Boxing Day Sew-In Giveaway

It's that time of year again! 

Join us for the 

Boxing Day Sew In

Wednesday, December 26th.


Our family has a tradition of having a "Pajama Day" the day after Christmas. The change in the tradition is that where I used to spend the day on the floor playing with Legos or whatever the toy of the year was with my kidlings, now I spend the day in my sewing room recuperating with fabric while my grown children are doing whatever college kids do. 

In honor of my friends from other places of the world for whom the day after Christmas is a venerable tradition named Boxing Day, my Pajama Day has become the Boxing Day Sew-In.

So why don't put on your jammies and slippers, and join me? We'll be chatting away on Twitter through the day (I'm @sandyquiltz if you're not already connected with me there).

In honor of yet another day of giving, I'm holding a give-away here on my blog. You can enter beginning as soon as this blog goes live at one minute past midnight on December 26th, until 11:59 p.m. Almost a full 24 hours to take your chances!

The one lucky winner will win two things--count 'em: Two!

The first item in my giveaway is one brand new DVD of a quilting documentary named "The Skin Quilt Project." From the back cover: "....This provocative film explores the significance of preserving the African-American quilting tradition, as well as how the practice of quilting brings self-confidence, cultural awareness, and self-esteem to the African cultural heritage. As they share their stories, the women and men in this film help us to consider a quilter's unique ability 'to see the beauty in all colors.'"

I own a copy of this documentary and found it extremely thought-provoking, as well as a wonderful celebration of quilting, quilting communities, and the artistic impulse that anyone can relate to regardless of their skin color. I highly recommend it and hope whoever wins it will enjoy it as thoroughly as I did1

The second item in my giveaway is, honestly, helping me clean out my stash for the new year! I have far too many 2 1/2" strips kicking around. So whoever wins this giveaway will also receive a grab-bag of 50 (fifty) 2 1/2" strips from my stash. The picture is just a conglomeration from the stash--your grab-bag may or may not include strips pictured. Trust me--I won't just send you the ones I don't like. :-)  I'll just close my eyes and grab 50, I'll make sure they're all full WOF and cut straight, and they're yours. You'll be helping me out immensely, and hopefully you'll be able to use them in some wonderful project soon!

To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment here saying what you think you'd use a 2 1/2" strip for. You can be as creative as you want--it doesn't necessarily just have to be in a quilt!

Don't forget, you must have your email address included in your comment or accessible on your profile, or I won't be able to include you in the giveaway. 

Have a wonderful Pajama Day-slash-Boxing Day. Don't forget to check out any other giveaways that are linked to this post!


BDSI Completed Projects...and A Rant

As anyone who participated with us on Twitter for our Boxing Day Sew-In (#BDSI) may recall, I was sick as a freaking dog that day. I came down with a tremendous cold the Sunday before Christmas (the 18th), and still have it today. Yikes. So I wasn't doing a whole lot of sewing on Sew-In day, but I sure as heck had fun with the conversations and reading everyone's comments on the BDSI blog. It was a hoot! I'll definitely be hosting either another Anti-Black Friday Sew-In or Boxing Day Sew-In again--had too much fun not to!

So, who cares that it actually took me three days to finish my BDSI projects? They're done!

I had several donation projects to work on. These were all pieced tops and/or orphan blocks that had been donated to our guild over the years for our guild to use for it's own donation projects. How long had they been in storage? Let me just say that one of the tops still had pins in it, and the pins were rusted to the fabric. I had to do some extrication. And some praying that my tetanus shot was still current.

Lockjaw aside, I got them done. First up: two pieced tops that were roughly baby quilt size. Like, newborn-baby-just-home-from-the-hospital size. Most babies won't be small enough to use this quilt for long. But that's OK, because by then, they'd be able to see, and who would want to see these?

But let me rant later.

In short, I'll simply say for now that rather than creating two ugly quilts, I decided to contain the damage and only make one with two ugly sides. Used some strips for binding and batting from my stash, so that all worked out nicely.

The other project was the poor little orphan block. Really, she was almost there. Almost cute. But she had some issues, which is how she ended up being a donated orphan block.

I suspect many of the issues really came from the fabric that was used. The white is an extremely loose weave and fairly coarse--it didn't want to play nice with the blue print (which was a much higher quality fabric).

I puzzled, and puzzled, 'till my puzzler was sore. Turn her into a baby quilt? Nope--I had absolutely nothing in my stash that would work with that particular blue. Turn her into a pillowcase? I put the white fabric to my cheek. Ick. Nope. Finally it dawned on me.

A drawstring bag! Lots of places look for drawstring bags--for example, hospice homes like to send personal belongings home for family members in something nicer than a plastic grocery bag.

She works nicely for that, although I have some concern about how durable the white fabric is. Probably not a bag for carrying sharp, pointy things. Or rocks.

I solved the non-coordinating fabric thing by going patriotic and using a red fat quarter with stars from my stash. Wouldn't be my first choice if I was in a quilt shop, but hey, it works.

So, now can I rant?

First disclaimer: I've seen a lot of very lovely donation quilts on blogs and in person. I'm not talking to anyone here, nor am I pointing any specific fingers at anyone other than myself. But I'm also aware of--and inadavertantly became involved with--another side to the donation quilt story. I hope I don't offend anyone with this, but the last several donation projects I've been involved with have really worked my very last nerve, and in the process, I came to some realizations about how they had even begun to affect my own attitudes. To whit:

When did we ever get the idea that we can use our ugliest fabric in the most haphazard way or our blocks that clearly didn't work at all and donate them? It's like donating shirts with tears and stains or electronics that don't work or furniture with broken legs and assuming, "Hey, I don't want this piece of junk in my house anymore but someone else will be grateful for it." Yeah, maybe (although I have my serious doubts), but we're talking quilts here. We talk about quilts symbolizing love and what the heck?

Doesn't everyone deserve beauty in their lives? Especially some of these places we're making donations too--women's shelter's where mothers and children are struggling to put themselves back together; hospitals with families watching loved ones in pain; families who have been burned out of their homes. Why wouldn't I want to give someone in need just as pretty a quilt as I'd give my own child? Sure, maybe I won't do heirloom quality hand-quilting on it, but I sure as heck would want to choose fabrics that will bring pleasure or a bright spot to what may be an otherwise gloomy day. I sure as heck would want to show some care in my design and in my piecing. I would want the person to think I actually thought about them--even if in the abstract, a nameless person that I've never met but I can have some genuine human empathy for. Not just a way to offload ugly fabric. (And although I know one woman's ugly can sometimes be another woman's beauty, I've read enough tips on enough message boards that have quite literally said, "use that ugly fabric in a charity quilt!" to make me steam.)

I also came to the very discomfiting realization that my own attitude changed whenever I worked with those unattractive, often musty-smelling tops. I stopped caring about my own skills. I adopted a very "I don't care, just get 'er done" attitude. Fast and Finished was queen, not Done Right. Which, of course, led to me simply compounding the problem of ugly quilts with shoddy workmanship. And that's to my shame. I'm doing some penance over that one.

People don't necessarily need blankets...they can buy blankets pretty dang cheaply at big-box stores these days. Frankly, if my purpose is to provide a blanket, I'd rather write a check. The reason to make a donation quilt is to go that step beyond, provide someone in need with just a little bit more: the thought that someone else cared enough about them in their situation to sit down and make something by hand. But for pity's sake, please make it pretty.

I vow never to make an ugly quilt for donation again. I vow to never be attached to making ugly quilts for donations again. I will choose to make my own donation projects from my own beautiful fabrics with an attractive design, not some slapdash thing that "someone ought to be grateful for." I will choose to make something that shows someone I cared enough to take the time to think about it, even if it is a simpler pattern, even if it is a slightly faster's still attractive, and thoughtful. And hopefully, will give them a touch of love and care at a time when they need it most.

If I wouldn't want it in my own house, I won't donate it to someone else.

Ok, rant done. Sorry--had to get that off my chest. Hope I didn't bug anyone. To purge myself of these negative feelings and bring some Beauty Mojo back to my sewing room, I plan on making a donation quilt from my own fabric before my vacation is done. I'll keep you posted.

Boxing Day Sew-In--Get Your Give-Aways Here!

***The BDSI Giveaway is now closed!***

Welcome to our Boxing Day Sew-In! So glad you can join us, even if it's for only part of the day. This is our day to avoid the crowded shopping malls and just hang out and relax. If you have to work, my sympathies! Join in when you can. If you're still enjoying family festivities, so am I! I won't be spending the entire day in my sewing room, but I'll be there a lot. (After all, I have college-aged kiddies now--they still appreciate a good Pajama Day but they don't necessarily want me involved in the entirety of it anymore!)

Many of us don't officially celebrate Boxing Day and may not know much about it. In a nutshell, although there are several stories about its origins, they pretty much all agree that it began as a day of charitable giving. So that's a theme I'm personally running with! (See more about that below.)

To celebrate Boxing Day, and to give you some encouragement to spend the day doing what you love (sewing! yay!), several of us quilty podcasters and bloggers got together and decided to keep the gift-giving going! Here's how BDSI works.

  • Most of the giveaways will run off this blog--multiple giveaways means multiple winners! Anyone who leaves comments (instructions about that below) will get included in one big hopper of names. I'll do a random drawing  on behalf of all the podcasters/bloggers. (To spread the joy, each person will only win once.)
  • You can increase your chances of winning by leaving multiple comments as instructed below. 
Notice that I said, "most" giveaways will be here? We also have a Twitter-Specific (would that be "twitter-ific?) set of give-aways, too!
  • Use Tweetchat ( can sign in with your Twitter account) to follow #BDSI in one easy place. Mostly, we'll just be checking in with one another through the day that way.
  • We'll post periodic little mini-challenges during the day. Anyone who responds to the mini-challenges will be put into another big hopper of names, another random drawing of multiple winners, and more gifts being sent off.
  • If you're new to Twitter, enter any of our Twitter names into the search bar and you'll find us. I'm sandyquiltz, Pam is pantsfreesia, Tanesha is CraftyGardenMom, Jaye is artquiltmaker, and Katie is QuiltedMagnolia. There's a bunch of other quilt podcasters and bloggers that you'll find by looking at who we're following and who is following us. Then, when you see one of us post with #BDSI, just click on the #BDSI to see a list of all related posts--or, do the Tweetchat option listed above. Welcome aboard!
Whee! Can you stand it?

Blog Giveaways (instructions follow)

Pam, host of Hip to Be a Square podcast, is offering the following giveaway:

Four fat quarters from the "Tea Garden" line (Dena Designs, Free Spirit fabrics)

Aren't they pretty? A nice spot of spring as those of us in my neck of the woods are descending into gray, snowy days. Another thing that keeps the brightness in my sewing room on cloudy days: Pam's podcast is highly entertaining and includes a couple of Helper Cats. Make sure you give it a listen! Here's the direct link to Hip to Be a Square podcast in iTunes.

(Pam has a second giveaway that will go on Twitter so be sure to watch for it!)

Sandi, host of Quilt Cabana Corner podcast and designer, is offering the following giveaway:

An autographed copy of her new book, Little Quilts for Big Occasions: 7 Wall Hangings.

Great projects to help us be in a party mood all year long! And Sandi's podcast is as wonderful as her designs. She includes very helpful product and book reviews--she's great at spending my money for me! Here's the direct link to Quilt Cabana Corner podcast in iTunes.

Be sure to check out her Etsy shop for more designs!

Tanesha of Crafty Garden Mom podcast is offering the following two giveaways (one book per winner):

Fresh Fabric Treats: 16 Yummy Projects to Sew from Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes & More with Your Favorite Moda Bake Shop Designers

Simplify with Camille Roskelley: Quilts for the Modern Home
(Stash Books)

Do you love books as much as you love quilts? In addition to great quilting magazine (and very funny kid stories!), Tanesha includes book reviews--fiction, non-fiction, quilting, you name it!--in her podcast. Some of the best books I've read this year were ones I'd heard Tanesha review. Keep the reviews coming, Tanesha! Here's the direct link to Crafty Garden Mom podcast in iTunes.

Jaye of Artquiltmaker blog, is offering the following two giveaways (one per winner):

One set of Lark Studio Series Inspiration books (8 books in the set).
Sterling Publishing. (The set includes: Pendants, Ceramic Sculptures, Chairs, Art Tiles, Handmade Books, Handmade Dolls, Tables.)

"Imagine that Quilt" pattern, designed by Sandy Klop, American Jane Patterns series.

Jaye's blog is filled with fantastic design inspiration for quiltmakers. She and I are doing a recurring series on my podcast about design for quilters--she knows her stuff! Be sure to visit Jaye's blog to get a new vision for your own quilting!

Katie of "Katie's Quilting Corner" podcast is offering the following giveaways (two winners):

One person will win the "Delighted" charm pack by Quilted Fish for Riley Blake Designs.

One person will win the "Flower Garden" bag pattern by Melly and Me designs.

"Katie's Quilting Corner" is a fun journey along with Katie, a 20-something quilter, and her Corgi dogs. Her podcasts include lots of great quilting information as well as fun stories about her adventures in the dog agility world! As a dog lover myself, I'm a fan. Click here for a direct link to "Katie's Quilting Corner" in iTunes.

And my giveaways are as follows (two winners): 

One person will win three patterns and a charm pack ("Katie" by Jennifer Young for Benartex).

One person will win a fabric panel and the book Piecing Tips and Tricks (C&T Publishing).
Here's a better shot of the three patterns (patterns courtesy
  • "A Chick in the House" (Jelly Roll and Charm Friendly) from Quilting Discoveries by Susan Mayer
  • "Holiday Treasures" (Multiple Patterns, Fat Quarter Friendly) from Snuggles Quilts by Deanne Eisenman
  • "Snowman Placemat and Table Runner" (Fat Quarter Friendly), Donna Ptak Collection

And here is the fabric panel. (Cherry Hill Sampler panel by Kathy Schmitz LLC for Moda.)

My podcast, "Quilting...for the Rest of Us," includes interviews, design tips, product and book reviews, and my own quilting adventures and misadventures. I love getting comments from listeners and consider my podcast a conversation with you. You can check it out at Here's the direct link for Quilting...for the Rest of Us in iTunes.

Those are the giveaways from this blog. (More about Twitter below.)

To be entered into the drawing for these giveaways, here's what you do.
  1. Be sure you are NOT a no-reply or anonymous responder! We must have an email address to contact you. Please be sure your email address appears on your profile or include it in your comment. (If your name comes up as a winner in the drawing and there is no email address included in your comment/available on your profile, we'll have to skip you and go to the next person down on the list. You don't want that to happen!)
  2. In honor of Boxing Day: leave a comment on this blog post telling about one donation (charity) quilt you have made in 2011, or plan to make in 2012. (Remember the roots of Boxing Day! And see the very end of this post for some suggestions.)
  3. You may enter this blog drawing multiple times by doing the following: Visit any or all of the podcasters or bloggers websites listed above, and subscribe to their podcast or to their blog (or both, since some of us have one of each). Come back here and leave a comment saying you have done so--one comment per podcaster/blog you've subscribed to! So you could easily enter your name whole bunches of times! (And that doesn't even count Twitter.)
That's it! Have fun!
Here's a sneak peek at what you could win through giveaways on Twitter! (Information about these giveaways will be at #BDSI.)

Pam ("Hip to Be a Square") is offering a second set of four fat quarters--Bryant Park by Khristian A. Howell for Anthology Fabrics.

And I'll be giving away a few more patterns from

Have fun playing along with us during our Boxing Day Sew-In. Be sure to check out everyone's podcasts and blogs while you're at it--podcasts are great company while you're sewing!

Let the comments roll!

Interested in doing some more donation (charity) projects? Pam also helped us out by putting together this list of ideas and links to consider.

#BDSI Projects--at least to start

I woke up this morning (at 2:00 a.m., with visions of Boxing Day Sew-In dancing in my head) with the realization of the projects I really should tackle on BDSI. Since I'd like to honor the origins of Boxing Day, a day of charitable giving, by encouraging folks to consider doing a donation project at some point during the day, I realized I had the perfect projects sitting in a plastic back in my sewing room.

You may recall my previous adventure doing five donation quilts last year--unfortunately, they weren't the kind of projects that inspired me with the joy of giving. Rather, they were teeth-gnashing, hair-tearing-out kinds of projects. But I did celebrate when they were done (completed projects here) and I was thrilled to know they would be going for a good cause in our area. However, I became haunted by the project (check out this blog entry for the continuing story) and got another pieced top from the same fabrics several months later. So now, merely a year later (!), this has become BDSI Project #1. Fortunately, this one doesn't look as tricky as the other ones were, and having done a few of these now, I think I'll know how to tackle it most effectively.

All I have to do is find backing and batting (both from my stash). I'll probably just grid quilt it. It's an odd shape--it'll work for a very, very, very tall baby.

BDSI Project #2, if #1 doesn't do me in and doesn't take too long, will be a donation quilt challenge of sorts from my guild. We had a boatload of donated fabric, blocks, and scraps from somewhere or other--I'm not sure what the origin story is. But one of our guild's leadership team divided it all up into packs and encouraged us all to bring one home and turn it into a donation quilt or two.

This is what was in my bag. There are two pieced tops, but neither is really big enough even for a crib quilt, in my opinion. So I'll either put them together for one big one, or throw borders of some sort on each for two normal-sized quilts. The one on the left has the last row of blocks pinned on, but not sewn on. I almost killed myself on the pins when I pulled them out of the bag.

The little star block on the top is a lonely little solo block. Haven't decided what I'll do with that yet. Maybe a pillowcase?

It would be nice to get these all done before the new year, wouldn't it? Clean slate sort of thing?

If I manage to get all those done--or at least seriously moved along, I'll probably be working on UFOs or WIPs. I'll have a lot of sewing time next week, I think, since I have the week off, so I'm looking forward to serious forward progress!

So--remember to check back here anytime after midnight Eastern time (US) on Monday, December 26, for your chance to enter into a bunch of great give-aways and fun mini-challenges for our Boxing Day Sew-In!

Boxing Day Sew-In--Join the Fun!

Keep your cyber-eyes glued here. For 24 hours on December 26, 2011, Boxing Day Sew-In comes to town! I'll be posting all the information you need to play along at midnight (North American Eastern Standard Time, or UTC-5 hours) on December 26*!

The blog post will have information about give-aways, mini-challenges, other goodies. Pam of Hip to Be a Square, Tanesha of Crafty Garden Mom, Sandi of Quilt Cabana Corner, and Jaye of Artquiltmaker, will all be hosting or sponsoring giveaways as well--you'll find all the information and links here as soon as Dec 26 hits at my house.

Also--to make the fun even better--we'll be having fun on Twitter too! Not only will we be keeping one another updated on our progress via Twitter, but we'll be having special Twitter-only challenges and giveaways. Want an easy way to keep track of #BDSI on Twitter? Go to, link it to your Twitter account, and then follow #BDSI. You'll be able to track all the #BDSI convos in one easy place! Be sure to check it frequently--some mini-challenges will have time constraints on them!

Boxing Day Sew-In will officially end again at midnight EST--as soon as December 26 ends at my house--24 hours of fun! Giveaway winners will be announced on December 27th.

To help you with the time zone math--starting at midnight at my house means that BDSI starts at:
5:00 a.m. Dec 26 in London
6:00 a.m. Dec 26 in Berlin
2:00 p.m. Dec 26 in Tokyo
4:00 p.m. Dec 26 in Sydney
And 24 hours is 24 hours no matter where on the globe you're standing. So, for some of you, BDSI will be ending on December 27th. And that's OK with me.

(Thanks to The World Clock time zone converter at, 'cause I sure can't do that math myself!)

Spread the word--the more the merrier!

Thanks so much to Pam for the BDSI badge--we love it! Grab it here and post it to your own blog!