Party favors
Winners and shop talk

Quilting for Peace

Softies 6

I received a copy of Quilting for Peace by Katherine Bell a few months ago.  In it, Katherine highlights the stories of people and organizations that are sewing for different causes.  Each project in the book corresponds to a particular initiative and range from full quilts to shopping bags, small pet mats to sleeping bags.

Softies five

Inspired by the book, the girls and I decided to make one of the projects in the book.  Mirabel the owl is the project for Softies for Mirabel.  Softies for Mirabel is a holiday toy drive that collects handmade, soft toys for the Mirabel Foundation in Melbourne, Australia.  I chose this project because it is simple and I knew the girls would be able to help me make the softies.  Additionally, I knew that my children would be able to relate to the idea of giving to other children who might not have as much as they do.

Softies 1

Softies two

It was definitely a team effort.  Kate and Jane chose the fabrics and trims that they wanted out of my stash.  I cut out the owls and they traced the other pattern pieces onto fusible interfacing.  I did most of the cutting, ironing and machine sewing.  They embroidered the eyelashes and stuffed the owls.  In a little over an hour, we were finished.  The girls were excited to show the softies to Fatty and spent a long time guessing what kind of child would end up with their creation.  They also asked if we could do it again another day and maybe take those softies to our city's children's hospital.  Of course.  Then they asked if they could make one for themselves.  I had been waiting for that!  Of course.

Softies four

I am so glad that I carved some time out of this busy week to work on this project with my children.  It's important to me that they realize that even at their young age, they can do something for others.  And I loved that the three of us spent time working together.  Also, it wasn't me that insisted it get finished.  After I proposed the idea of making the owls to them, they were the ones that kept reminding me that we needed to do it, that we should get busy sewing.  Thanks to my girls, I was reminded that no matter how busy I am, no matter what needs to be done, chances are I have an hour or so to do something for someone else. 

Softies three

Quilting for Peace includes many easy, doable projects and information on the organizations that could benefit from your crafty talent.  There's a 30-minute shopping bag pattern in the book that you could whip up for gifts.  Or maybe sew a quilted mat to donate to a local animal shelter.  I encourage you to take a look and see if there is something you can make for someone else in need this holiday season or in the new year.

I am giving away one copy of this fantastic book.  If you are interested in winning, leave a comment on this post that includes one thing you have done or will do for someone in need or a particular charity this holiday season.  I will close comments Wednesday, November 25th at 5:00 p.m. EST.  The winner will be announced on Friday or Saturday.  In other business, I'll be back tomorrow with the winner of last week's giveaway and some shop talk.



that is so awesome erin! i love that the three of you did that together, such a sweet experience that i'm sure they'll remember for years. kate and jane are lucky to have such a wonderful mom!

i have knitting for peace, and it's such a wonderful book.

Ginger & Pickle

I love everything about this! Love and sharing and awareness! Awesome!


I love the idea behind this book, because as you said even in our busy lives it's important to show our children that we can easily do something for others. So far this holiday season we have collected food for our local food pantry and toiletries for another local group. Both projects were through our schools. We are doing a thorough clean-out before the holidays to make sure we have passed along clothing, toys and household items to those in need. It's much better to have those items put to good use than hang around our house. One more thing we plan to do is donate money to Ronald McDonald House to help families who have seriously ill children. Thanks for the info about Quilting For Peace and the chance to win!


This sounds like a great book.

I am eager to start making pillowcases for Conkerr Cancer.


What a great idea!


I love the idea of making things to give away. Our family usually tries to make our most of our gifts rather than buying things from the store. Last year we made baskets with baking, preserves, our favorite chai tea, drawings and salt dough tree ornaments for family and friends.

We got the idea for tree ornaments from Melissa at tinyhappy here:

I love your little owls. Your girls did a great job!
- have a great day,


What a lovely project! My husband donates one morning each week to the local food bank. This time of year, I usually buy an extra few cans of food to take along, go through our pantry for what hasn't been used in the last few months and 'weed' out our closets for usable warm clothes that don't fit us or that have been replaced. Everything has a use, even if not for us! ~H


What a fantastic way to spend time with your daughters and to help others as well! I cannot wait until my little one is a bit older to help me in the craft room! Thanks for a wonderful giveaway, and have a relaxing and restful holiday!


Wonderful post today. We always give to a child for the Salvation Army Toy drive through my husband's work, as well as try to give to local food pantries, and donate our gently used coats and gloves to those who need them.


We always make a donation to Heifer International at Christmas. I love that, but I also love being able to make something to give. This book sounds very inspiring. Thanks for the chance!

Lisa Clarke

Fabulous owls! And I love that it was a team effort. I really need to come up with something my boys would enjoy getting involved with. They tend to roll their eyes at my projects these days...

In the meantime, I made a quilt for the latest crafthope project, which I think should make a little boy somewhere very happy (my own little boys wanted to keep it, if that's any indication.)


Oh this is so inspiring! Thank you for sharing!
Every year I knit beanies for babies all around the world. They take no time and it feels good.


I'm very interested in checking out this book, it looks like it is full of great ideas. I have a very soft spot for kids in need this time of year. Every year I recruit mom's from my neighborhood mother's group and friends to purchase Christmas gifts for kids in foster care. We are each given a gift tag with the child's name, age, and three gifts from their wish list. The thought of a child not receiving just one gift during the holiday season is just so sad to me.


It sounds like a wonderful book. We make a point of donating the children's clothes that they outgrow to a charity in town. I also try to always buy the clothes etc. that we need from a thrift store that supports a charity.


Thanks for talking about this book (I had no idea!).

A few years ago, I sent my sister with hundreds of gifts to children in Chinese Orphanages from people who read my blog (Made for China). It was SO INCREDIBLY AMAZING AND INSPIRING that people from all over the world used their talents to help fulfill a vision I had...I must get or maybe win this book! :)

Happy thanksgiving!


My daughters and I have been participating in the Craft Hope ( projects. So far we have made dolls for orphans in Nicaragua, blankets, beanies, and booties for babies in India, sock monkeys for burn victims in California, and quilts for homeless children in Michigan. We enjoy the work and love knowing that we are helping those in need. Quilting for Peace sounds like the same idea. Thanks for a chance to win and Happy Thanksgiving!

Beth Lehman

I love what your girls did and you have inspired me to take the time to something like this with my kids. I'm so tired of hurrying, hurrying all the time. I looked at this book the other day in the book store. I love the ideas in this book and the inspiration to do GOOD with our crafting. I have been thinking about the legacy we leave our children with - in terms of our interaction with the world around us. A friend had a Sunday School class for adults with speakers talking about needs in the local community and she and I are talking about how our families can contribute to one or more of them as a "gift-giving" idea this year.


Those are really cute, and what a great team effort! I'd love a copy of the book.


What a great way to spend the day with your children crafting and for a terrific cause as well. We constantly try to reinforce into our children to care and think of others. We always pass on clothes, toys or anything else we no longer need to others via various charity groups. We used to give 3 gifts(one for each child) under the wishing tree at Kmart, but we have since changed this into a yearly donation to the Smith Family, which uses the money to educate children from less fortunate backgrounds. Education is one of the best gifts you can give......oh and i have made sock monkeys for Softies for Mirabel.


I would love to have a copy of this book!
This holiday season, I'll help my book club provide Christmas presents and winter clothes for a family. My daughter, husband & I will go grocery shopping, letting her pick canned goods for donation to a local food closet.
Thank you for the reminder that as we head into this season that is often focused on excess, we should be thinking about those who are not as blessed & doing something about it.


What a perfect post for this time of year. My daughter (who was adopted from China) and I have been involved with the Craft Hope projects. It's such a rewarding process for both of us - it allows us to "give back" and help children in need around the globe.


This is such a fantastic book - I browsed through it a few weeks ago and immediately put it on my wish list!!


That's really wonderful making softies for kids in need, so often what we give is store-bought, I wonder how many impoverished kids never get something hand made with love especially for them?

This year my daughter and I picked out 2 snowsuits at Sears to donate to the snowsuit fund, and once the angel tree goes up in my office each child will pick a tag and we'll shop together for a present for the child represented by the tag. I try to choose children about the same age as my own so that they can feel more conneted to the recipient.

Thanks for your great blog, always full of things that make me think...


The owls are adorable, and the Children's hospital will be so appreciative! Every year my husband and I participate in Operation Christmas Child through church, and I'm always so honored to be able to participate in the cause.


I'm so glad your girls thought of the local children's hospital---there are so many children who will be spending Christmas in a hospital bed- after many long months of being stuck in that same bed. That softie is lovely and I would love to have a copy of the book!

Jill G

We do special grocery shopping to help stock our local food pantry for both Thanksgiving and Christmas.

I know my kids would enjoy making those softies for others as well, Erin. Thanks for reminding us that we can always find an hour to do something for others.


This looks like a great book--I've been really excited for it to come out and would love to win a copy....

Let's see....yesterday I took in some coats for our community coat drive!

Katie @ cakes, tea and dreams

This is a great project - and those owls are adorable.

I support Sanctuary Home for Children, an orphanage in south India, which a friend of mine founded and runs. My husband and I sponsor a child, and we're also giving a little extra money to their Christmas fund this year.


Wow, the softies are great and it's so nice to hear about how meaningful it was to your girls to make them. How fun that they were reminding you to get sewing! I really like the idea of sewing mats for an animal shelter...will have to look into that idea.

We've bought some boots for a local child through my women's group's tree of need, and have given money toward an annual kids' holiday party at a local mental health organization--funding was cut, so every little bit from outside donors helps, I hope.


We always donate food every year (as often as we can) I love this post. What a fun project. Thanks for the chance :)


Adorable and such a great memory for the three of you!

This year I made a quilt for Craft Hope. Such a joy as I stitched it up thinking of the little one it would help keep warm.

Last year on Thanksgiving day, we sponsored a child through Compassion International. We let my five year old pick a child who had the same birth month/year. He ended up picking a little boy in Tanzania. We have all loved receiving letters from him and sending them in return.

Thanks for your blog full of all sorts of inspiration!! Happy Day!

Amy W

My boys have been saving 10% of their allowance all year with the idea to make their donation right before Christmas. We just read in the paper this morning that our local Bikes for Kids program is short on bikes this year, so they have decided that is what they want to do. I would love to do a project in this book too. I saw it at Borders and it has some great ideas.


I am a Girl Scout leader and our troop is adopting a foster child and purchasing gifts for that child. The girls are very excited. I would LOVE a copy of this book to use for myself, my family, and our troop! I love that you made those gorgeous little softies with your girls!


The book looks really interesting, I'll have to check out a copy. And the owls are amazing. Your girls did a great job.


I'd love a copy of this box. And applause to you and your girls. The owls are lovely and I'm sure will brighten someone's day.


This is a wonderful book and I would be honored to win it. I am the leader of the Hugs Ministry at my church. We make quilts and pair them with stuffies to make Comfort Kits. We give them to the local fire department. They give them to kids in crisis situations. Thank you. Take care and God bless, Cory


Want that book. Great projects!



I love the idea of quilting for peace--two of my favorite things, handcrafts and peace. Do you think the projects can be done without a sewing machine? We've been helping with a food drive this week. Have a great holiday!

Account Deleted

I am the nursery director of our church. Each year I organize an Operation Christmas Child shoebox drive for the children, their parents, and our volunteers to participate in. We each pack a shoebox with age appropriate gifts and drop them off to OCC. The shoeboxes are sent around the world to children who otherwise would not receive a Christmas present. Thanks for the giveaway!

Lee Ann Wahi

I am knitting wool caps that are distributed to our state National Guard troops as they are deployed to Afghanistan. The hats serve two purposes ... keep them warm, but also let them know that we appreciate their sacrafice. There are several women in Minnesota that are participating in this knitting project.


I've been able to participate in one of the rounds of Craft Hope. This book looks amazing.


just finished making a quilt for CraftHope...would love the book to find out more organizations that I can bless with handmade goodness!


I love the projects I've seen in this book. I'd love to win it! Thanks!


Those look great, and give me such hope for future projects with my own kids!

Each Christmas, we put together shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. My son was less than enthustiastic about the giving away part (he's 4, though -- big surprise). My hope is that, given enough opportunities, he'll start to get into it as he gets older. Patience.... :)


I will definitely need to buy this book!
This year, my husband and I are helping 2 children whose parents are battling addiction right now. There is a treatment center near in our area and they have names of children on a tree with their wants/needs.

Sarah Jackson

I've been looking at that book for a while.

Every year I make hats for homeless men in Seattle that are handed out at Thanksgiving dinner. A friend of me organizes the hat drive and I love participating.


I think that's awesome that your girls are so excited to help others! The book looks fabulous and I'd love a copy to use with my own daughters!

I have ordered a quilt kit from Quilts for Kids ( and plan to make another on my own to send. I'm also going to be helping my Daisy Girl Scout troop organize some sort of collection for a food bank, toy drive, etc - we'll see what they choose!


That's such a great activity. Good for you.

I donate to Wildlife Defenders, Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, and TRUST Minneapolis, which provides support to low income families.

Mandy B

LOve the owls! Our family will choose names from a local Christmas tree and purchase/make presents for two or three children.

Stephanie B

That is so sweet! I give some money to the salvation army every morning when I see those bell ringers at the train station.

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