Saturday, August 29, 2015

I Need A Special Quilter for a Wives Quilt

Earlier this week I had someone step up to do a special quilt for one of the wives of the fallen fire fighters and she just notifed me, due to a sudden health issue, she will be unable to do so.

Please, if someone can step up and take this project on!

The Hurricane That Started It All...Katrina, Ten Years Later!

Ten years ago I wanted to go to New Orleans and help where I could with the 911 centers that needed some relief. I had other priorities and my husband suggested I make and send quilts. I did and after years of doing it on my own, I realized I needed help and thus, Layers Of Hope, Quilting 911 was given a name and I have been blessed to be able to reach out to so many of our 'unseen heroes,' during their time of need as well as family members and first responder's during so many difficult times in their lives.

 So many people ask me why do I do this? Why quilts? I do this because I grew up with a grandmother who believed you gave back to those in need and while we may not have much, she told me you can always find someone who has less! I do this because in the midst of tragedy or disaster, a quilt brings a small slice of warmth, hope and love to a complete stranger. Perhaps I do it for small children like Eliza whose letter I still have: Eliza wrote:
'I love the quilt color and size and I sleep with it every night and share it with my sister.' PS, 'Our dad is a policeman.' 

In ten years of doing this, Eliza's letter was the first I ever received from a child. Why quilts? Because I do NOT have unlimited funding like Red Cross, United Way and other non-profits, because we operate out of our own pockets and I do not have a warehouse to store things, I do not own semi's to transport anything and quilts just seem to make people smile. 

Maybe I do it because when you give a quilt to a first responder who gives so much to everyone else and they realize that quilt is for them to keep and they look at you with tears flowing down their cheeks, I realize why I do this! 

When people have blankets given to them and they choose a quilt we gave them to sleep under or even hang on a wall to remind them to never give up hope, I realize why I do this!

In a time when our world seems to be falling apart and complete strangers trust me to do what I say I will and send me quilts to pass out, I realize why I do this!

When a family loses a family member to a tragedy and contacts me and asks to reach out to a family that recently is suffering the same pain, agony and tragic loss they did, I realize why I do this!

Gods hands have been on this ministry since day one and I will continue to do what I can to help others until I can no longer do so!

Today, if you are reading this, it means you have more right now that many people who are affected by the wildfires across our states. 

You may not quilt, but I ask today that you spend some time hugging your family tighter and reaching out to someone that needs hope in their life!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Quilts and Trolls (NO! Not the Dolls)

So many people have become social media meanies or what I like to term social media trolls!  These people seriously sit around all day at home, no jobs, no friends, nothing but on the internet trolling news, blogs and other social media sites to be mean!

I just do not understand it and probably never will. What form of satisfaction do they get in being so mean to others or people they do not know?

This was apparent today when a local attorney in northern Washington purchased a fire truck to help battle the fires and more what he is doing is helping stop homes from going up in flames.

Our state is begging for volunteers to fight the fires and this man buys a fire truck, gets some basic training and says, 'I am here to help.'

You guessed it, the trolls are out attacking him and his wife. Because she said he was crazy to do this they assume she means crazy to spend $5000 and have begun calling her cold, stating if he spent that much in jewelry she wouldn't call him crazy.

They are saying he is a moron, has no business being out there on the line and yet...our state is asking for people to get involved and to help.

I bring this up because yesterday I had someone personally attack me on FB and it isn't the first time he has done this. I do not know him, have not done anything to him but he has called me names, tried to discredit Layers of Hope  cursing me out because I am asking for handmade new quilts and blankets and do NOT accept other things.

He cursed me telling me not everyone is in a good place right now, so I should take whatever I get and be happy. I tried to explain last year people began sending me boxes of old clothes (I had to donate them to shelters) and I sadly received quilts that had blood, were ripped and torn and some even had a strong smell of cigarette smoke.

I told him he doesn't challenge Project Linus or Quilts of Valor both amazing programs that ask for handmade quilts, so why is he after me? I then told him someone had donated an entire box of yarn to me and while I do not quilt or knit, I would gladly donate it to someone who would like to make blankets for us.  No, the yarn is not brand new, but it is still in paper sleeves.  He kept hammering.

Finally I sent him a PM and asked him what his issue with me was? You kicked me off such and such site. 'Ummm, no I didn't because I am not an admin there.' I was told you were. I had to explain he was told wrong and this needed to stop.  

He agreed to stop harassing me and said from now on if someone says something about me, he will come to be directly. What is sad, is that I shouldn't have had to do that, but that is what trolling does, it allows you to attack someone and not know the facts.

After that, I decide to put together some beautifully donated fabric squares and completed this quilt top.  Today I hope to finish it!

Normally, I let things like his comments slide. However, he was attacking this organization I have worked so hard over the last 10 years to build up and that was NOT going to happen!

Don't allow trolls to ruin your life and don't let them get by with personal attacks on you!

Monday, August 24, 2015

WANTED...Three Special Quilters To Step Up

 I have lost a child, he was 18 months old and this was over 33 years ago, but the hole in my heart has never and will never heal.

What I cannot imagine is losing a child that has lived 10, 20 or more years when you have really got to be closer than ever, watched them grow, become what their dreams were made of.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I need at least three very special quilters to step up and take on special projects of making quilts for the parents, wives and any siblings of two of the three firefighters who died last week in Okanogan County, WA.

I say two, because one of the families has been adopted by a family that knows the pain of losing a child to one of these fires as they lost a son, brother, dad, husband to one when the Granite Mountain firefighters perished two years ago.

I cannot imagine their pain, but to step up and say, let us do this, let us reach out to one of our own, all I can do is cry and the amazing gift this family will receive during this loss.

None of us can ever replace a loved one, but I can tell you from my own personal experience, I met many families over the years that lost a child and I could reach out to them, I could hold them and talk to them, because I have been there and while it never takes away all the pain, it helps to have someone who has been in your shoes.

So, are you that quilter? Can you take bits and pieces of someone's life you read about and turn it into a quilt of healing and hope?
Can you share your amazing talents with someone you have never met and say to them...this is for you, though we may never meet, you are on my mind and in my heart?

If you are, let me know please.

As stated earlier, one of the families has been spoken for, please do not come to me and ask for a specific family as that family may have already been adopted.

Thank you!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

DO NOT Directly Send to Okanogan County.....

Normally, I say this at the beginning of my request for collections, but it slipped my mind until someone told me they heard on the radio that Okanogan County, does not want stuff shipped to them and that is 100% correct!  DO NOT send quilts directly to Okanogan County.

I know you want to help and somehow make it easier on me or cut out the middle, but honestly they have no place to begin to store hundreds or even thousands of boxes of stuff and trust me, during Oso tragedy, I was given a tour of what stuff gets sent and sometimes it is not good, it is as if someone said, 'oh wait, let me check my trash can!'

Please understand that I worked in the field of emergency communications for over thirteen years as a 911 operator, trainer and as a Civilian Emergency Response Team member. I know how important it is to wait and let things go back to whatever the new normal will be before I go rushing up there to drop off quilts.

The area is still on fire, many fires, many acres burned, fire fighters have died, homes have been lost, hotshot crews flew in from New Zealand and Australia to help put these fires out, it is a very dangerous place to be right now. Shipping boxes now could bring more dangers as they could be placed in an area that could burn.

I have connections in the area. I have been in contact with those that help others and they have told me they need quilts, but they do not know how many they will need as the fires are still burning.

My contact told me they are working closely with the area around Lake Chelan that has been burned and is burning and it will take awhile for them to get back to me on exact numbers needed, but I do know we will need to have many on hand when they ask us to bring them up.

I am patient and that is why I gave a deadline for end of September to mid October, hoping to have many to deliver by then and to be given the okay to travel to the area.

Please understand this is huge. Homes have been lost, lives have been lost, animals have been lost, warehouses and businesses have been lost and this isn't Seattle, Chicago, Phoenix or even Portland where they can set up shop and start over again. This is a sparsely populated area where there isn't any extra places to store things.

That is why, I ask early to begin our collections and then I wait patiently to be invited to come and drop off what we have. I work closely with those that know to set up a date and time for drop off and it has been working this way since Hurricane Katrina ten years ago.

I hope this helps you to understand more how I operate!


Bewary of Scammers

Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 is Washington state trademarked and I am working on getting a 100% trademark, so please, do NOT use our logo without permission.

With that said, Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 does not actively use any type of fund raising for money, we rely 100% on the generosity of our readers, supporters and quilters and will occasionally generate an account with social media to raise funds. We have NOT pursued that this year at all.

I say this, because we mainly collect quilts, fabric, thread, tools for quilting to help our 911 community and our communities during disasters. I would prefer quilts but at times we may ask for funds to help support mailing or travel expenses.

I am saying this in the rare case that someone may call or contact you asked for money for Layers of Hope, please, do NOT give, contact me immediately as I do not want anyone using us to scam people for money.

Now, with that said, if you would like to 'borrow,' our logo to print up a flier for a local quilt, fabric or yarn shop, please contact me and I will send you a copy that you can use.

I can assure you, the quilts you send, do go to those in need! The money were blessed with last year paid for our logo, stationary, postage, fabric and travel expenses to Oso and Okanogan County.

We are NOT a non-profit, we just do NOT make a profit.

Scammer will always be out there, be wary is all I am asking!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Help Coming To Okanogan County From Australia, Will You Help USA

Our fires are out of control, our firefighters are exhausted, the US Army is training soldiers how to fight fires to relieve our fire fighters and today we learned that hotshot teams from Australia and New Zealand are on their way to help us.

I live over five and a half hours away from the fires in Okanogan County, over 296 miles and this is what it looks like from my front porch just a few minutes ago.

No, my neighbor does not have a fire going in his yard

Smoke hanging in the trees and the hazy sky

 We need your help! The residents who live in these areas are being evacuated daily, they do not know if their homes are still standing or where they will go if they are not.  Their animals are displaced, they can't go to work and the fires rage on.

If you are reading this, if your skies are blue, if you are blessed to be in your home right now and if you can quilt, knit or crochet, I am begging you to help us get blankets to these families, to the exhausted hotshot teams and fire fighters....PLEASE HELP!!

The sun engulfed in smoke

The sun in a hazy sky

 I have only heard of things like this in my life time. My mom lived through it years ago when northern CA was on fire, they packed their RV drove it to a safer location, packed their old Mercury and then sealed their windows and doors and waited to be evacuated.
Lucky for them, the fires did not reach their town.

All around us are smaller fires, a family in Onalaska lost their entire chicken farm when it burnt to the ground this week. People are watering their lawns trying to keep them from going up just from lawn mower sparks.

Can you see the sun clearly? Are your skies blue? Can you breath in fresh air?  If you said yes, please, please consider sending quilts so I can get them up to these areas.

Know this about Okanogan County, it is the largest county land wise in our state, however, population wise, it is not. So these people losing homes, will not have an apartment to rent, a house to purchase, a friend to go to because there aren't any and sadly this is the second year in a row this county has been devastated.

Please, mail quilts, blankets to:
Layers of Hope - Quilting 911
18740 Ivan Street SW
Rochester, WA  98579

Yes, Red Cross is in the area, but I saw how Red Cross operates and FEMA in these areas when the Oso landslide hit last year. The swoop in, set up camp, help for a few days to a few weeks and are gone again to help the next disaster.

Your quilts will last forever and be a blessing to those who receive them!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Help Okanogan County with Quilts or a Donation

I don't like just taking money and giving nothing back, it kind of doesn't feel right to me.

I know many of you do not have time to quilt or make blankets, who does with school and work banging at our doors all the time?

But for a few dollars, you can help support Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 to get quilts to those in Okanogan County, simply by heading over to our Etsy shop and making a small purchase. 

We have quilts, bags, hats and lots of key fobs to choose from and stuff is being added frequently.

I just added Paypal to my Etsy site to make it easier.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Current Quilt Collection Points

Depending on where you live, we have three quilt shops that have stepped up to be collection points for quilts here in WA state.

Are you a Washington State or British Columbia quilter? As of this moment, we have three amazing quilt shops that have stepped up as collection points:
1- Georgia
The Needle & I
4727 Evergreen Way
Everett, WA 98203
540 NE Northgate Way Ste D
Seattle, WA 98125

2-Town Square Fabric & Yarn | 445 SW 152nd St Ste. 100, Burien, WA 98166 | (206) 246-9276 Talk to Cynthia or Christina

3-Judi C.
Still stitchin' in Tacoma
Evergreen Quilting
8227 S. Park Ave. #1
Tacoma, WA 98408

If you live in areas close to Seattle, Tacoma, Marysville, Everett, Arlington, Mount Vernon or are traveling to these areas, these are your drop off points.
If you want to mail quilts, please mail to:
Layers of Hope - Quilting 911
c/o Jean Kester
18740 Ivan Street SW
Rochester, WA 98579

Do You Need Our Logo...

If you would like to make some fliers to distribute around to your local quilt shops, for quilts for WA state, please feel free to contact me and I will gladly send you an attachment.

Okanogan County Needs Our Quilts NOW!!!

Last night, three fire fighters died fighting the wildfires in central Washington, four others are in the hospital and one of those is in critical condition.

People in the Chelan area are losing their homes and there appears to be no end to the high winds that are kicking up in that area as well as prediction of lightening this week-end.

Okanogan County is literally on fire and the towns of Twisp and Winthrop have been evacuated, it is devastating as these fires get whipped hopscotching across roads, fields and mountains.

Last year you help me deliver over 400 quilts to the Oso landslide victims. We also delivered over 200 to this area that was hit with fires as well, but nothing like now!

My contact just sent me a note...'I am so sorry to be talking to you again, can we count on your organization to help again this year, I will contact you soon.'

Please our need is greater this year. Read below and if you can help, please send the quilts to me. I am praying for an October delivery for first drop off.

1- Twin and Full sized quilts
2- Toddler Sized quilts
3-  Knit or Crochet caps
Please understand, I CANNOT accept clothing, shoes, etc. I am not a drop off facility, I am a one person organization that accepts quilts that all of you amazing quilters send and then I deliver them.

At this time or until further notice, PLEASE NO BABY quilts, I am overrun with them and our need is not for infant quilts but adults more than anything!

Quilts, blankets, caps all must be handmade and as brand new as possible, (i.e. if you made one years ago and it has never been used, by all means send it. If it has been on grannies nursing home bed and is torn, has blood stains, holes, smells...keep it as these people do not want our garbage!)

Last year I received clothing I had to donate to charity, I received quilts that were torn, had droplets of blood, holes, smelled like cigarettes, etc. Those I tried to wash and donate, several were trashed.

Be kind, think of how you would feel if you lost everything and someone brings you a stinky quilt that has blood on it. Ewwww, gross and not going to happen!

Please, share our need with your church, friends, quilt shops, yarn shops, crochet and knitting friends, help us spread the word.

Copy our FB page and get the word out.

Mail quilts to:
18740 Ivan Street SW
Rochester, WA 98579


Friday, August 7, 2015

Mailing Central and Our Hub

This is our mailing center, also known as my living room with the small exception that we don't use this room to live in because it is has been taken over by my quilting and is the central mailing station for Layers of Hope - Quilting 911.

I have a large bin in our hall closet that holds packing tape, glue, labels, markers, etc. for the boxes and as you can tell, I try to keep a variety of boxes on hand to mail out quilts.

The four boxes you see are ready for postage and will go out this coming week.  The cabinet in the picture you can see the edge of holds quilts for mailing.
Packages await the post office!
These 2 large boxes you see are a portion of the 30 quilts I will be sending to Winthrop, WA to complete the Carlton Complex Fire Quilts from 2014.

I am still deciding if it wouldn't just be easier to drive them to Winthrop but to do so in a day is roughly about 16 hours round trip with stops for gas, meals and the drop off.

Carlton Complex Fire Quilts

Last year I received the 911 cut out from a center where they were raising money for an injured 911 dispatcher and auctioning these off. They sent one to me as a thank you for the quilt I sent to the dispatcher.  The cross candle keeps me grounded and makes me thankful to be able to do this for those 'unseen heroes' in need.

While I know the walls are boring white, we still haven't decided what we are going to do with this area.  Due to some unforeseen circumstances this past March, we had to sell my granddaughters piano and I would truly like to move my quilting into a stand alone studio in our yard and get her a new piano.

In the meantime, my family puts up with this pile daily. Trust me when I say it really isn't as bad as it looks. I am finishing up some Christmas card holders to put in my Etsy shop to sell. I am working on a 5.5" squares patch quilt (up to 420 squares now), gathering some fabric from my moms clothing to send to a woman who makes Teddy Bears, and my son and his wife have a quilt (cut up at this time) in there as well.

How does the saying go? A clean desk is the sign of a crazy person? My desk is spotless and neat, my sewing space is just a dash of craziness.

It isn't all charity quilting. The top quilt I made for my son and daughter in law about six years ago and with little ones, this quilt has been washed so many times, I brought it back from Phoenix to fix some of the frayed edges on the appliqued pieces.

It was my first applique quilt on a large scale and the stitching really wasn't wide enough. So, I have repaired it, it is going back to Phoenix soon and I am making them a new one. This one has their anniversary date, kids birthdays on it.

The quilt under it is denim and wool and belongs to my son who came home in January after being in prison for over 8 years. He is a Dallas Cowboys fan in a world of Seahawk 12th Man fan's and blue and lime green doesn't make room for blue and silver!

I just really haven't had the time to go pick up some Seahawk fleece, er, I mean Cowboy fleece to complete it, but I will soon.
You can bet somewhere embedded in that quilt will be something about how the Seahawk's rule!

So, I just wanted to take some time today to show you around my living room and let you know that it doesn't matter how large or small our space is (remember, I used to quilt in a converted coat closet) what matters is that we quilt!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Personalize Your Quilt Using Quilt / Applique Labels

I just love Missouri Star Quilt Company!

Watch this amazing video as to why our quilts should be labeled. I receive so many to pass onto our 911 Dispatchers and First Responders and rarely do I get to pass on the background of the quilt!

Please think about adding a label to your quilts you send and don't forget to check Missouri Star Quilt Company videos out on You Tube, they are such a help to a novice quilter like myself!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

South Dakota Lost Dedicated Wild Fire Fighter

Layers of Hope - Quilting 911 would like to send our profound and heartfelt condolences to the family of David Ruhl of South Dakota who lost his life fighting a wild fire in northern California. 

We will be sending quilts to his wife and two children. Please keep them in your prayers!