Sunday, December 7, 2008

Who doesn't love a care package?

I know that I loved getting care packages in college: it made me feel connected to home which sometimes felt very far away and I was only in the neighboring state, not half a world away. So today I spent a couple of hours helping put together care packages for a local organization, Toys-for-Troops to send a little love and support from home to those who are serving our country overseas.


A little bit of everything went into each care package: t-shirt, socks, playing cards, letters from little kids, DVDs, beef jerky, candy, toothpaste, soap, granola bars, snack mix, homemade cookies, hand sanitizer, bandages, and silly putty to name a few. We wrapped the big stuff and the smaller stuff went in as is. Here are some of the DVDs that I wrapped...there were at least 150 DVDs so I grabbed a quick photo of a few while I was wrapping.


Here is part of the line of boxes that we filled. They are the military flat rate boxes and they look small but you can jam a lot of stuff in them!


Honestly, the biggest challenge of the days was trying to avoid the news cameras that were there to collect footage. I turned down two requests to be interviewed on, no thanks! There is a reason why I am the person who takes the I can avoid being in the pictures! I did agree to answer a couple of questions for the man from The News-Gazette as I have a soft spot for print journalism from my time working at The Daily News when I was in college. I was not the most coherent so thankfully I don't think I will end up in the article.

If you want to help this organization, it isn't too late. If you go the the website, you can still submit a donation to help cover postage.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

'Tis the season

In my family, December has always been the time of year that we actively do something charitable. We give money to various causes throughout the year but in December we like to be a little more hands on with our giving: putting together food baskets, adopting a family for the holidays or buying gifts for kids who are wards of the state. This year my mom got two names off the DCFS tree at her workplace and tonight we went shopping and bought presents for a 17 year old (who wanted items for her baby) and a newborn. I think my mom always picks babies to buy for because she has no grandchildren and won't be getting any grandchildren anytime soon! In addition, I purchased some items for the Crisis Nursery which is a privately funded local organization that provides 24-7 emergency help and respite care for families.

As some of you may know, for several years I have been trying to convince my parents that I don't need presents during the holiday season. I have suggested they give the money to charity in my name or buy things for a charity instead of getting me something but every year I get shot down. They are my parents and they want to get me gifts. This usually leads to a feeling of guilt during the holidays. I am very fortunate and I don't really have any needs, just wants and I feel bad when I get more stuff every year. So this year I finally came up with a win-win solution and I talked with my mom and she agreed to go with it. My parents will be buying me yarn so they can give me something (which makes them happy) and I will use the yarn to knit for charity (which makes me happy). I think that most of the items that I make will go to Warm Woolies, an organization sends wool clothing to children in need all over the world.

I am interested in hearing what you do to support charities around the holidays. Do you do something new every year or do you have a charity or two that you always? I am sure there are lots of great organizations that I don't know about and lots of creative ways to help that I haven't thought of so please leave a comment and educate me!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Unoriginal Me

I have been in the hat making mood lately because hats are in need due to the winter weather we have been experiencing and because hats are a quick knit that keep me motivated by allowing me to feel super productive. I broke down and made the Yarn Harlot's An Unoriginal Hat (ravelry link -- if you don't have ravelry there is a link to the pattern pdf on the Yarn Harlot's blog) which I know has been made by eleventy billion other people but this hat is cute so I joined the rest of the lemmings and took the unoriginal plunge. Here is a picture...of course, since it isn't on a head, it looks kind of deflated and you can't get the full beauty of the cable work but I don't have a hat form and I didn't want to model the hat myself so this will have to do.


In fact, I liked the first one I made so much, I made another. I was able to get two hats out of one skein...but just barely. There was about 4 inches of yarn left when I was done pulling the stitches tight on the top of the second hat.


I think these hats might be a wee bit addicting to anyone who has a fondness for cables. I am planning on sending these two hats to the local homeless shelter as I am sure that someone there needs a hat to warm his head.


Oh the places I've been...