Thank you for being so patient. Just over a year after launching the Iraqi Bundles of Love (IBOL) project, it’s time to to do it again. Ladies and Gentlemen, let’s do IBOL II.
I’ll give you the details first — some of you, I’m told, are rather impatient and would rather just get to making more boxes. But if you keep reading, I’ll tell you some of how this came to be.
IBOL II, like the original IBOL project last year, is intended to be a short-duration project. And like last time, it’s intended to surge fabric and sewing (and knitting!) materials into Salah ad Din, in northern Iraq (where I was last year, too). The general premise is the same. Willing contributors can send a flat-rate box of sewing / quilting / knitting supplies, all bundled up. Once it’s there, someone will open the box, pull out the fully-contained bundle, and hand it off (with others) for distribution in the SaD area. The stated intent of this operation is to put sewing and quilting and knitting supplies into the hands of two types of recipients: locals who desperately need such things, and local sewing co-ops and other small businesses who have received grants or loans (typically to purchase sewing machines, rent space, etc).
Like last time, there’s no press release, no announcement on Oprah, no guest appearance on the Colbert Report. There will be blog posts, emails, some photos, some silliness, some IBOL kittehs, and — you can count on it — some ice cream. Email your guild, call your sister — tell ‘em it’s time to do this again. IBOL is still going to work via word of mouth.
It’s a chance for all of us to go into our stashes — our fabric, our yarn, our needles, our thread — and find some stuff that we’re willing to share with our partners in Iraq. No one expects you to empty your stash — it’s a chance to give a little.
Here’s the most important thing: Packages for IBOL 2.1 (because I hope there will be a 2.2 and a 2.3!) need to be in the mail not later than 01 October (that’s a Friday). Do you think you can do that? In the mail, not later than 01 October. That’s just over a month from now. Click below to read more of the details.
How to get started:
1. Leave a comment on this site — anywhere on this site. I will email you a hearty thanks, and the mail address. It’s an APO address, so it’s the same postal rate as mailing something to NY, NY. No, it’s not the same address, so yes, you do need to contact me again about all this.
2. Go to the post office and get yourself one of the large, flat rate to APO boxes. It’s a good sizes box, and it’s going to be $11.95 $12.50 (Thanks, Sis!) to mail — click here for details on how to order the boxes online (and pay the lowest shipping). Word is, USPS will delivery the boxes to your door – if you don’t mind get a lot of boxes (bundles of 10 or 25 — go on, you know you want 10!) free of charge.
3. Form the box, tape one end close. Put it on the floor or table.
4. Lay some ribbon (or similar) across the boxes across both axis – left to right, and front to back. It should look like a + across the box. This will tie your bundle close in the end. Please remember to do this — it makes the bundle a success, and so much easier to hand off to someone.
5. Find a nice piece of fabric, large enough, and lay it into the box. This is the outer layer of your bundle. It can be one big piece, round or square, or two long and wide strips put into the box in the same manner as the ribbon.
6. Now, add the goodies. Doing this right into the box, on top of this outer layer, means you should have a pretty good idea of just how full the box is. Add a little, add a lot — add whatever you want.
7. Fold the outer layer over the top.
8. Bring those ribbons together on top. Check and make sure all the goodies are secured inside the little bundle of love, and then tie it close. Done right, it looks like this:
9. Tape the box sealed, fill out the address label. Feel free to write a message on the outside of the box, or doodle the IBOL logo. Now, grab your $11.95!
10. Head to the post office, and send it on its way.
And now, to answer some of the questions I know will be asked.
Q: What’s up with the random 01 October date for getting things into the mail?
A: Well, winter is coming. Transportation just plain gets more difficult in the winter. Last year, the push was on to try and time things to coincide with Ramadan (which was blown away by the sheer volume from those who responded), but this year it makes more sense to try and get this done before the weather gets rough.
Q: Wait — are you back in Iraq again? Jeez, IBOL Guy — don’t you ever get a break?
A: Fear not — I am safe and secure on Hawaii. Oh, yeah — you read that right. I’m living the good life on the island of Oahu, working too much, running too many miles, and soaking up the fun with my wife and kids.
Q: So, to whom is all this stuff going, then?
A: Well, it’s going to a young lady named Nahed, who is part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team in my old stomping grounds, Salah ad Din. Nahed needs a nickname, I know – maybe IBOL Gal. That’s IBOL 2.1 — if there’s an IBOL 2.2, it’ll be to Derik in Diyala, an Army guy who’s been told by his mother to “do IBOL” while he’s in Iraq this time.
Q: Is it true that IBOL II is also known as IBOL 2: Electric Boogaloo?
A: No. No one has ever called it that.
Q: OMG, IBOL is the best. I’m totally going to tell everyone about it.
A: Super. Send them this URL (http://ibol.wordpress.com/2010/08/24/ibol-ii/) or the URL for this website (http://ibol.wordpress.com). IBOL is also on Facebook — here. Swing by, leave a comment, and join in the discussions. By all means, take and send to me photos of your bundle making, your bundles, your kitteh, your ice cream adventures — I will try to post and share all that I can. And if you’re savy to such things, there’s also the hash #iraqibundlesoflove (like this, on Flickr), or, just #IBOL.
Q: I’m in Europe. Can I still mail things to Ken in the Netherlands?
A: Actually, no. Ken (gasp!) retired, and has moved home to North Carolina. I’d sure like to find someone who is in Europe, who’d be willing to do the same. I’m working on it.
Q: Do I really need a customs form?
A: Absolutely. The link with details is here. It’s a 2976-A, aka the big form. It really doesn’t take very long to fill it out — it asks for details on the sender, recipient, and contents. You can even fill it out online, here.
Q: Oh, IBOL Guy – I’m so proud of you.
A: Thanks, Mom.
Q: Will there be more Super Secret Projects?
A: Oh, I certainly hope so. Right now, I’m focused on not screwing this up, but if I can come up with some SSP’s, I will. Maybe, though, it’ll be something like this.
Q: Wait — do you have permission to do this? Last time you didn’t.
A: Absolutely not. This is not in any way, shape or form condoned, or supported, or approved of by the US Government, US Military, Department of Defense, US Army, or anyone.
Q: So, how are you defining success this time?
A: I’ll settle for hundreds this time. I have no expectation of another 3,445 bundles heading to Iraq this year.
Q: So, what’s the connection to Quilts.com this year?
A: Well, none. The only link is that the wife and I might go to the International Quilt Festival in Houston in November. Is anyone else even going to that this year? It’s still a big deal, right?
Q: Can I send jam?
A: No! No jam! I’m not in Iraq, I’m not opening the boxes, I won’t be there to eat the jam! No jam!
Q: Is IBOL Kitteh amused?
A: No, IBOL Kitteh is not amused. He has, though, walked all the way over, just to sit and face the other way and to ignore your emails. Gee, thanks, IBOL Kitteh.