Saturday, April 21, 2012

A Ton of Love

When I last posted, I thought I would be making caps and bags for children with cancer.  Children I didn't know, wouldn't know, but children who may be helped or cheered in some small way by the items I sewed.  But life took a very unexpected turn.  One of my best friend's 5 year old daughter was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor.   Five days later the beautiful, smart, kind and happy little girl, Madeline Elizabeth Musto, became an angel.  

Amid the shock and sorrow, the grieving and disbelieving, the support for Maddie's family was amazing.  People locally and from literally across the world who heard of the family's story reached out.  It was like a herd of elephants coming together as a family.  And it was that keen observation by my friend H that was the start of Maddie's Elephants.  She had the idea of sewing stuffed elephants that might help children by having something to cuddle when they were sad or confused.  Elephants would represent the togetherness we all feel in our sorrow and be a tangible way to celebrate Maddie and support her family.  At the start, a goal of making and selling 300 elephants seemed unlikely, but possible and worth pursuing.  

H put together a 'sewing bee' of sorts at her church and with three of us sewing as others cut and pinned, we had about 42 elephants ready to stuff and sell by the day's end.  The following day, we launched a web site that was hastily though expertly pulled together with a great deal of help from my husband.   That was Sunday at about Monday morning we had 51 orders.  On Monday we received another 70 orders!  Orders came in faster than we could sew and stuff and we again saw the kindness and beauty of people coming together to help each other.  Friends who didn't know how to sew helped turn the sewn elephants, helped stuff and helped with donations of fabric and batting.  

Photo Courtesy Kidography by Dania

Over 600 elephants have been sold online, at benefit events and through word of mouth.  Elephants are now keeping Maddie's memory alive in 30 states, over 100 cities/towns and at least 4 countries!  And so while I did end up sewing because of childhood cancer, it was for a beautiful little girl I did know.  I feel privileged to be a part of the Musto's lives and to be able to contribute to "the best day evers" that will come from the Maddie's Mark Foundation.  Please visit the foundation's web page to learn more.  

If you too would like to be a part of "the herd" you can order your own Maddie's Elephant at and be sure to "like" Maddie's Elephants on Facebook.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hello folks I'm so happy to be guest posting here in Melissa's world!  I'm Wendi from SewCatSew Creations.  I love to sew (did the name give me away?), craft, design and drink tea to excess.  I do a lot of hand sewing with felt, but also enjoy machine sewing for charity projects and home decor adventures.  Do stop by my space and say "hi"!  But now, let's get to the project I have for you...Quick 'n' Easy Boot Fillers.

I use these to store my good boots over the winter, but also between day-to-day wearings to keep them from drooping and wrinkling.  They take less than an hour to make and only require a few supplies that you likely have on hand.

For today's tutorial I used a piece of flannel that I bought on a whim from the remnant bin, bamboo batting, a piece of ribbon and basic sewing supplies.

First cut out 2 rectangles 22 inches by 10 inches from your fabric.  Fold each length-wise, right sides together and pin.


Next you'll sew along one 'short' end and along the long side across from the fold leaving one 'short' end open.  I used a 1/2 inch seam allowance, but precision is not important in this project (bonus!).  Repeat for your other piece of fabric.

Now, turn both rectangles right side out so you have a sort of long, skinny pillow case.

Next up is the batting - I simply rolled out a "log" of batting to the approximate size of my case and cut it off the roll.  I didn't even unfold it from it's original shape out of the package.  Easy peasy!

Stuff the batting into the case.  If you find it's a bit bigger than you need, simply unroll and roll tighter and smaller.  If you didn't get enough from you first cut, just wrap another thickness around to enlarge.  Once the tubes are stuffed, all you need to do is finish them.  I like to pull the bottom sewn corners together and tack them with a few hand stitches for a neater look, but if you're just interested in function, you can skip this step.

To finish the open end, roll the raw edges down into the tube until they meet the batting.

Next, take about 15 inches of your ribbon and tie a nice tight knot and bow around the 'neck' right at the top of the batting.


And that's it you're done!  Slide your new fillers into your boots bow side up and smile at how tall and proud your slumpy boots stand and how easy it was to give them a pick-me-up!

I hope you enjoyed this quick and useful project.  Thank you again for inviting me to your blog, Melissa!   Have a great weekend everyone!