Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The perfect collar...

Accidents happen all of the time.  More so, it seems, when you are constantly shadowed by an oversized and needy Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross who thinks he is a miniature poodle.  I have lost count of the times that I've tripped over, been knocked over by or stood on Caesar.  This is mainly because he likes to stay as close to me as is possible.  Sometimes, he's so quiet that I don't even know he's there!  Last night, Damien and I spent ages shouting him and looking for him when it turns out he was under the table by my feet.

Accidents happen.  And, I of all people, can vouch for that fact.  I've had some strange and colourful accidents in my time.  Including the time when I trapped my head in the shower door and gave myself a fat lip by smashing my face off it when I sprayed myself with cold water.  And I've lost count of the times that Caesar has knocked me over by running into me full pelt.

However, recently, I began on an accidental adventure that I didn't see coming at all.  It all started with a shopping trip to IKEA.  The same shopping trip that led to my buying Caesar's tent.  A few minutes after choosing the tent, I paused for an unknown reason at the fabric isle.  Standing on the end of the isle was a rather nifty looking sewing machine; small, compact and colourful.  My first thought was that, for £45, I could make a nice pair of curtains for Caesar's cage.  This should make it look a little more homely and mean that it has less of an impact on the dining room.  So, I chose some red spotty material and picked up the light weight machine feeling pleased with myself.

Since discovering I could sew, I've moved up in the world!

A few days later, I finally pulled it out of it's cardboard box and rummaged around for the instructions.  I'd put off using it because I wasn't exactly sure how to and the week had afforded me little time to learn.  When I had finally followed the step-by-step guide to setting up, winding, threading and eventually sewing, I decided that a crate cover featuring a set of curtains was a little pie in the sky for my current sewing ability.  So I searched around for something else to make.  To begin with, I found a few scrap pieces of material and made a tiny cat face with sewn on button eyes.  I smiled to myself as I completed it.  Although not exactly sure what to do with the odd looking cat, I felt as though, at the least, I'd experienced a minor sewing achievement.  However, still not ready to tackle the curtains and cover, I searched about for something else.  I had a few pieces of ribbon left over from Christmas but nothing more.

OK so I'm a bit bonkers about ribbon...

It was around this time that Damien's gym bag decided to break.  It had been looking a little worse for wear for more than a short time and, finally, the rip in the top had turned into a rather large hole.  Despite his best efforts to ignore this, it wasn't long before the strap of the bag fell of completely.  Damien was about to throw the bag in the bin when a thought crossed my mind.  On this bag were webbing, straps and clips.  I'd quite fancied having a go at making a dog collar but I wasn't sure that my little machine would hack it.

A week and several trips to the haberdashery later, I'd not only made one collar; I'd made several!  And, people were asking me to make them one too.  Suddenly, I was being offered money to create these collars.  Armed with left over Christmas ribbon and off cuts from Boyes, I began making little collars.  Suddenly, the collar world was my oyster.  If there was something I fancied for Caesar; I could make it!

Hello sailor?
100% British?
.....maybe not
....surely one of these must be right?!

This led to much dithering.  I kept making collars for him and then deciding to sell them or someone might simply take a shine to them and I'd feel bad for keeping them to myself.  Sometimes, I'd choose a random collar for Caesar to model but none of them grabbed my attention.  Now that I had a choice, I wanted a collar that defined Caesar.  More than Batman and Superman.  Something that spoke out loud about him and his nature.

It's alright....but is it really me?

Finally, one evening on Facebook, I spotted a post by a friend.  It was perfect!  The ribbon showed a simple paw pattern and 2 very important and very true words.  The very collar that would define Caesar:

I chose yellow for the webbing because Caesar is a 'yellow dog'.  For those of you who have missed the yellow dog campaign, give the website a visit (Yellow Dog UK).

Thank you to Sue at Sue's Pet Tags  for the wonderful ribbon and support with the business start up.  Sue provides excellent pet tags made to match collars beautifully.

STOG for your dog is now officially a business.  If you would like to order a collar or discuss custom made collars, please follow the contact on the STOG website.