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Dog Lover? How Interesting…

Love the dog

The newest member of the family!

A while back, some friends and my husband and I were at dinner with another couple of people whom we didn’t know well at all. It was late in the evening, cocktails had been flowing and someone asked the question, “What’s the most interesting thing about you?” We went around the table; the first person to respond was a fighter pilot, the second was a special forces operative, the third was an Olympic gymnast, and then it was my turn. My heart filled with dread, and my expression must have given me away because my friend, Laura offered helpfully, “Why don’t you tell them about your dog!”

My dog. MY DOG! My very close, very dear friend, Laura clearly thought that the most interesting thing about me was my dog. Ouch. What’s worse is that a few short months after that dinner, our beloved basset hound died. Through my grief, I worried: Where does that leave me??? The answer was too uninteresting to contemplate.

gift ideas for dog lovers

Doesn’t this remind you of “Go Dog, Go!” See this colorful canine and more wonderful Ortega ceramics here.

Fast-forward 10 months and we get a text message with accompanying photo from a co-worker of my husband’s that read, “This two-year old basset hound is looking for a good home. Want to meet him?” Well, to make a long story short, we did more than meet him. We adopted him forthwith and Jaeger has quickly become a treasured member of the family.

He has also become very busy. After a slow – and it is tempting to call it serene – start he got to work eating the lower branches of our Christmas tree, along with four of the choicest ornaments. In successive days, he pulled an entire roasted chicken off the counter, helped himself to a bowl full of guacamole, gulped down whole stick of butter including the wrapper, and was narrowly folied in his attempt to make off with a half-pound Mr. Goodbar. At this point, I feel compelled to assert that we do feed him well and on a regular basis. Being a dog, though, I guess he feels that its always good to hedge the bet.

Painting perfect for the dog lover on your list

Erika Carter’s painting illustrates the dawning of a doggone great idea. More of her work can be viewed with a click.

My favorite escapade, however, was an invigorating sprint up the hill by our house early last Sunday morning. Oh what a merry chase through the neighborhood in my bathrobe and bare feet in mid-December! Who could fail to be cheered? Having neglected to grab the leash on my mad dash out the door, I got to carry all fifty pounds of basset back home. Great exercise, I’ll tell you.

In spite of all, however, I thank my lucky stars that Jaeger has come into my life. At least I am interesting again


Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus



Creativity is the best part of Holiday Decorating

Aguilar and Ortega figuresIf you are like me, the minute the Thanksgiving dishes are cleared, you shift into heavy holiday mode.  I take inventory of items to be given as gifts that for months have been stashed in the “gift closet,” I have grocery lists for cookie baking in process, while wrapping and packing gifts to be mailed are on the “to do” list for next week, as is deconflicting the family schedule to shop for the holiday tree. This week, it is ALL ABOUT decorating.

This year, I undertook my decorating with a determination to be creative and group things together in ways I hadn’t tried before.  It turned out to be a fun experiment, with which, I will say with very little modesty, I got good results. Starting with the mantle, I arranged the Ortega Wise Men I collected years ago with my more recently acquired Aguilar market women. (See our wonderful selection of Aguilar figures here. https://www.itscactus.com/catalog/Aguilar_Family-35-1.html ) Who said the Wise Men travelled alone?! They now process splendidly together following yonder star. Then I had a brainstorm regarding Guatemalan belts.  How terrific they look as bows on a wreathOaxacan tin and Guatemalan belt trimmed with Oaxacan tin ornaments!  In truth, I have the wreath hanging in my window, but the backlighting was so horrible,  I opted to photograph it on the door instead. Good either way, says I! (Yes!  We have Guatelmalan belts here: https://www.itscactus.com/catalog/Traditional_Belts_and_Hair_Ties-58-1.html  and Oaxacan tin ornaments here: https://www.itscactus.com/catalog/TIn_Art-70-1.html  Call the shop at 831-998-8993 for an even greater selection.)

Haitian metal sculptureMy greatest decorating inspiration, however, came when I spotted our new Haitian metal signs that say “Peace on Earth.”  Oh!  I though, “that might look pretty great attached to a wreath.”  See what you think.  And by all means, do some experimenting on your own. The best part of holiday decorating is the creative part.  If it wasn’t for the creative aspect, decorating would just be work.  Bah-HUMBUG!

Contributed by Linda for It’s Cactus

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