once you spot your bird get his attention as he may fly back to you. More likely then not your bird will be to scared and in shock to move. It is vital that you retain visual contact while you come up with a plan to retrieve your bird safely.

          Set up your bird's cage near where he flew away from, if you can see where your bird is place his cage near by. Many time the bird will fly back to his cage, as he knows it is a place of safety.

          Try placing tasty treats in and around the cage to help lure him back. If your bird has a favorite toy try also to use that as a lure. Call to your bird repeat familiar words, phrases, or sounds to entice him back.

          Remember the old adage an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Keep your bird's wings clipped and check often to make sure that they don't need to be re-trimmed. Make sure all windows and doors are closed before letting your bird out of his cage an if you live with someone else inform them that the bird is coming out of his cage.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dog Myths

8 Common Myths
Dog breath comes with the territory. Some odor may be normal depending on the foods they eat. However, abnormal odor may indicate a problem such as teeth or gum disease, gastrointestinal or respiratory disease, tonsillitis, coprophagia, lip fold dermatitis, stomatitis, foreign materials, kidney failure, or licking in the anal region.
Dogs eat grass because they are sick. Dogs often eat grass if they have low-grade indigestion or gastritis. This usually causes them to vomit up a frothy fluid or whatever is in the stomach, to relieve the gastric acid reflux or irritation. However, dogs eat grass for other reasons too. Some eat grass as a habit, to be given another type of food or treat, or even to get rid of bad-tasting medicine. Dogs are descended from wolves that eat all parts of their "kill." This includes the stomach contents of many animals that eat berries and grass. Many scientists believe grass was once part of their normal diet and eating small amounts is normal.
A female dog should go through at least one heat cycle before being spayed. I am sure that most people have heard this by now. However, I will repeat it for the benefit of the folks who have not yet. There is no need for a female to go into heat before being spayed. She will have many health benefits when she is spayed early, than her unsprayed counterpart. She will have less or no chances of mammary tumors, STD, pregnancy toxemia, gestational diabetes mellitus, uterine prolapse, metritis, hypocalcemia, subinvolution of placental sites, mastitis, agalactia, ovarian cytsts, ovarian neoplasia, ovarian remnant syndrome, aplasia, dysplasia, cystic endometrial hyperplasia/pyometra, hydrometra, mucometra, hematometra, uterine neoplasia, going into heat, and puppies.
All dogs naturally eat bones. Although wild canids consume all or part of the bones of their prey, domesticated dogs generally do not require the added minerals found in bones if they are consuming a good quality dog food. Some dogs do enjoy chewing bones, and some commercially available products are safe and help prevent tartar buildup on teeth. Small bones and bones that splinter should not be fed, as they can lodge or puncher the mouth or gastrointestinal tract.
A cold, wet nose indicates good health. A moist nose is a normal state, but the nose of a healthy animal should be at normal body temperature, unless it was just dipped in cold water or there is cold, windy air blowing. A dry, hot nose often signals illness or fever. Also, keep in mind that there are illness and injuries that would not change the condition of your dog’s nose.
Shaving a dog helps him stay cool. Because dogs sweat from their footpads and via the respiratory tract, shaving them really will not help much in cooling them down. A dog’s coat protects and insulates him from extremes of heat and cold. The coat also protects from thermal injury and provides protection form UV-induced skin damage.
All dog food is the same. You know what they say about buying a building it is all about location, location, location. However, in the case of dog food its ingredients, ingredients, ingredients. It is important to be able to read the ingredient list of dog food to understand the differences. In the interest of time and space, I will not go into how to read it, but there are books and articles that will explain everything. In very simple terms, it is like eating only fast food compared to eating only healthy homemade food.
Licking is Healing. It is natural for a dog to lick its wound but this not necessarily always "healing." Too much licking can actually prohibit healing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Weekend Animal Rescue Tweets

          On Twitter every weekend I will be tweeting one animal rescue. The rescue doesn't necessarily need to be dog related just animal related. It may be a rescue that does one particular breed of animal or a group of many different animal. It doesn't even have to be related to domestic animals.
          If you have an animal rescue that you would like to see me tweet please leave your suggestions along with the rescue's link in the comments below.

*Note: Neither my tweets or my blog post are an endorsement of any rescue. As with any charity or organization please do your own research into any group before donating your money.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Love Dogs? How about the rest of his family?

         In my wondering about the internet I came across a website called Canid Specialist Group. They are the world's chief body of experts on the status and conservation of all canid species. There mission is to: Promote the long-term conservation of all Canid species throughout their ranges. They have a internet mailing list that is free to sign up for, I just signed up today for it myself.
          They have a section were you can look up information on the various Canids. For each species they have their common and scientific name, a photo, their status in the wild, a map of their range, description, and more. If you click on the range map you can get even more information. Lots of fascinating information you should check it out.
          When you go to their site you will see it says it was last updated it 2008, not to fear I contacted them and they are alive an well, they just lack the funds to update the site. If you would like to help this nearly all volunteer organization to do more to further the conservation of canids around the world please donate to this worthy cause. If you are unable to donate money please at least be kind enough to help get to word out about this organization. Tweet it, blog it, put it on Facebook, tell anyone who will listen every little bit helps.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Free Doggie Pattern

Note: Clicking the PDF file link will not cause it to download to your hard drive directly. It will only download and open the file in your web browser. To save right-mouse click the link and save the file to your hard drive.

BROWN DOG with White Patch
By Linda Davis of BarLee Creations & Design

Plastic Canvas used:

Red Heart worsted weight Yarn used:
4’ 3”   Brown
4’       Café
18’     Warm Brown
12 ½” White
(Add extra yarn for personal stitching discrepancies or mistakes.)

Stitches used:
Detail Stitch
Continental/Tent Stitch (Optional)
Overcast/Whip Stitch (Optional)

Detail Stitch Chart
(Either diagram is fine so is working counter clockwise.)

Brown Dog is 21x26

Color chart
¨  Brown
¨  Café
¨  Warm Brown
¨  White

Remember, always read instructions fully before starting a project.

The Brown Dog can be worked either on a piece or plastic canvas or as a cut out (see my How-To Instructions page). You can use a full or partial piece of plastic canvas. Stitch the Brown Dog according to the chart and than with a Continental Stitch fill in the background to your liking.
When working the Brown Dog as a cut out you will need to cut 2 pieces according to the pattern. Stitch the 1st cut out piece facing left and the 2nd facing right. Stitch each following the pattern making sure not to stitch to the edge (that will come later). When you have done that, you will then be able to Whip Stitch them together. What I find that works best if you start with the piece that faces left and start stitching on the dog’s neck.
NOTE: Where you start Whip Stitching is the same place you will end. At the end of the Whip Stitch your needle will need to be able to lock the tail end of the yarn inside between the two halves of plastic canvas. The needle needs to be able to pass through and be removed from the other side.
You will need to “pre load” the yarn for your Whip Stitch (see Fig.9). This pattern calls for four different colors so that is how many you will “pre load”. To “pre load”, insert your first color into where you will start your Whip Stitch. Insert your next yarn color where the pattern indicates. Do the same for the rest of the yarn colors. Whip Stitch until you come to the color change. At that time, you will then “pre load” the color you have on your needle into the next plastic canvas stitch according to the pattern and pick up the next color. Repeat this process all the way to the end. Fasten off the last yarn and you’re done.

***This is free for your own personal use I love sharing information but please don’t steal my photos or ideas for profit.***

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let In The Light!

          If you haven't been to ArtFire you're really missing out on wonderful finds in handmade, vintage, supplies, and more. While wondering around on ArtFire I was just being nosey when I came across amazing stained glass pieces. The bright colors and the luminescence of each piece inspired me to put together this lovely collection so I could share it with everyone. After this long cold winter I am ready for eye popping color and brilliant bright light, aren't you?

Some of the piece you see below are not all stained glass. Some are made with special paint that looks like stained glass but sticks like a window cling. No more worries about the piece falling off a window an breaking. Which makes it perfect for families with small children and pets as they wont get cut by any broken glass.

If you like what you see here in this collection there is so much more on ArtFire that you have just got to see.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Plastic Canvas Tips

ïPlastic Canvas Needlepoint Tipsð

If you need to cut out multiples of a design or you know you will be cutting out more in the future make a template.  To make a template follow your pattern, mark and cut out the plastic canvas. You now have a template. Next, all you need to do is now place the template on top of another piece of plastic canvas and cut out your pattern.

Now you have your template what do you do with them to keep them safe? If you have many templates like me, you will want to store them in an accordion style folder. That type of folder has plenty of give for expansion. Or be creative and repurpose something you have laying around your house.

Argh! The plastic canvas you have been stitching on broke. What do you do? Say some choice words and throw out your work. STOP! Depending on how bad the brake is it still may be saved. If the break isn’t in a “load baring” spot and is only a little break you can glue it.

Get out your super glue and a toothpick. I like to use Loctite super glue ultra gel. It comes in an easy to dispense bottle and the nozzle doesn't clog up in between uses. The gel super glues seem to work best as they aren't runny. The toothpick will help you administer the right amount of glue into tight places.  Put a tiny bit of glue on your toothpick and glue the plastic canvas back together.

You may need to hold the broken section until the glue can take hold so that it glues correctly. Let it fully dry and then you are ready to continue stitching. Whew, a near catastrophe averted.(NOTE: Make sure you are not using glue that expands. A little drop of that type of glue can expand more than expected. You don’t want to fix the canvas only to have no room to pass a needle and yarn through.)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Ouch! Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Making repetitive hand and/or wrist movements can cause Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS). If you are an artist or crafter this is something you know all to well. However, for those of you new to crafting CTS is something you will want avoid. The signs of CTS are tingling, numbness, weakness, or pain in your fingers or hand. I have CTS and I can tell you it's literally and figuratively be a big pain.

How to prevent flare-ups or to avoid getting CTS

Practice good posture and correct movements. Some positions can put less strain on your body and more comfortable to be in especially when working over a long period of time. When doing activities such as typing, knitting, stitching, etc you will want to keep your forearms parallel or slightly lower to the floor. Keep your wrists and hands in line with your arms or only slightly bent. Never have them bent or twisted for any long length of time. Use hand and wrist movements that spread pressure and motion evenly thought out your hand and wrist. When working if you have to exert force position your work at waist height or slightly lower. Remember to take frequent breaks when doing these repetitive activates and stretch your hands and wrists. Changing your position when working occasionally will go a long way to help.

Take care of your hands and wrists. Try to keep your wrist in a neutral position. Hold a glass of water this is an example of a neutral wrist position. (See photo for neutral hand position.) If you have to work with vibrating tools (drills, sanders, etc) use gloves specially designated to support the wrist and absorb the vibration. Reduce the speed and force of your hand movements such as typing softer and not pounding the keys or crocheting a little slower. Watch your grip, if to tight it will cause strain. Gripping things with only your thumb and index finger can cause stress. Grasp tools and other objects with your whole hand whenever possible. This is worth repeating: Take frequent breaks and stretch your hands and wrists.

How to reduce CTS symptoms

Immediately stop doing the activity that is causing the numbness and pain. I know some of you will be tempted go back an work but believe me, it is far better to rest for the day then to do serious harm and be out of commission for weeks. Ice your wrist for 10 -15 minutes once or twice an hour and take an NSAID to relive pain and reduce swelling.  Wear a wrist splint designed to hold your wrist in a neutral position.

I hope you found this information helpful and if you practice these tips, they will help you avoid or at least reduce CTS.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Is Your Pet Prepared if a Disaster Strikes?

          With the recent disaster in Japan, I thought it time I posted a pet education disaster plan. Many pet owners never think of putting one together until they see reports of a disaster on TV.

          In this post I am going to discuss disaster plans for dogs but please don't forget your other animals such as fish, birds, cats, amphibians & reptiles, small mammals, horses and other types of livestock. The information I have will be basically the same for most animals with the exception of supplies. Here is a link to find disaster plans for many animals include dogs. To find even more information visit or click here to go directly to the pet disaster information.

What to do Before a Disaster Ever Happens

1.)  Have a disaster plan. Depending on where you live will dictate what types of disasters you may possibly experience such as fire, earthquake, floods, tornados, and more. A disaster doesn't necessarily only mean ones that Mother Nature throws at us but also man made ones as well like power outages, gas leak explosions, arson, gas shortages, etc.

2.)  Have your dog up to date on all vaccinations and other medical procedures. A disaster is no time for your dog to be unprotected from diseases. Remember to keep your dog's medical information up-to-date and place it in a zip lock plastic bag or other air and watertight container.

3.)  Get your dog microchipped. If the unthinkable happens and you are separated from your pet the microchip will help in identifying your dog. A wet, muddy, or soot covered dog looks quite different then when clean. Keep this information in a zip lock plastic bag or other air and watertight container.

4.)  Make lists of veterinarians, shelters, boarding kennels, and pet friendly accommodations in your area and surrounding areas. If your pet gets injured you will need to be able to locate a veterinarian and knowing where there are shelters will help you find a missing pet. If your area is evacuated it will most likely be to a location that will not allow pets. Having a list of pet friendly accommodations will give you options for places for you to stay with your dog. However if you are unable to stay with your dog having a list of boarding kennels will help you find a safe place for your dog to stay. In emergencies, shelters will also help house your pets.

When compiling your lists include your area along with any surrounding locations, that way no matter what area is effected by the disaster you still be able to find help. Remember to keep this information up-to-date and place it in a zip lock plastic bag or other air and watertight container.

Find pet friendly hotels, bed & breakfasts, and campgrounds:
USA and Canada



5.)  Have current photos of your dog and make sure he is wearing his collar with ID. Also, make sure to have on your dog's collar his rabies and town tags. Here are some ideas on what you should have on your dogs ID tags:
Your address
Your house phone number
Your cell phone number
A landline phone number to relatives or friends house
Medical alert

Depending on the disaster, you may not be able to return home so your address and home phone number on your dog's ID may not be helpful to someone trying to return him. Problems with cell phone service can also prove be a problem however if you had a phone number on the ID to a relative or friend (that is not in your area) it will help in the return of your dog. Remember to keep the photos up-to-date and place it in a zip lock plastic bag or other air and watertight container.

6.)  Put together a first aid kit containing cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape, scissors, antibiotic ointment, flea & tick prevention, latex gloves, isopropyl alcohol, saline solution, styptic powder, hydrogen peroxide, tweezers, and dog first aid book. This is just a very basic list depending on how elaborate a kit you would like to have is up to you. There are many online resources to help you put together your own first aid kit.

If your dog needs medicine, make sure to have enough in the kit for 3-7 days. Remember to keep the kit and any meds up-to-date and place it in a zip lock plastic bag or other air and watertight container.

7.)  Have a supply of dog food for 3-7 days worth. Should the supply be dry or wet dog food?  That is up to you, each comes with their own issues both pros and cons. Dry dog food does not have as long a shelf life as can food and will need to be stored in an air and watertight container. Can dog food is more expensive, heavier, and needs a can opener. On the Pro side, dry food does not need a can opener and is cheaper to buy then can food. Can food stores much longer and is air and watertight. Stock dry, can, or perhaps have both on hand what ever works best for you.

If during a disaster you are feeding your dog moist or can dog food, you will not have to give your pet as much water to drink due to the extra moisture in the food.

You may also want to have some of your dog's favorite small treats. In a chaotic and stressful time having a familiar tasty treat can help relive some stress. Remember to rotate your dog food stock to keep it fresh, you don't want to be feeding food that is past code.

8.)  Have a supply of water for 3-7 days worth. How much water does a dog drink a day? I had so do some research on this myself and this is what I found:
The average dog drinks about 1/2 to 1 ounce per pound per day.
What an average dog drinks per day
Dog’s weight          Amount in ounces                   Amount in cups
10 lb dog                            5 - 10 ounces                            ½ - 1 ¼ cups
50 lb dog                            25 – 50 ounces                          3 – 6 cups

When you have worked out the math on what you need to store I would suggest that you add extra water to that in case water gets spilt or what have you. Like dog food this also will need to be rotated out to keep fresh.

9.)  Other dog supplies you will need are a food and water dish. For a water dish you will want a sturdy dish that can't be knocked over. To save space either use the water dish also for the food or include a collapsible food dish in your emergency kit.

If you are in an area that is prone to flooding, tsunamis, or other water disasters related disasters you may want to include a dog life jacket in your emergency kit. I have not seen this added to anyone else's list of emergency supplies, I however feel it should be.

Some optional items to have are a dog bed, which may be as simple as a towel or blanket to an actual bed. Also a small toy and a pin brush. Remember only to include these items if there is room and if they are easily portable.

10.)  You will need a way to contain your dog so have a carrier, kennel, harness, and or leash on hand. If you are using a leash, make sure your dog cannot escape out of it. A scared animal can wiggle out of a poorly fitted collar and leash.

11.)  Sanitation items, these will come in very handy in disasters in which you are restricted to inside of your home. These items include newspapers, paper towels, plastic bags, and household chlorine bleach.

Household chlorine bleach as a disinfectant, all you need to do is take 9 parts water an 1 part bleach. Bleach can also be used to purify water, take 16 drops of regular household bleach per 1 gallon of water. Do Not Use scented or color safe bleaches or those with added cleaners.

What to do During a Disaster

1.)  Assess whether the disaster calls for you to flee or stay put.  If you must leave remember to Never Leave Your Pet Behind. A pet left behind is less likely to survive.

However if you need to stay put this is when the newspapers and other sanitation items come in handy.

2.)  Separate your animals. Cats and dogs that normally get along fine may not when a disaster strikes. Scared animals can be very unpredictable. To separate them use carriers or kennels or failing that place them in separate rooms in the house.

What to do After a Disaster

1.)  When you are allowed or forced to leave remember to Never Leave Your Pet Behind. A pet left behind is less likely to survive.

2.)  Be careful when taking a pet outside because of downed power line, glass or other sharp objects, poisonous chemicals, or dangerous animals such as snakes that may have been brought in from floods, etc.

3.)  After a disaster, normally friendly docile pets will be scared and act differently. Give them time to recover, don't let strangers pet or hold them, and keep them away from other animals.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Welcome to my blog!

          Hello all and welcome to my newest blog. Let me introduce myself to those of you that may not know me, I am barleecreations, I make all sorts of different dog and animal art. Right now I am mostly creating all breed needlepoint dog art in plastic canvas. Now I know what you are thinking "plastic canvas isn't that kiddish looking stuff?" Well, that all depends on how your work it. I work really hard to make all my pieces into works of art. Take a look at the photo below and you be the judge. Stop by my ArtFire studio at or my website at and check out other photos of my work.

          I started this new blog on account of you can't get "followers" on the ArtFire blog. I still will be using my ArtFire blog, so don't worry I wont be discontinuing it. On this blog I will be talking about my work, showcasing awesome finds on ArtFire, posting contests and giveaways both mine and other ArtFire sellers, and any other fun stuff that comes to mind.