Thankful…

Family.  Check.

Friends.  Check.

Ditto for the good health of the aforementioned and ourselves, of course.

The Pilgrims celebrated a successful harvest… so I suppose I should also be grateful that my “successful harvest” comes courtesy of Kroger’s and not the Wampanoag.

Since “gratitude” is a state of mind – a way of living – I’ve always taken that to mean that we should be thankful for the little everyday things that make us happy – the little pleasures.

So I asked the ladies in the office what they were thankful for this year and it seems we have quite a bit in common.

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(Image from LuluLemon.com)

Stretchy-pants and leggings were a very popular answer – Tammy, Cheryl, Lissa, etc.  I think this would be the overwhelming choice as the real “casual Friday” attire.

Food was mentioned – a lot.  Erin listed Taco Tuesdays at Rosa’s as being her “most important”.

Rosa's Taco Tuesday

While we haven’t had Rosa’s for lunch, we do have quite a bit of variety.  Chelair specifically listed Susan as something – someone – she is thankful for.  Actually, she initially said “our wonderful lunchtime catering service”.  But that’s Stiffy – aka Susan.  She does many wonderful things at Moda – designing the gorgeous kit boxes and quilts, writing patterns and project sheets, and answering inDesign questions from a twit in the office across the hall – but she also keeps us fed by taking orders and making the trip to pick-up lunch.

Outlaw is thankful for Cranberry Salsa – it is the season!

Mel's Kitchen Cafe

(Image from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe.)

With tortilla chips and some sort of cold beverage made with limes.

Central Market.  Whole Foods.  Market Street.  All were mentioned at least once.  (They’re all upscale grocery stores in the Dallas area.)

Krispy Kreme?  With a couple of boxes in the sample room going fast, those made the list.  As did Nothing Bundt Cakes –  they’ve got Joy’s number.  Or rather, she’s got their number – the address is a Favorite on her phone.

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The popularity of stretchy pants is starting to make sense, isn’t it?

And cold weather!  Not because anybody really likes the cold, it’s that it means coats, sweaters and layers… a lovely cover-up for annual holiday weight gain.

Holly was happy to be out of the office when I asked the question.  A few others avoided the question – lucky them, right?  I cornered Jamie long enough for her to state that she was thankful for “overly bushy bears” and “man buns”.  I think everyone was afraid to ask why.

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Okay… maybe the girl has a point.

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Maybe not.  Do you remember how cute he was on Growing Pains?

My favorite “thankful” is from Ducky.  She’s thankful that her four-year old grandson, Kolton, still considers her to be “safe – home” when her older – bigger – grandsons are chasing him while playing tag.  He proclaims “You can not touch me when I’m with Momo!”  She loves the great hugs she gets when they play that game.

I’m betting her grandsons are thankful that their Momo is the sort that has a 9 1/2 foot rubber duck in her yard at Christmas…

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Ducky is thankful about it too – she’s planning to get the Quack out for the holidays this weekend.

Most of us already knew that Lissa was probably going to mention BitEmoji – she was the first in the office to start having fun with it, and there is a rumor that she’s trying to create a BitEmoji family Christmas card.  (An “emoji” is a small digital image or icon used to express an idea, emotion, etc., in electronic communication like texts, e-mails, etc.  Bitmoji is your own personal emoji – a cartoon-like icon/avatar that you create and customize to look like you.  Maybe.)

As she said – “It’s my alter ego! And I can change my wardrobe frequently without ever having to do laundry.”

Lissa's-Alter-Ego

A perfect ending!

Happy Thanksgiving!

(We’ll be back next week with something a little more serious.)

(Or not.)

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Charity Quilts: Bringing Light to Darkness

For lots of us, Show and Tell is the best part of our quilt guild meetings. I adore seeing what people are working on and hearing the sometimes funny, often touching stories behind their creations. But one portion of Show and Tell that never fails to amaze me is when the “service quilts” are held high: the freely given hours of incredible workmanship always knocks my socks off.

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Detail of a quilt made by Moda staff members for newborns whose parents were lost on 9/11.

Whether you call them charity quilts, service quilts, or by some other name, it’s obvious that quilters love to share their stitching skills. When I interview people I hear time and again that there’s a different feeling to this industry than in many others: the generosity of quilters is well-established and includes help given to local, regional, national, and international causes.

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Old Capitol Quilt Guild members with quilts stitched for a local Habitat for Humanity house.

On a local level, many guilds and individuals make quilts for children’s hospitals, domestic violence shelters, and other organizations or help raise funds by supplying quilts for raffles. Several members of my guild recently made quilts for members of a family moving into a new Habitat for Humanity home. They personalized them by giving the daughters quilts in their favorite colors and stitching the son’s quilts with soccer motifs.

On a regional level, quilters frequently step in during times of natural disaster—they’ve come together to create quilts for victims of floods, earthquakes, fires, and tornadoes. Quilters bring solace internationally, as well—the Quilts for Japan movement, for example, sent quilts to victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Some of the best known organizations that distribute quilts to those in need include Project Linus, Quilts of Valor, and Quilts for Kids. Charitable sewing is not just about quilts, either: American Patchwork and Quilting’s 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge has delivered more than 650,000 pillowcases to children and families in need, and Days for Girls provides washable, reusable feminine hygiene products to women and girls worldwide.

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Label on a quilt made by Moda staff for “9/11 babies.”

In addition to Moda’s Howard Marcus fabrics benefitting a variety of causes (here, here, and here, for example), United Notions/Moda staff members have sewn charity quilts, including after 9/11. Touched by an article in People magazine about the women who had or were having babies and had lost husbands or partners in the attacks, staff members stitched quilts for all those babies.

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One of the quilts made by Moda staff members for babies whose parents were lost on 9/11.

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As quilters, we well know that feeling of covering someone near and dear with a quilt that represents our care and love. But why do quilters do the same for people they don’t even know? To be honest, there’s some selfishness involved—we get to have fun, sewing with friends, playing with fabric, and maybe even making a dent in our stash. But the real payback is the letting recipients know they’re not alone, that someone cares enough to share her time and talents, and to bring a ray of light in a time of darkness.

Do you quilt or sew for charity? Please share your story in the comment section—we’d love to hear from you.

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There’s still time…

Or is there?

There are less than six weeks until Christmas and Kwanzaa, and less than three weeks until Hanukkah.  So how much sewing time is left?

Enough to make any of these projects?

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(All images found on Pinterest.  Clockwise from the upper left –  Flurry Fabric and pattern by Kate Spain/image from Hollyhill Quilt Shoppe.  Feathered Star by Anita Peluso/Pattern by Marsha McCloskey.  Original pillow design by Amy Sinibaldi – NanaCompany.  Trim the Tree – pattern by Meg Hawkey of Crabapple Hill, made by Rita of Pink Polka Dot Creations.  Christmas Dresden Plates by Amber Johnson of Gigi’s Thimble.  Winter Wonderland by Sherri Falls & It’s Sew Emma.)

If you’ve still got some holiday sewing to do – what are you going to make?  Is it for decorating – or are you still making “handmade” gifts?

Or is your list done… right up until you see some of the wonderful projects posted during the 12 Days of Christmas events done by Sweetwater Designs and Fig Tree & Co.?  (The Sweetwater girls started last week and are on Day 3 while Joanna won’t be starting until Saturday, November 28th.)

My “made for Christmas 2015” sewing is done – I think.  I could still get the crazy idea that I can start-and-finish something.  I did get a Christmas quilt made using Kate Spain’s Jingle collection and the Lollies pattern by Thimble BlossomsCamille Roskelley.

Jingle-Lollies

While I love the aqua blue mixed in with the red and green, I know that not everybody does.

What are your favorite colors to use for decorating during the holidays?

Blue and silver for Hanukkah?  Red and green for Christmas?  What do you think of adding a little bit of aqua or hot pink – a “Shiny Brite” kind of Mod holiday?  Or do you fancy the Scandinavian palette of red, white, gray and mocha?

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Winterrose by Wenche Wolff Hatling using JOL.

What about just “red and white” – or cream?

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Okay, Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree & Co. does slip in a little bit of green on occasion.

Have you started decorating?  Or are you like Nordstrom’s – preferring to “deck your halls” with Christmas the day after Thanksgiving?

I think you know that when I have questions, there is a possibility of a little bit of quid pro quo.

It is the season for giving, right?  Or it will be soon.

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