I’m continuing my series of copy-able letters to sponsored children. To read more about this series, click here. To view other templates, click the “Sponsor Letter Templates” link under the main blog header (or here, if reading in a feed). Want to pin this template to Pinterest? Just use the “pin-it” button at the bottom of this post. Easy Peazy!

It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a letter template, and in all honesty, it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve had a bit of crafter’s block when it comes to dreaming up new templates – and while I’m gearing up to share more templates for older sponsored kids, coming up with ideas is no easy feat. So, friends, if you’ve got an idea for a template that you’d love to see, please leave a comment or drop me an email and share your inspiration. I’m always looking for new themes and for ideas that will help sponsors write more often and with less anxiety.

This time, I’m sharing a pretty generic letter template that, in my mind, would be perfect for an older boy. However, the template is by no means limited to any one group. Feel free to use it as you need it!

GOBTemplate

You can download it from scribd here. If you do not have a free scribd account, and do not want to create one, you can view the template here on Google Docs. 

As I said before, I’m working on turning several of my existing templates into “older” versions.  If you have one that you’d like to see created for an older child, please let me know. Right now I’m just going back through them in a random way, updating whatever speaks to me at the moment. Also, I’d love it if you’d share any suggestions for new templates with me (for whatever age children).

*Please note that I do not encourage you to abandon letter-writing and just send these templates. Instead, these are meant to be used as a guide in building your relationship with your sponsored kids. As you learn more about your child, it should become easier to write them without using the templates. Hopefully, these templates can be helpful in ‘kick-starting’ relationships or  sending short notes when you’re pressed for time.

GirlKit

I’m excited to announce the winners of the June Correspondence Kit!

Congrats to Jonnie!

Be sure to check you email for a message from me (and be sure to check your spam folder, my messages tend to end up there for some reason)– I’ll need to know what kind of kit you’d like (older boy, older girl, younger girl, younger boy, or birthday) and your mailing address.

Everyone else, Thanks again for participating and remember, I give 2 kits away every month & offer them outside of giveaways.

Happy Monday!

It’s the second Friday of the month, and you know what that means: Time for another Correspondence Kit Giveaway! (And also time to get those letters out to your sponsored kids - click here to read about how sponsors all over the world are connecting and writing the second Friday every month)

What is it?

Simply put, a Correspondence Kit is, as the name suggests, a kit to help you with correspondence; specifically letter writing to Compassion Sponsored children. Each kit includes a variety of paper, letter templates, and goodies all for you to personalize and send to your sponsored child. I give away 2 kits on the second Friday of each month.

Types of Kits:

I currently offer 4 gender & aged based kits – Young Boy, Young Girl, Older Boy, & Older Girl. I also offer a netral Birthday kit. The photos below show one girl kit, one boy kit, and the birthday kit.

GirlKit

Each kit will come with an assortment of pattered papers & color copies of the templates I’ve designed and featured on this blog. In the boy & girl kits, there will be enough paper & templates to write your child at least once a month for an entire year. In the birthday kit, there will be enough paper & templates to send a very special birthday packet as well as six months worth of letters.

Each kit will also feature and assortment of goodies that will be age & gender appropriate. These might include: stickers, paper puzzles, coloring sheets, activity pages, gospel tracts, etc.

How to enter:

To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know that you’d like to win. Easy Peasy!

For an additional entries, follow me on instagramfollow me on twitter, tweet this giveaway, and/or share the giveaway on facebook (you can use the social media buttons at the end of this post). Leave one comment per task you complete to let me know. That’s a total of 4 possible entries.

This giveaway will remain open all weekend, and winners will be announced Monday night, June 16, 2014.

Please note, due to postage costs, this giveaway is limited to those with a mailing address in the United States or Canada.  

Good Luck & Happy Friday!

I’m also now offering these kits outside of giveaways. Click here or on the button in the side bar for more information.

10. June 2014 · 2 comments · Categories: Sewing · Tags: ,

Since day 1, I’ve known that the final quilt would be special; a combination and record of the entire project, made from scraps of each of the previous 25 quilts. 26thQuilt1 So, after completing each quilt, I saved the scrap fabric, trimming the pieces to 2.5″ squares and making sure some of my favorites made it into the quilt that is solely for me. This resulted in a horribly gaudy finished product, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.26thQuilt2 With leftover fabric from each quilt in this 26quilts project, I made a 10″ quilt block, loosely based on the “scrappy trip around the world” pattern. I quilted the finished product in a diagonal pattern across every other row of squares. I absolutely love how it turned out – love, love, love.26thQuilt3 As usual, I backed it with a vintage sheet that just so happens to mimic the diagonal quilting pattern. Finally, I bound the quilt with scraps of bias tape from other projects and called it a day. This quilt is the perfect record of my year of sewing, and I’m so happy to have made it and to have finished my goal.26thQuilt4 While I may not have shared all 26 quilts in a year, I definitely did quilt all 26 in a year -

And that, my friends, constitutes a win! Happy Sewing!

So it appears that the Spring and Summer months are shaping up to be slow reading months around here – and that makes sense to me. In the Winter, the lack of sunshine definitely brings me down, and books make a great escape when I can’t get outside to work in the garden or soak up some rays by the pool. In the summer, I find myself in more of a “doing/going” mood and spend my free time out in the sun: flea marketing, gardening, and swimming – this leaves my commute to and from work and my primary “reading” time; and I take full advantage of it by loading up on audio books galore. MayReadingIn May, I easily checked out half a dozen books from the local library, but ended up finishing only one – an audio book secured through my audible subscription. The three books pictured above sounded fantastic, but just didn’t live up the hype, and I returned them all unfinished. Below are my thoughts regarding the three unfinished books and the one complete read.

The Firefly Dance by Sarah Addison Allen & Others: First off, I totally overlooked the fact that this was a novella of short stories written by 5 authors when I picked it up from the library. I’ve been riding the Addison Allen high and was looking to enjoy more of her southern magical realism when I grabbed this one off the shelf. I made it through the first short story before I put the book down. It just wasn’t what I was in the mood for – no Southern Charm, no magical realism, no way I’ve got time to muddle through this.

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic by Emily Croy Barker: This one caught my eye from the shelf, and after reading the description in the jacket, promised to be similar to Addison Allen’s writing. And, while the premise is structurally similar, the plot was simultaneously too predictable and too jumpy for my taste. I got about half-way through before giving up and moving on. Overall, I feel like this story should have been broken into 2, maybe 3, different books and expounded into a fuller, richer narrative.

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder: Written by a Norwegian writer and translated into English, the plot follow’s the life of Sophie as she is introduced to philosophical thinking and the history of philosophy. Again, the book jacket promised magical realism, yet the book delivered a very elementary explanation of various philosophical schools of thought. I’m not sure how much of my distaste resulted from poor writing and how much resulted from poor translation, but this “adult” fiction felt like it should be on the juvenile fiction shelf. And while I love a good juvenile fiction, this one was definitely not my cup of tea.

Now, for the good:

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North: I loved this one, really loved it. It was a fantastic listen on the way to and from work, and fit in with a developing trend in my listening taste: something I’m going to call “lives lived again.” Like my earlier reads, Life After Life and, to an extent, Never Let Me Go, this book deals with choices made, lessons learned, and the impact a single person can have on the grand scheme of things. The reader was perfect for the narrative, and I am hoping and praying that Ms. North decides to write a sequel – it was just that good.

Have you read any good books, lately?

 

 

Quilt 25 was made for my Dad, an avid model aviation fan who is currently really big into electric helicopters. To design this one, I used Quiltography, a sweet design app for my iPad. It allowed me to photograph my current fabric stash and design a quilt based on what I had without wasting any fabric.AirplaneQuilt1

I went with a charm square/layer cake combo design, laid out in a diagonal pattern. It was super fast to put together, and I’l so pleased with how it turned out. AirplaneQuilt3

I bound the edges in a navy blue biased tape to keep with the more manly color scheme.AirplaneQuilt2

I for quilting, I stitched in the ditch along all the charm squares – simple, fast, and fantastic.AirplaneQuilt4

I backed the quilt with some cotton factory-worker shirt fabric from my stash – which was awesome in that it was wide enough to not have to piece the back.AirplaneQuilt5

And that makes 25 quilts blogged and only 1 more to go!

For quilt 24, I wanted to make my other Compassion Sponsored Child, Helen Angela, her own quilt (since I’ve made one for Emily and one for Josué). With Helen’s I used several fabrics that I had used in my own triangle quilt.HelenAngelaQuilt1

I love the orange and teal color scheme – it just makes me happy. HelenAngelaQuilt2

As with Emily & Josué’s quilts, I embroidered Helen Angela’s name – this time though, I put the name on the front instead of the back. HelenAngelaQuilt3

I also did a semi-scrappy binding, alternating between orange and teal bias tape.HelenAngelaQuilt4

Again, in keeping with the theme of the other Sponsored kids’ quilts, I backed it with a large print chevron.
HelenAngelaQuilt5

And that, my friends, is 24 quilts blogged and 2 more to go! Be on the look out this week, cause I’m finishing the sharing and posting all 26 by Friday.

 

RiskWonder1

EcuadorFunDayBus3

Last September, when I traveled with Compassion International to meet my two Ecuadorian sponsored children, Josué & Emily, I had no idea what to expect. No idea how I would react or what I would see. I’ve written about my trip here, if you’re interested in following along.

They, our group leaders, did tell us to be thinking of questions to ask our kids – they warned us that we would get caught up in the moment and forget what we wanted to know if we didn’t write it down. They did tell us, and I did ignore them. I couldn’t think of anything in particular that I wanted to know – I just wanted to know my kids. I just wanted to see them, hug them, and tell them I love them. I didn’t have anything to ask them. I am, by nature, a quiet person, an extremely introverted person. Small talk tires me – it was enough, in those few moments, to simply hold my kids. To just be there with them – to be completely there. To breathe in the air and know that this moment will never happen again.

And so, like they warned me, I forgot anything I wanted to ask. I stumbled over the small talk- amazed at simply being there. I had no idea what to say or what was appropriate to ask. Fortunately, I was blessed with an amazing translator who kept the conversation going as me and my kids are all quiet, reserved souls – and there were so many new people. Only when I had said my “bye-for-nows” did I realize there was so much that I didn’t ask.  So much more that I wanted to know.

Below are the questions I forgot – the ones that I’m now including in my letters, but wished I had included in my face-to-face conversation. Some of them don’t seem like much, but they are gold to me. Let me encourage you, if you are ever taking a trip to meet your sponsored child, take a notebook with you. Write down your questions for them, and their answers to you. Write down all the names of all the people you meet. Write everything down. Memories are frail and fleeting when it comes to small details – notebooks, pen, paper, cameras – invaluable.

Things I wish I had asked both Emily & Josué:

  1. How are your father & siblings?
  2. What did you do when you found out I was coming to visit you?
  3. What kind of “extras” do you like to get with the letters? (do you still like stickers? Do you like the paper planes better? What makes you most excited to open the letters?)
  4. Which letter is your favorite, and why?
  5. What size clothes do you wear?
  6. Exactly how tall are you?
  7. What is your shoe size?
  8. What is your home like?
  9. What does an average day for you look like?
  10. What is the hardest part of your day?
  11. How many kids in your project get regular letters from their sponsors?
  12. Do any of your friends/siblings not get letters?
  13. How old is your Compassion Project?
  14. How long have your tutors been working with Compassion?

Things I wish I had asked for Emily specifically:

  1. What is your favorite part of the Compassion Program?
  2. What kind of lessons does your mother teach for Sunday School? Does she have a favorite lesson?

Things I wish I had asked for Josué specifically:

  1. How did you get started with your baseball team?
  2. Tell me more about the service projects you and your friends do for your neighborhood.
  3. Who is your best friend, what do you like most about them?
  4. Of all of your baked goods, what have you been most proud to make?

What would you ask your sponsored child, if you could ask them anything?

March and April were extremely slow reading months around here – and I only managed to finish 3 books, 2 of which were audio books. But, let me just say, I am now utterly addicted to Audible and audiobooks in general. I have at least a 45 minuted commute to and from work 5 days a week – and audiobooks trump the radio every time. every single time.

PeachKeeper1

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

I have fallen down the rabbit hole and cannot get enough of Sarah Addison Allen’s books. They all follow the same recipe: 1 part southern charm, 1 part hopeful love, and 2 parts magical realism; which results in the best chick-lit I’ve read in a long, long time. Seriously, everytime I sit down with one of her books, I don’t get up until it’s completed. If you’re looking for a bit of fun, a bit of the South (complete with idioms and accents), and a bit of fantasy/magic, I highly recommend any of Allen’s works.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tart

On Audible, I often search for the longest titles – I want to use my “credit” on the most expensive items, which, in audiobook terms means the newest and longest releases. Enter The Goldfinch. I’d been hearing quite a bit about this book across social media and various blogs, and after reading the short description, decided to try it out. Honestly, I really liked it – not quite loved it, but would definitely listen to it again at some point in the future. I’m not sure that I could have drudged through the text heavy, plot-thin book without listening to it, but it was perfect to pass the drive to and from work for a solid month. If you like high-action, plot twists, and plausible mysteries, this is not the book for you. All in all, it’s a bit slow- lots of patchy character development, lots of back-story. But, for a look at how a tragedy can have a profound impact on the human psyche – how quick decisions have lasting consequences, this is worth the read.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

I love Neil Gaiman’s books – but I will say, he is very much a love-it or hate-it author. Like Sarah Addison Allen, Gaiman incorporates a healthy dose of magical realism into his writing – enough for the book to be solidly grounded in this world, but to also convince the reader that the extraordinary is also possible – that old Norse Gods roam the earth hoping to stay alive amidst the new American Gods of “Internet,” “Highway,” and “Television.” I loved this book and would read it again and again. Definitely a must if you’re into ancient gods, mythic tales, and even the tried and true road trip story.