June 2014 Charity Crafting Night


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Join us for a Giving Artfully Charity Crafting Night

If you live near Oak Park, Illinois, come join us for a Giving Artfully Charity Crafting Night.

Giving Artfully Charity Crafting Night:
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
6:30-8:30 pm
Oak Park Main Library – Small Meeting Room
(834 Lake Street, Oak Park).

• Pillowcase dresses for little girls in Africa through the organization Little Dresses for Africa

• Crocheted/knitted squares that will be sewn in to blankets for AIDS orphans in Africa thru the organization Knit-A-Square http://www.givingartfully.com/campaigns/knit-a-square/

You can also bring projects that you did not finish at the last Charity Crafting night.

*RSVP: sitinee@givingartfully.com *

Whether you are a seasoned crafter or a beginner, come join us for a night to
help our local community. Please bring materials (yarn/fabric) if you have
them. If not, we will have some supplies available. It will be a great
chance to meet new friends, learn a new a craft all while helping out a
good cause.

Hope to see you there and please feel free to pass this along to your
friends who may be interested.



Suggested dress pattern:


Square patterns:

See patterns at the bottom of this link:



Join Our Charity Craft-a-Long!!


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Come join us for a Giving Artfully Charity Craft-a-Long!

What is a Craft-a-Long?   A chance for people to come together to craft for a common purpose. Its a great way to get inspired by seeing other people’s works! Come join us whether you are a beginner or experienced crafter – there is something for everyone!

Here are the organizations for the May/June 2014 Craft-a-long.  At the end of June, one random individual that participated in the KAL/CAL will win a prize as a thank you for helping these wonderful organizations. Projects need to be finished by June 30, 2014 to be eligible for the prize.

If you are interested in joining the Giving Artfully Craft-a-long, just reply to this thread with the following information:

1) Project/Charity
2) Start Date
3) Finish Date and picture

Feel free to use any pattern as long as they follow the guidelines, if any, from the organization. Some organizations have more than one project (i.e. a project for hats and another for scarves, so any project for the organizations can be used for the  Craft-a-long)

For these next two months, I thought we can focus on international projects. For those projects that need to be shipped  internationally, you can mail your projects to us at Giving Artfully and we will send it one large shipment.

Contagious Hope
Booties and blankets for orphans in third world countries

World Vision: Knit for Kids
Hats, Blankets and sweaters for vulnerable children living in poverty

Christmas at Sea: The Seamen’s Church Institute
Scarves and hats for mariners at sea

Walking with Orphans
Scarves for orphans in Eastern Europe and Russia

Squares for AIDS orphans and abandoned or vulnerable children in South Africa.

Knitting for Brisbane’s Needy
Adult beanies/hats for Brisbane’s families in nee.

Little Dresses for Africa
Dresses/shorts are distributed to orphanages, churches and schools in Africa.

Hope you can join us for this month’s Craft-a-long!

Happy crafting!


9 Square Knitted Preemie Blanket Pattern


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Great and adorable pattern for a preemie blanket. Can’t wait to try to make this!


I feel like I’m kinda jumping all around right now with blogging, but this post has been waiting a while. And I absolutely love the whole quilt block inspired knitted preemie blankets I’m working on! So, here it is:

One of my absolute things to make is baby blankets! Seriously, I am excited just thinking about making one!! Whether it’s knitted, crocheted, quilted, you name it and it’s right up my alley.

I figured it would be fun to make up some preemie sized blankets for a few reasons. 1- Why not?? 2- Little babies need blankets too!! 3- You can always put smaller squares together to make a bigger blanket (lots of options here). 4- Who doesn’t love a quick & easy project sometimes that would totally benefit someone else??

Combining the look of basic quilt blocks with knitting just seemed so awesome, and thus the idea for these…

View original post 248 more words

Hard-Wired for Giving – wsj.com


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I was doing some research on the web about giving and I ran across this article in the Wall Street journal about giving.  I was so excited to stumble on this article that was written last summer about how “contrary to conventional wisdom that humans are essentially selfish, scientists are finding that the brain is built for generosity”.

Its an interesting article and I included a few excerpts about the research.



— excerpt for Wall Street Journal Saturday Essay: Hard-Wired for Giving

” These days, neuroscientists like Jordan Grafman are investigating specific regions of the human brain that give rise to altruistic behavior. Dr. Grafman, now director of brain injury research at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, became interested in how the brain governs generosity in part out of his work with military veterans who suffered brain trauma. Back in the 1980s, when he was working with returned vets at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., he started to notice something unusual about patients who had sustained damage to their frontal lobes. At first glance, they appeared normal: Their cognitive ability seemed unaffected, and many were able to carry out basic motor tasks with ease. But they suffered from other, more subtle deficits, many of which were apparent only in a nonclinical setting. “The wives said, ‘You’re missing something,’ ” Dr. Grafman remembers. In social situations, the men floundered, acting as if they didn’t care what other people had to say.

In the mid-2000s, while working at the National Institutes of Health, he began to investigate where empathy and generosity originated in the brain. The advent of fMRI scanning, which highlights blood flow in different parts of the brain, made it much easier to see which parts of the brain were engaged as people carried out various tasks. To see if this tool could lend insight into the motivations behind giving behavior, Dr. Grafman and his colleagues recruited 19 study subjects, placed each of them inside the fMRI scanner, and presented them with charities from a long list. For each charity, they could choose to donate money, refuse to donate money, or add money to a separate reward account that they could take home at the end of the study. (In some cases, it was especially costly for subjects to make a donation decision, because doing so required them to draw from their own reward accounts.)

While analyzing the study’s results, Dr. Grafman’s colleague Jorge Moll came up to him and said, “You’re not going to believe this.” The scans revealed that when people made the decision to donate to what they felt was a worthy organization, parts of the midbrain lit up—the same region that controls cravings for food and sex, and the same region that became active when the subjects added money to their personal reward accounts.

Gradually, Dr. Grafman began to realize how this finding made sense. While we often tend to think of altruism as a kind of sophisticated moral capacity we use to squelch our urges to dominate others, this new evidence suggests that giving is actually inherently rewarding: The brain churns out a pleasurable response when we engage in it.

But the subjects’ high degree of midbrain activation wasn’t the study’s only interesting finding. Dr. Grafman found that the subgenual area—a gumdrop-size region near the midpoint of the brain, part of the frontal lobes—was also strongly active when his study subjects made the decision to give to charity. The area contains lots of receptors for oxytocin, a hormone that promotes social bonding. The finding suggests that altruism and social relationships are intimately connected—in part, it may be our reliance on the benefits of strong interpersonal connections that motivates us to behave unselfishly.”

For more of the article:  http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424127887324009304579041231971683854



Remembering What is Important — Lessons from an 8 year old


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I was just browsing thru my Facebook newsfeed today and a friend shared an article called “Remembering Lacey Holsworth: How 8-Year-Old with Cancer Captured America’s Heart” I don’t really follow college basketball – I know from the headlines which teams are playing, but that would be the extent of my knowledge.  So when this article popped up with a picture of a little girl giving a huge hug to a Michigan State basketball power, I was intrigued.  It was a story about a friendship between a star college basketball player and an 8 year old cancer patient and the bond they developed from the first day they met.  What I didn’t expect was the range of emotions that hit me.  Just 1/3 of the way into the article, I was in tears, extremely touched by the relationship between Lacey and Adreian.

With all the negative news in this world, it was so refreshing to see an incredible story about Lacey’s strength and upbeat attitude on life in the midst of dire circumstances.  It was also refreshing to see the genuine love and friendship that Adreian had for this precious little girl.  He is a college senior and a star athlete headed to the NBA.  But its not his accomplishments that impressed me, but it was his character.  During a time where the glitz and glamour can take over, this young man chose to spend his time with Lacey.  They become friends, he gave her hope and comfort and was like a brother.  She gave him inspiration, courage and strength, the ability to overcome any obstacle.

“The main thing I learned, is that the more you give, the more you receive. Lacey made me a better person. She taught me how to love and how to fight instead of letting things tear you down.

~ Adreian Payne, Michigan State Basketball Player

Thank you Lacey and Adreian for sharing your story.  To Lacey’s family, we are so sorry for your loss, but know you had an amazing daughter that has touched people all around the world.  Thank you for reminding us what is important in life and to focus on what truly matters.

This story has really touched something in my core.  I often am so busy that I miss the small things in life that makes me happy.  Whether is just enjoying the joy and innocence of my children at the playground or a nice dinner with my husband, I know that life is too short and we need to enjoy every moment.  We need to have Lacey’s strength upbeat attitude about life and Adreian’s compassion and generosity.

Lessons from Lacey and Adreian:

1) Often times you will find inspiration and hope when you least expect it

2) Know what make you happy and keep striving for that everyday

3) Pay attention to the little things that brings that smile to your face

4) Focus on the positive and what you can control.  There’ s no point in getting upset on something or someone you have no control over

5) Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable.

6) Don’t be afraid to give with your whole heart.  The loss may be great, but to experience something so powerful is better than never have experienced it because of fear.

7) Take time to help someone.  We easily get caught up in an egocentric world that we forget that helping others just inspires us to be better

May 2014: Charity Crafting Night


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Join us for a Giving Artfully Charity Crafting Night

If you live near Oak Park, Illinois, come join us for a Giving Artfully Charity Crafting Night.

Giving Artfully Charity Crafting Night:
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
6:30-8:30 pm
Oak Park Main Library – Small Meeting Room
(834 Lake Street, Oak Park).

We will be making flannel Lay Me Down Wraps for Kaitlin’s Angels and sewing/knitting/crocheting booties and hats for baby booties for Contagious Hope.  You can also bring projects that you did not finish at the last Charity Crafting night.

RSVP: sitinee@givingartfully.com

 Whether you are an experienced or a beginner crafter, we would love to have you join us for a night to help our community.

Please bring materials (yarn/fabric) if you have them,. But if you don’t, come anyway – we have limited materials available.   We will have extra knitting needles, crochet hooks, and a sewing machine available to use.

Please send us an email if you have any questions:



Pattern link for Lay me down wrap.

Sample Bootie Patterns (feel free to use these or any of your choice).

Sewing Bootie Pattern

Knitted Bootie Pattern

Knitted Bootie Pattern

Teaching Children How to Give Artfully


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Since my son was 3 years old, we have sent our children to a wonderful Montessori school in Oak Park, IL.  One of the many things I love about Montessori is that your child will stay with the same teacher for three years.  In those three years, the teachers really get to know your child and the parent also develop a close relationship with the teacher.

During one of our parent gatherings, I learned that my son’s teacher was a big crafter (knitting, crochet, metal work).  When I was starting Giving Artfully, she was one of the initial people that helped me brainstorm my idea.  She loved the concept of Giving Artfully and wanted to bring it to her classroom.  What a great opportunity to teach children about giving and charity not just by asking them to collect money or sell items, but to actually use their own hands to create something.

Thus began my adventure into brining Giving Artfully to the classroom.  Still in its infant phase, I’m envisioning providing a curriculum to schools that will teach children the art of giving thru crafting.  From my experience, young children really grasp the idea of charity when they are encouraged to make something versus give money.

A few weeks ago, my daughter’s class made fleece blankets for The Binky Patrol.   We had children and parent volunteers over two days and made 4 binkies.  The kids had a great time knowing that they were making items for “children who needed them”.  It was such a successful project that we want to spread this idea to other classrooms a few times year.

Thank you to Rachel at Adventures of a DIY mom for this great no sew fleece pattern.





April Charity Crafting Night Recap


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We had our April Charity Crafting night last week at the Oak Park Main Library..  Audrey had a great idea to post our IMG_4416event on Meetup.com and we attracted several new members to our group.   All together we had 8 women of all ages come together to craft for charity.  We had 1 loom knitter and 3 crocheters working on preemie hats for the University of Chicago Hospitals and The Precious Preemie Project.  We had another 4 women working on sewing pillow cases for ConKerr Cancer.    It was so fun to have such a diverse group of women come together to craft for charity.  The experience level ranged from beginner to experts.  It was a joy to see everyone helping each other out and it seems as though everyone got along wonderfully.  I’m looking forward to our next Charity Night and if you are in the Chicago area, we would love for you to join us too!