23 November 2012

So, I've been quite the absent blogger, but I can't think of a better reason to break my silence:  help for victims of Hurricane Sandy.  I want to share the most incredible experience I had helping with the clean-up effort in the Rockaways area of NY on Sunday, 11 Nov.  I also want to share an easy way YOU can help make a difference in the lives of those affected by this horrible disaster.......no matter where you live!

One of the great things about living in Boston or DC (where I now live) is that it's only about a 4-ish hour bus ride to NYC.  And it's CHEAP.  So, as soon as I found out about this fabulous service opportunity my church was organizing (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints), I jumped at the chance to go.  I arrived in NYC late Saturday night, and stayed with my friend Leanne.  On Sunday morning, we had an abridged Sacrament meeting - then everyone subway-ed down to our chapel close to the Rockaways, where we all loaded up into school buses and headed out to the site so we could get to work!  I love how organized the church is - - we all attended Sacrament meeting in our "work" clothes, so we wouldn't need to worry about changing and storing clothes somewhere.

We had around 400-500 people ready to work & help these residents with the massive clean-up effort.  And every single one of us was needed.  What really hit me the hardest was how important it was for so many of us to be there.....when you have massive numbers, you can accomplish so much in such a short amount of time.  Our group of 12 was able to gut a family's entire finished basement in less than TWO hours.  It was incredible.  We emptied another family's garage full of furniture & other items in less than FIVE minutes.  I was so proud and so humbled to be a part of such a great effort.  Another man whose basement we gutted chased us down the street after we finished so he could take a picture of us - he said he wanted to put it on his facebook page!  How sweet is that?!?  I had him take a picture with my camera as well....

I'm including a link to a video that one of the guys put together of our crew on Sunday, 11 November.  I'm so grateful to hear what the residents said and see their reactions to us being there.

They thanked us all day long - from across the street, from their driveways, stopping their cars & rolling down their windows - all to thank us for being there and thank us for helping them.  It was so humbling......and such an honor to be there.

I know many of you who don't live near the northeast want to help, and you want to know what you can do from farther away....so.....here's one way you can!!  Read on......

My friends and I are putting together this MASSIVE effort to send blankets & beanies to all families affected by Hurricane Sandy.  You might think to yourself 'what can a blanket or beanie do?'....well, besides just helping them stay warm (can you believe many homes STILL don't have power?!)......most importantly, sending blankets and/or beanies to these families lets them know they are NOT forgotten.  Sending them a blanket or beanie is sending them love and hope from all over the country, and means more than we can imagine to them.  As you can see in the video, just knowing people care means so much!  So.....get ready to make/buy some blankets & beanies!  Here's the info:



Join us in helping these families by sending them (new) homemade or purchased blankets to help comfort and keep them warm as they rebuild and start the winter. 

What you do: 

1) Make or purchase a blanket or beanie.....
      If you would like to make them, below are some links to find some fun and easy ways to make a comfy blanket and a warm beanie.

2) Write a note - 
      Write a quick note to the family that will receive your blanket and/or beanie. If you want, you can also attach a picture of you and those who helped you.

3) Mail or drop off your blanket/beanie to one of these several locations*:

Comfort Sandy's Kids
52 Featherbed Lane
Flemington, NJ 08822

Comfort Sandy's Kids
3917 E. Des Moines St.
Mesa, Az 85205

Comfort Sandy's Kids
343 W. 300 N. #4
Provo, Utah 84601

Comfort Sandy's Kids
54 Maplewood st.
Watertown, MA 02472

*if you mail your blanket/beanie, it would help us tremendously if you could send them to the Flemington, NJ location!

4) Continue to pray for all of those families who are displaced from the devastation of hurricane Sandy......and spread the word!!  Get your families, communities, and schools involved in helping us comfort Sandy's Kids as well!

Here are some tutorials to help you as you help others! 
We made our own plus found a bunch of links to other quilting and crafty blogs in case you want to get really crazy. 

Remember, we would love all kinds of blankets, including big ones, small ones, quilted, tied, or fleece. Anything to help our fellow Americans stay warm and know they are loved. *But please no used blankets or beanies, only homemade or newly purchased. 

Blankets range from 54x60 for the fleece and 54x36 for cotton
Blankets can cost from $10 - $20 depending on where you get your fabric. The fleece I just bought at JoAnn’s fabrics was 50% off @ 12.99/yd. so I paid just at $10 per blanket.
The cotton blankets are made from fabric purchased at Wal-Mart they have lots of cute fun prints at very reasonable prices.  You can also just buy 2 flat sheets and use that as your cotton fabric - you just trim the top wide seam/band off.

Fleece Blankets
1-½ yds. Fleece

Make sure your edges are all nice and straight.  Cutting off all rough edges and salvages. 
There are lots of ways now to do your ends. You can tie all 4 sides of your blanket or you can choose to only tie 2 ends.

Cut 4 inch fringe about 1 inch thick on each side you plan on tying. 
Options: tie each individual fringe by itself.
Or: tie two pieces of fringe together in a square knot. (right over left and left over right – so that when it is washed the knot will stay.)

Either method is cute and fun.  You can also find great tutorials on how to sew 2 pieces of fleece together to make a thicker blanket.

Super easy cotton tied blankets
1 ½ yd. cotton print
1 ½ yd. cotton solid
crib size batting
Quilting needle

 Wash and dry fabric (to prevent shrinking after blanket is made.)

On a flat surface lay the back side of your fabric with right side up.  Next layer on top of that your top layer of fabric with right side down. On top of that lay out your batting, pin all three layers together.

Trim all three layers so your edges are all straight and even.  You can use a straight edge and rotary blade if you have one.

Sew all three layers together leaving a 5 inch opening on one side.  Remove pins.

Turn blanket inside out.  Your batting should be in between your fabric now with the right sides of your fabric facing out.  Be sure to push out each corner from inside so you have nice defined corners.  Press.

Sew up your 5 inch opening carefully on the machine or by hand. Be sure your fabric is tucked inside along that seam.
Time to tie your quilt.

Begin by marking your quilt with a 5x5 template. (I cheat and usually just stitch according to the pattern on the print.) The purposes of the ties are to keep the fabric together and the batting in place.  

In the blanket shown we tied in the middle of every other fish, skipped two rows of fish and started again.  Use your best judgment and just make it fun, cute and consistent.

Thread your quilting needle with about a yard of yarn, pulling your yarn through until both ends of the yarn are even.  Make a small stitch at your first marking, making sure you go all the way through both fabrics.  Pull your yarn completely through until you have 3 inches left on the end. 
Next there are several ways you can tie your yarn.  The most important part is that you make a square knot at each mark. 

Here are two ways to tie:
1)    Continue on stitching your yarn through each mark, making sure your original 3 inch end stays secure and doesn’t get pulled through.  When you get to the end of your yarn, cut in between each mark, and then tie the yarn in a square knot at each stitch point.

2)    Tie as you go: after each stitch cut your yarn, tie your square knot and continue on.
3)    There is also a method to tie before you cut your yarn, like you see in the photos above & below (how the yarn is in one long line with the knots).  You basically just tie your knots and then move on to the next tie, without cutting the yarn.  It's a little tricky to explain, but when tying the square knot, you first loop under and tie the first knot, and then loop over to tie the second knot, so you still end up with a square knot.

Finish up: look at each tie and make sure it looks nice and clean. Check the back side of the fabric to make sure it also looks nice and clean, leaving no crazy yarn pieces back there.  Trim each tie to about 1 inch long.

Viola – you have a fun warm blanket to send to a Sandy family and everyone gets to be warm inside!

We are also accepting beanies!! Follow the tutorial links below to find some fun ways to make adorable beanies to help warm up all those kids and families!!

Go to these great links to get more ideas and inspiration!
For blankets:

For beanies:

03 February 2011

....because snow fosters creativity! :)

So.....if you were living in Boston right now, you would be trying to deal with the massive amounts of snow we have been blessed with.......which is A LOT!  It's really crazy.....there's nowhere to put it all.  The piles of snow on street corners have become so high that you really can't see pedestrians who are trying to cross...cause they are hidden behind the snow!  I know.....crazy!!!

Below is a picture of the Target parking lot in Everett - the pile of snow in the corner is SOOOOOO massive.....there's nowhere else to put it all.

Now for the really creative part........so when it snows and your car is parked out on the street, your car gets buried and you have to dig it out.  What that means is not only do you have to clear off all of the snow on your car, but you also have to dig out all the snow on the street too, so you can get your car out.  Now....when you've gotten as much snow as we have in the past few weeks, this can be quite an extensive project, taking anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes....and maybe even over an hour.....especially if it's really icy.  Twice now I've had to use a metal shovel to hammer at & break up the ice on the road....and that is NOT a fast process.....so.........

Once you go to all of that trouble, you don't want to have to do it over and over again every time your park your car......so we get clever..........and we "save" our parking spot!!  Nope, we don't let the fact that it's a public street deter us at all.......we save our spot!!  Let me show you some of the creative ways we do this in Boston (or in this case Somerville, by my house):

Some people use chairs, some people use trash cans.........

This person used a recycle bin on it's side...........

This guy just took up two spaces.....we don't call that 'clever'...we call that selfish.....

This guy used TWO items, a Tidy Fresh cat litter bucket and a black crate.  Nice!  And then there's the always-reliable traffic cone......

But.....the award for the MOST creative item used to save a parking spot goes to:

Yes....yes she did (of course it was a woman!).  She used a dresser drawer to save her parking spot.  And what's even funnier, when she got home and pulled into her spot, she just put the drawer in the back of her Subaru.  How funny is that?!?!?!  Clever....very clever.....

And now.....a bonus story that is only speculation.....
You might be asking yourself, hmm...."so what happens if someone steals someone else's saved spot???"
Great question....and I've wondered that too....because I have yet to see it happen.  But, as of Saturday morrning, I think I now have an idea of what might happen......

On Friday night, I parked my jeep in a spot that was pretty far away from my house, because there were no available parking spots.  Now, when I parked in this spot Friday night, there was NO marker whatsoever indicating that this parking spot might be saved.  However........when I got to my car on Saturday morning, here is the sight that greeted me:

And no.....it did NOT snow at all on Friday night....so someone intentionally put all of that snow on my car. 
And yes, I'm grateful that my first reaction was to laugh hysterically when I saw this HEAP of snow shoveled on top of my car.  I mean, really.....how funny IS that?!?!  That's a LOT of effort that someone went to - to be mad at me.....
All I can imagine is that someone must have saved this spot, but by the time I parked there, whatever they had used to save the spot was gone....hence it appeared as if this was an open spot, which is why I parked there.  

Oh well.....it only took me about 15 minutes to clear it off.....but I am sure it took at least twice that long to pile it all up there!  Only in Boston.....I gotta hand it to whoever did this....major creativity!!! :)

Another quick little story......
Last night my car was stuck and my landlord/friend was helping me try to get out.  So we had the idea of using his Jeep to push my Jeep out (his is 4-wheel-drive....mine, sadly, is not - which is why it was stuck)....so we put the plan into action and then he backed off pretty quickly, got out of his car and came up to my window.  He said..."um...yeah...that's not working, I just dented your bumper."  And I thought....bummer....but oh well....it was worth a try.  So I get out of the car and we're both just standing there looking at the dented bumper, trying to think of more options.....and about a minute later......the bumper just POPS BACK INTO PLACE.  I'm not kidding.......it totally fixed itself...just like magic!  I was so glad that Brian was a witness to this, otherwise no one would believe me.  I love it!  Only in Boston........

We woke up to more snow falling this morning....so who knows when the craziness will end.  Until then......I'll just keep sharing the humor in all of this.........

happy days to all......

18 January 2011

......even when I'm in Arizona! :)

Well....all I can say is that good intentions will only get you so far........
But I certainly haven't been an absent blogger due to lack of content - - so here's my attempt to catch up a bit and redeem myself.

I was in Arizona for work mid-November, but it was still sunny in Boston!!  :)  Why, you ask?!?  I'll show you......

I was enjoying a nice lunch with one of my employees and we were at Macayo's Depot Cantina in Tempe.  I glanced over at the mural on the wall....it was a big scene with some different things going on, but how happy was I when I saw this??

Oh, yes it is........this little guy is sporting a Boston Red Sox t-shirt.....in a mural in a mexican restaurant all the way in Tempe, AZ!  haha......I love it!  Apparently the artist of this lovely mural thought it was always sunny in Boston, too!!!  Good work my friend, good work.....

Of course, that's not all.........on the very next day, I headed out to Power Ranch Golf Club to play in our US Airways IT group's Fall Classic Tournament.  The weather was absolutely gorgeous....it was perfect golf weather....and we all had a blast.  But, the BEST part, BY FAR, was this:

Yep.....a fellow Bostonian doing a GREAT job of representing the greatest city in the world!!  He had a Celtics flag and a Pats flag too, but I only took a picture of the most IMPORTANT flag, of course.....the RED SOX flag! :)  haha  I love it! 
This fine gent still had his wicked awesome Boston accent, too.  Said he loves Boston and misses it a lot, but "hey, you can't get weather like this in Boston every day."  And that's exactly why I don't miss Phoenix one little bit.  That is one of the gazillion reason why I love Boston so much.  Of course the varying-degrees-of-summer-year-round Phoenix weather can be appealing to a lot of people.  I'm just not one of them.  I like the seasons.....I like change.....I like wearing my coats and hats and scarves and gloves and bundling up.  I like being able to see my breath when I walk outside.  And the snow.  Oh, the SNOW (...sigh of joy)!!!  Is there anything more beautiful, more peaceful, than a perfect snowfall???  Nope.....it's perfect....absolutely PERFECT.......just like we had here in Boston today......so there you go.....today's reason it's sunny in Boston.....the perfect snowfall.....the kind that just dusts the trees, the kind that would appear in an old movie like Holiday Inn (one of my favorites!) or It's a Wonderful Life or White Christmas........so beautfiul, so peaceful, so perfect.....

This isn't the best video but it's what I woke up to this morning......this is the view from outside my bedroom window.  What a way to wake up!!  Lovely.......

Here are a few more pictures from today's snowfall:

Ah, the perks of working at the airport....you get an even BETTER view of all the pretty snow!!

Okay....I have many more things to add & I will continue to catch you up on the infinite reasons as to why it's always sunny in Boston.......so stay tuned!

happy days to all......

07 November 2010

Life is good.....

So.....after a 4-year hiatus, I am going to start blogging again..... 

My hope is that this will be a fun way for family & friends to keep up with me and share my many adventures now that I'm farther away living in Boston.....(sigh)........what a dream come true!  I LOVE BOSTON!  I've said for years that it's as if Boston is a person and it's the love of my life!!  ha!  And if you know me at all, you know that statement is NOT an exaggeration......I love love love love love it here!!

So, yes, I'm in Boston and I am going to start blogging again.  I want to share my many adventures both in and out of this amazing city.  Especially all of the reasons why, in my world, "It's Always Sunny in Boston" (I've never seen the TV show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia", but I think it's a great name......so I'm stealing it because it perfectly fits my philosophy!).  I am fortunate enough to work for an airline, so I have MANY oppotunities to travel....both for work and for fun.  But no matter where I go and what I see, Boston is still the greatest city on the planet.  Yes...the PLANET.  Have I been to every city on the planet, you ask??  Nope....and I don't need to.  Boston is absolutely PERFECT....there could never be another place so magical, so charismatic, so full of charm and wit and personality.  I could go on and on and on about how fabulous Boston is.......and I will - - through this blog, so stay tuned!

I learn/notice/see/experience something new EVERY SINGLE DAY here in Boston that just makes me fall in love with this city all over again.  And I'm so excited to share that love with anyone who will listen [read :)].  One of my co-workers laughs whenever I talk about Boston.....she will say to people "Jodi's Boston is a different Boston than the rest of us live in....."  haha....I guess I can see her point.  Maybe I do wear rose-colored glasses every day.  But oh well!  I don't care....I love it.  And what a wonderful blessing it is to be living in a place I truly love.  I'm so grateful.......

Some of you may have followed my European Adventure blog which was on typepad - jodicantrell.typepad.com.  But since typepad charges a monthly fee, I'm now opting for the 'free' version instead (thanks google!).  Four years ago I traveled to Europe by myself for an amazing 5 weeks.  I managed to blog about half of that trip, but never finished it.  So with this new blog, I figure I will attempt to slowly transition my posts from that blog over to this one while I also finish talking about the rest of that trip......sort of in a 'flashback-blog-post' fashion.  I will be sure to add other 'flashbacks' from trips/adventures I've taken since then as well.  Mostly, I just want to be able to share my lucky life here in Boston, and all of the other places I get to go!

Happy days to all.......