Sewing is a lot like life...sure, there are patterns for just about everything, but in order to love what you do, or love what you make, you have to change the pattern to make it your own regardless if the change is a fraction of an inch or the length of a yard. And more often that not, those choices you make to change the pattern do not work out exactly the way you hope. It can be frustrating and challenging, and sometimes you have have to rip it all apart at the seams and start completely over. Which requires patience. A lot of patience. But in doing so, you create something that is far more rewarding, and far more beautiful, then what you started with.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Positive of Social Media - Giving Back

Say what you will about the "perils" of the internet and social media, but I believe the positive that comes from being able to keep in touch, in being able to connect and create community with those that you would otherwise most likely not, far outweighs the negative. I have a perfect example.

Several girlfriends, most I've known since kindergarten, and I have really reconnected within the last year through facebook and we've had several discussions about who we choose to accept friends requests from, and we each have our ideas about who and what we are comfortable with. We grew up in a small town and we receive a lot of friend requests from the same people. My rule of thumb is this: If I were to run into at our local small town Maple Leaf Festival and we would acknowledge each outher because we were friends in the past, I accept. If we would walk right by each other and not say a word? I don't accept. I try to keep it simple and I have to say, I haven't had a single ounce of guilt managing it this way. Okay, I take that back. I think the very first time I declined an invite I had the "But what if I look like the mean girl from high school if I don't accept?" worry go through my head, but I quickly realize now as an adult that isn't necessarily my issue, but is that person's issue. I am not a mean girl, so it hasn't bothered me since.

But! That's not my example. My example is this! Facebook has also allowed me to stay in touch with other childhood friends as well. Friends half way around the world, currently deployed while serving in our United States Military.

My friend, Staff Sergeant Chris Benjamin, has bravely been deployed for the last year in Africa and will be coming home within the next 8 weeks. While in Africa, Chris has been deeply affected by the mass poverty and widespread suffering during this deployment and has been committed to leaving a positive impact on local orphanages by participating in English discussion groups, leading holiday prayers and spending his free time with the local children. Chris is a father himself, to three young boys, that I know are anxiously awaiting his return home along with his wife and family.

Chris and I have known each other since the 6th grade and I am so very proud of the man he has become. The messages and experiences he shares through facebook have inspired me, so I wrote him a message asking what I could do to help. Could I send some handmade things I had made for the children in the local orphanages? Chris wrote back and graciously welcomed the idea, so today I will be putting 11 pillowcase dresses, 8 baby blankets, 20 handheld lovie blankets and a handful of crayon rolls in the mail, postmarked to Chris, to distribute to the local orphanage near where he is stationed.

Here are a few things I will be sending:

Stack of pillowcase dresses

Remember this fabric I posted about last week?!
Its made from a William Sonoma tablecloth!

I struggled right up until I sealed the box last night as to whether the items I was sending were "enough". The box was just one box. Only 11 dresses. Only 8 blankets. Is this something we all struggle with? Is what we do ever enough? I only let myself think that way for a few minutes before I changed my perspective, doing "enough", being "enough", isn't something I am willing to dwell on for long because the answer is no. It is not enough. But it is something. And it is a start. And a start is something I am committed to.

I would like to thank my mother-in-law Sally and my friend Marty Lang for each contributing a few dresses, and I would like to thank my dear friend Belinda Tawney for contributing several of the pillowcases for some of the dresses you see above. I truly apprcaite their generosity and their willingness to contribute when I approached them about the idea.

If you are looking for a great way to give back and contribute your sewing skills, this week Gingercake is hosting a "You Can Help Dress a Girl Around the World! Sew-A-Long" ! If you have never made a pillocase dress before, she includes a simple and easy tutorial link and I know you could have one made in no time. Please consider joining in!
Happy Monday!


  1. What a great story. I think there are pros and cons for using the internet and social media, but you have taken it surely made a good deed from it. You are doing something wonderful and you should be3 very proud!! Love all of the dresses!!

  2. You did such a wonderful thing. I know each of these items will get used until the literally fall apart since kids there don't have a "Toy-R-Us" for bedrooms and stacks of clothes. My kids have no idea how lucky there are!

  3. oh, you are sew super sweet. i am crying after reading the link to dress a girl around the world. i have been wishing for a girl to sew for; i am excited to participate in this project, too. Thanks so much for sharing!

  4. Oh so wonderful! These items will be cherished. Good for you for taking the time to put these together.

  5. Great post - what a wonderful thing you've done by creating things to go to help people less fortunate! The dresses are beautiful! Well done!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!

    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  6. Wow, what a wonderful thing to do! You have made such beautiful things for those little girls...I am sure they will be just over the moon when they see them!!

  7. What a really wonderful and sweet thing to do. Just remember the value of 1. One child will love and treasure each of those things, and that's definitely enough. Good for you! Thanks for linking to Fabric Tuesday.

  8. I posted about this for Handmade Features :) Thanks for linking it up!!

  9. What a wonderful thing you've done. Truly, that's that wonderful (not sad) thing about life. We can always do more...and our gifts and efforts are always welcomed. Not only have you niched out a hobby for yourself, but you've found a wonderful way to reach out to others. This is inspiring, Em. Thanks for sharing what you've done. :)

  10. You're amazing, Emily! I have to mirror Jess's sentiments...extremely inspiring. You should be so proud of yourself. I hope Chris is able to share photos of everyone receiving your amazing gifts.