I am SO HAPPY to finally show off all my hard crafting work from the past month - thank you for being so patient. I had such a good time crafting for the lovely Samsara, and received some incredible gifts in return (photos to come, pending her approval!)
I'm extra proud of this journal. The numbers relate to the percentage of "pea pulp" - the remainder being recycled paper. - from the looks of things, I think the 100 might be closer to 90, but that wouldn't make for a good story now would it!
I LOVED my Aunts garden when I went to visit this week. Full of colour and semi-naturalised perennials, quirky pots and veggies among the flower beds. Thank you for the inspiration!
From this..
... to this!
To make Whisky feel better I decided to cook him some treats all of his own. I found some great recipes using ingredients I already had, and this one on the Austing Astronomist particularly caught my eye! I wanted to make it as healthy as possible, so made sure I used as much veg and as little flour by sifting in flour little by little. I also added in a little honey - I wanted to eat some myself!! Finally, I popped some turmeric in there. It's a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent - so hopefully it's going to help Whisky's foot heal, who knows?

1 cup (450g) butternut squash, roasted then puréed
2 eggs
1 1/2 tbs. peanut butter
1 tsp. honey

1 tsp. turmeric.
2 1/2 cups (300g) plain flour, try rice if your dog doesn't do well eating wheat.

The quick and easy instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven 180 centigrade.
  2. Mix wets together,
  3. Mix in turmeric.
  4. Then mix in flour, bit by bit, until the mixture pulls away from the bowl. 
  5. Pop the mixture in the fridge for 30 mins to harden up.
  6. Roll it out, on a liberally floured surface, to about 1cm thick, 
  7. Cut into squares - appropriately sized for your pooch.
  8. Cook for 20-30 mins depending on the biscuit size on baking sheets. 

I made 500g of treats in total, and Whisky doesn't seem to mind if they are a little crisp or more chewy. I froze most of them into 100g portions.

I decided to do some maths - 
cost of squash - £1 per kg, so I used 50p.
cost of flour - 45p for 1.5kg, so I used 9p.
eggs - 6 free range is £1.20, so 40p for 2.
The honey, peanut butter and turmeric were cupboard basics, so I'm not really including those.
Total cost - £1 for 500g of treats. (£2 per kg). 

Wowzers! It sounds cheap, but is it really? I decided to compare my 6 ingredient treats with some shop bought alternatives. 

The cheapest treats treats I found were "Mr Happy's Marvellous Munchies Dog Treats". They are cheaper, just, by weight, at 20p for 120g - £1.66 per kg, the ingredients read: Cereals, Meat and Animal Derivatives (Chicken 6%, Beef 4%), Oils and Fats.

A treat I have got for Whisky before, with a promise of no artificial colours or flavours is "Misfits Scruffy Bites" - costs £1.29 for 180g, £7.16 per kg. Despite the promises, the ingredient list doesn't actually give us much more information: Derivatives of Vegetable Origin, Oils and Fats, Meat and Animal Derivatives (10% Meat), Cereals, Various Sugars, Vegetable Protein, Extracts, Minerals, Milk and Milk Derivatives

The cheapest treat of good natural quality, I feel, is "Wainwright's Training Treats" at £1.30 for 140g. This adds up to £9.29 per kg. The ingredients list, the first with actually named ingredients: Salmon (min 20%), Corn, Pea Pieces (min 4%), Molasses, Whole Brown Rice (min 4%), Sunflower Oil (min 4%), Beetroot Powder.

This makes my homemade treats almost 5x cheaper than those of equal quality - i.e. an ingredients list they can share without shame. Plus, Whisky has never looked more determined to get into the treat ball - yum!
Dinner is served
My second arrangement of the summer. I picked pinks and purples and added height and interest with the lupin leaves. Which just WOULDN'T STAY ON THE LEFT. Grrr! Still love this arrangement though. 
Aww poor puppy! Whisky cut himself on something while chasing a bird up the stream. It was very deep and I had to use my tshirt to clean it up and bandage him on site, before carrying him the half hour walk back to the car. I have to say a huge thank you to my friend who was out with me - and to whoever trained her as a nurse. You kept me from freaking out - thank you :)

He's definitely heavier than he looks! He looks sweet with his blue bandage now though, and the vets think he'll heal without stitches, phew!

Also, after much advice from the awesome people of Craftster, I've completed my second, much improved,  needle felting picture of him. 
I could not be happier now the flowers are all out. I first had a go at flower arranging a couple of years ago on holiday in Ireland. I love it! It's so satisfying to see the composition come together.

I'm particularly happy that the sweet peas my Aunt gifted to me are ready for picking. They smell divine and have the deepest purple colour, inviting you in for a closer look!

Here is my first wild/home grown flower poesy of the summer. My advice for anyone who would like to give it a go? Don't  be stingy on the greens. Including grasses, ferns and interesting leaves is a beautiful way to add interest to your arrangements without overdoing it on the flowers. My second piece of advice is to let go of any fear you may have that other people wont like your arrangement. Go for what you think looks beautiful, and gives you joy! I deliberated for hours on my first arrangement, but I believe that the true joy of the art is found in allowing yourself to be impulsive. After all - it's not going to last forever!

Isn't Whisky clever?! Unsurprisingly for any experienced poodle owners - this was the easiest trick yet!! My partner is calling it 'meercat' but I'm not sure it's a snappy enough name for a trick for him to associate it with the action. Any suggestions?

Now we're waiting for his leg muscles to strengthen up so he can walk on his hind legs.. SO CUTE!! At the moment he just jumps around and staggers like he's had one to many of his namesake!
He's also barking every time he hears a knock, so 'speak' is the next trick we plan for him! For anyone concerned about never ending barking - I've read during research that the best thing to do with unwanted traits (like pulling or barking) is to assign them a command (mush or speak respectively), so that you can let the dog release the desire to do the negative action, without reprimand. That way they know when to speak and when to shut up! Any opinions anyone?
Oh, and a photo of him on his grooming table (aka outdoors table) because I'm so proud of him for standing still for the first time while being groomed. He's obviously used to being clipped on a table and I'll stick with that set up from now on. Here he is before the clip, on the table, and after from both sides.
After many sleepless mornings with Whisky body slamming the living room door, does anyone have some suggestions for how to get him to settle into his routine here?