The Generous Nature Of People Who Sew

Lazies, The generous nature of people who sew and quilt never ceases to amaze me. And I’m lucky enough to have people share their stories with me, mostly through my Yahoo group. Nancy McHenry is one such generous soul.

Eighty Wonder Wallets.

Here’s Nancy
I’ve got 140 Wonder Wallets (#LGD211) for the nursing home residents for Christmas made and packed up. That is a gift for every resident in the home just down the road from me here in Columbia, PA. Reason for the Wonder Wallets – the pattern is easy enough to make a nice gift for every resident of the home.

In the wallets will go a greeting card, small pack of tissues (they fit!), as well as a crisp new $1 bill from the bank. Cool, huh?

Since I used fabric that I had, the biggest expense was fusible interfacing and buttons. I used small buttons that were in a big pack from JoAnn’s, so these were only a few dollars for all of them.

The Wonder Wallets make up fast in “assembly line” fashion. They are a great way to use up scraps. Lots of fun without a ton of time invested.

More Wonder Wallets.

Usually when I make a gift for the nursing home (walker and wheelchair caddies, quilts, purses, totes), the home has to choose someone to give it to. With the Wonder Wallets, everyone gets a gift.

Little Kindnesses Matter
My father-in-law was in this nursing home during the last part of his life. He passed away a few years ago, and we remember how much joy the residents get from something a little special.

I like homemade gifts — older folks especially appreciate the caring that goes into the gift. And now, they look forward to “the Quilt Lady” coming!

Next Up For Nancy
I’ve been sewing for more than 40 years. During 2008, I want to conquer free motion quilting. Old dogs can learn new tricks, I hear. So, I’m looking forward to practicing on sandwiches that will end up as Purse-Nickities! I’ve got the pattern, and it’s next up after drapery sewing.
– Nancy McHenry Columbia, PA


[tags]fabric wallet, quick gifts[/tags]

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25 Responses to “The Generous Nature Of People Who Sew”

  1. Roni — December 26, 2007 @ 7:36 am

    WOW! What an inspiration to us all! What a wonderful way to honor the memory of your father-in-law! Somehow, I think, you’d have found a way to give back to your community regardless!
    Best wishes for a great 2008!

  2. Laura Casey — December 26, 2007 @ 7:41 am

    What a wonderful gesture…..go Nancy go! Machine Quilting?…..honey just go down to the store and buy yourself a Bernina 440 with the stitch regulator……that’s what I did……life is too short to learn all that stuff. But when I learned the hard way….I took 2 pieces of felt, yes felt, put them together and practiced my machine quilting… mimics the density of sanwiched quilt squares…..and it’s a great way to warm up before you actually start on a beautiful quilt……Have lots to give away (felt squares that is…..) and if you send me your snail mail address I’ll mail them to you….a small gesture during this holiday season.
    Laura, a quilter in Asheville, NC

  3. jan — December 26, 2007 @ 8:42 am

    i am an RN who sees what this kind of thing does to lighten someone’s face; thank you for being so kind and thoughtful that everyone got a special gift

  4. Kim Edwards — December 26, 2007 @ 8:46 am

    I have recently joined your site, I am so glad I did. I loved the idea of the nursing home. I worked in one before my fibromialgia became bigger than me. Anyway the people at the nursing home love any attention they get. I had several that I would do little things for and it made their day, they didn’t know that it made mine also. I look forward to 2008, for ideas you have in store. Thanks for caring,and shareing. Happy New Year!!! Kim Edwards

  5. Jenny — December 26, 2007 @ 8:52 am

    Thanks for sharing. Nancy, kudos to you. What a wonderful way to remember a segment of our society who are often forgotten. This would also be a wonderful gift for a children’s home where they stay while waiting to be either placed in a foster home or adopted.

  6. carol — December 26, 2007 @ 9:03 am

    God bless you!

  7. bonnie greenhoe — December 26, 2007 @ 9:34 am

    what a wonderful note, you people that work in nursing homes are all special and forgotten a lot .I think you made them so happy to get a home made gift of love, my daughter works in a nursing home and she gives her patients special things they like even if its a choclate candy bar it makes her day and hers . i think i am going to make some up and give to my daughter for gifts for her patients , keep up the good work. bonnie from republic mi.

  8. Jen Buettner — December 26, 2007 @ 9:36 am

    I think this is fantastic!! As long as you’re working assembly line style, these probably took no time at all. Sigh…I wonder if making 140 could get me over the “I HATE FABRIC FUSION VELCRO AND NEED A REMEDIAL CLASS” problem.

    And please, please, please tell me Nancy sewed these buttons on by machine, not by hand!!

  9. Grace — December 26, 2007 @ 9:59 am

    WOW what a blessing you are to the those in the nursing home! God bless you for doing this, and thank you for the wonderful idea!

  10. Violet Burnham — December 26, 2007 @ 10:02 am

    I too loved this little pattern and have a few stitched up, but will now make more for next Christmas to send to our local nursing home as you did. My daughter-in-law loved hers (made of printed dollar fabric) and with a shiny coin inside. Love this blog! Miss Vi

  11. Penny — December 26, 2007 @ 10:17 am

    Wonderful idea Nancy, our nursing homes are often forgotten. Thank you for your service to those that took care of us. God Bless you!

    Penny D

  12. Christie — December 26, 2007 @ 11:22 am

    Wow, I really love getting Lazy Girl emails from Joan and today’s was particularly sweet and well-timed. Sitting here, the day after Christmas, with two kids and their hordes of presents, I was wondering if we had lost the true meaning of Christmas. But, nope, here it is, given to us by a wonderful person named Nancy. I don’t have enough confidence to give away anything yet that I have sewed but I witnessed my niece’s reaction when she opened the painting my daughter made for her (they are both 9). That’s when I truly got it. Giving something homemade is worth more than any old store-bought thing. Thanks Nancy and Joan for giving this mom with young kids some lovely insight. Happy Holidays!

  13. Bev Schweigert — December 26, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

    These are great! I just made a purse this weekend and was looking for a wallet to match it. I ordered the pattern from the site you suggested. I can’t wait to get it!


  14. SueZQ — December 26, 2007 @ 4:57 pm

    Wow, what a blessing Nancy was to those people at the home. I get myself overwhelmed with the smallest of projects, so I don’t know how she did this. I recently bought the Wonder Wallet pattern, and hope to make a few while I’m off the next few days. Nancy, I just learned that my mother now uses a walker – do you (or anyone) have a pattern to share or recommend for a “walker caddie” you mention?

  15. Cindy H — December 26, 2007 @ 7:06 pm

    Nancy is a blessing to those forgotten people in homes. You are such an inspiration to us sewers in York County!

  16. Ann Griffith — December 26, 2007 @ 7:33 pm

    What a great idea..I have been sewing pillow cases and giving them to our Childrens’ Shelter..My sewing club is always looking for new ideas for a Christmas project. Maybe we could sew wallets also..Thanks.

  17. Karen — December 26, 2007 @ 8:16 pm

    After a very trying Christmas Holiday ( in-laws are arguing or not speaking)…this just brought the JOY back to my heart…this is the “Spirit of Christmas” at its best. My best to Nancy and all my fellow quilters!!

  18. Tammy — December 26, 2007 @ 8:59 pm

    Nancy – you just gave me the best Christmas gift yet! Your story proves that the spirit of Christmas (loving others with nothing in return) does live on in those around us. Thank you for loving those folks when some of them have nobody to love them anymore. Your testimony of love just touched my heart. And…what a great idea that you had! THANKS for sharing it with all of us! Tammy K. Ohio

  19. Anne — December 27, 2007 @ 12:05 am

    What a generous lady you are to do that .As a former nurse before I retired last year Iknow well that there are many who either have no family or family close by to visit and it makes their christmas to be remembered by someone.I belong to a quilting group and we make quilts (usually lap Quilts Size )for nursing home residents and all go along when we present them and both the staff and the residents really love to get them

  20. Joan Flynn — December 27, 2007 @ 5:04 am

    Greetings from Australia!
    I have only recently joined this group and loved reading this story of kindness and generosity. In this material world we live in, we tend to forget those less fortunate than ourselves, so it kind of restores one’s faith in humanity to hear of such lovely gestures.
    My quilting group makes quilts for Project Linus, which supplies quilts to seriously ill chilodren in various hospitals, premmie and stillborn quilts and isolette covers to our local maternity hospital and we are always good for a quilt to provide a raffle prize to local charities. This is really a labour of love and we enjoy the process very much.
    Keep up the good work Nancy, and everyone else whose hearts are big and skills are awesome.

  21. Nancy McHenry — December 27, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

    Thanks for all the kind words! Be assured that I’m frequently lazy and have non-charitable thoughts now and then. 😉 I truly enjoy sewing for others, especially for children, the elderly, and our soldiers.

    I did look at that Bernina 440 with the stitch regular. Fantastic stuff!, but for now I’ll just look and drool.

    Yup – sewed those buttons on by machine. Also, used old fashioned Velcro (sew-on) to cut costs. The sew-on steps were quicker than I thought when doing so many at a time.

    The dollar fabric is a wonderful idea for these. Next time I run across it, I’m buying some.

    On the Nancy’s Notions website, you can find a group of free projects through her Creative Kindness section. The Walker Caddy project is there. Since the pattern is so simple, I take special care to use a nice, colorful, or “funny” fabric. A friend of mine quilts the ones she makes. With some folding walkers, the center ties can’t be used since the walker has closing hinges across the top. So, this pattern seems to be very good for MOST walkers. At the nursing home I work with, they also use these on the back of the wheelchairs. Before you make a ton of them, maybe take over a sample to see if it works for them.

    For Christmas projects, the pillowcases are great. With a friend, we made hundreds to send to soldiers, along with handmade Christmas stockings. We sent them through the Home of the Brave’s Operation Christmas Stocking and Operation Pillowcase: Each of the soldier letters I got back mentioned the “cool” pillowcases! I’m going to get an earlier start this year.

    I’m happy to have found the wonder wallet pattern. I’m always looking for nice, sometimes useful, gifts that make up fast. The wallets will work as stocking stuffers for our soldier Christmas projects, too. They often suggest phone cards, and a nice red/white/blue wonder wallet would be a great “wrapping”.

    For all those fellow Project Linus quilters out there – HELLO! These are my favorite childrens sewing projects. Kids don’t care if your stitching gets a little crooked, and Project Linus quilters are surely the nicest people to work with. What a great combination!

  22. Julie — December 27, 2007 @ 10:21 pm

    Nancy — you have touched my heart so deeply. Both my parents are starting to become more disabled and I hope that should either have to be in a nursing home in the future that some caring person will help to remember them.

    Also, what touches me most at this moment, is that my only child (my son) has spent another Christmas in Iraq (this is his third tour). You have no idea how the goodness you have expressed has meant to me. I sometimes think that the “general population” has forgotten those that are fighting and protecting us.

    Thank you from the very core of my heart.

  23. Sharon — December 29, 2007 @ 6:25 pm

    Wow I am just getting back from the holiday and it was such a hustle-bustle. I am new to this site but love the thoughtful and truly beautiful way that you have kept the spirit of chritmas alive. It was wonderful to sit and read how the spirit of Christmas was given to so many thanks for sharing your wonderful story and for giving to the generation who actually paved the way for us like we are paving the way for our nexte generation..Kudos to you

  24. Nancy Knighting — January 27, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

    I would like to get the pattern for the wallet? Does anyone have it?

    – – – – –
    Hi Nancy,

    Our products can be found online or at your local quilt shop. We have a list of retailers online here:


  25. Becky Wilson — February 8, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

    We have been looking for a pattern I saw for walker and wheelchair totes, I saw this on the Web it was for heavey fabric.