Category Archives: charity

Save the Penguins!

Oiled penguin in a knitted wool jumper
(Phillip Island Nature Parks. – Supplied)

Anyone who knits, crochets, weaves, quilts, or does anything creative for that matter, is well aware how many worthwhile organizations need various handmade items to help their cause. Yesterday, thanks to many friends on Facebook, I learned of an important – and incredibly cute – project. Keeping penguins warm!

The Penguin Foundation of Australia has asked knitters to make pullovers for penguins in rehab. The penguins caught in oil spills need these little jumpers to keep warm and to stop them from trying to clean the toxic oil off with their beaks. As a result, they have an adorable jumper pattern to keep the little guys warm! They are asking knitters to make jumpers to help with their efforts.

The Penguin Foundation is based at Phillip Island, which is known for having a large penguin colony.

As many of you know, I am far from an accomplished knitter. So I did some searching and found a penguin jumper crochet pattern. I am definitely going to make some and send them down under!

They ask that jumpers are made from wool or other natural fiber.

The Penguin Foundation was established to protect and preserve one of Australia’s most important natural assets – the little penguin.

This organization aims to provide a dedicated source of funding to support little penguin conservation projects. These include little penguin rescue and rehabilitation in the event of a man-made disaster; building new little penguin nesting areas; monitoring little penguin health and behavior; protecting the little penguins’ natural environment; and contributing funding to the vital Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre on Phillip Island. Since its establishment in 2006, the Penguin Foundation has raised over $1.5 million.

Little penguins are only found in southern Australia and New Zealand. In Australia little penguin colonies are scattered around the coastline from near Perth on the west coast, to Sydney on the east coast, and around Tasmania. Phillip Island has only one remaining little penguin colony. Phillip Island is home to an estimated 32,000 little penguins. Current estimates put the total little penguin population at one million.

Crochet for Oklahoma

Dee’s cousin’s house before the tornado and after.

This week were all watched in stunned amazement at the destruction from the tornadoes in Oklahoma. I simply can’t imagine what it was like to live through that nightmare or lose a family member or friend. We all want to do our part to help get them back to normal living.

One person who has a direct connection to that devastation is crochet designer and fiber artist Dee Stanziano. Her cousin’s house was destroyed in Oklahoma so she is doing her part to help her cousin by giving her all the money she makes from her pattern sales this weekend. Dee has some beautiful patterns available and is an incredibly gifted designer. If you have been thinking about picking up a new few patterns, I encourage you to check out her designs and make a few purchases so your crochet can help one family in Oklahoma get back on their feet! Please consider spreading the word to other crocheters in your circle. Thanks all very much!

All Aboard for the Crochet Tour!

March is National Crochet Month and a real treat has been planned thanks to Amy Shelton of Crochetville. She has organized A Tour through Crochet Country during the entire month! Each day one (or on some days two) crochet bloggers will have a special post just for National Crochet Month.

List of Stops Along the Tour

Click on any designer’s name to go directly to their blog.

March 1 Jenny King Shelby Allaho
March 2 Ellen Gormley Nancy Nehring
March 3
Phyllis Serbes Mona Muhammad
March 4
Amy O’Neill Houck Akua Hope
March 5
Mary Jane Hall Lindsey Stephens
March 6
Edie Eckman Shannon Mullett-Bowlsby
March 7
Jennifer Cirka Annette Stewart
March 8
Andrea Graciarena LeAnna Lyons
March 9
Dawn Cogger Angela Whisnant
March 10
Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten Renee Rodgers
March 11 Joy Prescott Donna Childs
March 12 Pam Daley Deb Burger
March 13 Tammy Hildebrand Marty Miller
March 14 Jocelyn Sass
March 15 Andee Graves
March 16 Laurinda Reddig
March 17 Brenda Bourg
March 18 Rhonda Davis
March 19 Julie Oparka
March 20
April Garwood
March 21
Alaina Klug
March 22
Erin Boland
March 23
Margaret Hubert
March 24
Bonnie Barker
March 25
Kim Guzman Susan Huxley
March 26
Susan Lowman
March 27
Marie Segares
March 28
Kathy White
March 29
Amy Shelton Donna Hulka
March 30
Linda Dean
March 31
Karen C K Ballard Gwen Blakley-Kinsler

A special way to participate

Those of us who are participating have also decided to support a charity during this special month. Project Night Night is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides over 25,000 Night Night Packages each year to homeless children. Each package consists of a new sturdy tote bag with a new security blanket, an age-appropriate children’s book, and a stuffed animal. These comfort objects help to reduce the trauma of homelessness for the children served by Project Night Night. Both the handmade blankets and stuffed animals provide the children with objects of love and security.

You can help Project Night Night by making and sending in a new crocheted blankets (50” x 60” or smaller) and/or making a financial donations. I hope you will consider supporting this organization as part of our celebration of crochet.

So I hope you will hop on the train for the tour and enjoy all these wonderful artists, designers, and bloggers have to say! And if you would like, please spread the word to other crocheters. All aboard!

We are Jersey Strong

“The Jersey Shore of my youth, it is gone. No question of my mind, we will rebuild it, but it won’t be the same,” ~Chris Christie

I am a proud Jersey Girl. I have posted in the past for my devotion, pride, and love of my state. Well like many this week, my heart is breaking.
I’m lucky. I made out very well. We have had minor inconveniences. I look at what my state has been through – it just breaks my heart.

Me and my friend Gina at my Uncle’s
bungalow in Seaside prom weekend.

While Jersey is often the butt-end of jokes and many think of stupid so-called “reality shows” are New Jersey, many of us know better. We know the jewel we have.

Like many, the Jersey Shore was my birthright. My Aunts and Uncles lived in Seaside, right down the street from Rainbow Rapids. I spent prom weekend at Seaside, piling people into my Uncle’s bungalow after a ride down the Parkway blasting my Meatloaf cassette in my 1986 Mercury Cougar. Yes, I was the essence of cool.

It was a right of passage we took for granted. Playing the wheel at The Union Jack. The Chair Lift. Skee-ball at Lucky Leo’s. The Casino Pier Carousel. Cheese steaks at The Midway. Clams at the raw bar under the Log Flume. Cotton Candy. Kohr’s Frozen Custard. Salt Water Taffy. It wasn’t just walking the boards for me; it was the food. All the stuff you weren’t allowed to normally eat – those rules went right out the window Down the Shore. I could go on forever.

Our view from our motel room at
The Crusader in Wildwood.

After I was married, our Shore plans moved further south to Wildwood and Cape May. Our spot was The Crusader – a classic Jersey Shore Motel. One year we went straight down the day my husband finished school in June. It was great.
Now… I’m speechless. Watching Chris Christie after his first tour of Seaside – it broke my heart. When he said The Midway was gone. That’s what did it for me.

But let’s face it. We’re Jersey. We’re tough. We’re Jersey Strong. To live in a state that is mercilessly made fun of – you have to be tough. We’ll be back and better than ever. But for those of us who grew up going “Down the Shore” – it will never be the same.

I pray for those who lost everything that they will find the strength to move forward.

We are all doing our best to help. With that said, all proceeds from my pattern sales will be donated to The Red Cross to help my fellow Jerseyans. If you are in need of a crochet pattern, I hope you will consider making a purchase. You can find them on Patternfish, Ravelry, and Craftsy. And if you don’t – well, I hope you will consider making a donation to The Red Cross.

Upcoming Arts & Crafts Event!

On September 23rd, I will be a part of a unique event in Denville. The Image Forum. This event is sponsored by a physicians group and will be a lot of fun!

The Image Forum will be held 11 AM Sunday, September 23, 2012 in the Urban Auditorium inside Saint Clares Hospital on 25 Pocono Road, Denville, NJ. The event includes a light brunch, chamber music, several medical lectures, and an arts and crafts show. The best part is the entire event is FREE to the public! Simply register in advance (so they have an accurate head count) by calling 973-994-2484 or emailing Please tell them you are my guest.

The medical lectures include understanding thyroid cancer, today’s use of cosmeceuticals, what’s involved in permanent makeup. Additionally, there will be a presentation by the non-profit Center for Food Action and music will be provided by The West Essex Chamber Players. A variety of medical professionals will be on hand to answer questions about skin health, breast health, and plastic surgery.

There will be LOTS of artisans, crafters, and unique shopping opportunities, including home decor, unique accessories, custom made table cloths, couture clothing, jewelry, scarves, shawls, hats, Lia Sophia jewelry, Longaberger baskets, and more!

I am very excited to be a part of this event! I hope you will consider joining in on the fun!

A Creative Project and a Wonderful Cause

Since 2006, the International Freeform Crochet Guild has conducted an annual project focused on fiber arts creativity. Over the years subjects have included fairy tales, mythology, the four seasons, earth – air – fire – water, and more. This year, the challenge was to interpret a work of art or music.

Inspired” includes artwork from fiber artists from around the world. The pieces inside are just beautiful and show the creativity of all the different participants.

The best part of the project Inspired is that the book highlighting all the artists is supporting  Doctors Without Borders and Souls of Somanya. All profits from “Inspired” will help these two worthwhile organizations. Doctors Without Borders works in nearly 70 countries providing medical aid to those most in need regardless of their race, religion, or political affiliation. Soul of Somanya, Inc. is a small organization staffed mostly by volunteers, headquartered in Mobile, Alabama in the U.S. Soul of Somanya, Inc. is working hard to develop sustainable employment opportunities there (currently in the field of jewelry-making and other bead work) for disadvantaged youth whose job prospects are very limited by their lack of family support and/or limited levels of education.

I hope you check out these amazing works of art!

WWKIP Day Event in Denville, NJ

This year’s World Wide Knit in Public takes place this year from the 9th to the 17th of June – second Saturday to the third Sunday in June. There are great events all over the world, but I wanted to let you all know about a great upcoming event in my neck of the woods – my beloved New Jersey.

On Saturday, June 16th from 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Nonna’s Yarn Cafe will be hosting an event to knit and crochet squares that will be made into blankets for St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville. They will supply the yarn and patterns, you bring either a size H crochet hook or size 8 needles and the fun will definitely appear!

Nonna’s Yarn Cafe is located on Broadway in the center of Denville. I hope you will be able to participate!

Network Charity Brunch and Arts/Crafts Sale in Denville 2/26

On Sunday, February 26th, I hope you consider attending a Network Charity Brunch and Arts/Crafts Sale in Denville. The event includes a medical lecture, chamber music, light luncheon, and an arts and crafts sale – all free! The complete event is listed below, if you would like to attend, please RSVP to 973-994-2484 and tell them you are my guest. I hope you decide to attend!

Urban Auditorium: Saint Clares Hospital, 25 Pocono Road, Denville, NJ
Lecture: Pediatric Injuries: Concussion by Rositta Michael, M. D., F.A.A.P.
Permanent Make-Up: Scar Camouflage by MaryAnn Velardi, Dermatechnician
Plastic Surgery: Trauma and Scars, Lorelle N. Michelson, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Tribute: The Center for Food Action
Musical Selections: The West Essex Chamber Players

Shopping opportunities: Andrea Lyn Van Benschoten, Fiber Artist; Anne Woodman Jewelry Design; Artisan Silk Flowers and Wreaths; Baubles Beads & Gemstones; Handmade, One-Of-A-Kind Jewelry by Ms. Barbara Bloom; Christabel Unique Concepts in Glass Jewelry; Ganise Creations…because jewelry ought to be fun!; Gem-N-I Fine Jewelry; Gina Bratter Designs One-of-a-Kind Art To Wear…Jewelry, Clothing, Accessories; Glam Sucre Fashion Jewelry; Healthy Changes Health and Wellness Center Personal Growth, Development and Hypnosis; House of Treasures Lavender & Eucalyptus Bath & Body Products / Spa Wraps / Masks; Jeanette’s Jewelry; Lia Sophia; Linda’s Things Custom-made stationery, decor and gifts; Mary Kay; Sachi of Tokyo Exotic Handcrafted Purses; Scentsy: Grissel & Dee; Silpada, .925 Sterling Silver Jewelry; Sophia’s Salts and Spices;; Stella & Dot Trendy Jewelry, Handbags and Accessories

March is National Crochet Month

crochetSo if you haven’t been getting your RDA of crochet, now is the time to pick up that hook! March is National Crochet Month. Many wonder what they could do to mark the occasion? Here are a few suggestions.

Plan a “Stitch and Bitch”

Crochet and being social go hand-in-hand. Plan a get together at a local coffee shop, book store, library or even your home and enjoy sharing each other projects and future crochet plans.

Teach a child to Crochet
Today kids are bombarded with “high tech” products like MP3 players, video games and cell phones. Teach a child to appreciate a “low tech” and creative process like crochet.

Donate Projects to Charity
There are plenty of charities out there that ask for crocheted items. From chemo caps to baby blankets to pet blankets, reach out to a local or favorite charity to see if they are in need. If you aren’t sure where to donate, call your local pet shelter, hospital or cancer center to see if they accept crocheted items for those they care for on a daily basis. I will be making chemo caps to donate to a local cancer center.

Start a New Project

Try making something  you have never made before. A perfect example is my sock project . I have tried several times in the past to crochet socks with zero success. I am doing a long-distance sock crochet along with my buddy Tonya and it is going very well! We are able to help each other when we get stuck and discuss our progress. It is great fun!

These are just a few different ways you can celebrate National Crochet Month. So pick up that hook and get stitchin’!

Stitchin’ at…Nonna’s!

This week we are going to do something a little different. We are taking our Stitchin’ at Starbucks on the road! Join us at Nonna’s Yarn Cafe in Denville, NJ at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, July 22, as we help celebrate their fifth anniversary! Then at 8:00 p.m., let’s head down the block to Mara’s for some coffee and crochet!

Please be sure to call Nonna’s at 973-983-9276 if you plan to attend, so they have an accurate count for the evening!

Hope you can join in on the fun as we celebrate this great achievement!