Friday, June 18, 2010

Craftswomen and Charity - Give me your input.

2 things seem constant in my life at this particular moment. One is terrific, the other not so good. It has really made think lately about what is really important out there.

The terrific thing I see is that every day when I log on the computer, I am really wowed by the amazing talent you craftswomen have. I get blown away daily by it. There seems to be several of you that really produce excellence in your particular craft. I also see an incredible desire from craftswomen to learn new things. I can't help but be stunned by it all. You should all be very proud.

Now for the bad news. Every time I log onto the computer, I also see the BP oil spill, soldiers fighting, homeless people in our cities, women in shelters....on and on and on. It's pretty awful.

Years ago, I made a kind of a weird promise to myself. I wanted to be able to play a musical instrument. I won't tell you which one. But, I promised myself that if I ever was able to create beautiful music, that I would share my gift and use my talent to help a few charities.

But the music thing never happened for me. Instead I am cursed with this desire to create sawdust. Occasionally though, I use my woodworking talent in the same way that I intended to use music. I belong to a local guild that does a variety of projects for some very needy groups and individuals. The guild has tackled projects like building furniture for women's shelters, wheel chair ramps for shut-ins, cabinets for soup kitchens, and doing educational woodworking seminars for kids and moms. It is a pretty amazing guild, to say the least.

Here is what I would like to know from all of you. Do any of you talented crafters out there use your talent to make the world a better place? Do you quilters ever make blankets for the homeless? Are there any of you that pick up a paint brush to help rejuvenate a neighborhood? Do any of you fabulous cooks ever help feed the hungry?

I am asking this because I have come to realize that blogging craftswomen are a very large and talented group of individuals, who I think could really make a difference out there.

I would like to hear some conversation from all of you regarding the use of your talents for charitable projects. If you have done it, let's hear about it. Tell us all about your project. If it has been something you wanted to do, but haven't done, tell us what you would like to do if you could. Which projects are important to you and why?

I am not sure where I am going with all of this. But, if enough of you out there get involved with commenting on this post I may try to do a link party or some feature posts where you can show off your charitable project. For right now, let's just hear from all of you.



18 comments:

Amanda@The Hand Me Down House said...

Thanks so much for putting this post out there! I think sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own projects and crafts that I forget that with these talents/gifts I can help out someone else. Now that you mention this I'm wanting to go out and do something for someone else. Unfortunately I don't use a lot of my "gifts" to help out others -- other than a neighbor here or there or volunteering at Church. You've got me thinking now though!

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Amanda,

If everyone helped out a neighbor or volunteered at Church even just once in while like you do, I think the world would be a much better place. Thank you for doing it. People like you that volunteer once in a while don't get near enough credit. Credit seems to be reserved for movie stars and mucisians these days, but I think it is the individuals like yourself that are the real workhorses of charitable groups.

I would love to put together an organized effort to make a real difference out there, but it really depends on the interest level from the great craftswomen we have following this site. Give it some more thought if you want and feel free to comment on this post again.

I have a few ideas of my own that might be really helpful and beneficial to all of us. More on that later.

Rory

Sally Hamilton said...

My quilt guild collects and makes simple quilts for hospitalized children and nursing home patients. It's amazing how comforting something as simple as a quilt can be. Seniors, especially, appreciate the lap quilts.

As an individual, I also make many items like jewelry and hand-dyed silk scarves that are auctioned at charity events to raise money. Organizations are always looking for these types of items.

Thanks for posting this.

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Hi Sally,

You are very welcome. Your effort is exactly what I am talking about. Using one's own talent, regardless of what it is, to make a difference. I bet your elderly recipients are positively beaming when someone goes out of the way to make them a lap blanket. Nicely done. I am interested in knowing if you ever post your efforts on the net?

Rory

Ellen said...

I donate many items to an organization near/dear to my heart. I have two nephews who have Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy, so I donate multiple baskets of handcrafted items to our family's annual fundraiser for the Muscular Dystrophy Foundation. Over the past years I have made and donated several sets of mosaic flower pots, woven denim rugs, a quilted wall hanging, several baskets of handmade baby items, plus lots more. Last year I donated 35 entries to our silent auction. Our family, along with several other local families affected, made $50,000 (in a very small town in a four hour event) for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
I know this is not the same as helping the homeless, but it is something I can do to help my nephews as well as many other children/adults affected by the muscular dystrophies. I have always wanted to be involved with Habitat for Humanity, but am unable to do much lifting.

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Wow Ellen!

That's pretty incredible. You do not know how good it makes me feel to hear that people like you are putting their talents to use in a very positive way. Think what craftswomen could do if they organized their efforts a little bit. Keep up the good work. Gotta love it!

Rory

Rambling Housewife said...

After having a baby in November that required him to stay in the NICU for 2 weeks, I've started to knit a bunch of little hats for the babies in the unit. I'm hoping to deliver a bunch to the babies when my little dude is 1 year old on Thanksgiving Day, which was our/his hardest day! I've also been looking about volunteering with my children whether it's going to an old folks home, etc. It's really hard to find opportunities, or I should say organizations here. We were involved in Portland doing stuff at the community gardens, shelters, etc.

I was just talking to my folks last night about volunteering and how it's very frustrating here in Louisiana. There are so many people that want to help, but there is so much red tape that people are being sent away. I'm just wondering why people just don't go and do it anyway. BP doesn't own the beach or the damn ocean. This is our lively hood & even though BP says they care about the "little people", their quote, if people want to be involved, they should be able to.

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Rambling,

I agree with you totally. It's hard to know where to even start sometimes.

I have always loved the hat knitting for newborns. I have always thought it to be a pretty fabulous way to give something pretty special. Kudos to you for doing that. I would love to see a pic of you presenting the hats, whenever that takes place. I think it would make a terrific post on Tools are For Women Too! Please make sure you let me know when it happens.

I am working on a couple ideas that might make it easier for you and your kids to do some fun volunteer projects without any red tape. Stay tuned, as I work on putting something together.

Rory

Amanda@The Hand Me Down House said...

I would love to hear the ideas you're having-- and I think an organized effort is a wonderful idea!

Thanks for the kind words. :)

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Thanks Amanda,

I am trying to tune a few thoughts right now, but I need more feedback from craftswomen like yourself. I think I am on to something pretty neat, but I want to hear more from everyone. Thanks for your interest. I promise to elaborate on a few of my ideas soon.

Rory

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

By the way, if anyone out there would like to link to this post, they are welcome to do it. The more input and participation the better.

Big thanks to all of you.

Rory

Ellen said...

Thanks Rory!
I have to comment to Rambling--those hats will be so appreciated by the parents of the NICU babies and by the nurses too. Sometimes as I am sure you know those babies are too sick to wear anything but hats. Those hats are sure to comfort other parents. As a previous NICU nurse I was always scouting out the cutest donated hats to put on my wee baby's head.
And a comment to Sally--I now work a lot on pediatrics and I see a lot of donated blankets and pillowcases. Those kids love those! They get to take their special blanket home with them and make the hospital a little more like home! Thanks to you for helping out!

Revamped French Maison said...

Rory,
We frequently donate items to the Vets and SPCA.. mostly blankets, toiletries, warm socks etc... many of our Vets are irreparably injured and homeless. It makes my heart ache so that is my number one charity then the no-kill animal shelters.


Random kid in neighborhood is outside in the freezing rain at 33 I run out to give him a jacket....
little girl next door tells me it's mum and dads anniversary and she doesn't have any money for a gift~ solution put together a flower arrangement for her. There seem to be a lot of children wanting for attention....they roam the streets and often end up in my neighborhood when they live quite far away.... They're so inquisitive and will sit in my yard for hours asking endless questions....

I guess what I'm saying is giving doesn't have to be an object or something made... Just simply listening is an act of love too :) We can give in so many more ways than physical things... sitting with the elderly too. It means the world to them. Ah but there always is the one mean little one screaming at ya. I remember that from singing at convalescent homes when I was younger. lol..Bless their hearts.

Okay enough rambling...Hope this gives you some more ideas Rory.

Blessings,
Shanna

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Revamped,

Thanks for commenting. The SPCA and animal shelter support has always been something I have been very fond of. In fact I did a project a few years ago that might interest you. It involved getting high school kids together to serve all the dogs in 2 animal shelters Thanksgiving dinner. The food we served was a turkey loaf product that was being promoted, and was donated by a dog food company. The kids tried to make Thanksgiving a special day for around 200 dogs and puppies. Pretty fun stuff.

I love your comment about the screaming man. I can just picture it. Too funny!

Way to go, Shanna!

Rory

Decorchick! said...

Rory, unfortunately I can't seem to find the time to go out and volunteer, especially with a little 11 month old. But what I do frequently is donate to the thrift stores and Goodwills that I go to on a regular basis. With all of the great deals I get there all the time, it's the least I can do to donate back to them and give other people the opportunity to get a good deal. And I do this usually on a weekly basis! I've usually got a bag in my trunk so I can drop it off whenever I happen to go to the stores.

But there are other ways of reaching people that I won't get into right now, but I hope some of them are working. :)

Green Gracie Home said...

What a great post! It seems that my giving of myself (and not just donating money or goods to Freecycle or charity) ebbs and tides. When our son was diagnosed with Autism, we did everything we could for the horse stables that gave him therapy (even mucking). I find that I am the one called for sprucing up Sunday school rooms or making extra pillows. But sometimes it isn't "intentional" on my part, just filling a need. This is really making think of what proactively should and could be done.

Sabrina C. said...

Thanks for asking! My daughter and I started an outreach project that we call "Mackensie's Messages of Love." She became ill 3 year ago and was diagnosed with "Cushings Disease and Disautonomia." I started her a Caring Bridge page to find connect with other sick children so that she would understand that she wasn't the only child suffering will a chronic illness. She has received many cards and small gifts from people around the world and it got us to thinking. She is being homeschooled by me now and we needed to do some type of craft or art work with our curriculum. Thus the outreach. She makes homemade cards for other sick children around the world. Some cards have stickers and messages as decorations, so have stencils or hand drawings done by her. She has made and mailed out 236 cards since we started this outreach project. It brings joy to her knowing that she is putting a smile on another sick childs face. She has received many comments on her Caring Bridge web page from parents and children telling her how much the card that she sent them means to them. It is her way of sharing her love with others.

Rory from Tools Are For Women Too! said...

Sabrina,

Thank you for your comment. Sounds like a pretty wonderful project. You must have a terrific daughter. Glad to hear there are a few of us out there that are still into giving. I am still working on a potential project for my blog involving charity work, but I was really hoping for more interest. For what I had in mind it would be difficultwith less than a handful of interested people. However, as Tools Are For Women Too grows and I develop more readers, it should be easier to approach.


Rory