What I’m Doing Instead of Zumba this Saturday Morning

**Warning: Heavy with craft photos and dog related text but all for a good cause.

This is Taz my ‘who knows what mixture of breeds?’ dog – we have had him since he was a pup.

Elderly Dog

He’s getting on now and, at eleven years old, he’s going grey, losing his hair and getting a bit grumpy.  Just like a lot of  humans really.  Much as I love him, he is a bit of a pain in his dotage.  He spends his days foraging for food, grumbling at the cats, lying across the kitchen floor in front of the fridge/cooker/cupboard/wherever you need to get to and bumping into things as his sight is going.  He spends his evenings sleeping, snoring and ‘scenting’ the air with the gaseous results of his aforementioned foraging and his nights wandering the corridor and aimlessly scraping at doors before sinking into a deep sleep.

I can only imagine then, what it must be like to care for 30 old dogs in your own home.  I don’t think I could do it but, luckily, there are people that can.  Mike and Leeanne came to France from the U.K. and have somehow found themselves dedicated to the care and comfort of elderly and disabled dogs by starting the Twilight Retirement Home for Dogs or, as we are in France, Twilight Maison de Retraite pour les chiens you can read all about them here .

Twilight Maison de Retraite

This Saturday we are holding a fundraising event for Twilight and, although I don’t do craft fairs as a rule, I’m going along with some of my wares to see if we can’t help with the food, extensive vet bills and general running costs of caring for so many ‘retired’ dogs all in one place that Mike and Leanne face.

Of course, I will have my dog collars for sale….

Hand Made Dog Collars for Fundraising

Some dog bandanas……

Dog Bandanas for Fundraising

some simple tote bags (who let the cats in?)……..

Simple Tote Bags for Fundraising

some more cats disguised as angels……

Scented Cat Hanging Decs

a couple of knitted dog coats…….

Knitted Dog Coats

a few key fobs made with the leftover dog collar materials……

Key Fobs for Fundraising

the results of my recent foray into needlecases……

Quilted Needlecases

some mini poufs that have been taking up space in my workroom for a little while…….

Hexagon Cushions

likewise some doorstops……

Fabric Doorstops

four or five padded message boards……

Padded Noticeboards

a set of coasters…..

Reindeer Coasters

a rather fetching linen handbag I made which has Eiffel Towers on the lining fabric – très chic …..

Linen Purse

and a partridge in a pear tree an owl with a Christmas tree


I just hope there will be people looking to buy some stocking fillers and I don’t come home with all of it .  I usually do my part by buying home made cakes (especially the ginger cake and Christmas pudding as they aren’t easy to come by here and Debbie makes some scrummy ones),  the bottle tombola (the bottles are generally full of something alcoholic) , some second hand books and whatever else takes my fancy.

I can always go and fling myself around in Zumba next Saturday but I’ll leave the last words to Mike and Leeanne to explain how Twilight came about.


We started Twilight in the summer of 2009, in memory of losing our Kizzy, and needing to find a friend for our elderly but happy retriever, Teg.
It became evident, searching the pounds and refuges, that if you were an old
dog, life was not always so good, and your ending might be premature and/or without dignity.
So now we offer limited places for elderly dogs who are lost, abandoned or bereaved of their owners.

We are not a formal refuge, just mere volunteers with the time, space and love to share our calm home with the dogs ?en famille?. Twilight, La Maison de Retraite pour Les Chiens, the old doggies home.

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  1. #1 by claire93 on November 25, 2016 - 12:48

    hope you have lots of fun at the charity sale ^^
    What an incredible team Mike and Leeanne are!
    Like you, I find taking care of just one elderly dog more than enough. Am currently fighting, morning and evening, with Blackjack and his meds. He has to take 5 tablets in the morning and 2 at night, and, after several weeks of the same thing, he’s decided he doesn’t want to cooperate. He soon learned the art of pretending to swallow, and then spitting meds out as soon as my back is turned grrrr! Can’t even hide them in balls of soft cheese or pâté anymore, because he’s grown wise to that trick too..

    • #2 by tialys on November 25, 2016 - 18:36

      They really are incredible aren’t they.
      It’s horrible giving tablets to unwilling animals isn’t it. To be honest, I don’t usually have a problem with the dogs – mine will eat anything, almost literally! However, the cats are a different matter. They are masters of the ‘tucking the tablet in the cheek and spitting it back when nobody is looking’ and with the price of worm tablets being what they are, I’ve had to resort to a spot on liquid for two of the cats just to make sure.

      • #3 by claire93 on November 25, 2016 - 22:12

        I use the spot on for cats too, otherwise mine literally froth at the mouth when I give meds.

  2. #4 by Dartmoor Yarns on November 25, 2016 - 13:16

    Well done you – I remember you doing this one last year too. Your stuff is gorgeous – and lovely to see it too – so i’m sure you’ll make heaps for the good cause. What a fantastic idea, I’m sure there is much need for this for older dogs everywhere. I LOVE Taz – send him over here, no cats and he and HRH can grumble together. Failing sending him over, give him a big hug from me.

    • #5 by tialys on November 25, 2016 - 18:34

      I did that Bekki and got covered in hair 😉

      • #6 by Dartmoor Yarns on November 27, 2016 - 21:19

        Aw! bless Taz, so generous to share it with you 🙂

  3. #7 by katechiconi on November 25, 2016 - 13:28

    If I was a bit closer, you’d have sold the grey dotty handbag and a couple of those doorstops already! Oh, and a needlecase or two, despite the fact that I already have three or four. Lovely stuff, you should do brilliantly!

    • #8 by tialys on November 25, 2016 - 18:33

      Thanks Kate – we’ll see. I’ve just been to set up and I had a rummage through the clothes stall, the book stall and the handmade decorations stall – not to mention the cakes – stallholders’ preview perks I call it – and I’ve already spent far more than I’ll probably take tomorrow but it’s all going to a good cause so I had a good excuse.

      • #9 by katechiconi on November 25, 2016 - 23:26

        Not to mention scoring some nice loot!

  4. #10 by Frivolous Monsters on November 25, 2016 - 15:15

    Well good look. You’re well stocked up. Your bandana reminded me that I’ve just read Dodie Smith’s The Hundred and One Dalmatians, vetting it for child suitability, as the author’s house is just down the road from me. It was surprisingly really good. I’ve never seen the Disney version but in the end (SPOILERS) the couple end up living in a big house with 101 Dalmatians…as you could probably guess…but whilst 97 of them were puppies I cannot imagine how anyone could have coped a few years later when they’d grown up. I imagine thirty must be trouble enough. Dedicated people indeed.

    • #11 by tialys on November 25, 2016 - 18:30

      I absolutely loved Dodie Smith’s book when I was a kid – I can’t remember whether I read the book or saw the Disney film first but love them both (I was definitely a child of Disney). The original animated film is very good and a fairly faithful adaptation I would say. Cruella Deville is a great fictional monster.

  5. #12 by jendavismiller on November 25, 2016 - 16:03

    As it’s afternoon where you are now, I hope your morning for the doggies was fruitful for all concerned! I suspect your wares were quite a hit. (I suppose some would think it extravagant to go all the way to France for a door stop for their back porch door?) Love the philosophy of Mike and Leeanne – lucky dogs indeed to be sharing their later years with them.

    • #13 by tialys on November 25, 2016 - 18:19

      It’s tomorrow morning Jen – it’s only Friday 😉
      I’d send you a doorstop but they weigh a blooming ton.

      • #14 by jendavismiller on November 25, 2016 - 18:50

        Oh good grief, so it is. I seem to be in need of more (or stronger) coffee. So tomorrow when the event actually occurs, you may reread my comment and it will be so more timely. Sheesh. And no, we shall not be considering the doorstop at the moment…. 🙂

      • #15 by tialys on November 25, 2016 - 20:17


  6. #16 by Janice Marriott on November 25, 2016 - 20:05

    i do love a good bazaar, sadly those sort of events are in decline here. Hope it goes fine.

    • #17 by tialys on November 25, 2016 - 20:19

      Thanks Jan. I am only persuaded to sell my wares ‘in real life’ when it’s for a good cause – usually I prefer to remain behind the computer screen. However, it’s always good fun with like minded people and lots of goodwill.

  7. #18 by anne54 on November 25, 2016 - 23:21

    Thanks for the reminder that there are many Good People in the world in these troubled times. I hope the fete is a roaring success for your generous friends.

    • #19 by tialys on November 27, 2016 - 11:33

      It was a big success Anne – we are all tired but very happy!

  8. #20 by sewchet on November 26, 2016 - 09:22

    Blimey, that’s a huge stock of wares you’ve got there – I hope they sell well for such a good cause. What big-hearted people your dog rescuing friends are. A problem I didn’t even know existed until now.

    • #21 by tialys on November 27, 2016 - 11:32

      I suppose it’s something that happens a lot with elderly owners who can’t cope any more, physically or financially, or the owners die and their families can’t, or don’t want to, take on the dog themselves. That’s the more charitable view but, of course, there are a lot of cases where elderly or disabled dogs are cast out deliberately having become a nuisance or too expensive to bother with. I really admire what those people do and, as it is just the two of them operating from their home, you know every penny will go directly to them for their work with the dogs.

  9. #22 by sew2pro on November 26, 2016 - 23:44

    I’m amazed by how much you’ve created! Well done you. The fabric prints and designs are beautiful and useful things too: I hope you made a killing!!

    Taz is brilliant (I refuse to believe he’s losing hair!). I’m pretty sure that when I was a little girl and first started noticing dogs (my dad liked them too though we never had one as our accommodation was always precarious) many dogs had that kind of look, nice proper dog-shape, slightly wolf-like; they were accidents found and adopted as pets rather than bought pedigrees. What a shame that old age, like for the rest of us, is denting somewhat at his dignity but at least he’s not climbing roofs.

    • #23 by tialys on November 27, 2016 - 11:27

      I did do very well actually but, more importantly, we did make a significant amount for the elderly pooches.
      Taz is definitely losing hair – I know because I need to hoover it up regularly 😦 Two of my dogs are black (and one of my cats) and it’s a strange thing that in France black dogs and black cats are notoriously difficult to rehome. So much so that, the other dog rescue group I’m involved with, sponsored an ‘adopt a black dog or cat’ offer recently, reducing the cost of adoption to encourage people to choose one. It’s a superstitious thing I believe – black dogs are considered to be evil or some such nonsense – only Taz’s botty burps are evil :/

  10. #24 by Thimberlina on November 27, 2016 - 17:23

    Your angel cats are just the cutest things I’ve ever seen! So much stuff you’re made, hopes the fair went really well, and raised lots of money for a very worthy cause 🐶

    • #25 by Thimberlina on November 27, 2016 - 17:23

      (Sorry about the typos, I should read my text before hitting the button!)

    • #26 by tialys on November 28, 2016 - 09:37

      Thanks Ali – the fair did go very well and people seemed to be in ‘spending mode’ but it was much more civilized than some of the Black Friday shopping pictures I’ve seen in the press. When I went to do the food shopping on Friday I glanced over at the shoe shop to see if they were participating as there’s a pair of boots in there I have my eye on but no sign of anything ‘sale’ related. I don’t think France (or this part at least) has heard of Black Friday yet – it’s only a matter of time of course. I’m not necessarily saying that’s a bad thing either 😉

  11. #27 by dezertsuz on November 28, 2016 - 04:28

    What a wonderful cause you are supporting. I was so impressed by all the beautiful things you’ve made, and especially loved the angel cats. =) Best of luck on selling out of everything! If I were there, I’d definitely drop dollars at your booth!

    • #28 by tialys on November 28, 2016 - 09:40

      Thanks Susan. We had a Christmas tree right next to our stall as my neighbour was selling large plastic baubles filled with dog biscuits so I put the one with the halo right on top like the Christmas fairy. She sold of course! We had a very good day thank you and everybody was so supportive and spent lots of money.

  12. #29 by themateriallady on November 28, 2016 - 21:26

    I wish I was closer – there would have been some definite spending with all your lovely goodies. Good to hear that it went well 😃

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