Postage stamp drive

Stamp drive image

Do you get the occasional parcel?  Do you receive a lot of mail?  Do you work in an office and throw away a lot of envelopes with the stamps still attached?  Then you are just the person I’m looking for!

During 2015 I am running a stamp drive … not crafting stamps … we’re talking postage stamps.

#1 – When swaps come in I send all the postmarked stamps to a lovely gentleman with alzheimers.  I bag them up all month long, then my Mum delivers them.  She tells me that it really makes his day.  He collects and clips them for his favourite charity.  So if you have a second to rip the postmarked stamps off your envelopes and send a bunch off to me, I’d surely appreciate it.  Could you imagine if I could send him a box full???!!!

#2 – Sometimes an envelope will arrive that hasn’t been postmarked.  That seriously makes my day.  Those stamps are repurposed, and they help me send training materials to new volunteers for Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies.  This helps keep costs down for the organisation a bit, but some more from homes and offices Australia-wide would make a big difference!  By helping us train more volunteers, we can help even more families grieving the loss of their angel babies.

Stamps of all shapes and sizes, colours and values gratefully received at:
Dawn Lewis Imagery
PO Box 9387
Wyoming NSW 2250

I thank you in advance for your ninja stamp clipping skills 😀

Signature for blog

Angel Gowns – my first transformation

This was the first wedding dress that I was given to transform for Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies Inc.  It was so beautiful that it made me nervous!  Then I felt a bit silly about being nervous … I mean … I’ve been sewing since I was 10 years old!  But there’s something about someone donating their wedding gown, and entrusting you with such a special dress, that brings with it a crazy range of emotions.  There’s the thrill of holding this beautiful dress, then the paralyzing fear that I might mess it up, then the mini motivational chat where I reminded myself that I’m pretty darn good with a sewing machine (I sew for a living, for goodness sake!), then the tiny nagging doubt that you can do it justice, and that terrifying moment when you rip that first seam as you take it apart.

Transformed by Dawn Lewis, donation Rhiannon Grant 33

But then something amazing happened.  This dress spoke to me.  The fabric told me which way it should go, and suddenly the way to embellish the tiny gowns I was making became crystal clear.  Before I knew it, and with a little help from my friend Sewing B, there were 31 tiny gowns cut from the dress, with lining left over to be used on wraps and other gowns.  Keeping with the beautiful and elegant simplicity of this wedding dress, I kept the angel gowns simple and elegant as well.

Transformed by Dawn Lewis, donation Rhiannon Grant 2

I desperately wanted to do nothing else but sew, but alas, work deadlines and family activities meant I could only do a little at a time.  All up it took 6 months to transform this dress, and at the end there was another mixed batch of emotions.  Delighted that I was finished so that this beautiful bride can see the transformation.  Proud to have finished this monumental task.  Sadness at the necessity of providing so very many angel gowns, and for the families who will use them.  Peacefulness that I can use my skills to help others.  You can view the full transformation on the Facebook page HERE.

Transformed by Dawn Lewis, donation Rhiannon Grant 29

I am honoured to be involved with this amazing organisation.  We have volunteers who help us with administrative tasks, seamstresses, knitters, crocheters, our keepsakes and deconstruction teams, Area Reps, State Managers and our wonderful Board members.  Then there are the incredible people who donate to us.  We are a non-profit organisation.  Nobody draws a wage for their services, and we do not charge for our angel packs.  Everything is made with care, donated without cost and sent with love to families grieving the loss of their baby, gone way too soon.

If anyone feels moved to help us in any way … well, there are so many ways to do so, big and small.  After being asked for suggestions for suitable donations, I’ve consulted with the Board and compiled a wish list.  We use a lot of white & cream and pastel colours, so things like thread, ribbon, lace and yarn are incredibly useful to our seamstresses.  For our two amazing HQ ladies, pre-paid post satchels help us get angel packs into hospitals and funeral services all over Australia.  Even the donation of a few stamps to the volunteer induction & mentoring team helps us sending training packs to our volunteers.

Donation wish list flyer

If you are a seamstress, knitter or crocheter and would like to help, it is so easy.  Just visit the website HERE, and click on ‘Become a Volunteer’ tab at the top.  There is also a tab for ‘Make a Donation’, and you can always contact me if you have any questions.

Christmas Fundraiser

This is a fundraiser I’m coordinating for my dd’s school Special Education Unit.  These teachers do an absolutely incredible job teaching and caring for these kids, including one of mine.  Honestly … I’d be lost without them.

Flyer

This fundraiser is the most useful Christmas fundraiser EVER!  These tags are customised with your names in the ‘from’ section, to save you the time and mild sanity-breaking activity of writing out your family’s names over and over and over again when wrapping gifts.  Have I mentioned that these are proving quite popular with large families? LOL

If you would like to have some personalised Christmas gift-tags of your very own to use this Christmas, please email me at enquiries@dawnlewis.com.au with ‘CHRISTMAS TAGS’ in the subject line, and I will be happy to fill your order.  Payment will need to be direct debit or using the family/friends/gift option on Paypal (because we can’t have the unit losing their funds to Paypal fees).  If you want to risk cash in the post, I’ll take postal orders at PO Box 9387, Wyoming, NSW  2250 as well (just print off the PDF below)

Want to share this with family, friends, neighbours, gym buddies, workmates, etc?  CLICK HERE for a PDF flyer/order form to print and place in your tea room, break room, work notice board, reception desk, etc.

tag sample reduced

Just a little peek at how your tag could look (minus the watermark of course) with your family name on it.

Tags are professionally printed on matte photo paper, and the best way to write on them is to use a Sharpie marker.  Then just use sticky tape like you would with those dollar shop cardboard ones, or some double sided tape on the back.  Or, punch a hole in the corner and use as a swing tag.  These tags are unique … you won’t find anyone else with this fundraiser, anywhere!

Thanks to you, for considering helping the HKHS Special Ed Unit fundraiser … teachers, parents & students really appreciate it 🙂

Crafting for a Cause – Angel Gowns

11 June 2014

Last week, as I surfed around Facebook, a single page kept popping up in my newsfeed.  My friends had been tagging it, sharing it and commenting on it … someone even sent me a PM about it.  It was Angel Gowns for Australian Angel Babies who have Grown their Angel Wings … yes, it’s a quite a mouthful, that title … but it tells you exactly what they do.

You see … they were looking for seamstresses, knitters and crocheters to create tiny little outfits which will be donated to families who are grieving their angel baby, as well as NICU and SIDS babies.  I may not be much of a knitter, but I am pretty darn handy with a sewing machine and a crochet hook … so I signed up to help.

At the moment it is all consuming.  I am working on a particularly large crochet order, aiming for 100 keepsake pieces by the end of this week (and I’ve already posted 100!).  At this point I’d like to say … thank you Spotlight for your 40% off coupon … the timing couldn’t have been better!  I have also made some teeny tiny micro-premmie bonnet & booties sets.  They are smaller than you think.

This is a task which carries a large swag of emotions.  There is sadness for the families who are enduring such sorrow and loss.  There is satisfaction in every piece completed, knowing it will go to a family in need.  There is pride in seeing a community of crafters come together to help others.  There is despair in knowing how many pieces we need to make.  I have participated in a similar program with the FDAA (Folk & Decorative Artists Association of Australia), with their memory box program.  Sadly, I have seen first hand what it means to these families to receive something hand-made, just for them, during these dark times.  Seven years ago my best friend passed away, and her unborn baby passed the next day … that kind of grief can’t be imagined, it can’t be soothed, and it can’t be hurried.  But I will never forget how touched her husband and MIL were at receiving that handpainted memory box.  It wasn’t the best paint-job in the world, but it was painted with love, and gratefully & humbly received.  A little kindness and thoughtfullness goes a very, very long way.

And so … this is why I am now crocheting like a crazy lady.  I am also glad to have some computer skills that are helpful to Sarah, the amazing lady who coordinates this Australia-wide effort.

On the seamstress side of things, Angel Gowns also gratefully accepts donated wedding dresses.  These are deconstructed by hand, every piece cared for and collected, and they are turned into beautiful gowns & suits for angel baby girls and boys.  Many people donate their wedding or deb dress in memory of their own angel baby.  You can read more about the organisation on their website HERE.

If you are thinking that you’d like to do something to help … that would be amazing!  There is a page on the website where you can contact them about donating a gown, or supplies.  You can follow the Facebook page HERE and keep up with the latest news.  Sometimes there is an auction, with funds raised going toward postage costs and materials needed by the volunteers (like ribbon, thread, etc), and be assured that this not-for-profit organisation does not pay its organiser or volunteers.  We do it because we just want to help.  If you would like to volunteer, send them an email or a Facebook PM.  Don’t sew, knit or crochet?  No problem.  You can spread the word, let people know what this organisation is doing, make a donation of cash, a Spotlight gift card or things like ribbon, thread, crochet cottons.  There are lots of little ways that everyone can make a difference.

Quilt Show & New Video

13 April 2014 Quilt Show

I spent the weekend at the Wyong Quilt Show, sharing a stall with Frankensteins Fabrics.  It’s a gorgeous little show, some great quilts in the competition upstairs, and some great goodies to buy in the 2 rooms where we were.  Money raised from the event is donated to a local cancer treatment charity

stamped pillows

I spent my time showing people how to create their own custom fabric panels using stamps and Copic markers.  Lots of Sweet Stamp Shop sets went home with enthusiastic crafters, and of course I have more on the way!  These two cuties were made using Kitty Cat and Too Hip.

Marni was kind enough to video a quick tutorial when we had a quiet moment (please pardon the ambient noise … we were in a room full of crafters, and you know how we all love a chat!).  It’s the first video I’ve made with my new camera, so I’m still learning how it works.

Copics on Fabric intro

CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO

CLICK HERE FOR STAMP SETS

CLICK HERE FOR RED COPIC MARKERS

Thanks to everyone who came by to watch a demonstration, who took home some goodies and enjoyed a chat at the show 🙂

Pillowcases for Oncology Kids

 

 

 

This is a great cause to start with, but this morning it became more pressing.  Pillowcases for Oncology Kids has been asked to provide pillowcases to families affected by the current NSW bushfire disaster.   That’s a lot of people, and I know I have fabric in my stash, and time in my day to get some done.  Patchwork & Stitching magazine are collecting for Oncology Kids until the end of October, and you can send pillowcases to:  Patchwork & Stitching/Pillowcase Appeal, Locked Bag 111, Silverwater NSW 1811.  They need to arrive before the end of the month. Alternatively you can post directly to Pillowcases for Oncology Kids, 22 Lacebark Grove, Warrigee NSW 2540 until the end of November.

Need instructions?  Do you have this magazine? If so, turn to page 70 & 71 for instructions.  If not … read on below.  I use french seams to make the pillowcases as durable as possible.

P1050315PWS 14-9 button

Pillowcase Instructions
Here are the instructions from Pillowcases for Oncology Kids for two types of pillowcases they usually receive.  Remember: feel free to be creative and come up with your own patterns.

Basic Pillowcase

MATERIALS

  • 1.1m (1 1/4yd) coloured print or plain***
  • Matching thread.
  • Scissors: fabric and craft
  • Rotary cutter, ruler and mat
  • Iron and ironing-board
  • Sewing machine
  • General sewing supplies

 *** If you would like to use two different fabrics for each side of your pillowcase, you will still need 1m of each fabric, however the quantities will mean you will have enough for two pillowcases.

 FINISHED SIZE:  47cm x 73.5cm (18in x 29in)

 Note: It is recommended all fabrics be 100 per cent cotton, pre-washed and well ironed. Requirements are based on fabric 112cm (44in) wide unless stated otherwise. All strips are cut across the fabric width. The 1.5cm (5/8in) seam allowance used throughout is included in the cutting measurements. Please read the instructions before you begin.

 CUTTING
Cut all strips across the width of the fabric.
From the coloured print or plain fabric, cut:  – two 50cm strips, then crosscut one 50cm x 95cm strip for the back and one 50cm x 78cm strip for the front.

 CONSTRUCTION
Sew a 1.5cm double hem along one short side of each piece of fabric.

Note: If your chosen fabric is directional, place both pieces right side up and hem the right-hand side of the 78cm strip and the left-hand side of the 95cm strip so the print faces the correct way when the pillow is constructed.

With the wrong side facing up, fold the hemmed edge of the longer strip back 17cm and press it. This forms the flap inside the pillowcase for the pillow to slip into.

Put the pillowcase front and the back together with right sides facing and the hemmed seams aligned. Pin the pieces together on all three sides, leaving the hemmed edges open. Sew the pieces together.

Clip the corners, turn the pillowcase right side out and press.

BUY A LITTLE MORE FABRIC, DOUBLE THE CASES

Using 1.8m (2yd) of fabric, cut two 50cm strips down the length of the fabric to make two pillowcases. Stitch a 1.5cm double hem on each end of the fabric. With the wrong side up, fold the fabric back 17cm on one end and press. With right sides facing, stitch down both side seams, leaving the hemmed edge open. Clip the corners, turn it right side out and press.

Horizontal Strip-Pieced Pillowcase

MATERIALS

  • 25 coloured strips at least 80cm (7/8yd) long
  • 1m (1 1/8yd) coloured print or plain for back
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors: fabric and craft
  • Rotary cutter, ruler and mat
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing-board
  • General sewing supplies

FINISHED SIZE:  47cm x 73.5cm (18in x 29in)

 CUTTING
Cut all strips across the width of the fabric.
From each of the 25 assorted coloured fabrics, cut:  – one 3cm strip.
From the coloured plain or print fabric, cut:  – one 50cm strip and crosscut one 50cm x 95cm strip for the back.

 CONSTRUCTION

Arrange the 25, 3cm coloured strips side by side in a pleasing pattern. Sew the strips together with a 5mm seam allowance, pressing the seams open. Trim the panel to 50cm x 78cm.

 Sew a 1.5cm double hem along the short side of both panels.

 Note: Refer to the note in the Basic Pillowcase instructions if your backing fabric is directional.

 With wrong side facing up, fold the hemmed edge of the pillowcase back 17cm and press. This forms the flap inside the pillowcase for the pillow to slip into.

 Put the pillowcase front and the back together with right sides facing and the hemmed seams aligned. Pin the pieces together on all three sides, leaving the hemmed edges open. Sew the pieces together.

 Clip the corners, turn the pillowcase right side out and press.

 Want to get creative?  Why not get some trim to sew into the seams of the pillowcase? Braids, pompoms or fringes could work well, just ensure they are tightly fastened; piping and ricrac can also look good and appliqué works well too.

 Just remember whatever embellishing you do, someone special will be sleeping on your pillowcase and the last thing they want to do is wake up with imprints from seamlines or embellishments on their face!

 Instead of piecing the whole front of the cushion with strips, you could piece a section towards the flap. You don’t have to stick to strips either; you could make blocks, hexagons, triangles or Flying Geese – anything you want.

 Top Tips

Remember to use a full 1.5cm hem throughout your pillowcases. They will get a lot of love and the hems need to be durable.

 Tabitha from Pillowcases for Oncology Kids says to use durable fabrics for your pillowcases. “We choose to use 100% cotton fabric for our pillowcases as it is hard and washes really well.”  Tabitha also recommends letting your imagination go wild with patterns and colours. “We get some of the most amazing fabric combinations – things we wouldn’t venture to do, but look fantastic together. So don’t be afraid to experiment!”