Intimate Gifts

Intimate Gifts

“Have you received my package yet?”, the email read. I hadn’t. Not that it hadn’t arrived, I just hadn’t picked it up from the post office yet. I let the donor know I’d get it soon…

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Finding community

Finding community

I’d love to share photos from yesterday’s volunteer sewing day. But there aren’t any. We were too busy sewing. And talking. And laughing. And sharing ideas.

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Aha Moment!

Aha Moment!

Mutual of Omaha has a cool campaign going! They’re sending an Airstream trailer around the country and talking to people about the Aha Moments in their lives. They contacted me to see if I’d like to do an interview and I was thrilled to say yes.

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Thank you, ASG!

Thank you, ASG!

The relationship between the Sewing Machine Project and The American Sewing Guild goes back a few years. Kind of makes sense, doesn’t it, for a nonprofit focused on sewing and sewing machines to collaborate with a national group promoting the love of all things sewing? ASG produces a beautiful quarterly newsletter for members filled with ideas, good news, tips and tricks. One section that I especially love, called “Sew and Tell” shares stories about sewing intiatives around the country. The Sewing Machine Project had the good fortune of being featured in the Sew and Tell section of the latest issue. Come on! Take a peek! Summer 2015 ASG Notions... read more
Erika Barratt Design

Erika Barratt Design

I was thrilled to receive a call a few months back from Erika Barratt, a designer out of Brooklyn, NY. This woman is fabulous. She creates lovely heirloom dolls and stuffed toys, using traditional methods and natural fibers. The faces on these little creatures will melt your heart! Erika called me because ever since she first conceived of the idea to start this sweet business she imagined sharing the proceeds of her sales with a worthy nonprofit. She found us and decided we were that group and we are SO honored! Erika’s work has been featured with the likes of Martha Stewart, West Elm and Madesmith, to name just a few. Be sure to take a peek. We are so... read more
Summer Camp machines

Summer Camp machines

When Amy Schisler requested 10 sewing machines for her Camp Summer Roundup program in Maryland we read the application with interest. Camp Summer Roundup serves Girl Scouts in  Maryland and Delaware, offering a summer camp laced with creativity and caring. Amy detailed that even outside of camping months the machines would be used for retreats and enrichment programs. We were thrilled to learn that girls would not be turned away due to lack of funding–the Summer Roundup crew has “angels” offering scholarships. As with any educational machine request we looked around our inventory to choose suitable machines. Just as we were beginning that process a gift arrived on our doorstep…make that 10 gifts. Our friends at Bernina of America donated 10 Bernette sewing machines! Yes, 10. The machines are lovely and I have no doubt that they’ll be well-used. Easy to use and teach on they’re the perfect machines to send to the Roundup. Bernina has supported The Sewing Machine Project in the past with machine donations and wonderful promotional events. We are so very... read more
Defining Need

Defining Need

One of the most important jobs we share as Sewing Machine Project board members is application review. Over the years this process has evolved quite a bit. During the early days…I’m talking 10 years ago…we didn’t even have a board. I worked originally with members of our local chapter of the American Hindu Association and they identified groups in Southeast Asia–orphanages– with whom they worked–groups that were experiencing such great need. Relationships had been established before we (The Sewing Machine Project) ever came on the scene and our job was to prepare and pack sewing machines to accompany their shipments of medical supplies and other necessities after the tsunami that had devastated the area. Everyone was struggling and the machines we sent offered hope and possibility as those who worked with the children in these centers were able to sew for the kids as well as teach them a trade. When Hurricane Katrina roared on through New Orleans and the levees failed I loaded up a van with machines and drove down, not knowing who I’d find or if there was even a need for these tools. Initially believing I’d deliver machines and that would be it, I quickly discovered need beyond need and knew that my mission had just begun in that region. A database of 600 names was the tool and over the course of a few years we worked through that list. New Orleans continues to be one of our focus areas as we deliver sets of machines to community groups. Really, the task has gone from disaster relief to community support but make no mistake, Need still... read more
WXPR Radio Interview

WXPR Radio Interview

I was invited to speak in Eagle River last week at Many Ways of Peace. How lovely to be received by those working for peace! Among the audience members was Emily Bright of WXPR Radio and she did a lovely interview. Here is that link. I hadn’t been to that part of Wisconsin for many years–what a treat it was to revisit. The woods were lush and green, the lakes clear and cold, the wildlife and wildflowers abundant– “Beautiful” doesn’t begin to touch the lushness of this place. Staying in a little cabin, hosted by new friends, we were held–truly held–during our stay. Kindness wrapped around us and we rested in its warmth. Nights were cold! But blankets were abundant and in the early light of morning we wandered down to the main house where the wood stove was stoked and we were welcomed in. Every piece of this visit was a gift. I hope you’ll listen to the interview!... read more
Mexico

Mexico

The ladies of Rancho la Joya in Mexico are a resilient bunch. The land that supports and sustains them is rocky and dry with a beating sun that will send you running for shade. I was fortunate to visit in 2012 after my sweet friend, Cherie shined a light on them for me. These ladies are sewers or would-be sewers. Their lives play out on this dry land just far enough from the city to make it difficult to get there regularly. Led by a force of a woman named Angeles they are recreating themselves into a sewing cooperative. Angeles’ vision began years ago, imagining a sewing school and workroom right there on their land. She imagined the women of the Rancho being able to do contract sewing so they could be near their homes and children. So vivid was her vision that she sold her cow and her bull to gather seed money for construction. This got the walls up. Angeles envisioned a garden adjoining the sewing room where women could grow food for their families. She wrote a government grant to erect two cisterns, gathering precious rain for nurturing their crops. When I visited the Rancho this is where things were–the walls were up on the little sewing space and the cisterns were up and running. Since my visit they’ve added a roof and a floor to the building. They still need to add windows and doors and seal the whole thing. I’ve told the group that The Sewing Machine Project will step in with sewing machines and supplies once the building is watertight. But money is hard to... read more
Thank you, Bernina!

Thank you, Bernina!

We kind of have a “thing” going with Bernina. I guess you could say we’re “in a relationship” although I haven’t updated our Facebook status. But over the years, Bernina has been incredibly kind to The Sewing Machine Project. Back in 2008, Bernina featured its first “Give and Get Back” promotion where people could trade in their old machine, designating it to be given to a charitable group, and they received a discount on a new Bernina. And that charitable group was…you guessed it…The Sewing Machine Project. They repeated that sweet promotion in 2013. Some machines came our way and some were donated within the communities that each dealership called home. No matter where the machines ended up we were grateful that the directive was to place sewing machines in the hands of people who otherwise were unable to purchase them for themselves. And people got to learn about The Sewing Machine Project to boot! Bernina International-Switzerland donated sewing machines in 2009 which ended up going to Kosovo. These machines made a dream come true when a small women’s collective was able to use them to educate other war widows in their region, helping them learn skills they could use to support their families. Bernina of America donated machines that were used for our Sewing Shares program. The goal of this program was to loan machines to local groups for basic sewing education. In 2012 Bernina of America donated over 300 machines that have gone in sets to groups around the country. What a blessing to be able to donate matching machines! And most recently, we received a surprise gift of 10 Bernette... read more

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