Week #4 — Drawings & Dresses


The week began with drawings and ended with a dress and a thousand ideas.

Looking at a dog and capturing his or her personality in cloth is so different from designing a dress line.  For one thing, since most of these items won’t be for sale, I don’t have to think about cost, or production time, or if someone will want to buy them!  I just get to think about what their special charm is and how I’m going to amplify it. In some cases, I’m only working from a picture and mommy or daddy’s words!


The front and Back of my rack card! How exciting to have someone besides me do the artwork.

The drawing above is for Nella. She’s a bull dog, and the sweetest little girl. She was born with major heart complications and her family surrendered her to rescue at the age of 3. Doctors gave her weeks to survive, but with the right meds and lots of love she has surprised us all and is still with us a year and a half later!

Today I signed up Soda Pop.  She had been at the Stockton shelter for over a month and although she was a staff favorite, her time was up. She now lives on three acres in the Sequoias!  Her mommy has 2 other sweet pitties, and if Soda Pop isn’t ready for the show, we will use one of them.  This will be a great opportunity to show the world the true nature of this wonderful but misunderstood breed.

Back to the designing.  Production is always slow when you’re in the early stages of designing.  I don’t mind.  I just relax into it while watching a lot of TV. I think I watched the whole Top Chef series last week! I did a slew of drawings, then I started constructing a wonderful structural piece. It’s funny how designs morph into something unexpected — if you let them.  If you don’t, you never find the magic, but if you allow yourself to be completely unsatisfied, constructing and deconstructing it until you absolutely love it, you can find something truly original.   That is what I did.  For three days I worked on one dress and hat! Making it — remaking it — and now this dress and hat has inspired a whole new direction for me, along with a fantastic idea for a reality show!

For those who are wondering, I closed LOLA canine couture. My business partner wanted out and I couldn’t afford to buy her out. I could have fought the situation, after all she was the one that bailed, at the worst possible time. And we didn’t have a clearly written contract defining our obligations to one another. The vagueness and the fact that we didn’t follow through and write a clear contract would have worked in my favor.  But I’d rather turn and walk away, take the loss and start something entirely new, than get caught up in any sort of legal wrangling. The best way to live life is with clean hands and a happy heart, so I accepted responsibility for my part, LEARNED A LOT, and moved on.

Enough of that! I have big news! I became the leader of Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12!  We’re starting off slow, but I imagine we will do great things.   Our first outing will be some Halloween fun… more on that next week. First I need to get the Halloween costumes done!

See you next week!

Week #3 — The Dogs! The Fabrics! The Chicken or the Egg??


The week began with an incredible meeting between myself and the show’s producer. It makes me feel so secure knowing I’m in such competent hands. I was so excited to get rolling that I decided to postpone making the sponsorship video and to just dive in.

When designing for people at this point I would turn to the fabric and I did that here as well.   I went fabric shopping and trim shopping, then I started draping some of the garments.  But the main thing I want to do here is to amplify the personalities of the dogs involved. I couldn’t figure out which to do first!  I want some medium and big dogs from striking breeds and the designs for them will be quite specific. So I stopped with the fabric and I went in search of dogs.

I found a darling Italian Greyhound named Antonio who I just adore.  He lives in Southern California and he shares his cuteness to help the Italian Greyhound rescue.  Everything about him screams charm and whimsy.  I’m going to put him in something French with stripes, like a painter or a mime. And his second outfit is going to be a wonderful waistcoat and top hat.

I also really want an afghan hound. They have such a grand and unique quality.  I don’t know anyone with that breed, so I contacted the Afghan Hound Rescue of Southern California. Hopefully we’ll get one.  It doesn’t have to be one with perfect hair, in fact I’d like one with shorter hair. I just love their faces and their tall skinny physiques.

I also want a Bulldog, so I contacted the Southern California Bulldog Rescue.  I’d love a sweet English bulldog girl.  A cute French Bulldog would be great, too.  There is a darling little girl named Bella Rose Reed who does lots of rescue / philanthropic work and I would love to dress her, but she lives in Tulsa OK.

I think my focus was on these larger and more unique shaped dogs because I’m not used to dressing them, and to personify them is very inspiring. And these are dogs that could look silly if dressed wrong.  A lot of the little dogs will be wearing mommy and me outfits, and that is a whole different challenge that I’m not ready to consider.

It’s so hard in the beginning, because there are so many possibilities and you want to make sure you consider all the possibilities — of fabric, of dog, of style.  Time gets spent playing around with trims and textures, looking at dog pictures, and the spending of lots of money!  More went out than came in, and that is never fun — inspiration to get that video done!

Tomorrow this week begins with a trip downtown to buy more fabric.  I hope to get some responses from the rescues and some measurements so I can get started on a few designs.  And maybe I’ll get to that video…. :)


Week 2: Sometimes You Have to Slow Down to Find Speed

This is an inspiration board for a small grouping I'm making for Halloween. Halloween will be our first PR event for the big show.

This is an inspiration board for a small grouping I’m making for Halloween. Halloween will be our first PR event for the big show.

I finished my inspiration boards and I now know EXACTLY what I want to say. It left me feeling a little restless.

I think there is an invisible stream of energy that runs under life, maybe through it, and it is the thing that artists tap into.  It flows fast, so you have to be spry enough to first see it and then to catch it. It’s not made up of words.  In fact it’s not made up of anything I can easily define. But we tap into it and from it we know something about society — what it feels, what it fears, and what it yearns for.  Then we interpert that into material things.

We don’t generally put it into worlds (unless of course you’re a writer.) But, since my task this week was to conceptualize my promotional video, I had to put it into words. It was a frustrating week.  Luckily I had a few orders to focus on while everything percolated within me.  Finally, today, Saturday afternoon, it came to me.  I got the basic script down.  Tomorrow I’ll make the story board.  Then next week I’ll film it!

I felt artistically blocked all week while I was doing this and that was so frustrating! I had orders to make, and I had the task of making this month’s specials.  I hope to get funding to cover the cost of materials for this project, but my time creating won’t be covered, so I still need to pay the rent!  After I got the script done, a rush of creativity flooded in, and I draped my monthly specials!  I’ll make them next week and then post them, so stay tuned!

Coming next week, the filming of the video!

Week 1: Miles to go Before I Sleep

the-woods-are-lovely dark and deep, miles to go before I sleepOnce upon a time there was a little girl.  Like most little girls, she was trying to find her way.

It’s a difficult thing, being young. You know things that you’ve not been taught; you feel things you’ve never touched.  It’s all a mystery to be unravelled, and you’re in such a hurry to do the unraveling! (Unlike older days when life unravels with its own spinning speed.)  We land here and our job is to make the most of it, so we do.  Or we try. Success or failure is relative.2o---alternate-MADNES_7E1

This little girl came with a head full of thought-soup.  Maybe that’s what twisted her spine and made her toes point in.  Maybe it’s why she wrote and read backwards. Maybe the pains and joys of a life before did all that; there’s so much we don’t know. In centuries past, the disfigured survived as spectacles of curiosity, living in cages and watching the world pass.  We look at that and say, how horrible, but maybe it’s things like that that teach us empathy. Our empathy is our artistry. If I had that in my past, I’m grateful for it now.  It’s given me my voice and in that, the power to change the world.

So today is 200 days until my big show! Le Chein at Fashion Week El Paseo.  I’m a writer but I’ve somehow gotten on this road of dog rescue, which has lead me to artistically expressing myself while on that road. I’m humanizing dogs, because when something is humanized, you don’t keep it as a curiosity in a cage.

I’m creating a show of enchantingly dramatic proportions and I’m inviting some of the most wonderful people to be a part of it.  Organization is the core of all design. I am probably one of the most organized people you will ever know and I’ll be sharing that with you here.  Now, if you’re ever around me at a creative moment, you’ll see a tornado in motion. Don’t confuse that with disorder.  My brain is seeing connections, it’s just happening really fast.

I don’t want money to be a driving force in this, so last week I began researching art grants and ways to get funding.  And I found a very cool solution!  It’s called Hatchfund, and it hosts an online community where artists can post projects for funding and connect with those who love and support artists. They only work with professional artists, and they offer hands on-help to the projects that they accept — and they accepted me!  It’s a lot like Kickstarter, only the artist gets 100% of the money raised, and they have a match-funds program. My hope is to raise a minimum of $2,500 to pay for the fabric, and if I raise $12,000 I’ll donate everything to the silent auction the event is hosting. Okay!  On with the weekly briefing.

This week was all about inspiration as I conceptualize my vision for the show.  Artists find order that visually speaks to the heart which then engages the brain and, with that energetic interaction, sets the viewer on fire. You can’t just make a bunch of stuff and expect to create a big effect. You need to find order and for a show as big as this one, that’s a complex job. I made inspiration boards. These are collections of colors and textures, shapes and lines, that evoke a feeling you want to express.  I’ll make a bunch of them and the ones that get me going will tell the story of the show.

The next step for me is to build my funding campaign. Part of that is the video and textual presentation, and part of that is press events that will bring people to the page.  Halloween is a great press possibility, so I’m making some wonderful Halloween costumes in the next few weeks.  Then Christmas is next.  We are also planning an editorial style people-matching-pet photo shoot that I hope to get published in a human fashion magazine.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep… miles to go before I sleep!” That is my mantra for this experience, really for my life.  I have found so many wonderful friends in the dog & rescue community. I know we will use this wonderful opportunity to bring about great change for all the dogs that die simply because people don’t know they exist. Hopefully, by the time we are done, people will know.

I’ll tell you more next week!



My New Project — Let Dogs Speak


Dogs make life better.  I’m celebrating that.  The plan is to make incredible works of art, get them in front of large audiences and promote dogs — the lost and forgotten and those helping them. Cloth is my medium.  Dogs are my muse.

For the past three years I’ve been designing LOLA canine couture, a line of pet fashion intended to promote dog rescue. It was a wonderful line — beautifully cut, expertly crafted, magnificently styled — providing for dogs the same designer quality that we expect for ourselves.  But it didn’t really do much to help dogs, so I’m shifting gears.

LOLA-DOG is an artistic vision I am embarking on, a project whose goal is pet advocacy.  I’ll be sculpting with cloth, creating unique and compelling forms that tell a story, a story aimed at shining a light on the beauty of dogs and what happens when humanity decides they have no value.  A story aimed at reminding us of the feeling that kindness has on the heart. The face of the world right now is a serrated edge.  I want to soften that by enchanting, surprising and at times shocking an audience.

My goal as an artist is to find meaning and bring it to life through my work.  With this project I will step beyond dog fashion into a world of thought-provoking vision.

A March show is in the works, more details to follow.  Feel free to contact me if you are interested in a commissioned work.


Dog Fashion

I created a line of dog fashion to promote dog rescue. The plan was that the line would explode and continue to save dogs on an even grander scale.

Pet Fashion Week in Japan.  The event gave the designers an opportunity to dig in the $10 billion Japanese Pet market.

Pet Fashion Week in Japan.

But I wasn’t smart.  I should have done some market research, at which point I would have realized that this was a tiny niche market where my grand intentions wouldn’t fit. Dog fashion doesn’t exist. Not on a measurable scale. Not in Los Angeles. Not in 2014. Yes, people buy clothes for their dog and some are very fashionable. Usually it’s a dress or a coat intended to last the life of the dog without the desire for something new built into it. That’s not fashion.


Nintendo held a dog fashion show to promote “Nintendogs”. Gaming deity Shigeru Miyamoto was the judge.

With fashion comes desire. Fashion is the social experience that revolves around getting dressed.  It’s the parties, the press, the anticipation of what the next season will bring. It’s the stories the clothes tell; the characters we become when we wear them. It’s a tool of self expression; a shield to hide behind. It’s the hope that a dream will come true. It’s feelings personified… the future unveiled… it’s an involving experience, and what fun it would be if dogs were a part of it.

We have become an isolated society filled with lonely people, hungry for social engagement and outlets for kindness. I think people enjoy fun experiences that allow them to step outside of themselves. Experiences where they can make a difference, maybe even change the world. A really cute dog in a cocktail dress that everyone fawns over gives you the power to do that.  It feels like the people are fawning over you!  Suddenly you’re the belle of the ball. It’s exciting.  Empowering.  Innocent.  Sweet.  Attach all that to a cause… it’s magic.


My Mom Decided to Redecorate. It Was Torture.

Redecorating sucks. I can tell you this is true, from a dog’s point of view. What is wrong with humans? Why do they need things to change?

bed - dog's point of viewBy Woofie Sweet-thing

There we were, me and Bear, comfortably lounging on our bed — a bed that we LET Mom sleep in. I’m not sure she truly understands the gravity of that.  Suddenly she starts pulling everything apart! Pillows were flying. She was changing the colors!  The fabric! Me and Bear voted on it — none of this was necessary. Curtains came down, new ones went up.  We thought we were moving! We thought, if things went badly, that we might be left behind. Life had been so good since our shelter days. Was all that over? Would we soon return to that dark din of sorrow? We tried kissing Mom.  Kisses are supposed to fix everything.  She has no time for us! This was not looking good. Bear even started hyperventilating.  We were very happy with things as they were…

Well, the storm is now over and we are recuperating.  We didn’t move. We didn’t get left behind. The shelter was not in the cards. Mom just wanted a brighter world. She wanted the feeling of more space. We’re still cautious.  She’s guarding the rug like it’s Fort Knox. What? Does she think we will pee on it?  If she wants us to not pee in the rug, she needs to take us on long walks through the neighborhood so we can see our friends!!! We have made that abundantly clear.  We model her dumb dresses, the least she can do is allow us our social life. Human’s are a little slow on the uptake.

Here is the blog she wrote about the redecorating: MOM’S BLOG… We kinda like the new place.

We’ll write again soon!

~Woofie Sweet-thing & Elmore Buttercup Bear



Advice on Finding Love – Foster a Dog

eddie's-adventureFoster a dog. There is no better way to open your heart to feeling.  Taking a dog from the shelter and allowing him / her the space to find new life is a magical experience and a beautiful journey of love. Teach your children love. Be a foster family.


Eddie with his new friend, Lucky. I’ve never known a dog who was happier being with other dogs. He’s a delight.

Eddie just left. I found him on a Facebook post. A good Samaritan found him and took him to the shelter, thinking that would keep him safe. But the 15 year old senior’s future was bleak. He’s got a bad heart murmur, arthritis, infected teeth and bad kidneys — which means he’s probably on the last leg of his journey and not the most desirable adoption option. 3,131 people shared his story. The underground railroad of facebook dog adoption was set in motion.

Jill Gasparac saved him. He spent the weekend with us. Mesha Redenti, her lovely daughter, and their dog, Lucky, are driving him up to the San Fran area where he will stay with them for a week before Pamela Grant Goldman drives down from Simona to take him home.

To those of you who have never fostered a dog, you really should. It is the most fulfilling experience. You get to see a terrified little boy (or girl) come to life before your very eyes. You get to see how easily he forgives and starts to love again. It teaches you. It’s a lesson in happiness, a LESSON IN LOVE. The Beatles said it best — “and in the end, the love you take,
is equal to the love you make.”

I wish you great happiness in the time you have left, my darling Eddie. Bear sends his love. And Woofie, well…. he’s working on it.


Dear God: help me? Am i jealous?

By Woofie Sweet-thing

We have a house guest named Eddie.  He’s a 15 year old chihuahua from the shelter and my mom told me to be nice to him. I hate him.eddie, dear god

He’s invading my entire world.  All he does is look in the mirror.  I think he thinks the dog in the mirror is somebody else.  Ha! How dumb is that! My mom thinks it’s cute and charming, so she picks him up and they look in the mirror together – GAG!   She’s supposed to do that with me!  He’s got that orphan-sad-eyed, thank-you-for-saving-me-this-is so-exciting glow.  It’s makes my mom treat him real nice, singing little songs to him — my songs!  And sounding all lovey-dovey!  I’m seriously traumatized.  And concerned.  What if my mom decides she likes him better than me and they send me back to the shelter?

That could happen.  I mean, I had a home and ended up in the shelter.  I’s a loud scary place. Who’s to say that couldn’t happen again?  Bear’s first family gaved him away to the shelter.  Maybe they thought the shelter is a nice place, like the word says — shelter —  like a luxury dog hotel or high-end medical facility or something.  WRONG!!  I mean they try, they’re not horrible people.  They just has a bad job and they has rent to pay. There’s just too many rejected and homeless dogs. People don’t let their feelings go in the direction to feel like us doggies is family, too. But they kiss us and love us like family, and so we believe we belong. Then they gives us up like used furniture. No wonder i is scared I’ll be replaced.  New things always look prettier than us old things, even if the new things is old!

Deep down in my soul, I have a feeling I’m not doing something right.  It’s a tug at my comfort zone that isn’t very comfortable.  Like when it’s dark and quiet it screams at me, ” how come you can’t be nice to the old boy?  He’s old! he’s sad!  He’s sick!  He’s unloved! And you have so much!”  I do have a lot.  But, I have reason to worry.  I’m not always a good boy.  I mean, I’ve been known to pee on the carpet — (that’s just between you and me). And I sometimes I set Bear up to get blamed for stuff.  Mommy loves him alot too.  THIS WAS MY HOME FIRST!!!!! How come everydoggie wants to take my place!!!
eddie! God
My mom says don’t be jealous.  Am I jealous?  God, am I jealous?  I don’t want to be jealous; how come I’m jealous?  I want to be a good boy who loves everybody and doesn’t piss people off.  I want to be confident and happy.  How do I do that?  What’s wrong with me?

When I look from above, I see Eddie is a nice boy who doesn’t have the world at his feet.  He’s kind of sad, doesn’t have a home or a person to love.  He’s not real pretty.  His people chopped his ears all funny and they cut off his tail.  And he’s got the most giantest ugly teeth that are too big for his mouth.  Some of them are even rotting!  I bet that hurts.  And he has a really bad heart murmur, so, at 15 years old, he’s pretty close to done with life.

I should be happy that my mom is showing him what love is, so when he tries again at life, he has a good taste in his mouth for the whole process.  I should be grateful that my mom is helping my lost and forsaken brothers and sisters.  I mean, isn’t that what a good PupScout does?  I really really want to be a good PupScout! How come I’m so inferior on all this?

Eddie copies Bear’s every move, and Bear really likes him.  Bear is just perfect.  Sometimes I’m not so happy about that and I gots to put him in line.  My mom lets Eddie sleep on her lap on the bed.  THAT IS MY SPOT!!!!!!

I’m going to go to sleep and hope he disappears.  Or hope that maybe God will help me understand and be a better dog.


TWERKING DOGS – Like & Share!

It’s a cute Miley Cyrus twerk parody. Funny dogs war with stuffed toys in this cute dog video.  PUPSCOUTS are donation dogs.  Our goal — a no-kill nation.

Video by LOLA canine couture  For more information, go to the PupScouts page.

THE VIDEO:  TWERKING DOGS, Music by Necati Ozmucur, Lyrics by Lola Teigland.  Evil twerking bears descend upon the dogs.  A call for help goes out and dogs from all over the nation rally to stop the taunting toys.

THE PUPSCOUTS:  A national scouting organization like the boy scouts and girl scouts made up of socially responsible dogs and their people who like to earn badges and raise money / awareness for causes. They began in New York City with a group of prominent Fashionesta dogs.  The organization gained national attention when they appeared on Good Morning America.  Nightline followed, then National Geographic’s “Spoiled Rotten Pets”.

THE CAUSE:  We’re making rescue dogs chic.  Our goal — a no-kill nation.  “Fashion  and entertainment have become this popular, powerful force in the world,” says Lola Teigland, the official designer for the Pupscouts and troop artistic director. “Why not use that shared energy for good?  Dogs bring such joy.  We’re on a mission to make joy and with that, bring awareness to the cause.”