June 8, 2023
Yesterday, Linda and I sewed at LH, and Tabatha monitored our activities. For about two days at home, I sewed duffel bags; probably the most needed item for the guests - so they can carry their stuff. I made two from this free pattern - (https://mindymakes.com/duffel-bag-pattern/). I altered the pattern slightly, serging the inside seams to finish them instead of adding a lining making the pattern quicker to sew. I also shortened the hand straps and the shoulder strap for easier carrying; also lengthened the side panel to make the bag more sturdy to carry. Oh! Thanks to Melissa, one of our benefactors, who gave us a large roll of reflective tape - Linda suggested sewing reflective tape on the bags - so - there is now reflective tape on front and back! The zipper pockets on the front and back are especially nice for keeping things safe, the side pockets are nice for water bottles, etc. I wrote the author of this pattern and she said she was okay with me making these for the guests at Listening House. By the way, all of the fabrics were donations.
In addition, Linda and I sewed the usual repairs - Linda, patching jeans with a hole and in addition to other mending. I stitched straps on a fanny pack that was needing reinforcing. Plus, sewed a laundry bag from a pillow case: one of the other guests saw it and requested one. I sewed another one for her. No one wants to be left out!
Also, Linda brought several bandanas (from her sister's estate) and handed those out. She gave me two and I sewed two diddy bags from one of them.
A little preaching: today's gospel is Love God, Love Neighbor and some ask, "who is our neighbor?" Here is today's gospel: Gospel
One of the scribes came to Jesus and asked him,
"Which is the first of all the commandments?"
Jesus replied, "The first is this:
Hear, O Israel!
The Lord our God is Lord alone!
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, with all your mind,
and with all your strength.
The second is this:
You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
There is no other commandment greater than these."
The scribe said to him, "Well said, teacher.
You are right in saying,
He is One and there is no other than he.
And to love him with all your heart,
with all your understanding,
with all your strength,
and to love your neighbor as yourself
is worth more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."
And when Jesus saw that he answered with understanding,
he said to him, "You are not far from the Kingdom of God."
And no one dared to ask him any more questions.
A lady came in that I met a few weeks ago - she is bringing me a sewing machine today at LH - I will go pick it up. What a blessing - a new class starts on Tuesday and I need sewing machines. Another lady I know texted and has a sewing machine and several rolling carts for sewing machines along with scissors, and other sewing gear. I am so blessed that these folks donate and help people learn to sew!
I love this work and praise God that I am allowed to sew for LH guests!
A little back story - my oldest son was born on this day in the 1970's - combination of me being a young, unhealthy mom, and him having ADHD, made him a not so healthy young man. He ended up homeless and using drugs. He died on June 5, 1990's. When i first saw him after he died, I told him that i would make his life worthwhile. That is my commitment to working with folks at Listening House.
May 28, 2023
Greetings friends! This past Wednesday, Linda sewed solo. She reports that a gentleman came with three items to mend and she mended them. Did I tell you she also mends hearts? She's a great listener and always offer ideas for change. I'm so proud of her!
Both of us are back this Wednesday - I look forward to being there. I'm baking rhubarb bars with cream cheese frosting - one of Johnny's faves that i bake. When i saw him on Friday I told him the rhubarb is up and ripe and he said, "YES ma'am!" He always makes me smile.
Just a note - we never know what God has in store for us. On Friday walking the dog, we met up with a gentleman doing yard work who just got to St Paul by greyhound to live with his daughter. He asked us if we knew of anyone who could help me haul away the lilac trims he was cutting. Well, I got on NextDoor and posted about him needing help. Several people responded. Then, I asked him if he needed anything else - he said he came up with the clothes on his back and needed clothing and hygiene items. I got the car, took him to Listening House and they were able to help him out with clothing and hygiene items. Also! Guess what! There was a barber there, offering hair cutting services to guests - and Ray received a nice hair cut as well as all the other needs! Oh! He's a vet who served in Korea and Fort Jackson. This week we will visit Listening House and Dietre promised him vet resources - medical, housing etc. He was purposeful with his gratitude. And I am grateful to God for letting me help him out.
May 20, 2023
Greetings readers! This past Wednesday Linda and I both had short Vacays so we were not at LH.
However, that did not stop my brain on how we can better serve the guests at Listening House. I'm thinking of diddy bags, zipper bags, neck wallets for phones, cross-body bags for phones, etc. Sew We Work was donated lots and lots of fabric and I am able to use that up for the guests.
Thank you for reading this far - i ask only for prayer or a mass said for Sew We Work so that our work can continue.
Sew We Work is finding a home at Listening House and will work to further develop our partnership when LH moves to the old Savoy's on 7th and Lafayette.
May 11, 2023
Greetings readers! Yesterday was a fun day at Listening House. I was fortunate to meet Sister Kathleen (SSND), a long time volunteer at Listening House! I love her! If you met her you would love her too! And! get this! My mother's cousin, Sister Mary Dennis, or after 1965, Candace, was a SSND (School Sister of Notre Dame) and she taught Sister Kathleen! Small world, eh?
Guests are starting to learn our presence on Wednesdays, 10 to 12 or until we are done with mending. I love being there, i love the guests! Oddly enough, in mass this past Sunday, God inspired me to create a tshirt for Listening House. And, I did! It says: LH (listening house) guests, I love you, & I care, signed the sewing lady. Great fun! Some of the volunteers requested one, so I might make a few more with their specialty, "signed, the kitchen ladies" or whatever they want to be known as. there is a picture on this blog; the pink vinyl is a little hard to see.
So, this week, someone dropped off a huge crate of yarn and sewing supplies, Thank you!
One of my favorite students stopped by with repairs for her husbands pants - both knees were "blown out" she says. I patched them - he's a special size, so we try to keep the pants he has going for as long as we can. Also repaired a hole in her favorite sweatshirt. Made it look like it was part of the logo on the shirt; Nightmare Before Christmas. That was fun to do. Also repaired a strap on a backpack for her that I had originally lengthened - next time, remember a lighter to burn the edges of the strap! Good thing she was within the 30 day warranty! ;)
Linda shortened suspenders that looked like rulers - kind of something Bob the Builder would wear. Then she worked on a pair of sweater cuffs that had stretched out of shape. She had taken home a pair of shorts and repaired them at home for a guest and brought them back yesterday. The guest was ecstatic and put them on right away! Linda continues to take apart and manipulate dog food and bird seed bags (40 pound size) and fashioning them (we don't want them in the landfill!). Yesterday she showed me a backpack out of these bags she working on. Amazing vision and skill she has! She turns the bags inside out and then sews clips and strapping to them and makes the backpack. She's amazing, eh?
Two days before our scheduled appearance at LH, i caught the sewing bug and made about 10 drawstring ditty bags, 5 cloth wallets with zip pocket for coins, a half dozen coin purses, and a bunch of cord keepers for the guests. When the guests pick up free hygiene items, the items can be put in a ditty bag - a little more dignity for our guests.
Melissa gave me a HUGE roll of 2" wide 3M reflective tape (i had it for a few months before I "saw" an arm band); i had in my stash 2" wide velcro, both sides, and 2" wide black elastic. in my head i had a vision of a reflective arm band for guests to wear so at night they would be seen. I made three for the guests to try out. I hope they work -- I would like them to be safe in the dark.
Oh, i had 4 dead bananas and made banana bread for the guests. Johnny, one of the employees at LH loves my banana bread (me and Betty Crocker are BFFs). Soon the rhubarb will be up; Johnny has requested rhubarb bars with cream cheese frosting. Last spring when i made these he wasn't too sure about the rhubarb; however, after tasting them, he is in love with rhubarb bars! The rhubarb is up and not yet ready to harvest, but when I do . . . .
Neither Linda or I will be at LH next Wednesday, however, I continue to think about the guests.
Thank you for reading! Be well, be blessed!
May 4, 2023. A day late in blogging.
Check out the image on the gallery page for a pic of the ditty bag made by Linda at Listening House. She's amazing that she could turn denim pant legs (cut off from a guests hem request) into a ditty bag. She's awesome!
I had two blouses to work on - removed sleeves and turned under the armholes. Person did not like the sleeves, so now she is sleeveless and she looks great! I also repaired a bag - as you can probably guess a zipper. I could take that show on the road!
the day before Listening House i made 5 neck wallets - the kind that a person wears around their neck and the wallet is on their chest. It can hold a phone, money, cards, etc. I gave them to the desk person to hand out as he sees fit. I also made a bunch of wallets for the guys - simple vinyl wallets, folded in half and each side holds cards and ids. A couple of the guests expressed their gratitude because they keep loving their ids. I'm so glad I can help.
today I'm working on coin purses and little bitty ditty bags - tiny! Someone on line said it would make a really cute Tooth Fairy purse.
Be well, be blessed, until next week!
April 26, 2023, Sewing at Listening House
Wow! Linda had on her creative thinking cap this past week! Let me show you! Last year I made a couple of tote bags out of dog food bags and they were well received. This past week, Linda took the bag idea one step further: she turned the bag inside out. i asked her how she cleaned it. She said her dog licked it clean! I asked her if he does dishes. She said yes! Too funny. She added a long strap for over the shoulder and two short straps to carry like a suitcase. Very creative. We're back in the dog/cat/bird food sack recycling business!
Linda also worked on ditty bags this past week: we had hoods from sweatshirts left over from a quilt and she made ditty bags out of them, using the draw string portion as the opening for the bag and inserting the draw string. Linda also made two telephone bags, the kind that one wears around the neck and the phone sits in the bag so the phone is always front and center. Linda gave it to a guest who had her phone stolen out of her hands at the bus stop. Now, she has a new phone and a bag to keep it safe. I'm so proud to call Linda my sewing partner.
Remember the coat from last week? The guest brought the coat back and now it needed buttons! I didn't have four that matched however, he was okay with with them.
There is a clothing room at Listening House - the volunteer who works in that room sorting clothing, shoes, etc., brought a pair of jeans that needed a button so Linda sewed that on for him.
One of my favorite people came and asked me to make a ditty bag for her niece - my friend could have sewn it but her niece insisted that i sew it. She even brought her own fabric. Slow day for mending today so I could do it.
I'm starting to gather data on what repairs we do, how many, etc. Can anyone say 'spreadsheet'? Yes, i will create one and keep adding different repairs - we have not in the past kept track and i think it is time we do. We have an inkling about what repairs are asked for the most, and putting them in a spreadsheet will tell us.
Attached picture is of Linda, another one of Tabatha, and Hugo, employee of Listening House.
On another note - a gentleman came to me just as i was leaving and asked me for help. He had cut his finger pretty badly - and we found Hugo again, who applied peroxide and cleaned up the wound, applied antibiotic cream and a gauze bandage. Such is life for a homeless person. I will pray for him to find a shower if he wants one.
April 19, 2023
Good morning dear ones! I want to update you on sewing at Listening House in St Paul Minnestoa. Listening House, https://www.listeninghouse.org, is a day drop in shelter for homeless or otherwise disadvantaged persons. My sewing partner, Linda and I sew on Wednesday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon or until we are finished with the days repair requests.
This past Wednesday i replaced a jacket zipper - completely took the zipper out of the jacket and replaced it with a new one. Looking at the jacket, there were holes in the lining and pockets, so I mended those as well. i returned the jacket to the gentleman and he soon came back to me and showed me, something was inside the lining and because I mended the lining, he couldn't reach it! So, I opened the lining for him - it was a sock and a mitten! Too funny! Repair those linings and pockets, people! The other thing i noticed is that all of his cards - driver's license, credit cards, etc., were loose in his pocket. This week I will sew a wallet and present it to him next Wednesday.
A different gentleman came in with a trash bag - i asked him what was in the trash bag - he said "my clothes! I just got out of treatment and they gave me a trash bag for my clothing." I decided to make him a duffel bag! So, i went into our little "Listening House Sweatshop" and sewed him a duffel bag for his clothing, strap and all! He was a happy camper.
I love what i do there! I always go there with a happy heart and leave with a heart full of gratitude and peace. Sometimes I just sit and listen to the folks who are there. I have made many friends there - and we chat and catch up on our lives when we see each other.
I'm so blessed! God has blessed me with a big heart.