Monday, December 3, 2012

Guest Post for Pam

Hi!  I'm Leslie from Leslie's Art and Sew.  Pam invited me here today to tell you a little about who I am and what I do, and especially to tell you about the project I started this year called Hope Hearts.

I'm a wife, mother, and craft blogger; I spend time every day making things (usually sewing them) and interacting with other crafters online at Craftster.  I've always liked hearts--I like the shape, and what they symbolize--and they show up frequently in my work.  In fact, this year I accepted a challenge from my friend Susan to sew a heart for every day of the year!  It started out slowly, but things have really snowballed in the last couple of months, and I went far beyond the 365 hearts I needed to complete the challenge!  You can read all about it on my other blog, 365 Sewn Hearts. The Hope Hearts project is one of the reasons I exceeded my goal, and it is what brought me to Pam's attention. I want to share that story with you now.

About a year ago, when someone at Craftster suggested a heart craft swap, I jumped right in!  We all made different sorts of hearts and exchanged them, with the idea of displaying them in our homes in a jar.  Towards the end of the swap, I learned that one of the participants, Amanda, had some devastating news:  her husband was just diagnosed with advanced cancer.  She comment on a heart in the swap gallery--a heart with the word "hope" on it--she said she liked it because the word "hope" had suddenly taken on special meaning for her.

I decided right away to organize a few of my crafty friends to make similar hearts for her, because I know two things:  one, that hand-made gifts are a very meaningful way to show that you care; and two, that the journey through cancer treatment is long and hard, and people going through it need the emotional support that small acts of kindness can give. (I went on that journey when my husband had cancer.  I know all about it.)

Amanda was deeply touched when she received our hearts, and she wrote a lovely post about it on Craftster that you can read by clicking here. Below are the hearts we sent her:

After that positive experience, I was asked twice, during the next few months, to contribute hearts for people who needed to feel loving support as they went through a difficult illness.  After the second one, I realized that there are a lot of people who are sick and need emotional support, and I wanted to help other crafters provide that support, so I began making a Hope Heart kit available to anyone who asks.  The kit is free. It contains information on how to make the hearts, templates, and three finished hearts. (Just visit my blog if you wish to request a kit.)

 I've sent out nearly one hundred kits so far, and Pam is one of the people who requested one.  She will soon be telling you about her experience of making hearts with her friends.

Creating the Hope Hearts kits is the most meaningful thing I've done as a crafter and blogger.  I'm so glad I accepted the 365 heart challenge that led me to it! Many thanks to you, Pam, for letting me share my story with your readers, and I can't wait to hear more about the hearts you and your friends made.

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