Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Day in the Country

It's been a week busy with family commitments but I did manage to hand stitch a donated star to a background fabric. It was easier to do this than to measure up and try to fit pieces to each side of the star which varied a bit. Now I need to add borders and make it larger with some added squares of fabric or other blocks.
I met up with Lesley Lowe again yesterday and she once again very kindly brought over a large number of donations from the Kyabram (Vic) quilters. They have been very busy knitting and the sweaters, beanies and scarves will be so appreciated as we are in the middle of our cold weather now. They also donated 9 quilts which are shown on my other blog as well as some quilt tops. The ladies have been very generous with their time and talents and the warm garments and quilts will help to make life a little warmer for the people who receive them.
I also sent off 6 large quilts to Cat to distribute to the people of Christchurch (New Zealand) who are facing many challenges in staying warm this winter after the earthquake. I did say that 500 homes won't be re-built but I got that wrong and it is actually 5,000 homes which must be incredibly hard on the Christchurch communities and I hope that the quilts will help to remind them that we are trying to support and send comfort.
Today I contacted a group of volunteers who are helping farmers recover in the Charlton area after the floods and they gave me a contact person who may be able to distribute quilts for me. However when I rang them they said that they had quite a lot of blankets donated and if someone was feeling the cold they were welcome to take a blanket. Having already sent 30 quilts for distribution I've decided not to send any more unless they would personally give them out to people who suffered damage to their homes. I only make two stipulations when donating quilts and that is that they aren't sold or stockpiled and I can't be sure that these things won't happen if I send more quilts as they kept talking about them as blankets and didn't seem to understand that they are a gift of comfort and not just for warmth. In the meantime I get so many groups in need of quilts and willing to distribute them correctly for me that I'll keep working with them at this stage.
Today has been a lovely sunny day and I was very keen to finish off a QAYG quilt I'm putting together but we had to cut fire wood so I took some photos so you can see where we live. We cut up any trees which fall down in storms and try to get them cut up before the ants move in a eat them away. We love the peace and quiet of living in the country with farming land on three sides of our farm and natural bush and river frontage on the other side. We've had koalas and kangaroos in the bush land near our home and we have plenty of noisy bird life around us as well as a group of magpies which have made their home here. They never swoop us and they sometimes come and tap their beaks on our glass door if they want some bread to eat.
My Dad has recovered from his surgery and now our youngest DD is coming home for some holidays and to have more lessons in dressmaking with me. She has many ideas for skirts and dresses that she plans to make this coming week so I anticipate another busy week, but I'll be trying to fit in some quilting time as well.
If I get off the computer I should be able to finish another quilt now.
Hugs, Jan Mac





Monday, June 27, 2011

A Huge Weight Gone


Not much sewing was done today as the sun was shining and spring cleaning was taking place. My father is having eye surgery tomorrow and coming to stay for a few days so it was a good opportunity to have a good clean-out of a bedroom for him. That meant moving a pile of quilts which are ready to post and then I decided to give the room a deep-clean and remove anything we no longer needed.
We had a huge TV which we weren't using so I rang a couple of refuges to see if we could donate it. It was too large to give to someone if they were going to be moving often but would be ideal for a refuge. Luckily one of them was very happy to accept it for their refuge for teens and young adults. The refuge is located near us and 10 minutes later it was gone.
It was a huge weight gone from us as it took up far too much room in a bedroom and wasn't being used and they were very happy to have it for their clients.
I did manage to finish off a QAYG quilt shown on my other blog and the lovely Kaite Matilda from NSW has been very busy and sent another 2 lovely warm beanies.
I may not get much time for sewing for the next few days but will be working on knitting etc in the meantime.
Hugs Jan Mac

Saturday, June 25, 2011

More Comings and Goings

I don't know what happened to the rest of the week. I was busy getting as many quilts finished as possible for Christchurch as the news reports that 5,000 homes will not be re-built- the areas being considered too dangerous for future collapse. This must be devastating for those families who will have to relocate permanently and as Cat has confirmed, the conditions are fairly grim at the moment with lack of heating and constant tremors still being felt.
Thanks to so many wonderful donors from around the world, we are able to make life a little easier for people affected by earthquakes, floods and tsunamis as well as the homeless, with the donations of so many quilts and items of warm clothing.
Ulla has been very supportive with these quilt appeals even though she lives on the other side of the world in Finland, and she's also linked to my blog with news of how quilters can help by making a small financial donation via the Paypal link on my blogs, which will be used to pay for postage and other costs of finishing the quilts.
I have also received more wonderful donations from Sue Fleming (USA) who sent 35 QAYG blocks as well as some beautiful raspberry red binding strips to join the blocks.
Kaite and the ladies from her local patchwork shop in Bathurst (NSW), who sent 75 QAYG blocks as well as a beautiful finished QAYG quilt which is shown on my other blog for finished quilts.
The beautifully wrapped box came all the way from The Netherlands and was posted by Marijke Kleefman-Sandee. The post office staff wanted to know if it was my birthday and although it isn't Marijke and her lovely Mother sent a beautiful parcel of donations to gift other people in need. Marijke sent 8 quilt tops, with some binding and also 3 crocheted blankets made by her Mother. These are so lovely and will warm some people in in of comfort. I'll finish off the tops and post the photos as soon as possible.
Robin Walker (Tas) has again been very busy and has sent another beautiful quilt top with backing and binding and the batik colours are so beautiful that they will be loved by its new owner.
I did manage to knit a beanie for Christchurch and I also made a sleeping bag for the homeless which I will post more about soon. I am adapting the pattern so that it's more practical and easier to make. I have spoken with a group which helps the homeless and they said they would be a wonderful item to keep them warm on the streets, more than quilts which they worry about having stolen or getting too dirty.
Finally I did the family thing yesterday and went to see a country football match with my DH. There was a very cold wind and I was grateful for my warm hat and gloves as well as our thick coats. It reinforces the knowledge that the homeless are doing it tough as it was cold even when the sun was out.
Time to get back to the sewing machine again after I put more photos of finished quilts on my other blog at Oz Comfort Quilts.
Take care, Jan Mac









Wednesday, June 22, 2011

When Will It End?

Christchurch is again in the news with further tremors felt today. It must be very hard to try to go about your normal day when you've had a sleepless night due to severe earth tremors and wondering if this one will bring your home down. Parents report making a dash for their children in the night in case there is structural damage to their home.
The AAP News report said:

CHRISTCHURCH has been again been rattled overnight by a swarm of powerful aftershocks, knocking out power and forcing the closure of the city's airport.

  • "It felt like one of the largest quakes we've had."
A number of aftershocks have struck the already quake-battered region including a 5.3 magnitude tremor, which struck at 8.34pm (AEST) at a depth of 10 kilometres.

One Christchurch resident told the New Zealand Herald that the quake came suddenly and brought a "violent rattling".

"It built in intensity and then the lights went out. It felt like one of the largest quakes we've had."

The quake was the largest to hit the region since magnitude 5.7 and 6.3 quakes last Monday and was followed by at least a dozen more aftershocks of magnitude 3.1 or greater centred around the city.

New Zealand's GeoNet monitoring service said the tremors were felt across the city, which has suffered three major quakes in the past nine months, including a 6.0 tremor on June 13 and devastating 6.3 quake in February that killed 181 people.

Police said there were no reports of major damage after the latest scare, although the Christchurch Press and Radio New Zealand said power supplies were down in a number of suburbs.

Christchurch airport said its terminal was evacuated after the tremor and runways were being inspected for damage.

The airport also closed briefly after the June 13 quake but reopened after a few hours.

Quake-weary residents of New Zealand's second largest city are stressed from the constant aftershocks, describing living in Christchurch as "purgatory".

"We do not know when the next one's coming, it's a recipe for people to collapse," a resident said.

The latest tremors come as New Zealand Prime Minister John Key revealed on Monday the bill from the Christchurch earthquakes had soared to $19.22 billion, far more than previously th

Read more: http://www.news.com.au/world/christchurch-rocked-by-51-aftershock/story-e6frfkyi-1226079554118#ixzz1PzqjmI6r
I hope and pray that these tremors stop soon so they can start to recover and feel safe in their homes again. The quilt shown is made from blocks donated by Cat in New Zealand. I used the leftover block and siggy squares on the back when I pieced a backing for the quilt and it will be soon winging its way back across the Tasman to be donated to someone in Christchurch. I've finished 6 quilts for them so far this week and plan to post a box of quilts off this week as soon as I find a large enough box.
I hope that the quilts will bring some comfort to their spirit as well as their communities as they try to re-build their city.
Many thanks for all your help with donations.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Comfort for Christchurch

Cat very kindly sent me some photos of her recent visit to Christchurch and the devastation is still very obvious. It must be very hard to face these sights of your city's damage due to the earthquake. The recent news reports state that many people are leaving Christchurch as they are feaful of more earthquakes. It seems that the uncertainty of rebuilding is also taking its toll.
Cat also sent me some blocks for a comfort quilt and I think they were from a swap she participated in online as the blocks have come from the US and the UK. I managed to get the blocks made into a top today and also used one of the remaining blocks for the back when I pieced a backing and I included the siggy squares on the back. I've quilted it and only have to stitch the binding on tomorrow and then it will be shown on my other blog.
This week is all about making quilts for Christchurch and I want to very sincerely thank those lovely people who have donated some money to cover the costs of sending more quilts.
I also received these lovely crocheted squares from Stephanie Driel (WA), which will be used to make more blankets for the homeless in Australia.
Today I finished the binding on a child's quilt, made another QAYG quilt for Christchurch as well as putting the blocks that Cat donated together and finishing the quilt, apart from binding so it's been a productive day.
Time to spend some time knitting now and put my feet up for a bit.
Hugs, Jan Mac





Monday, June 20, 2011

Our Weekend Break

It was good to make so much progress with the quilts for the past week as we had a wedding to attend and more family commitments over the weekend. The wedding was lovely, the bride was beautiful and we all had a fun time catching up with friends.
We also spent time with family while we were in Melbourne but we were happy to be home in front of the fire after a cold day with some rain. It makes me really appreciate my home comforts and keeps me knitting and quilting so the homeless will also have some comfort.
Today was busy with family events and my Dad's 86th birthday celebrations so not much time for quilting. I plan to get an early start tomorrow though and will have more quilts to show on my other blog too.
I also want to send a very appreciative thank you to those people who donated via the Paypal button on my blog. I was very reluctant to ask as I don't like asking for money and the whole process of using Paypal while not being a registered non-profit organization was worrying me. I thank you for your trust and I'll keep you updated as to where the money is used.
God bless,
Hugs,Jan Mac

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Can You Help Please?

This is just a short note to ask advice about how to raise money for costs of sending quilts for Oz Comfort Quilts as well as a way to raise money for costs of toiletries etc. for the homeless.
I am hoping someone can help me to know how I can raise money via the blog.
I was going to add a Donate button which will direct any donations via Paypal but I didn't proceed as I heard that Paypal can freeze the money if you aren't a registered non-profit organization and you need to raise $250 before you can access any funds.
I only want to set up a donate button so that people can just donate their change or small amounts as this would be a huge help and these small amounts would add up to enough to cover postage costs of quilts to places such as Christchurch. It costs about $14 per quilt and this doesn't sound like much but when I send so many quilts it certainly adds up.
I don't like to ask for money normally as people have already spent money in sending the QAYG blocks etc but as I fund all the other costs, apart from donations, it can become an expensive process.
Any advice re Paypal or whether or not I should just provide my bank details via email for direct payment into a special account, would be very helpful.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Christchurch wakes again to earthquake damage

The people of Christchurch need our help! The newspaper reports have all documented that Christchurch has sustained more damage due to ongoing earthquakes and earth tremors. I can only imagine how this must be affecting the families who live in those areas and the strength needed to be positive and calm so that the children will be resilient. My heart goes out to the people who are living under extreme stress, not knowing if this quake will bring their homes down or cause more damage and I am working on quilts to send over to my blogging friend, Cat who will be passing them on to organizations in Christchurch to help those people in need of comfort.
A house stands damaged at Shag Rock near Sumner after the cliff fell away during two magnitude 6.0 and 5.5 earthquakes struck on June 13, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The aftershocks have followed four months after the major earthquake which hit the city on February 22, 2011 resulting in the deaths of 181 people. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

The Australian newspaper reports:

A number of roads, bridges and all schools are closed in Christchurch, as the New Zealand city once again wakes to the destruction caused by earthquakes.

Aftershocks, including a 4.7 magnitude quake, rattled the city overnight, following magnitude 5.5 and 6.0 earthquakes that struck yesterday.

No-one was killed but hospitals have been treating people for injuries caused by falling debris.

An estimated 20,000 residents have no power and some are without water.

Seismologists said that aftershocks in the magnitude 4 to 5 range could continue for days.

THE shattered New Zealand city of Christchurch was shaken again yesterday by a series of earthquakes, the strongest measuring magnitude-6, just four months after 181 people were killed in the worst natural disaster to hit the country in 80 years.

A huge pall of dust hung like a shroud over the centre of the country's second-largest city, most of which had been destroyed by the February 22 earthquake that measured magnitude-6.3. Terrified residents held onto one another in the streets and wept as the quakes struck the city in rapid succession.

The first earthquake, measuring magnitude-4.3, struck just before lunchtime and was followed by a magnitude-5.5 tremor at 1pm (11am AEST), which was centred 10km southeast of Christchurch at a depth of just under 11km. Eight minutes later, another tremor measuring magnitude-4.4 struck in the same place and at the same depth.

The largest aftershock struck about 2.20pm local time and was felt as far as Wellington on the North Island. The GNS Science website put the quake at magnitude-6, at a depth of 9km, and centred 10km southeast of Christchurch.

At least 10 people were taken to Christchurch Hospital with injuries caused by falling masonry after the 1pm quake, but there have been no reports of deaths.

Two demolition workers were rescued from the collapsed St John's Church near the central business district and there were fears for others who had been working amid the rubble of the previous earthquake.

Many buildings, including the Canterbury University and the newly formed Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, were evacuated along with a shopping mall and a supermarket. Others, including the cathedral partially destroyed in the February quake, collapsed further. Members of the Civil Defence who had set up headquarters at the Christchurch Art Gallery were forced to flee after it shook so violently that those inside feared the glass windows that make up most of the building would shatter.

After the final, magnitude-6 quake struck, Bob Parker, the mayor of Christchurch, said: "We are being enveloped by dust. It's very, very scary. It's just terrible. I've never seen swaying like that," he said of an apartment block. Mr Parker told Radio NZ: "I am very, very concerned about our teams that have gone in there to check that people are out."

Yesterday's quakes were the latest in a series of strong tremors that have hit the stricken city since the February quake, which left 100,000 homes damaged, 10,000 beyond repair. More than 900 buildings in the city centre alone are expected to be demolished.

An inquest into the collapse of the CTV building during the February earthquake, which killed more than 100 people, was briefly evacuated during the lunchtime quakes. Jarrod Booker, a reporter with The New Zealand Herald who was in the building covering the inquest, said the ground began shaking severely and moving from "side-to-side".

"People started running out of the building, they were quite frightened," he said.

The repeated aftershocks have left nerves shattered; thousands of residents have left the city, many of them permanently.

Eleanor Stewart, 82, who is waiting for her apartment to be repaired after it was nearly destroyed in February, said: "Every time there is another strong quake like these you wonder if they will ever be able to start the repair work."

Emergency crews raced to the city centre to assess the damage and check for casualties, while at least 54,000 homes and offices were left without power or phones. Television footage showed thick, swirling mud pouring down streets as liquefaction once more broke through the surface, closing roads in the centre while falling boulders threatened houses on the city's outskirts.

Prime Minister John Key said the latest quakes would not weaken the government's resolve to rebuild the city. "We stand beside them; we are committed to rebuilding the city," Mr Key said.

The Times

So dear readers our friends across the Tasman are in need of warm quilts, knitted beanies, gloves, mittens and scarves as many are again without power and heating. If you have finished quilts or knitted items you can post them to Cat at:
For Christchurch
PO Box 13529
Onehunga
Auckland
NEW ZEALAND
Cat was visiting Christchurch to deliver quilts when the latest earthquake started so she has first hand knowledge of our frightening they can be and the fact that they have been a regular occurrence makes them more rather than less frightening as you never know if this tremor will bring substantially more damage.
If you wish to post directly to Christchurch you can post them directly to Miriam
(Miriam attends a Church in the Eastern Suburbs so has connections of people in the harder hit areas) at :
Comfort For Christchurch, c/- 39 Sandwich Rd, Beckenham, Christchurch 8023, New Zealand.
I had a phone call last night from a lovely lady who has made 5 quilts to donate to either Qld or Christchurch and she wants to make a couple more before the next shipment goes. I assured her that a shipment leaves here every week or every second week and that although the last lot has just gone to Qld, the next one there will be in about 4 weeks time and I'm currently working for Christchurch as well as making quilts for kids who have been neglected or abused.
So dear friends if you have any spare time I am accepting any donations again as the need continues to be great and I have managed to use up almost 300 QAYG squares in the past 10 days. I also have some ideas for small gifts which will be given to the homeless at Christmas time and I'll post details about that soon.
So in the meantime keep the knitting needles busy. I can send things to Qld for free so I'm happy to accept donations and pass them on; and if you have any finished items, please consider posting them direct to Cat or Miriam for Christchurch.
I'm showing a photo of a QAYG quilt I made today and this one will be going to Christchurch very soon when I get more finished to send too.
Thanks you again for all your help. These projects wouldn't be possible without all of your help from around the world.
Hugs and blessings, Jan Mac

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Lovely Break

We had a lovely time away and went camping with friends over on the Victorian and South Australian border. It's an unexpected area of desert and sand dunes which gave the fellows some good fun 4 WD driving up and down the sandy tracks. Most of the tress are scrubby but there were a couple of areas of beautiful gum trees. The days were lovely and sunny and the nights were crisp and cold. In fact it was so cold that it was warmer in our fridge than in our camper! Unfortunately there wasn't enough room to sleep in the fridge LOL.
We came home on Monday evening after driving through the areas affected by floods in Vic and although Charlton still seems to be recovering, Rochester looks like it's almost back to normal. Yesterday was spent in packing the last of the quilts I'd finished and sending them off in the truck for Qld flood victims. Check out my other blog for the totals and an update on where they are going.
I also managed to finish a couple more scarves and received 4 beautiful beanies from Ann Halden (NSW) so the collection for the next distribution has started again.
Today will be spent in getting more quilts finished as the nights are very cold and I'm very grateful for my warm home. If you have time to finish off a quilt to donate, or knit a beanie, gloves or a scarf, they will all be very welcome for distribution to where they are very much needed.
Hugs and stay warm, Jan Mac






Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Colour Purple

It's been a good week for finishing off QAYG quilts and I love the purple one which was made from a lot of donated blocks from many different people. I never used to buy purple or mauve fabrics but having worked with so many different fabrics I find that I do like purple now and have even started to buy it as it rounds out my stash to include more colours.
I also received a lovely parcel all the way from Ireland from G. Wheatley and she sent 2 beautiful quilt tops and a set of blocks which will make some more lovely quilts to donate.
I'm taking a break for a few days now as we are going camping but will be back to the quilts again soon. I also posted off 2 quilts to Japan and plan to take my knitting with me and get more scarves finished as well as crocheting more squares for blankets.
Stay warm everyone.
Love, Jan Mac

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Helping the Homeless

It's been a very busy and productive time here as I'm working my way through the pile of donated QAYG blocks and getting more quilts finished. I've made 5 quilts over the past two days and should get another one finished tonight. Now that the feedback has been that the quilts, blankets and warm garments are in big demand it's been great to have time to get more finished.
I've just heard about another group which helps to find housing for the homeless and then find work etc for them as well as long term accommodation, so many of these quilts will be going to this group to help them warm their clients.
I've also been receiving more beautifully knitted beanies and they will also be going to groups which work with the homeless. Jenni S. (Vic) has continued to knit beanies to be donated and sent another 4 in her last parcel. They are really lovely and soft and will make life a little easier for those who receive them.
Thank you all for your help with these projects.
Hugs, Jan Mac

Monday, June 6, 2011

More Wonderful Donations

The postman has been busy here again and I've received more wonderful donations from around the world. Ulla Rantakari from Finland has again sent 35 beautiful QAYG blocks as well as some beautifully soft hand knitted socks and beanies. Margarte Maguire (SA) sent 15 QAYG blocks and included some without floral fabrics for the men. Delys Rogers (WA) has been very busy knitting again and has sent 8 lovely beanies and a soft, warm scarf. Sophia Frankan (Vic) has been busy knitting again and has sent another 4 lovely beanies and Ann Birch (Vic) has also kept busy and sent another 6 lovely beanies. A friend of Terry Patterson (NSW) has very generously donated 5 fabulous large quilt tops as well as backings for them and they will be quilted ASAP and then sent off to where they are needed. I also received another 13 QAYG blocks from Edwina Hempstalk from New Zealand and these will make more beautiful quilts.
I sent off another 9 quilts last Friday, along with scarves, beanies and a couple of children's sweaters I'd knitted. These have gone to Janice of Needy Stitches and will be given to the homeless in Melbourne. I forgot to take photos of the children's sweaters but it was good to get them sewn up and out of here to make more room.
I hope that I didn't offend or worry you when I asked for finished items at the moment. I can always use QAYG blocks but have been a bit submerged by fabric scraps and need to get more blocks made into quilts so I'll have more room for donations very soon.
I spent two days sorting through the donations and putting things into order, and then over the weekend I was teaching our youngest DD to sew and we made 4 A-line skirts on Saturday. On Sunday we sewed on the borders of a quilt she was making and then I quilted and bound it and showed her how to hand stitch the binding down.
It was a busy weekend but very enjoyable to be able to pass on my sewing skills. I've been hearing about so many organizations asking for warm items for the homeless and flood affected people that the rest of the week will be about finishing off more quilts and sending them off where needed.
Hugs, Jan Mac



Thursday, June 2, 2011

Parcels Arrived

I've received more parcels today and have more to photograph and add to the blog tomorrow. The first one was from Kay Champion (Vic)with 15 QAYG blocks and I also received some strips of fabric from Fran Smith and Barbara Smith from Canada, and they will be used for more QAYG blocks.
I also received a beautiful quilt top and backing from Sandra Lowe from Singapore. Sandra brought them with her and posted them while on holidays here in Australia.
I also received a very nice letter from a lady in Theodore (Qld) who received one of the quilts I sent some weeks ago and she was very grateful for the gift of a quilt.
The past few days have been spent packing boxes of quilts again and I'm posting some more off tomorrow to a group who will distribute them to the homeless in Melbourne. I'm also sending off beanies, scarves and crocheted blankets to them as winter has arrived.
Hugs, Jan Mac