28 February 2011

Turbo's Ordeal

Our dear Turbo was the king of his yard and his town. He went everywhere with us - and as soon as we got back to town, he'd stand up and push his nose out the window so that all of his fans would know he was back!

We lost him in 2008 to an old spleen condition or injury. He had battled osteosarcoma, the scourge of greyhounds and won after an amputation. I had originally intended to write a short story about his ordeal, but I just couldn't end it with losing him. So, now it's finished in the middle, when we still had him.

BoBo Duke, Dolly & Flossie
We've since lost his best buddy, our kitty, Omar, too. Any of you who read us regularly know that we are loaded with pets here now, two greyhounds and a Dalmatian (our security chief) and a rowdy kitty who came to our door the day after we lost Omar.

If you're in the mood for a story with a mostly happy ending, then please read on. If not, we're just happy that you read this much.

We are so thankful to Dr. Guillermo Couto and his staff and students the Ohio State University Veterinary School for the wonderful treatment our boy, Turbo, received. Saint Francis sits on his shoulders, for sure!
The story follows. Please feel free to share it with anyone.

My name is Turbo. Turbo Tyler. My original name was Rooftop Ringo. What was that trainer thinking? I was diagnosed with osteosarcoma on July 10 by a substitute vet (my regular was on vacation). Not satisfied to wait for a referral the next week, my mom called Ohio State Veterinary Teaching Hospital. You see, there's a greyhound wellness program there. And, I am, after all, a retired racing greyhound. She was just looking for a doctor around here in Pittsburgh, PA. But, next thing we knew we were invited to Ohio. Cool! Road trip!

As luck would have it, at 3 o’clock Friday morning, July 11, 2008, we got in the car and headed to Columbus, Ohio with our Verizon Wireless Navigator in hand. We were so fortunate to be interviewed (a nice way to say prodded and poked and examined) by Dr. Guillermo Couto, a renowned expert and one of the greatest guys you could ever meet. The exam proved I did suffer from the dreaded OS. Mommy & Daddy had to leave me there, so I wouldn’t break my leg and make it worse. You see, Mom is a control-freak and way-too-over-observant. But this time it paid off! We caught it early enough that they didn’t see any in my lungs!
And you thought I needed four...
I lost my left front leg on Tuesday morning, July 15, 2008 around 9:30 – they put me under so I’m not really sure when the damage was done. I don’t remember signing any consent forms for this, but maybe my parents did. At first I was an admirable patient. I stood up that night in my ICU cell (they call it a kennel or intensive care unit, but, it’s a cell, trust me.). Then I walked, peed, pooped, ate. Wednesday was distressing, but I made it through. But, on Thursday, I felt a little depressed. I was thinking to myself, now, what’s with those parents of mine…why did they leave me here?  I yelped and whined and screamed. And then that Dr. Rebecca Ball, skilled surgeon that she is…teased me into liking her with that soft voice and pretty face. Then, look what happened! Actually, she was quite gentle and an expert cutter, I hear, but I have to blame someone, don’t I?
Mom and Dad had to drive the 3 to 4 hours back to OSU again to be with me. I guess I forgot how upset Mommy would be and how she’d be rushing Daddy around (he’s pretty slow…I can recognize that because I’m a greyhound). They got here pretty fast – shaving over an hour off the trip… Those high gas prices are pretty great for keeping the traffic out of our way.

I really scared my parents. You see, I didn’t want Dr. Ball and her squad to push me around any more. So (and I’m quite proud of this), it took four of them – count’em four – to muzzle me. Actually we greyhounds are used to muzzles – we had to wear them at the track, so I could have made it easier for them, but why?

I heard Mom come in – she has a hard time keeping quiet, but I don’t want to hurt her feelings, so keep it to yourself. Then she said, “my poor baby boy, ooooh my baby.” – Music to my ears. I perked up took my meds from her right through the muzzle. Daddy came in my cell, took off my muzzle and off we went on a gurney (that’s what they call it, but it’s really something like a plastic kid’s cart). As soon as I got outside with them, they helped me off the plastic cart, I stood up. This was easy, but I let them think about it. After all, they still have all of their legs! I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. After all, I still have one more than they do!

I was not too happy to discover that Dr Ball was on her way with that crew again. They changed my dressing (yeah, sure, it was a big bandage – and it was red, for OSU, what about us Notre Dame fans, huh?). She also pulled this plastic tube out of my chest. Why’d she leave it in - in the first place? She said it was to help drain…I don’t know about her. Actually, it felt pretty good to get that out.
After the Operation with my Favorite Love Rat
After a short visit, Mom and Dad had to accompany me back into that jail, er, hospital. Then Daddy had to put the muzzle back on me. (I let those guards know who was boss…Daddy could’ve done it with one hand, I was so sweet for him.) I must have been hallucinating: I thought I saw my Aunt Dolly, my grandparents’ Dalmatian, but, alas, it was an imposter – and a boy for that matter. Was I ever going to get back to normal? I thought not.

They sent Mommy and Daddy away and I thought I was a goner. After all, they took my leg last time I was orphaned. What would they take this time? Turns out, nothing. I behaved for a while, but when I discovered that I wasn’t leaving with my parents, I felt it necessary to make it miserable for the jailors again. Another night alone in the cell.

Then, miracle of miracles, here came my Mom and Dad back again. We had another little time outside. Then THEY WERE SENT AWAY. What is this all about anyway!? Everybody was able to come and go, but not I…not the one who gave up so much? Why me? Yet again, I returned to my cell. Just as I seemed to doze off, the mean ones came for me again. I thought I’d try another tactic. This time, I got up and walked down the hall and out into the waiting room all of this on a super waxed hard linoleum floor. I’d show them!

There they were, my Dad and Mom! Seems they just had to go to Target for some supplies. I’m going home! And, only a week after they brought me here! Cool! I knew something was up because the parents were telling the torturers how wonderful they were – how kind, gentle and caring; how skilled and calming. What is wrong with these people, were they drugged? Oh, who cares – I’m going home.

“Well, not so quick, Mr. Turbster,” I told myself. We stopped at this large, long building with a red roof. Daddy kept calling it Inn, but I wanted to be out of Ohio and on my way home.

Time to yelp again, I thought. I didn’t realize how much I frightened my parents. They even called Dr Ball for help. I was not getting out of that SUV, no, I was not. Well, when they called the surgeon, I freaked and figured I’d better get out of the car if I wanted to keep the rest of my parts, right? So, I embarrassed my folks, but pleased my doctor. I let the parents pick me up – no yelping involved – and walked into the room. Was this our new house? Only one room WITH NO KITCHEN?
Success - I couldn't lie on my back until now!
It was a hectic night. I couldn’t get comfortable. And, my Mom drove Dad and me crazy all night asking us what will happen, are you ok, do you think it hurts... I wouldn’t go outside to the bathroom. And I had such a bellyache. I was hungry, but everything went straight through me if you know what I mean! Eventually, I hobbled and hopped down to the tree…how far away did they have to plant it? I was praised highly for my regular canine bodily functioning. Had I known this, I’d have made it to that tree earlier.

Mom cleaned up after me. She never seems to mind. And, it was messy, that’s for sure. I was the only one who had dinner that night. Several times. And, each time, it came right out the other end. I hate to be untidy, but I just didn’t have it in me to clean off. Mom had this blue stuff from the hospital (I mean jail) and it really worked. Actually it wasn’t such a bad place now that I wasn’t there anymore. And she cleaned me off, over and over and over again.

I was truly excited when Daddy and Mommy lifted me up into the SUV – something I’d have never let happen only days ago. But, we’re going home, we’re on our way to Donora, the Home of Champions, like me! Can’t wait! Yippee!

Fooled again…back to the hospital. But I DIDN’T HAVE TO GET OUT OF THE CAR! I was going home.

Dad stopped at PetCo for a bed for me. Mommy and I rode in the back. Just in case I tried to stand, she could catch me…after all, I was still a bit shaky. We were going home, yep, we were!

Navigator on, we headed to the highway and were on our way. Then, I just couldn’t help it, a big yelp came right out of me and then another. It scared me and everyone else. Now my breakfast was shooting out the other end. What could I do? Yelp. That’s about it. Mom cleaned it up again with the blue stuff from the hospital and we continued on our way. Then, oh-oh, there it came again. Yelp!

Well, we finally all figured it out. The tummy turns were making me yelp. And, making Mommy and Daddy clean the car. Dad stopped for a break at a rest stop. So, I thought I’d help by getting in the front seat. Big mistake. I didn’t really fit. That scared me. And, oh, oh, YELP! The results of my yelping were all over the inside of the car – in the latches, on the steering wheel, all over the seat covers, down in the window wells, everywhere. Oh, did I mention that this is Dad’s new car – only four months old?

They helped me YELP my way out of the car so I could relax on the lawn as they took turns cleaning. Mommy even had to change her clothes. There’s always a silver lining – well, maybe – at least we now knew what YELP meant.

Only another 100 miles and we would be home. I was tired and there was very little YELP left in me. At least until we arrived at home. Then it went everywhere again. Everywhere in my yard, my huge, fenced-in yard. My yard…my grass…my life!

That three-leg thing – I forgot about it. Maneuvering through my toileting was not as easy as I thought it would be at home. It’s like a balancing act. But, since we greyhounds are lucky enough to have flexible spines, it’s a little easier for me than most to get situated.

There is a ramp leading from our yard to the back of the church. Did I mention that I live in a church, well, a renovated church? Our business is upstairs and our apartment down. But, for some reason, Daddy has decided that we’re going to forget the apartment and live upstairs. And there’s a gate at the top of my steps. I even tried the other side – but there was a giant chair in front of it – that was my secret escape route.

Then I saw him, my best friend, Omar. He was even purring. You see he can’t meow, he squeaks like a mouse (helpful when hunting, he says, but I’ve not seen a mouse anywhere). His one tooth was shining through his silly smile. I guess he missed me, too.

Thanks for reading. We unfortunately lost our boy from an unrelated spleen issue - not cancer - on December 20, 2008 - exactly one week after we lost my Dad and three weeks before we lost my Mom. We lost Omar in August, 2009.

We take comfort in that they are all running with the wind and eating junk food - healthy and happy - and watching over us.

©SilverCrow Creations, 2008, 2011. All rights reserved.

25 February 2011

How William Shatner Influences SilverCrow

I can't tell you when I first became a William Shatner fan.

I thought it might have been the Twilight Zone episode Nick of Time in 1960. He and his new bride were in a small town and were trapped by a fortune telling machine in the local diner.

Anyone who knows SilverCrow, knows how we love fortune tellers, old and new. In fact, this episode inspired a couple of our ephemera products: our Vintage Fortune Slips from a machine something like the one in the movie. And then there are our Vintage Fortune Tickets. Even our Devil Maraca looks like the head on the machine in the show.

And now we've discovered that he has been a huge part of our television viewing and movie going since the 1960s - including 77 Sunset Strip, The Defenders, The Virginian and of course, Star Trek and Boston Legal. There are so many more shows and episodes in between, too!

Over the last few years, I have convinced Pete of the talented Mr. Shatner's genius. Not only is he a fine actor, but he is funny, he's a musician, and he's astute at marketing (products and himself), and among the most incisive interviewers of all time - getting right to the heart of the matter - because he cares and he knows a lot about a lot. Just watch an episode or two of Shatner's Raw Nerve if you don't believe us!

So, when we look back, we both have realized just how much William Shatner has influenced both of us - especially our imaginations and our willingness to try anything.

SilverCrow's William Shatner Postcard

22 February 2011

Foam Rubber

It's something we take for granted every day. It's in your car seats, your sofas and chairs, some pillows - even sponges. It an be cut, molded and shaped in many forms. Soft or firm, it's still cushy!

The Mayans used rubber as a cushioning agent hundreds of years ago. The original foam was made from actual latex rubber. Around World War II, before and after, the polycarbonate industry flourished and a better way to make foam was on its way.

Well, Pete's Dad, L. Dean Tyler, was project leader at Monsanto (later Mobay, then Bayer) during that time and was an integral contributor foam as we know it today - it's not rubber after all!

Unfortunately Dean died a young man. He would have been 93 in 2011! Just imagine what he might have invented if he were still with us. His company dedicated a building to him after his death in honor of his contributions. It was then replaced with something more modern, so they gave us the amazingly heavy bronze plaque from the side of the building.

20 February 2011

SilverCrow's Fairy Doors Made it to Etsy's Front Page !

Wow! We're delighted! Our little oxidized brass Fairy Door with a Window made it to the front page of Etsy today. 'Tis ours on the bottom right.

You'll find lots more wonderful gifts from the faeries and other magical creatures on SilverCrow's Faerie page!

The wee folk were looking out for us on such a lovely not-yet-spring day! 

19 February 2011

Attitude & Stupidity Control - Maybe These will Really Work!?

Sadly, the little company that made these has suffered with the times and has had to close it's doors. We were truly disheartened by the news. So, once these are gone, they're gone!

We used to go to the shore every summer - to Stone Harbor, New Jersey. Our vacation was at the same time each year and each year we stayed in the same motel - right on the sand, right by the water. Our normal routine would include going to the all-year Christmas store, a night-time visit to the boardwalk in Wildwood and our favorite - a trip to a wonderful candy store in Cape May.

Every year, my Dad would buy these pills (jelly beans) for his friends. He was the Postmaster here in Donora as well as the Assistant Fire Chief of the Volunteer Fire Department. Every year he would giggle when he bought different formulas and every year as I grew older, I'd tell him, "Daddy, it's not funny every year." And every year, he'd reply, "Sure, it is!"

Each bottle looks like a prescription bottle and the label reads like one. Here's a look at the Attitude Control Pills Label:
The Opti-Mystic Pharmacy
Control Pills
Jelly Beans
Physician: Dr. Pahz A. Tivvly
Prescription: # Y-Knot
INSTRUCTIONS: Take one or more each morning, as needed, to promote a positive, exciting, happy, uplifting and successfully optimistic attitude.
WARNING: If you think you can, or if you think you can't ... you're right !!

When I discovered that they were still made, what else could I do - we had to sell these. And, trust me, these are funny - and they will be - every year! Honest!

Better yet, they are made by a wonderful company in Wyoming. They employ 30 developmentally disabled individuals, whose conscientious attitudes and attention to detail are amazing!

The Attitude Control Pills are sold out. You can still order the Stupidity Control Pills are still available.

13 February 2011

SilverCrow Valentine Sale & Give Away

Sending you Love, Savings & Free Gifts on Valentine's Day!

Just a little valentine;
You'll have others - we've no doubt,
In counting up our blessings
We couldn't leave you out! 

Use Discount Code LOVE to save 30% on your entire order + Free Gifts with every order! Complete instructions and information about sales & specials can always be found on Omar's Feature Page. Offer valid through 2/28/2011.

We're not sending candy, but we are sending:

with every order - a Booklet of Vintage Eureka Valentine Stickers (total value over $1)
with orders over $50 - a Booklet of Vintage Eureka Valentine Stickers + a Grab Bag of Vintage & New Valentine Scraps & Dresdens (total value over $5)
with orders over $100 - a Booklet of Vintage Eureka Valentine Stickers + a Grab Bag of Vintage & New Valentine Scraps & Dresdens + a vintage 1920s to 1940s Valentine (total value over $12)

12 February 2011

WOW! Customers' Projects Using SilverCrow Stuff

We just love it when we get pictures of the wonderful projects people make using our stuff! Sometimes it's a giant project. Sometimes it's a tiny one. People make assemblages, miniatures, jewelry and, of course shrines. Here are a few of the projects folks have sent us. And, we've put the items they used on Blog Special for a few days, too!

Liz Petro (aka Far Field Designs on Etsy) designed this lovely necklace featuring a vintage Saint Joan of Arc medal. That's our silver-plated hand pendant connector holding the pendant! It's great for earrings, pendants (as you can see) and lots of other stuff, too! Check out the rest of Far Field's store - she has lots of classic, modern and very special items - truly inspirational!

One of our favorite bloggers, Mel Kolstad of Ephemeraology fame, created this cool ATC with our vintage plastic blackbirds. With a name like SilverCrow, you know that we love blackbirds of all types - in song, on paper, in plastic, and especially in silver!
Mel also created this wonderful vignette with some of our Little People. We're not sure which size she used, so we've decided to make the Blog Special feature our Medium Little People. We're quite taken with tiny things and miniature works of art, so her vignette is doubly pleasing. You can check out all of our Little People & Things for other neat miniatures.

Jo Spears, who loves all things Victorian, loves our Black Dresden Cones - and uses them to make nosegays. But, sometimes, she places them just right and voilà - an extra special vase and flower display (and tulips are our favorite!) We planted a long, long row of tulips when we first moved to SilverCrow's new location and they are finally naturalizing - spring just isn't arriving quickly enough for us.

We have lots more to show off and we'll be adding them soon. For more projects, check out our previous customer project posts: Four Leaf Clover Necklace and other Great Stuff from our Customers!

08 February 2011

Reorganizing and Rearranging - Save 20% in SilverCrow's Etsy Store - Hurry Before It Ends! Ending 2/15/11

I just spent the last two hours rearranging our Etsy Shop. It's so hard to decide what the Sections should be named because Etsy only allows 10 sections and only 24 characters for the name.

If you're familiar with SilverCrow, either through Etsy or on our website, then you know we hate being limited by anything! And, only 24 characters - wow - our personal names are longer than that! So, we thought we'd entice you to browse with a nice discount of 20% - on all our Etsy items. Just use the Coupon Code REORG when you check out. This coupon is for our Etsy store only. This coupon expires 2/15/2011.

Originally we had listed all of our vintage stuff and ephemera - in one giant category. We still have a lot of unclassified vintage stuff. Now it is all in the Vintage/Nowhere Else section. Look for just about anything here: vintage dolls, trays, souvenirs (our favorites) and some very strange things that just don't fit anywhere else.

Now we've moved the ephemera, paper (new and old) and stickers all together in a new section called Ephemera/Paper/Stickers. Look for vintage and new scraps and die cuts, artistamps, pockets, stickers, vintage seals and more there. There are lots of one-of-a-kinds as well as some sets combining favorites from the SilverCrow website into packages - like our Vintage Scrap Krampus Pack (no longer available).

The biggest change involves our religious medals and shrine supplies. They were all over the place - vintage, shrine supplies, jewelry components, paper. We've put all of the Shrine/Religious Supply stuff together now - and we have tons more to add in this section over the next few weeks - lots of special vintage items and some new kits for making your own shrines, along with our classic kits and shrine supplies.

Our Jewelry Vintage and New section now includes vintage pieces as well as our own exclusive designs. Shoe clips, bracelets, rings, pins in all price ranges. We have lots more that we haven't even inspected yet!

Artwork/Needlework/Etc includes things we made as well as vintage artwork, needlework and the like. We even made some of the vintage items. And, used some vintage items in the artwork.

Fans of tiny stuff will love our Little People and Things. We have to follow the Etsy rules, so we can't sell all of our little items via Etsy. But, you'll find a few. The rest are available on SilverCrow's website. Miniature items (for dollhouses and dioramas) are not allowed on the Etsy site unless they are totally handmade by the seller. Rest assured, there are tons more tiny things on their way.

We started SilverCrow back in 1997 making rubber stamps. Our collection of images is in the thousands! We offer some special images on Etsy along with grab bags and specialty stamps from other companies in our Rubber Stamps section. Sometimes we list the stamps as mounted on hardwood. Other stamps are listed as unmounted. If you want one the other way, just let us know, we'll set it up for you. There are some bargain stamps, too.

All kinds of kits, tools, brushes, J.Herbin inks from France, buttons, cones, papier mâché magic wands, matchboxes, coffin boxes, Zenith Italian staplers & staple removers and the like are in our All Kinds of Supplies section. There are vintage items, exclusive items. There are shadow boxes and sometimes even some seconds - broken pieces perfect for altering - these are scooped up so quickly - always surprising us.

Charms, beads, flat backs, cabochons - old and new are in our Jewelry Components section. Sterling silver, Bakelite, plastic, glass - we love them all. Some are ours exclusively. Others are from points around the globe.

Our newest section features Vintage Vinyl LP Record Albums. We have been selling these on eBay and Ruby Lane, but decided to move over to Etsy for awhile. Some are in marvelous shape - especially the jazz albums. Others are great for the graphics or for repurposing. Some were our own that were doubles. Others are from collections or the estates of friends and family. There are even some strange sound effects albums.

05 February 2011

Laundry vs. Washing Clothes

We do the laundry together, Pete and I. There is something so old fashioned about laundry - sorting, looking for stains, turning items outside-in and inside-out, matching socks, folding, hanging, ironing, ....

Our favorite part is the wealthy feeling of having everything cleaned and pressed and put away. (Actually, I hate putting things away, but Pete loves it!)

More than several years ago, we saw a program on HGTV that instructed us on how to make our drawers and closets nicer. We followed the directions and I'm proud to say that we've rarely varied from the program. We were amazed at how much room is saved - and how we can find everything - yes, everything - even in the underwear drawers!

And, I iron all our linen kitchen towels and our hand-embroidered all-cotton pillow cases. We even use doilies and dresser scarves that must be laundered, hand-starched the old-fashioned way (not spray starch) and pressed. We even use a professional mangle to press our tablecloths!

We both love the comfortable, crumpled linen look and have lots of such casual clothing, but nothing beats a nicely ironed shirt and slacks with a perfect crease.

Some of my friends have told me that this is evidence that I need a life. I think it's evidence that I have a life. I take pride in a job well done and just love the feel of crisp linens and the entire experience.

I've found that over the last few decades, I, along with lots of other people, have taken the comfortable stance that somethings just aren't important. Leisure is important - but what is leisure after all? A century and a half ago, it was sewing and mending, whittling and creating tools, reading and learning.

So, I treasure my leisurely evenings of ironing - touching the old things that were my mother's and grandmother's, remembering that they ironed them, too. Luckily I don't have to heat the iron on the stove or in the fireplace!