Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Angels In Our Midst

A few weeks ago I wrote about a flight I did to Sikeston, MO to pick up a Newfoundland and her eight puppies. Once the mother made it to Appleton, WI, we found out that her heart was terribly enlarged from heartworms and the vet felt that there was nothing he could do. The puppies were quickly being weened, the mother was being kept comfortable. She was fed four times a day and had put on almost ten pounds. They had thought that they would have to put her down last week. The pilot that meets me in Chicago and then takes the dogs on to Appleton, and I had decided that we wanted to go up and see her one last time and if she was going to have to be put down, we wanted to be with her. The story is not over yet. A woman from Minnesota came in and fell in love with her. You can see that she is quite a dog. She touches the heart of everyone who comes in contact with her. This woman took Maggie to the University of Minnesota's Veterinary School at her own expense. She promised that Maggie would not be used as a quinea pig. If they felt that they could save her, good, but if not, she would be put down. At this point, Maggie is still with us. The vets are trying a slow kill of the heart worms. The traditional method is very aggressive and would kill Maggie.

Warren and I decided that we would still like to go up and visit the puppies. I had never been to the rescue, so I was anxious to meet Glenda and Mary and see the facility.

What a wonderful day it was. There's nothing like a puppy to energize the soul.

In this picture you see me with arms full of dogs. In my right arm is a puppy, Sasha, who is available for adoption. She is the sweetest, happiest little dog. In my left arm is my own Little Bit. Next to me is Glenda and then Warren.

Doing rescue flights is one of the greatest joys of Warren's life.

When we arrived, the puppies were being kept together and away from the other dogs while they are being dewormed. Nothing serious, just normal puppy things that need to be done.

Once they were out of the cage, they were all over the place. It was impossible to get a picture.
They also have a few cats. Glenda said that the cats stay longer than the dogs. These three little munchkins were so precious.

And this beauty, so regal.

Before we left, the puppies had been corraled and were peacefully sleeping, getting restored for their next adventure.

I was so impressed with the facility. The building is beautiful. Glenda said that it had been donated to them. Incredible generosity. They have a wonderful team of volunteers that along with Glenda and Mary keep the facility spotless. With all that they have been given, they are still in need. This is about so much more than rescuing animals. Lives are changed. If you read my blog from March 15th, A Glimpse of Heaven, you see the difference a pet can make in someone's life. Glenda and Mary, along with their team are truly angels in our midst. Thank you for all you do.

If you would like to make a donation, anything would be appreciated, even just a few dollars.

The website for Chances Animal Rescue is http://www.chancesanimalrescue.com/.

You can reach the rescue by calling (920)882-5020.

Their address is;

Chances Animal Rescue

2705 S. Lake Rd.

Appleton, WI.

None of the donations that are given to Chances never goes to a pilot for fuel. Each pilot that rescues an animal donates their time, their plane and their fuel.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Fashion Show Garment 8

The final garment that I had in the show has quite a twist to it. As I said, the theme of our show was Hooray For Hollywood. For one of our challenges, we were to find an Oscar winning movie and make a garment inspired by that movie. I saw the movie, No Country For Old Men which starred Javier Bardem. What a dark movie. This is not the type of movie that I usually watch, but for some reason, I was intrigued with it. I had started the suede jacket some time ago and had just not been inspired to finish it.
For some reason, I found Javier Bardem's character very inspiring and decided to finish the jacket. The sleeves are big poet sleeves that taper to a very tight wrist. The challenge that I faced was that I don't know what happened to the suede so I had to come up with a creative way to finish the edges. I had a piece of faux leather that I knew would be great for a pair of pants, so why not bind the edges of the jacket with the same fabric?
The lining is a bit unconventional. Let me do a little explaining first. My birthday is December 12th, the same day that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared to Juan Diego. It's really such a beautiful story. So the legend goes, she appeared as a half breed, half Indian and half Spanish. It's said that she appeared in this manner to show compassion for the people who had been so persecuted, primarily by the Spanish.

Some years ago I was taking a Spanish class. The teacher found out that my birthday is December 12th and it was such a big deal to her. She told me that a child born to a Latin family on the 12th of December is considered quite an honor, and a blessing. I had no idea. With that knowledge, I decided to find out more. I now feel that it is truly an honor and I wear a ring of Our Lady of Guadalupe at all times. Because of my research, I have come to understand and I guess in some ways embrace many of the traditions of the Latin people, like wearing the ring. I love the celebration of The Day of The Dead. Here in Chicago we have a wonderful Mexican Museum of Art. Every year they have a spectacular display of alters that are built to honor friends and family members who have died. A tour of the exhibit is something that I enjoy doing every year. The Day of the Dead is a time when family and friends come together to remember, celebrate and pray for those who have died. Some who don't understand the tradition feel that it is a very dark celebration, but really it is quite lovely.

The fabric that I used for the lining is Day of the Dead fabric. Yes there are skulls, but there are roses and green vines as well. I really love this fabric.

A side view of the jacket. The center back is gathered, forming a very full skirt and it is longer in the back. When I have the jacket on you can see just a hint of the lining.
To fasten the jacket, I put large grommets on the right side. I then took a cording and made knots and kept the ends long so that I could make loops. The loops then go through the grommet and then loop over the knots.
At the wrists I attached smaller grommets and then put an elastic cord through the holes and I sewed it into place on the back side.
At first I was going to wear a white shirt with the outfit, but once I got the jacket and pants together, I knew I needed a black top. I felt that the lining would be a little more dramatic against an all black background. In keeping with the full sleeves of the jacket, I designed this draped and pleated sleeve for my top.
Black boots would have been fine with this outfit, but these were just a little too perfect. They are actually rain boots. They are definitely an unexpected twist.
So I went from an ultra feminine garment like the pink, black and white outfit to a black suede jacket and faux leather pants with skulls on the lining!! I look at it this way, celebrate the many sides of being a woman.

Fashion Show Garment 7

This jacket has been in my wardrobe for quite a long time. Fishman's fabrics had purchased a great lot of Prada fabrics. When I saw this I fell in love. There was a coordinating fabric, silk, that had pink poodles and I think the Eiffel Tower in the print. I loved the blouse and wore it so much that I wore it out. Like I said about the 1920's shoes that I love so much, wear what you have. Don't save anything. The joy that comes from using it is far greater than the joy of it just hanging or sitting in your closet. I found this beautiful piece of pink, black and white silk at vogue a few years ago. The moment I saw the fabric, I immediately thought of this jacket and new that it would give it a whole new life. The pattern I used for the jacket is just a basic boxy jacket. I wanted to update it without taking it apart. A friend gave me these beautiful buttons. They are mother of pearl. Really beautiful. As I was thinking about what to do to the jacket, I came across the buttons. They pick up the opalescence in the jacket and work well with the plaid. Rather than make buttonholes, I covered some snaps and attached them under the buttons.
I kept the design of the two-piece dress rather simple, a straight skirt and a simple neckline that works well with jewelry. The two pieces are underlined in silk. It's amazing how well a garment wears when it is underlined. The top has a side zipper.

I've been on a mission to use what I have. I found this piece of pink silk charmuse, perfect. The bad thing that happens once you start lining your garments in silk charmuse is that it becomes almost impossible to settle for anything less.
The back of the top has a very elegant and feminine drape.
The jacket makes the outfit something that I can wear in cooler weather and the skirt and top can easily stand alone during the warmer summer months.
I wanted a hat to go with this outfit so I took the fabric over to John Koch and this is what he created. Simply beautiful. Take a close look at the roses and the leaves. He makes them out of silk! John is probably the most creative and talented person I know. What a blessing to have him as a friend. He does give classes by the way. Taking a class from John is a wonderful experience. Your head will go home spinning with the wealth of information he will give you. He can be reached at his studio, Montrose Studio, (773)275-4151. He is willing to do private classes as well as group classes.

Fashion Show Garment 5 and 6

I'm combining these two garments into one post because I have written so much about them in previous posts. Please overlook the wrinkles. The first garment you can read about in the March post of this year, Weaving Memories. This has become a great addition to my wardrobe. Since the wedding in February, I have worn it twice. Well worth the work that went into it.

The second garment I talked about in length in a December post, Celtic Dreams. The best part of this outfit is that the pieces are great with so many other outfits.

I always like to have a little fun with my things and an unexpected lining is always great. I found this great Lipstick fabric to line the skirt. Too much fun!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Fashion Show Garment 4

My favorite dress of all. If you've been reading my blog, you may remember that I wrote about making this dress last summer to wear to a party at Lincoln Park Zoo. If you would like to read about how I put it together, go to July and it is under the post, The Mouse That Made Cinderella's Dress. When I wore the dress last summer, I did not wear gloves with it,but for the show I thought they would make a nice touch.

A close up of the hip detail.
There is an attached bustier in the dress. There's probably enough boning in it to build a bridge. The most wonderful thing about all the boning is that once the dress is on, it is so secure that I never once think about the dress. So no yanking on the top of my dress all evening long. The boning came from Susan Khaljie. It is a must for a strapless dress. You can go to her website and order it. I just can't say enough positive things about this boning.
The hat came from John Kock. He was in a recent issue of Threads Magazine and the article was all about how to create hats. He is a master. I always love what he comes up with. This hat was not originally meant for me. He had made it for a client in Florida. Oh how I wanted the hat. After all, it was perfect with my dress. At first we thought that he could recreate it for me but we weren't able to find the elongated pearls that he had used for the stamens of the flowers. Luckily, his client didn't like the hat and sent it back. It was mine. Meant to be.

For a favorite dress, you need a favorite pair of shoes and by far these are my favorite pair of shoes. They are from the 1920's. Simply spectacular. The black is satin and the gold and silver is leather. They are not saved. I wear them. When they wear out, they'll just wear out. The joy that they give me when I wear them is worth so much more to me than any joy I would get from just looking at them on the shelf.

I've decided to make a fur collar like the one I donated to the raffle for the show. I think a black faux fur collar would look wonderful with this dress and I know to what event I will wear the outfit. I can't wait. Sweet anticipation.

Fashion Show Garment 3

The theme of this year's fashion show was Hooray For Hollywood. I bought the wool I used for the coat quite a long time ago. It was actually a remnant that I found at Vogue. One of the segments was Out of Africa. I found the faux fur while I was in Novi last September. At that point I knew exactlly what I wanted to do. Sadly, the pictures that my husband took at the show, are a little difficult to see, but at least you get an idea.
Before I took this picture I should have given a quick steam to my coat. After the show I was exhausted and left everything in the garments bags for a week. The coat is really quite nice, although, I don't know what I was thinking when I decided to make a winter white coat while I own two black dogs.
The pattern was a lucky find on Ebay.
I wasn't able to make buttonholes as I am waiting on two more buttons to arrive. This button I bought while we were skiing in Taos, New Mexico a few years ago. I found it in a knit shop. It's actually the very bottom section of an elk antler. When I decided to make the coat, I knew I wanted to use this button, but I had bought only one. So the search was on. I finally found a guy in Montana who makes beads and buttons from antlers. The buttons should arrive soon. For the time being, I sewed a large snap under the button and called it a day.

The faux fur that I used on the collar has the same design as the giraffe print I used for the lining. When I saw the fur I knew I just had to find a giraffe print lining. Thanks to High Fashion Fabrics in Houston, I was able to find exactly what I wanted. The skirt is made from a faux suede home dec fabric. I doesn't wrinkle!! It's just wonderful.

The top is one of my designs. The pattern is a little weird. The right side of the pattern is completely different from the left side. I also made the necklace. The beads are a natural stone. I can't remember the name of the stone. I had them on the other day. I was freezing, as usual. The beads somehow held my body heat and felt great around my neck. Now I'll have to see how they react during the summer. I may feel like I have a ring of fire around my neck.

And finally, the shoes. I'm a firm believer that you can find great looking shoes anywhere if you just look. I was in Walmart, yes, Walmart. I have to admit that I was a little shocked myself. Here were these great embossed leather, yes leather shoes. Oh happy day! They look fantastic with the skirt. I really love the outfit.

I've already worn the skirt and top. Even though we are just at the end of a very long winter, I can't wait for a nice cold day so I can wear my coat. I probably shouldn't let anyone know that or they may have my head.