Posts Tagged ‘Sew Mama Sew’

2010 in review

January 2, 2011

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 34,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it.


In 2010, there were 32 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 110 posts. There were 152 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 10mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 1st with 2,481 views. The most popular post that day was 01 October — ish.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for ibol, iraqi bundles of love, kitteh, funny rumors to spread, and ibol guy.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


01 October — ish October 2010


IB♥L II: Give A Little August 2010


Building a bundle August 2009


What to send August 2009


FAQ August 2009


Pretty cool, huh?  Here’s to 2010!

Our favorite places

November 21, 2010

Some of you have heard me talk about how I seemingly spent my entire youth, playing under the bins at Joann’s Fabrics while my mom shopping for just the right fabric.  I don’t think I’m going out on a limb to far when I say that I think a lot of people who sew, knit and quilt have favorite places for buying their supplies.   (Insert joke about drug users and their favorite drug dealer).

But one thing of which I was reminded while at the International Quilt festival in Houston is that there are some truly awesome vendors out there.  Super awesome people, just as nice as can be, who also happen to make their living selling the things that keep the sewing, knitting and quilting communities humming along.

For some, it’s the place in town.  That certainly was the case when I was growing up.  But today, that can also include online vendors, like my own super-mega-bestest-friends at Sew, Mama, Sew! I suspect that sometimes it’s the people, but sometimes it’s the products or the prices or something else.  But I’d be willing to bet that, more often than not, it’s the people that separate a mere store or business from the places you’d return to again and again.

So, I was thinking.  IBOL3D — let’s invite them in as well.  IBOL I and II had truly awesome support from Sew, Mama, Sew!, but I bet the crew at Love of Quilting in Winterset, Iowa, and the crew at The Quilter’s Garden in Fenton, MI would probably think IBOL is pretty cool and be interested, in some way, in helping out.  It might not be hundreds of bundles that they sell online, but even some local support and activities would be very in line with what IBOL is all about.

With that in mind, I wrote up a page for our friends and heroes who sell all of the great things that you all love to buy.  The page is here.  I hope it’s complete enough that you can pass it to someone, and it’ll give them ideas and spark their interest.  If you’re willing to bring up IBOL when you’re shopping for goodies, the least I can do is empower you when you say, “Let me email you a link.”  So, this is me, helping you to spread the word, and this is us, thinking big. and Sew, Mama, Sew!

September 17, 2010

Wow.  Just wow.

Huge week here at the IBOL Pacific Headquarters.

1. posted a link about IBOL, up on Facebook (here).  For those of you who were involved last year, you will remember how they chimed in with a huge note of support, sent out via email to everyone headed to the International Quilt Festival in Houston.  How huge was their support?  I called it Super Secret Project 2 (SSP2, in IBOL-speak) and it sent a huge flock of people towards the site.  This year, they’re going one step farther — they are coordinating their own mirror support, working with me so that they can directly answer questions and coordinate packages (and answering a lot of emails, instead of me). Last year, I was unable to make it to the quilt show in Houston (I was still in Iraq, after all), but my wife and I are making plans to travel from Hawaii to Houston for the show — and to shake a few hands and to say thanks for all their help in support in spreading the word about IBOL.

2.  For those of you who remember last year, the online store Sew, Mama, Sew! in Beaverton, OR, chimed in to answer a question of mine.  I asked why a business couldn’t make and built bundles at or below cost, so that folks without a stash (like my brother) could also support the effort.  They did just that — with 161 bundles that they made, sold, and mailed to Iraq.  161!  They sold out in no time at all — we’re talking hours, not days or weeks.  It was an awesome gesture, and a great thing for them to do.  (to say thanks, the wife and kids and I made a trip to Beaverton, to see Kristin and her crew and to offer our thanks.)   Well, Kristin emailed me again this year, saying she’d seem my post about thread.  Guess what?  She’s doing it again.  Here’s your chance, or the chance for others, to be involved and support IBOL is you’re stash-light or (gasp!) without a stash at all.  Go here to this post from Sew, Mama, Sew! for more about their $4 thread bundles — it’s a wonderful opportunity.


August 26, 2010
How do I know this is taking off again?
1.  I am getting traffic from some place called;
2. Guys are leaving comments, asking for the address;
3.  I’m actually recognizing both people’s names and their email addresses, from last year;  and
4. We had almost 1000 web hits on 25 AUG.
Not bad, for day two.
Remember last time, when I put out the challenge for a fabric store to come forward with bundles for sale, at or just above cost? Sew Mama Sew! stepped up and did just that — with some totally amazing results (love you, Sew Mama Sew!)
This time, we need that for thread.  We need it for fabric and yarn, too, but thread would be totally awesome.  Anybody know someone that can either put me in touch with, or that they can drag into this?  Surely there are small business owners out there, willing to Give A Little, right?

IB♥L World Tour: Beaverton, OR

November 25, 2009

Imagine going to Mt. Rushmore and standing before the monument, only to have them speak to you.

Such was my day today. I got to spend the day with the family, and go to the Sew Mama Sew! Secret Lair, and have coffee with Terry Grant and Gerrie Congdon.


It’s time we had a little talk

September 11, 2009

When I started the project, I didn’t know how big it would get.

Or how it would spread across the web. Or the world.

Or how many people would take an interest, and volunteer to participate.

Or how many people would actually send a box.

Or how many boxes an individual would send.

Or the total amount of boxes, or their volume, or their weight.

Or when they’d arrive.

Or how I’d actually distribute them.

I also did not have permission from anyone to do this.

All I knew was that I had an idea, that it seemed like a good idea, and that I probably needed to act on it.

And so I did.

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, I spent time with my mail folks and the warehouse folks. I worked it out with my mail folks that any boxes coming to me would be delivered to the warehouse — if lots of bundles started to arrive (for some crazy reason), it just made sense to be ready and to have the IBOL’s go right to the warehouse. The warehouse folks had received the first few boxes mailed directly to them by then — maybe 80. I had received the other 414 or so total at that point, had given some out to a couple of local units, moved others to the warehouse, but still had about 80 in my own room.

On Monday, I moved some of mine to the warehouse, and posted photos here.

Tuesday, I got one in the mail; the warehouse got none.

Wednesday, I got one. The warehouse got 357 more in the mail.

Thursday, I got none. They got 365 more in the mail.

Today, I got my Sports Illustrated, but not my Hot Rod. I was kind of bummed. I was really hoping the new Hot Rod would arrive. I mean, after all, the new Sports Illustrated had arrived — shouldn’t Hot Rod arrive, too? Oh, and the warehouse, they got 697 bundles in the mail.

The urban legend is that 11 pallets of mail were flown in yesterday, six of which were for IBOL. I had two soldiers separately tell me that one.

I have not been to the warehouse since Monday, but I am told that there are a few over there now . Received to date? 1921, between what’s come to me and what’s gone right to the warehouse. So, there’s probably 1600 bundles at the warehouse right now.

And I thought 50 boxes was going to be a pretty good indicator of success.

Honest to goodness, between all of the passing of information in emails and in guilds and that crazy email from the Houston folks and the Sew Mama Sew stuff, I have no idea how many people have mailed boxes, much less how to estimate that.

I have no idea how many actual boxes are en route, or how to even begin to take a guess at that. Honest to goodness, I had a wonder lady explain to me in an email today that she put 19 bundles in the mail. Nineteen! And if you think that’s unique, I could probably rattle of the names of a half or full dozen more people who have mailed over 10. This is some crazy scary math, even trying to extrapolate this stuff out (~2600 comments, maybe minus 100 for non-requests of the address; 150+ from Sew Mama Sew; the Houston email went to maybe 50,000+ people; there are probably 36 to 60 guilds or groups that shared the address…)

Does your brain hurt now, too? Yeah, this is what I am dealing with — in and around my day job. Which also makes my brain hurt.

I have two good-sized units that are lining up trucks and pick up dates, and seem to think they’ll be in a position to deliver tons of IBOLS — which, if the boxes really do average out to 7 or 8 lbs per box, and there really do turn out to be 3000 to 5000 IBOLs, there really are going to be tons of IBOLs to deliver.

How does one distribute something like three to five thousand bundles? Very carefully, I suppose. It’s a bit like eating an elephant — figure out what size bites you can take, and keep eating. I’ve got plan A, and a plan B. I’ll spare you the details, but will try to get and share some photos. Not sure when I can get to the warehouse, either — I’ll see what I can do about tomorrow.

More later — I need to go sleep. Apparently, it’s Patriot Day (not to confuse anyone) — where did August go? Seriously, I need to work less and sleep more.

I’ve said thank you about a half a billion times, right? Make it half a billion and one — thank you.

Sew Mama Sew Action Photos

September 2, 2009

Holy Toledo, swing by the SMS blog and check out the action photos.

That kid is too cute!

A quiet day

August 27, 2009

No new mail today. And that’s OK — I’m trying to catch my breath.

I think IBOL would be a full time job, if I had the full time to give it. I don’t. On a good day, I get maybe an hour before or after sleep, and sprinkles here and there sometimes. I’ve got a full time gig that has me working day and night. If I had more, I’d give me, but that seems to be the theme of this whole IBOL thing, doesn’t it?

I met today with my press guy. He’s back, after being gone a few days. He did not know about super secret project #1 — 150 boxes via Sew Mama Sew. I thought he was going to have to take a knee and catch his breath, when I told him. I had warmed him — never underestimate you all.

I also told him about SSP #2, and the warehouse. He’s starting to sense that IBOL is a really, really good idea that is really, really catching on. He said he’d get back to me tomorrow. He has ideas, but needs a little bit to think about it — really, it’s likely he needs to absorb it all, since I did sort of ambush him with all this (he could not have seen this coming).

I guess it would be hard to anticipate this type of public response. On the day I set up this site, 10 people found it — and I bet most of them share the same family name. 30 posts and ~900 comments later, the site has had over 31,000 visits. The busiest day was Monday — when Sew Mama Sew went live with their online bundles (there were over 3800 visits that day). Oh, and Sew Mama Sew “sold” their 150 bundles in about 48 hours, apparently to people from all over the world.

I have not been able to even come close to tracking the # of people who are sending bundles, for a couple of reasons:

1. You’re sharing the address amongst yourselves via email.

2. People are sending 2, 3, — up to 12 boxes.

I’d like to think that one comment left on the website would more or less equal one box enroute here. But no, that’s not even close to being true – one visit to the website, one comment left, does not equal 1 box headed this way.

So, yeah. Press Guy (can I just call him PG?) is trying to wrap his head around all this. The outpouring is wild enough, without looking at the sheer volume of stuff headed this way or the very amazing way this is all being done quickly and via the web (blogs, twitter, Flickr, Facebook, etc). When SSP2 hits, we’ll all gasp. If mainstream American media catches on to what we’re secretly doing here, we’ll all gasp, I’m sure.

IBOL — yep, it’s pretty darn tootin’ neat. Keep it up, world. You’re doin’ good.

Hurry up!

August 25, 2009

Sew Mama Sew is almost sold out.

Be sure to stop by and leave a comment, here!

Sew, Mama, Sew

August 23, 2009

But really, Whoa, Mama, WHOA!

As you may recall, a while ago I asked on this site if anyone was in the fabric store business. I wondered who was in a position to build bundles at or near cost.

Why? There are people out there in this world, like most all of my guy friends, who would probably be willing to support IBOL but who don’t have a stash into which they can raid. How could they, too, easily help with this?

The answer? Sew, Mama, Sew has set up this site. Anyone can visit the site, use their credit card, and push bundles of love this way. [UPDATE: She blogged the details, here]

Iraqi Bundle of Love
For your contribution of fifteen dollars we will send one Iraqi Bundle of Love to US soldiers who will distribute the bundles to Iraqi families and sewing co-ops. One bundle will include:

* 5 yards of new fabric
* 16 sewing needles in a case
* 32 pearlized pins on a wheel
* 1 tomato pincushion
* 1 pair folding scissors
* 1 150 yd spool white thread

The cost of shipping is included in the price!

So, I think this is about the coolest thing ever. EVER. $15 for 5 yards of fabrics, plus others goodies, shipping included, from Sew Mama Sew. And they have enough to do 150 of these.

150. Remember when I thought 30 bundles was going to make this project a success?

I kid you not — this takes my breath away. This has been SSP1 — Super Secret Project #1 — and in the works for a few days, but it is still amazing to see it online and working. Please feel free to help pass this news around, and please feel free to swing by the Sew, Mama, Sew blog and leave them a comment. Pass it on Facebook, send it on Twitter.

Whoa. Just whoa. If SSP2 turns out half as amazing as this, I’m going to see a medic to give me CPR.