Thank you and a look ahead...

Where has the last month gone? I meant to finish up posting about The Hope Project weeks ago. Alas, I'm finally getting around to a final update.

What started out as this:

became this:
Most of the bags, packaged and ready for delivery.

Our final total was 51 gift bags for women at the following hospitals:

University Hospital in Salt Lake City
St. Mark's Hospital in Salt Lake City
Intermountain Medical Center in Murray
McKay-Dee Hospital in Ogden
Utah Valley Regional Medical Center in Provo

Each bag had an attached tag and "I can." necklace. The tag read:

Merry Christmas
from mothers, daughters and friends
who hope this small gift
lifts your spirit.

We wish you
peace and comfort
during this difficult time.

You can do this.

Trust us.

The week of Christmas, I found out that St. Mark's would like gift bags for their moms. I had already given out the last of the bags so I made these bags with fabric I had in my stash and filled them after a quick trip to Target.

A few hours before I was going to St. Mark's, I found out that they had one more mom than I had bags. I picked up a few more things at the store and packaged them into the basket pictured above. I didn't have time to sew that mom a bag. I ended up meeting the recipient of this basket and having a really memorable visit with her.

During our conversation, she said, "This just made my whole Christmas." It made my my Christmas too.

Thanks to everyone for helping to make The Hope Project possible. I met many of the women and they were very appreciative of the gifts as were the staff at the hospitals.

In addition to many of my friends and family members, the following businesses contributed to The Hope Project:

Amy Butler Design
- fabric
Contempo Tile - tiles for the quotes
OPI - nail polishes
The King's English - books
Ruby Snap - cookies
University of Utah Young Alumni - chapsticks, fans, and t-shirts
Kelly Anne Sansom - necklaces
Cactus & Tropicals - poinsettias
Pilot Pens - pens

I know you're not thinking about Christmas 2011 yet, but I hit a couple of post-holiday sales and picked up cards, Sudoku books, mugs, and notebooks for the 2011 bags.

I emailed Deseret Book about the book, The Mother in Me: Real-World Reflections on Growing into Motherhood. It is on sale for $2.99 (down from the original price of $20). I loved this book and included it in about 35 of the 2010 bags. However, since they are clearancing the book out of their inventory, I knew it wouldn't be around next Christmas. They were so generous and donated 60 books for the 2011 bags! I'm so thrilled.

During my communication with Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, I became aware of ongoing service opportunities for their hospital's pediatric patients. Their greatest needs are:

- gowns for the buddy dolls that they give to kids to explain their upcoming procedures
- pajama pants for the kids
- craft kits

I loved the positive energy at our girls' nights out and wondered if anyone was interested in coming to my home for a night of service in February. The projects are really simple. I'm still looking over dates and hoping to gather more supplies. Please let me know if you are interested.

Thanks again for making The Hope Project 2010 a success!

Girls just wanna have fun...

At least that's what we were saying before we struggled through the vinyl. We had no experience peeling vinyl and we had a few problems. But, we seemed to get the hang of it after awhile and really enjoyed chatting while we did it.

Contempo Tile donated the tiles and my sister mailed us the vinyl quotes from Atlanta. When we struggled with some of the transfer, two other women provided more vinyl to help us finish them.

The finished product. The quote says:

Once you choose hope,
anything's possible.

- Christopher Reeve

Cute mother-daughter duo, Andrea and Olivia, with one of the completed tiles.

Packaging the lotions, body washes, nail polish and chapsticks.

Many women brought their daughters to help. It was so much fun to have a mix of people. Here the girls were putting the toiletries into little cellophane bags and tying them with ribbons.

The last of us were working hard until midnight. Thanks, ladies!


More goodies for the bags

I've needed to wrap things up for weeks but until this weekend, I haven't felt like my life has slowed down from the Christmas rush.

Here are the final goodies that were put together for the ladies...The King's English graciously donated thoughtfully-chosen books and a gift certificate which I used to purchase another book for the bags. It's difficult for small businesses to donate to a cause that isn't an organized charity (501(c)3) because they can't take their donation as a write-off. I appreciate The King's English's kindness and willingness to help.

And, Dawn, the woman I talked to, gave me great advice about setting up a charity and told me about a charity she founded called, The Book Wagon, that provides books to children living in low-income housing in Salt Lake City.

One lucky mother received this cute Simplify frame in her bag. Most bags received a Sudoku book and about 35 women received copies of The Mother In Me: Real World Reflections on Growing into Motherhood. It's a collection of essays about young motherhood, on topics such as infertility, adoption, birth, and raising children up to age 5. I read it while I was on bed rest with the twins and found it to be so uplifting.

Cactus & Tropicals donated six beautiful poinsettias. I gave them to the moms I saw at the U in early December. Have you ever been to Cactus & Tropicals (located in Holladay and Draper)? Every little detail of their store is so inspiring.

Two kind women sent me checks. I held onto them until the very end so I could fill in the bags with whatever we needed. I purchased 20 great picture frames from Wal-mart for $2.50 each! I know I loved having a picture of my family nearby when I was in the hospital. These frames had "LOVE" in large cut-out letters, and short phrases like "Laugh out loud" and "Live in wonder".

Contempo Tile donated these 6x6 inch tiles and my sister, Ali, sent me the vinyl from Georgia. When we struggled with the vinyl transfer, two women stepped in to help us cut more vinyl. Thank you!!

More donations of cards, notebooks, nail files, and slipper socks from kind friends. Thank you!!

More body washes and lotions were donated by fabulous friends. They were then packaged into these little bags below.

Each bag had nail polish, lotion/body wash, chapstick, and a nail file.

Ruby Snap donated delicious cookies for each bag. Thanks to Megan for working with Ruby Snap for that generous donation. I bought a dozen cookies when I went to pick up the donation. It's hard to pick a favorite but I'd probably go with the Virginia, which on their website, is described as:

"They’re REAL good, so says Virginia. Robust ginger and dark molasses in a chewy cookie, rolled in raw turbinado sugar."

That's one seriously amazing cookie.