Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Needed Quilters and Quilts On Disaster Stand By!

As many of you know, I am now living in a 5th wheel and do not have an inch of space available to hold onto quilts and I can't afford to store them because we already have a storage unit full to the gills that someday we hope to place into another home or at least one of our children's homes!

Hurricane Matthew is on its way to Florida. It has already left death and destruction in its path in Haiti and I am unsure about Cuba at this time.

Quilters, if it hits Florida, I am going to be in need of quilts to send to the areas hit to provide these families with fresh, clean and handmade quilts and I will need all of you to let me know you can do this.

I have a few family members and friends that are going to step up I am sure after checking on their own homes and businesses and be willing to help get these quilts passed out to those in need.

Quilts are expensive to ship, I suggest you speak with your quilt guild, church, friends and family and ask them if they would be willing to donate for the postage costs.  I have learned if you put quilts into a large garbage bag, attach your vacuum and suck all the air out, you can save a bit on postage and fit more into a box.

When sending quilts, since I cannot go through them, please, please do NOT send ratty, tatty, stinky, smelly, stained with urine, blood, food, etc. gross and nasty quilts you wouldn't put in your own home.

Last disaster I donated numerous quilts to local charities or the dump because they were so disgusting! Think of how you would feel if you had to leave your home and then came back and had nothing left. 

Your quilts are blessings!! The letters, cards, pictures I get back and post come from real people who lost everything and then they received a handmade quilt from a stranger and life became a bit brighter.  Be that LIGHT!!!

When sending out a quilt or quilts, please think about enclosing a few other things...gloves for warmth and gloves for cleaning, hats, socks, jerky, granola bars, bandages, dried fruit, head lamps or flashlights, batteries, coloring books and crayons, feminine needs supplies, hand sanitizer, baby wipes, etc.

Please pray for me. I am still praying for a miracle of the gift of a truck and garage style 5th wheel that I can hook up and go and fill the back with quilts, quilting supplies, sewing machines and head out to these disasters and begin quilting and get quilters involved.

My current 5th wheel is my home, I cannot just unhook and go, so I really need prayers to be met!

Lets be ready quilters, you are the best!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Doing What is Right

All my life, I have done what is right.
From the time I was twelve, I began working babysitting, ironing, cleaning houses. When I was fifteen I got my first job making seventy-five cents an hour and I put some in savings and bought my own clothes. When I turned sixteen, I took another job and I was making $1.25 an hour.

I have always worked and as long as I can remember, I have always volunteered from being a Candy Striper at a local hospital, to a PTA president, parent/teacher class aide, working for an organization that helped women, volunteering at church and this quilting ministry that is my heart and soul!

My husband and I have spent thousands of dollars purchasing fabrics, thread, batting, sewing machines and supplies not to mention the money spent on shipping quilts out across the country and at times the world, gas spent delivering quilts, food while on our trips, the upkeep of our vehicles and NOT once has my husband honestly complained.

Over the years he has teased me about being careful what he opens because he knows fabric will fall out, not turning on the oven because fabric would catch on fire and the best is find a frozen fabricycle in the freezer. 

My husband endured many years of coming home to a sewing machine on the dining table, pins in his feet and yes, his butt as he has sat on a few, but he has always bragged to others about this ministry and how proud he is of what I do.

In late January, our family was literally torn apart, destroyed by lies and hatefulness. During this time, my husband and I gave up our dream of owing the home we were leasing to own, he sold his boat, his workshop was left behind, all our furniture with the exception of our bedroom set and the children's bedroom furniture was sold and we were left with thirty-five years of memories either sold or packed away in a storage unit while our grandchildren moved in with their father and his girlfriend.

My van which I had just purchased the year before because the seats sat into the floor so no more moving seats to do quilt deliveries was traded in for a small SUV with lower miles and much less room. It still holds seven people but not very comfortably as the grands tell me when I pick them up for church.

My hubby and I are now living in a thirty-seven foot fifth wheel. We do our laundry once a week at a laundromat, I no longer can fruits or veggies from our garden because I no longer have one nor do I have the space to store anything. Which also means, I can no longer quilt, there is no space.

I miss quilting so much, I was thinking the other day of purchasing a Singer Featherweight and seeing if I could set it up on a tv tray to do quilting, but honestly, it just wouldn't work. I have even given a passing thought to locating an office space to rent, but that would be quite expensive. My dream of having my own studio, has dissipated into the wind.

Recently, there has been an upsurge of hits on Layers of Hope's Facebook page and I could not figure out why. My husband told me, the quilters who have supported and loved you for so long are looking to see if you are collecting quilts for the flood victims or the fire victims right now because that is what you have done for so many years.

I have thought fleetingly about collecting them, but I have no place any longer to keep them until delivery. I have thought of heading to Louisiana to make quilts, but I have no place to stay. In the past I have begged dealers with 5th wheel toy haulers to donate one so I could travel and set the back up for quilting.

As of yet, no one has stepped up and said, here is a truck and here is an RV and go out and bless the masses. I have however, been blessed in the past with sewing machine, fabric, batting, postage, stamps for thank you and Christmas cards and so many quilts to bless others with. You have all blessed me and warmed my heart.

My husband is an amazing man of love, character and honor. He works while he is sick, he works overtime, he takes care of me when I can barely move and he never complains. My husband is my rock. 

All of you, the quilters, the sponsors, the recipients of quilts are all my hope in humanity when the days become so dark I can't see the stars, because I am literally drowning in fear. I can open this blog or Pinterest and see how each one of you contributed to making this ministry amazing.

I wish I could hug you all and thank you for all the amazing years you have surprised me with your generosity and kindness. I guess right now, all I can do is know that I was doing what was right and no matter what happens, I will always do my best to do what is right and to help others.

I am praying for a blessing, a miracle that soon, I will be quilting again and that my life will once again have balance.  I know God is good, I know many people who suffer silently with anxiety and depression and I know, I am being stretched to trust in God and rest right now.

I truly thank all of you for always doing what is right and in the words of my beautiful, amazing, wonderful fourteen year old granddaughter Aly:
'Don't Let the Storms Stop You!'

Monday, May 9, 2016

Quilt Needed For Teen Male! Need Fulfilled

Most of you probably are not aware of the fact that my hubby and I have downsized to a 34' 5th Wheel and I am unable to quilt at this time.

However, there is an Alaskan 911 operator and her law enforcement husband who lost their home to a fire last week and I am down to my last few quilts.

I can send to mom&dad and the two girls, however, I no longer have an quilts for a male teen.

Does anyone out there have one completed or would you be willing to step in and make one?

Before you say yes, you will also need to be willing to pay the postage to mail it to Alaska.

Please let me know ASAP.

Thank you!

**This need has been met by Marilyn Lewis** Thank you so much my friend!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

H2H 2016

I am so sorry readers and quilters. I placed the Hands2Help 
quilt drive on my Quiltingranny blog then somehow totally forget to put any information on this one.

Anyway, the link is now up on the side, please stop over and sign up to send a quilt to a charity in need, read the wonderful posts from all the quilters that are leaving quilting tips, tutorials and guest bloggers.


Monday, March 28, 2016

Update, March 28, 2016

At this time, I am NOT taking in any new quilts.  My heart breaks having to walk away, but right now, my family is my number one priority and we have seen some major changes in the past few months to our lives.

Baby quilts were donated to a center that helps new moms. The large quilts were donated to various organizations in my area. However and yes, there is always a HOWEVER, when God is in charge. I kept a wardrobe sized box of quilts for when God tugged my heart.

Out of that box went three quilts to a slain Seaside, OR police officers widow and two young children. I will once again be pulling quilts out of that box for a police officers widow, daughter, son and parents that I had the amazing privilege of working with as a 911 operator.

Throughout my families struggles, God still shows me that I need to reach out to others. I am no longer in a position to quilt, all my quilting items are packed up into a storage facility. I sold two huge boxes of fabric which paid to ship out the last quilts to those in need. I was blessed to find someone to personally deliver the quilts to Seaside.

The story doesn't end here. A very wonderful local quilting organization has invited me to come and quilt with them once a week and promised me they will continue to bless those in need for Layers of Hope.  This will happen when my family issues are resolved and my health is better than what it is now.

I will continue to update everyone here! 

God Bless and thank you all! As my semi-colon tattoo my granddaughter designed for me states so quietly...the story isn't over yet!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Good Bye

They say most non-profits don't last any longer than 3-5 years and while Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 is not a non-profit per se, we have never made a profit running this organization and we have been going strong for almost 11 years.

Today, I sent out the last 3 boxes of quilts that were left from 2015 and they cost me a total of just over $81.00. 

I have been blessed running this organization and I have met (on-line) some amazingly talented, gifted and generous people and I will carry you all in my heart.

The quilts that I have left in my possession will be donated to my local fire department to help those in need as well as an organization that helps new moms in need.

If someone would be interested in taking up this organization and continuing on, you can let me know, but it takes lots of time and money.

I have always allowed God to guide me in my efforts and right now, with my health and family dynamics, I cannot continue on.

I hope you all understand. 

This blog will be left open for a few more weeks.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Very Long Quilted Read

This is a very entertaining speech about quilters and there's a lot of truth in it. It's very long and don't hesitate to bail out if it doesn't resonate with you.  

A speech on quilting

As you know, I'm a lawyer when I'm not sewing (or knitting). As such, I subscribe at work to e-mails that tell me of the latest decisions of the important courts here in Canada. There is one such e-mail prepared weekly by a local law firm. I always scroll to the end where, after the serious stuff, there is a section titled "Last Word". Today, it was about a speech given at a conference on quilting (Quilt Canada 2010) by Allan Fradsham, a criminal court judge in Calgary, Alberta, where the conference was held.

Here's the text. It's long but amusing, and so worth a read:

“When, some years ago, Gloria told me that she was going to build upon her years of sewing experience, and take up "quilting", I thought she was telling me that she was going to take up a new hobby or a new craft. I was completely oblivious to the fact that what she was really announcing was that she was taking up membership in a tightly knit (if you'll pardon the expression) group of individuals whose loyalty to one another makes motorcycle gang members seem uncommitted, and whose passion for quilting activities makes members of cults look positively disinterested. As is the case with many spouses, I was completely unaware that there existed this parallel universe called quilting.

However, to be completely unaware of a world-wide sub-culture operating right under our noses and in our homes is a bit obtuse even for husbands. But there it is, and here you are. And, most oddly, here I am. You might wonder how all this came to pass; I know I certainly do.

I cannot now identify what was the first clue I detected indicating that Gloria had entered the fabric world equivalent of Harry Potter's Hogwarts. It might have been the appearance of the fabric. Bundles of fabric, mounds of fabric, piles of fabric, towering stacks of fabric. Fabric on bolts, and stacks of small squares of fabric tied up in pretty ribbons (I later learned these were "fat quarters" which to this day sounds to me like a term out of Robin Hood). The stuff just kept coming into the house as thought it were endless waves crashing onto a beach. And then, just like the waves, the most amazing thing happened: it would simply disappear. It was as though the walls of the house simply absorbed it. Metres and metres (or as men of my generation would say, yards and yards) of fabric would come into the house. It would arrive in Gloria's arms when she returned from a shopping excursion. It would arrive in the post stuffed in postal packs so full that they were only kept together by packing tape (these overstuffed Priority Packs are the equivalent of me trying to fit into pants I wore in law school). These packages would arrive having been shipped from unheard of towns and villages in far away provinces or states or overseas countries (I am convinced the internet's primary activity is not to be found in pornography; that is just a ruse, the internet's real function is to facilitate the trafficking and distribution of fabric). Wherever we went, be it in Canada, the U.S., Europe, wherever there was a collection of more than three houses, Gloria would find a quilt shop from which she would pluck some prize from some bin with the enthusiasm and unerring eye of an archaeologist finding a new species of dinosaur.

And of course, the reason that there are quilt shops everywhere is because there are quilters everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE. A few years ago, Gloria had been visiting her sister-in-law in Kelowna. While there, she found and purchased a Featherweight sewing machine. I understand that making such a find is a matter of such joy that it may eventually attract government taxation. When it came time to fly back to Calgary, Gloria worried about what the people at airport security would have to say when she tried to take the machine onto the plane. She need not have been concerned. Now, airport security takes pride in preventing me from carrying onto a plane a small squirt of toothpaste left in a rolled up toothpaste tube if the tube in which it is lodged did at some point in the distant past, contain a prohibited amount of toothpaste. My spot of toothpaste is a national security threat. However, when it came time for Gloria to go through security with the Featherweight, which is made of metal and has needles in secret compartments, airport security came to a standstill. Why? Were they about to confiscate the machine, and detain the person who dared to try to board with it? Of course not. They gathered around it in awe and admiration, asking Gloria questions about where she had found it, and expressing admiration for her good fortune in finding it. And why did Gloria get such warm treatment when I am shunned for trying to maintain some degree of oral hygiene? Well, the answer is obvious; the assembled airport security staff were all quilters, complete with the secret handshake.

Maybe I should have twigged to what was happening when the washing of all this fabric led to having to replace our washing machine, which was clearly not designed for such industrial use. Now, let me pause here. I understand that there is an intense debate within your world about whether or not fabrics should be washed upon purchase. I do not wish to be caught in any cross-fire between the two camps, for all I know, as an outsider, I may not be authorized to even know of the controversy. I do suspect that if men were making the decision, quilting would involve lot less fabric washing and a lot more beer drinking.

I did eventually discover where all the fabric went. It went into drawers, cupboards, shelves, and, eventually it completely filled up a closet, which took up one full wall in Gloria's newly built "sewing room". What we now call Gloria's "sewing room", we used to call "the basement".

I have discovered that one of the art forms mastered by quilters is the ability to purchase container loads of fabric, conceal it in the house, and camouflage the purchase so that it slips right under the nose of the unsuspecting spouse. As a loving and obedient spouse, I have on many occasions found myself in quilt stores where I serve two useful functions: I can reach bolts of fabric stored on top shelves; and I can carry numerous bolts of fabric to a cutting table. However, I have also started to listen to what is said in quilting stores, and one day, in a little quilting shop in the heart of Alberta farming country, I heard something that made it clear to me that quilters are so clever and, dare I say, devious, that there is really no sport for them in fooling we naive husbands. Gloria had decided to buy some fabric (which is similar to saying that Gloria had decided to breathe), and had gone to the till to pay for it. Upon running through Gloria's charge card, the clerk quietly said, "Now, when you get your credit card statement, don't be alarmed when you see an entry for our local feed store. We run our charges under that name so that if a husband looks at the credit card statements, he will think that the entry is just something he bought at the feed store for the farm". That sort of financial shell game would make Goldman Sachs proud. I knew at that moment that there had been a major and probably irrevocable shift in the world's power structure. I concede it is basically over for the non-quilting husband.

As you have been told, I sit as a criminal law judge, and as such I often find myself sitting on drug trials, or issuing search warrants in relation to drug investigations. I must say that the more I learned about the quilting world, the more I started to see similarities between that world and the drug world. It has caused me some concern.

We all interpret events from our own perspectives using the lessons we have learned through life. When I saw the extent to which Gloria's collection of fabric was growing, I began to worry. In the law relating to drugs, the amount of a drug one has in one's possession is an important factor in determining the purpose for which the person has the drug. For example, if a person is in possession of crack cocaine (to use a drug with an addictive power equivalent to fabric), one look at the amount of crack the person possessed. If the amount exceeds the amount one would realistically possess for personal use, then one may reasonably draw the inference that the purpose of the possession is not personal use, but, rather, it is for the purpose of trafficking the drug. So, you can imagine what I thought when I saw Gloria's collection of fabric grow to a point where she readily admitted that she could never use all that fabric in several lifetimes. I reluctantly concluded that I was married to a very high-level fabric trafficker. Mind you, in order to qualify as a trafficker, one does have to part with fabric, and I see very little evidence of that happening.

In fact, the more I thought about the parallels between the quilting culture and the drug culture, the clearer the similarities became. Consider the jargon. I have learned that this vast collection of fabric, which is stored in our house, is a "stash". Well, drug dealers speak of their "stash" of drugs. Gloria speaks of doing "piece" work. In the drug world there are often people who bring together the crack cocaine dealer and the buyer; think of a real estate agent, but not as well dressed, through perhaps somewhat less annoying. Those people speak of breaking off a "piece" of crack as payment for bringing the parties together. Sounds to me like a type of "piece work". Those who transport drugs are often called "mules"; I have frequently heard Gloria refer to me as her mule when I am in a quilt store carrying stacks of fabric bolts (or did she says I was stubborn as a mule?). Well, it was something about mules. And I should think that this whole conference is a testimony to the addictive qualities of quilting.

In my role as a Sherpa, I have accompanied Gloria on various quilting expeditions, and I have been impressed by many things. One is, as I have mentioned, that no matter where one goes, there will be a quilt store. The proliferation of quilt shops makes Starbucks outlets seem scarce. One day Gloria led me into a hardware store, which seemed odd to me, that is until I discovered that, as I walked towards the back of the store, the store had become a quilt shop. The metamorphosis was extraordinary, and very crafty (if you will pardon the pun). At that moment, I knew how Alice felt as she followed that rabbit down the rabbit hole. Suddenly, one was in a different universe.

Another thing I have learned is that the operators of quilt shops have great business acumen. In one of Gloria's favourite shops, upon entry I am greeted by name and offered a cup of coffee. If the grandson is with us, he is allowed to choose a book to take home. It is all so friendly that I don't even notice that I cannot see over the growing pile of fabric bolts which fill my arms. I wish that my doctor did such a good job of distracting me when it is time to do a prostate exam.

I have learned that quilting is both international in scope and generous in spirit. I have learned that quilters are quick to assist those in need, and that they have always been prepared to stand up for what is right. For example, I think of Civil War quilts, which often conveyed messages about the Underground railway for slaves escaping to Canada. I think of the One Million Pillowcase Challenge, and the Quilts of Valour project. At one point, I thought of suggesting the creation of an organization akin to "Doctors Without Borders", but decided that an organization called "Quilts Without Borders" would indeed be illogical.

And of course, there are the resultant quilts. We have quilts throughout the house. They adorn beds, chesterfields, the backs of chairs. They are stacked on shelves, they are stored in drawers, they are shoved under beds, they are hung on walls. There is even one on the ceiling of the sunroom. They compete for any space not taken up with the fabric, which will eventually result in more quilts. I live in a cornucopia, which disgorges quilts instead of produce. I have decided that quilts are the zucchini of crafts. But who can complain? Quilt seriously, each one is a work of art, and an instant family treasure. While family members and friends are delighted to receive them, I churlishly begrudge seeing them go out the door.

Though I tease Gloria about the all-consuming nature of her obsession, I am constantly amazed at the skill necessary to create those works of art. I stand in awe as I watch her do the mathematics necessary to give effect to (or correct) a pattern. When she quilts, she combines the skill of an engineer, a draughtsman, a seamstress, and an artist. Her sewing machines require her to have, as she does, advanced computer and mechanical skills. She knows her sewing machines as well as any Hell's Angel knows his Harley. She uses measuring and cutting tools and grids, which would challenge the talents of the best land surveyors.

In short, I am very proud of what Gloria does, as each of you should be proud of your own skills and creations. They are impressive and very evident at this Conference. On behalf of those of us who wouldn't know a binding from a batting, I simply ask that when you finally and formally announce that have already taken over the world that you find some simple tasks for us to do to justify our existence. You might call those tasks... the QUILT PRO QUO.

Gloria and I very much appreciate your warm hospitality this evening.

In closing, the hotel management has asked me to remind you that those found cutting up the table cloths for quilting fabric will have their rotary cutters confiscated and forfeited to the Crown.”