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Have you ever walked through a grocery store to see a child holding onto a sticky, dirty stuffed animal and wondered why on earth the parents let them keep that thing? Or dug through Grandma's linen closet for a warm blanket and found a few with age stains and wished she'd just chuck them out?

That's probably the response I'd get if any of you saw Shirley Temple, the stuffed dog I've had since I was about four. I got her from a toy store in Indiana after a particularly impressive temper tantrum I threw. We're talking crying, whining, the whole nine yards.  

I think my parents bought it more to shut me up than because they thought It would make me happy, but it actually did both. The fluffy dog, clad in sheep pajamas, accompanied me everywhere my parents would allow. And, in my eyes, she never changed.

It wasn't until a few semesters into college, when my family came to visit my dorm, that I began to realize how beaten up she looked. The brown, velvety material that covered her nose was coming off and her lacy collar was somewhat stretched. And don't even get me started on the rip in her belly, where you have to poke her stuffing back inside.

 I had no clue she was in such bad shape until my family made a few comments.

I guess what I'm trying to get at here is, if you've got a valued possession, it's easy to let the fond feelings you have for it fog your vision. Shirley Temple still sits in my room, although now I keep her on a bookshelf so the dog doesn't do her in.

But I'd like to get her mended so her stuffing doesn't cover the floor. Any tips on how I can patch her up? The rip is in the actual material, not a seam, so it's not that easy. Other than patches (which scare me because I'm stupid and would want the material to match) I can't really come up with anything.  

Here are a few other restoration Web sites I thought might come in handy for anybody in my spot:
For quilts
For photos
For clothing