Tuesday, September 29, 2015

True confessions....why I am on hiatus

This is not going to be an easy post....but I think I owe an explanation to the people who support Iowa Comfort.

First off I am not truly on hiatus.  I have continued to work on projects and by the end of this week I will have a total of 8 Christmas lap quilts pieced together and hopefully quilted....not bound but at least that far in the process.

Now to the brass tacks of the situation.

There is a reason that I am not an IRS recognized non-profit.  Actually there are several.  

The first of which was to be a recognized non profit with the IRS you must have a board of directors.

When I started Iowa Comfort, I had a clear vision of what I wanted it to be, and who I wanted to serve.  I did not want to have to get approval from a board.  I also wanted to serve my immediate communities.  In the beginning that meant Dallas and Madison counties.

When I got in contact with the center, it seemed like a really good fit.  They worked within the geographic area that I was wanting to serve, and our quilts would be providing comfort to someone in need.

The second reason I am not a bonified  non profit is the mountains of paper work that is associated with. 

The paperwork for the day to day operation was going to be absurd.  I spent 30 years working for the Post Office, and believe me I have had way to much paper work in my life.

The last reason is that there are banking laws associated with non profits.

Iowa Comfort is funded by the quilting I do for customers.  My customer base is half of what it was four years ago.  Several customers have moved away, 5 have gotten long arms and I have had three pass away.  For the last three months the Iowa Comfort books have been in the red.  That is not me begging, it is just the fact of the situation.

Imagine my dismay when I received an email asking if the quilts that we have donated could be used in a silent auction....instead of providing comfort to someone.

I will admit it, it hurt.  I told them that I guess since they had already been donated I really had no control over their final disposition.

12 hours later I sent another email and explained my concerns about using the quilts for this purpose.  I told them that over the years I had donated several quilts for fund raising purposes..... and there had never been great success.  That silent auctions were the worst method of all to try to raise funds. I also questioned if I had over saturated their need.

The director of the center said they would put a min. bid on each quilt and asked for my help setting that price.  

The next day I received an email saying that after thoughtful consideration they had decided to cancel their event. 

Now I know I am being a baby.... but they knew what the intent of those quilts were.  I felt that everyone who donates their time, talents or supplies have done so because they have been lead to believe that they are providing comfort to someone in need.  And I am still not over it, I am better, but I am not over it.  SO PLEASE IF you attend the Covered Bridge Festival....let me know if you see a silent quilt auction.

I received a packet that was suppose to be filled out from the center...It was large.  

I knew that they had volunteers fill them out so they could preform background checks to protect their clients.  I don't work with clients....no reason for me to have to fill it out.  

Remember I hate paper work..... and I grumble every time I go to make a donation there because of their need to have a fixed number in value of the quilt and time to create the quilt.  I just want to donate them....

Okay I am guessing you have the picture.  I am frustrated, with the process and I am going to be making some changes in the future. (and I am so thankful I don't have a board)

I am looking for additional organizations that could use our quilts or pillowcases.  I would like them to stay within Dallas and Madison counties if possible....but I can be flexible there.  Exception to the rule might be someplace like the Ronald McDonald house....I know they serve the families of Dallas and Madison county.  

I am thinking hospice organizations, chemo treatment centers, nursing homes, schools, food pantries or churches.  So put on your thinking caps and help me out.  If you know of an organization that could benefit let me know.

Now the center will still get quilts from us, they just will not get them all.

Hopefully I can move on now.  I promise pictures next week.


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The view from a three year old's eyes

This past weekend Owen visited.  He is my three year old grandson, and is really coming into the "WHY" stage.  I am sure you all remember that stage well.

Owen decided that 3:00 am was the perfect time to rise and shine Sunday morning.... so needless to say by 9:30 he really could have used a nap.  Owen does not take morning naps anymore and I really didn't want to mess up his afternoon nap for his parents.

We decided it would be the perfect time to sort out all the Beanie Baby's that have been donated by theme.  Allowing me to quickly find a toy to send along with the Hope Quilts.  Well that was the plan anyway.

You know the old saying make a plan....stand by and watch it fall apart.

Owen was excited to help sort....for about three minutes and then the debate was on!  I explained that we were going to put all the teddy bears together, all the farm animals together, all the animals from the sea together and all the jungle animals together.  Seemed so simple to me.  

We started with this container full to the rim, along with another small basket.

Owen and I were pretty much in agreement of the Teddy Bear category.  We ended up filling two containers of them, altho he did questions many of the colors as not being bear colors.

The farm animals took some negotiating.  Owen said he had never seen a buffalo or eagle on a farm.  I tried to explain that they would not be in the sea or jungle so they needed to go with the farm animals.  He let me have that one but only because he was digging his heels in on the next sortation.

Hawkeye was supervising the entire operation.

When it came to the sea and jungle animals, he insisted that we had to add a new category.  If he has seen the animal at the zoo, they all needed to be together.  So the penguins, lions, flamingos and elephants all got put into one bucket.  Separate from the octopus, snails and crabs.

When it was all said and done we have 5 containers sorted (well sort of) to make it easier to find the perfect beanie baby.  Owen stayed awake, and I was in awe of his reasoning abilities and his ability to defend his thought process.

It does appear that the school was able to come up with a couple of students to volunteer some time.  I think I will delegate finding the appropriate beanie baby to them.  {wink wink}

This past week I have finished a twin size bed quilt, and two of the Christmas lap quilts.  I also worked on a quilt for my granddaughter that is do next month.  I am going to get that one quilted before I head out to New Orleans this weekend.

Hope to show you some of the finished projects in my next post.... if not you may see shots of New Orleans.  


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

On Hiatus

With the Christmas quilting season coming up, and things that are happening in my life that I have no control over.

I have decided that I need a little hiatus. Life is crazy right now, and I am overwhelmed.  So I am prioritizing and cutting back to create some balance in my life.

I have talked with the center and they told me that they are good through the end of the year.  That works out well with the upcoming Christmas quilting season. (after all that is how I fund Iowa Comfort).

I have plenty of tops, and kits to work on when I have the urge.  But I am hoping that taking a step back from the paperwork and blogging will help energize me again.  It was beginning to feel like a job instead of a passion.

Maybe I could find a high school student looking for service credit, to come and help with some of the things that just bog me down.

I will try to get donations quilts and finished quilts up on the blog....but I am not guaranteeing long posts, or even a post on every Tuesday.  

That is it in a nut shell.  Hope you understand. 

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


You guys are just the best ever!  

I can hardly believe what we have accomplished.  I just went back and reread my very first post from Oct. 2, 2011.  My original goal was to make 12 lap size quilts in 2012 that would be kept in our local community.  Oh how my original plan has grown over a few short years.  Our quilts do stay local, and go to people that really appreciate the gifts of love......but they have grown from lapsize quilts to queen size quilts, and everything in between.  In the beginning 12 quilts in a year seemed like a lofty goal. 


I could not have done that without all of your help and support!

This is quilt 199.  I took it to show n share at Circle of Friends because all the fabric in this quilt top was donated by Adel Quilting and Dry Goods.  Each year at Jacque's retreat there is a some sort of charity function.  This particular year Jacque asked all those that were attending to bring a 10 inch square of fall colored fabric.  Jacque donated all of that fabric to Iowa Comfort.  There was enough to kit three queen size quilts.  This is the first one that is completed.

Color is just a little off in this photo

Here it is a little closer to the actual hues.  This quilt was pieced by my friend Jan M.  we used the sliced layer cake pattern for the lay out.

Several months (maybe even years) ago Jan had purchased this backing for a project.  Once she received it she didn't like it for that project and she donated the backing to Iowa Comfort.  It was the perfect backing for the fall colors quilt.  I knew that I would find the perfect quilt for that backing material! Jan also did the binding on this quilt for me.  When I delivered this quilt to the center it received a lot of attention.  They loved the warmth of the colors and of course loved the back!

This is quilt # 200.  Now don't get overly excited.  It is a panel, not a pieced double wedding ring quilt.  I had enough of this fabric donated to me that I was able to use the fabric for both the front and the back of the quilt.  The fabric had a three inch rust colored border that I cut off and used for the binding.  I think it turned out wonderful, and will make someone very happy!

I worked on a few more pillowcases. 

Officially these are pillowcases 424-431.  Getting so close to that 500 mark.  All we need is 69 more to reach it!

Thank you all for your continued support of Iowa Comfort, you all are amazing.  Special thanks this week to Jacque from Adel Quilting and Dry Goods, for the fabric donation.  Also to Jan M for generously donating her time and talents and fabric to us.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

The first of our completed Asian quilts

I just have to share what a wonderful time I had at my FIRST ever quilt retreat this past weekend.  I learned so much.... top on that list is that I over packed.  Thanks so much to everyone there for making it a grand experience!

I did work on several projects for Iowa Comfort.  I got three of the Christmas lap quilts pieced together.  I hope to get those on the long arm later this week or next.  ( I came home with a slight fever so I am taking it easy for a few days.)  

I worked on the Holy Scrap quilt also.  Sunday morning was spent getting all of the 2.5 inch strips sewn together.  I will get them pressed tonight for the next step.  Here is the link to Jacque's blog if you want to make one.


Before I left for retreat I quilted two of the three Asian quilts that have been returned from the community sew day.

This fabric for these Asian quilts were donated by Fon's and Porter.

This quilt was pieced by Kathy B. for me. It was started at the community sew day, and finished a couple of weeks later.  I finally got it on the longarm.  

Here I am at Quilt Circle asking for suggestions on the binding of this quilt.  I am still using donated fabric....and didn't quite have enough of one color.

So I followed the advise of my quilting buddies, and used a black/grey Asian fabric for all but one strip of binding.  That last strip was a cream colored fabric.  Of course silly me didn't get a pic that showed that corner.  I placed that cream fabric over the darkest corner of the quilt.  It was a nice contrast.

This quilt was pieced by Jackie O. she asked if I had a kit she could work on at home.  I was so glad that she did because my math was off and I needed to add more fabric to the kits to get a bed size quilt.

The good news was that because this quilt was just a little smaller, I had the perfect green Asian fabric to use for the binding.

Both of these quilts were delivered to the center last week.  There was a lot of OOOOHHHH and AAAHHHING going on when they came out of the basket.  I was told that they would be put aside for just the right person.  They loved  how colorful and rich these quilts were.

I was in my closet and realized that I have another Asian top that was pieced by Joyce S. down there.  It will be first on the longarm this week. 

Thank you Colleen for thinking about Iowa Comfort when donating fabric from Fon's and Porter.  That fabric is making beautiful quilts.

Thank you Kathy B. and Jackie O. for piecing these tops for us. I can't tell you how nice it is to quilt a top that has been pieced by an experienced quilter.  Makes the long arming so much easier!

Stop back next week for more finished projects.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Hope quilts

Yeah I know I am a few hours late with my post again.  It has been a crazy week already....and only getting busier for the rest of the week.

Tomorrow I have Owen, and need to get groceries.  Bright and early on Friday morning I leave for my very first quilt retreat experience.  So I have spent my evenings  trying to figure out what I am going to take with me.

I have the components for a Holy Scrap quilt, that appeared on Adel Quilting and Dry Goods website.  Okay 100% honesty here, all I did was go to my precut shoe boxes and my left over binding drawer and threw them all into a container.  The whole quilt is 2.5 scrappy strips.

I have a baby blanket to make, big pieces so should not take all that long.  It is for my granddaughter that is due in October.  Suddenly that sounds really soon.  Move that project to the head of the class.

I have enough blocks completed to make three of the Christmas lap quilts.  Hope to get them done.

I also have a couple of other projects to take along in case I get bored with any of the above mentioned projects.

When my boot was on (and I couldn't walk on the treadmill) I did manage to spend a fair amount of time in the quilt room.  I went to my Hope Quilt drawer and found some panels that I quilted up quickly.  Goal was to get them quilted and out of my house.....fabric management.  Panels gone, batting gone and backing used.  WIN WIN WIN!

A cute little sea panel, for some little boy.  This quilt had a red crab accompany it to the center. 

This country panel had a cute little teddy bear that was all dressed up in a lace dress and hat.

A simple farm panel.  I used a blue ABC panel for the backing.  In honor of this being the Sturgis rally,  I sent along a Harley Davidson decked out pig with this quilt.

This panel was adorable.  I was able to find a very cute yellow teddy bear to send a long with it.

These little quilts are nothing super special, but they are done and gone and that is always good!

Betty W did all the binding for me on these quilts, which I am truly thankful for.  Actually I am so very very grateful for all of the talents that Betty shares with Iowa Comfort. She binds, cuts, she pieces and quilts always with a bright smile.  I am so very lucky she chooses to share her talents with me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Quilts, Quilts, Quilts! Time for a delivery

Having a boot on for the last four weeks has allowed me to be really productive.  Now most of the quilts in this post are not my work.....but the center is going to love all of the quilts.  

This quilt was pieced by one of the ladies of the Adel Christian Church quilt group.  I actually thought I had all of these quilted up already.  I found several that were tucked away waiting their turn on the long arm.  I fondly remembered Donna Grove, when I pulled this quilt out.  Donna told me that she got bored, so I offered her a bunch of flannel fabric that she could use to create Hope Quilts.  Donna took the flannel back to her church group and announced that they would be making Hope Quilts for me.  Not at all what I had intended....but that was Donna.

In an effort to keep the quilt donation fairly balanced.  I decided that I needed to quilt a boy quilt....so I found this blue ABC panel. I know that this quilt really could be for either gender but the first one was pink....so I did the best I could.

These next quilts all came from Betty W.  

Betty is working on stash busting.  All of these adorable quilts came to me totally completed and ready for donation!

Now remember I am trying hard to donate Hope Quilts equally for boys and girls.  Betty remembered that and also created quilts for both genders.  Owen was visiting a few weeks back.  He was heart broken when he could not keep/use either of these quilts.  He loves trains....grandma might just have to make him one

I love this little quilt! It is going to make a little guys year, I just know it will.

This quilt is so sweet.  I sat and looked at the pattern for a very long time.  I am hoping to use it next year to do some stash busting of my own.

This strip quilt is so very simple yet makes a great little boy quilt.  I don't know how I managed not to get a photo of the little buddy that I sent along with this quilt.  It had a cute little pony.

Another adorable stash buster.  I may have to ask Betty where she finds her patterns at.  I had this one constructed three different ways before I realized it is one pieced block with an offset block.  Boy did I feel silly.  Simple but elegant.

Here is the last quilt that Betty gave us.  I love two fabric quilts, so simple yet so sweet.  I found the perfect little purple bunny in my stash to go along with this quilt.

Now as if these weren't enough.  Betty also took home 4 Hope quilts to bind for me.  She got them all bound and back to me in a week.  I think we can all agree that she is awesome!  Thank you so much Betty for all your time and talents.

I have several finished quilts to show you over the next few weeks, so make sure to stop back.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Great volunteers!

I have said it before and I will say it again.  I have some of the best volunteers around.  You have made Iowa Comfort a  success!

Kathy B. has been with me since the very beginning. She has come to every community sew day.  She has pieced, quilted and bound quilts for us.  Oh and she has made pillow cases.

She whipped up these 8 pillow cases for the center.

That brings our count up to 423 donated this year.

This is ICQ #179

Kathy also donated this finished quilt to Iowa comfort.  It has already made its way to the center.  The gals there fell in love with the colors.   Its kind of like seeing Christmas through a child's eyes.

Kathy also pieced this quilt together for us.  It is the first of the Asian quilts that we worked on at the last community sew day.

Last night was my Circle of Friends meeting and I let them help me pick binding for this quilt.  

It was tough because I am trying to use fabric that I already possess.  

In the end we decided to use a black/grey fabric for all but one strip (not quite enough fabric to bind the whole quilt) and then a soft creme.  The plan is to position the creme fabric over the darkest corner of the quilt. 

I am so grateful to all of my volunteers, especially those that go way above as Kathy does.  We touch lives because of all of you.  

Thank you so much!

Now off to cut that binding.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Christmas in July

I use to absolutely hate when I would see Christmas anything before Thanksgiving.  I actually still do....but I am going to have to get to a point where I love it because Iowa Comfort needs to get jolly!

Fons and Porter donated a lot of Christmas fabric.  I just could not see making bed size quilts out of this fabric.  I want these quilts to be used or at least special.   

I spoke with the center and asked if lap size quilts would be of any value around Christmas.  I was told that they could be used for clients that do not get adopted, or clients that enter the center to late to be adopted for the holidays.  

So here are 8 kits that I am going to get sewn together and quilted to be used as Christmas gifts this year.

This means I am going to take a break for a little bit from making pillow cases and I will focus on these quilts.  I work better under a schedule, so the plan is to complete at least one, including binding, a week.  

I plan to sew during the day, then cut and press in the evening. It has been a long time since I have pieced...so I am hoping that I won't be spending a lot of time with my seam ripper. If all goes as planned they should all be completed by the end of September...in plenty of time for Christmas.

This past week was really productive.  I am finding that my boot is really messing with my schedule,  I am limited to what exercise I can safely do.  So a lot of it is not getting done....but the my machines are getting a work out.  Last week I quilted 4 Hope Quilts and a bed size quilt.  All of these quilts are currently out being bound.  

Additionally I was tired of looking at all the piles on my quilt room floor.  I put my nose to the grindstone and created 3 large puppy pool quilts.  Puppy pool quilts are made from left over batting and fabric that for one reason or another won't make it in a quilt for people.  The puppies at AHeintz 57 dog rescue won't care that the batting is uneven or that the fabric doesn't match.  They will just know that they have a soft cuddly quilt to snuggle in when they wear themselves out and want to take a nap. 

I really like that I can see my floor and my sewing surface again.  I am getting the binding on the puppy quilts today so they can be donated soon.

Betty W. stopped by to drop off 6 Hope Quilts this past week, those will be a future post.

This coming week I have three beautiful Asian quilts that were pieced by Joyce, Jackie and Kathy to get on the longarm. They are from the community sew day, and they need to get completed. Lofty goals I know....but that is the plan.

Everyone have a great week!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Susan and Millie K

A while back I received an email from Jacque J at Adel Quilting and Dry Goods.  She had received an email from Susan.  Susan's mother Millie was a hand quilter.  When she passed away, Susan loving boxed all of her mothers fabric up for storage.

Earlier this year Susan set out to find a good home for her mothers fabric.  She contacted Jacque who put me in touch with her.  

I told Susan about Iowa Comfort and our pillow case challenge.  Susan told me that there was yardage in her mothers fabric... and I made an executive decision to break my rule and accept another fabric donation. 

Here is the donation in its original presentation.  I had one focus with this donation.  Cut it, kit it, and get those pillow cases made.

I have worked on this donation for a little over  a month now.

That is 57 pillow cases, ready for donation.  I also have a basket of flannel and solids for other projects.  Several large pieces of backing and about 10 more pillow cases for MaryAnn and I to get sewn up. (It was suggested that Big Bertha should be renamed MaryAnn, and I agreed.)  

Thank you so much Susan for donating your mothers fabric to Iowa Comfort. Your donation will provide comfort to many, and helped us get closer to our goal of 500 pillow cases donated this year.

Oh officially these are pillow cases 359-415. And it is only the beginning of July.