Friday, August 31, 2012


Because it's a rare occasion to talk about foster care and not be asked about adoption, I'll end this month's project to "Give Hope" by sharing a link to

This website it dedicated to helping ready-to-adopt children in foster care find their forever families.

You can also find AdoptUSKids on facebook and twitter.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Give Hope - Handmade Round-Up

Here's an overview of all of the different handmade items that have been suggested for donation this month to your local foster care service or agency.
Simple projects to Give Hope!
Hygiene Bags
Plush Toys

Busy Bags
Drawstring Totes


 Tissue Packs, Biz Card Holders & Phone Pouches

Because Every Stitch Matters!!!
"Give Hope"

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Give Hope - Simple Gift Ideas

A few more simple gift ideas to "Give Hope".

 Business Card Holders

Tissue Holders

 Phone Pouch (Or Eye Glass Pouch)

And you can NEVER go wrong with fresh flowers whether hand-picked or from your favorite florist!
These are from my favorite florist, Echelon Florist.

However you choose, "Give Hope"!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Pattern Review - Card Wallet Key Chain by Bumbleberries Boutique

 Today I want to share with you a perfect gift project! The list of recipients who would enjoy using this is endless. This handy little Card Wallet Key Chain pattern is from Bumbleberries Boutique.

The pattern comes in PDF format and includes lots of full color, step-by-step photos to help insure your finished project is something you will be proud to use. 
 The Card Wallet Key Chain includes 2 inner pockets perfect for your basic necessities like biz cards, ID or debit card, or you could even include a gift card if you are giving it as a gift. Velcro closure and key chain loop will have you set to grab and go!

The PDF pattern includes all of the pattern pieces necessary.
Find the pattern in the Bumbleberries Boutique shop for ONLY $5!

I purchased my metal key rings on ebay for a great price too!
Once again, my fabric is from the new "Pieces of Hope" collection from Riley Blake Designs.

"Give Hope" with little gifts!

 Sewing Experience Level: Beginner
Size Range: n/a
Special Techniques: Sewing small projects, working with interfacing.
Pattern Format: PDF
Materials Used: Cotton Woven Prints, velcro, key ring
Personal Notes: Fun and simple project that could be a perfect gift for any occasion!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Give Hope - Case Managers

If there is a thankless job within the Foster System, in my opinion, it has to be the Case Managers.
Often carrying a very large caseload and viewed as an enemy by many birth families, these men and women have a very challenging job. 

They are often part of the team that has to remove the child.
They see the harsh realities of the circumstances that bring a child into state custody first hand.

They can find themselves in what can become a very difficult position between birth families and foster families, especially when a child remains in custody for a lengthy amount of time.

They can grow to care very deeply for the children they represent but must remain focused on their job and the goals set before them by the court. And then, there is the confidentiality of all of their cases that limits them from even being able to talk through some of their experiences. This is a balancing act I imagine exhausting on every level and the turn over rate for this position is statistically very high nationwide.

Today I want us to ask how we can encourage Case Managers and staff within the Foster System. Simple gestures to remind them that their job and commitment to it matters.
If you know someone that is connected to the foster care system as an employee in some way, perhaps simply affirming that you can imagine how difficult their daily job must be at times and that you are thankful for what they do.

I invite you to comment with suggestions you might have for how we can do this and I will share a couple of different handmade gift ideas this week that would be easy to make as well.
When we Give Hope, perhaps it will be passed on.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Pieces of HOPE - Giveaway!

You've seen me use the fabrics from this amazing collection, Pieces of Hope, all month!
Today I'd like to take a few minutes to share with you a bit more about this collection.

This collection comes from the talent bursting Riley Blake Designs!

When I first read about this collection and the purpose behind it, I was instantly captivated and have been stalking my favorite shops for months now awaiting the announcement that it was available! I knew it would be perfect for our "Give Hope" project this month and when I emailed to share, Riley Blake generously sent a bundle over for me to work with.(...and to share with you! :) more in a minute...stay with me here....)

This collection was created in support of Autism awareness and will help fund the ongoing research and work of Autism Speaks.
Find them on facebook here, and Twitter!

From their website,

"Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and autism are both general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development. These disorders are characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors.
More children will be diagnosed with autism this year than with childhood cancer, juvenile diabetes or pediatric AIDS combined. Autism affects 1 in 110 children and 1 in 70 boys–a 600 percent increase in prevalence over the past two decades."

Chances are your family has been touched by someone living with autism.
We all can offer support and HOPE!

As you sew, you have the opportunity to "Give Hope" with the message of your handmade gifts using this fabric collection too! Riley Blake is donating a significant portion of the sale of this collection to Autism Speaks! The colors and prints are all fabulous!
Can you pick a favorite print???

*TWO* lucky people have the chance to WIN a Pieces of Hope fabric & button bundle!!!
Aren't these wonderful!?!?!?
Simply follow the Rafflecopter prompts to enter. :)

Giveaway open US ONLY. Winners will be randomly selected from eligible entries, emailed and announced here on 8/31/12. Winners are given 48 hours to respond and claim their prize or alternate winners are selected.

 Thank you Riley Blake Designs for another fabulous fabric collection to create with, for using your talents to support Autism awareness and research AND for providing the materials for my sewing this month and this wonderful giveaway!!!

Good luck to you all! 
This is amazing fabric and I can't wait to share it with you!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Give Hope - Foster Siblings

If there is one group that gets consistently and abundantly overlooked, it's the children of foster families. The biological or adopted children already a part of the home. 
This REALLY, REALLY, REALLY bothers me.

I've actually been racking my brain for ideas of how we could serve these specific children in very special ways, the children who assume the role of "foster siblings" and I would welcome any suggestions you may have!

While not only overlooked, these children sacrifice so much.
They sacrifice their parents time and attention.
They share their rooms...their toys....their clothing.
They see and hear things that they NEVER would have had they not been part of a foster family.
Sometimes they are forced to "grow up" a bit faster or face the often harsh realities of life at an age that may be too tender to understand. 
Sometimes there are no answers to comfort their concerns.
They can sometimes be confused about the hows and whys of the foster system and even become afraid of the possibility of being taken away from their family.
They love unconditionally.
They learn compassion on levels that many adults may never obtain.
They see things clearly for what they are. 
They allow themselves to maintain HOPE always.
They are a friend.
These children are a breath of fresh air and frankly, I am beyond proud and undeserving to be Mama to several of them. 

While I could make a list of material "rewards" to shower on them, if I was asked what would have been most meaningful to my children during some of our most challenging moments as a foster family, they would all have chosen time with their daddy and I. Special "dates" where one of us would take one of the children somewhere special for some undivided attention. Something as simple as a visit to the ice cream shop or a movie or when one really needed some soaking time, an all day adventure to the local theme park. It was always remarkable the impact these times could have on our attitudes and ongoing function as a team. So, while I'm not sure how best to cultivate such, perhaps just as I mentioned yesterday, providing childcare for the other children in the home to allow for this type of getaway on a regular basis might be the greatest way to show support. I suppose tickets to a special event they could attend together might also be a fun contribution.
Either way, I think what is important is that these children also be made aware of their worth and importance. That they be reminded that their sacrifices are not unseen and that what they are doing truly does make a difference. I had a beautiful friend remind me of this during a very difficult time for our family and getting to share that message with my children was a healing encouragement to us all. 

Sometimes, often times, it is the simplest things that have the most significant meaning and lasting impact. The simplest gestures that truly "Give Hope".

"Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do so little." - Edmund Burke

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Give Hope - Simple Foster Family Support

Here's a list of some practical and simple suggestions to provide support and encouragement to foster families in your community.

Mealtime can be some of the most hectic time of each day. What to fix? How long will it take? Will everyone be home at the same time? Add to that the adjustment of a new person in your home that you are trying to make comfortable and get settled from a very traumatic day or visitation, and get the picture. It can be challenging to say the least. To have a friend or neighbor show up with a freshly cooked wouldn't that be nice!? 
Or how about bringing over a few extra frozen meals for you to pull from your freezer as needed?
Or even a gift card to a local family friendly or fast food restaurant would be a welcome gift and relief for any busy family! 
Last minute? No worries! Just order a pizza to be delivered to their home courtesy of a friend who cares and make someone's day!

This was a biggie for me! I don't know what I would have done without the help of family and friends. With 4 children of our own at the time, and an additional placement of 1 or 2 children, there were enough weekly appointments to make your head spin! Doctors. Dentists. Therapists. Activities. This is in addition to regular visits from social workers, case managers and arranging parental visits when required. Needless to say, it makes for a very hectic schedule. To have someone offer to ride along with me and entertain the children while I took only the specific ones in that needed to go was something I never took for granite! There were even times that someone would meet me at a nearby playground and allow the kids some playtime while I attended appointments with the others. Not only were their extra eyes and hands a blessing, the time they took from their day and spent with me was always an encouragement as well.

Free babysitting is a gift with immeasurable value!
Whether it allows for some one-on-one time with a child that just needs a little extra attention or a date night out for mom and dad, having another person that cares for your family provide this much needed time away is priceless! It can refresh and renew relationships and equip you for the challenges you don't even know are ahead.
If you have children close to the same ages as children within a foster family, this can also work out as a great time for them to have some "kid time" too!

For the most part, each of these things are very inexpensive and mainly consistent of us just giving of our time. When we give of our time it not only fulfills a specific need, but it also reminds people that we care for them. A beautiful way to "Give Hope" if you ask me!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Give Hope - Foster Care "Closets"

I mentioned last week how new clothing for children coming into foster care was a significant need, and I also said I would share a suggestion for hand-me-down or second hand clothing donations. 
Well, here it is! :)

We've already covered the fact that children often come into foster care with very little of their own. What I want to talk about today is how a foster family prepares in advance for the placement of a child or children in their home. For comparison, this is very, very different from preparing for a new baby or adoption in many ways. Not only will you likely not know the gender of the child that will come to live with you, but you will not know the age either. Many foster families accept children in a particular age range, but that can be a very large range. For example, newborn-toddler, toddler-school age, elementary-high school....there is no way to be fully prepared.
Imagine if your home is approved to receive a child in the age range of newborn to 6 years or from 9 years to 16 years. And of either gender. See how overwhelming it can get real quick!?
Clothing in multiple sizes.
Bed/crib/toddler bed and bedding.
Carseats and boosters if necessary.
What about bottles, formula, diapers for babies?
And personal hygiene items for teens?
It's a lot to consider.
Most homes don't allow for the extra space to store a variety of supplies to meet every possible need. So, here's where my idea for a "Foster Closet" comes in.
This can be a single closet in your home or a donated space at a local church or business. A place where donations of clean, good quality, used clothing and general care items can be sorted and stored and made available to foster families as needed. Some fostering agencies have these already and will gladly accept your donations.
While most states provide a one time "clothing allowance" for a child in foster care, like many things, it can take a while to get. A "closet" like this can provide for immediate needs and lift that initial concern and financial burden for families providing foster care. What a blessing! 

So, as you sort through clothing at the end of the season, consider how you might be able to offer the items in good condition to a family providing foster care in your community. I can assure you they will be grateful.
Thanks for caring!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Fostering Hope - Support for Foster Families

This week I want to focus on the families within our communities that serve as Foster Families and how we can encourage and support them. The Foster Care System is a busy place and the personal needs of these families can often get overlooked in the daily operations of navigating "The System". I've got several ideas to share, but first want to introduce you to an organization that is already doing just that.

A couple of minutes on their home page and it is CLEAR that they have the right idea about exactly what families engaged in foster care need!
Their mission:
"To affirm and support foster parents in their task of caring for neglected and abused children."

As a foster parent, I can say that affirmation and support are undoubtedly a very significant need....and unfortunately, a very limited resource.
Typically, what is received as affirmation are well intentioned, but misguided comments like...
"Wow. You are amazing! I could never do that, I would get too attached."
While I am careful to speak only for myself and my own personal experiences for the most part, I think I can safely say this is the WORST thing you can say to a foster parent. I'm certain it is not the intention, but it implies that in some way we are super human and don't become attached or have feelings. Truth is, fostering is very difficult and is an emotional roller coaster that many days can be overwhelming and full of heartache. Whether you have a child temporarily in your home that you instantly bond with and can't imagine ever having to leave or whether you have a child in your home that refuses to or is unable to bond to you, or even accept proper love and care due to past say it is hard is an absolute understatement. Foster Parents do not choose to open their hearts and homes to provide foster care because it is easy.

Foster families....foster parents and their children....face a myriad of emotions and unpredictable daily life that is hard to explain if you've never experienced it yourself. While there are most definitely blessings, they do not come without challenges and disappointments.

All the more reason organizations like Fostering Hope and individuals like you & I have a unique opportunity to provide support and encouragement!

The final sentence on the Fostering Hope home page says this...
"By supporting foster parents, we see better outcomes for children in foster care."
Bottom line. That's it. It matters in a BIG way!

Currently there are Fostering Hope locations in Colorado Springs and Milwaukee and hopes for more in the future. You can learn more on their website here, and follow along on their facebook page here.

I hope you will join me this week as we consider a few very practical and simple ways that we can reach out to those who are providing the daily care for children in the foster system. Certainly an opportunity to bless and be blessed at the same time.
Thanks for caring,

Friday, August 17, 2012

Mmmmm Mini Pizzas!

Hubs came up with the most fun way for the kiddos to have pizza for lunch the other day that I had to share. It was a HIT with everyone and the best was much healthier for them than a frozen pizza alternative! Super easy to make too! Here's all you need...
 The Sandwich Thins serve as the crust and the mini pepperonis are adorably perfect!
Simply top your pizzas, or let the kids top them with your favorite ingredients.
 Bake at 350 until crispy and then broil the top to brown. 
Now you are ready to eat!!!
These would be a fun birthday party or game day appetizer too don't ya think?
I love that the crust is whole wheat bread, so I'm able to sneak a little extra fiber in even for my pickiest little one! ;)

Give 'em a try! 
You and your kids will love them I promise!
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Give Hope - Clothing

Probably an obvious need, but nonetheless a very significant one for children in foster care is clothing. As I've mentioned before, children can often come into foster care with very little of their own, and in more serious cases, their personal items, including their clothing can even be contaminated due to exposure to harmful things in the environment from which they were removed. While the foster system is set up to provide them with a clothing allowance, often times this can be delayed and doesn't provide for the immediate need. 

While "hand-me-downs" in good condition are of course a welcome option, (I'll give you some great ideas for those next week!) providing a child with a new outfit can have an impact far greater than simply clothing them. 
New clothing can influence a child's self-esteem, confidence and yes, even provide HOPE in these very difficult moments.

These are simple knit skirts I've sewn and labeled with a little size tag.
Whether you have the materials on hand to make some clothing items yourself or would like to purchase new items, clothing is a perfect donation item for children in foster care!

Don't forget!!!!
Today is the FINAL DAY to use your 25% OFF discount code from Contemporary Cloth!!!
Shop from this great selection of designer fabrics and use the code "GiveHope" at checkout!!!

Thank you all for joining with me in an effort to "Give Hope" this month!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Give Hope - Pillowcases + tutorial + GIVEAWAYS + discount!

I hope it's becoming obvious that there are ALL KINDS of easy to sew projects that are perfect for donation to children in foster care. :)
Pillowcases are another!
Pillowcases were actually my very first project here at Hopeful Threads!
And they were given to our local DCS office for children in foster care....and everyone who saw them seemed just as pleased with them as I hope the children who received them were.

Pillowcases are such an easy to sew and practical item for donation!

Today, Vickey from Gingersnaps Fabric Boutique has a some great things to share with you!
First up, you can find a FREE pillowcase tutorial on her blog here.


She wanted to make sure you had what you needed to make a pillowcase, so she is giving away a pillowcase kit including these gorgeous Apple of My Eye/Riley Blake fabrics...
Enter by following the easy Rafflecopter prompts below.

Giveaway open internationally. Further details on the "Giveaway" page at the top of the blog. Winner will be randomly selected, emailed and announced here 8/22/12. Winner is given 48 hours to respond and claim the prize or an alternate winner will be chosen. (please respond!) :)
There is a SECOND GIVEAWAY on the Gingersnaps blog too, so be sure to jump over there and enter also!!!

You can get 10% off her already low prices using code "Hope12" in her shop here!!!
Discount good through 8/20/12 so don't miss out!!!

THANK YOU Gingersnaps Fabric Boutique for your support of Hopeful Threads and our sewing outreach each month! 

Good luck to you all! :) 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pattern Review - Polly Peasant Blouse by Sew Much Ado

I recently had the privilege of testing a new pattern for Sew Much Ado and am happy to get to share a review with you today!
This is the Polly Peasant Blouse with Scalloped Hem.

The pattern also provides a dress option and traditional hem, as well as alternate sleeve choices, so lots of possible variations.

This was my first time sewing with a Sew Much Ado pattern and I honestly can't say enough good things about the quality of Abby's patterns! Absolutely TOP-NOTCH!
Everything is very well written and easy to follow, with lots of clear, quality images. Pattern pieces and illustrations professionally drawn. She also includes this handy, paper & ink saving chart that details which pages to print based on which size you are that!

The fit was also spot on!
My Lil' Bit was very pleased with her new "owly" top that will be perfect for fall in this fun print!
 Deliciously Handmade indeed!
Mama is very pleased too. :)

 Sewing Experience Level: Beginner
Size Range: 0/3 Months - 6 Years
Special Techniques: Sewing with elastic.
Pattern Format: PDF
Materials Used: Cotton Woven Print from Timeless Treasures, elastic
Personal Notes: This is sure to be a go to pattern for me! I loved making this top and am very impressed with the quality of pattern offered by Sew Much Ado.
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