What If...We Each Had $5 To Give?

Friday, September 28, 2012

If you are here from Wild Olive, welcome! My name is Abbie and I am so honored to be working with Mollie on this project. My goal is to gather 200 beautiful totes for seniors, homeless individuals and needy families who will share an inspiring Thanksgiving Feast thanks to The Giving Heart of Richmond, VA. Even though my family is just making ends meet, I hope to use my time and talent to go above and beyond the traditional grocery tote and put a little hand-stitched beauty into the hands and heart of someone who needs it. I feel God is calling me to help care for His children, young and old. I hope you will come on this journey with me. (To find out more about how to donate a bag and other ways to help click here.) 

What if we each had $5 to give?

To give or to spend?

Is there a difference between "give" and "spend?"

Say, you would use the money for a charitable cause.
Could you spend $5 buying a dress for a homeless girl in Haiti?
Could you spend $5 buying a breakfast for an inner city boy who left home hungry that morning?
You could spend $5 those ways.

Could you give $5 to an homeless girl in Haiti so she could buy a dress?
Could you give $5 to the inner city boy with an empty stomach so he could buy a meal?
You could give your $5 for these reasons too.

What do you think the girl would really do with that money?
Do you think she would go without a new dress to buy food for her family?
Do you think she'd buy candy?

What do you think the boy would really do with that money?
Do you think he would go without breakfast to buy his mother a birthday present?
Do you think he'd buy a toy?

Are these good decisions?
Do you trust them to make these decisions?

My pulse quickened as I slowed the car to a stop. I was afraid when I leaned out my car window to gift a few bills to the bent man at the traffic intersection. He is holding a folded cardboard sign scrawled with "Need money for family" and his worn fingernails are dirty. Will he really use the money that way?

I got shaky hands when I left the grocery store with an extra sandwich and juice bottle in a plastic sack. When I extended that small thin bag of food to the gentleman with sunken eyes and filthy pants, I saw a glimmer in his eye. Could it be alcohol? Could it be disillusionment? 

He spoke in the most sincere voice I'd ever heard. Grace and love flew from his lips as he uttered, "Thank You.      I really need this."

As I continued along the sidewalk, heavy in my belly with a kicking infant, carrying my hand sewn grocery tote full of food, my 3 year old daughter asked me if we know that man. "No," I say. "No, we don't know him. But he looked hungry so we gave him food." With her hand tucked into mine she repeated my words quietly, "no, we don't know him but we gave him some food."

What if I had given him $5?
What if I had let him decide where to spend those five hundred pennies.

Did I doubt the goodness and honesty in these men?
Did I doubt the free will that is humanity?
Does sound judgement somehow come with only with prosperity?
Did I doubt that God lives in them and that He knows and loves them, and guides their hearts and actions?

What if I had given the $5 and simply trusted them?
What if we all trusted a little bit more?
If I trusted more would I become more open?
Would the gates of seclusion, competition, and envy melt away?
Can I put my faith in Christ Jesus and simply rest in that He alone determines whose actions are good and whose are evil.

If I left the judgement up to God, would I be able to see the purity in humanity more clearly?

If I left judgement up to God, could I put my faith more fully into God's hands?

Might I pull myself just a bit closer to Him by examining his works each day, grasping onto His grace, and recognizing His miracles.

What if each of us gave $5? Imagine where our hearts would lead. And where we would lead the hearts of others.

||   ||    ||

If you liked this post you may like: 
What IF...Each One of Us Gave a Little Bit More?  9-14-12
What If...There Were 25 Hours In A Day? 8-31-12

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Abbie Living and continue reading tips and thoughts about sewing, knitting, and crafting to create a better world.

Thank you for visiting! Hugs and prayers ~ Abbie

16 More Free Bag Tutorials and Five DIY Details

Thursday, September 27, 2012

A body tired. A body depressed. 
A mind working. A mind turning.
Hands slow. Hands reluctant.
A heart beating. A heart endeavoring.
A faith living. A faith growing, in the tough times, and in the happy times. God is always there. Always loving. 
Always good. 
Can you feel it?
Slow your body. Slow the mind. 
Can you FEEL it?
Can you feel the spirit lift enveloped with grace and light?
It is like an autumn leaf taking to the wind. Beautiful. Graceful. Unpredictable. Amazing.
Love yourself. Love God. Live Fully.

|| & || & ||

I am still working on those original tote bag designs for the Giving Heart. Looking for inspiration on the internet and these designers have graciously shared their talents and posted tutorials and patterns for your free use. Please read their terms of use and enjoy.
Also, for more free bag tutorials visit me on Pinterest and take a peek at this previous post.

A messenger bag tutorial that includes strap hardware by Obsessive Crafting Disorder.

One Upon Thread Tale of Peter Rabbit ~ a child's messenger bag tutorial by Noodlehead.

Messenger Bag Tutorial from MMMCrafts.


How to sew a curved handbag gusset...so helpful to us beginners out there wanting to branch out from the boxy tote. PDF pattern too from U-Handbag.


Backpack tutorial in oilcloth from U-Handbag. With a free PDF pattern.

Roomy, pleated bag

Pleated Lined Handbag...but roomy enough for all your baby stuffs too...or iPad, or sketch book, or pumpkin spice latte...okay, maybe not the latte.

This grocery tote looks sturdy and it folds away when your done. (Superb tutorial too!!) The Fold-Away Shopping Bag Tutorial by Crafty Ady.

Mesh Beach Bag

A Mesh Bag tutorial from Between the Lines.

Another Mesh Bag Tutorial from Obsessive Crafting Disorder.

Santa needs one of these this year. Post Office Bag Tutorial By Elsie Marley

free diaper bag pattern tutorial

A diaper bag...or just a huge bag to carry everything! Free Diaper Bag Pattern by Make Baby Stuff.

The perfect simple tote tutorial explained. By Little Girl Pearl.

Diana Hobo pattern by Think Liz.

Lunch Bag pattern by The Long Thread

Stroller Bag Tutorial by Make It and Love It.

Buttercup Bag Sewing Patter by Made by Rae

And a few tutorials about the basics so you can branch out, choose different design elements, and create your own unique tote.

Learn how to add a monogram to your tote with this tutorial by Lil Blue Boo

Or, learn how to add rope handles to your tote with this Nautical Inspired Tote Tutorial by Lil Blue Boo.

How to install a zipper in a simple zipper pouch! from See Kate Sew


If you want to add handles to your bags...this is a great tutorial on how to use fashion handles! (By the Lazy Girl.)

How to install a magnetic snap tutorial by Made by Rae.

 If you liked this article and you want to see more, click here to subscribe to 
Abbie Living and continue getting tips, tricks and thoughts about sewing, knitting, and crafting to create a better world.

Thank you for visiting! Hugs and prayers ~ Abbie

11 Free Bag Tutorials & Inspiration

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

I am working, very....slowly...on a few bag patterns of my own.

You know sometimes when simply nothing goes right. Socks don't match. Toddler tossed the comb in the toilet. You bang your finger in the door, and your knee on the chair. Laundry languishes. Your toddler decides naps are for babies. It takes 50 minutes to drive 7 miles because of traffic and roadway construction. You forget to eat lunch. Dinner never materializes. And bed just keeps you tossing and turning.

And you never get to sew.

I am sure you've had bad weeks too. I'm sure you've heard it before.

I am sitting here trying to remember that God does still love me. Beyond the to-do lists, beyond the carpool, beyond the grocery shopping and other tasks that may or may not have gotten done, God's love is still there for me. His grace surrounds me. He is Good. And I am thankful.

And with that, in lieu of an original pattern, I am linking to some of my favorite bag/tote/purse tutorials others have so graciously created.

Amy Butler Blossom Handbag free pattern via Sew Mama Sew

Lined Drawstring Bag Tutorial by jenib320

This drawstring bag is by In Color Order. There is also a striped bag tutorial for the same bag design.

A Ruffled Tote by Make It and Love It.

This Large Tote also from Make It and Love It!

This collapsible tote is adorned with a very cool Sewasaurus on the front from Cation Designs.

Love the sweet scallops...and the colors. Free Pattern from See Kate Sew

A very clever organizing tote from Make It and Love It

I love linen!! This one is a purse satchel from See Kate Sew

So, so very cute!! A Walk In The Woods mini tote tutorial from Very Kerry Berry

Even though we are heading to fall, this Summer Madras Tote still seems so fun. It's by Noodlehead.

Ruffled Messenger Bag

And a Messenger Bag Tutorial by Between the Lines

I Love You Jesus :: Free Embroidery Pattern

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Just like the Love Falling embroidery pattern, the idea for this pattern popped into my head suddenly last week. 

I get ideas like that. They kind of sneak up on me and pop out when I am in the shower, or on the toilet, or taking something out of the oven while fending off a 16 month old who is precariously leaning on my left leg. In other words, these epiphanies like to peek out and say "hello" when I simply don't have a pencil and a slip of paper on which to capture them before they disappear into the oblivion of my foggy-mom-brain. Never to be seen or heard from again. Ever. It's sad really. Sometimes I believe that some of my greatest artistic moments slip by unaccounted for and drop off the cliff into the valley of great-ideas-that-were-never-to-be-had.

But I digress lamenting about my memory that functions like a sieve. This pattern, the I Love Jesus pattern, I took the liberty of adding some color. Mollie of Wild Olive just blogged a week of fabulous embroidery tinting ideas. You should visit for just a while to look at all her colorful photography. *It makes you want a new set of crayons.* Thank you Mollie!

So, you can tint the clouds, leave them white, or fill them with another such stitch. Fill the crosses, or not. I like them looking heavy. And the red lettering, well you certainly don't have to keep it red. Do what comes to you.

If you are so inclined, please consider stitching up one of these patterns on your next tote bag and donate it to the Giving Heart. I am gathering a goal of 200 handmade tote bags for their Thanksgiving Feast event when over 500 volunteers will be preparing supper for more than 3000 guests! Seniors, homeless individuals, and poor families receive a tote bag full of living essentials like toiletries, diapers, and non-perishable food stuffs. Please lend your time and talent and make a Giving Bag to someone in need. To find out more about my work with The Giving Heart, go here. Thank you!

Love Falling, Love Falling :: Free Embroidery Pattern

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I don't recall where the inspiration came for this embroidery motif...Pinterest? a magazine? an Etsy shop? But lately I've been seeing lots of clouds, rain drops, rainbows, and suns coming out. It seems to me they all are pointing to a little bit of hope, faith, and light.

And although every artists' interpretation is a little different of course, in my mind, everyone is pointing to Jesus's love really. 

Isn't it He who is at the end and beginning of every rainbow? 
And love. Isn't that what Jesus is? 
Pure love...

Lately, I realized that I indeed have been very depressed. It may suffice to say that I've gone weeks at a time closed up in my home, venturing out only when absolutely necessary, doing things only when absolutely necessary and sleeping way more than is necessary. Nothing in this world seemed worth doing. And perhaps most importantly, I felt no love for myself, my family, or living life.

I raise the topic of depression only to say that I believe it may be in the past. Exercise. It helps. Magnesium supplements. They help. Prayer. It really helps.
Asking God for love makes the rain drops falling turn into love raining down. I find Jesus and love in the rain storms when I am low. And I find Jesus still there when the clouds part and the rains cease. There in the light that breaks through the dark clouds and comes streaming down, is love. HE is there at the beginning and the end of the rainbow.
In the spirit of making tote bags for the Giving Heart, I designed this simple embroidery pattern. You are welcome to use this easy pattern to stitch someone else a bit of love, hope, and light. 

(To find out more about donating reusable totes, click here. I surely need your help! My goal is to gather 200 handmade totes for seniors, the homeless, and the poor in Richmond, Virginia. )

NOTE: Although I created this pattern for embroidery, feel welcome to use it as a stencil motif as well. Just transfer this pattern to freezer paper, use an X-acto knife and cut around the pattern borders, iron on to your fabric tote, and stencil away. For other stencil patterns and tutorials click here and here.

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Thank you for visiting! Hugs and prayers ~ Abbie

Links I Love :: God and Sewing, Color Choosing, and Knitting

Monday, September 17, 2012

God Sews by K Chripczuk of A Field of Wild Flowers via She Loves Magazine. Love, love, love this article...sewing and God in one...I don't need to say anymore.

Conversant in Color: Warm or Cool? by StephC of 3 Hours Past the Edge of the World blog.
For years, my mother and I have been arguing about what "color" I am. THIS article, well, solved the argument. **You wanna know who was right? We both were, kind of.** (I am a cool, but cool people can still wear pastels!! HA!)

**Interested in knitting for charity? Got an opportunity, at Knits for Needs, and you don't even need to use yarn from your own stash!**

What If...Each One of Us Gave Just a Little Bit More?

Friday, September 14, 2012

What if each one of us gave just a little bit more?

If you were giving to a charity,
what if you...
     gave away one more quarter
     posted one more Tweet for support
     sewed one more bag
     knit one more baby bootie
     called one more person on the list

If you were giving to a friend,
what if you...
  prayed one more prayer for them
     called once more, just to listen
     sent one more note to say hello
     gave one more complement
     said one more thank you

If you were giving to your significant other,
what if you...
     exchanged a kiss for one second longer
     held hands for one moment longer
     said I love you one more time
     looked them in the eye one bit longer

If you were giving to a child,
what if you...
     read one more book
     listened to them one more minute
     painted one more picture side-by-side
     shared one more laugh
     gave one more hug

What if each one of us gave just a little bit more?
Something small.
Tried a little bit harder.
Labored just a little bit longer.
Without promise of return in this life. 
What would happen to us, to our world?
Would we change? How?

What would happen in the hearts and minds of the recipients?
Would a flame ignite underneath a fire of giving?

What would happen within the spirits of those around us?
Would each one grow into prolific and passionate givers?

What would happen to our communities and our planet if each one of us gave just a little bit more, each day.

What would happen to each one of us?
Would we become better people?
Would we become better disciples of Christ?
Would we become a better world?

 If you liked this article and you want to see more, subscribe to 
Abbie Living to continue getting tips, tricks and thoughts about sewing, knitting, and crafting to create a better world.

Thank you for visiting! Hugs and prayers ~ Abbie

Can I Do It? 200 Tote Bags?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I've stepped off, and done it. I am working, in real life, with The Giving Heart of Richmond, Virginia.

My goal is to gather 200 sewn bags to donate to their Thanksgiving Feast event this year. Each year staff and over 500 community volunteers serve a truly festive Thanksgiving Feast to more than 3000 guests! At that event each guest receives a Giving Bag tote filled with toiletries, diapers, non-perishable food items, toys, hats and other living essentials. These tote bags go to seniors on limited incomes, homeless individuals and families who have come upon harder times.

Can you help me sew 200 bags?  Do you know someone else who can? I need your help! People in Richmond Virginia need your help!

You see, typically donors give grocery totes and canvas totes from professional conferences and the like. While these serve the Giving Bag purpose, I am imagining something bigger.
Imagine something better. How special would it be for an older senior to receive a beautiful, simple, tote bag made of colorful printed cotton canvas from you? 
Would you like to receive something just like that? I know I would and that is my aim: to go above and beyond and gift beauty, something genuine, and sturdy to a person who really needs a gift more than I. I want to give a gift that I'd feel honored to receive.

So how can you help? Firstly, you don't have to know how to sew...you simply need to want to give of your creativity.

For the beginner sewer, doesn't take long to make a tote bag. And it doesn't require much material either. If you are a sewer, you may even have some extra fabric already in your stash that you'd be willing to give.

For the non-sewer, grab a sturdy canvas tote and decorate it how you'd like. (Canvas totes are available at craft stores, or you may have one already.) Be creative. Adorn with passion. And remember these will be given to men, women and children.

If you are inspired and ready to take action and give, here is how you can help:
Sew a tote bag...or sew seven
Get a friend to sew a tote bag, or sew eight
Cast your net wide and pass along this post to someone who does sew
Blog it, e-mail it, Tweet it, post it on your Facebook page, and all the other social media ways you pass along the next best thing.
Pray for me. Only the Lord knows if I will succeed and what my success will be.

My goal is to gather 200 bags. If you can send me just one, we are well on our way to making that extra special gift happen for someone on Thanksgiving.

Need a tutorial? Here is a list of simple tote bag tutorials. Or visit my Pinterest page where I keep track of all the talent I am finding.

When you've got a package of totes pop it in the mail to me! (Go here for shipping information.)

200 totes by November 9! That is about 4 a day! Can I do it? Not without your help. I am talking totes for women, men and children! Make them large, make them small, make them pink make them purple, make new, or recycle...use your creativity! Your donated bags are appreciated already. Please spread the word, and don't forget to come back and check my progress! A very exciting update is to come in a couple of weeks! 

If you have other questions, comments for me, or if you would like help spread the word to your readers, friends, or group and inspire creativity e-mail me at abbieipark(at)gmail(dot)com.

Links I'm Loving :: fall crafting and a bit of inspiration and wisdom

Monday, September 10, 2012

It should feel like autumn no? It was 90+ degrees and humid outside this past week. And my son came home from school recess looking a little like a sweaty tomato.

My favorite season is fall. I love the way it smells, the way it sounds, and the way nature gets ready to tuck itself in for slumber. Acorns, felt fabrics, flannel sheets, apple pie, fresh pressed cider, and new knitting projects all signal to me days growing shorter, and nights cooler. I do however, have issue with pumpkin guts. I just can't get past the smell and the slime. But that bright orange smooth skin and funny green twisty stem, has me crafting these guys in a different way. More to come on that. But open one up? Not near me please.

So in the mindset of autumn, here are some nifty links I am loving...


Wonderful fall paper craft! Recycle those paper bags. From A Place For Us.

Trick or Treat Bag

Witch-y silhouette Trick or Treat bag tutorial...from Positively Splendid.

This one is so inspiring! Can't wait to be a part of her next project. Congratulations on such a successful event! From Bits of Splendor...Project Hope.

Needed this read after a tough morning with my daughter...for the moms Choosing to Take Beauty from I Take Joy.

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