DIY pet bed

I just cannot seem to stop sewing and cannot bear to part with any of my fabric scraps. I love to reuse when possible and so today I came across a couple of old shirts, some jeans and some left over quilt fabric and I was inspired. I figured my puppy needs a new bed for the new home and so off we went. one old shirt...
I cut the squares 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" to allow for seams. some batting which I cut 16" x 18" big enough to cover the kennel floor.
I started sewing my squares together in strips. and then sewed the strips together. I did not pin anything. I am not a professional, just having fun!
I had my top and bottom pieces all sewn and put the quilt batting in between. I did pin this together to try to keep it from shifting around while I sewed it all together.
here is the top after the squares were all sewn together with the batting and back piece.
I needed some binding for the edges and so I grabbed another old shirt and cut 2" strips. I folded these in half and then unfolded and folded the sides to the middle fold. make sense? easy peasy! you can press it if you want. I prefer to just go with it being that time is limited these days.
so if the strips are too short because you used an old shirt just sew the strips together to form a long enough piece to bind the edges!
here is a picture of how I folded the strips to create the binding.
I pinned the binding to the piece all around and mitred the corners. then I sewed all around once with a straight stitch and then again with a zig zag stitch.
pet tested it for approval.
and one last quality control in the kennel and joey gave it his paw of approval. I have more sewing to share because as I have been sorting through it all I have been inspired to create instead of tossing.

on a rainy day...

this song started playing on i-tunes just as I was putting together this post. how appropriate. awesome! the rain is falling down outside and I am inside continuing on with the sorting, packing and procrastinating.

you know how it is. you open a drawer, a door or a box and "wow" it's christmas! you find all sorts of things that you forgot about. and today was fabric sorting day. and being as how I am feeling all out of sorts and kind of like I could use a soft place to fall. I made myself this:

some left over fabric from a quilt I made for beautiful baby mia. they were already cut into strips so super simple. a piece from an old pair of jeans well worn and loved. "it is ok" is from a t-shirt and I love that statement. no matter how much junk you are dealing with or sorting through it is always a good idea to stop for a bit.
I should mention that I did not use a pattern. grab and sew, chop, sew and away we go. kind of like life for me right now. no method, no set system, just letting go. I love it and it will be a wonderful addition to the new studio!

looking back...

in sorting through all my documents and pictures I had a few giggles yesterday. this poem about "my dog" from elementary school.

where I erased my name and replaced it with "leslie". I never liked my name. I guess leslie was the pick of the week.

a picture I drew. the part of the drawing where the window peeks into the salon and the hairdresser is doing the ladies hair made me laugh. I guess that I spent a few hours in a salon watching mom get her hair done.
an entry from my diary. today I went to italy - that's it no big deal! lol!
apparently at one time I was questioning my sexuality. proof that switching teams has always been something I have considered.
script from a play I did in drama with my friend joanne. we still keep in touch.
my first "italian" accordion recital. oh yeah baby! this girl studied for eight years. if you were italian you played the accordion or you played soccer. sometimes both. I still have my accordion and in listening to music these days it is making a comeback. you never know! all that training might just pay off someday.

my work experience form from high school. I opted out of working at the bank and chose to work at the grocery store as a cashier. more than likely one of the first of many times I held myself back for fear of failing.

my driver ed card. one of the happiest moments of my life was driving off in my own car. the freedom that gave me had believing that I had it all. the reality was that I couldn't handle it all and was no where near ready to have the responsibility of a vehicle.
peter walsh would tell me to take a picture and discard this. thoughts?
the documents stating that I was in fact italian at least until I was eighteen. this kept me in italy a little while longer. then the choice had to be made whether to accept roberto's proposal and stay in italy or go back to canada. I often wonder what might have been had I married him and built a life in italy. I studied to become an interpreter and I still love translating and helping people communicate with each other.
fast forward over the yucky times. thank goodness there are no photos from those years whew!

and then came the best moment of my life:

this photo needs to go on "worst professional photos ever". what was with the hair? and red? I seldom wear red. must have been feeling spunky with my new do.

yes, believe it or not I was once a power ranger. a proud moment indeed! I think I also have the orange pumpkin from the back wall that danny made that year.
"my mom is funny when she dances"? I like to think I have "fun" when I dance, but everyone is entitled to their opinion. mom is good at making cards. love that he picked that out as one of my assets.
and the next best thing that happened to me. despite mom's statement of no one wanting me with a child I managed to scoop up this gem. he took it all on. me, my son, my parents, the ex and a whole lotto drama wrapped in buckets of love. I still keep in touch with him too.
he wanted to be a scientist and study blood so that he could cure people. adorable!
yes, someone actually let me leave the house with that hair again. I look like a midget in this picture!
his wish list at 17. love that number one was find a girl. and number 10 was spread peace and love.

and so I continue to sort through the pics, the pages and the souvenirs of our past. one thing I know for sure. I wish I would have taken the time to put the pictures into albums. and I always laughed at mom and dad for putting the date on cards. surprisingly it is quite helpful!

I think of the man I met at the hospital the other day who recently lost everything. I listened as he told me the story of evacuating and driving through the fire. all that he has lost and how he has no idea where to start. I told him there was no way I could understand what he was going through, but reminded him that he was alive and so was his family. no one was hurt and no one died and at the end of the day it is all just "stuff".

as I continue sorting and packing up I think of him and all that he has lost. many people have lost a lot. I have come across prayer cards and photos of people and things that are gone forever. little reminders to be thankful for today and all that I have.

when you come to the edge of all the light you have, and must take a step into the darkness of the unknown, believe that one of two things will happen. either there will be something solid for you to stand on or you will be taught how to fly.
- patrick overton -

pay it forward...

just do it! when someone does something nice for you and makes you feel all warm inside - pay it forward! don't ask questions just DO!

so this morning as I woke up to my radio I was hoping for a day without the dizzies. while I worked on getting my ass out of bed I listened to the dj's commenting on folded and stacked towels. seems lovely j'lyn and I share a bit of ocd. so I called the station and chatted with her and gary for a bit. nice chat and a few chuckles later they asked if I would like kid rock or santana tickets to which I replied, santana baby! michael franti is his opening act! how do I know this info? michael and I are facebook buds! hee hee! they asked for my number and said they would be calling me back.

about 15 minutes later the phone rings and it is j'lyn telling me that I won the tickets to see santana/michael franti! I am sure the whole neighborhood heard my screams and were about to call 911. whew! I am on cloud 9 and still vibrating from the happiness I feel.

and so I grabbed my sign and put my t-shirt on and headed out to spread some sunshine of my own. I knew that the morning crew were going to be at mcdonald's cause it is mc-happy day. I said hi and thank you to j'lyn and gary and thanked them for the tickets. I lined up and told my new BFF cashier julie that I wanted to buy lunch for the next person that walked in. great! so we have a customer and he orders a small coffee. are you kidding me? so I buy it for him and he is puzzled as to why I just bought him coffee. I told him to just do something nice for someone today - pay it forward.

next customer walks up and julie is right into it. the customer orders a diet coke. what? that's it? okay so I spring for that and I am only out a couple of bucks at this point. julie and I had our eyes peeled on the door and each person that walked in julie was waving them over to her. she was precious! so finally these two lovely ladies walk in. ladies who lunch perhaps? so I buy the first lady her lunch and she is confused. why was I buying her lunch? who was I? what did I want from her? too funny! I told her to just pay it forward. do something nice for someone today. of course I felt I should buy her friend lunch too to be fair and so I did. I enjoyed watching them all unsure and smiling about what just happened and then I thanked everyone and off I went.

back in the car my calculations were that I forked out about $10.00. what? off to starbucks drive through where I decided that I would pay for the person behind me. yup, and then I drove off. I don't know what their reaction was. what they thought or if they even get it, but it doesn't matter. in order to answer our wishes of peace in this world we need to be a part of it. I know that my gesture today is not going to move mountains or create a world wide movement, but maybe, just maybe one other person out there in this world will be pleasantly surprised by the kindness of a stranger. now off you go - spread some sunshine!

ahhh mother's day...

mom before I came along

on saturday I was going to post about how I was not looking forward to mother's day. this year just seemed to be all planned out in ways that made me unhappy, frustrated and just wanting to skip the day. I pity partied my way through the week and trying to remind myself that I am pretty darn lucky when it comes to the "life of your dreams" department. buck up girl! I arranged flowers in vases that I was I letting go of and delivered them to my friends & neighbours. I made new curtains for the garage that I am leaving behind cause gosh darnit the new home owner mom deserved a good mother's day too!

and so the week went on and I kept struggling with how I was going to put on a happy face and get through it. what would I get my mom for mother's day when she has been using me for a punching bag lately. her words take me from 0 - 60 in 2.5 seconds and right back to being a child and how I could never do anything right. the constant comparisons, reminders of what a failure I was and how fat I was. I was never able to live up to her expectations and I believe I never will. I have to be at peace with that. that and the fact that the words "I love you" and "I am proud of you" never crossed her lips and probably never will. I often wonder why I was never enough. she often told me that she didn't want me to get a swelled head and that is why she never praised me. even now it is difficult to forget the words - your so stupid, why did you think that you could do that, that would look good on you, but you are too fat and my all time favourite - no one will want you with a child. thanks mom. thank you for ALL of it. you did the best you could with what you knew and what you had.

I say thank you because all of it has taught me valuable lessons. the most important one being that my child will know that he is loved. he will be reminded of how amazing he is and how proud I am of him. he will never be made to feel less than from me. I hope I was able to do that. I look into his eyes and I think how could you not love your child to pieces no matter what? he is a part of me and that in itself would prevent me from telling him he is not good enough or deserving. the scariest part of it all is that I don't even think she realizes she does it. it is second nature to her - like brushing her teeth every morning. agh!

in any case I did find her what I thought was the perfect mother's day gift. a new purse. her purse is looking pretty ratty and I think I found one that would work for her. then came the card. I always have trouble finding a card for her. I just want one of those "simply stated" cards. flowers on the front and happy mother's day inside. unfortunately they are few and far between and so I turned to martha. surely martha would have a simple card that I could whip up to accompany the fab bag. so I followed the directions for the pop up card. I was having fun. I was thinking about how cool it would be when she opened the card and "voila" flowers popping out at her. I really do love my mom and I do these things to remind her of how much I love her. it is never about the reaction for me (that I could write a script for), but the action. I do the best I can and if it is not enough then so be it. I love her anyways.

so the card flopped and fizzled and martha had me swearing up a blue streak and throwing flowers all over the place. I am convinced that martha never even assembled the card. her little elves did all the work. oh my I had paper stuck to everything and there was nothing popping out of that card except for a white flag. I surrender!

and so the next morning my amazing husband (who yes did want me despite the child) said he would help. ha! he wasn't actually wanting to help make a card. he wanted to help me get through the day and he wanted me to smile while doing it. so we watched the video again and cut new flowers and followed the step by step (I know people it is a simple frickin' craft) and voila! pop up heaven simply stated mother's day card - CHECK!
so we head off for brunch and much to my delight mimosa's where the drink of the day. hook me up! oh yeah - empty stomach non drinking girl needed that extra medication to get through brunch. mom turns to me and hands me a flower made out of tissue paper. "I made this for you at st. joe's". well strike a match and light a fire cause I am gonna burn in hell! I wonder how many times it took her?
more pics of mom and the handmade flower

I make it through lunch thanks to the mimosa and my son by my side. he held my plate while we cruised the buffet with mama and her walker. so patient, so supportive and all he needed to do was look at me and I felt so loved. the pop up card popped and the purse looked like it might find a new home. all's well and chocolate dipped cream puffs made the ending sweet!

we are leaving the restaurant and making our way back to the car. dan asks if I would walk him to his car. WTH? who is going to walk me to my car? yeah, well, I walk to his car and he says "I know this isn't wrapped, ya go ma". and hands me this:
grab a boat cause there was flood of tears. "ma don't cry". my precious child. my reason for breathing ( I am crying as I write this) took the time to record a cd for me. he knows how much I love listening to him play his guitar and sing. he knows how much I miss not having that around now that he is all grown up and out on his own. I listened to it on the way home and bawling my eyes out till I met him at the house. his voice singing, fingers strumming and new found recording skills blew me away. he has done wonderful and amazing things with this talent of his. wrapped my arms around him for hugs, tears, kisses and I love you. mother's day was perfect!

sorting through and packing up...

this is the trunk that my mom used to pack up her belongings and begin her journey of life in canada. all of her "stuff" in this one small trunk. seems unreal. she was 21. I am guessing it mostly held clothes and perhaps some photos, letters and food?

I remember her telling me how sick she was on the boat that became her home for two weeks. I try to imagine how she felt. what courage did it take to pack up your life and move to another part of the world? how did she decide what to bring? how hard it must have been to leave her family not knowing when she would see them again. did she feel alone? scared? excited? my father was waiting for her on the other end and I am sure that was her goal. get to canada and marry the man of her dreams. her one true love. build a life in a new country...

as I am sorting and sifting through things to pack up for our new adventure I find myself reflecting a lot. we have been preparing for this for over two years. we have packed up and let go of many things along the way and yet there is still so much contained in these four walls.

a lot of it is not even material things. a lot of it is memories. I turn a corner and remember that moment when we spent the weekend creating a new room for dan. we painted the walls to resemble green grass and littered the ceiling with glow in the dark stars. he could lay in his bed and it would feel like he was outside laying in the grass looking up at the night sky.

or that moment at the kitchen table when we were carving pumpkins for the first time. I bought all the right tools, stencils and was just so excited to make it perfect. turned out that the stencils were not a big hit. freehand was in and the perfection part came in the laughter when we compared pumpkin guts to brains.

with each box I open and sort through - again I am reminded of these moments. I have always known that the moments are what are precious not the items. some things are easy to let go of when I look at them for the second or third time. others I want to hold on tight to. I want to be transported back into that moment. I feel that what I am holding close to me will enable me to return to that exact moment in time. the truth is I can return there at anytime with or without that item.

I think about the family who will live here after us. will they know how wonderful this home is? not the house. not the walls or the floors. the "home". will they feel it? will they sense that love was here? love was always here. in moments of beauty and in moments of struggle. we always loved.

as the walls become bare and the rooms empty I feel like I too am stripping down and emptying out. getting ready to build a new "home" and new memories and at times I feel uncertain. have we made the right decision? in those times of uncertainty I remind myself that no matter where we live we will always have our love and that is what I am holding close to me today.