Tuesday, November 24, 2015

closer oh so close

As you all know by now if you have been following along on the blog, we have had a pillowcase challenge going all year long.

The first goal was 250 by April 1rst, issued on Ground Hogs Day.

We met goal, and I got greedy and asked for another 250 for the center.

In the spirit of Christmas Jenny O. collected money from her nursing buddies at work and purchased fabric.  For the sole purpose of making these pillow cases for Iowa Comfort

Jenny did all of the cutting and sewing on these 15 bright and cheerful pillow cases.

Thank you Jenny for your generous spirit.

Officially these are pillow cases 454-468.

IF my math is correct that means we need 32 more pillow cases to hit the goal.

In this week of Thanksgiving I want to thank all of you who have supported Iowa Comfort in any way.  Special shout out to Jacque J.  who volunteered to deliver them to the center straight from her shop for me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Beanie Babies and a cozy quilt

Nancy H. has been cleaning out her collection of Beanie Babies....lucky us!  We recieved a sack of them to go with our Hope quilts.

Here are the newest arrivals.  You know over the last three years I have seen a lot of Beanie Babies....but there were a few that I had never seen before.  I thought kangaroo, spider and octopus were all so cute.  Maybe because it was the first time I had seen them.

This flannel quilt top was donated by Jan M.  She originally was going to give it to a loved one, and decided that it wasn't quite the right colors.  

Lucky for us she decided to donate this one to us.  I need to check my fabric.  I am hoping that I have enough flannel to use as backing.  

This quilt is a generous lap quilt, and so bright and cheerful.  My initial thought is that I am hoping I can find a cancer treatment center that will take it and make it available during treatments.

Thank you Nancy and Jan for your generosity of time, talents and Beanie Babies.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Blessed with wonderful volunteers

Here we are three years in this experiment of helping those in our own community, and we still have wonderful volunteers.

This week I am going to focus on my piecing volunteers.

I have two bedsize quilt tops that were pieced by volunteers.

Here is the first one.

This quilt top was pieced by Theresa H. it is a generous twin size quilt.  

The fabric was donated by the Ladies of the Retreat a couple of years ago.  Jacque always has a charity project for those attending her retreat.  On the 10th anniversary she asked everyone to donate a 10 inch fall square.  Iowa Comfort recieved enough squares to make 3 bed size quilts.

Here is the second one:

This top was pieced by Penny W for us.  It was made from the same donated fall fabric from Jacque's retreat.

I always find it intresting how quilters interpret fabric.  Both of these quilts are so different.  The top one reminds me of fall foliage.  The bottom one reminds me of Halloween or Thanksgiving with all the pumpkins in it and orange and red fabrics.

I have two quilts to get on the long arm this week, but I hope to get quilt number one on the long arm this week end.  Hopefully I will be able to juggle my busy schedule and pull it off.

I also need to get a donation ready...so if you currently have one of our quilts to bind, if you could let me know how soon it will be ready I would appreciate it.

Thank you again Theresa and Penny for piecing the quilt tops.  You both did a great job!  Also to Jacque and all of you that donated 10 inch squares.

More donations to share next week

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The first 4 Christmas quilts

As you may already know I recieved a huge donation of Christmas fabric earlier this year.

This was really pretty fabric, but I didn't think making bed size quilts was the best use for this fabric.

The fabric was donated by Fons and Porter, and I wanted to make sure that what ever I did with the fabric it would be truly appreciated.

So I decided to make lap size quilts that could be given as Christmas gifts to some one who might not recieve anything. 

Here are the first 4 of those Christmas gifts.

Take my word for it these pictures do not do the quilts justice.  They are really pretty.

These quilts were pieced and quilted by myself.  Two were generously bound by Jan M and the other two were bound by Betty W. for me.

I am having to get really creative with my backings.  To be honest I am one of those longarmers that LOVE none pieced backings.  It is just me being lazy.  I don't have to worry about seams not running straight or bumping up against the seams of the quilt tops.  As you can see I needed to piece the left over Christmas fabric together to create the backing for two of these quilts.  The good news is that by piecing the backs I have depleted most of the Christmas fabric in these projects.  I don't think I could have planned it better if I had tried.

Thanks to Colleen and Fons & Porter for thinking about Iowa Comfort when they were looking for an organization to donate this fabric to.

A huge thank you to volunteers Jan and Betty for their continued support of Iowa Comfort.  I so appreciate all of their support.

I have no doubt that these quilts are going to touch someone and make a huge difference in their life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Asian quilts

We have a couple more finished quilts to show today. Both were made from the Asian fabric that was donated to us from Fon's and Porter. 

Thank you Colleen and Fon's and Porter for the donation, we are making some beautiful quilts from that fabric donation.

This one was pieced by Joyce S., she also bound it for me.  It is a twin size quilt.  At this moment I am not sure where this quilt is going to be donated to.  I had a request for quilts for a family that had a fire.  I am also looking into possibly donating quilts to cancer wings.

This quilt was pieced and bound by Jan M.  She also donated the backing on this quilt.  This one is a little smaller than the other quilt.  It would make a great lap quilt, perhaps for a nursing home or hospice unit.

Or they could end up being used as Christmas gifts at the center....at this moment I just don't know for sure.  

I am planning on having a conversation with the center to determine their need, and our future help.  

I know I am going to talk to several of the local hospitals to see if we can donate some quilts to their children wings, or chemo treatment centers next year.  

We have a few other organizations that I will be talking with also.

Special thanks go out to Joyce and Jan for their continued support of Iowa Comfort.  Nothing would get accomplished without the generosity of our volunteers.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

More pillow cases

We have been collecting pillow cases all year long, with a goal of 250 before April first.  We meet that goal.  Then I put out the call to hit 500 before the end of the year.

I don't know if we are going to hit that goal....but we will be closer than I thought we would be.

I just want to thank everyone right now that has helped along the way.  Here are a few more that have been donated.

Kathy B made up these 14 cases for us.  I didn't do a good job of matching them up but there are several matching cases for family beds.  Those are going to come in really handy when someone is trying to set up house again.  Thank you Kathy for all of your support to Iowa Comfort.

Officially these are pillow cases  424-437

Aren't these just the cutest pillowcases!  The fabric was so fun I had to take pictures of all the farm fabric.  Cows, roosters, chicks and pigs. Barn, sunflowers and fields of crops.  I so hope that these go to a little person or a country family that will appreciate the fabric.

These pillow cases are mystery to me.  My old timers has kicked in. When they were gifted to me I either failed to put a note in the bag or it has slipped out of the bag.  Now I have been collecting for two different events and I very much want these cases to go to the organization that they were intended for.  So please let me know if you made these and if they were to go to the center or made for Betty Cases. 

Officially these are pillow cases 438-441

Earlier this year Nancy H organized a day of service at her church.  The group donated over 100 pillow cases to our challenge.  Sandy was there that day and decided to continue making pillow cases.  Above are and additional 12 that she has passed on to Iowa Comfort.

With Nancy's permission I am donating these to a small school district that has had pillowcases donated each year for the past several years.  The person that had organized the drive, passed away this year and a group of us are continuing her work as a memorial to Betty.  Since the school district is also in a county that is serviced by the center, and I had told the director that I might send a few that way.... I am okay with it.

These are so bright and cheerful and will make some childs Christmas.  Thanks Sandy for your generosity!

Officially these are 442-453

Thanks everyone for helping with this challenge!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Christmas in October

As promised I have some pictures of finished quilts......and not so finished quilts.

You see evidently I can not count.  I was feeling so full of myself having all eight Christmas quilts at least put together....until I only could find 7 to photograph.  SEVEN not EIGHT!  So on a wild search I went, moving piles of things in my quilt room.  There at the bottom of on pile I found this.

That is quilt # 8 waiting to be pieced and quilted.  The plan is to get it pieced together later today, and quilted tomorrow.  Of course that means I am going to have to find a back for it.  I see another pieced back of multiple holiday fabric.....or I see a reversible quilt with Easter fabric on the back. 

These two are completely done.  My camera did not pick up the true colors of the quilts....they are really pretty if I do say so myself.

These four are quilted and just waiting to be bound, and yes I am asking for binding fairies again.  The quilts are small laps, about 45x54.  So if anyone would like to bind one or two let me know.  I don't care if they are hand stitched or machine bound.  These do need to be back to me before the 13th of November so I can get them donated in time for Christmas.

I do have one that is on the longarm today....so there will be a total of six that will need to be bound.

I will get really good pictures up on the blog once I get them all back.

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

True confessions....why I am on hiatus

This is not going to be an easy post....but I think I owe an explanation to the people who support Iowa Comfort.

First off I am not truly on hiatus.  I have continued to work on projects and by the end of this week I will have a total of 8 Christmas lap quilts pieced together and hopefully quilted....not bound but at least that far in the process.

Now to the brass tacks of the situation.

There is a reason that I am not an IRS recognized non-profit.  Actually there are several.  

The first of which was to be a recognized non profit with the IRS you must have a board of directors.

When I started Iowa Comfort, I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to be, and who I wanted to serve.  I did not want to have to get approval from a board.  I also wanted to serve my immediate communities.  In the beginning that meant Dallas and Madison counties.

When I got in contact with the center, it seemed like a really good fit.  They worked within the geographic area that I was wanting to serve, and our quilts would be providing comfort to someone in need.

The second reason I am not a bonified  non profit is the mountains of paper work that is associated with. 

The paperwork for the day to day operation was going to be absurd.  I spent 30 years working for the Post Office, and believe me I have had way to much paper work in my life.

The last reason is that there are banking laws associated with non profits.

Iowa Comfort is funded by the quilting I do for customers.  My customer base is half of what it was four years ago.  Several customers have moved away, 5 have gotten long arms and I have had three pass away.  For the last three months the Iowa Comfort books have been in the red.  That is not me begging, it is just the fact of the situation.

Imagine my dismay when I received an email asking if the quilts that we have donated could be used in a silent auction....instead of providing comfort to someone.

I will admit it, it hurt.  I told them that I guess since they had already been donated I really had no control over their final disposition.

12 hours later I sent another email and explained my concerns about using the quilts for this purpose.  I told them that over the years I had donated several quilts for fund raising purposes..... and there had never been great success.  That silent auctions were the worst method of all to try to raise funds. I also questioned if I had over saturated their need.

The director of the center said they would put a min. bid on each quilt and asked for my help setting that price.  

The next day I received an email saying that after thoughtful consideration they had decided to cancel their event. 

Now I know I am being a baby.... but they knew what the intent of those quilts were.  I felt that everyone who donates their time, talents or supplies have done so because they have been lead to believe that they are providing comfort to someone in need.  And I am still not over it, I am better, but I am not over it.  SO PLEASE IF you attend the Covered Bridge Festival....let me know if you see a silent quilt auction.

I received a packet that was suppose to be filled out from the center...It was large.  

I knew that they had volunteers fill them out so they could preform background checks to protect their clients.  I don't work with clients....no reason for me to have to fill it out.  

Remember I hate paper work..... and I grumble every time I go to make a donation there because of their need to have a fixed number in value of the quilt and time to create the quilt.  I just want to donate them....

Okay I am guessing you have the picture.  I am frustrated, with the process and I am going to be making some changes in the future. (and I am so thankful I don't have a board)

I am looking for additional organizations that could use our quilts or pillowcases.  I would like them to stay within Dallas and Madison counties if possible....but I can be flexible there.  Exception to the rule might be someplace like the Ronald McDonald house....I know they serve the families of Dallas and Madison county.  

I am thinking hospice organizations, chemo treatment centers, nursing homes, schools, food pantries or churches.  So put on your thinking caps and help me out.  If you know of an organization that could benefit let me know.

Now the center will still get quilts from us, they just will not get them all.

Hopefully I can move on now.  I promise pictures next week.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The view from a three year old's eyes

This past weekend Owen visited.  He is my three year old grandson, and is really coming into the "WHY" stage.  I am sure you all remember that stage well.

Owen decided that 3:00 am was the perfect time to rise and shine Sunday morning.... so needless to say by 9:30 he really could have used a nap.  Owen does not take morning naps anymore and I really didn't want to mess up his afternoon nap for his parents.

We decided it would be the perfect time to sort out all the Beanie Baby's that have been donated by theme.  Allowing me to quickly find a toy to send along with the Hope Quilts.  Well that was the plan anyway.

You know the old saying make a plan....stand by and watch it fall apart.

Owen was excited to help sort....for about three minutes and then the debate was on!  I explained that we were going to put all the teddy bears together, all the farm animals together, all the animals from the sea together and all the jungle animals together.  Seemed so simple to me.  

We started with this container full to the rim, along with another small basket.

Owen and I were pretty much in agreement of the Teddy Bear category.  We ended up filling two containers of them, altho he did questions many of the colors as not being bear colors.

The farm animals took some negotiating.  Owen said he had never seen a buffalo or eagle on a farm.  I tried to explain that they would not be in the sea or jungle so they needed to go with the farm animals.  He let me have that one but only because he was digging his heels in on the next sortation.

Hawkeye was supervising the entire operation.

When it came to the sea and jungle animals, he insisted that we had to add a new category.  If he has seen the animal at the zoo, they all needed to be together.  So the penguins, lions, flamingos and elephants all got put into one bucket.  Separate from the octopus, snails and crabs.

When it was all said and done we have 5 containers sorted (well sort of) to make it easier to find the perfect beanie baby.  Owen stayed awake, and I was in awe of his reasoning abilities and his ability to defend his thought process.

It does appear that the school was able to come up with a couple of students to volunteer some time.  I think I will delegate finding the appropriate beanie baby to them.  {wink wink}

This past week I have finished a twin size bed quilt, and two of the Christmas lap quilts.  I also worked on a quilt for my granddaughter that is do next month.  I am going to get that one quilted before I head out to New Orleans this weekend.

Hope to show you some of the finished projects in my next post.... if not you may see shots of New Orleans.  


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On Hiatus

With the Christmas quilting season coming up, and things that are happening in my life that I have no control over.

I have decided that I need a little hiatus. Life is crazy right now, and I am overwhelmed.  So I am prioritizing and cutting back to create some balance in my life.

I have talked with the center and they told me that they are good through the end of the year.  That works out well with the upcoming Christmas quilting season. (after all that is how I fund Iowa Comfort).

I have plenty of tops, and kits to work on when I have the urge.  But I am hoping that taking a step back from the paperwork and blogging will help energize me again.  It was beginning to feel like a job instead of a passion.

Maybe I could find a high school student looking for service credit, to come and help with some of the things that just bog me down.

I will try to get donations quilts and finished quilts up on the blog....but I am not guaranteeing long posts, or even a post on every Tuesday.  

That is it in a nut shell.  Hope you understand.