Sunday, November 30, 2008

Calendar Contest Winners

It was very difficult to pick but we have finalized our picks for the 1st Annual Lucky Fiona "Official Friends of Fiona 2009" Calendar Contest! Thank you to everybody that entered and sent in their photographs.
The Winners are:
Miss January - Fiona (you didn't think we would not let her take top billing did you?)

Mr & Ms. February - Belle & Petey

Mr. March - Carter LeDoux

Mr. April - Jack (our favorite cat entry!)

Ms. & Missy May - Maizie & Maddie

Ms. June - Lucy

Mr. July - Yoshi

Mr. August - Bailey

Ms. September - Ellis

Mr. October - Cooper

Mr. November - Ted

Mr. December - Riley
Congratulations Winners! You all will receive a Lucky Fiona Gift Certificate to be used anytime in 2009 for a free custom collar! Calendars will be on sale in our Etsy shop with proceeds going to the shelter we adopted Fiona from in central Illinois.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

If you lean far to the right and squint it looks perfect...

My Christmas Tree is as crooked as a shihtzu's underbite. I don't know how my husband and I do this, but I would be lying if I said this was the first time we have brought home a Christmas Tree that was somewhat defective. It looks great at the lot, we shake it and twirl it around looking for bare spots...we deem it as the perfect tree. "It's THE one! Wrap it up!" my husband bellows to the less than enthusiastic tree lot salesman who probably has to hear this speech a thousand times a day until December 25th. We bring it home and put it in the $50 tree stand that guarantees to straighten any tree with it's spherical rotating magical base. Then we wait to see who will admit first we bought a pretty awful tree. This year in the late afternoon light of my living room it became very evident our perfect Christmas tree had a perfect case of scoliosis. The trunk was completely curved and in typical male fashion my husband got out a power tool to "fix it". So commenced my husband breaking a sweat hauling our "perfect" tree in and out of the front door in multiple attempts to cut the bottom off at different angles to make it stand up straight in the $50 tree stand that has a college degree in physics. This resulted in less than happy holiday cheer as a few expletives were shouted between us and each trip in and out resulting in a growing trail of needles and a shorter tree. When my 8 foot tree hit the 5 and a half foot mark I had to end the amputating. Now in years past we usually take the offending defective tree and set it up on the back deck with some old lights. Neighbors think we are really in the holiday spirit decorating our deck and we let them believe that ruse. So my husband said "I guess it's time to start decorating the deck - get your coat so we can go back to the tree lot." and right then I kind of had an epiphany. Right there in front of the world's most crooked Christmas tree.
"No." I said to my confused husband. "It's perfect, we're not going anywhere."
This past year has been all about imperfection for me. From broad subjects like our imperfect president and the imperfect war our country is in. The economic crisis that has hit us in the first year of me running this business. The fact I went from working a perfectly respectable job managing a medical division to making handmade dog collars as a full time career. The polite smiles of people who think I am nuts devoting my energies to something they perceive as a hobby. It's all just a little too imperfect for some to swallow.
I love the perfection of my imperfect life and home. In a suburb of freshly manicured hands mine are crooked and dry, worn from digging in the garden and playing with dogs all day. My house is not immaculate as I live with 3 dogs and 3 cats that shed, drool, vomit and wear down anything new. My perfect new car has scratches on the sleek paint job from an enthusiastic setter ready to go to the dog park who jumped on the door. My imperfect yard has holes dug in it and the grass is worn in places and we don't have a hired landscaper to make it perfect again. My clothes are comfortable for sewing and walking dogs in, but not perfectly tailored or out of a magazine. My husband wears a uniform and turns a wrench while most men in our community wear suits while trotting to the train to downtown offices and perfect bonuses. My dogs do not come when called and my 14 year old cat sometimes misses the litter box. There is no perfection here and guess what? We are pretty damn happy.
My husband and I sat on the couch tonight facing our tilting tree. Lights dim, candles flickering, cozy on this chilled evening. The dogs were snoozing around us and one cat curled up on the tree skirt like a present waiting to be unwrapped. They were blissfully unaware of how crooked the tree is, just happy to be in our presence. My husband looked at me and said "I think this is the perfect tree for us this year, don't you?" "Yup" I replied. "It's perfectly imperfect."

Friday, November 28, 2008

We May Be Crazy...

Fiona insists we offer a sale in the Etsy shop on Black Friday like no other! (she is so pushy when it comes to giving her fans a good deal - she is as stubborn as a setter can get!)
So for today only Friday November 28th 2008 -
Yes, we know it's NUTSY.
Order any standard collar and simply list your choice of a free collar in the buyer notes as you check out. Limit 5 free collars. Surcharge for martingales and extra wide widths applies.
Order them up before we wait till Fiona takes a nap and end this crazy promotion!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Lucky Fiona Calendar Contest

Last Chance! Please submit your photos of your dog or cat wearing Lucky Fiona for our first annual Calendar Contest! 12 Lucky Winners will not only receive a free custom collar but also be featured in our 2009 Friends of Fiona Wall Calendar that will be for sale in our shop. Please email submissions to and be sure to notate calendar contest in the title line of the email.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Important Company Announcement

Rebecca Marino (left) and Company Head Bitch Shannon Barry (right) October 2008

Lucky Fiona is proud to present the newest member of our team and announce her promotion! Rebecca Marino has been named Senior Sales Executive for East Coast Territories. Rebecca is a New York native and the proud Catmom of the adorable feline duo Jack and Fiona. She has played an integral part in the development of our cat products and will play an important role in us expanding this line in the future via test marketing with Jack and Fiona. Her devotion for all things kitty has earned her the nickname "Crazy Cat Lady" and her great enthusiasm for our dog line is noteworthy of someone who does not have a dog. Rebecca uses a unique and personal style of marketing our products to boutiques and shops that has proven to be successful in both the US and Canada. Congratulations Rebecca and we look forward to your continued success and the day when we can actually pay you in money and not just cat collars and catnip toys.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is... ???

Fiona is so thankful and happy that so many doggie pals of hers submit their photographs wearing Lucky Fiona to be considered an Official Friend of Fiona in our weekly contest. But we want to remind everybody to please let us know your dog or cat's name when you send in your pictures! Our weekly winner will receive a free custom collar of their choosing for having the honor of being an Official Friend of Fiona. But we need to honor your pup or kitty appropriately so please let us know who the attractive four pawed pals are when you send in photos. Here are some good looking pooches above that we have no identity for...come forward and let us know who you are so we can award you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fountain of Youth in a Vittles Vault

My wild child Dugan will soon be 9 or 10 or 11 years old...the beauty of rescue is never knowing the truth. In as much as I want to avoid the truth...he is getting old. It hits me in sneaky little pangs...I watch him stand up a little slower on cold mornings. His movements more deliberate and sometimes a little limp from his bad shoulder, my heart aches upon the sight of it. I pass him on the living room couch and go about my tasks of the day and pass him again 4 hours later and realize he has not moved in that time. The dog that was literally a twirling dervish when we rescued him, a dog that paced the house and yard non-stop, a dog that would announce to the world a squirrel was three doors down the street. Now he slumbers unstirred by the world around him, uninterested in the movement he once thrived upon. He has earned this rest. But I hate it.
I foolishly challenge this ageing in the only ways I can...I increase his joint supplements, I change his food, I order more blood work and radiographs at the vet. I kid myself that we are taking the shorter walking route because I am tired, not because he is showing signs of having enough for the day.
Dugan in his early years was the dog that defined the term "behaviorally challenged". Our introduction was the day we got him home and found he had scaled the washing machine to reach a shelf with the cat food dish above it. He is the reason we had to install a new pantry door after he learned how to open it himself and one day had a smorgasbord of 17 Power Bars and a bag of wheat flour. For years we prepared dinner with him gated in the laundry room as he had previously learned to silently steal things off the stove as they were cooking. To this day we are quite sure we are the only dog guardians we know who have to leave their crockpot in the garage to cook an all day.(bonus the garage never smelled so good as you arrive home from work) We've considered publishing a coffee table book of his abdominal x-rays to offset the cost of his vet bills for "ingested foreign objects". Lastly his quest to invade the litter box has resulted in several engineering marvels on how to secure the litter box area involving diagrams, wood, metal, children's play tents and carefully arranged bungee cords. Dugan, our wild and mischievous Dugan was the reason we started to get nervous any time the house seems a little "too" quiet.
So now to see him legitimately quiet is well...troubling. He's getting old and as much as I prayed for these days in his wild youth, I now scorn them.
The other afternoon I sat next to him during one of his marathon naps and heard him give a contented sigh as I sat down beside him. I traced the contours of his face with my fingers and found more white than red fur, no matter how many times I tried to find the opposite. His deep amber eyes had that haze of wisdom that older dogs get, his nose a bit dry - the pigment starting to fade. I stroked his coat and my hand found calluses where his skin had toughened with age, he flinched a bit when repositioning his bad shoulder to move closer to me. I put my face in his neck and begged him not to get old and he responded by falling back to sleep in my arms.
I think he may have been listening to me though. Last night I was working in my studio when I heard my husband yelling from downstairs and the familiar cry of "Dugan! No! Bad dog!" I ran downstairs to investigate and my husband reported that he was walking to the powder room and stumbled upon Dugan with his head in the food container having a late night snack. He had knocked a 30 pound Vittles Vault on it's side and then using his Irish Setter skills had unscrewed the vacuum locked lid and helped himself. While my husband uttered some expletives as he got a broom and pan to clean up the sea of kibble on the floor I just stood back and smiled. Perhaps my old boy isn't so ready to retire from mischief just yet...and that is fine by me.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is... Lucy

Look at Lucy the Supermodel! Her Dogmom reports she just feels like a beautiful "girlie-girl" in her new custom made "Kitchen Sink" Lucky Fiona Collar. We agree so we have declared this girlie our Official Friend of Fiona this week. We hope Lucy can take time out from posing so nicely to pick out her free custom made collar courtesy of Fiona for being this week's winner! Congrats lovely Lucy!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thank you for caring and sharing for Sarah

Fiona and I wanted to take a moment to thank everybody that bought charity collars during the months of September and October to benefit Sarah the Irish Setter being fostered by Save Our Setters. We had hoped to sell 50 collars in October and came darn close falling just a handful short of our goal. Unfortunately we had many people place orders that did not pay for them and we have been trying diligently to collect those much needed funds the past weeks. But some bad apples will not subtract from the wonderful people that did make payment knowing 50% of our retail was going to be donated to Sarah. The caring emails and thoughts that came forward for Sarah really made us believe in the power of humane causes and that every dog deserves a chance. We will continue to follow Sarah's progress at and will keep positive thoughts going her way as she continues to recover. We are creating some beautiful collars for Sarah to wear when her neck is healed so she can feel like the special pooch that she is and hopefully find her way to her forever home in style. Fiona and I say thanks to all who cared and contributed and helped change the life of this special dog.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

We love a rave...

Your collars are high quality, washable, adorable patterns and love the charms you put on the collars and are so reasonably priced. You wouldn't believe or you probably know that there are so many collars out there, but I got real tired of buying over priced and cheaply made collars. I prefer the cotton custom made collars especially since I can wash them because my 'Little Sadie' loves the dirt! She comes in from the backyard at times with 4 black paws and a black mouth and Max comes in clean! She's a handful, but I love her to death. Everytime I think of using one of the coupons you have sent me you always have such a great deal on collars. Thanks for checking on the collars for me; I really appreciate it.
Jackie, Max & Sadie"

Thanks a Caboodle!

Thanks so much to Krista at 9 Chicks Clothing for featuring us on her blog!

We appreciate the mention and love it when other people love our collars as much as we do.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

When your little kitty flies the coop...

It seems like just yesterday our kitten Sully came home from the shelter to live in our happy four-pawed home. He was our sweet blue eyed baby boy, our fuzzy little Siamese monster. Innocent of the outside world and happy to be in our home it seemed all he needed was...well, all he needed was me. And I was fine with that.
This past weekend dear Sully mastered the doggie door and with that little flap of plastic swinging in the breeze my innocent young Sully is no longer a sheltered inside cat. He can now come in and out on his own and like a Mommy bird not ready for her chicks to fly I am melancholy over his new founded skill.
Never interested in that door previously I long held the hope that exploring our house was enough to satiate his curiosity. Alas on Saturday morning I sat and watched as he used his head to wedge the magnetic strip of the dog door open and then hopped outside. He repeated the feat and immediately came back inside and then with eyes opened like saucers he hopped back out again. I followed him outside and watched as he crouched on the deck, low like a panther he patrolled the perimeter inch by inch. He slowly made his way to the grass and daintily stepped on it. Head high he looked back at me as if to say "Holy smokes, this stuff feels strange!" He pawed at the grass, then did a belly flop to roll in it. The next hour I stood in the morning chill mesmerized as Sully commited many firsts. He clawed his first tree trunk and chased some real live birds near the feeder.(thankfully his bell did it's job and gave them plenty of warning to flee as he lumbered toward them) He was so joyful as he pounced on leaves, weaved through the wilted garden vines and at one particularly proud moment stood on top of the covered grill like King of the Mountain. I have never seen him so happy and in turn I had to let go of my fears and let him be a cat. A smart cat who figured out the dog door.
So my baby kitten had discovered the great outdoors and there is no going back. Thankfully he cannot scale the fence and seems none too interested to do so at this point. So every day we are working on his training and coming inside when called - I let him go outside supervised in the morning and treat him with Kitty Caviar when he comes to the door when I call him. Brody, our other young cat who has always gone out the dog door into the fenced yard is ecstatic to have a playmate out there. She chases him around the raised garden beds and showed him the best sunny place to sprawl out on the deck.
I guess it's time for this Cat-Mama to let go and see what the cats drag in...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Basset Bash in Georgia November 8th 2008

For more info. on how to help Bassett Hounds in need.

Thanks to Yoshi's Dogmom for sending in this awesome photo of Yoshi enjoying the festivities at The Basset Bash and Waddle in Georgia yesterday. Doesn't Yoshi look dashing in his custom Lucky Fiona "Snowball" Collar in martingale styling? Making Yoshi even more handsome is the fact he donated a custom basket including a Lucky Fiona Collar/Leash combo and gift certificate to the cause for a special fundraising raffle. Looking good and doing good for doggies makes everybody a winner! So stick your tongue out all you want Yoshi - we still think you're the best!

Friday, November 7, 2008

This Week's Official Friend of Fiona is...Molly!

Can I get a big paw in the air for this week's Official Friend of Fiona? Miss Molly is certainly looking lovely in her Silly Stripe Collar and she looks even better with the knowledge that each Silly Stripe collar purchased in our shop the proceeds are given to a monthly charity. Thanks for doing a nice thing and looking fabulous all at the same time Molly. Tell your Dogdad it's time to get you to the computer and pick your free collar for being this week's winner! (pssst....also tell him to enter our calendar contest too!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

2009 Lucky Fiona Collar Calendar Contest

Do you have a fabulous photo of your cat or dog? Like this one for example! We simply adore this eye catching photo taken by the very talented young photographer Tristan Marino of New York. We are looking for photographs for our 2009 Lucky Fiona Friends of Fiona Calendar. 12 lucky winners will receive a free custom collar and the honor of their animal companion being the Featured Friend of Fiona of the month on our monthly wall calendar! Does your dog or cat have what it takes to be Miss April or Mr. September? Fiona herself will pick each month's winner - calendars will be on sale in December in our Etsy shop. Deadline for submitting a photo is November 24th! See rules below:
* Dog or Cat must be wearing Lucky Fiona in the photograph.
* Due to reproduction laws no professional studio photos please.
* Email photographs to and please include Calendar Contest in the title of the email.
* The higher the resolution of the picture the better!
* Please also include your pet's name, age and mailing address with email submission.
* Email us with any additional questions!

Good Luck! We can't wait to see the submissions!!!

We love a rave...

Shannon - Thank you so much! The package arrived today, and everything is great. I can't believe you included the Mimi for free. It was unbelievably sweet, and I greatly appreciate it. I just left feedback for you, but I also wanted to send you a quick message to let you know that I really love your products. And it's not just me - we were stopped on our walks with Ellis twice last week by people who had to know where we got her collars, and I happily told them about Lucky Fiona. Your styles are so fun, and all of the collars and the leash that I've purchased are well made. I also want to thank you for being so accommodating with my error about my mother-in-law's dog's neck size. You're always such a pleasure to purchase from, and the quality of your work speaks for itself. Thanks again.
Kalin and Ellis

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Every Dog Has It's Day Planned to the Max

The following was a short piece I wrote that was published in the Chicago Tribune a few years ago, I thought with daylight savings time upon us it deserved another run!

On the night we turned our clocks back for daylight-savings time, my husband and I went to bed with smiles on our faces, looking forward to that luxurious extra hour of slumber. Such a simple pleasure in these crazy time crunched days we live in.
At 4:45 a.m. it started. A faint whimper from the dog bed, the restless paws out-stretching, then the clickety-clack of dog nails on the hardwood floor, which immediately awoke the other two dogs. I felt warm doggy breath on my face as I played possum while squinting to see the clock. For the love of Pete, 4:56 a.m.!
As a wet nose scanned my face, it became immediately evident: Dogs do not understand the concept of daylight-savings-time. Their internal clocks cared nothing about an extra hour of sleep; they wanted breakfast at what they perceived to be their regular feeding time.
I continued to feign sleep, but by now the dogs were taking turns whining to communicate the early signs of supposed starvation. The tone and pitch of the whines getting more melodramatic by the moment. I nudged my husband, but a scan to my left showed his bald head swaddled in our down comforter like a newborn babe as he snoozed blissfully.
So I shuffled downstairs bleary eyes at 5:07 a.m., fed the dogs, then let them outside. "Perhaps I could still go back to bed" I thought to myself and in the same instant one of the dogs spotted their arch nemesis Mr. Squirrel in a tree and the chorus of shrill barking began. Wanting to keep the dream alive for others in the neighborhood who lay in sweet slumber I dashed outside in the morning chill in my PJ's and slippers. Reality set in as I extinguished the barking that my dream of that magic extra hour was also extinguished. Forced to start my day an hour earlier than planned I looked at three exuberant dogs and realized once again they are far wiser than I. Why waste that extra hour sleeping when you can just start your day sooner? So I did.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Dugan's Mailbag

Oh we are a sucker for an adorable picture around here! Here is Dugan's special girl Maizie and her sister Mitzi in their Howl-o-ween costumes. (Take note how nicely their Lucky Fiona Collars compliment their ensemble.)