Thursday, December 13, 2012

My Year of Hearts

This challenge, to make a heart a day for a year, has been a fun experience for me, and I now that the year is just about over, I want to take a quick look back in this final post.

I'm going to start with the biggest thing I learned:  you don't have to know what you are going to "do" with something before you make it.  If you feel like making something, make it!  Try a new design, or technique, or fabric; the reason I make a lot of things is simply that I want to see what it will look like when it's done.  You can figure out what to do with it later; the important part is that you have the experience of making it, and the knowledge you gain in the process can be transferred to future projects.

Sometimes, things don't come together the way you plan--and that's okay.  Like when I made the alphabet hearts at the beginning of the year--I thought I would make a garland with them, but before I got around to that, I did a personal swap with a friend who wanted several of the letters (her children's initials), so the alphabet is now incomplete...I could remake the letter hearts to complete the alphabet, but I think I will probably just give them away one at a time, each to a person whose name starts with that letter!

Sometimes things are left unfinished, and that's okay too.  I just went back to the beginning of this blog, and found a post I started but didn't finish; it was going to be the first post for this 365 blog. These hearts were never included here, because they were part of some Christmas ornaments I made for a swap, and Christmas was over!  They are layered like a quilt, with batting between two layers of fabric, to they are nice and flat--they could be package tags or name tags, or ornaments all by themselves.

You can't always see where the road is leading--which is part of the fun.  I started out thinking I would do one random heart after another; an ornament here, a brooch there...I never guessed that I would stumble into several large projects.  First, there were the pin cushion hearts I made for a Random Act of Kindness challenge on Craftster in February.  Remember these?  I LOVED surprising the swappers in my Fabric Basket swap with a handmade goody!

Then, I developed my Hope Hearts project.  This is the most important thing that came out of this 365 challenge, since it is on-going.  I'm so glad to be able to help other crafters support family or friends who are seriously ill in this way.  I've sent out almost 100 Hope Hearts kits already.

And most recently, there has been the fun of making hearts to decorate the charity Christmas tree for The Giving Heart--134 of them, to be exact!  That was truly a labor of love, and I was so very happy to be able to put my heart-making skills to good use.

I ended up going far beyond my goal of 365 hearts; but when I went beyond that, I stopped counting, because numbers didn't matter to me any more.  It would have been nice to actually post one heart every single day for a year, but instead I did it my way, and it turned out to be great!

Thanks to everyone who has followed my progress this year, and thank you for every comment you have left here.  It's wonderful to know that you were on this journey with me!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Charity Hearts DONE!

Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  2
Hearts Completed: 144

With these last 23 hearts featuring the names of volunteers at The Giving Heart , this project is DONE!  I've taken pictures, now I just have to box up all the 144 completed hearts so they will be ready to mail first thing Monday morning.  I plan to write about it and include more pictures on my other blog, Leslie's Art and Sew on Monday.

Now that the year is coming to an end, and I reached my goal of sewing 365 hearts long ago, my friend and reader Kay asked if I will be starting a new challenge in 2013.  The answer is, YES! 

I plan to do another "365" challenge, this time revolving around my new interest in Blythe dolls. I want to post at least one new picture of a Blythe every day.  This time around, I want it to be more of a "true" 365 challenge--no working ahead like I did with the hearts!  

Some of the pictures will include clothes or accessories I've made for the dolls, and some will be interesting pictures of dolls "out and about".  There are actually quite a few Blythe blogs, and I really enjoy seeing how the bloggers pose the dolls so they appear lifelike, and I especially like it when the pictures are accompanied by a narrative telling the story of what the dollies were up to that day.  I hope to make most of my posts the story-telling kind.

I know this new blog won't appeal to all readers, but that's okay--I'm doing it for myself, to expand my horizons with photography, and to have fun making things for my dolls.  I still love hearts, and I will show you any hearts I make after December 31 on Leslie's Art and Sew.  In the meantime, there are still 44 days left in 2012, so I'm sure there will be at least a few more posts here on 365 Sewn Hearts before the end of the year!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Names, Part Six

Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  4
Hearts Completed: 121

These blue and white hearts look so cool and wintery!  

My mailing deadline for these hearts for The Giving Heart's charity Christmas tree is fast approaching (Nov. 19th); I have the last batch of hearts sitting near my sewing chair, unstuffed.  I know what I will be doing for the next few evenings!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Names, Part Five

Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  6
Hearts Completed: 109

I LOVE pink, and I think that the bright pink damask print I used on this batch of hearts is just beautiful.  As you can see, I only wrote female names on these!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Names, Part Four

Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  9
Hearts Completed by Me:  92 /100 

Hearts from wonderful Kay:  10
Current total: 102!

Here's a big batch of 22 new hearts with the names of more volunteers at The Giving Heart:

I just heard from my friend Kay in England that she has made and sent 10 hearts directly to The Giving Heart for their charity Christmas tree--thanks so much Kay!!!  That pushes the current total over 100!!!

That is great news, because there has been a change of plans:  instead of delivering the hearts in person late in November, I will be mailing them, and the date for that is now November 19th, so I have a little less crafting time than I had expected.  I am therefore DITCHING my tentative hope of reaching 200 hearts;  I still have a pile of "name" hearts to finish, and when they are completed, I will call this project DONE!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Names, Part Three

Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  26
Hearts Completed:  70 /100 (or 200?)

Here are eight more hearts with names of volunteers at The Giving Heart for their charity Christmas tree:

I love this striped fabric!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Names, Part Two

Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  28
Hearts Completed:  62 /100 (or 200?)

I add five more hearts to the total today.  I kept the design of these name hearts simple for two reasons:  one, there will be so many colors and patterns on the tree that more details aren't necessary; and two, I need to speed things up if I'm going to finish on time!

For these hearts I printed all the names from my computer, then used a light box to trace each name onto the heart with a micron marker.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Names, Part One

Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  29
Hearts Completed:  57 /100 (or 200?)

Here are the first six hearts with volunteers' names on them.  I thought the list I received contained 50 names, but it actually has more than 80(!), so this batch of hearts will push me much closer to 200 than I had expected it to!  There are many more to come in the days ahead.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  32
Hearts Completed:  51

Now I'm more than halfway to the smaller goal I set for myself, to complete 100 hearts for the charity Christmas tree for The Giving Heart in Richmond, Virginia.  The next batch of hearts will each feature the name of one of their volunteers--I'm excited to get started on those!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  33
Hearts Completed:  43

Seven more hearts and my total is inching closer to my minimum goal of 100 hearts.

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Days Remaining until hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  34
Hearts Completed:  36

Here are five more hearts to add to my total.  The bright green fabric has glitter in/on it, so it's really festive!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Days Remaining until my hearts are due for The Giving Heart: 38
Hearts Completed:  31/200

I added 6 more hearts to my total today.  I have gotten away from traditional Christmas colors--yay!

Do you feel inspired to make some hearts to donate to The Giving Heart's charity Christmas tree?  If so, all the information you need can be found HERE in the original post.

Friday, October 19, 2012

43 Days and Counting

Days Remaining until my hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  43
Heart Completed:  25/ 200

Today I add nine more hearts to my total.

Click HERE if you would like to find out how you can contribute hearts to The Giving Heart's charity Christmas tree.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sixteen Down...

Days Remaining until my hearts are due for The Giving Heart:  47
Hearts Completed:  16/ 200

Here are the first 16 hearts I've completed for The Giving Heart's charity Christmas tree.  Even though I plan to use a wide range of colors, I was irresistibly drawn to Christmas fabrics for this first batch.  I'm sure I will loosen up and get wilder with my fabric choices as I get closer to 200.

I would love your help; there is still plenty of time for you to make a heart (or two or three) and send them to:

Vicki Neilson, Director
The Giving Heart
11527 Primrose Lane
Rockville, VA 23146

You may want to visit The Giving Heart's web page to find inspiration for your hearts.  You can read a bit more about this project HERE.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Christmas Tree Hearts

I've started working on my hearts for The Giving Heart's Christmas tree (check my previous post for details).   When I think about how many I will need to make, I have two numbers in mind:  100 is the minimum number that would probably cover the 7 1/2-foot tree, and is a number I can realistically see myself reaching within the next 50 days; and 200 is the number I would like to aim for, because I think it would make for an extravagantly full Christmas tree.

I know that some of you will be sending hearts--thank you so much!  With your help I think we can reach 200!  The tree will be set up during the first week of December, so I plan to be done with my hearts at the end of November.  Since I live close enough to Richmond, Virginia, to deliver them in person, I don't have to allow extra time for mailing.  If you would like to help, just make a heart or two (or as many as you want!), and put them in the mail by mid-November.  Send them to:

Vicki Neilson, Director
The Giving Heart
11527 Primrose Lane
Rockville, VA 23146

So, 50 days from today my sewing time will be up!  I got a good start on the hearts this week, with a batch of 16 similar ones in various stages of completion at this moment.  I managed to fiinish one so I could show you:

If you are working on some hearts for The Giving Heart, I would love to hear how it's going--leave a comment below.  I would also love to see pictures when you are done; you can email them to me at .

Monday, October 1, 2012

Sewing Hearts for The Giving Heart

The Giving Heart is a wonderful organization in nearby Richmond, Virginia, which serves the community by distributing essential items to those in need, and by hosting a big Thanksgiving Feast every year.

Additionally, in December, The Giving Heart will be one of 50 non-profits that will decorate a Christmas tree during the Miller and Rhoads Charity Christmas Tree event.  Since the word "heart" is part of the name, they hope to decorate their tree with hearts.

But who will make the the hearts?

You and I will, of course!!

We need to make enough hearts to cover a 7 1/2-foot-tall Christmas tree.  I estimate a minimum of 100 hearts will be necessary to do the job, and I would truly welcome your help.  If you would like to make a heart or two, just jump right in--you can use your own pattern, or one of the three below (just keep it under 5" wide and tall).  You can find a tutorial for sewing a heart by clicking HERE.  Be sure to add a hanging loop or cord to the top.  You can look through this blog for heart ideas, and feel free to borrow any idea you like!  I will post pictures of the hearts I make in the coming weeks, and if you send me pictures of the hearts you make, I will post them here too!  Send them to .

We want to make a colorful tree, so in addition to red, green and white, you can use fabric of any color to make your heart.  For the decoration on the front, we want to use words that relate to The Giving Heart.  Here is a list of suggested words and phrases:

The Giving Heart
Giving Bags
Thanksgiving Feast
Got You Covered

You may use any technique to put the word on the heart--paint, embroidery, permanent marker, etc. You may also embellish the heart with other things, like beads, buttons, ribbon, fabric or felt. Perfection is not required!

I'm waiting to hear the final date by which the hearts may be submitted; but to be on the safe side, I would suggest that you plan to send your hearts by early November.  Finished hearts may be mailed to:

Vicki Neilson, Director
The Giving Heart
11527 Primrose Lane
Rockville, VA  23146

You don't have to sign up to make hearts for the tree, but if you plan to make one or more hearts, please leave a comment below so I can have a rough idea of how much help I will have with this.

If you have any questions, you can e-mail me at; or leave a comment below and I will respond there.  Thanks in advance for your help!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

God is Good

Day #274
Heart # 479

This is one of the hearts I sent to Suzy to help fill a jar of hearts for her sister who will be having cancer-related surgery next month.  Even when we are sick, God is good.

Saturday, September 29, 2012


Day #273
Heart #478

There was a small strip of fabric left from the Rainbow Bag, so I used part of it to make this bright heart.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


Day #270
Hearts #475-477

I made these three brooches from a damaged old quilt.

Each one is about 2 1/2" inches tall and wide.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Cutter Quilt Hearts

Day #265
Hearts #472-474

I recently bought a vintage "cutter quilt" on eBay.  I have a lot of ideas for things to make from it, but I started with, of course, HEARTS!  You can read more about the cutter quilt on my other blog, Leslie's Art and Sew.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Pitcher of Hearts

Day #261
Hearts #450-471

Since most of my hearts will be in big groups, now that I'm always working on my Hope Hearts starter kits, I've decided that the pictures need to be more interesting so they don't all look alike!  Here's my first attempt at a more interesting group shot:  twenty-two hearts in a pitcher.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

One Dozen

Day #256
Hearts #437-449

Here are twelve more hearts to add to my count...I have three more Hope Hearts starter kits to put in the mail today (that makes 71!)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Small Batch

Day #253
Hearts #428-436

I just finished a relatively small batch of hearts today; the flood of requests for the Hope Hearts starter kits has turned into a small trickle.  I will send out two kits tomorrow, for a total of 68 kits made and sent.  My new goal for this blog is to reach 100 kits made and sent!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Thirty-three More

Day #251
Hearts #395-427

I made all these hearts earlier in the week, but I held off posting them until I could finish a "special" heart to be my 365th--and goal-reaching--heart.  These have all gone out in the mail in Hope Hearts starter kits.  I put 8 more kits in the mail yesterday, and for once I was totally caught up--every kit that had been requested was in the mail!  That was a great feeling!  I've sent 66 kits, and I will continue to make and mail them to anyone who requests one.

Helen, a regular reader, asked me where I found the quote on the large hearts ("Happiness is a form of courage").  Actually, I saw it online on a kit for an embroidered pillow!  Today I googled it, and this quote is attributed to a writer named Holbrook Jackson.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Still Sewing

Day #250
Hearts #366-394

I am continuing to sew hearts for my Hope Hearts project; this is the pile I just finished today, which I hope to mail before the post office closes.  There are 29 hearts here (I started out making 30, but one suffered a "malfunction"!)

Each of the Hope Hearts starter kits that I assemble today will include three hearts like these below:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Number 365

Day #249
Heart #365!!!

Wow, I did it, several months earlier than planned!  I've reached my goal of 365 sewn hearts!

This is a flat heart cut from a damaged antique quilt, which I embellished and made into a card. You can read more details about it on my other blog, Leslie's Art and Sew.

Monday, September 3, 2012


Day #247
Hearts #362-364

Here they are, numbers 362, 363, and 364...

I was so focused on making and mailing hearts last week for my Hope Hearts starter kits that it's really just a coincidence that I didn't breeze right past my goal number of 365 hearts...if I had made just a few more, I think I wouldn't have noticed until later that my goal had been met!  After my last post, it occurred to me that I should make a special heart for the 365th one, so I'm working on that now.  It will be ready in a day or two, then I will continue counting hearts until the end of the year.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Almost to my Goal!

Day #244
Hearts #334-361

Look at the number above--I'm just 4 hearts from my goal!!

Over the past two days I made the 27 hearts in the picture below (they are piled up, but there really are 27!  There are 10 big tie-dye hearts, 6 of the medium blue hearts, and 11 small hearts.)  My regular reader, Kay, commented previously that she liked the green striped hearts, I decided that would be a good fabric to use again for most of the small ones.  (Kay has fabulous taste, you should see her Pinterest!)

I sent out ten more Hope Hearts starter kits today, and each one had a set of hearts like the three below. Send me your mailing address if you know someone who's ill and could use some hope in the form of handmade hearts, and I will send you a kit.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Twenty Pretty Hearts

Day #242
Hearts #313-333

I made twenty more hearts yesterday, and most of them will go out in the mail later today.  At this rate, I will reach my challenge goal of 365 sewn hearts by the weekend!  Now the question is, how high will the number go by the end of the year??

Each of the Hope Hearts starter kits that I send out today will include a trio of hearts similar to this set, below:

This is a labor of love for me; I enjoy every minute of it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Eighteen More

Day #241
Hearts #295-312

Another day, another 18 hearts!  These will all be going out in the mail today in Hope Hearts starter kits.

I am purposely avoiding the color pink as I make these hearts, and any prints that look really girly, because in most cases I don't know if the recipient will be male or female; but a few people have told me that they are making hearts for a female friend, so I have a few pink hearts like the one on the left.  I'm also still making crazy bright hearts like the yellow one on the right.  Do you see the little "hope" charm in the middle of it?  I bought 100 of them from Hidden Treasure Jewelry on Etsy.  I highly recommend this store because the owner ships FAST!  Two hours after I placed my order, I got an email saying it had been sent!!  I love that about small businesses!  Her prices are very reasonable too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Pile O' Hearts

Day #240
Hearts #276-294

Because of the great response to my offer of a Hope Hearts starter kit, free for the asking (just send me your mailing address to ), my heart count is surging closer and closer to my goal of 365 hearts.  A few months ago I had doubts that I would reach my goal on time, now I am completely confident that not only will I finish this challenge, but I will do so well before the end of the year!

Here are the 19 hearts I made yesterday; most of them will be going out in today's mail.

Here are two of my favorites from this batch:  a new version of the "crayon box explosion" on the left, and a fun harlequin on the right.