February 27, 2009

Seriously.

Holy cow! (Here I go again with that, but honestly, it is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of our project.)

Ladies. Seriously.

SERIOUSLY.

Are you as excited as I am every time you think of our project? Are your toes tapping? Is your blood pumping around inside of you like shaken up soda pop? Are you spontaneously clapping at your computer screen? Because I AM.

I have been contacted this week about 51 blankets being SENT to the Christian Appalachian Project on behalf of Mountain Baby Blankets. Amazing. If I were at a podium I'd say, "Give yourself a round of applause."

I am humbled. I have no idea what to say except for thank you. Thanks for thinking of these babies. But I feel like there is so much more I must tell you.

Are you ready? I couldn't believe this when I heard it.

I talked to my contact, K, at the CAP today and a lovely blog reader walked into K's office today and handed her blankets on behalf of Mountain Baby Blankets.



K met with CAP's public relations team about our project. That's K on the left there. She called me immediately, so overcome with our generosity. I had no idea what to say except, "You are welcome." It's odd for me because I'm not the one doing this... we're ALL doing this. WE'RE ALL DOING THIS TOGETHER. But how cool is this?!?!?!

So my gal, K, and I talked about the 51 blankets on the way - and, People, that's not how many people have contacted me saying that they were going to make a blanket (that number is over 150 now), those 51 blankets are finished and ready to ship/shipping. Those 51 blankets came from 19 ladies. Can you just imagine? I can't wait to see how big this gets. I told K to clear out the warehouse because, apparently, I'm not the only one who wants to warm and comfort those Appalachian babies! Yee haw!!!!

My head is just spinning. There is more. K has promised me pictures when they distribute these first few blankets to needful mommies. There was talk of a community baby shower this sumer in which YOUR BLANKETS will be gifted to the local teen mommies who attend! AAAAHHHHH!
We have to keep sewing. Spread the word. Tell your knitting circles and quilting bees at church, Girls. These babies need to be warm! The newborns need to be swaddled! Even during the summer there will be need for receiving blankets and handmade infant clothing.

I am just GIDDY. I sound like an idiot every time I call my mom or Mindy or BeckAY to update them on the project. I am excited and a little embarrassed, and completely and totally overcome with emotion at this.

Seriously.

It started so simply. I watched a television show that brought me back to my youth - in a really, really overcoming way. My heart ached at the thought of little children in need and all I did was think of a way that I could help, all the way from South Dakota. I thought of the talent God gave to me to sew and create. God stirred something inside of me and I feel completely led every time I call K, every time I try to wrap my head around what Mountain Baby Blankets has become. The Lord above gave me a big, fat mouth... it's about time I had some public way to use it for good!

Thank you all for joining me in this effort. Thank you all so, so much. This is so good.

*Sigh.*



There is no deadline for our efforts. If you are interested in making a blanket, please leave a comment with your contact info or email me. My email address is listed in my profile.

February 26, 2009

Look at These!

More! Already shipped to the Christian Appalachian Project on behalf of Mountain Baby Blankets because of YOU.

Thank you!







More on Flikr!
So, the kids and I have been running crazy. Still getting into the groove with the new job and routines. I'm struggling with cooking at home this week. I hope to menu plan this weekend.
Also on tap this weekend is lots and lots of sewing. I am off to my room to sort scraps and flip between a rerun of The Office and a rerun of Grey's.

February 25, 2009

Mountain Baby Blankets Update

Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you for helping send baby blankets to teen moms in Appalachian Kentucky. Thank you for being a part of a grassroots movement designed to warm the bodies and the hearts of poverty-stricken children. You are doing a very good thing and I am proud to be working with each of you to do it.

On to the pictures!

From Jenn Olson:


from Dee Mooneyham:





from Lynn Shaw:


and these are in addition to the 12 receiving blankets by Cathy Holt.

Holy cow.

Look at these beauties!

I don't have all of the pictures yet, but I have a list going and so far, 24 blankets have been sent to the Christian Appalachian Project on behalf of Mountain Baby Blankets. Thank you, Ladies! It is amazing.
A kind gal set up a Mountain Baby Blankets friend group on Facebook, so be sure to look for it there.
Also, I have set up a Flikr group, where we can all post photos of the blankets we send. You may upload them there directly instead of emailing them to me if you'd like. Find it here.

February 23, 2009

I Have An Illness

I must confess a new addiction.

Her name is Heather Ross. I have loved her fabric for a while, too novice to realize what (or whom) I was working with. Now that I know, I had to search her out and buy up a few more of her fabric lines. Many of the yummiest ones are out of print. Oh my holy goodness.

Lookout.

I am warning you.

These are heading to my home very soon (mixed in with a bit of Katie Jump Rope from Denyse Schmidt):


A newer line, Mendocino...



Her Japanese lines...



Good thing I bought that solid broadcloth. No way I'm using up all of these at once. I must stretch them out f.o.r.e.v.e.r. YUM.


And will you just look at her new line coming this spring (to Japan, anyway)?




I am already on the list for my US distributor (don't I sound all professional? What I'm saying is, I'm stalking the person who is going to carry it on etsy...) and may hold off on making a quilt for Moo until I get Far, Far Away. Actually, I may make this one for myself. Unicorns and princesses and frogs? Oh my.

Her fabrics puts me in fits. Fits, I tell you!

*****************************************************************

A continued thank you to everyone that has contacted me about Mountain Baby Blankets. If you are interested in making a blanket for a baby in Appalachian Kentucky, please click here.

I'm a Machine

It's Monday again already?



This weekend brought with it a final church visit with friends who are moving to Texas, a trip or two to the store, and lots of sewing.



I dragged my children to Jo-Anne's where they had solid broadcloth on sale for $1.79/yd. I had to pick up a few (54) yards in a variety of colors. A wise lady told me (by way of her blog) to stretch my designer fabrics by using lots of solids. Duh. Seems like a no-brainer but I hadn't thought of it. Thanks, Nettie! Also, it is far more economical to back a quilt in solids at $1.79/yd than in designer fabric at $9+/yd. I was planning ahead.







I finished my next quilt top. I have a big project I want to work on, so I had to get it out of the way.







Of course, later I brought some unused fabrics back into my room to put away and Lo! I LOVE these fabrics together and now I might have to leave them right where they are, inspiring me to make them into something. Hate it when that happens.





Yummy.


I spent quite some time planning out a few crib quilts for Mountain Baby Blankets. This is where the solid broadcloth backing will come in handy.


I also finished Club Dead for the third time this weekend. Excellent vampire series. I also mention it because I can see it peeking out from behind my fabric there.





So yes, lots of sewing machine time. I find that once I get my quilt blocks laid out, or even before that - quilt pieces stacked up - the machine work is fast for me. Mostly because I don't pin. Of course, if you're like me, you decide at the last minute that you want to trim your quilt in orange and have to do surgery on the quilt top to dissect, remove, and replace one triangle to tie it all together. *Sigh.*

What was I saying? Oh yes. I'm a machine sometimes.


Mabel was also a machine this weekend. Trevor and Andy got a game from the thrift store last week - Blasters, or something. It's basically table shuffleboard for kids. The squeeze gun pops the coin out and sends it blasting toward the pockets on the other side of the table. Trevor spent five minutes showing Moo how to "blast" the coins. Neither of us thought she was big enough to squeeze the blaster gun, so Trev headed to shower and left the game board on the table when he went. I went back to making dinner.


A little while later I heard a machine gun behind me. BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!






She even reloaded, climbed back into the chair, and did it again. Little coins flying everywhere and one very happy baby.




Who is maybe not so much of a baby anymore.





Daggone it.

Thank You

For the record, I think I could start the next 271 blog posts with "oh gosh," "oh my," "oh wow," or "thank you." And I just might anyway.


Since I originally posted my idea about the Mountain Baby Blankets project and the babies in Appalachian Kentucky who very much needed our blankets, the following has happened:
  • 60 people have contacted me, asking to help

  • Our project has been highlighted on Heartstrings, a quilting community

  • 1,023 people visited this blog on Friday

  • 20+ people have added a Mountain Baby Blankets button to their website (send me an email if you want the code)

  • 6 quilts (3 crib, 3 twin) have been marked for shipping to the CAP

  • 12 receiving blankets were banged out by the talented Cathy Holt (aren't they cozy?!)




... and countless more of you are working on making a contribution to this great cause as well. And this is only a week in! Amazing. Let's keep it coming! Thank you!


I will be establishing a PO box for shipments within the next couple of days and will share that when you email me, ready to ship. Weekend crazy and a child with a boo-boo got the better of me this weekend, but I am resolute to have this done ASAP.

February 20, 2009

Holy Buckets!

I am overwhelmed.

I am overwhelmed at your generosity of spirit and craft and just want to say thank you. Already, in just a few short days, my Mountain Baby Blankets project has caught fire.

I had more than 600 people on my blog yesterday. Little ol' me. Little ol' attention hog me (maybe not so much anymore, lol). I am overwhelmed. There have been more than 330 visits already this morning. It's amazing. I am humbled and thankful. And remarkably EXCITED.

Thank you for stopping by to read about the handmade blanket drive I am organizing to send blankets to teen mothers in Appalachian Kentucky. Thank you for volunteering your time and finger-flexing abilities to make a cozy blanket for babies and toddlers who otherwise, have almost nothing to cuddle under. These children have greater needs than blankets, of course, but after some bills are paid and some food bought, there isn't money left for their parents to buy blankets for beds. Really.

I am so humbled because I look at my kids' beds. As hard as my financial struggle has been as a single mother of 3, we have excess in comparison to the Children of The Mountains. I can do something. Doesn't make sense for me to send milk or bread. I choose to send WARMTH.

Both for the heart and the body.

Thank you for helping me.


Many of you have asked about a timeline. I would like to send the CAP some blankets before the end of March. And really, I plan on sending blankets as long as people keep sewing. I may need help with shipping in the future, but hey, the Lord will help me work it out. I just feel called to do this and called to use my big mouth to get others to do it, too. If you are interested in making a blanket (or several), please email me directly. My email address is included to the right in my profile information.



If you haven't seen the Diane Sawyer Hidden America special, watch it here.

February 19, 2009

So, We're Official

How cool is that?


I spoke this morning with my contact at the Christian Appalachian Project about Mountain Baby Blankets. She was so excited! She explained that the CAP organization goes out into the community to care for many teen moms in Appalachian Kentucky. There is a great need for warm blankets there. They will be the agency putting our handmade blankets directly into the pudgy little hands of those in need.


Specifically, they have requested:
  • Receiving-size blankets
  • Blankets for swaddling (flannel, for example)
  • Crib size quilts and blankets
  • Child/toddler size quilts and blankets
  • Twin size quilts and blankets

They have requested nothing larger than twin size.

Any comfortable material is fine, however, we must remember not to use anything that could choke a baby - buttons or beads or loose appliqué, for example. All materials should be machine washable. Please keep these things in mind while you are sewing.

Let's talk for a minute about sizing - for those of you picking up a needle (or rotary cutter) for the first time. These measurements are only approximate; sew what you'd like.

  • Receiving / Swaddling Size: approx. 30" x 40" (receiving/swaddling blankets should be thin - flannel or broadcloth are great for this)
  • Crib Size: approx. 36" x 50"
  • Toddler Size: approx. 50" x 75" (this includes the drop on the sides - the part that hangs over the edge of the mattress)
  • Twin Size: approx. 81" x 110" (this includes the drop on the sides - the part that hangs over the edge of the mattress)

You can find more information on quilt sizing at a favorite resource of mine - the Quilt Center - here.

Please contact me by email (address over there in my profile ------> ) when your blanket is finished and I will provide the address for mailing. I would also love to blog a photo of your finished blanket, so send them my way!


Ladies, pick up your needles!




February 18, 2009

A Button for Mountain Baby Blankets

Holy cow, I've made a button!

Please contact me if you are interested in putting a button on your blog or website for Mountain Baby Blankets.

Copy and paste this code to your HTML/Java Script:


(My newfound html-script-writing prowess has not extended to actually publishing the script on my blog without activating the script at the same time. Help there?)

Mountain Baby Blankets

Thank you for your responses. It is wonderful to hear that so many of you are willing to make a blanket or two for a child in need for my new project.

I placed a call this morning to the Christian Appalachian Project and am still waiting to hear from them how best to coordinate shipping these baby blankets as they come in for teen mommies, and which agency they feel is best in the area to distribute these lovely blankets. Stay tuned for that information.

Last night I went home in a daze. I was amazed that my little idea was already becoming bigger than I expected. I was humbled and motivated for action. Because really, no matter how you may feel about the circumstances surrounding the Children of The Mountains - at the heart of this issue there is really only one thing: innocent children are in need. We can all try to help somehow.

I sewed for a few hours before going to lie in the bed and make a list of all of the things I already have on hand for Mountain Baby Blankets. I'll share because you may already have everything you need to make a blanket, too.

- yards of solid broadcloth (bought on sale and never used)
- yard sale quilt (bought for $2, big enough to upcycle into 2 baby quilts)
- unfinished pink and cream afghan (need to finish)
- remnants and non-favorite fabric quarters (perfect for a scrap quilt)
- vintage sheets (bought for $2-$4 each, big enough for 3 or 4 blankets from each)
- batting remnants from larger quilts


Maybe you have some flannel sheets lying around that can be cut and repurposed. Maybe you have a huge stash of scrap that has been waiting for a good cause. Maybe you bought too much flannel or fabric the last time it was on sale at your favorite fabric store. All of these are stupendous reasons to make a blanket for Mountain Baby Blankets.

Thanks to those of you who have already offered to help. Thanks to those of you who will.

If you are interested in making or sending a blanket, please email me. My email is in the profile to the right. ------------>

Lastly...

**WANTED**
I have had several folks ask to place a button on their blog directing traffic here to my site, but I don't know how to make a button! Sad, but true. So, if you know someone who could volunteer their services, I'm in need of a Mountain Baby Blankets button of some kind. Send them my way! Thank you!

CHILDREN OF THE MOUNTAINS APPALACHIA APPALACHIAN CHILDREN COAL MINING CHILDREN TEEN PREGNANCY BABY BLANKETS FOR TEEN MOMS CHRISTIAN APPALACHIAN PROJECT MAKE SOMETHING FOR APPALACHIAN KIDS HELP APPALACHIAN PEOPLE FAMILY DIANE SAWYER'S HIDDEN AMERICA CHILDREN DONATE FABRIC DONATE BLANKETS PROJECT LINUS MOUNTAIN BABY BLANKETS

February 17, 2009

Helping The Children of The Mountains

Last week, much of America was riveted to their televisions, watching Diane Sawyer's Hidden America special on the Children of The Mountains in rural Eastern Kentucky.




If you haven't, you can see it here.

I sat in tears watching it for quite a while before I called my mom. I had a great-uncle in Ashland, and other family throughout that region. I remember visiting them as a child. They were generations older than I am, but growing up in the Appalachian offshoot of Southern Ohio, I recall seeing so much poverty. Part of my childhood was seeing babies in the supermarket, wearing only diapers, with little, tiny, dirty feet.

Since last week I have been thinking of the poverty and circumstance of Appalachia and I want to help. I WILL help. God is moving in me right now and I can feel it. It is consuming me in a really good way.

Teen pregnancy is an issue in Appalachia, and rachelcoxdesigns can do something to help! Remember all of those baby blankets I made? All of the fabric just sitting, waiting for making that I've been blogging about? All of my plans to upcycle skirts and fabrics and sheets to make gift blankets and baby clothes? Well. Now, I have a plan for those things. I have already contacted the Christian Appalachian Project about setting up a blanket drive and volunteering my blankets/blanket-making services. I will share more as this wonderful project takes shape. Please contact me if you are interested in helping, donating fabric, or donating a blanket. I have added my e mail addy to my profile on the right. -------------->

And, Mom? We should finish and send a few of those quilt squares you made for me. There is, quite definitely, a child in Appalachia who needs a warm blanket to cuddle up in.

CHILDREN OF THE MOUNTAINS APPALACHIA APPALACHIAN CHILDREN COAL MINING CHILDREN TEEN PREGNANCY BABY BLANKETS FOR TEEN MOMS CHRISTIAN APPALACHIAN PROJECT MAKE SOMETHING FOR APPALACHIAN KIDS HELP APPALACHIAN PEOPLE FAMILY DIANE SAWYER'S HIDDEN AMERICA CHILDREN DONATE FABRIC DONATE BLANKETS PROJECT LINUS

February 13, 2009

Quilting: Organize Your Fabric Scraps

Once you begin quilting and collecting fabric, I'm willing to bet you're going to


a) build up quite a stash,
b) not use all of the fabric you buy, and
c) make a mess of scraps

(Like me.)


When you trim fabric into strips, blocks, triangles, or to a pattern, you will often have a piece of scrap or "trim" left over. Before you can think of organizing these scrap pieces you must first set a minimum size for the scraps you are willing to keep. Compost or recycle scraps that are smaller than your minimum size. *NOTE* Quilt binding requires strips that are approx. 2.5" wide, so keep this in mind when trimming your scraps.


Once you have your minimum size in mind, it's time to sort.


THE SIZE THEORY:
You can make your scraps easier to use by cutting them into bigger sizes (8"x8" squares and 6"x6" squares, for example) and storing them by size. Then you can trim those squares down or use them as-is. The problem with this method is that you may end up needing what you trimmed off of a scrap to turn it into a scrap square in the first place. But these would be incredibly tidy to keep.

THE COLOR THEORY:
Sorting by color, for me, is the easiest way to plan. I quilt by color, so for me - when I need a piece and am looking for a scrap, I look by color and then trim the smallest scrap I find to fit what I need.


One way to sort by color is to use shoe boxes or clear plastic storage boxes. How many boxes you use entirely depends on your opposition to digging through scraps and on your amount of space.


Here are some other ideas from quilters at Quilt.com:

  • I am the great moocher of the guild here; members bring me bags of scraps they don't want to keep track of but hate to throw away. I also check trash cans after quilting classes have been held at my local shop. It's amazing what some people throw away!

  • I keep pieces if they are larger than 1 square inch (approximately). What I DO WITH THEM is foundation pieced miniature blocks. Also, I use the scraps for applique: berries, small leaves, petals of multi-colored flowers, etc.

  • I have mine sorted by color, stored in zip-lok bags, in a box on my sewing room shelves. I have been thinking about putting them into the bureau drawers in which similar-colored fabrics (larger pieces) are stored. That way, I might THINK to use them in situations where I might otherwise cut a small chunk off of a yard-size piece.

  • I usually throw chunks into a laundry basket under my cutting table, then on a day that I need to play with fabrics but not think, I cut them into 1.5, 2, 3, etc. inch squares. I have been putting them into a clear plastic shoebox. I use them for watercolor quilts, and my favorite -- nine patches. I once bought the tool (Scrap Saver???) but usually use my favorite Omnigrids and just sit, slice and watch TV. I save the strips too. Can't bear to throw much out, but I will discard less than one inch.

  • I force myself to throw scraps less than about 6" square away, otherwise they would take over my house, my life and endanger important relationships. Sometimes I gather up a bag to give to a friend who makes string pieced potholders to sell.

I keep anything more than a 2" square. I don't make log cabin quilts (yet) and don't have a need for scrappy strips yet, so I'm not going to use up my space on strips more narrow than 2". I keep my scraps with my regular stash. If I have scrappy pieces of a fabric that I also have a big piece of, I fold those scraps and keep them right on top of my bigger pieces. That way when I want a particular fabric and I pull it out, the scraps fall on my feet and I remember that I don't have to cut into my big piece.




My method isn't ideal and it won't work if my collection continues to grow. I may need to sort using clear boxes or something.

Loving what True Up is doing here, but I would want it behind doors:



Happy to hear comments on this or hear your storage solutions.


QUILT STORAGE QUILTING HOW TO START QUILTING I WANT TO START QUILTING QUILTING LESSONS QUILTING TUTORIAL QUILTING BLOG COOL BLOG JSEWING TUTORIAL HOW TO SEW HOW TO SEW A QUILT

Sometimes, You Just Have To Shake Your Maracas

Last weekend, I found these adorable maracas at Savers for less than $2. Mabel looooooooves them.



See for yourself.






Oh, the cuteness.

Notice a little something unusual in my baby's pants there? Andy thought it would be funny to put a maraca down Mabel's pants. First, I yelled. "Don't put things in your sister's pants!"
Then I started laughing.

Because Mabel thought it was funny. She started shaking her butt.


Uh oh. Look out.

The maraca flapped when she walked and kicked her feet. So that's just what she did. *Shak-ah shak-ah, kick, kick* all around the house.
Oh my!
She was making Moo-sic!
(That was sad. Sorry. - Oh, check out Blanche and Dorothy in the background, hee hee.)



Sometimes, you just have to shake your maracas. Even when they're in your pants.

And this? I feel like this at least once a day.