Shio and Emi's Ugly Sweater Portraits

We were fortunate to be introduced to Sachi, the artist behind Ugly Sweater Portraits, back in December 2014 when I nearly fell over after seeing her work on a mutual friend's sweater that was posted on Instagram - it was amazing! Without hesitation, we contacted Sachi to create two shirts for us. 

The first step was to reach out to Sachi and find out what we needed to provide her in order to begin our project! 

- Sweater (or another textile for project base): While Sachi was happy to purchase the sweaters for us, we decided to pick our own shirts and have them sent to her to work on. We went with sweatshirts instead of sweater because we thought that it would work better for our more casual weekend style. We've seen her also work on tote bags and cushion covers!

- Image: There are so many moments that J and I capture and share on Instagram that we love and had a good idea of what we wanted on our shirts. Of course we had to have one with the two Shibas cuddling and another with Shio protesting. We provided about 10 photos for Sachi to look at so she can use her eye to determine what would look the best on our project. If you don't want to choose one, Sachi will also look through your image galleries to pick what she think will work best for your order!

- Time Frame: Sachi has been incredibly busy with orders so it's important to convey when you want or need your shirts!

Next step was for Sachi to create sketches with cute accessories for the dogs. I love that she added antlers and Santa hats on her previous projects, but we wanted accessories that could be worn year-round so we went with party hats (because having Shibas know how to party!) and Shio's signature bow tie. I'm particular about design projects so I asked Sachi to allow me to pre-approve the sketches before she starts working on our sweatshirts. I really appreciated her responsiveness and patience while we conversed about the design over email and realize that she has the natural artistic instincts that didn't need my overbearing second eye. She also offered great ideas and we came to an agreement on every point before she began the felt work.

Last step - the work on the sweatshirts! I expected her to complete the work but she sent over some sneak peeks to get me excited about the final! Every single picture she sent resulted in an audible "AWWWW!" from me as I started longingly at my phone. Sachi sent me the shipment information for the shirts immediately and that previous audible aww turned into a loud SQUEE! when I finally saw the sweatshirts in person! 

Her work and attention to detail is incredible and the material was a thick felt glued down with fabric glue and HAND SEWN around the edges. I love the little white dollops above Shio's expressive eyes and the sparkle in Emi's mischievous eyes. My favorite might be the little black sewn black nails on the paws (I told you that she was detailed!) Due to the delicate nature of the felt material, the sweatshirts are DRY CLEAN ONLY. Personally, I thought that the results were so great that I want to permanently display them in my home as wall art.

Even though the holidays are over, I can see myself ordering more of these for friends and family as gifts throughout the year. Her prices are extremely reasonable for the quality of the final product - you'll want to email her directly for pricing as each project may vary slightly. You can reach Sachi her email address and her Instagram page is if you want to see a gallery of her work before ordering!


*Disclaimer: Some compensation was received for this review but all expressed opinions are that of my own.

Welcome 2014!

A very belated happy new year to all our Shiba loving friends! 

Last year was a year filled with photos of moments shown through J's eyes. We had such a great time exploring Brooklyn and found new adventures every weekend. One of the perks of moving to Brooklyn as a dog owner was the increased number of places that we could bring the dogs to! The borough is very pet friendly and there are more areas that allow dogs to walk on grass -- something so simple that we weren't able to do in Manhattan thanks to strict park rules. We were even able to find a couple of coffee places that allow dogs inside!

We've spent so much time exploring and we are finally comfortable detailing the places that we've frequented over the past year. Our goal for the site this year is to accompany these photos with descriptions, transportation options and a overall idea of how dog-friendly each area is. 

We apologize to any dog owners outside the New York area as most of these posts will be based in the Northeastern parts of the states but there will still be many photos to accompany each post so check back often to see our adventures!


Finding a GREAT Dog Walker

It wasn't our intent to hire a dog walker when we moved out to Brooklyn since I would be home to care for the pups. It was an extra expense and it also required someone to hold the key to our front door. Based on our experience with our previous dog walker in Manhattan, we had little motivation to find a new one. 

You may recall that back in April 2012 when Emi and Shio were sick, I was stuck in full days' worth of classes and wasn't around to take them out. We were forced to find someone to take them out. By then we already lived in our Brooklyn neighborhood for a year and I interacted with many walkers in the dog run and spoken to many dog owners about what they thought of each dog walker. I also scoped out referrals through the neighborhood vets and independently owned pet stores. In the end, we used our very good Shiba owner friend's dog walker and never regretted our decision. Our dog walkers are hands down the most fabulous people and we would could sing praises all day on their work ethic.

They are also trainers by trade. I'm most impressed not by the way that all their dogs are well behaved and sitting when they stop and go, but by their sacrifice and commitment to their profession. I've met many walkers in NYC treat this job similar to a wait service position - a place to earn money while they pursue an artistic or acting career. In contrary, our dog walkers are focused only on walking and training. They are our through all inclement weather conditions and work even during their days when they're sick. In two years, I've never seen them take a day off for vacation or make excuses. 

We're very lucky to have them in our neighborhood and hope that everyone is as fortunate as we were. Searching for a trustworthy person with your beloved pet is a task that requires time so research and interview well before you need a pet sitter or walker. 


Dog-Friendly Brunch :: Purbird

One of the most difficult things to do around town is finding dog-friendly restaurants to go to. This past weekend, we went to Purbird with Shio and Emi, and had a great brunch. Shio even got to sit on the human bench and have his own snack!! Highly recommended for all dog-owners. The chicken thigh wrap is amazing.

Photos taken with Fuji X-E1 + XF 35mm f/1.4.