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:

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