Showing posts with label Sewing for Charity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sewing for Charity. Show all posts

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

I just don't get it. How can I love two things that are so completely opposite of each other both so very much? So much I would never be able to choose between the two.

Cruising and crafting are my loves.

When I'm cruising I love each and every day. I love sea days. I love port days. I love visiting new ports and I love visiting some of the same old ports. When I'm on a ship I want to stay there and never come home. (I guess that's why we sometimes are away for months at a time.)

But when I'm home I love the time I spend sewing and crafting. I love cutting fabrics. I love the machine humming as I chain piece fabrics with a straight stitch. I love the calming meandering stitching I do when I'm quilting the top. (I guess that's why some days I can be found at the sewing and cutting table for hours and hours and hours.)

But when I'm cruising I sometimes have a pang of homesickness. Not for my home itself or my bed, but for my sewing machine and fabrics. But then when I'm home I sometimes have a pang of homesickness for the ship. Maybe because the ship is like our second home. Actually, now that I think about it, the ship IS our second home.

So how does that play out for me each week? Let's take these last couple days as an example. I spent yesterday trying to find a way to get back on a ship in the next couple months. It's always exciting when you start putting a trip together! Then that planning went on the back burner for today's sewing for good projects.

Just look at all the quilt tops for the Quilts for Kids organization that are now complete:
 And this one from last week:

That gives me five quilt tops made for charity just this month. Yahoo! I still need to cut backings, batting, and baste them together. Then they will be ready for me to quilt. Or I may make a few more tops and then quilt them all at the same time.

And guess what? After getting everything done today I ended the day without caring about cruising. Plop me in front of this machine every day for the rest of the winter and I'll be good.

But tomorrow I'll probably be back to planning a cruise. Ugh. Why can't I just pick one and go with it???

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

First up, I did NOT mistake WD-40 for compressed air like I did last Sunday. Woo hoo. Second of all, I neglected to mention an important piece of information last week. The quilts I am working on will be going to the Quilts for Kids organization. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to transforming fabrics into patchwork quilts to comfort children facing serious illness, injury or trauma.

Let's see what I got whipped up for Quilts for Kids since last Sunday's Sewing for Good day.

Last week I finished this quilt top:
 And put together these blocks.
I still have more work to do with them, but right now those purple blocks are resembling a quilt top looking like this:
I also cut and did some stitching of these three fabrics:
 And they too now resemble a quilt top looking like this:
 I also sewed some kitty cat fabrics and white fabrics into strips. I think I'll be adding some white strips to the top and bottoms of them.
 And I also put together these two fabrics:
To make even more blocks:
Which I think I will use with this panel:
 It appears I now have five quilt tops in various stages of completion. It might be time to start to get the completion completed!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

I've been so excited for this first Sewing for Good Sunday of 2019. If you've been around my blog for a while, you know sewing for charity has been important to me. I tried to count out exactly how many things I had made over the years but lost count. (Just check out the charity tab at the top of the page. You'll see why I lost count.) I did find that I had 183 blog posts about things I made for charity. 183! Between quilts and pillowcases and turtle pillows for kids and stockings for soldiers I had written about it on the blog 183 different days.

We can now make that 184. While I like the Sewing for Good Sunday title, this post should really be titled Why You Shouldn't Start a Project in the Middle of the Night.

Like I said, I was excited about today. I was up late last night so I decided to wait until midnight rolled around to get started. (Wanted it to officially be Sunday.) I went through my fabrics and pre-cut squares and found some patterns to work with. I arranged and rearranged and swapped out colors and rearranged again and came up with this at 1:06 am.
After that hour-long process I still wasn't happy. I decided it was time to go to bed and start again in the morning. Before I headed to bed I cleaned up my work area and put the fabrics back into the Ziploc bag with the others.

That's when I found these beauties that had been shoved at the bottom of the bag.
My 1:19 am discovery
The excitement of finding blocks I had already stitched together made me want to stay up even later and make a plan. I grabbed my graph paper and got started.
1:37 am
And of course you can't come up with a plan without getting started sewing on the plan. So I found some strips of fabric that would work for part of the quilt. 
1:47 am
I considered going to bed after that. But again, you can't come this far then just stop. So I sewed some scraps together to make a wide blue border.
Looking at the time I decided I should call it a night. I neatly piled the fabrics on my workspace and put a light colored spool of thread and bobbin in my sewing machine. I then grabbed the can of compressed air to clean up my sewing machine so it would be all nice and fresh and clean in the morning. (Now I know I'm not supposed to be using compressed air to clean the nooks and crannies and bobbin area, but it was after two in the morning and I was looking to be speedy.)

And that's when my compressed air can started behaving badly. Sometimes when I hold the button down too long the compressed air freezes things. But this compressed air was bubbling on the surfaces. On the outside of the machine. In the bobbin area. And even on the bobbin itself. What the heck was going on with the compressed air?

I then realized what happened. Notice anything interesting about where I store my black and white can of compressed air? Notice what I also store right next to it?
2:13 am mistake
Yep. I had sprayed WD-40 all over my sewing machine at 2:13 am on a Sunday morning. If that wasn't a sign it was time to go to bed I don't know what would have been.

After a WD-40 clean up (my sewing machine is so shiny now!) and a good night's rest I headed back to work. And by one in the afternoon I had this sewn together. Batting is cut and backing is picked out, even.
Time to set it aside until later and start piecing the next one. I'm thinking I'm liking these colors.
I snapped my fingers and now those fabrics have been sewn together into blocks that look like this. (I wish it was that easy!)
But now I feel a nap coming on. I'm not about to get myself so tired that I mix up WD-40 and compressed air again. Check in next Sunday as I figure out what to do with these next blocks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

How to Make Money Pockets and Encouraging Words Labels - Easy Kindness Project

It's Tutorial Tuesday and today's project is one dear to me. It's probably not technically a craft project, but it's something you can make so maybe I can count it as one. I definitely count it as a project that helps make the world a better place. Or at least one that makes someone's day.

For the last several years I’ve been giving away dollar bills with notes of encouragement. I used to hand write notes on packs of Post-It notes but I found the adhesive wasn’t sticking in high-humid climates we were traveling to. A couple years back I switched to making my own little money pockets and printing labels for them. I’ve left them in restrooms and airplane magazines and sugar containers. I’ve left them in windowsills and tip jars and hotel room drawers. I’ve left them on buses and taxis and trains. Sometimes I place one somewhere once a day and other days I drop them off multiple times.
Homemade Encourage Words Note Pockets for Kindness Project Idea
For this project you will need:

Disclosure: Deb's Days is a participant in affiliate advertising programs designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to affiliated sites. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support my work in bringing you sewing and crafting content.
You can find the step-by-step how to tutorial video for making the encouraging words pockets project here:

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 

Today I will be delivering my money pockets all throughout Boise as I make a birthday-freebie run today.  Happy Birthday to me! I'm taking notes today so come back on Friday to find out how the food-filled, freebie-filled birthday went. It's going to be a crazy one.
If you'd rather not make your own pockets, a library pocket might be larger but could be a nice substitute.

Friday, February 3, 2017

The Friday Five

With February here I was thinking about how I've spent my 2017 so far and have boiled it down to five photos.

#1 Snow, snow, and more snow. Thankfully after 54 straight days with snow on the ground it is finally starting to melt.

#2 Charity quilt making.

#3 Puppy dog and kitty cat babysitting.

#4 Ebay sell-off of some of my fabrics.
Dozens of boxes are now down to just a few packages.

#5 Protein shakes. I'm not sure how many cases we've been through in the past month but it has been more than one.

A sort of productive year so far.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Done is Better than Good

Recently I've been checking out ebooks and audiobooks from my local public library. Because I mostly never leave the house unless it's puppy sitting time being able to check out an electronic book and have it downloaded on my device without ever having to leave said house is AWESOME.

Today I finished listening to a book by Elizabeth Gilbert, the Eat, Pray, Love lady. I listened to Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear to get me motivated to get back into the writing game. She makes several great points and I took mental notes of many of them. One of her mom's sayings was, "Done is better than good". It is a pretty freeing thought. Getting stuck in perfection isn't a productive place to be.

Except when it comes to my colorful contribution-to-society project from the other day. This one:
This colorful project, after the cold water wash, now has a middle section that looks like this. See all the red blotches?

Despite all the color catcher sheets, despite the cold water and the delicate cycle, the one color I hadn't prewashed - the red - bled through. And won't come out. So the question I'm asking myself...Is done better than good?

Perfection or no perfection I just can't send this off to The Painted Turtle Camp. So change of plans. It will go in the thrift store donation pile. I'm certain someone will purchase it and be able to make something out of it. Heck, if I saw something like it in the store I would probably buy it and work on it.

I can't believe I just talked myself (actually wrote myself) out of giving it up to the thrift store. I can figure something out, figure out a way to fix it. 

So yes, done is better than good. I guess it's just not done yet! 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Contribution to Society

Over the years there has been one important requirement in my life - to make a contribution to society. For 20+ years it occurred through my work in the public school system. Since I'm no longer - and probably won't ever be again - employed in the school system, I keep working with my number two contribution-to-society activity. Sewing for charity. 

Something I've done for years, my sewing for charity has continued despite some pretty bad times. I still plug along on it, just quite a bit slower than in the past. I almost always have a project I'm working on and right now I'm on one that has taken me several months to complete. Thanks to Paul Newman.

Did you know it was his birthday yesterday? He would have been 92. He was the co-founder of The Painted Turtle, a camp for kids with serious medical issues. I've worked with this charity before, sewing turtle pillows for campers. This tim around 've been working on more turtle pillows as well as bed quilts. I'm finally nearing the end of the how-did-I-get-myself-into-this? project.

One of my brighter quilts is a quilt-as-you-go project. You'd think as long as I've been quilting I would have tried out the technique before but not until now. A new and yet different small contribution to society.

(To clarify... it's not technically Paul Newman's fault it is taking me several months to finish this project,  It's my fault - my hands' and shoulders' and back's fault - that I'm taking so long. But it is because of him I do have this project to work on!)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Thing About Poverty

The taxi turned into the entrance and drove up the pothole-pitted dusty road. At the end of the driveway, near the entrance to the building, broken playground sat deserted to the left. To the right a dog could be found resting in a shady spot in the dirt, seeking escape from the uncomfortable combination of hot temperatures and high humidity. 

Also on the right near the dog and dirt and shade and weeds and garbage and dumpster could be found a busted up picnic table.  On what remained of the bench a person could be found sleeping on her side. As I've been around enough to know a homeless person when I see one, I looked away from the bench and focused my attention on the front door. 

The taxi driver honked the horn. 

The lady on the bench awoke and approached the vehicle. She appeared to be the one in charge. She took me inside the building and had me sit down at the large table where all the meals were served. Where holes could be found in the wall, where a sometimes-functional TV sat. Where I visited with the only other person on campus, the cook. That high school Spanish class paid off as I spoke with the cook about the pollo and plantains she was frying for the children. I was shown around the small, steamy, non-air conditioned rooms where up to six boys shared a single room. 

This lady, the one who I thought was a homeless person sleeping on a bench? She was the gal who runs the orphanage in Honduras. As I delivered the homemade pillowcases I had sewn for the kids, I wished I had made ones for the adults, too. The level of poverty I found at this orphanage is beyond description. 

The thing about poverty is that you really can't understand it, even when you see it. And just because someone looks to be homeless doesn't mean they don't bring value to others' lives. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pillowcase Project in Play

After yesterday's post I realized I've made quite a bit of movement on the 50 by 50 list. And the list keeps evolving.  

1. Swim in the ocean
2. Walk the Golden Gate Bridge
3. Ride in a helicopter
4. Visit Iceland
5. Learn to snorkel
6. Ride a zipline
7. Ride in an outrigger canoe in Hawaii
8. Overcome fear of lizards
9. See the Cabo arch
10. Take a long distance train trip
11. Ride a mule
12. See the Hollywood sign
13. Ride a ferris wheel
14. Ride in a zodiac raft
15. Take a Hobie Cat ride
16. See the Northern Lights
17. Lie in a hammock on the beach
18. See a ballet

19. Visit an orphanage. 

The pillowcase project for an orphanage in Honduras is in play. 

Stay tuned. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pillowcase Adventure Project

I thought I knew what poverty was. I've traveled the US and seen depressed areas. I've seen the homeless in the big cities. I've seen ram shackled homes in the country. The cycle of poverty is difficult to break and I always worry most about the kids.

Which is why my life plan is shaping up the way it is. I had to go all the way to Belize and Honduras for it to make sense.

Belize City, where people are proud and happy. And poor. A place where education is important. Where the windows and shutters of the schools are wide open and have no screens but students are learning English. Where a little boy ran to the school fence and waved to me as we drove by.

Roatan, Honduras, where the level of poverty is beyond what I ever could have imagined. Where kids don't have much of a chance. Where five year olds have already started walking the beach, trying to hit up tourists for money in exchange for their trinkets.

Then throw in the sewing. Throw in the need for adventure. The need to give back to others. And this pull I have to quit my job.

It's all falling into place. Soon I'll be visiting an orphanage in Honduras, delivering homemade pillowcases to the kids. I haven't forgotten about Idaho, either. I'll be delivering pillowcases to a children's home here, too. A home full of failed-adoption kiddos, kids that no one wants.

A year of love, gratitude, and giving. Of being happy everyday. Might just call it the Pillowcase Adventure Project. (Still working on the name.)

Soon I'll be up, up, and away. Like the planes in the morning.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Not so Perfect

I had mentioned at work the other day that I was trying so hard to be perfect but it just wasn't working out. While I was only talking about an overlooked e-mail, I should have kept that thought in my mind while I was out to dinner.

Knowing that very soon many foods will no longer be available to me, I've been having some last meals. We had hamburgers the other day. I'm okay letting those go. Chinese food? I can pass. But steak? That one will be hard.

So after hubby's doctor appointment we went out for steak. It was going to be perfect. A perfectly cooked medium steak, seared on the outside and pink on the inside. When we ordered at the counter and one of hubby's former students, now the manager, paid for our meal (a manager has comping abilities, I guess) I really knew it was going to be perfect.

Well, no. For the steak came to me well done. I wouldn't ever care too much, except this was my last steak. Maybe forever. So for the first time ever I sent a steak back. And the new one they brought out? Pretty dang rare. And pretty dang far from what I expected from a perfect steak.

But maybe it worked out fine. Having that as my last steak in my mind might make me not miss steak as much as I thought I might.

But what is perfect? That the military base in Alaska sent me more pictures to make into a quilt. So yay for charity projects like the newly finished Spiderman quilt. Much more important to me than any darn steak.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Day 999

Yes, I had one of kiddo's cinnamon rolls for breakfast.
No, I didn't get the phone call I was expecting.
Yes, I went to work today.
No, I didn't eat lunch.
Yes, I went to the grocery store to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving.
No, I didn't buy it because I couldn't find my wallet.
Yes, I got home after dark.
Yes, it was cold.
Yes, I went straight to my recliner (after finding my wallet on the table).
No, I don't want to change out of my work clothes.
No, I don't want to move from this spot. Ever.

But I will. For two reasons. Two kids in Alaska who are waiting for quilts made with their Dad's work clothes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 998

One thing I know I'll have done before Day 1000? The kids' quilts for the military base in Alaska. The mom wanted Dad's clothes in the quilt. Talk about a challenge!

Here's a peek at the girl's. A peek at the boy's is being hampered by kitty cat.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Day 981

What makes this next kids' quilt project so special? Why is it that I need to spend more time thinking and planning than sewing?

Is it because I'm doing two quilts, one for each sibling?
Or because they're for another military family in Alaska?
Or because the kids' pictures are in them?

But mostly because these were special request quilts. If you remember, recently I made one for a niece who was super-close to an uncle who was killed on Christmas Day.

These two new ones will be different. The Operation Kid Comfort gal contacted me and wondered if it was even possible. Knowing how much it would mean to the family I couldn't help but say yes.

The request?

Use dad's Air Force fatigues in the quilt. The project is still in the thinking stage.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Day 975

625 Christmas stockings will be heading out my door on their way to Afghanistan. I don't have words for today. Do you?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 974

Sure doesn't look like Halloween around my house, does it?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 973

The gals from work were right. They knew after my long day at work I'd come home to my recliner and not be able to get up. So I sat in my chair, turned down stocking cuffs, and had hubby put them on the couch so I could organize and count the last batch. But as you can see by the picture I was too tired to organize and count. Even too tired to get up to take the picture. It is what it is. A picture taken after dark, with a phone, from the recliner. The counting will have to wait. Unless you're talking about sheep.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Day 971

What do Christmas stockings for 205 soldiers in Afghanistan look like?
And the sewing continues.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Day 969

I enlisted the help of an elf today. Two sewing machines operating at the same time from opposite sides of the table created this. Depending on the time of the day it was either a great project or a big ole mess. Come back tomorrow and find out our total. (It's 11:00 PM and we're still working so no number yet.)