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Sunday, November 30, 2008

The future as I see it

Hi everyone,

As I write this, we are a few hours away from being in December, which means we are just a bit over a month away from the three-year anniversary of Homespun Helpers. I can't tell you how awesome I feel that you all have helped this group grow and continue in ways that I certainly never imagined.

The last two years have been about trying out new ideas, getting to see what worked and what didn't, and it's all been, I admit, a bit haphazard. My biggest goal in 2009 is to make things a bit more clear, a bit more streamlined -- maybe even easy to follow. I know, I think big :)

As I said, I really took to heart the feedback you gave me on my poll and that colored the ideas I'm going to list here. None of this will go into effect until 1/1/09, but I wanted to give everyone a heads up and time to ask any questions, etc. So here we go.

Yahoo Group

I have created a Yahoo group (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/HomespunHelpers/), and I'd very much like you all to join. I'd like to use this medium in a few ways. First of all, I have already uploaded a labels sheet and a letter that I'd love for you all to be able to send along with your finished objects. The label, together with the letter, will indicate that the items are coming from Homespun Helpers, an organization in which you take part.

I would also like to use e-mail reminders to keep everybody informed about drives and contests, which I will get into in a minute here. These reminders will be automatically sent to new members and existing members once a month and will basically ask you to check out the calendar at the group page. A link will be right there, so you won't have to write anything down or remember anything -- it will all be there for you.

Finally, I'd like to use Yahoo groups as a kind of forum or chat medium. We are all spread out right now in livejournal, blogspot, myspace, facebook, and ravelry, and each of us kind of have our favorite among those. That means, though, that livejournalers don't always know the bloggers, etc. With the option of e-mailing all homespun helpers members, I'm hoping we can all get to know each other a bit better.

You do NOT have to have a Yahoo e-mail address to join. All you have to do is go to the group page and sign up, or comment here with your e-mail address and I can send you an invite.

I feel and hope that having a centralized location for events, items, and other useful information will make everything a lot easier to follow for everybody.

Homespun Helpers as a group

I mentioned some files that I uploaded to the Yahoo groups page. You'll see there a labels word document and also a letter. While I am not going to crack down or hunt you down if you don't do this, I'd really like to solidify our identity as a group next year, and to that end, I'd love it if you could print out a label or 2 and a letter when you send your finished objects. The letter tells the organization that you are a member of Homespun Helpers, and if that organization ever needs specific items, let us know! This will be the only change in this regard -- I enjoy the fact that everyone can make what they want to make and send to whatever organization he or she wishes. I just think it'll be nice to get our name out there when you send your items.


Another reason I'm posting this early is that I'd like to create a calendar for next year, which will have one "drive of the month." This WILL NOT mean that you are required to send items to that charity, but it means we as a group will be especially conscious of that group during that month, just as right now we are working as a group on items for Ninja's preemie drive or on caps for kids for eliseamelie. Having one highlighted drive a month will cut down on a lot of the confusion. Again, the Yahoo page will have a calendar with the drive of the month and all of the information you need will be there. This means that everyone, no matter which group you are in, will be able to easily access information.


I think that contests can be fun and can give folks a sense that they are getting something back, but having multiple contests at a time can be tricky and confusing. I also got a lot of feedback that people haven't been active in this group because they felt that they couldn't do enough to make a difference. In response to those concerns, I'd like to create a monthly contest where anyone who makes anything for charity can be entered -- and just one item gets you in. No tags will be necessary -- I will keep it up. At the end of each month a winner will be chosen at random and that winner will receive a skein of yarn of their choice from me (or from someone else if you'd like to donate in that way). Yarn choices must be within reason. We all love pure angora Im sure, but um...yeah :)


Most respondents to my poll said that they would like to have an annual goal set for next year, and many said they'd like to have monthly goals as well.

For 2009, the annual goal will once again be 4,000 items. I think that it's a challenging number, but attainable, and if we succeed, we'll be awfully close to 10,000 items in just 3 years, which is mind-blowing.

As for monthly goals, I would like to see you all post your own monthly goals and let us know how you do with them. I know a lot of you are goal-oriented anyway, so it will be fun to cheer you on! Every month we can share our goals either through whatever group you post to or via the Yahoo group, and we will go from there.

Yarn Bank

I know that not everyone wants to participate in this and that's totally cool, but a few people seemed interested.

What I'd like to do is create a backlog of scraps of yarn that people don't want anymore. For now, I'll say that i'll be in charge of this but if someone wants to help/take over, I am so into it! Anyway, the principal is this:

You finish a project and you have half a skein of yarn that you never want to see again.

You send to me with a note saying what kind of yarn it is

I enter said yarn into an excel file that will be located at the Yahoo groups page

When someone is wanting to make squares, preemie items, a scrap bag afghan, or anything else, they will be able to go to that excel database and see what's available.

I will ship said yarn to said person.

Sending a couple of bucks with your leftovers to help with shipping would be ideal.

Depending on how the economy goes, 2009 could be a bit of a pinched year for all of us, so I figure this is a good way to recycle and help each other out.

That is what I am thinking for now. I would very much like your feedback, your membership in the Yahoo group, and all that jazz. And if you have ideas for drives for the months of next year, let me know that as well.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Connecticut for Priscilla!

These four hats and pair of mittens are going to Priscilla's guild drive for the Salvation Army. I had intended the mittens to go with the grey and green hat, but really they could go with three of the other hats too, so however you want to do that :)

Here they are:


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Something else to be thankful for

Well, as the fates would have it, we just happened to tally up to a very important number tonight. 3,201. Why is 3,201 important? That was our final tally for 2007!! Anything we do now is icing, folks!

I want to thank everyone for their thoughtful insight on my poll. I'm hoping to shake things up a little bit for 2009 and really appreciated that you all took the time to give me some direction on what you would or would not like to see.

I am, as always, awed by and thankful for all of you.

I also want to post a reminder, just because it's come up -- if you get together with friends or a group and donate items to a charity and you have a picture of all of the items together -- you can post that picture here and we can count everything. The purpose here, at least as of now, is not just to say, we members did this, but it's more to say this is a ton of stuff that people from all over made and donated to charity. Just something I thought I'd toss out there.

For those that celebrate, I hope you had a glorious Turkey Day.

Thanks for all you do!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Squares....finally! For Omaha and Robyn

Got 15 7 inch squares mailed out finally to Robyn. Fun colors, hope they help the cause.

Not all were mine, so for counting....only 7 for me please.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Thinkin' about next year

Hi everybody,

As we head towards the end of November and the holiday season, I know a lot of you are going to get more and more involved in presents, family get-togethers, and all that happy stuff. Me too! It'll be the beginning of 2009 before we all know it.

We are heading, believe it or not, towards the third anniversary of Homespun Helpers, and I would very much like to receive input from all of you about how you would like to see things go next year.

I have created a poll and if you have time, I'd really appreciate it if you could check it out. If you have other comments that you'd like to leave for me personally, let me know -- I can be e-mailed or otherwise contacted out of the public limelight :)

The poll is here: http://joriejc2.livejournal.com/424593.html?mode=reply

Thank you so much in advance for everything you all do!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hats and Booties for Babes

6 pr booties and 4 hats sent to Marine Corp Kids (10items this post). I love working with varigated yarns, it's always fun to see how the colors will come out. All items are knitted. Hats done in the round.
4 of the booties match the 4 hats and could be sets, or separated; based on the need when received.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

It's the Wednesday before the Wednesday before Thanksgiving!

Holy smokes!

So here is what is going on this fine, cold, snowy, blistery Wednesday (well, at least here):

As JezebelSF so kindly posted, we are less than a month away from that Personal Achievement Contest!

We are also less than a month away from the 10 items for Ninja preemie drive -- Ninja, please make sure you check over at blogspot as some of our blogspotters want to send stuff to you! (http://homespunhelpers.blogspot.com)

I am looking for homemade bags for Operation Bag of Home -- I have stuffing and no bags this time!

My friend Juniper is collecting Wintery items for a local school. That stuff can be sent to me.

I believe eliseamelie is still collecting items for Caps for Kids, and Robyn is still collecting items for Warming Omaha.

I am also still waiting for nominations for those "cabinet positions" i talked about -- I have a person who would like to fill the events/challenges job, and Ninja and I were talking about a yarn bank...anyone else?

That's all I can think of for now. I hope you are all hanging in there during these turbulent times.

Monday, November 17, 2008

One More Month

The deadline for the Personal Achievement Contest is fast approaching!

The final tally will be made on December 15, 2008. Please make sure all entries are tagged so that they will be counted :)


Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Hey hey everybody,

We've made it to another hump day!

Post with drives, contests, WIPs, election nominations, or anything else :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Hi everyone,

Afghans for Afghans is looking for 300 pairs of homemade kid-sized mittens or gloves by 11/20. Everything needs to be made of at least 80% wool.

For those of you who have been wanting a chance to try your hand at mittens (no pun intended), now is your time! Check out the pattern at Bev's Country Cottage if you're a crocheter -- very basic pattern and they turn out so cute! :)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wednesday Wednesday!

Well, folks have not been posting a whole lot of drives and contests the last couple of weeks, so I'm going to try and summarize everything that's been going on. The catch? You can't yell at me if I forget something :)


Eliseamelie is collecting hats, scarves, etc for Caps for Kids in Wyoming hats for Caps for Kids in Wyoming(one would have thought the name Caps for Kids would have clued me in eh?)

Eowyn_Ulysses is collecting homemade items for a fundraiser

Juniper is collecting hats, scarves, etc for a local school district's kids

Robyn is collecting warm things for Warming Omaha

Priscilla's guild is looking for items (preferably boy items) for a Salvation Army drive

I need bags for Operation Bag of Home! I actually have the stuffing this time :)

10 preemie items for Ninja drive (ends by 12/14)


Personal Achievement Contest is still going!

Other Updates

If you want to sign up for a charitable crafting e-newsletter, please go to the livejournal profile (http://community.livejournal.com/homespunhelpers) or to my blogspot blog (http://ladybugnotes.blogspot.com) and hit the button to subscribe. The e-newsletter will give updates about Homespun Helpers, other groups collecting items, nifty patterns, etc.

Elections: Don't forget, I'm taking nominations all this month for the three positions that will open up for next year. So far I have one nomination!

Happy Hump Day!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Homespun Helpers Elections

Hey there everyone,

Happy November! I hope everyone is having a fun, relaxing, yet completely safe Halloween weekend.

I have been doing some thinking, and I have come to an important conclusion. I think that we are big enough and strong enough that we need to become a bit more, well, organized. When Julie and I started Homespun Helpers almost 2 years ago now, I don't think we really even thought it would get off the ground. Now, here we are, with over 200 members, 4 different sites (Ravelry, Facebook, Livejournal, and Blogspot), tremendous people, and over 6,000 items handmade for charities. And yet, things are still running the way they were then, i.e., I am for some reason trying to do everything. I think that is starting to become a handicap rather than something awesome :)

So, what I would like to do is begin an election process for a few different positions that would begin 1/1/09. Those positions are:

Vice President of Communications: This person would work with me on the pending e-newsletter (contributing content, etc), building a web site, contacting other charities to see if they would want to work with us or to see if any of their members would want to join us, and probably other things I'm not thinking of right now.

Vice President of Development : This position would involve working with me on coming up with goals (weekly, monthly, whatever), keeping those goals organized, keeping running drives organized, and finding ways to encourage active participation both online and even offline!

Vice President of the "Treasury": I want to continue to shy away from taking monetary donations. We are not an official "organization" by the government's terms and applying for 501c3 status is just too darned expensive and complex as of now. But, what this person would do is work with me to find a not-for-profit partner that would be willing to work with us the way the Friends Society has paired with Afghans for Afghans. This position would also be responsible for assisting me in organizing and gathering supplies, both for drives and for people who may want to participate but who feel economically pitched and don't feel they can go out and get yarn and what-not that they need.

Over the next month, I will be taking names for nomination. I would like for all of this to be very public. If you see that you are nominated for a position and you don't want to do it, please say so as soon as you can. Yes, you can nominate yourself, but only for one position. All nominations must specify the title that you think that person would be suited for.

If this gets ugly in any way, the election process will be over and this idea will be null and void.

I will announce nominees for each position on December 1st and I'll accept votes until December 15. Winners will be announced on December 16. Voting will be done in some way that is confidential, but I need to think about that :)

If anyone has any questions or concerns about this, please let me know.


One for One Contest

We had ten entrants! Half are names I haven't seen posting before, so that is awesome! The entrants are:


I selected the winner at random, using rolled dice. And the winner is.... eowyn_ulysses!! Please email me at gilafied at gmail dot com with an email address to which I can send your gift certificate for JoAnn.com