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Thursday, 10 December 2015

Things I Love Thursday: PRESENTS! (and Giveaways)

I have a lot to be grateful for.  The end of each year always causes some retrospect, doesn't it?  I did a lot of travelling to teach, met so many wonderful people, received an art grant, curated a gallery show, joined Handmade House, was juried into Dimensions once again, and was published 5 times in three different countries.  Isn't that unreal!?  I'm booked in to 2018, and feel like I have so much on the horizon.  I am so very grateful for all the support.  I'm proud to be supporting my family financially as well by doing something I love - something so personally rewarding and something completely addicting at that! : )  I'm grateful, though I am so very busy around the clock, to be working from home.  It's a big juggle to have a full house and a full time career, but I do love the challenge of working on demand for whomever needs me at the moment.

I could go on and on.. but thank you for listening!  : )  And with gratitude comes the desire to give.  And so, a giveaway it is!  Awe heck, how about three?  Here are the draw prizes.

A signed back issue of Quilter's Connection.  Inside is my article on Postcards.  With it comes a postcard kit.  IF the chosen winner does not sew, the kit can be substituted for a blank art print card with envelope.

A signed back issue of Stitch from the UK.  Inside is my article on Threadpainting.  With it comes an art print card of mine, blank inside with envelope.

A signed issue of the current Noro knitting magazine.  Inside is my interview about stitching with Noro yarns.  With it will come some yarn samples in small skeins.  If you are not a fibre artist, you can request an art print card to accompany the magazine instead.

did I say 3?  Nah.  Let's go with 4.

A signed copy of Machine Quilting Unlimited.  Inside is my article on Threadpainting.  With is comes an art print card of mine, black inside with envelope.

Wait - five.


A 'Wish You Were Here' Prairie Postcard that I made.  Signed and numbered on back.  : )
I won't show you an image of what I select to send.  It will be a surprise.

There ya go!

Here's what you need to do to enter:

- Leave a comment here, ensuring you don't sign in as 'anonymous' or I'll never be able to find you.

- Tell me about what makes you feel good to give, whether it's a fond memory or an annual charity you support, how you helped out a friend or was kind to a stranger.  It's not meant to boast, it's meant to spread some stories of warmth and love in a pretty tough world full of tragic news.  Let's inspire each other.  Please do enjoy reading all the stories!  Be inspired.

*** The best story is not necessarily the winner.***  

We'll will pick five random names by Friday midnight.  I'll contact you all the following day and mail everything out Monday morning.  Hopefully you'll get things in time to put under the tree.  ; )

I'll go first.  My story?  If I have coins in my pockets, I can't walk past buskers or anyone on the street asking for change.  I make a point of saying hello, visiting or listening to a song, and emptying my pockets... and always when my children are with me.  They will dig up dimes and nickels from the van to give.  I think it's important to teach them to be kind humans.  I show them how easy it is to do, and that everyone deserves a smile and some friendship.  Everybody matters.

Last week, without my kids in tow, I was in a rush to an evening meeting.  I LIED to a young man I passed on the street and I said, 'no. sorry, I have no change'.  I was rushing, and I lied.  I felt SO shameful about it.  After the meeting, thank goodness he and I happened to crossed paths again!  Serendipity.  I was so relieved - I went straight up to him and told him I lied to him.  I told him I was sorry for rushing past, and I gave him my change.  I told him I was so thankful that we met up again.

That'll teach me.  I've never been a good liar.

So, you know, little or big - even little things are big to someone, right?  Tell me something happy, and good luck!  ENTER AS OFTEN AS YOU LIKE, but include a happy story.  xo


Ursula Yeo said...

Hello Monika. First of all I have to thank you for writing such an interesting blog. Your art work is so beautiful.
As for my story...here goes. I love making "We Care" quilts for our guild to donate to many causes one of which is a local Hospice. When a friend of mine lost her partner I brought her a comfort quilt. She was very surprised and pleased. Her partner had received a care quilt at the hospice which she had claimed as her own after he passed away. Her partner's son actually wanted to keep it but she wouldn't part with it...until I brought her one. Her words warmed my heart. "Now I can give the hospice quilt to his son because I have a quilt of my own." And that is why I quilt. I love making a great variety of quilts but the ones that are extra special are the ones that are truly appreciated by the recipients. I always think that the love we put into our "creations" pass on to the recipients. Keep up the beautiful work Monika. from Ursula

HollyM said...

Wow, Monica, what a nice Christmas present this would be! I'd love to read your articles! These are magazines that we don't get here in town.
You have had quite a year and it looks like it's going to continue. It's so great that you are helping to support your family by doing what you love.
As for my good deeds, I've been trying to be there for some friends in need lately, 3 who have recently had surgeries.
We don't have buskers in our little town but we do have a couple of men who spend time downtown during the day and who ask for change. I don't always like to give change but like you the little white lie makes me a bit uncomfortable. The last time it happened I was with my husband. I had just been telling him how I'd like to have some Tim cards in my purse that I could pass out. After we passed him by and got in our car my husband asked if I'd like to go get one. So we did and we went back and gave it to him. He was very happy about it.

Jo Vandermey said...

I enjoy your blog and it always leaves a smile on my face.
Kind acts was modeled for me from my mom and I have tried to do the same with my kids as you do.
It is not the individual acts but the consistency that makes a difference. What I mean by that is sometimes we are just to worn ourselves to do the kind act and then it is our turn to recieve one -graciously.
Over the years we have baked for others, made things, pjs for orphans, sevice trips, visited with sick people delivered dinners, shopped for shelters and more. Also listened to those who are going through tough times.
What I have learned from this is it always humbles me. I learn from it. And it makes me grow more compassionate.
The greatest gift of this comes now from seeing my three grown children practicing the same in their lives. All in their twenties and all volunteers. All think of others and have compassion. This is what makes the whole world a better place one small act repeated creates a big ripple!
And in turn we also have learned to recieve. When illness or death of a loved one comes we have had to learn to graciously recieve help too!
There is one lady at work who buoys me up all the time. Her gift is a simple hug. Some days that hug given when I really need it has got me through!

May your family enjoy the season.


elle said...

It is great when giving is mindful. Sometimes it seems so easy to write the cheque, etc. I think giving of ones time is the best kind of giving. And it is always a welcome gift to spread a smile and encouragement! Bless you!

Alice Zalik said...

Dear Monika,
Your use of fiber and fabric to capture nature's beauty is so inspiring. Thank you for sharing your talents.
Beads are my medium of choice, both for stringing and for embroidery and the results are given to family and friends or I wear them. Recently a cashier in a local store complimented me enthusiastically about a necklace of tigers eye beads supporting the point of a shed antler. On impulse, I took it off and gave it to her. Her delighted smile and the hug she gave me still warm my heart and encourage me to share blessings with others whenever there is an opportunity to do so.

Hilda said...

Thanks for your wonderful giveaway. I make quilts and give them to my daughter's former pediatric endocrinologist to give to newly diagnosed diabetic children. My daughter was diagnosed at age 12 early in December and I remember going through that scary, stressful month. We have been so fortunate and received such wonderful care--it's my way of giving back and hopefully providing comfort during a stressful event for a family. Thanks again!

Dolores said...

Where I grew up, I would pass a soup kitchen every single day. The Scott Mission had line-ups of men waiting to get in and at times, it could have been scary but I just walked with my head down, putting one foot in front of the other. Scott Mission also helps needy families and so, once I started to look for a charity to give to, they became my number one. I don't like my used clothing to be sold, I would rather that they be given to someone in need. They come and pick up and now, my children give to them also.
The Silent Children's Mission had a small ad in a magazine looking for sewers and knitters and so, my friend and I started to make baby quilts and knitted hats.
These are the two main charities that I always give to.
We are also foster parents to a boy in Central America.

Sheree said...

Hi Monika,

It's a crazy busy time of year and people's nerves get frayed. I was in a store where 4 men were giving the cashier a hard time. They were tradesmen, all dirty from their days work. I'm sure tired too and had little patience for the problem at the checkout which seemed to be a computer problem, not the cashier. The poor cashier was doing her best, but the problem took a bit of time to fix. Finally they were gone and after a few more customers I was next. I could see her eyes were watering, she was friendly and quick. I went out to my car and said she needs someone to let her know she's doing a good job. I went to a Tim Horton's and came back with a coffee for her. She gave me the biggest hug I've ever had from a stranger. It doesn't take much to let someone know they matter. I remember to smile no matter what kind of day I'm having. I think you can give off good vibes that people can pick up by passing you and change how their day goes. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year with lots of creativity and generosity.

Jude Eddington said...

I always support Alzheimers as my dad has this dreadful disease. It's so awful seeing the shell of a loved one with just glimpses of the person you love.

allthingzsewn said...

You are very blessed indeed. We are all blessed in different ways, it's a shame some don't realize it and therefore don't share it. Giving can be done is so many ways and these ladies are doing that. I have found an outlet while at a yard sale where I can get older fabric for 25 cents a yard.
I'm now using it for project Linus and dresses for little girls in africa.I thank you for sharing that we should never be too busy to help others. Thanks for the chance of winning the lovely articles.
Have a blessed Christmas.

ally said...

Monika, it's been exciting watching your success! It's clear that you're a lovely, down-to-earth person. It's evident in your work and I'm sure that's what people are responding to.
As you may be able to relate to, Christmas loses some of its allure as an adult. I find that it's important to do as much as possible in, and for, the community to make Christmas more about a season of giving back rather than focusing on only the one day. My family is fortunate in that we have a sturdy, comfortable house and all the food we can eat. I want my daughter to not take this for granted. We prepare three shoeboxes for the Samaritan's Purse organization which distributes them to kids in foreign countries that otherwise won't receive a gift. We also have "adopted" a family in our town anonymously and have bought clothes, grocery gift card, gifts, treats and other bits and pieces for the two daughters and mom. What a joy that was to pick out things for them, hoping they'll enjoy them. It will be great on Christmas morning to picture these strangers sitting in their home somewhere in our town opening their gifts on Christmas morning! And of course, we remember to drop some goods at the food bank, because it's so difficult for many people to make their money stretch these days. On Saturday, we'll be decorating our church for Christmas, and my daughter will be an angel in the pageant on Sunday. A great start to the festive season for us all!

Sewing Up A Storm said...

I love to quilt, sew, sometimes knit and do other crafts. I have since I was old enough to hold a needle.
My story........I love to look at what other artists do on Pinterest. I once saw a cool photo on how to drill holes in small rocks......very cool that could make some nice jewlery or something so I pinned the photo and never went to the site. One day I saw that photo and decided to visit the blog................oh my gosh!!!!!! her most recent post was that her house burned down in Eastern Washington wildfires. She had lost everything but her clothes, her family and her dog. The cat and chickens were all gone in the fire..........how awful. Well I contacted her and asked if she would like a quilt. I asked my online quilt friends to send me blocks and made her a quilt which I finished about 8 months later and sent it to her and her family for their new home. She and her family we so touched that someone who did not know them had made her a quilt for her bed. I just cannot imagine losing everything like that.

Gill said...

Thank you for a lovely giveaway!
When we lost our son 7 years ago the greatest gift anyone gave me was their time and now I try to repay that in our community by spending some of my time with people who are lonely or going through a hard time and need someone to talk to just like I did

Georgina, you know how to find me!! said...

Monika,your work is truly inspired by the Gods and you are so fortunate to be able to do what you love. That love definitely shows through in your work. I can hardly wait til I get my picture!!
We too are so blessed to have the life that we have. We have had some very troubling health issues in our family this year which has made us so much more grateful for the times that we have with our family. Others are not so blessed. One of my co workers is one of those to be 'not so blessed'. She is a very young girl with a very troubled life. Others have given up on her or just plain tired of dealing with her. I try and be patient and understanding and always try to help her when I can. This life can be a difficult journey and all we want is for someone to understand us, someone to see us, and someone to hear us. Someone to validate that we actually exist. This is what I can do to pay it forward, afterall someone was there to help me!

Caroline Heinrichs said...

Monika, that is a very telling story of yours! I have a very long story that I posted on my blog entitled "As Luck May Have It" and it was very well read and appreciated by my readers. To tell you some of it, I was stranded in the winter on a road in Washinton state. I knew no one and my car quit. I walked down a long road to a farmhouse where I entered a world of the past. It was warm and we had lots to keep our strangeness of each other going long enough that the evening came and the elders that had fed me and warmed me were joined by there son. He was a mechanic and helped me get back on the way. As I was leaving, the older Granny woman insisted I take home a box of her old sewing things. She had no daughter to hand it down to, so that box became mine. I moved shortly after this event and I didn't open the box until months down the road. But what I found in there told me that good does come in the most inconspicuous ways that we seem to think that no good does happen. That box opened up more than I can even tell you in this already long comment.
I will in turn give back by packing a box of canned goods that we like, some baking, some home canned jams and hand crocheted dish cloths into a box for a new immigrant family who works so hard, its an inspriation just to know this family. Its my way of saying "Thank you Universe" good things do happen.

Merry Christmas Monika, I will call and see if we can talk abit over the next month. Thanks for this giveaway, would love to see these magazines you're talking about, didn't even know 3 of them existed!


Wilma said...

I love checking in to your site, Monica. It always amazes me that your works are so small yet so detailed. You definitely capture the prairies in your images.
One of my favourite things to do at Christmas is to make gifts for my 4 sisters. They don't quilt so each year I make them something such as a mug rug, table runner, wine tote.... This year they are each getting a microwave bowl cozy. This is so when you reheat food in the microwave you don't burn your fingers on the hot bowl. They are only small items but it feels good to share my skills.

Valerie Wilson said...


Thanks again for a lovely blog! When a friend of mine had a recurrence of her breast cancer I wanted very much to do something for her. A talked another friend in to helping me make her a comfort quilt. We delivered it in time for her return from the hospital post surgery. We were told by her husband that the first thing that she did was wrap herself in the quilt. My friend is well now and the quilt graces her living room, ready for a nap.

Sharon V. said...

Thank you for the lovely giveaway! My comment evolved over several years. I used to gas up at a local station where an older man worked pumping gas (in Oregon, we can't pump our own gas - unbelievable, but nice when it's wintertime!). He should have been retired, taking it easy, but he probably worked at this thankless job because he needed the money. He was very grumpy, never smiled. I made it my mission to get him to smile at me. It took years of calling him by his first name, thanking him, trying to chat him up. FINALLY, one day when he handed me my receipt, he smiled at me and said, "Thank you, Sharon." I hope I helped make his job easier and showed him that someone cared about him. I try to remember those nameless-faceless workers we all encounter - hotel maids, cashiers, waitresses - and look them in the eye and tell them thank you. Where we would be without them? Merry Christmas, every one!

Sandra Weimer said...

Monika, I really enjoy reading your blog, and seeing the lovely work you do, it is inspiring!
I try to make most of my gifts, it seems more personal to give something that is handmade. However, I just now finished making cinnamon roasted almonds to give as gifts as well. This is a hard time for me as I am far from family, but I try to think about others who don't have family at all. I am blessed by my friends.

Virginia Keast said...

One of the things that I am grateful for is your blog which has inspired me to participate in postcard swaps all around the world.
I like to make donation quilts for the Linus project for children and knit for a Womens shelter. I made a comfort quilt for a friend of many years who was dying of leukemia and she took it to all her chemo appointments and really enjoyed having it and knowing that I had made it especially for her. I would love to have any one of your articles. I am a big fan. Virginia Keast. vkeast@sympatico.ca

Betsy said...

I have been the beneficiary of a kind deed or action on several occasions. I like to think that I pay it forward when I can. There is a benefit to both the giver and the receiver to bring a smile to someone with an unexpected kindness.
I would love to win your generous giveaway.

Jodie Matte said...

You are a wonderful inspiration Monika! I hope you make it to southern Ontario one day to teach!
Giving memory- handing out quilts at local nursing homes on Christmas day! My husband and I did this on behalf of my quilt guild at the time. My Dad came once after my Mom pssed away and he thought he'd match the curtains of each room with the quilt he chose, but he soon learned all the rooms had the same curtains! LOL!

Jodie Matte said...

You are a wonderful inspiration Monika! I hope you make it to southern Ontario one day to teach!
Giving memory- handing out quilts at local nursing homes on Christmas day! My husband and I did this on behalf of my quilt guild at the time. My Dad came once after my Mom pssed away and he thought he'd match the curtains of each room with the quilt he chose, but he soon learned all the rooms had the same curtains! LOL!

Paula DiMattei said...


you are a busy lady. You bring a ray of sunshine to my world. I have signed up for email updates of you blog and look forward to their arrival. I've noticed a common thread among fiber people. We seem to be very focused on "giving back". Every year my first "resolution" is to perform more random acts of kindness. This week I was at the coffee shop treating myself to a cup when the young girl in front of me had asked the waitress if she had a carrying tray for all of her coffees that she was bringing back to the local party store for her fellow co-workers. She was told that they had run out of them and I could tell from her face that carrying them back to the store was going to be nearly impossible. So I took advantage of the opportunity to help out and offered my empty hand to help carry. It really felt good to help this young lady out. Sad to say I think she was so shocked that someone would do that. But opportunities to make someone smile really warm your heart, don't they?

Lauren said...

Don't need a prize, but love the theme! I love giving food. Pretty much any way from buying a treat, making a special meal for family or having company, but especially dropping off food for families with new babies or for someone who is struggling in other ways. Such a simple thing can make the world of difference! I still remember the soup you brought me when Tristan was born, Monkika!

Candy said...

I support Project Peanut Butter (fights childhood malnutrition) and Kiva (gives loans to independent entrepreneurs in third world countries who must pay it back and then I reloan) Both seem to go directly to the people rather than to organizations. I also love to surprise people in line and pay for their order behind me and getting out of there before they know. so fun.

mlafayette said...

I have always wanted to be a foster mom. My husband doesn't support this idea so we compromised and love to foster puppies. Lately life has got in the way but I look forward to being a foster mom again when my life gets back on track again.

Suztats said...

Hi Monika. My hubby and I take a part of our Christmas money each year and go shopping for children in the area who may not have presents, and we've also bought Christmas dinner for families who otherwise might go without. It makes me feel so good to help others anonymously, and spread some Christmas cheer. Too, when the grocery stores offer free turkey coupons for a certain number of dollars spent, I always donate my turkeys to the food bank. Times are hard for many families, and it's a good feeling to know you've helped make someone else's Christmas a little better. It's always been our practice to give our no-longer-needed items to the local second-hand shop or the salvation army store rather than have a yard sale. This way we know the people who can afford to buy the items are getting good quality at an affordable price. Too, the money from the purchases then goes back into the community to those in need. It's a win-win.
Wishing you and yours a Wondrous and Blessed Christmas!
Hugs from Suz

Andree Faubert said...

hi Monika. i really love your work and your blog. I am inspired by your work and I would never have finished my first landscape art quilt if I hadn't seen your work. I have challenged myself to make one art quilt per month. It hasn't quite worked out to that many but it's coming along. This fall I donated one of my landscapes to our workplace charity silent auction. I was thrilled that the new owner is very proud of her new quilt and prominently displays it in her office! Have a great holiday season. Andree

Sue T said...

Hi Monika, I love your blog and look forward to your photos in my inbox.

What inspires me to give? I have been so very blessed in my life, I feel compelled to share good tidings. This past August, after severe drought, wild fires raged through our area of north-central Idaho. One nearby small town lost nearly 50 homes in the fires. How does one help fifty families who lost everything? The need felt monumental. I felt helpless. So many people stepped up to help; the disaster drew the small community together.

I realized I could not help everyone, but I could help one person. My friend Pearl lost everything and did not have insurance. My husband and I gave what we could, then I sent out an appeal on her behalf. I asked our mutual acquaintances and everyone who normally gives me a Christmas gift, to gift Pearl what they could in lieu of giving me a gift at Christmas. The response was amazing and very touching. Christmas in August.

My husband has moved rubble, gravel and delivered straw bales for our friends. A group of Mennonite men from Kansas and Montana did a house raising in one week. My friends have a long way to go to rebuild their lives, but they are making steady progress.

I still feel helpless, but helping a friend with such monumental need reminds me to count my blessings.

Pearl's GoFundMe

A very Merry Christmas and many blessings to you and yours in the New Year.

Sue T said...

If the link doesn't work. Here is the URL: https://www.gofundme.com/maxner

Sonia Parham said...

Great giveaway. It is always a blessing for me to give a hand crafted gift to someone. I have learned over the years that it truly is more of a blessing to give than to receive. There is a connection that is created when you give someone a gift that you have spent time and creative inspiration on.

Vini said...

You are so generous in your giveaways and you make it such fun! I truly enjoy the blog and LOVE your passion for your work....and I'm always amazed by how much you get done. Your career seems to have exploded! Kudos to you!
During the Christmas season it's hard not to be reminded how materialistic our society has become, so doing our part by making handmade gifts is so important.
Random acts of kindness make me happy, but I also volunteer as an adult literacy tutor, hoping someone may benefit by my help. I try to be creative in my own way in my sewing room.... making clothing and art quilts.
Merry Christmas to you and yours, Monika.

Linda Broere said...

I love your art, and always enjoy reading your updates. It inspires me.
I try very hard to be attentive, and interact with people out in the world...at the checkout, the waiter, the crossing guard, etc., to show that I appreciate them, and what they do, and who we are. I look them in the eyes, and am present in the moment of our however short interaction. I sincerely wish us all to " have a nice day".

Sue Davies said...

The best way to give is the unexpected. I get such a kick surprising somebody with a little something. They know there was not an obligation to give so they feel blessed.
Keep up your great work, Monica. I am inspired regularly!

Terry Whyte said...

Hi Monika:
I so enjoy your blog, your art and your passion for everything in your life. Thank you for sharing.
My favourite charity is Victoria Quilts Canada who give out homemade quilts to cancer patients in Canada. They accept finished quilts, quilt tops, as well as fabric and supplies, anything quilt related. Any UFOs in your closet would be greatly appreciated, check their website for more information. Anyone can refer a name of a cancer patient to receive a quilt. Tomorrow I will drop off another quilt top at the North Bay location.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Bev McCarty said...

Hi Monika,
I love your positive, caring and oh so creative blog! You are truly an inspiration to all of us.
I have donated some of my quilt projects to my girls' charities at work where they have been put into silent auctions and the money donated back to the charity. We have also donated baskets of our beef, chickens and honey for the same purposes.
One year we donated a quarter of beef to a single mom and her needy family in town. We feel very blessed that we have a comfortable life and are able to help others. Now that we have one in our family who is on her own and we can't always be there to help; it is so gratifying to know there are others out there who have stepped up to help. So we continue to help out where we can.
May you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.

Lin said...

I guess I have missed out Monika as we have been travelling to UK and I only just opened up my emails! Lovely to read everyones thoughts though. I love to give surprise, unexpected gifts - brighten someones day when they are least expecting it. With such a consumer led world gift giving on special occasions has got out of hand with so many gifts that overwhelm. xx

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