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I Spy Fun, and more...

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Quilts with pictures are a great way to communicate.  While there is always a local interpreter on hand with every surgical mission, not every patient interaction can be aided by translation.  One of the many roles of the non-medical team members is entertaining and comforting patients, both before and after their surgeries. Often the communication is through smiles, hugs, gestures, sound effects..... anything that can convey interest and compassion.  Pointing to a picture of an animal on a quilt, accompanied by a raised eyebrow, can be enough to encourage a child to name the animal in their own language.  Then the sound effects start, followed by the laughter.  Having been on a Rotaplast mission, I can attest to the smiles and laughter that lighten the very long workdays.For you non-quilters, the term "I spy quilt" refers to a quilt that is full of pictures.  My friend Cheryl from Hollis Center, Maine, brought this quilt full of wonky off-center pictures to me last week.  T…

Triple the fun!

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I know I have written previously about how much I enjoy going to the dentist.  (OK, disclaimer, it's my former office with the same terrific staff of "forever friends".)  It's always wonderful, but nostalgic, to see this group of true professionals who work hard every day to serve their patients.  Anyhow, not only did I enjoy careful and safe care last week, in these COVID times, but I left with a bag full of quilts!Former dental assistant Sandy made this fun pink beauty with the appliqu├ęd elephants, and her triplet sisters Diane and Fran made the others.  All 3 sisters obviously have great attention to detail.  Note the tiny little cornerstones in some of the quilts!!   Thank you, Sandy
Thank you, Fran

Thanks to Diane, including the 1/2" (!) roses
Another from Diane Diane's own patternAnd lastly, thank you again, Fran (with more tiny cornerstones!)It must be so much fun to have sewing sisters.  I remember a summer of sewing with my mother and grandmother, getti…

The T-Quilt Project

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"A celebration of friendship, generosity, commitment and international goodwill."
Last spring, several of us started talking about Wrap-A-Smile approaching its 20-year anniversary. As hundreds of quilters have now sent nearly 27,000 quilts to children around the world, there was no doubt that we had to mark this milestone.  Quilters of the Sunshine Online Quilt Guild suggested the making of T-quilts, in recognition of Terry's original inspiration.  The idea quickly morphed into "let's make 100 T-quilts", enough for every patient treated during a Rotaplast mission.  It seemed a bold idea, just as the original plans for WAS were.But what is a T-quilt you ask?!  It is any quilt that incorporates the letter T in the design.  Some are bold and sassy (as was Terry), some more subtle, incorporated into intricate designs.  Sadly, Terry's health failed during the time of this project, but as quilts arrived here in Maine I would photograph them and send the pictur…

A riot of color

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Picking up quilts for Wrap-A-Smile is a happy excuse to venture out and break up the routine of our stay-at-home days.  Last week I was in Unity, Maine, where friend Polly (see blog post of Nov 18, 2019) gave me 27 quilts,  all made by her - start to finish - since I last saw her in February.  It's a good thing we're not a competitive group as her 6-month total is now 56 quilts for WAS!!  That would be hard to beat.  Go, Polly, go!!
Polly often works in pairs, making two of a design, but never identical.  A sampling of her bounty is posted here.
Even though medical missions are still on hold due to COVID-19 I am happily storing these quilts until we can send them off to comfort the children who have so inspired Polly. 
Yesterday took me to a favorite quilt shop in Nobleboro, Maine, where I met new friend Sue to receive her  2 beautiful quilts for WAS.  A new friend, more quilts, and time in a fabric store.....who could ask for more?!
            Thank you Polly and Sue for your ge…

Service Above Self

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As I continue to think about Terry's legacy, I also need to mention her love for Rotary which was as important to her as her quilting.

Terry was a second-generation Rotarian, becoming a member in 1987, just a month after women were first invited to join the organization.  She held every office in her club, including club president. Being a "people person", she always sought out Rotarians when she traveled, often staying with them through Rotary's host exchange program. Her gregarious nature, and commitment to Rotary networking, were instrumental in building the reach of Wrap-A-Smile.

Back in 2013, Terry was honored with Rotary International's Service Above Self Award, which is the highest honor an individual Rotarian may receive. It is given to those who demonstrate exemplary humanitarian service with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others through Rotary. Terry was only the eighth Rotarian in our District to ever rece…

A tribute

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Today I am sadly sharing the news that our beloved founder of Wrap-A-Smile, Terry (Hodskins) Fullam, has passed away.  Conversations during her final days centered on the joys she experienced through her love of quilting: the friends she made and the lives that were comforted through Wrap-A-Smile quilts that have been shared around the world.

It was Terry's inspiration nearly 20 years ago that led to the founding of our project.  Seeing children wrapped in paper drapes after their Rotaplast surgeries to repair cleft lip and cleft palate, she said "we can do better".  She went home and immediately finished the first quilt to be donated.  Terry quickly developed a network and the next volunteer mission to Venezuela carried 100 quilts, enough for every child treated. Current total is over 26,000 quilts that have been created by hundreds of quilters and shared in over 28 countries. Quite a story, and quite a legacy!

Forever humble, Terry always gave the credit to others who …

Mendota revisited

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Quilts started at last June's Sunshine Online Quilt Guild's retreat in Mendota Heights, MN, are still flying around the country!  This week Wrap-A-Smile received a generous box of 6 Mendota quilts finished by Bev H in Eugene, OR.  And what a display of bold, fun colors!!  We are all anxious for the Rotary medical teams to resume their volunteer surgeries so these quilts can be put to work. The kids are really going to love these!

Retreat organizers Carol and Beth chose this block for its simplicity, and yet it has resulted in an infinite variety of creative possibilities. And it was a great scrap buster to boot. For those who aren't familiar with this story, over 3000 blocks were sent in ahead of the retreat, and somewhat sorted by color. Then 15 of us showed up in person to spend 4 days piecing together tops for Wrap-A-Smile and Quilts Beyond Borders.  Over 140 tops were created, with half destined to eventually come to WAS. Some of the tops came home with each of us, to …