Saturday, February 21, 2009

Here's the Scoop! Ten Tips for a Fantastic Day!

One week from this minute (7:34am) Cheryl and I will either be at the Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth or on our way. The weather will be beautiful. Beautiful for driving - but a little too cool to work out in the yard. All 179 (Yes - 179!) of our pre-registered Make a Blanket Day attendees will be healthy, happy and loading their cars - ready to spend a day at the Hickory Point Mall in Forsyth making blankets for children in need of some very special hugs! WE CAN'T WAIT!!!! We hope you feel the same!

Here are some updates and instructions for the day. PLEASE make note of the following changes and/or suggestions:

1. When you arrive at Make a Blanket Day, we will have helpers who will tote your supplies into the mall work area (in front of Bergner's). If you would like help - pull your car up to the mall entry door (the east side of the building next to Bergner's). A volunteer will unload your supplies for the day and take them to the work area while you are parking your car. When you come into the mall, simply locate your supplies and find a place to work. If you need help getting your supplies to your seat, we will have additional volunteers inside to help you get situated. It's so easy! Thank you so much to our supply toters!

2. Please note: Carol will NOT be attaching charms to bracelets at Make a Blanket Day. With 174 attendees and counting, we were afraid she would be blind by the end of the day - and she needs to drive home! So - we will still ask you to turn in your charm order form and Carol will put your new charms and connecting rings in a little bag. You can either attach them yourself when you get home or have someone else attach them. I'm sorry for this change, but Carol had so many charms to attach at our Fall event that during the entire day she never had a moment to look up. Our attendance will almost double at this event. Since she also takes care of the Project Linus items as well as the luncheon - we wanted to make sure that she comes back in the future! :-) Your understanding is most appreciated.

3. Don't forget to bring a Project Linus Project to work on. If you are not sure what to do - please bring a 1 1/2 yard piece of a kids print fleece and we have patterns with some finishing options. If you would like to learn to tie a quilt, please bring two 1 1/2 yard pieces of coordinating kid-friendly fabric and we have a simple envelope-style pattern you can make. We do have some bolts of fabric and batting that you are welcome to use. With 174 attendees, we are simply not able to supply everyone with a project.

4. We will be foundation piecing two blocks this year. One is our "Lotsa Pops" Quiltmaker Magazine block and the other is our Anniversary block. If you are not familiar with foundation piecing or just need some help getting started, Jana and Paula from Stewarts Sewing Machines will have an area located near the welcome table. They have an absolutely adorable quilt kit that they will have available if you are interested and they will teach you how to paper piece correctly - if you'd like some instructions. They have beautiful sewing machines that they will be bringing as well - so don't hesitate to visit their area and take a lesson!

5. Lunch will be served at 11:30am. We ask everyone to bring a snack, salad or dish to pass and we will provide the main dish, water and a few extra goodies. Our "lunch" will be served in the first store on your left as you enter the mall. You may leave your food there when you arrive or you can bring it in before 11:00am.

6. You will not go home empty-handed! :-) We have door prizes, special drawings, Boo-Boo Kids awards and welcome packets for those pre-registered. For everyone over 18 years old who pre-registered you will have the opportunity to enter a drawing for a Babylock Quilter's Choice Sewing Machine donated by Stewart's Sewing Machines!!!!! THANK YOU to Jana Wrigley and Stewart's for this GENEROUS donation!

7. We have seating for 200 attendees - first come, first served. Make a Blanket Day is from 9am - 3pm and you are welcome to arrive any time AFTER 8:30am.

8. Team 35 will be selling tickets for their gorgeous raffle quilt. Tickets are $1.00 each - and the proceeds will go toward the purchase of more blanketmaking supplies for our next event! THANK YOU TEAM 35!!!

9. Don't forget about our Boo-Boo Kids display. Invite your friends and family to visit the display on Friday or Saturday and vote for their favorite quilt! It's $1.00 per vote or 6 for $5.00. Again, all proceeds will go toward the purchase of more blanketmaking supplies! The quilts are absolutely beautiful again this year - with the theme "To the Rescue". 2010 kits will be available at Make a Blanket Day. The kit is $5.00 if you have never made a Boo-Boo Kids quilt. If you have, the kit is free. We have an adult category and a kids category - so everyone is welcome to make a quilt for 2010. The theme is... "Wish Upon a Star"!

10. When do we have an uninterrupted 6 hours that we can spend doing what we love to do! Be sure to leave all your troubles at home and join us for an exciting day of blanketmaking fun!

Cheryl and I want to thank each of you for all of your help! We would not have been able to serve the children of Central IL over the past 10 years without each of you.

Happy 10th Birthday Project Linus Central IL!

See you Saturday!

PS - if you are available at 8:45pm on Thursday evening February 26th, we could use some help hanging the Boo-Boo kids quilts. Please join us in front of Von Maur. The more help we have, the faster we get the job done! Thank you!

Set-up on Friday evening will begin at 9pm. If you can help, we would love to have you! Thank you!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

"All You Need Is Love...

...But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!"
Charles Schulz

Terry and I exchanged Valentine cards this morning and we gave each other nearly identical cards! I guess after 34 years of dating and 30 years of marriage - we really have become a lot alike! I love that - and I love him! I also had my absolutely delicious chocolate protein bar this morning as well...Clif 20g Chocolate Mint Builder's Bar...which is to say that I truly do have it AND chocolate! :-)

I'm thrilled to report that we have 155 people pre-registered for Make a Blanket Day!!!! WOO HOO!!! If you haven't done so, please make sure that you pre-register. We want to make sure everyone gets a seat and enough to eat! (However, enough food has never been a problem at our MABDs thanks to Carol and Jane!) Also, don't forget to bring a Project Linus project to work on and a dish to pass or snack to share. When you enter the mall (the entrance near Bergner's) there is a store on your left - it used to be a bank - that we have been given permission to use for our "dining area". Food can be dropped off there when you arrive. It's going to be a fantastic day filled with fun, fellowship and the opportunity to serve some special children and families in our Central IL area!

Great News! We have a FINAL answer on Project Linus and the CPSIA. On February 9, 2009, CPSC staff issued a document called Guidance on the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) for Small Businesses, Resellers, Crafters and Charities and If you would like to read the text here's the link:

Briefly, a portion of Question #13 in particular applies to Project Linus:

Q. “Can I donate the children’s products that I make to local charities and hospitals?
A. Yes, you can make and donate children’s products to local charities and hospitals, if they are made of exempted materials or materials that you feel confident do not contain lead (see Table B). Children’s products made of yarn, dyed or undyed fabrics and natural materials such as untreated wood or cotton do not contain lead at levels sufficient to exceed the new lead limits.
Also, on page 7 you will find a list of exempted materials, including:* Yarn, dyed or undyed * Dyed or undyed textiles (cotton, wool, hemp, nylon, etc.), including children’s fabric products, such as baby blankets, and non‐metallic thread and trim. This does not include products that have rhinestones or other ornaments that may contain lead or that have fasteners with possible lead content (such as buttons, metal snaps, zippers or grommets).
So, we have been given the green light to continue making blankets as usual. Thank you for the letters, e-mails etc. that were sent to our representatives. We do have a voice!

In our National "Blanket Beacon" newsletter, we have a section we call "Love Notes". Since this is Valentine's Day, I would like to share a love note that we received, addressed to each of you:

Dear Project Linus,

My name is Katie and I am 15 years old. I received a Project Linus blanket while in the hospital this past summer. Even though I am old enough were I don't need a blankey anymore your balnket gave me lots of confort and much needed warmth. I now sleep with it everynight, and when my friends ask I am proud and grateful to say that it came from Project Linus. I am hoping to make a blanket soon to give back to the kids who are now feeling as bad as I once did. Thank you so much!

So, I think I need to add to Charles Schulz's quote: "All You Need is Love...but a little chocolate and a blanket now and then doesn't hurt!"

Happy Valentine's Day! I hope that you all take a minute to wrap your favorite blanket around you and "feel the love".

Happy Blanketmaking!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


For some reason it seems as though we love to celebrate anniversaries. We mark the day we were born (I just celebrated the 12th anniversary of my 40th birthday), the day we got married (it was 30 years in July), the day our chapter started (we opened our chapter 10 years ago - January 1999), etc. Today is the 1st birthday of our little granddaughter Gracie - and I was there to see her come into the world. What a miraculous anniversary to celebrate! Today is also the 34th anniversary of our first date. We were in Iowa City, Iowa and Terry and I were both freshmen in college. We went to the movie "Freebie and the Bean" - I'm sure you remember it...??? There were only 2 theaters within walking distance of the dorm so our choices were VERY limited. I don't remember much from the movie other than car after car being demolished - but that's because my mind was preoccupied thinking about the gorgeous guy sitting next to me! Each year we love to celebrate this special day, simply because it was the day we fell madly in love. You may say that no one could fall madly in love after one date...but I'm here to tell you that we did and we still are!

Tomorrow is the anniversary of the date that we lost our precious grandson Luke. This is one of those anniversaries that we would prefer not to remember for many reasons, but we choose to remember and cherish it for one very special reason. It's the day we celebrate the gift that we have been given - "Families are Forever". We know that one day we will all be together again - and this is the day that we are reminded of that sweet promise. I'm sure you all have a "Families are Forever" anniversary that has brought you sadness in the past - but brings hope to you for the future. We can't escape the grief we experience from the parting, but the reunion will be glorious!

As we know, our service through Project Linus offers us a bitter-sweet experience as we cradle those in need of a hug. We love to make blankets and we know that we are able to bring comfort and security to a child going through a medical or emotional crisis through our handwork. This brings us joy. But we also know that in order to receive a blanket, this child must go through that crisis. This makes us sad. We know that we can offer hope to the parents of these children through the simple gesture of offering their child a handmade blanket. This keeps us making blankets. But we also know that these parents are suffering as well, as they watch their child suffer. This breaks our hearts. As blanketeers, we know that the efforts that we put forth to make a beautiful handmade treasure for a child in need of a hug are most appreciated. In addition, it gives us an opportunity to extend our hand in service allowing us to become a part of the healing process for all concerned. As a parent looks at the blanket given to their child, they will be reminded of that anniversary when their child received the blanket. Whether it commemorates a joyous victory or a sad reminder - either way, it lets them know that someone cared enough to offer their family comfort during a difficult time.

As I look at the anniversaries in my life I hope that each one helps to remind me to be grateful for what I have been given - and what is yet to be! We hope you'll join us on February 28th for our Make a Blanket Day at the Mall! Come and celebrate our 10th anniversary as we serve those in need of comfort, side by side!

Happy Blanketmaking!