Week #12 — My Mission is Defined!

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Life is like a puzzle. As you find the pieces to your puzzle and fit them together, the picture they are telling starts to become clear. You know who you are and why you are here. I have been slowly putting the pieces to my puzzle together for some time now.

I have four or five big chunks neatly formed on the table. But they don’t fully revealed the over all picture! It’s been frustrating, but I keep working with the pieces, finding more pieces on the table.  In the last month I have found a chunk of pieces that are helping me put some big chunks together!

It’s a complex puzzle with a lot of pieces. There’s the ones that want to survive — pay rent, pay bills, have a car, have proper dental care. Then there are the pieces that love to make beautiful things. The pieces that want to love and have fun. The pieces that want to have beautiful things. The pieces that deal with nasty obstacles and isolating fears. Then there are the pieces that connect with the problems of our world, empathizing with a zillion different things and splattering against the horizon.

We had a photo shoot on Sunday for a video we are making for The American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation. The foundation president, a dear friend of mine who I have known for over 20 years, has introduced me to a renowned photographer. I told her my dream and she said, “have you been spying on my list of things I hope to do?” We shared a bunch of ideas. I read her artist statement. That inspired me to re-look at my mission as an artist. I’m both a writer and a visual artist, and I want to do both. I want to connect them together. This is where my life has lead me. Here is what I wrote for my mission. It will probably change as more pieces come to light, but I like how it is harmonically coming together.

I’m using the power of art and entertainment to inspire a more empathetic world.

The plan is to make incredible works of art, get them in front of large audiences and promote generosity of feeling while celebrating the power of the human spirit. Words, fabric and feeling are my medium.  Dogs are my muse.

I began on this road when I rescued my two dogs. I saw how many gorgeous dogs are put to sleep daily. Look in the eyes of a dog. Connect with the life behind those eyes. You will find it hard to justify killing them off just because of a shortage of storage space.

The problem isn’t the nature of man. It’s that we have become so busy. No one has the time to really look! Our society is so polarized right now. We are hypnotized by our cell phones. Speed has taken control. Computers are isolating us, trapping us inside of our big box houses. Technology has changed the way we communicate. We are beginning to treat our fellow humans with the same lack of empathy that we offer these wonderful dogs!

Dogs offer society the loyalty, love, companionship and compassion that our tech-driven world is taking from us. What better vehicle to help get some of that back than anthropomorphized dogs promoting causes?  The ones we kill, inspiring us to be better people. I like the synchronicity.

If you want to see the fruits of this, look for our Kickstarter page in the beginning of the new year. I will also be showing a collection of my work at Le Chien: Fashion Week El Paseo 2015, to benefit the Desert Humane Society.

xoxo
LOLA

Week #11 — Happy Holiday!

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Three dogs in Christmas bows, rescues rehomed during our saving 70 dogs campaign.

What an amazing week! My BF and I cooked a fantastic Thanksgiving feast, we got to be part of Cause For Paws, and I have the best clients in the whole world! My clients are my friends. How cool is that? I think it is what happens when commerce is driven by a cause. And of course when you offer great value.

Have you ever heard of the Pioneer woman?  She has a TV show on the food network and a fantastic cooking blog.  She guided us through the turkey and all of the side dishes, with no flubs! I think my favorite item was the turkey, because it was so juicy! But the best thing about the meal was when everyone said what they were thankful for.  That is what this holiday season is about. It’s been turned into a commercial mess, but really it’s about love, gratitude, generosity, kindness — the beauty of humanity, not the ugliness.

One thing I am thankful for this year is Cause For Paws, an all-star dog spectacular that aired on Thanksgiving night. We got to play a small part in the show, and I enjoyed every second of it. This kind of network attention to the fate of lost and forgotten dogs is exactly what is needed.  I am so proud to be a part of this cause. My March show will continue to pay it forward.  The dog models come with great personality and accomplishments.  Some are rescues with tales of survival.  Some are therapy dogs, some are service dogs.  And some will be dogs hoping to find their forever home.  The fabrics are bought.  The costumes are designed.  There is a lot of work still to be done, but, with all the wonderful and powerful connections that I am making, this promises to be a very effective rescue event.

That is pretty much it. Christmas is a blink away. I have a Pupscout photo shoot, a bunch of outfits to finish for  my clients, then I’m flying off to see the family!  My guess is that I might not get back to this until I return from PA, since the family doesn’t believe in the internet, so HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!

xoxo
Lola
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Week #10: Power

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power (n.) c.1300: the ability to act or do. Strength, vigor, might. From Anglo-French pouair, Old French povoir, to be able.

This makes power the essence of life. And you know what fuels it?  Integrity! Well that is what I think. And you know what shines the crest of your integrity? The problems of life. These become tests, opportunities to do the right thing and feel the surge of energy, the confidence and certainty, that comes from that. Or do the wrong thing and learn what a choice for the greater good might have been.  It allows you to grow, to become bigger, to become wiser.

Do you know what other word has the derivation, “to be able”?  MAGIC!  Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12 will be bringing a little bit of both to you this February when they host their Furbulous Fantastical Oscar Viewing Party Red Carpet Event!

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WHEN:
February 22, 2015

WHERE:
We needed a bigger venue with a bigger TV! We have a tentative place, an amazing wonderful place,but I don’t want to announce it until it is finalized.

WHY:
To Benefit the American Holistic Veterinary Medical Foundation
http://www.ahvmf.org/

Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12  will be hosting the event.  The Pupscouts.org are a national organization of fashionesta dogs who like to earn badges and help their community. This will be an Oscar viewing party and red carpet event, with a 1920’s restaurant style fashion show that all attendees can participate in.

The fashion show part of the evening will preview a small grouping of items that I have created for a show that I will be doing March 22 in Palm Springs: Le Chien: Fashion Week El Paseo 2015 to benefit the Desert Humane Society. But any dog who comes dressed can be a part of the moment.

I am an artist. I used to design human clothes for Albert Nipon and Christian Dior. I left that world for adventures in Hollywood, where I eventually became a writer. I first returned to my fashion roots to help save rescue dogs. That has expanded into helping a variety of both dog and human causes.  Dogs offer society the loyalty, love, and compassion that our internet-driven world is slowly draining from us. What better vehicle to help get some of that back than adorable dogs in dresses promoting causes?  That is my mission, and my Pupscout troop is helping me to accomplish it.

The Pupscouts will also be posting their very own Kickstarter page in conjunction with the event to raise money for AHVMF, so stay tuned for that! Woofie and Bear,  with the help of the Darling Miss Coco Puffz, stole my computer! They then rallied the troop, and they are making something quite fabulous! Or should I say furbulous?  Look out, world, these dogs are getting it done!

xoxo
LOLA

 

Week #9: Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12

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I am now the leader of Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12!  In 2015 Pupscouts.org are going to explode upon the scene. Because have learned how to deal with a BULLY!

The Pupscouts.org is a national organization of socially responsible dogs and their people who like to earn badges and raise money 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”. We are part of this organization, started by Susan Godwin.

This group has been plagued for the past year by a BULLY! It began when a small faction splintered off of Susan’s group and started their own group. Both groups had applications in with the US trademark office for exclusive rights to the name. Some time around March or May the ruling came down: the trademark was not available because it was too close to a trademark already granted to the Dog Scouts. No one had exclusive rights; both groups could continue on. Those are the facts as dictated by US law.

You would think that would be the end of it.  But no.  Despite the law, this bully continued to claim ownership! She claimed on her websites that she won the trademark! She telephoned the other group’s new members and told them that she was the pupscouts, that she owned the trademark, and that they needed to pay her; they needed to order their uniforms through her. She called media outlets that wanted to do stories on the original pupscouts and she told them that we were fakes, infringing on her rights! She threatened law suits at every turn. She got Pupscouts.org’s web store taken down, saying that we were infringing on her trademark (a store that has since been restored with grand apologies.) And possibly her boldest move — she stole the logo of the original group and used it, calling it hers! This is a logo that Susan paid an artist to make and she owns the copyright on it! I mean seriously, how many colors can crazy have?

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These are some postcards from a website I made when the soldiers were returning as a place where people could share their gratitude and where soldiers could share their feelings. Click on the picture. It is linked to the site.

I once wrote a character in a comedy script that had this same sort of delusional will.  She was a hoot. The screenplay won several awards. But I can tell you, in real life, it is not so funny. This bully posted heinous comments, disparaging Pupscouts.org, its leaders and its members. It was very unpleasant for all of us, but we have moved beyond it! You can’t fight crazy, you just can’t.

So, what will be the key to my making troop #12 a big success?  We are so diverse. We come from so many different backgrounds, age groups, lifestyles! Some have celebrity diva pups that they want to promote.  Some are retirees who just want to socialize. Some want to change the world! How do you get all that to hang together as one? I think the answer is a common cause. If I am going to successfully lead Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12 to greatness, I need a central mission, and it needs to be something that I am passionate about.  I am the pupscout mentioned above who wants to change the world.

I’m an artist.  That is what artists do. I’d fallen off-track with that for a while. Then 911 hit. After that second plane hit, I got this empty feeling.  At the time I was a writer, writing silly screenplays for entertainment with the goal of scoring a huge financial payout. Over time that has evolved to where the driving force in all my art is philanthropic.

So here is how I see Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12. We are donation dogs — dogs in uniform, making the world a better place. And what better way to do that than through the loyalty, love and joy that dogs bring us. My personal causes are #FashionSavingDogs (check out my website, World-of-Dog.com for more on that), my Kindness Campaign (see week #8 blog for more on that), helping our returning soldiers (click on the picture above), and raising money for Alzheimer’s disease. My dad died from that. He died one day at a time. I remember the day he realized that was the case. It is a devastating disease.

I will devise a plan for Pupscout Hollywood Troop #12 where our 2015 activities forward each one of these causes.  Stay tuned!

xoxo
Lola

 

Week #8: Taking the Struggle out of ‘Struggling Artist’

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I’ve worn the label ‘struggling artist’ as a badge. It’s time to remove the struggle. I hung out with friends last weekend. They inspired me to make these changes. These friends live smartly, they do lots of fun things and they have a great life. My life is like the ingredients list to a recipe sitting there waiting to be put together.

I remember a long time ago, in a conversation on good money management, someone said that a person should have five sources of income. That way, if one dries up, you have the others. I want money. I need a new car. I need some crowns on my teeth replaced. I need new shoes! (a girl always needs new shoes ;) ) And, with money comes power. My heart is in my philanthropic works and various change-the-world activities, but you need to connect with some form of power to make things like that happen. It’s time for me to get organized. I am going to have five sources of income.

I presently have two. I make the Pupscout uniforms and I make custom made dog party clothes. I’m going to add three more sources of income to that. I just got two new clients this week and both ordered sports-themed dresses. They are half-way done and I absolutely love them! what a great way to have fun with your life and your dog. So I’m going to promote a little “watching sports with daddy” grouping.  Then maybe some custom made “baby with matching doggie”? Custom made Mommy and Doggie costumes? A Mommy item that matches doggie?

No. I think the next two sources of income need to be outside of the doggie world. I’m still thinking of #5, but #4 takes me back to my roots.  I have begun a rewrite on a middle grade novel that I wrote a while back. It’s a fantasy adventure about a shy bullied boy and his struggle to find his own power.  He falls into the world of a book. It’s a magical book that fell off of the shelf in the library, that possibly was ‘pushed’ off that shelf by his father, a fireman who died before the boy, Peter, was born. Peter falls and lands under the dining table of a 15th century sailing ship, where he hooks up with Ponce de Leon. In his journey to find his way home, he travels through virgin lands and tarnished waste. He meets conquistadors, lion tamers and hippies. He visits the distinctive culture of the Tribe of the Female Chief. This was an Indian tribe that was often mentioned in English and Spanish documents for two hundred years before it mysteriously vanished. It’s a magical fantasy, an epic tale, all steeped in layers of historical fact.

Then there is my kindness campaign, which, beyond this video that has just over 100 views, has gone nowhere. This could somehow lead me to my fifth source of income, right?

Kindness Campaign video:

Another possible fifth source of income is a TV series that I wrote. It’s initial title was Levels of Intelligence, and it asks the question, which is better, a plugged or unplugged world? In all its rewrites it has gone off the rails and needs to be pulled back to its center.

Then I’ve got my March show. I can make something the people will wear and sell that.  I could somehow hook that up with my kindness campaign that I am dying to make happen.  I could build an amazing logo for that and integrate it with my show.

And I just became leader of Pupscouts Hollywood Troop #12. Could that be my fifth source? Doing big things with them will bring me contacts that will help everything else. Hmmmmm… thisnhas me very inspired!  I’ll keep you posted.

xoxo

Lola

 

Week #7: A Tribute to Bella Pomeranian

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A shining light went out last night when Bella Pomeranian, one of our celebrity models, suddenly crossed the bridge.

Bella was sassy, darling, powerful, and a pure delight. She found the spotlight when she became the 1-800 petmeds.com dog, and she used her power wisely.  She spread kindness in every picture that her mommy & Daddy posted.  She was the pom rescue ambassador, helping to re-home so many poms in peril. She helped her mommy make blankets of love to further help lost and forgotten dogs.
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Bella charmed us through the love she shared for Teddi B Kori. She recently travelled to Canada for a week of wedding and honeymoon festivities. Their wedding album, as well as their love letters were the finest example of kindness and friendship.  I looked forward to each day’s simple accounting of their days.  It took me back to simpler time, a time when letter writing was an art. Bella and Teddi reminded me of the kindness that our high-speed world is forgetting.

1937484_814546305252445_1655259739652858595_nAnd then there was Bella’s tenth birthday party!  On August 30th, fifteen doggies and their parents joined together at Lisa Vanderpump’s restaurant, PUMP, in West Hollywood, for the grandest of soirees! The food, the wine, the company! It was the event of the season, and Miss Bella was the most gracious of hostesses.  These wonderful events that Bella, her Mommy and her Daddy shared with us burned her memory on my heart, and I thank them for that.

A while back I read a story about a little boy who lost his beloved best friend. The family was heartbroken, but the boy took it pretty well.  He had a great understanding of his doggie pal.  When asked why he was so calm, he said, “People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?”  The six-year-old continued,  “Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Dogs teach us.  Mine teach me every day.  Our world moves so fast.  Dogs instinctively know how to slow it down. Bella showed us that in every cute smile that she shared.   She knew love.  She knew kindness.

She knew the code of dog:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it.  You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right.  Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t.  Life is too short to be anything but happy.  Falling down is part of LIFE…Getting back up is LIVING…

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Have a great life.  And thank you, Miss Bella, for the lessons you taught us all. Run free, Sweet girl! You left your mark on the world!

xoxo
LOLA

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Week #7 — I missed last week!

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It was mostly a week of draping, cutting and sewing, for both the show and the PUPSCOUTS!

It would be wonderful to do nothing but create for this wonderful presentation, but I do still have to pay the rent, and the Pupscouts are helping me do that!  Pupscouts Canada is about to take off, and the US troops are growing as well.  Dogs and their parents doing great deeds…. that is how it should be. My job is to make it so they can do it with class and style.

I did do some creating for the show.  I can’t wait to have 10 show garments that each demonstrate the core of what I am doing; garments that might inspire a famous fashion photographer or a celebrity dog lover to become involved.  Once I have those garments, garments that tell a full story just by looking at them, I will make a press kit whose purpose will be to involve people in our editorial style fashion photo shoot.

That’s really all I have to say today.   The loss of our lovely little Bella Pomeranian has wiped me out, and I have a lot to do — miles to go before I sleep.  I’m going to make something special in Bella’s name.

<3
LOLA

Week #5 — Halloween!

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Since I’m focusing on costumes, it’s only logical that I do something special for Halloween.

I’m making a grouping of costumes, and we’re taking them on the road! Myself, Woofie and Bear will be attending a real live Dog & Pony Show!  Applewood Pet Resort will be holding its Canine Couture runway show on Saturday, Oct. 25th at The Fourth Annual Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships. The event will be a showcase of Scottsdale’s most stylish pooches. Participation in the fashion show is open to all breeds and age of dogs. They will be judged on their appearance and the creativity of their outfits by a panel of canine couture experts. We will also be going to Mr. Bones Pumpkin Patch on October 21 with the Pupscouts for a cookie decorating party, and I’m working on a possible TV appearance.

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But first I need to finish the costumes! Costumes by definition are special occasion wear and as that they should be very special.  I wanted to find exaggerated silhouettes for dresses and hats without weighing down the dog.  Boning was my answer. It’s a magnificent way to create shape, so the first half of the week I just played around with it, seeing what exactly I could do and how to best do it. A dog is such a beautiful thing, I hate to cover him or her in too much fabric, and I hate to inhibit their movement.

And then there’s hats. Hats contain so much style. I love a dog wearing nothing but a hat and some jewels.  I spent two days designing hats, nothing but hats — one kind of hat, a top hat.  And boy did I ever master that top hat!  It’s difficult to make because there is a lot to struggle with under the needle, but it’s a pretty cool looking hat.

The boning part of the week resulted in my naked dog dress. This may look simple, but it was extremely labor intensive.  Each piece of boning is covered with a fine black elastic casing. I had to stitch the casings, then thread the boning through them.  It’s the rich black finish of that trim that gives the piece a finished look, partly because it looks so good with the velvet.

SONY DSCWhich takes us into next week, but first I want to tell you, today I filmed my segments for the sponsorship video!  I have a lot of footage to look at but I think it came out good.  I’ll be storyboarding it over the next few days, and gathering additional footage.

My main focus for the week is my two clients’ orders, then making the rest of the costumes, then stroyboarding the video, plus a trip downtown somewhere in the middle of all that. And at some point I need to make my dress for the Dog & Pony show… Yes, it is going to be a busy week!

xoxo
Lola

Week #4 — Drawings & Dresses

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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!

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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!
xoxo
Lola

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

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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…. :)