Letter to The Quilting Company Podcast

We recently got a letter from a listener of The Quilting Company Podcast that was so inspiring, we just had to share it with you. Lori, Ginger, Vivika, and I record each podcast in the hopes that we make you laugh and perhaps inspire you to try a new product or technique. We hope that you might feel like you are sitting at the table with us, sewing with your quilting friends. We never guessed that we would inspire a listener to volunteer her time to help those in need.

To say Melanie’s letter made our day, is the understatement of the year. We shared a portion of this letter in the January/February 2020 issue of McCall’s Quilting. Here is the complete letter along with all of the photos that Melanie sent in. Enjoy!

Dear Lori, Tracy, and Ginger,
You all make a great quilting podcast with interesting and educational topics that have inspired me to push my own boundaries and try new things. The “Quilt for a Cause” episode left me questioning how I could give back in a way similar to what Terry Grahl of Enchanted Makeovers did when she refurbished the women’s shelter. Terry inspired me because she accomplished so much. I reached out to three of my friends, Marta Sigmund, Angela Moreno, and Trisha Schulz, asking if they would be interested in a summer volunteer project and they all unanimously said, yes!

Within a few hours, the stars aligned, and our volunteer project was set. We were going to update and refurbish a shelter for homeless family’s at Family Promises of the Mid-Willamette Valley in Salem, Oregon. The shelter helps homeless families by providing a safe place, assistance to move into a home, and they help to keep families in their homes. There were two rooms at the shelter that we were offered to update. A kid’s playroom and a nap room. We visited the shelter to see the space and get some ideas about what was needed.

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Our first visit to Family Promises.

The shelter had made good efforts in these rooms and we were grateful to be invited to bring it up to the next level. The kid’s playroom was dark, and the curtains blocked the window light. The director explained that every time they tried to open the curtains; they would fall down.

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“The director explained that every time they tried to open the curtains; they would fall down.”

There was a play kitchen, but no play food or dishes available. With the majority of the shelter’s funds funneled to helping families, donations are relied upon for the furnishings. The crib in the nap room had chipping white paint. The twin mattress rested on metal springs with no headboard or footboard. Generous community members had donated items that were gladly accepted and needed; however, the items lacked the cohesiveness to bring the room together and they stood fragmented and apart.

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Here are a few of the before photos from the homeless shelter.

We put together a decoration plan and it was approved. Over the next four weeks, we gathered supplies, trying to keep costs as low as possible we bought from yard sales and used coupons at secondhand stores. We got really lucky buying paint and found a sale at a Habitat ReSale store, which already has low prices for used paint, and bought it all at half price.

In the days leading up to the makeover, I felt nervously excited. Similar to what I feel before going on a fun vacation. On the day of the makeover we met in the morning and we worked until after sundown.

In the nap room, we painted all the walls and added a Zen mountain mural on one wall. The metal spring bed was replaced with a solid wood bed. The crib was replaced with a more modern one equipped with a mobile. A nightstand was added with a clock that plays nature sounds, a bamboo lamp, and the drawer filled with earplugs, eye masks, and chapstick. The curtains were replaced with light-blocking curtains for day naps.

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A Zen mountain mural was painted on the nap room wall.

In the playroom we added books, bookshelves, stuffed animal reading buddies, and a teepee with fun flags and extra pillows. The curtains were replaced with sheer ones that hung via large grommets so they would easily slide open and never fall off again. We brought in a floor lamp and updated the ceiling lighting. The empty kitchen was filled with a variety of play food and dishes.

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This project is amazingly colorful.

We chatted as we worked and caught up with each other. We discussed life and how it can be hard and confusing and always so incredibly busy. The time slipped by quickly as we worked together.

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The playroom is cohesive and is a fun space for the kids to enjoy.

I had an opportunity to talk with one of the guests at the shelter after the project was completed. We chatted as her little boy was napping in the new crib behind us. His mother expressed appreciation for the updates. She told me her little boy was really enjoying the mobile on the crib. He liked to talk to it and listen to the music it played. She went on the tell me that he had never had a mobile before. I was struck by this as I had never imagined a world where babies didn’t have mobiles on their cribs. I came away with renewed gratitude. My heart was filled with the knowledge that current and future families would have some comforts of home while they are guests at the shelter. Thank you for sharing your podcast and for inspiring me to give back.

I was also inspired by the “Quilt Green” episode. I needed a back for my “12 Shades of Red Quilt” and I had never heard of piecing a back together before. I went to a donation-based store to browse their fabric selection. They had lots of sheets, blankets, etc. Then tucked in the back corner of the store I found 13 pieced heart blocks. The colors matched my quilt and the panel on the front, which has ‘home is where the heart is’. I purchased the blocks for a grand total of $6.50. It was a perfect fit and the quilt turned out great.

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“I purchased the blocks for a grand total of $6.50. It was a perfect fit and the quilt turned out great.”

Thank you,
Melanie Patterson
Millersburg, Oregon

If you were inspired by a pattern, article, or The Quilting Company Podcast, we would love to hear from you too! Leave a comment below or send us an email at quiltpodcast@peakmediaproperties.com! If you are enjoying the podcast, please share it with your friends.

Happy Quilting!

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