Let’s Help: I’m Auctioning Quilts for Puerto Rico

A stack of quilts does no one any good, really — unless it can do a LOT of good! Photo: Marianne Fons.
Sneak peek! These quilts aren’t doing much good just sitting up at the house in Washington Island, now are they? Let’s put them to good use, my friends. Photo: Marianne Fons.

 

It’s hard to know how to help.

Texas. Florida. Mexico. The Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico. There have been so many devastating weather events lately, I spend a good deal of time feeling depressed and frightened and useless when these reports come in. And I feel guilty, too, because what can I do? Does $25 to the Red Cross really help? Should I go to Texas, to Mexico and try to sandbag or something? But how does that even work and won’t I just be in the way? What if I make everything worse and what if I put myself in danger on top of everything else? You probably recognize at least some of this unhappy thinking which, sadly, is 100% ineffective in all directions.

This morning, after clicking through the (more bad) news, my brow furrowed and I sank onto the couch with a groan. Our countrymen and countrywomen in Puerto Rico find themselves facing a humanitarian crisis that could threaten the stability of the region for a long, long time. It’s chaos down there and can you just imagine being a little kid down there right now? How scary it must be? All of a sudden, thinking about that, I just got fed up. I decided that nope, not today, no more stewing, no more gnashing of teeth and groaning and doing nothing. Today, I decided, today I would act, I would do an actionable thing to help someone out there on that island. That’s a U.S. territory, dammit, and more needs to be done.

I have come to understand that what is very helpful in a crisis situation like the one in Puerto Rico, the best thing for me to do is to send money — but I simply do not have extra right now. So I thought, “How could I raise some money?” Walking to and fro on my carpet, sipping my tea (I’m back on tea, coffee’s for the birds, at least in the morning), I remembered that I’ve been needing to make good on something I say to hundreds of people all over the country: Quilters who make lots of quilts should give lots of quilts away. “Don’t keep your quilts in a stack in a closet,” I say, sometimes even shaking my fist. “Give your quilts to people who want or need them! Go make more quilts! You will, anyway! Give it away, people!”

“Mary, Mary, wait a second,” you say. “Calm down.” And then, scratching your attractive head, you ask me why I’m on about quilts when I said I wanted to send money to Puerto Rico.

Wait for it!

Despite my fervent “Give away your quilts” message, which I do stand by — fervently! — I find myself with a quilt surplus right now. Some of these quilts are from my book, Make + Love Quilts, available at fine quilt shops everywhere; some are from the days of Quilty magazine; one or two were “just-for-funs”; one is a sample I made for the fabric line. I’ve given away other quilts over the years but somehow I haven’t yet given these quilts away and you know what? It’s time to turn them into money for people in need.

I’m going to auction off ten (10) quilts tomorrow, October 1st, 2017, and all the money will go to Americares to benefit victims of Hurricane Maria. This is going to be fun and awesome. Ten people will get their very own Mary Fons quilt and hundreds of people will get at least a little bit of help down in the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico! And I’ll have more room in my house! This is great!

All of this will go down tomorrow. No, I don’t know exactly what time. I have homework to do and I have to set up this online silent auction thing. All will be revealed, don’t get antsy. Actually, no: Do get antsy! Be excited to buy a quilt from me and help so many people! But because I know there are burning questions, here are a few details for now:

  • Where’s the money going?
    I spent a lot of time looking at which organization I want to send money to and Americares wins. They recently air-lifted $1.8 million in food and medical supplies to the Virgin Islands, and that was just another day at the office, if you will. Their website says: “Hurricane Maria: Emergency Relief Fund; For every $10 you donate today, we can provide $200 in aid — that’s the power of giving to Americares.” Think of the math, you guys: If I sell ten quilts at a minimum bid of $100 and no one bids a penny more, that’s $1000! By Americares’ math, we’re raising $20k, y’all! We can do it!
  • Will you be offended if I ask you how we know you’ll donate the money and not just spend it on candy corn pumpkins for Pendennis?
    Nope, I won’t be offended. I actually have thought of this already and am going to make this part really fun: I’m going to make a video of me writing the check and sending the donation to Americares! Pendennis will come with me and Sophie will probably film it. (Sophie, will you please film the video?)
  • I don’t live in the U.S. and am wondering if this matters?
    I guess I’d better limit participation to folks in the continental United States. But actually, if you want to pay the shipping of a quilt to your homeland, go for it! But you gotta pay shipping because that will eat into the donation.
  • What size are these quilts? And what else can you tell me about them? 
    The quilts are all lap- or queen-size. All the measurements will be listed on the silent auction thingy I’m going to try and make tonight. All quilts will have a label on the back that gives the date and says that I made it, you bought it, and together, we did something to help our brothers and sisters in the human race.
  • Is my payment tax deductible?
    I’m not a 501(c)3, so I think…no. I’m not sure, but I think what’s happening here is that you’re simply buying something and instead of me taking your money and spending it on candy corn pumpkins for Pendennis, I’m giving it away!
  • But what about this and that and how does this work and Mary Fons!!!
    I have never done this before and I don’t know what I’m doing. Please do not get mad at me if I screw something up. We are doing this together. This is not about us, it’s about helping people who have lost everything, everything. That said, I’m going to try and make this easy and fun. Gulp.

HOT TIP: If you don’t subscribe to this blog, I highly, highly recommend doing that now. Because when you subscribe, you get an email in your email box whenever I post a post. Like, instantly, you get an email when there’s a new PaperGirl and that means you’ll instantly know when this whole thing goes live tomorrow. Your email is safe with me; even if I wanted to “sell” your name, I wouldn’t have the first idea about how to do that. Sell what? To whom?

See you on PaperGirl tomorrow!

Last Pop Quiz of 2015, Administered By Pendennis.

posted in: The Pendennis Observer | 1
Pendennis has nowhere to go but up. Illustration: Me
Pendennis has nowhere to go but up. Illustration: Me

1. What am I doing New Year’s Eve?
a) going to bed
b) going to a wedding
c) going to a party where I don’t know anyone
d) going to get wasted
e) b, then later a

2. What were my goals for 2015?
a) make at least $100,000 and put it all into an attractive mutual fund
b) stay in one geographical location for more than five months
c) not buy more clothes until I have holes in the clothes I have now, seriously, like holes in them because I wear them that much that they have to be replaced
d) finish Middlemarch
e) avoid writing an end-of-year pop quiz that gives me the uncomfortable feeling I’m pulling some Bridget Jones’s Diary thing by accident

3. Essay
If Bridget Jones’s Diary had been written just a few years later than it was, would it have been Bridget Jones’s Blog and if so, would it have been as popular and if so, would that have just been Sex In The City? 

4. If Pendennis could eat one thing for every meal for the rest of his life, he would eat: 
a) candy corn pumpkins
b) linguine with clam sauce
c) just sheets and sheets and sheets of nori
d) cotton balls
e) a and d but not b

5. What are you doing New Year’s Eve?
a) “Oh, right. I forgot. What night is New Year’s?”
b) having some friends over for games (e.g., Catchphrase, Twister “After-Dark” Version, etc.)
c) coming to that wedding with me (it’s going to be super fun)
d) taking a pop quiz

Answers: b, d, too tired to write it out but no and yes, e, c.

The Color Me Quilter Promo Video.

posted in: The Pendennis Observer, Work | 0
A still from the film. (A fancy way of saying I took a screenshot of my screen while the video was playing.)
A still from the film. (A fancy way of saying I took a screenshot of my screen while the video was playing.)

I made a video.

It is very silly, but it’s also meant to be informative.

It explains a bit about the webinar series I do called “Color Me Quilter.” The next one is on Thursday, and it’s all about blue. Blue and white quilts, indigo dye, how to “audition” blues for your quilt (green-based? red-based? help!) and a bonus lesson, plus all kinds of other pretty fascinating stuff you never knew about blue as it relates to quiltmaking in America. These webinars, they’re kinda neat.

Pendennis helped me make this video and I’m afraid he appears extremely ornery in it. He’s actually well-mannered for a monkey. I think it’s a snack issue. He needs a lot of snacks and he didn’t have one before we started. As you’ll see in the video, he reaches a point where he simply can’t wait.

Check out Color Me Quilter. You will like it. And do enjoy the video by clicking right heah. 

The Pendennis Observer, Observing Pendennis.

The author and the monkey.
The author and the monkey, 2012.

When life springs eternally from a suitcase, I turn to the monkey.

I’m not quite eccentric enough to pack him along with me on the road, but I do have a folder of pictures of him on my computer and sometimes, we flip. 

Travel means nothing to this monkey. I leave Des Moines for Lincoln, Nebraska tomorrow, and Pendennis, he don’t care where we go or that we’re not going home. Or that we’ll be home just two days before going to Florida for four. 

Pendennis pays no taxi fare, cares not for TSA pre-check. Pendennis doesn’t need to take a jacket. Pendennis can’t miss his favorite teacup or wish he packed his softest nightgown.

Pendennis only has that face, that face that remains unchanged by death, taxes, and airport security. Indeed, the stuffed monkey remains unchanged also by happiness; in my most ecstatic moments, Pendennis is Pendennis is Pendennis. 

And he’s so funny.

Everything is going to be fine.

 

The Pendennis Observer: Dispatch!

Remember: Pendennis is never posed, ever. These are candid shots of my monkey found as he was — and ever is. Check the “Pendennis Observer” category here in the archives for more.

That's my bed. That's my journal. And that for damn sure is my monkey.
That’s my bed. That’s my journal. And that for damn sure is my monkey.
The New York apartment. East Village. Not a great couch.
The New York apartment. East Village. Not a great couch.
It's either insomnia, afterglow, or dread. I love Pendennis precisely because we can never know.
It’s either insomnia, afterglow, or dread. I love Pendennis precisely because we can never know.

 

 

 

 

The Pendennis Observer, January 29th, 2014.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Pendennis Observer. If you’re not gotten The Pendennis Observer before, please find all the details you’ll need right here.

We’re happy to report that the PaperGirl has arrived safely in New York and that she has had all her shots. Dispatches begin tomorrow. Pendennis is with her now.

We wish you a pleasant evening.

– The Management

 

Remember: never posed. Ever. The monkey comes by these situations naturally.
Remember: never posed. Ever. The monkey comes by these situations naturally.

 

Saturday night face plant.
Saturday night face plant.
Pendennis and my mom's dog, Scrabble, cuddling during an early morning blizzard. Door County, 2013.
Pendennis and my mom’s dog, Scrabble, cuddling during an early morning blizzard. Door County, 2013.
Too much Heidegger too quickly.
Too much Heidegger too quickly.

The Pendennis Observer: Dispatch!

It’s time for a dispatch from everyone’s favorite fake, one-topic photo journal, The Pendennis Observer. If you missed the mission of The Pendennis Observer or would like a refresher before you see pictures of my sock monkey, please visit the first post here.

Of course, if your clicker is tired, you don’t have to go anywhere. All you need to know is that Pendennis is my monkey, I’m too old to still have him “in play” in my home/bed, I love him, and I never, ever pose him. I leave the monkey where he lay and I frequently take his picture because he is exquisite. A little funny, a little tragic, Pendennis and his gestures are life itself.

A few recent discoveries:

IMG_2311
“Wilt thou be gone? It is not yet near day. It was the nightingale, and not the lark/That pierced the fearful hollow of thine ear. Nightly she sings on yon pomegranate tree. Believe me, love, it was the nightingale.”
IMG_2086
High kick.
Existential crisis.
Another Tuesday morning, another existential crisis.