Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quilts from New York......

These lovely quilts were donated by Jackie Kaspersin of New York. When I asked her how she learned of our project she replied that she was searching the web for "Quilts for flood victims" and found our "Sew and Share" information! Jackie included a note with each quilt. Sending quilts our way is not the only charity that Jackie donates quilts to. She makes quilts, afghans, and many other items for more than a dozen charities!!

This is a child's quilt and while my photography may make you think that it is the same size as the pink and green quilt below - it is not. It's called "Wild Flowers on the Yellow Brick Road."

This quilt is called "Pink Bows Like Green" and it's a larger quilt that Jackie hopes an older girl might enjoy. She also made a small quilt for a doll or teddy bear or when I hung it on the line, I thought it would make a great piece to put on a nightstand.
Some lucky someone's will get these quilts. Thank you so much for sharing your time and talents, Jackie!!
I'll have a little news to share tomorrow and then things will be quiet for a week or so. I am expecting a package from out east, though, so when that arrives I'll post the contents.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A white linen day!

The sun is definitely out here in Minnesota. Yesterday it was warm when I took these pictures. Today it is hot and tomorrow and the next three days are to be even hotter!!!
The lovely linens hung on the line are made by Bronwyn Hughes, sister to friend Gretchen. She loves to cross stitch and someone is going to love receiving these pieces. Thank you, Bronwyn!!

Check in tomorrow and I will post pictures of the two quilts that arrived from New York last week. Plus we received a donation that will help us with our projects at the September "Sew and Share" day. More on that next week. Have to give you something to look forward to!!!! :-)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Photos postponed until the sun shines......

I was going to take pictures today so I could post Bronwyn's cross stitch and two quilts I received from New York. It has stayed cloudy all day, though, and no sun has peeked through. If it was going to be cloudy, I was hoping there would at least be a shower or two to help green up the grass. So the picture taking is postponed until the sun comes out.
In the meantime, some of you had asked about the pattern for the little "Teepee" bags made and donated by Cheryl from Anchorage, Alaska. I googled it and found the pattern on this site. Scroll down and look for "Cute Teepee Coin Purse with Zipper " at
In addition to that little bag, you will find oodles of patterns for free bags, totes, purses, etc. Plus, the site features patterns for purchase by a wide variety of designers. Have fun with it!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A little thank you!

I have been away for a few days, home to a family reunion and visiting my mom. Had a great time but a little behind (I am always a "little behind") in replying to e-mails, posting, laundry, etc. etc. Just wanted to share this note I received from Kourtney Maroney from United Way of Johnson County after I let her know the amount of the check we would be sending to their office.

$750 - That is FANTASTIC! Please thank any and all participants in the “Sew and Share” project. I hope this project turns out to be a successful venture in helping your friends and neighbors, too!
Again, thank you so very much for your donation, your support means everything to our organization and the people needing a helping hand in our community.
Kourtney Maroney
United Way of Johnson County
Give. Advocate. Volunteer.

When I arrived home there was a package on my doorstep that contained two more quilts. Today I delivered three boxes of personal care items to Stacia who will deliver them to the Crisis Center in Iowa City this weekend. I thought there would be four boxes but repacked it all and got it into three boxes. She will take quilts on her next trip.

News of our "Sew and Share" event made the local paper so perhaps more stitchers will join us in September when we gather again to sew for those in need.

I had promised to post a few pictures of cross stitch items but haven't had time to take the pictures since I got home. Plus I need to photograph the new quilts that arrived and tell you who sent them. In the meantime, here's a photo and a little story that goes with it.

That's my quilting friend, Gretchen on the right. She's pictured with her sister, Bronwyn, (the cross stitcher) and their dad, Bill. The three of them stopped by during the afternoon of the "Sew and Share Day" to drop off lots of items. As Bill watched the women busily stitching, he started talking to me about how Gretchen had been a teacher for so many years and then when she retired she took up quilting and it became almost an obsession (hmm, imagine that? huh, quilters?). He observed, though, that it was about more than just quilting. He could see that we were all working together and that there was a camaraderie among the women so it's about so much more than just making quilts. While we were basically doing something for others, we were also enjoying friendships and learning how to quilt at the same time. Just a little observation from a gent in his late 80's! I was thrilled that he could see that as that is exactly what happens! When you step outside of yourself and start helping others, you actually end up helping yourself and have a great time in the process!!

Tomorrow I will get those photos taken of Bronwyn's cross stitch and the new quilts that arrived. Til then, hope the man in the moon is shining down on you as you sleep tight tonight..........

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Sleep tight..............

I thought I'd post a few more pictures before I toddle off to bed. When I put my head down on the pillow at night, I love nothing better than a soft, clean pillow case. So here are few that were stitched so that others can do the same.
A dainty floral case that Kate made from fabrics in my stash. So soft and pretty that I wouldn't mind sleeping on it myself.
Had to take another picture of the polka dot pillow case that Pat made. Click on the photo to enlarge so you can see the cute barn print that trims the blue pillowcases. Someone will really like those.

Margaret (from Prior Lake) made and sent the pillowcases pictured above and in the photo below. The jungle print one is great and somewhere there is a cat lover who will really enjoy the blue cat print pillowcases.

There are only a few photos left to show you and I am going to post those on Monday. Planning to take a break for a few days and tend to some family things and such. I've kept up with things these last few days but I am way behind on some stitching projects that have deadlines!
Need to share one more nice little thing that happened with the "Sew and Share" day.
"Toody's Sweets and Treats" is located on Main Street in Henderson. Prior to the sewing day, I had made arrangements with Toody to honor coupons that I would give participants who sewed or donated. I had made name tag buttons and everyone got a coupon that said -
"Thank you for participating in "Sew and Share"
Present this coupon at Toody's Sweets and Treats for one free Kiddie size ice cream cone, flavor of your choice."
And by the way, a Kiddie size cone at Toody's is not what you get when you order one at certain fast food places. This is a cone that would be a medium or more at most places. Anyway, at the end of the day, I went in to settle up and pay Toody for the cones. And she said "no charge, you guys sewed for a good cause-treat is on me!" How cool!!! Thank you, Toody, sewwww much!!!
It's time to say "Good-night" and what better way to close out the blog tonight than with the picture below. These pillow cases were cross-stitched by Bronwyn Hughes, sister of my friend, Gretchen Hughes. When I opened them up and saw the ice cream cones and the "Sweet Dream" it reminded me of that old rhyme my kids used to chant - "Ice cream, you scream, we all scream for Ice Cream." Memories are such a delight. A few night's ago, I was reading Heidi Kaisand's blog "Hen and Chicks" and she closed with "Sleep Tight, Don't let the bedbugs bite". I was immediately reminded of my dad. I hope all of you are able to sleep tight tonight wherever you are, and that, of course, you have "Sweet Dreams".

I'll be back on Monday with more photos and another cool story from the "Sew and Share" day.
P.S. That's the beagle king, Kaiser under the pillowcases. He was intent on watching the birds flitting about in the woods. I am sure he was thinking "why do I have to be on this leash?!!!"

Just a month ago ..........

Can it be just a month ago that the flooding was engulfing so much of southeast Iowa? I am sure that many who live there find it hard to believe what has happened to them this summer. As I've already mentioned, my sister lives in Iowa City but she was fortunate for her home suffered no flooding nor did their veterinary clinic. Their church, however, was virtually destroyed. Time will tell how they will recover and rebuild. It was a question posed to my sister that led me to set up the "Sew and Share" project. I asked if there was anything we could do to help? At the time there was nothing one could do because water was still rising. But I felt I needed to do something, so I asked my friends if they would sew some quilts or whatever was needed. You can see some of their responses in the sidebar. Then I asked my Bible Study friends if they would provide lunch for those who sewed (I've only lived here a year and a half but it didn't take long to discover they are very good cooks especially baked goods!). There are seven ladies in the group. First I met Arline and Doris when I began attending St. Paul's United Church of Christ (pictured below) in the fall of 2006 (we hadn't yet moved here but I wanted to find the right church and I did). Then I met Dorothy, Joan, and Carolyn in the winter of 2007. When spring came, I met Marian and Diane. They are a most wonderful group of ladies who encircled me with their friendship and have made me feel as if I have known them forever!

So we began making plans for the sewing day, and even before it took place Kate sent a little quilt, pillowcases came from Pandora and then Janet in S.C. sent some, too, and also tote bags. Then Quilter John (from an on-line quilt group that I am in) sent a check for $20 and said "use it for whatever is needed" so we bought quilt batting and with a 40% off coupon at JoAnn's we spent the money wisely. It was enough to do one large quilt, and four baby quilts. There was more money that came in and it became obvious we needed to set up an account at the bank. Tomorrow, I will mail a check to Johnson County United Way (in Iowa City) for $750! All of the funds they receive go to those in need, no administrative costs have to be taken from the donation. Thanks go to several who donated cash but especially to members of Redeemer Lutheran Church as they were extremely generous. As I mentioned before the purpose of the "Sew and Share" project wasn't necessarily to raise funds but it was nice that it happened!!

With the money on it's way, there are personal care and quilt related items to distribute. I've posted pictures of almost all of the various items that have been made or donated and want to extend a big thank to everyone who shared!! Next week, Stacia, my son's girlfriend, will take several boxes to the Crisis Center in Iowa City that are filled with the tote bags and little "teepee" bags that hold personal care items, plus lots more. The distribution of the quilts will come later in August. Kourtney at the Crisis Center in IC and Mindy at the Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids have given me names of several places collecting items for flood victims.

And here is a little challenge for any of you who are checking into this blog. Let me share my thoughts. As we gathered on Saturday morning to begin sewing, I briefed everyone on what we would be doing and why, talked a bit about the flooding and it's long-term effects. Some of the ladies have sewn with me before and were a part of a project that we did for Southern Valley Alliance for Battered Women. It was a very simple project but a huge gift to the women who used the shelter. I asked each of them to fill a purse with essentials that could go to a woman in need. I recalled watching the coverage of Hurricane Katrina and I was spellbound by the images of people who waded through water and barely escaped with their lives. I remember one young couple walking through waist-high water, holding hands and around her neck was her purse. I thought "what a smart woman she was and how fortunate that she had the foresight to grab her purse." That isn't always the case. I asked my friends to picture what it would be like if they had to leave their home in such a hurry that they couldn't grab their purse. Almost every woman carries half her life in her purse!! So the ladies rose to the challenge and from just a little over a dozen women we collected 43 purses that we donated for Christmas gifts that year. I threw out the same challenge last Saturday morning to all the ladies present (about 24). When we meet in September to sew again, bring a purse and fill it with necessities. The ladies who donated to the women's shelter were so generous with what they put in the purses from nail care to wallets to phone cards to pens and paper, etc. So I challenge you out there, to buy a purse (or two) and fill it with some necessities and then take it to the nearest shelter and donate it to someone who really needs it. It will be appreciated!
This morning I took a few more pics. Here are the tote bags that were made by Joan - the black and white checked ones - and the floral tapestry ones sent by Janet.

And this picture shows the Strawberry Shortcake bags made by mom Angela and her daughter, Allison. They will be filled with colors and coloring books for kids. Barb made the lovely quilted bags that are more like a nice purse than just a tote!

I took pictures of the pillowcases and some other items and will post those later on. I had to mail some letters this afternoon so while I was downtown, I took a picture of City Hall where we held our "Sew and Share" event. That's where we will be on September 19 and 20 - two days next time! More info on that will come in the next couple of weeks.

Henderson, Mn is a river town, too. The Minnesota River is to the east of City Hall. Earlier today, I learned that water has nearly reached City Hall during flood years in the past so Henderson is familiar with flooding. Perhaps it was that knowledge that brought so many together to "Sew and Share" and why so many want to keep doing it. We will be sewing again for Iowa flood victims in September but we will also sew for those in our own "back yard".

A month ago I asked - "How to connect us all so that we can help others? " Well, this blog and the gathering last Saturday shows that we can connect and by sharing just a little bit of our time and talents, we can make a difference!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Oh, baby, it's hot outside!!!

As I was hanging the flannel baby quilts on the clothesline, I was thinking "it is really hot out today!! - certainly not a day when a baby would want to be wrapped up in a flannel quilt!" It won't be long, though, before summer is over (this is the Minnesota, after all) and the first frost often arrives the first week in September. But today it was in the low 90's and that's hot! In spite of the heat, I enjoyed hanging each of the little quilts and wondered what child will be wrapped up in them. I remember the blankets and quilts I made for my own kids and for my grandson and how important they were to them. Almost every kid has a favorite "blankie". Perhaps one of these will replace that lost favorite quilt or blanket.

Beatrice stitched up these three simple tied blankets from soft knits and flannels. The next three photos are flannel quilts from Sue in Mason City. I see a Christmas baby wrapped in that red, white and green flannel quilt!

I already posted pics of the next group of quilts but that was on the green sheet thrown over my couch. Taking pictures outdoors is so much more fun! These five quilts were made by members of the Women's Tourist Group of Henderson. The cloth story books pictured with some of the quilts were made by Gretchen Hughes and some were just meant to go with certain quilts.

This is the fleece blanket made by Deanna from Shakopee (MN). Lots of you have made these quilts but in case you want to try one yourself - just take two coordinating lengths of fleece, place together and pin together so pieces will not slip when cutting. Next, make even width cuts around the edge of the two pieces that looks like "fringe". The last step is to tie the fringe pieces together all around the quilt. And that's all there is to it!

And another picture of the bright yellow, red and blue fireman themed quilt by Sue. If you want to see close-ups of any of the pics posted just click on the pictures and you'll get an enlarged view of the quilts.

And the last quilt didn't arrive on Saturday. It came today. This was Tuesday so to paraphrase that old movie title "If it's Tuesday, this must be Bible Study day". It was Marian's turn and she lives in St. Peter so when we go to her apartment, her neighbor Monica always joins us. We were all discussing the quilts and food and fun that ensued on Saturday at "Sew and Share" and Monica, who couldn't be there wanted to know what kind of quilts were needed. So we told her what was collected and then she said "I'll be right back", went across the hall to her apartment and came back with this sweet baby quilt edged with eyelet. It's a preprinted panel that she hand-quilted and backed with blue flannel. She said she doesn't have any babies to quilt for anymore but she loves to handquilt. Isn't that cool?

So, I went from "hot" at the beginning of this post to "cool" at the end and, actually, all the quilts, blankets, whatever you want to call them are really cool and yet, they will warm the hearts of those who receive them!

Monday, July 14, 2008

A Baker's Dozen of Large Quilts......

Here are pictures of all the large quilts that were collected this past Saturday. Not a one of these was made that day. Instead, various church groups make quilts for those in need and they donated the quilts they had ready to the "Sew and Share" project. They were all so pretty that I felt that they needed to be photographed. Where to do it? The green sheet thrown over my couch was not doing justice to my previous photos and then I thought, hmmmm, hang them on a clothesline! I don't have a clothesline but we do have trees. So the errand I ran yesterday was to get clotheline and clothespins. It was a beautiful day, perfect for picture taking. It took several trips in and out of the house to hang the quilts and take the photos but it worked.
There are twelve photos of quilts here. At the end of this post you'll find out about the 13th one that will make this a baker's dozen of quilts to donate!

The quilt shown above was made and donated by the ladies of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Henderson, MN. The side borders are actually a dark sage green. The sun was bright and some colors didn't photograph "true".
The green quilt below is "true" to the color I saw through the lens. It was bright and has a beautiful coordinating fabric on the back. I don't know who brought this quilt and the three pictured after it. They were dropped off in a big, bright blue plastic bag, no name and so I am playing detective to try and find out who made this generous donation.

The next six quilts were made and donated by St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Green Isle, MN. I know where these came from because the church secretary dropped them off and put them in my hands!

The large comforter in the photo below is king size and really fluffy. Reminded me of a big European comforter. It was my last photo to take and my dog, Kaiser, was tired of being inside so I brought him out while I took the last photo. He kept trying to "root" in my little rock bed on the right that is where my prized rhubarb is growing!

So where is the 13th quilt, you ask? It is sitting next to my sewing machine as it is the big one that several ladies were tying on Saturday afternoon. It needs a binding and then it will be done. I have some "administrative" stuff to do this next couple of days that relates to "Sew and Share" so it will be a few days before I can add the binding. I am in contact with Dawn and Kourtney at the Crisis Center in Iowa City and this morning spoke with Mindy at the Salvation Army in Cedar Rapids. They are aware of our project and feel that we have a "good handle" on what to make, donate, where it should go and how we will get it there. Just know that in the background, I am working to see that this all gets to those in great need. Mindy spoke of getting items to people in the smaller towns that have been devastated so we will see how we can make that happen.
I will be posting more pictures for the next three days of the items collected - baby quilts, pillowcases, etc. etc.. You might be asking, why post pics of the items being donated? Well, isn't a picture worth a thousand words? If you see something in this blog that makes you want to make something or buy personal care products or donate money to flood relief (or wildfire relief or whatever the need is in your community) then the pictures have spoken and done their job. The quilts shown above will go to people who have lost most or all of their possessions. Nothing we can give them will replace the tied quilt that their mom or grandma made or the embroidered dishtowels that dried the family china but it lets them know that someone else cares. Our small donation may be the thing that lifts someone's spirits in this difficult time.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Here they are! Pictures of everyone who came to our "Sew and Share" day and, oh, my were we busy! How busy were we? Well, as the pictures below will show we were on a mission and we stayed focused. There were about 24 of us who stitched, provided lunch, dropped off quilts or fabric, personal care items and more. Not everyone knew each other when we started but by the end of the day we were all new friends!! Some who came were quilting friends from the Prior Lake quilters (where I used to live) and some were from here in Henderson (from church and Bible study) and we even had a mother/daughter team from Arlington!! We were fortunate to be able to use the Community Room at Henderson City Hall and the room is big, well-lit and it was air-conditioned. Sometimes we turned that air off and let the breeze come in which was nice - especially since the day before it was 95 degrees! Storms had rumbled through on Friday evening and gave the ground a good soaking but most of us did not suffer storm damage (Cathy had trees down in her backyard so we weren't all spared).
Doris and Arline had set out some nut breads and coffee and tea so we nibbled as we waited for everyone to arrive. Machines were set up and a couple of people that couldn't come for the day dropped off finished quilts and fabric. Once everyone had arrived, I gave an overview of what we would do and away we went. Some started sewing and some started filling the little "teepee" bags and totes sent by Cheryl (all the way from Anchorage, Alaska!). Darlene, Doris, Anita, and Beatrice (all from Henderson) got a "system" going and made sure each bag had one each of the personal care items - shampoo, lotion, comb, toothbrush, etc.

Everybody did a little bit of everything! Here are Anita and Darlene ironing backing for a quilt.

Cherie (from Henderson) is cutting fabric for quilt blocks that Pastor Kathy was working on. Cherie said she wasn't a quilter but ready to do whatever needed to be done. In church this morning she told me she has "held off" getting involved in quilting but she is now planning to start "small" with a quilt for her year old grandson. We love to get people "hooked" on quilting!!!

Speaking of Pastor Kathy, that's her on the left. She even tied our "Sew and Share" event into her sermon this morning, a message on "Sowing seeds". She is our interim pastor at St. Paul's United Church of Christ and how many can say that their pastor is also a quilter? What a treat!!!

That's Sharon (from Jordan, MN), to the right of Pastor Kathy (from Bloomington, MN). A funny thing happened when Sharon and Kathy realized they'd met before when Sharon worked at Eagle Creek Quilt Shop (in Shakopee) and Kathy came to shop there!

Barb (Savage, MN) and Kate (Shakopee, MN) were steady stitchers. Barb was stitching up some really neat tote bags and Kate, was working on a quilt top and pillowcase.

I brought a bunch of homespuns that Dorothy (from Henderson and Bible study) is cutting into dishtowel size and matching potholders. I will stitch them up later this week. In the photo below, Darlene and Beatrice are tying a small "cheater" quilt panel. It only needs a border and it will be finished. Think I am going to use that as a "banner" that we can hang outside city hall to let people know when "Sew and Share" stitchers are at work. We all agreed we want to do this again!

As I mentioned, the ladies from my Bible study provided lunch for all of us. As you can see from the pictures, they cut fabric, too. I love this picture on the left of Marian and Diane as they were having fun cutting flannel rectangles so that I could make a baby quilt. We were laughing that it didn't matter if the rectangles were cut perfectly. Diane said that was good and Marian offered up that flannel can be smoothed and stretched!

While Doris mixed up a salad, Arline was in the background ironing squares for the colorful kid's quilt that Cathy was working on. We used every corner of the community room!

Now all my friends know that I take lots of pictures and I tried to capture as many moments of the day as I could. But when I downloaded the pictures, I realized I missed a shot of a very important moment of the day - the food table!! We were provided a feast! Everyone loved the lasagna that Dorothy made, four different salads were shared by Joan, Marian, Doris, and Diane and pickles from Carolyn (our 94 year young member who was out visiting with her niece earlier in the day). Then there was dessert - not one but four!!! There was angel food cake with fresh strawberries and blueberries, and chocolate chip cookies and brownies with peanut butter chips and thick gooey frosting, and a chocolate angel food cake. As you can see by the plates in the pictures, we all did our part to be in the "clean plate club"!

We went right back to stitching after lunch was over. There was momentary problem when Cathy's machine developed a serious thread tangle. I had gone up to the house to get a tweezers for her but Pastor Kathy came to the rescue and picked the threads out carefully. I was gone a bit longer than planned as I had to walk the dog because my husband was gone. I thought Kaiser went outside while I was upstairs because when I came down the garage door was wide open and he was nowhere! Turned out he was just hiding as he knew I was going to leave again and he didn't want to be left alone. He got a biscuit so it wasn't all bad for him.

With lunch over, there was some serious quilt-tying going on. Pictured below, from the left, are Joan, Carolyn, and Dorothy and, on the right are Doris and Beatrice.

This is my friend, Sue, who is always smiling and she is a prolific quilter!!! She made this cute fireman themed quilt for a boy plus seven other flannel baby quilts, all in the last couple of weeks! And you want to be really impressed? She drove up from Mason City (on her way north to her mom's) to drop off the quilts. That's impressive. But I can impress you even more. She had water in her basement because Mason City suffered some serious flooding, too. And still she took time out to help those in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Now that's impressive!!

I mentioned that we had a mother/daughter team and here they are pictured above - on the left - that's mom, Angela and daughter, Allison (wearing the hat) who came from Arlington (just west of Henderson). On the right, is Joan Powell who came from Lakeville, which is about 50 miles east of Henderson. Distance didn't keep anybody away!! Joan was working on some nice black and white tote bags. Angela and Allison cut out bags from Strawberry Shortcake fabric for girls and from a colorful dinosaur print, tote bags for boys. They finished the girly ones and took the others home to finish and I will pick up later.

I loved this colorful quilt that Cathy (Savage, MN) made for a young boy. And, I don't know why, but I loved this polka-dot pillowcase that Pat (Henderson) made. She also made some cute ones with farmyard scenes but I really liked the polka dots. One of my "simple pleasures/favorite things" in life is knowing that when I go to sleep at night, I am able to put my head to rest on a clean and pretty pillowcase. I would hope that others will sleep well on the pillowcases that we have made.

And the last photos, are of me. I am often flitting from here to there keeping things connected, but I actually sewed this day!! In the morning, I pieced some fabrics for the backing of the scrappy quilt that was tied. Then after lunch, I started sewing on a simple flannel baby quilt and as you can see I finished the top. Only needs a backing and some yarn ties and it will keep some little one warm and cozy.

You know, we were stitching for a serious cause but we also had a great deal of fun as we sewed and we all made new friends! We really had a great day and in the next few days, I'll tell you more about when we will stitch again. I'll also post more photos. I've tallied up the quilts and tote bags, pillowcases, etc. that were made and plan to photograph the quilts out in my backyard tomorrow. It was too windy to do it today. Plus, after church, I needed to run some errands, do some laundry and then later, I took a long nap!!

I realized that there was one important photo that I forgot to post but it will be a good one to start with when I post tomorrow. If you're reading this, remember, you can participate no matter where you live. The need is great as many, many residents will be displaced for months to come.

That's all for tonight. More tomorrow. Sleep well. I know I will!! It's 2:30 a.m. Time to put my head to the pillow!!