Monday, May 23, 2011

Winners and weekends and Whew.

Above: official winners photo from Easter weekend

I really thought that after my work deadline was over I would have time to relax, stitch and breathe. Nope. It has been another busy few weeks. Rory and I have been traveling and dog showing three weekends in a row. And we have three more weekends coming up. They are tiring. Both physically and mentally but, oh, so much fun! More on that later.

On to the stitching portion of this post. I had participated in a couple of exchanges that wrapped up in May. I showed you one in the last post. I also took part in a Lizzie Kate exchange and the Seasonal exchange. Both of the pieces I received are fabulous. But my favorite just has to be the one I received from Jill in the Lizzie Kate exchange. She stitched me the perfect piece. The LK design "I love my dog."

For the Lizzie Kate round B exchange on I stitched a pattern from Lizzie Kate's Spring crazy and finished it as a needleroll.

I stitched this small design from Prairie Schooler for Brenda for the Spring Seasonal exchange.

And this is what she stitched for me.

Rory at the Irish Setter Club of Central Connecticut Specialty

The biggest and best news is that my silly boy, Rory, is two points closer to his championship! The weekend of the 14th found us in Bucks County, PA, where Rory went Reserve. (Second place of all the boy Irish setters entered.) On to Trenton, NJ, where the judge didn't like him but it was still good experience. The next weekend we went to Connecticut for a specialty show (all Irish setters) in the pouring rain. Fun it was not! At least for me. Rory doesn't care and loves the rain. Again Rory wasn't this judges cuppa. A ferry ride home was Rory's reward for trying hard. Once home Rory made sure he had his version of fun in the rain and mud. After these photos you can see why I am amazed at how handsome he looks all cleaned up.
This past weekend was the busiest of all with three shows, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Now the past few months Rory has been a bit of a brat in the ring. Probably one reason too that he wasn't winning. He had been dancing and moving his feet to look wrong instead of standing nice and still in a perfect stack. Prior to February we hadn't had this problem and I have been working with him at home to get him back to stacking. Well this weekend he finally got it right. Friday he won first place, Winners dog and Best of winners. No point though since he was the only male dog enter in the classes. Saturday Rory and I again went Winners dog and Best of Winners. This time he won one point. Making his point total 11. (He needs 15 to finish his Championship.) Rory: Best of Winners, Sat. May 21st

And then came Sunday. Yesterday. The day started out fine. Got up and ready to leave the house. A gray, damp and dreary looking day weather wise. But I made sure I had my extra sneaker to run in. Got Rory's collar on him and he was dancing and jumping and so excited to be going. Get out to the car and the doors won't unlock. Hmmmmmmmmmm. Then I notice that one of the doors isn't quite closed. Yup, you guessed it. The car won't start. The battery is dead. So back in the house we go. Rory is not happy about this. But I calm him down and call AAA. Thank goodness I am always ready to leave for a show extra early. Triple A shows up and gets the car going. We made it to the show grounds an hour later than I had planned but still in plenty of time to get Rory ready.

Now even though I have been stressing a bit all morning Rory looked great. The judge thought so too. The judge, a Mr. Geoffrey Kill from Australia, liked Rory so much that he picked him for the Best of Breed!!! And that meant Rory was the Best Irish setter at this show. Over other Irish that are mature champions. Talk about being in shock! I am still wondering if I dreamed it. Heck, when the judge pointed to me I must have looked truly puzzled and I didn't have a clue until one of the others (the one who went Best of Opposite sex) had to tell me "You won Breed! Congratulations!" I sputtered and stuttered and muttered, WHAT??? ME?? Then the judge handed me the ribbon and told me what a great looking dog I had. All I could do was mumble Thank you so much. Speechless. That's what I was. Speechless.
The sporting group line up.

Since this was the third show in as many days I was (and still am) a tad tired. I had figured that once we were finished with the classes we would head home early. But not after winning Breed. You see, that means Rory had to go back in the ring for the Sporting group. ( All those dogs that are bird dogs are classified as sporting dogs. The best in that group then goes in with the best of the working, herding, toy, terrier, non-sporting and hounds groups to vie for Best in Show. ) What an honor for Rory and I. To be chosen Best in Breed and try for a placement in the group. I was and still am thrilled to pieces. Now Rory did not win the group. But he made the cut. Meaning he was in the judge's favorite 5 to 8 in the group. There are only four place ribbons but to even be a possible candidate is awesome.

I only hope that Rory continues to win like this. We have shows coming up in Wrentham, MA, at the beginning of June. Followed by one in Norwalk, CT, the next weekend. I'm not sure yet but I think the one after that will be July in Rochester, NY. Anyone living in those areas and wants to watch us run in circles is more than welcome. Rory loves to hear the WOOOOOO WOOOOO of the crowd as we run around the ring.

I am having a blast showing him and he is everything I had hoped for. Showing and winning and doing it myself has been a long, long time dream of mine. One I had never thought would come true. But it is! Next step is for him to win his championship. Then we move on to win more Best of Breeds and with some more maturity he will start winning the group and when the day comes he actually wins Best in Show......... Well, folks, you will hear my scream of surprise and joy throughout blogdom. Then Westminster here we come!!

I'll leave you with one last photo. This is Rory and his sister Terri at the Easter weekend specialty when they both went winners for the 5 points.

Until next time...........

Love and stitches


and licks from Rory too

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Apologies, TUSAL and catching up.

It has been ages since my last post. I apologize for being away for so long. I also apologize for not commenting on your blogs. The past six weeks or so have been insanely busy, mostly at work, that when I had time to update I was just way too tired to come up with a single sentence that made sense. Late March to the end of April is always a busy time for me at work and this year was busier than usual. And no, I am not an accountant but an editor and the end of April is my first publishing deadline of the year. The next is early October. So I am hoping to catch up on my blog reading soon. Goodness but I missed you all.

So what have I been doing besides work? Not a heck of a lot stitching wise. I did manage to stitch up my three exchange pieces. I can show you one since I know it has arrived at its new home. I used part of a design from one of the Just Cross Stitch ornament issues for my Quaker design ornament exchange on HoE. And I received my Quaker ornament from Suzanne. Isn't it beautiful? I love birds and swans are one of my favorites. This one will look wonderful on my tree this year.
I never updated my TUSAL from April. I did take the photo. But just never updated here. So here is both the April photo and the May photo for the Totally useless Stitch-a-Long.

April on the left and May on the right.

I was lucky enough to be the winner in two giveaways. The first is a pin pillow stitched by Mouse. It is perfect! Since Lily of the Valley, which are just starting to bloom in my yard, is one of my favorite flowers this pin pillow is so pretty and so me.

The second one is from Blu. I won her giveaway back in January and had actually forgotten about it. When this stunning work of art arrived in the mail I just couldn't think who it was from. Until I got an email from Blu asking me if I had gotten it. Apparently the note she included slipped down in one of the pockets and I didn't see it right away. I'm glad that mystery was solved since this is just too beautiful not to show and give the proper credit. Thank you so very much Blu. It is gorgeous. And she included a pin pillow, a pair of scissors, needles, and the most beautiful Christmas color silk. Everything I need to start a Christmas pattern.

Other stitchy news? Not much since my hands have been bothering me a lot. I have arthritis in my hands and every once in a while my fingers hurt terribly. Especially during damp and rainy days or when the knuckles are building the calcium deposits. Since My Mom had bad arthritis in her hands I guess this is just one of the gifts she gave me. I do think that stitching helps to keep my fingers nimble but this past month it has been a chore trying to hold on to the needle. With luck the spring showers will start to clear out and my fingers will start to cooperate.
Rory giving his "dog-father", Greg, a hug. Notice how he looks to see if everyone is watching.

Rory news. Well, that's has been the best part of this past month. We went to visit my niece and her fiance for the Easter weekend down near Baltimore. It was also a dog show weekend. Since my niece lives 10 minutes from the show site we stayed with her. Three days of shows. I was so excited thinking that both my niece and my brother (who lives in Washington, DC, and hour away) would be coming to watch Rory and I run in circles! We did (run in circles) and they did (watch us) too. And I had another visitor come to cheer Rory and me on to possible victory. A

fellow stitcher, Beth and her service dog, Kasey, her blog is Crossed Purposes! How fun to meet a fellow stitcher and blogger face to face after being online friends for a number of years. Even though Rory and I didn't win anything the days we had company watch us it was wonderful seeing family and friends. Spending Easter Sunday at a dog show and part of it with Beth and Kasey was such fun for me. Oh, and they even had services before the show started.

But the best part of that weekend is that Rory and I won FIVE more points toward his championship at the first show of the weekend!!! (Of course it was the show that no one came to watch!) For those that don't know, in order to become and AKC Champion a dog has to win 15 points. (Rory now has 10.) Out of that 15 two wins have to be 3 - 5 points in one show. Those are called majors. (The more dogs entered and you defeat the more points awarded. With a maximum of 5 points.) Well, I never ever thought that I could handle Rory in the ring for one of those majors. With more competition to beat and me being pretty much a beginner. Imagine my surprise and elation and shock when at the Potomac Irish Setter Specialty the judge pointed to me and Rory as the Winners Dog!! At a specialty!!! That meant that Rory beat the other 18 class dogs entered and won the 5 points!! I am still beaming when I stop and think about it. I mean showing a dog is team work between you and the dog. Me! I did it! I really did! Now to win one more major win and my little boy will fulfill another dream of mine by becoming a Champion in title as well as the champion of my heart.

"Wake me when it's time to go"

So many other things happened but nothing as wonderful as that show win. We have more shows lined up over the next three weekends. And the rest of the summer season. I have tons of stitching I want to get to and the gardens need cleaning badly. So much to do and definately not enough time. But I promise not to be away so long.

So until next time..............
Love and stitches
and licks from Rory too

"So where are you sleeping?"