Friday, May 16, 2014

Girl child and mama

Friday night. Movie night. She's home visiting us from Texas for only the second time in 2 years.  Yay!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

They are new every morning...

Not sure how to post with this app yet.

I wanted to share my very favorite spot on our walk every morning.  I stop. Look at the sunrise.  Smile.  Breathe. Whisper a prayer of thanksgiving.  A new day.  Thank you Lord.

Do you have a favorite pause-smile-breathe-whisper place?

Pasco County, Florida, ancient orange groves and cattle pastures. Home.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end; 
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Sharing with:

Monday, May 12, 2014

Letting Go of A Foster Dog

This was our latest Springer Spaniel foster dog from ESRA.  He was full of inexhaustible energy, constantly challenging our couch potato nature, but so full of joy.  How can I deny him one more walk?  Whew!  Every new dog is a learning experience for us and I'm grateful for each opportunity.  They all have different issues and personalities.  It's like earning merit badges.  With every foster dog, we grow in dog rehab skills.  

This gorgeous foster dog had me wrapped around his finger with those eyes from the very first day.  

He went to his new home last week and is doing very well.  I used to worry about my foster fur kids when they left.  They are always fine.  They have gained confidence and trust in humans, are finally in good health, and are happy, cheerful dogs when they leave.  I would fret only to find out they were blissfully content with their new lives.  Isn't that the goal?  

Is it about me? Or is it about saving a good dog?

It's like sending your children to camp.  You worry yourself sick all week while the kids are having the time of their lives.  The dogs don't leave here sick or traumatized as when they arrived.  I have learned to trust more in the dogs they have become, rather than dwell on who they were when we first received them.

Our dogs help rehabilitate too.  Charlie shows extra grooming love.  The fosters learn how to trust a stable pack.  

Letting go is sad.  But letting go is never as hard as I think it's going to be. *sniff* The building up to the good bye which I know is coming is what is so difficult.  *sniff* I keep thinking how much I'm going to miss them.  *sniff*  They look into your eyes with so much affection and faith and you feel as if you are about to betray them.  I wonder if Abraham must have felt this when looking into Isaac's hopeful face walking up the mountain.  But once they are given to their new home, it wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be.  Plus I make my husband do it.  Bah!  I can't watch.

Barkley loved to sit with me while I sewed.  Those eyes!!!  You're killing me Barkley!  Look away.  
Letting go starts from the very first day they arrive.  I force myself to believe they are not my dogs. They belong to another wonderful family.  We just haven't found them yet.  And while we search for their forever home, I'm going to love the heck out of them.  When their forever home is found, it would be selfish of me to deny that family the love this beautiful animal has to give.  How many animals can I keep anyway?  Do the best thing for the dog and share the love.  Let the other family experience the joy too. 

I know, I know.  Easier said than done, right?  

Anyway, once they are gone, I'm fine.  I'm so good, I actually feel a little guilty.  "Shouldn't I be crying more?"  We have one less dog to trip over.  4 fewer muddy paw prints to mop.  The dogs are good.  The new family is good.  Everyone is good.  And we did a good thing.  Yay!  Yay for good things in the world! Let's all do good things and encourage each other in good deeds.

Barkley was the Eric Northman (vampire) of Springer Spaniels.  Looook into my eyyyes....Hypnotic....he could talk me into anything.  LOL  I really loved Barkley.  Such a sweet boy.  Of course I miss him.  But I'm not sad. Really!!!

I share this with you not to brag.  I'm so awesome!  I can foster a dog and turn it over and not cry.  Go me.  

I share because this is the #1 reason why people won't foster.  They know it will hurt.  And I wanted you to hear how I deal with it emotionally.  So.  With that said; GO FOSTER A DOG...OR A CAT.  You're stronger than you think you are.  And you are needed. 

Think adoption first.  

Have you ever considered fostering animals?  If yes, here are 10 Good Reasons to get the thinking process started

If you are a foster, how do you deal with letting go?  I'm very interested in this and am anxious for feedback and ideas.  Please (please, please) share in the comment section.  

Be blessed and be a blessing.  
Be kind.  
Encourage one another.  

"Let us consider how we may spur one another on 
toward love and good deeds."

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Tips for Thrifting Fabric

I'm not ashamed to admit most of our wardrobe comes from the thrift store.  I frequently buy a shirt, skirt or dress because I know the fabric will look good sewn into a quilt a year from now when I get tired of wearing it.  :)  

Here are my tips for "Thrifting Fabric"

***Shop your own closet first and don't be prideful.  Old boxer shorts are nice fabric when cut into strips.  People say "gross" when I tell them a certain piece of fabric is from a pair of boxer shorts.  WHO CARES!  Cotton is cotton! (of course they are washed).

***If you don't have easy access to thrift stores, don't forget tag sales, garage sales, estate sales, etc.  If you have a friend with good taste, tell them you're interested in their shirts next time they clean out their closet.

I like sewing the shirt tags into my quilts.  It adds an element of fun, as well as dates the quilt and always makes a for a fun conversation or memory.

***Always go with an open mind and think outside the box.  Yes, that Mauve
jumper with pink appliqued bunnies is horrible, but cut up, it's just pink fabric.  
*affiliate link*

Yep...check out the late 80's mauve tone on tone.  Not so bad cut up, is it?  
It's a pretty pink now.

***I much prefer smaller thrift stores as their prices are better and the money usually stays local, helping the community.  I still shop at larger "corporate" thrift stores but only on half price days.  Their prices have increased over the years, and I can get the same item at Walmart or Target for the same price.  

I had planned on this quilt being more "Low Volume", but it took on a life of it's own and became 
"Pastel Volume".   
I'm totally OK with that.  I like it when my quilts speak their mind.  :)

***Know your favorite thrift store's sale schedule.  For example: One of my favorite stores has all men's shirts, $1.00 on Tuesday.  Another place has all clothing for .25 cents.  Schnikies! It goes without saying, you hopefully want to find lots of XXL, long sleeve items.

The white piece in the very center with the orange squares is one of my favorite "civil war shirtings" from an Old Navy shirt. 

***Always buy natural fibers.  Cotton of course, but don't forget linen and wool.  They add a rich texture to your quilts.  What about seersucker (my favorite) or corduroy?  These fabrics will add sculpture and interest.  Don't be shy.  I dare you you to go Gee's Bend and add corduroy to your quilt.  

(Some of the most inspiring quilts I've seen lately are Victoria Wolfe's grandmother's handpieced quilts. I can't stop thinking about them and I'm terribly tempted to start hunting double poly-knit.  She shares pictures and stories of her inspirational grandmother in her book: 15 minutes of Play  I'm really enjoying this book and can highly recommend it.  If double poly-knit makes you happy, put it in your quilt).  

***Never pass on 100% cashmere anything.  :)  That's just my rule.  I'll wear it, or felt it.  LOOOOOVE Cashmere (and other pretty 100% wool sweaters).  

The green gingham/check down the center were a favorite pair of boxer shorts.  

***I never leave Ralph Lauren, Laura Ashley, Lilly Pulitzer, Lands End or Wrangler shirts behind. These good brand names always have the best quality fabric with wonderful prints.  Do you have a favorite brand?  

***If you find men's shirts in purpleorange or brown, get it.  They are hard to come by.  You'll always have plenty of blues, greys and greens. 

 Remember to gather flannels or homespun fabrics.  

***Don't forget you'll need background fabrics and low volume type prints.  I don't care for solid white, but I will always grab a white shirt with print, especially if it looks like civil war shirtings.  I love them.  (Old Navy usually has really neat civil war shirting type prints. Watch for them).

I Spy a green shirt my daughter wore in high school. :)
***Be sure to visit the women's and children's section too.  That's where you'll find a lot of floral, feminine fabrics, novelty prints and typically more color than just a "blue dress shirt" from the men's department.  The women's section is where I find good reds.  Shirts and tops are fine, but there is more fabric in a dress, up to 3 yards.  If you've only got $10 in your pocket today, get the dress.  

This is a vintage pink and gray table cloth, I finally decided to use as backing.

***Watch for vintage clothing.  This is how I find a lot of my vintage fabrics.  EXCEPT, I take it home thinking "The fabric in this 1968 shift dress is FAB-U-LOUS!!!"  Then I don't have the heart to cut it and I'll end up hoarding it until I decide what to do with it.  *sigh* (Be careful of this.  Don't hoard.  Use it up. Now. Better on a bed, loving someone and keeping them warm, than junking up your studio and life).

***The pajama section always has fun novelty prints.  

I used 2 old pillow cases in this quilt.  The case itself was worn out and unusable, but I cut 2 inches off the edges and harvested the crochet work and ric-rack.  Just sewed them in as strips by top stitching the decorative edge down.

***When you're looking through clothing or pillowcases, always watch for nice trims and notions.  Can you harvest the ric-rac?  What about the lace?  Can you cut the ruffle off that cute skirt and use it some where else? 

***The linen section is my favorite place to look.  Vintage sheets are my favorite find, but what about the vintage table cloth?  The pillowcase with crochet trim?  Dinner napkins?  Shower curtains?  Upholstery fabric and velvets are nice to collect for the  bucket list "Crazy Quilt" you're planning

***Also, this is the section where a lot of scrap fabric and craft supplies end up.  DIG!  You'll find handkerchiefs, fat quarters, yardage, all kinds of good stuff.  My best scores have always come from digging.  If you're really, really lucky and the stars are all aligned, this is where you'll find quilt supplies, blocks and tops.  YUMMY!!  

***I personally like to look through the curtains.  There are always homemade window treatments in there, with yummy vintage fabric and notions.  We covered much of my daughter's wedding with thrifted lace curtains and crochet table cloths.  I covered a large window with thrifted curtains as well.  

***Don't be afraid of stains.  An Oxy-Clean soak will work, and if not, just cut the stain out.  Don't use that piece.  Or I'll use the piece anyway and applique things over the stain.  It always turns out randomly cute when I do this.

The finished quilt was begging to stand next to my Yellow Texas Roses, so I said Yes.  :)  

***Be careful of fabric dry rot.  If it's really old and very thin, sadly, I wouldn't mess with it.  But if you're dying to have it because you can't leave pink kittens behind, make sure you're getting it cheap and put it in an art quilt. 

Our latest Springer foster, Barkley wanted everyone to see how cute his butt is.  Really, Barkley?

***If you like it. Get it. It's your quilt. Do what YOU want.  Make your own rules, and then break them.  With thrifted fabric, it's so cheap you can afford to experiment.  I would never experiment with my Amy Butler-Heather Ross-Kaffee Fassett hoard.  Never, ever.  But...

With thrifted fabric, you now have permission to make something funky, fun and tie....and wow.....I kinda like this ugly block.  "It's so ugly it works".  LOL   Plus, it will be original.  No one else has the quirky (affordable) fabric stash but you.  

Quilt Bravely!!!  

Did I miss anything?  
Do you have any tips to add?  
I'm anxious to hear about your thrifting for fabric adventures.

Be blessed and Be a blessing.
Be inspired. 
Encourage one another. 
Make pretty things. 

~ Anne Hathaway ~ 

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