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2011 Project Gratitude

Our web czar, Amanda Griffin, sent an email request last week to everyone in the office asking for donations to send to a troop of soldiers as part of the drive. The request was simple, small treats and snacks, to carry in their pockets, laundry detergent, magazines, etc.

The employees here at Designs got together and put together a great haul to send over.  You can see more pics in our Facebook album.  You can visit to find out how to send your own package. 

As I read the email, I wished there was something I could embroider for every one of the platoon members. That’s a tall order – 102. If it were shirts or caps, well, I don’t think I would ever reach that number in a timely fashion. But I remembered Quilting Arts’ artist trading cards drive a few years back and thought maybe that’s the right canvas for a message to our soldiers. I thought, “Gee, such a tiny canvas, surely I can get 125 of them done in a week” (ok, maybe two). And if I were stationed overseas, I think I would take great pleasure in holding something beautiful in my hand, something colorful, soft, but firm and alive with texture. I imagine their life is one of gritty fabrics, hard metal (cold or searing hot) and unforgiving rock. Their world is monochromatic: shades of sand, like the camo uniforms they live in.

As I write this, I feel very inadequate to talk about their service and assume what they would enjoy. My father served in Korea and rarely spoke about his experience and I have other family members who served in World War II. I am just a few years too young to have any classmates who served in Vietman but I remember the toll that war took on our nation and I’m living through this one. I am humbled by their service, their commitment and continued support. Many of you have family members over there right now. Know that these gratitude cards are just a tiny expression of gratitude for what our soldiers do for our country and our freedom. They are not political statements, they are meant to bring a moment of joy to a lonely soldier in a far away land. Join me in the drive. Here’s how:

Dowload the gratitude card designs (there are 10). Fuse fabric to a stiff stabilizer.

Embroider the quilting stitches, message and decorative motif.

Stitch the running outline. Place a second piece of fabric (stiffened or not), wrong side to the back of the hooped fabric, under the hoop.

Stitch the tackdown and final satin outline.

 Remove from hoop and trim as close to the satin stitched edge as possible.

You may want to stitch more than one card in the hoop since they are small: 2 ½” x 3 ¼”. It’s my hope that the soldiers would slip them into their wallet as a reminder of our gratitude.

You can of course, transform these tiny canvases into works of art. The 10 designs that I created are just a stepping stone for your creativity. Add anything you’d like to them, fabrics, small trims, journaling, paint, glitter and the like. But think of the recipient – mostly male with limited storage areas. I’m keeping my gratitude cards flat with the hope they’ll fit in a wallet.

Can’t wait to see if you’ll join us in this drive. Just ship to Project Gratitude, Designs in Machine Embroidery, 2517 Manana Dr., Dallas, TX 75220. We’ll handle the shipping to our servicemen and women.  If you have any questions, email us at [email protected]

The holiday wrapping paper is put away, and the last remnants of the holiday cookies are but crumbs…New Years has come and gone. Gym memberships sky rocket this time of year as many make their New Year resolutions. Have you made yours? Are you sticking with it? Let us know by posting a comment and you’ll be entered to win a set of Black and White Dots Stitchable Notecards.

Do you need a resolution you can stick to? Join our campaign—Project Gratitude! We are asking everyone to stitch a Gratitude Card for the troops. We talked about cleaning out our sewing space last week. I bet everyone has a stash of scraps perfect for this project.

Last week we asked you about getting ready for the new year.  The winner of the Embroidery Headquarters Hoop Stand is…Beth!

“I get a renewed sense of energy in my sewing room every time I complete a project!  It makes me feel great to see a final product, and gives me energy to tackle another one (perhaps even one more difficult than what I just finished). 

I also get a feeling of renewal with each change of the season – when Christmas is over, I know I won’t finish that project to display this time, so I can put it away and pull out the Valentine’s project.  Same thing in mid-February – time to work on Easter projects!”

Congratulations, Beth!




  • Enis

    Project Gratitude! I love it! And, its seems I have even more reason to be grateful for what our troops are doing in far away lands. My youngest son, Ryan, a mere 18 yo, enlisted in the army only a few weeks ago. He will be leaving on March 8 for basic training and has already been told he will be stationed in Afganistan for a year. I will definitely make some of the wonderful thank you cards to sent to DIME for shipping oversees. Who knows, maybe my son will get one from one of you — but I do know this, he will leave with a special in his pocket on March 8.

    As far as New Years resolutions go, I never make them. If I make one, I am sure to not do it. No promises to break; no heartache to make.

    Go Project Gratitude!

    • eileen

      Enis, we’ll keep Ryan (and you) in our prayers. May he travel safely.

  • carroll

    My New Years resolution was not to buy any more fabric but it is Jan. 7 and I have already broke it. If I ever move, I pitty the moving men. Oh, their acky breaky backs.

    • eileen

      Carol – love your honesty! I laughed out loud when I read your confession!

  • Susan Weber

    What a wonderful Idea, my husband is a 22 year veteran and I am so thankful for what these men and women sacrafice for us every day of their lives. They are my HEROS!!!!

    • eileen

      Mine too!

  • Mary Parker

    Hi Eileen,
    Didn’t make a resolution this year, I like so many others last about a week, so this year I just did it! I started on Dec. 28, wanted to see how much I could loose by my 60th birthday on Jan 8th, tomorrow! Well, I have lost 13 lbs. and am very excited! Have more to loose, but I think I can do it!!! Looking forward to making the Project Gratitude cards, have lots of scraps just waiting!!!
    It is going to be a Great year!

    • eileen

      Mary, it is going to be a great year. And kudos to you on losing 13 pounds – over the holidays, no less. Happy Birthday!

  • Penny Kitzmiller

    First of all I would like to say that I heard somewhere on here that you shouldn’t send anything with glitter on it to the troups. It shows up and could show the bad guys where our troups are. I plan on making this year more productive and sew more and give alot more!! I also enjoy
    paper crafts so I hope to get out more cards to the needy!!
    Pray more and serve my Lord more!!!
    [email protected]

  • Gail Beam

    I never make a resolution, because I would probably break it. lol When my brother was in the Navy his favorite thing to get in the mail was pop tarts! He loved them as a child and still loves them. He is retired from the Navy now, but he loved receiving anything in the mail when he was in the service. Hope everyione has a Great year!

    • Amanda

      Oh my goodness, Gail! Denise brought pop tarts to send! So someone will be getting some 🙂

  • Greta

    My nephew Colin is in the Army National Guard and his unit was sent to Iraq in November for 10 months. His younger brother is going between Japan and Afghanistan alternating 6 month intervals that started last summer and ends after 2 years, leaves for Afghanistan this month, and their youngest brother leaves for Kuwait in June for 1 year. My brother understandably is not thrilled, but trusts the Lord to take care of his boys. I sent Colin mouthwash, peanut butter, honey roasted peanuts, beef jerky, pop tarts (his absolute favorite), as well as bowls of noodles that just need hot water and dark chocolate. His brothers will also get boxes, whatever can be stuffed into the largest one price box the post office carries is $12.50 to ship, not bad considering, and he got it just 6 days after I mailed it, much to my surprise. My resolution is to make sure they have the comforts of home while they are away from home. All 3 boys had to (or will have to) continue their college education when they return, Colin is set to graduate after one remaining quarter, with 3 majors and 5 certificates and we are very proud of all our boys!!

    • eileen

      Wow! What an admirable family, Greta. We’ll pray for their safety.

  • Donna G.

    I make one resolution every year: Not to make resolutions! Actually, I set goals each year for various parts of my life so I have something to aim for. I don’t reach all of them, but at the end of year I can see what I have accomplished.

  • Paule-Marie

    Well, I’m like Carroll. I made a half hearted resolution to not buy fabric – got lots here – unless I needed to finish a quilt. So what did I do today? My car took a detour into the quilt shop and I got this luscious fabric for a quilt. I had used this fabric in 2009 for a Christmas gift and really liked it – taupes, soft greens – the collection is called Evening Mist by Moda. So there you have it – why do I bother with a resolution?

    Elaine, I love the post cards and what you are doing. I did have classmates who served in Vietnam. I plan to make them when I can. Have you heard about the Let’s Say Thanks website? Xerox has a lot of postcards drawn by children, you pick one, then pick a message or write your own. Xerox prints them and they go out to our troops in care packages. Here’s the website:

  • Valerie Usowicz

    I have recently retired and am just getting used to it, it feels like I’m on an extened vacation. My resolution for this year is to enjoy every day to it’s fullest. There is so much to do I’m busy all the time and having time to sew is such a a blessing. I have so many projects to finish and so many I want to start. I can’t wait to get started on the embroidered cards for our service men and women. Thank you for sharing the designs with us so we can let our service men and women know we are thinking of them. You are the best.

  • nancy

    My resolution is to get healthy. I plan on eating right, exercising, and staying positive. I count my blessings and enjoy each day.

  • Paula Somers

    I want to say Thank You for remembering the troops. As a mother of two young men who are supporting the war effort in country, I know the heartfelt concern there is for our young warriors. I pray that all of our young people are protected by His mercy and love and will return safely at the end of their tours.

  • Kathy Meyers

    I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. That way I am not under preessure to keep them or fail.
    I usually set goals which seems a bit less intimidating even though it’s really the same thing!
    My goals are to eat healthier since diets don’t seem to work well, and sew more!

  • Karin

    My only goal is to sew more & be more patient – with myself, with others & with my sewing machines! A tall order, for sure.

    I’m loving your thank you card projects and I bet they stitch up quickly. They’d make great little tuck-in’s for the Camo Quilts Project ( – they send you the kits, you make up the quilt & send it to your favorite soldier…

    Thanks for such an inspirational blog entry!

  • Susan Slottke

    I love your card project, I hope to try some of them this weekend. Bless you for thinking of those serving so far away from their homes.

    My resolution this year is to be more patient in situations that usually aggravate me. Someone once told me “It gets your heart, lungs, liver going and generally the other person doesn’t even care”. I hope to use this as a part of the plan to take better care of myself this year.

  • Jackie Martin

    Love love love this, it is so awsome to see the great quality of work in a little thank you message to the troops. Such a wonderful idea and I think it will touch there hearts with this special thank you message that was made from the heart.

  • Carol Seavitt

    Resolution — to love, have patience and be kind to others …. all part of my diet! And now I’m off to download the thank you’s and get busy for the troops.

  • Deborah Stephenson

    I think the gratitude cards for the men and women of our armed services is a wonderful idea. After sewing several my grandkids wanted to be a part in the selection of the fabrics. I would like to try to put clear vinyl on the back side and satin stitch around only 3 sides, so that a picture could be slid in. We could send a picture of anything to remind the soldiers of home. Please let me know what everyone thinks about this idea.

    • Carol Seavitt

      Great idea Deborah and I did this with the Christmas nametags and they turned into luggage tag gifts. Bet the troops will love this — though it is a bit tricky sewing the vinyl on the back side as the feed sometimes gets stuck.

      • eileen

        Brilliant idea Deborah! When applying the vinyl on the back, place a piece of light (very light) tear away between the vinyl and machine bed. This will help the hoop move freely. You want a tear-away that rips clean. in fact, the paper that’s used in doctor’s offices is the best for this trick. The ‘paper’ that I’m referring to covers the examing table. Years ago I bought a roll at a pharmancy and it has lasted forever. Sorry I don’t know the official name.

  • Clem

    I love the idea of the Thank you tags. I am going to make some for all of those brave men and women who serve. I like the idea of sending them packages also. There are a lot of men and women who serve that really do not have family here. Something like this makes them feel that someone still cares.

    I have a son that was a marine in Dessert Storm, son–in-law that has been in Iraq, another son-in-law that has been to Iraq and Afghanistan. A step son that was in Iraq. All have come home safely. One of my son-in-laws is going back to Afhanistan in March or April sometime. Keep him in your prayers. My son is now a policeman in Alaska and one son-in-law is a policeman in Ohio.
    I pray for them continuously.

  • Clem

    I forgot.. a Resolution? To try and work on many of the Unfinished projects I have. That is a resolution that I can keep, notice I said work on, not finish.. 😉

  • Irene

    My New Year’s resolution is very important to me especially this year with health problems etc., and I have every intention to stick with it.

    I am going to get my life back on track by loosing weight, eating more healthy, getting in shape, spend more time with family and friends. I promise myself to sew and embroider more, it brings me lots of pleasure and satisfaction when I create gifts for others.

    In a nut shell, be good to myself and enjoy family more. The getting into shape will come later as on January 5, 2011 I slipped on the ice and broke my ankle in 3 places, so after having surgery and upcoming physio, I will really be sewing and embroidering lots to keep myself busy.

    Thanks for your inspiration and blog.


  • Cy Swendsen

    I am the wife of a retired Navy pilot who is still flying. He often has the opportunity /priviledge to fly troops to and from Germany from where many go on to Iraq or Afganistan. The feeling on the way over is solemn and more jubilant when they are coming home. It never fails to “move” my husband. We pray for these dedicated young men and women”s safety and truly thank them for their service. Count me in on this project!

  • essenzadifilo

    Thank You.
    I love your card project

  • Janice Brown

    I just got an embroidery machine and am so excited to learn all about it. I’m glad I found the site with “blanks”. There are so many wonderful ones to choose from. I have thought that I would probably use a lot of tea towels, but seeing so many choices of things, it will be hard to choose.

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