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Thread: Do you ever feel like you are just not doing enough?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    I've always wanted to do something "else" with my life, and I thought that was to start a business but now I'm not so sure. I feel like there are so many out there that need help that what I should do should be of service to them and at the same time, beneficial to me. By beneficial I mean of use to them, worth my time (as far as for a reason) and bring in some extra money.

    There are so many charities, non-profits, clubs, guilds, and regular people that quilt and sew for others and I think I would like to start something like this. Many of these are done for infants and kids and I wonder if doing something for the elderly would be a good idea. I think they would like lap quilts or dolls or stuffed animals or shawls, do you? The few times I've been in nursing homes I feel rather scared and intimidated. They are me in 30 and 40 years. I don't want to be lonely and feel like no one cares.

    I would like your gut-instinct, honest opinion on this. Also, if you have any ideas or know where I could go to find out how to begin I would appreciate it.

    Then I'll probably have more questions but the beginning is a good place to start.


  2. #2
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    Nancy, I think it is wonderful that you want to "pay it forward" or back, if you prefer. And I would recommend that you pick the place that intimidates you the most. If you spend any time at all with the residents in a nursing home, you will definitely reap much, much more than you sew. Most decent nursing homes have an activities coordinator. Why not contact one of them and offer to start a quilting class, or bee, or some other kind of quilting or sewing project that can be tailored to the residents? You might find that the ladies (and maybe even gentlemen) would love to do something like sew or knit or crochet blankies, caps, or lovies for preemies and babies in the local charity or county hospital or low-income daycare. The possibilities are endless.

    If you are at all musical, you might consider having a "sing-along" session featuring the songs of the thirties and forties. I'll bet you everyone knows all the words to "Daisy" "Surrey with the fringe on top", "I'll be seeing you", "bicycle built for two" and many more!

    Good luck and God bless.

  3. #3

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    I invested the last 30 years in raising my family, and now I am a full-time wife. So I had better never end up in a nursing home! :lol:

    There are many different ways you can serve in your community. I think it's important to serve locally first. Your pastor probably knows of the most needy. If you aren't a member of a church, ask at a local thrift shop. Most of those are tied into charitable organizations. In addition to financial needs, there are "time" needs (visiting with the elderly in the nursing homes, for example).

    Women and children in shelters often need EVERYTHING. I am a pretty good shopper/couponer, so I can get things for free and donate them - shampoo, toothpaste, deodorant, shavers, feminine hygiene products... it's all needed. I don't have money to donate, but I do have the time to do that.

    If you have a job where you make good money, perhap you can work some extra money and donate that portion of your pay. Our family doctor does that. He serves on the board for our local crisis pregnancy center, but he says that he can best serve the needs of the community by giving money. So he works at the hospital one extra day each week and donates that income.

    As for sewing...

    A group that I belonged to in Missouri made nursing home quilts. Obviously, these were not a financial gift, but they said: "We care about you" - and that need is so real. We used polyester doubleknits in bright cheerful colors, and tied or machine quilted them. We put ties on two corners, so they could be tied to the sides of the wheelchair and not fall to the floor. You have to make them a certain size, so they don't get in the way of the wheels.

    I know the doubleknits sound icky, but they are great for this purpose. Those quilts have to withstand frequent laundering in hot water, to keep them sanitary. The bright colors are a blessing to failing eyes.

    A lady in our church makes doll clothes for the thrift store. They get a lot of donations of naked dolls, and she makes clothing for them. :lol:

    About other quilt donation projects - all of them say "I care", no matter who you are sewing for: soldiers, widows, orphans, infants, sick children... those are all good things to do. In this time, I personally prefer to try to benefit those who are in financial need. One opportunity is donating a quilt for an organization to raffle off, auction or sell. If you are interested in building a career in sewing, this is a very good thing to do because you get publicity (unless you prefer to do good deeds anonymously). I do prefer to do good deeds anonymously, but this is one place where I would take advantage of the publicity.

    I am considering expanding my teaching career (quiltmaking, not children) in some different directions, including ministry. I have done several workshops for church groups, and they have always hired a separate speaker, but I would like to do that teaching too. (Yes, I could do that.) So that would serve others and I would be paid, too. :)

    I also want to offer basic sewing/mending classes in the low-income part of town and at the women's shelter. Sewing machines and other tools would be a problem, though. I would have to see if I could get donations. I am good at fixing up old machines, but we all know how expensive sewing can be...

  4. #4
    JJs
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    do you belong to a guild? Our guild makes bibs, baby blankets, burp cloths, carry bags for the local pregnancy center and for the local (small) hospital..
    also we make adult bibs, lap quilts for the nursing homes, and bags to go on walkers

    we've also made quilts to donate to the local ARC and to the RSVP program - they sold tickets and will keep all the money raised

    if you do belong to a guild and they don't do those things, you might bring it up at the next meeting

    we each donate time, fabric, time, fabric, etc to these projects and believe me when I say, it's an unending cycle and you will have MORE THAN enough to do to donate

    unfortunately girls are getting pregnant (some over and over and over again) and depending on charity to get by

    people are living in nursing homes

    it's never ending - if you don't have a local guild, start one, or get two or three friends together one day a week or month to work on similar projects after talking to your own local hospitals/clinics/pregnancy center/nursing home etc

  5. #5
    Super Member Shemjo's Avatar
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    This is a wonderful thing you propose.

    In my guild, we set aside one meeting a year where we make charity quilts that we all work on at the meeting, sewing tops, sandwiching them and burping and tying them for a specific group. We change the groups each year and vote on who will get them. And we continue to work on them at home during the year. This year we added some outside work for vetereans quilts, and a LQS is machine quilting them at a discount.

    I quilt at my church with the senior ladies. We quilt for pay and also make two raffle quilts a year. The money goes to the church and we can earmark it for a special cause.

    There are several of these church and community groups in the greater metropolitan area, and I know rural areas do this also.

    Hospitals and senior homes are always needing activities and volunteers.

    All you have to do is put the word out and you will get ideas of what is needed in yout area, and then you decide where you want ot put your energies. And you can decide whether you will stay or move on if the fit isn't right for you!

    I love the idea of using your/my gifts and paying it forward! :thumbup:

  6. #6
    Senior Member Butterfli19's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loretta
    Bless you for thinking of others.! We will be anxious to hear what you end up doing. All of the above suggestions are good ones! Good luck!
    Well, I haven't done anything yet, I'm still in the thinking stages and need a plan, but I appreciate the encouragement!

    I just want to make a commitment to something that will make someone else's life nicer, happier, easier, or just to let them know that there are people thinking about things other than their own lives.

  7. #7
    Moderator Jim's Gem's Avatar
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    Nancy, I think it is wonderful that you want to do something to make a difference in other people's lives. There are so many great suggestions here I will take some of them to heart when my life gives me more time for it (ie when I can quit working) I volunteer 3 days a month as a mentor mom for a Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) program at our church. It is fun to be the "been there, done that, survived to tell the story" person and many of the young mothers ask my advice on all kinds of subjects related to parenting and marriage. I have donated at least a dozen quilts a few of which have been queen or twin size that have gone down to Mexico for homes our high schooler's at church have built. I would love to do more and look forward to having the time to do it.

  8. #8
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Go to the local library, the library meeting rooms are free to the public. Find a day that the room is available once a month and book it. Put up notices everywhere of sew group forming, beginners welcome. Put the time and day. I did this for a sewing group and had no idea if anyone would come. But they did. We have 40 plus in the group now and we have moved to a bigger free room in the community center. I did the same with a knitting group. I wanted to learn to knit so I put up notices everywhere and 8 people showed up. We learned how to knit all together, some knew a little about it and one lady did know how to knit. We still meet once a month and during the summer we have the kids and grandkids learning how to knit.
    Through other women I met through these groups I have joined a quilt guild, Friends of the Library, Home Ext. Homemakers, volunteer for the crafts/sewing state fair, and helped arrange a plant swap. I want to be out doing something fun for me and others. All it takes is some time and a little effort to have some extra interest in life

    Also here is somethiing very important. Go to any group meeting you are interested in and raise you hand one time to volunteer to do something. You will never have a free time after that to think about feeling in the dumps. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

  9. #9
    Power Poster sandpat's Avatar
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    I agree that there is a never ending list of group needs....lest we not forget the needs of our furry friends too...probaby your local animal shelters need help as well...they need time volunteers along with financial aid...they need tech saavy folks to work on their adoption web sites, they need photographers to take great pics of the potential adoptees..they need foster homes...they need beds for the animals....the lists are endless..

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