> ~ Insights by SewCalGal ~

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Welcome to the Quilter's Christmas Party ***Updated after the Parties****

I'm delighted you are able to come to the Quilter's Christmas Party today.  Everyone is welcome to come have fun at this party, even if you don't celebrate Christmas.  Still, this is a Christmas Party.  You can get dressed up, or come in casual attire.  You may want to share tips, tutorials, inspiration, share insights on your favorite Christmas, holiday recipes, or what you plans are for this holiday season.  Or, simply pop by and see what everyone is doing. 

As this is a virtual party, their are some pros & cons.  We may not all get together in the same place, at the exact same time, but we can still get together and have fun.  A linky is provided for bloggers and non-bloggers to use.  For those that link up today, you'll get a door prize ticket to win fantastic door prizes.  There is also the option to buy raffle tickets to win raffle prizes and 100% of the funds will be donated to Operation Homefront.

While SewCalGal rarely shares personal insights, to start this party I thought I'd do a little introduction and share some holiday insights.  I just hope I don't bore you, as I really don't have a very exciting life.  Here are a few things you may not know about me:

How long have I been quilting? 40+ years

Favorite style of quilting?  No favorites  - love them all (applique, piecing, handpiecing and more recently free-motion quilting.

Favorite Christmas Memory ?  The year I received a new 3-speed bicycle, not a hand-me-down.  I crept out in the middle of the night, to find a fire in the fireplace, lights on the Christmas tree and a "tire".  Confused, I went back to bed.  Later, there was a bicycle frame and a tire.  Later, the frame and two tires.  Eventually a completely assembled bicycle.  I never did spot Santa!

What do I most enjoy about the holidays?  Spending time with friends and family.  It can be as simple as time spent taking a walk on the beach, enjoying coffee, or sharing a meal.  "Time" shared is the best gift.

Do I give handmade gifts?  I love to receive handmade items, as well as give them.  This year I've been too busy to make many handmade gifts.  Well, I have made many charity gifts.  I'm currently working on making luggage tags for a number of friends, using a great tutorial that I found at I Have A Notion.   They are fast & fun to make and also make great stocking stuffers.

Ok, I shared a few insights about me.  I could spend more time sharing quilting tips, tutorial, or inspirational quilts, but as I'm also the host for this party, I think I'll keep my part short.  Still, I hope you'll share insights to help introduce yourself to others.  No need to answer questions that I covered, but share what you want to.  Some will be sharing tips, tutorials, insights on what they are doing for the holidays and inspirational projects.

For bloggers, it is pretty easy to write a post and add a link. Just be sure your post reflects you are participating in the Quilter's Christmas Party with a link back to this post.

For non-bloggers, you have several ways you can link up and join this party.  Here are a few:
  • Upload a photo to any site that will allow you to add text and allow the photo to be shared publicly to anyone on the internet. This could be via Google Images, Photobucket, Flickr, etc..  Be sure your text shows that you are
  • Download free software from smilebox.com which will allow you to upload photos and add text. You can create a slideshow that you can get an url that you can add to the linky to enter.
  • Consider creating an MSWORD document or create aPDF that includes photos and text and uploading it to Google Drive (aka Google Docs) where you can also share it and get the link 
  • Search the web, as there are many sites that will allow you to upload photos and create a text while also giving you the ability to share, by way of giving you an URL that you can add to the link.  You just need to make sure that the link is viewable by those that may not have access to that same forum (or program).
  • Be able to validate what you do is viewable, or you risk being removed.  Sorry, but we don't have a techy available to walk you thru it today, but if you've linked up to prior linkys as a non-blogger you should probably be fine...otherwise do be sure to validate your link.  There will also be a red x next to your link that you can click on to edit your link, if you have problems.
Note:  As this Party is also a fundraiser for Operation Homefront, all prize winners will be asked to pay for postage of their respective prize(s).

Once you are "linked up" you'll be given a Door Prize Ticket, where you'll automatically be entered to win a door prize (assuming you meet the rules).  Note:  Deadline to purchase raffle tickets is Thursday, December 13th.

Be sure to read this entire post, before add a link.  And, check back as this post will be updated a couple of times.  SewCalGal is hosting this virtual party and a physical party in So. Cal. today.   I'll be updating this post later today, to share insights on both parties.  I'll update it again, in a few days, to announce the winners of the door prizes.  And, about December 15th, I'll be given a report from Operation Homefront that will show donations with comments that reference "SewCalGal", that essentially buy raffle tickets (more ways to get a raffle ticket listed below).  This post will be updated to announce raffle prize winners about December 16-20th.  And, a special post will be made at that time, with this post being updated to provide a link, to a special Silent Auction that will also benefit Operation Homefront. While it was originally planned to only have door prizes and raffle prizes, as more prizes have come in, we'll also have a Silent Auction fundraiser in December. All will have great prizes.

SewCalGal wishes to thank the following Sponsors that have generously donated prizes for the Quilter's Christmas Party:
ASF/Lightware Solutions/The Reading Light (Beam N Read), Kelly Jackson of I Have A Notion (IHAN), Island Batik,  Martingale
MyMemories,   American & Efird LLCSewEZI QuiltingLark CraftsCozy Quilt DesignsCraftsy, Judy Chain of Sew Fun QuiltsNew Leaf Stitches, Rebecca Goldsmith of  Piece O' Cake DesignsFabric.com, Ebony Love (Love Bug Studios),   Lily Patch Quilts and Sizzix.

Here are a few peaks at some of the prizes that may not be shown on the previously published list:

The Giving Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini

Beautiful bundles of fabrics and quilt kits from Hoffman California Fabrics.
Lovely threadpacks from American & Efird LLC.

Kelly Jackson (I Have A Notion) donated items for one of the Golden Ticket Gift Baskets.  And items from just about all the sponsors were used to create the other basket.  Both baskets are packed full of wonderful prizes and each exceed an estimated value of $200.

To see more info on Door Prizes and Raffle Prizes click here.  Don't forget that more prizes have been donated and not all are currently reflected.  With luck, I'll have them all updated by the end of day today.  But, I think you'll agree their are many amazing prizes.

Win a Raffle Prize by donating a $1 or more to Operation Homefront.  Each $1 donation gets you an entry to win a Raffle Prize.   Note:  The last day to purchase raffle tickets is Thursday, December 13th.

Win one of two 
Golden Ticket Prize Bundle by getting a Golden Ticket for every $10 you donate to Operation Homefront.

There are many ways you can donate to Operation Homefront:

Quilters that make cash donations to Operation Homefront can do so by visiting their website and submitting an online donation (click here).  Any amount is appreciated and can help to make a difference to a Military Family in need of special assistance. 

And, be sure to enter "SewCalGal" in the comments so that I can recognize your donation accordingly. Operation Homefront will provide SewCalGal with a list of donations that will be used to assign raffle tickets/Golden tickets for the drawing of prizes!

Operation Homefront will be providing a report that I'll use to generate raffle tickets for each $1 donation and the winning raffle tickets will be randomly drawn and announced by mid-December.

Quilters that make cash donations to Operation Homefront can do so by visiting their website and submitting an online donation (click here).  Any amount is appreciated and can help to make a difference to a Military Family in need of special assistance. 

And, be sure to enter "SewCalGal" in the comments so that I can recognize your donation accordingly. Operation Homefront will provide SewCalGal with a list of donations that will be used to assign raffle tickets/Golden tickets for the drawing of prizes!

If you do not want to use the donation form on the Operation Homefront site you can also send me a check, made payable to Operation Homefront, or donate via my PayPal account and I'll gladly give 100% of your donation to Operation Homefront. Again, any amount is appreciated.

You can also include the State in the comments, if you wish your donation funds to be used in a specific state, otherwise it will be used at the National level and allocated as they feel appropriate.

If you don't want to use the online form you can send a check made payable to "Operation Homefront" to SewCalGal and your check will be given OH!

OR you can write a check to "Operation Homefront" and mail it to SewCalGal.  I will hand deliver it to a representative of Operation Homefront.

OR you can issue a PayPal transaction using 
my mailing address and specify funds are to be used for Operation Homefront, but please note this PayPal transaction will not qualify you for a tax deduction, whereas donations direct to Operation Homefront are tax deductible as it is a 501c3 non-profit program.   I will issue a check made payable to Operation Homefront for 100% of any donations received in this manner and deliver the check to a representative of Operation Homefront.

You may also be interested in seeing my original announcement post about the Quilter's Christmas Party, where I share more insight on Operation Homefront.

Want extra entries for door prizes?

SewCalGal appreciates PR Angels.  If you posted a badge and/or a blog post prior to December 9th, please leave a comment on this post to let me know you did and share the link, for an extra entry for a door prize.  With your help, we'll have more people come participate in this party. And, even better if more people buy raffle tickets (donate to Operation Homefront) for chances to win raffle prizes.  And, your help to increase awareness of the upcoming silent auction, to benefit Operation Homefront, is also greatly appreciated.  SewCalGal values PR Angels.  I couldn't do what I do without your help and encouragement.

Visit all of the blogs and non-bloggers participating in this Christmas Party (linked up) and leave a thoughtful comment on their blog.  Come back here and leave a comment to claim this extra entry to let me know you helped to spread good holiday cheer and you'll get an extra door prize entry!

Virtual Party Highlights:

Martha (Quilt to the Edge) shared a great tutorial to make really cute quilted coasters.

Nina Lise (Mrs Moen) shared a tutorial on how to make really cute pillow covers.  And, her post today (12/10) is for a giveaway where you could win one.  Her giveaway is open thru December 16th.

Terrie (Bits and Pieces) shared a tutorial to make really cute bookmarks.

Kelly Jackson (I Have A Notion) created captured on video some of the party participants dancing a fun jig.


And she also shared that she is donating a Beam N Read Light as an additional raffle prize. Thank you Kelly!
Beam and Read LED6 Deluxe Hands Free Light-

Dana (Stormy Days) shared a wonderful story that I hope everyone reads.  It is really what Christmas is all about!

Physical Party Highlights:

Insights on Operation Homefront:  Gayle Morelan, from Operation Homefront shared insights with everyone about this Nationwide program.  SewCalGal's summary is that this program typically helps low-level enlisted soldiers and their families.  They work with various banks to help provide mortgage free homes where the need is great and funds can be raised to assist.  Typically, as wives are often in a location where they do not have friends or family to throw them a baby shower, group baby showers are frequently held where the wives are invited and given baby gift baskets and/or items appropriate for babies.  Many states, offer homes where a wounded soldier (and their family) can live as they exit the Military until such time they are well enough to get a job and find a place to live on their own.

The Operation Homefront also showcases emergency situations on the respective state website, where you can essentially help Military families with special needs.  For example, a Military family of a wounded veteran is struggling with finances to cover rent, after a death in the family has resulted in them taking on caring for two more children, expanding their family of 5 to 7.  While donations to Operation Homefront are always appreciated, they also share such insights where you can donate to directly help situations like this.

And, 94% of every dollar donated to Operation Homefront goes to needs defined in their Mission Statement.  To clarify, only 6% is used to cover rent of their warehouses, printing flyers, website maintenance, or other administrative costs.  Few non-profits are that efficient!

As they also are in need of toys, for a Christmas Party for kids of special needs Military family, many attending this party also brought toys to this party to donate to OH.

A few members of Champagne Quilters attended the party and shared insights.  This is not a quilt guild, but a group of quilters, that belong to various quilt guilds.  Monthly they meet to work on making baby gift baskets that are donated to women, about to have babies, when their spouse is off in a war zone.  More volunteers in every state are needed to help in this manner.  It might be a good opportunity for quilt guild's, or individual quilters.  Anyone interested can contact their local Operation Homefront to drop off such donations.

And many attendees brought items to donate for these baby gift baskets.

Julie Herman (Jaybird Quilts) attended the party.  She recently moved from Philadelphia to Southern California and SewCalGal was delighted to have her attend.  She also generously helped to create fun at the party, by decorating the tables with oodles of quilt magazines and patterns, which attendees were allowed to take home for free.

Linda Nitzen of Sizzix gave an insightful demonstration of cutting fabric with the Sizzix Big Shot and Big Shot Pro.  Plus, we were all treated to a wonderful show of beautiful quilts, table toppers and wallhangings that had been made using Sizzix die cutting tools.   

Linda also donated a Sizzix Big Shot and dies that will be used to help raise funds for Operation Homefront, by way of a Silent Auction that will be announced by SewCalGal shortly.

SewCalGal also did a quick sharing of the Silhouette Cameo, SLICE Fabrique and the AccuQuilt GO!.

We had a yummy potluck lunch.

There were plenty of door prizes (oops, I forgot to take pictures of all the door prizes wrapped and under the Christmas tree).

Wonderful raffle prizes.

And the Grand Prize (aka Golden Ticket Prize) was definitely a prize everyone wanted.  Packed full of notions donated by Kelly Jackson (IHAN),  a Beam N Read Light, threads donated by American & Efird LLC, and multiple packs of beautiful fabrics donated by Hoffman California Fabrics!

Everyone at the physical Quilter's Christmas Party and virtual party all had fun.  I'll be sharing more insights, announcing the winners for the door and raffle prizes, as well as the winner of the Golden Ticket Prize (virtual party) the week of the 15th, as well as more info on the Silent Auction fundraiser for Operation Homefront.

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Nanbon44 said...

Now that my link is done, I purchased my raffle tickets, I notified all my friends, I can go and put on my Christmas sweater, grab a Holiday punch and cookies and visit all the lovely homes of those who are also attending this years Christmas Party. See ya all real soon... Merry Christmas to one and all.

Scrapatches said...

Thanks, Sew Cal Gal, for setting up this online Quilter's Christmas Party!

I am participating in this fun. I have a PR button on my blog and have a post linking back to your blog.

Is this how I "link up" ?

I will be writing more posts today as the party goes on ... Merry Quilty Christmas! ... :) Pat

IHaveANotion ~ Kelly Jackson said...

Oh how I love a great party! Thanks for being the hostess :)


Kim said...

I posted about the party on my blog. This sounds like so much fun.

teachpany said...

I'm attending your party. Wish I could share cookies! Have fun!

Rebecca Grace said...

HOW can you have 40+ years of quilting experience -- you are so much more "hip" than me; I just assumed you were one of those twenty-something quilters! You must have started quilting when you were two or something... ;-)

Merry Christmas!

Nanbon44 said...

Sorry, I just found a mistake on my # 10 link, it leads to the draft of my post, I have added the correct link further down the list. Maybe if SewCalGal takes a break from her party she can delete number 10 link...

Bonnie at southern style

Nina Lise@Mrs Moen said...

Thank you for hosting another fun Christmas party! I very much enjoyed reading your post today! Have fun at your non-virtual party! I posted the badge on my blog earlier this weekend and hope to see many familiar and new friends here at the virtual one.

Martha said...

Donation made to Operation Homefront-done!! Now I can sit back and relax, have a cup of tea, and enjoy all the visitors to my Christmas tutorial blog post!! Thanks for the fabulous party SewCalGal!! Merry Christmas!!!

Scrapatches said...

Sew Cal Gal ... as a PR plus I pinned this link to Pinterest here ... http://pinterest.com/pin/224405993904323886/
... off to enjoy more of the lovely party ... :-) Pat

Terrie Sandelin said...

Thank you for organizing this. What a great idea! I really enjoyed putting together the bookmarks tutorial for this.

Anonymous said...

What a fun party! Thanks for inviting me...

Anonymous said...

Hi SewCalGal, well I am here, just reading through what I am supposed to have already read!!!! Derrr, better late than never though. Oh I am searching for the cirtual mince pies? I can't see them right now, so many people and prizes. WOW look who is here, Hi, good to see you....hahaha yeah I know I'm crazy. Off to my Blog to post a picture or two.
Jan across the Pond who did put the link up for folk a little late as I am always a bit behind.....

Quilting Babcia said...

Hi SewCalGal, what a wonderful party! I linked up today and also posted here: http://amityquilter.blogspot.com/2012/12/fmq-challenge-september-and-quilters.html
and mentioned the party and copied the badge at the end of my post here:

Nina Marie said...

Ohhh from a lady who has a lot of good ideas - this is one of your best! I told my husband about the cause and he was all for it! Plus this is the first time I've really ever posted about myself - so thank you so much for hosting!

Thearica said...

Hi SewCalGal!! My post is up for the party, my donation has been made and I have visited half of the bloggers already! I am about to turn in for the night as I need some beauty rest but will come back tomorrow to see who all else got linked up during the next few hours!

I also blogged for you on the 5th of Dec...


I hope a lot of funds are raised over the Christmas party!

I know you will be tired when this day is done so take a hot bubble bath and get some rest! Santa is coming!

Kathy said...

I made a posting for the Christmas party - what a great idea! I'm planning to make a donation tonight, too - sounds like a great cause.

Missy Shay said...

I have really enjoyed visiting and commenting on everyone's posts! I really enjoyed writing my post too! Thank you for organizing his Christmas party!

The Quilted Dog said...

I visited all 30 blogs -- what a lovely way to spend my evening. It so wonderful to see the creativity of so many talented quilters. Thank you so much for the Christmas Party

Dana Gaffney said...

This has been so lovely, it feels like a moment of calm in all of the insanity, thanks so much.

Quilting Babcia said...

I've visited all the blog posts, what a wonderful variety of stories they told! Hope your two parties were a roaring success!

Barb Neiwert said...

Just stopping by to thank you for the virtual party. I donated awhile back, and hope our blogs get some more donations sent for such a great cause. Love all the blogs that are being shared. Really gets me in the mood for Christmas!
Speaking of which, Merry Christmas to you!