Tuesday, February 18, 2014

:: Veil Making...

I recently had this crazy idea that I could earn a little side-cash for our family (you know, so someday we can afford to not live on sub-floors, or maybe take the children to Disneyland), while working/sewing from home.
A woman who designs veils for bridal boutique shops, as well as larger stores like Nordstroms, was in need of another seamstress.  So I met with her on Wednesday afternoon, she gave me a brief lesson on veil-making, and sent me home to make 4 of a particular type of veil.
What a difference tulle and lace are from quilters cotton!  It was a bit of a learning curve, but I was surprised at how much I enjoyed learning something new.  However, with Josh being gone both evenings before I had to turn them in, I realized that there was no way that we could both have deadlines, and I could still mother my 5 children that way we would like for me to.  What was I thinking?!  =)
The night before I had to turn them in, I was up till about midnight sewing.  Friday afternoon I handed over the 4 veils, and graciously declined this unique job opportunity.  When I left her house, it was with a light heart.  Maybe someday this will be a good fit for me.  But for now, I'm happy to mother my children, and just sew quilts and things for my family and friends, with no big deadlines.  And you know, I do have 3 daughters that may need veils someday.  =)

Sunday, February 16, 2014

:: A Redemption Story - the details

Last Saturday morning I wrote a post, telling about a scam that I fell victim to. But today I get to share the 2nd half of that story: An amazing story of Redemption.    

Little did I know last Saturday morning when I woke up, what would transpire in those next 48 hours.
In response to that Scam Story blog post, over the course of that weekend, astounding amounts of people came to my rescue!  Literally.  Friends of mine on IG posted (and re-posted) my story, and by 10:30 that Saturday morning I was being flooded with emails, heartfelt responses, and an outpouring of financial giving from you - family, friends, and this amazing quilting community (and even their family members).  Each person giving out of the kindness of their hearts to help out a girl many hadn't even met before.  It was unbelievable and I was blown away!
By Sunday evening, an astonishing $2400 had been raised, and I told my husband, "I don't know how to make it stop!"  
The love and generosity you all poured out truly touched my heart and humbled me to my core.  And what an amazing redemption story you all gave to me!  Who would have ever known when I first found out I had lost all my "Bernina money", that something even better would come of it?!
I truly believe that God turned this into a testimony of how He is so powerful to act on our behalf.  And the most exciting part? He used all of YOU to do it!  What a thrilling thing.  I tend to mentally limit God's ability to act to the few scenerios I can come up with in my mind.  But how wrong that is!  This situation was far and above anything I could have dreamed or imagined.
So the next morning (Monday) I set up an appointment to meet with a lady who was selling her Bernina 440 locally on Tuesday evening.  I was so excited!!
However - God had even bigger plans. 
Monday night I received an email from a lady who had given a donation that weekend, even though we were complete strangers.  In her email she informed me that she wanted me to buy a NEW sewing machine, and that she was going to pay the difference.  (from what I had raised, to cover the price of new).  And she didn't take no for an answer.  Crazy, right?!!  Who does stuff like this?  Only Dana.

At this point I felt like a cup being held under a faucet of blessing. I was filled to the brim, yet the blessing kept coming and now it was just running over the sides. (And I prayed and told God, "ok Lord, you can turn it off now!!")

Long story short, by the next morning she had called her local Bernina stores, checked online, priced things, had me call my Bernina store, and wanted it all arranged by the end of the day!
Late that night my husband walked through my bedroom door carrying a brand new Bernina 550QE from Thread Play, my local Bernina store here in Denver!!!
What a story of redemption, love, and a community pulling together for their own, isn't it?!
I don't know how to even begin to express my heartfelt thanks to each one of you who gave.  There were approximately 50 donations, multiple re-postings of my story, emails from you who had found possible machine options for me, and so much compassion shown.  You gave what you could, and I have to say, those $10 and $15 donations spoke volumes to me.  I know what it's like to give all your eating-out money for the week.  And I don't receive it lightly.  Thank you for sacrificing for the good of someone else. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!
Every time I look at this machine, I am reminded of you - this community and family that I'm honored to call my own.
I'd love to give a special thanks to Kira (@quiltedkira) for taking it upon herself to set up a GoFundMe account, and who first got the word out there.
And especially to Dana (@danaquilts), who saw a girl with a story, and blessed me far beyond what I had dreamed of.  
Dana with her cutie-pie grandkids
Thank you also to Erin (@twomoreseconds) for taking the first plunge to re-post my story to her (2000+) followers!  And to all you amazing friends who re-posted and gave throughout that weekend! (I don't want to mention names - I'm afraid I'll miss someone - but you know who you are!)

And to Vanessa (@lellaboutique) for donating all the proceeds of her sales from her adorable shop!
And here's a quick tour of my sewing room (in our bedroom), for those of you who might like to see it...
So all this to say:  thank you so very much to each one of you who showed me such an outpouring of kindness, compassion and undeserved generosity.  I am forever grateful.
(if you missed the first post about the scam, you can read about it here)

Saturday, February 8, 2014

:: A Scam Story - the details

This is a post I've been dreading to write.  It makes me feel vulnerable.  And foolish.  And it brings back emotions I'd rather not remember.  But I've had an incredible number of sweet ladies show concern and ask questions, I feel like an explanation is necessary. 

First off, I'd just like to say a huge thank you to each of you who had kind, sympathetic things to say on my Instagram post a few weeks ago.  Even though it didn't change the circumstances of my situation, it's amazing what kindness and compassion can do to a hurting heart.  So a big Thank You to each of you (you know who you are)!!

So here goes...
I bought my very first sewing machine back in 1996 with money gifts given to me when I graduated from High School.  It was love at first sight.  Nothing fancy, but she has treated me well and does all I've needed her to.
However, with the amount of sewing I do, there are some features on a nicer model that would make life much easier for me. (as I'm sure many of you feel, as well)  Over the past 3 years I've drooled over the Bernina Aurora model, but I knew it wasn't even a financial possibility, with us being a 1-income family and raising 5 little kids.  Despite that, a girl's gotta dream, right?!  So this past year I began following used machines on ebay, as well as regularly calling my local Bernina store to see if they ever got any trade-in's, in order to get a feel for their price-range. 

In November, my husband received an unexpected bonus from his work, and he surprised me by saying he thought we would have enough leftover (after paying bills) to buy one!  I was over the moon!  I began watching machines on ebay in ernest, and even tried to bid on a few.  I decided to wait till January and the higher Christmas prices went back down.

A few weeks ago, through a series of events, I found a Bernina Aurora 440 on an online classified add,  and I was able to talk the seller down to a great price.  We chatted back and forth - she told me her husband was in the military and they had been relocated, but had to leave some of their things behind with a relocating company (Perfect Trade) to sell for them.  The company's website was very reassuring, offering a 10-day-money-back gurarantee, etc.

I guess I am too trusting.  And maybe I was a little over-eager as well.  Regardless, I sent my money through Western Union (first time I've ever bought a money order) on a Sunday, and waited eagerly to get my machine that Friday.  (I know, everyone tells me NOW that was a classic mistake - and I feel even worse!) 

During the week I tried contacting the selling company twice, but didn't hear a word back - total silence.  It was then my heart began to sink.
All day Friday I waited.  Not knowing if I was going to be heartbroken, or if "Christmas" was going to come!  Just hoping against hope that the UPS man would show up on my doorstep (he usually comes between 5-6pm).  But when Josh walked through the doorway at 6:15, I knew it was over, and I just sobbed.  And sobbed.  And sobbed...

Like I said, the range of emotions I felt are hard to put into words. Extreme disappointment that I wasn't getting my "dream machine", shame at loosing so much of Josh's hard-earned money, embarassement that I got scammed, anger that someone would take money from honest, hardworking families like us...

That weekend I did a lot of praying.  I told God that it was hard, but I trusted Him, and that if/when He wanted me to have a nicer machine, He'd work it out.  Otherwise, I'd be content with the machine I DO have, and the many other blessing He's already given me.  Faith in a loving Heavenly Father got me through that emotional weekend when all I felt like doing was staying in bed and crying.  =)

A few days later I posted a small version of the story on Instagram, and that's where you all came in.  Your comments and offers to help were like balm to my heart.  And it restored my faith in the goodwill of common man (or women).  I've sewn for many years of my life, seriously quilted for the past 3.5, and been a part of the online sewing community for only the past year.  But I have been blown away by the kindness I have seen there in all of you, and the compassion.  You are amazing!  Truly.

Anyways - this is the story in full.  I wanted to make sure and let you know it had nothing to do with Ebay or Paypal, as some of you have asked.  (How I wish it did!  They have so much buyer protection).  But I'm still working at trusting God.  I'm still sewing.  Still mothering my children.  And still trying to be a loving wife to my grace-giving husband (who not once made me feel bad about this whole thing).  Thank God for good men like him.  =)

UPDATE:  to read the amazing ending to this story, click here!

Modern Pearls Quilt Along - Week Four (the finish!)

Good Morning, friends!  It's the fourth (and final) week of our Modern Pearls Quilt Along, and this is where all those 9 patches start t...