Monday, October 24, 2011

The latest

I'm in Eastbourne, E. Sussex, England at the Starbucks closest to my Mother's house...the place where I can actually use wireless and get on my computer.  I can do slowmo stuff at my Mum's but not with my computer.  It takes patience.  This just takes speed as I need to type quickly enough so I can finish before my battery says no more.

This is just a quickish update on the latest.  Firstly, I hope you all noticed the new TWC handout which was in the Topanga Chamber of Commerce publication which was recently sent to all households in Topanga.  Bruce Royer, Chamber president and husband of TWC member Teresa, kindly offered this free opportunity for TWC to get our message out to the whole community.   There was only one problem:  we didn't have anything to send.  He then suggested that Jennifer Babcock could most likely design something for us that was catchy and would fit inside the Chamber publication which she did... quickly and for a great price since we're a non-profit. The caliber of her work, quick turn-around and good communication skills were terrific and Karen and I can heartily recommend her to all of you if you have any publication needs.  She's terrific!  So, we had 4,000 (give or take a few hundred) printed and you'll see some pictures below that show you just what we had to do to get them out...i.e., stuffing in the Chamber mailer.  It was, um, fun. We also have enough to share with those interested in TWC.

Lisa handled the bin this past Friday and I haven't heard from her yet, but gather that she was putting away all the stuff I left for her in the center aisle of the bin!  Thanks Lisa.

The Friday before Mary Morley helped April and her twin sis Ashley with their first bin duty.  They were busy and accomplished a lot.  Thanks, ladies.  Nancy Hanson, our coordinator, will be sending out updates for this coming Friday.  

We've got an upcoming set-up on November 1st which Isabel Freeman will coordinate.  I would appreciate it, though, if anyone who is available to help on that date contact Isabel Freeman at  Thank you.

And finally, before the pictures, I want to encourage all of you to attend our next meeting at my house on Thursday, November 17, 7 PM.  Krista Stilley, the director of Westwood Transitional Village will join us.  She's a terrific young woman, dynamic and always upbeat and I'd like for her to meet as many of you as possible.

And now photos of the 'stuffing party.'  Geraldine, April, Deborah, Nancy, Teresa and I worked hard that first night and almost finished.  Paulette joined Teresa and I a few days later and we made pretty short work of it after we decided to abandon the sticky dots...which proved to be not quite as sticky as we'd originally hoped.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Today's Set-Up, Tuesday October 11

The weather gods were smiling on us today as it wasn't overly hot and we dodged the 100 degree temps forecast for tomorrow and Thursday.  Yay!

Mary had helped me pull items on Sunday so today it was just a matter of showing up at the bin and loading our cars.  Teresa Rosati-Royer, Catherine McClenahan, Mary Morley and I headed over to Westwood around 9:30 AM with our cars packed with [almost] everything we need.

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh...I'd somehow not picked up the big blue Ikea bag that had the pots and pans and cutlery in it and had to run down to Ross to grab those items.  Of course when I popped into the Bin after the set-up, the big blue Ikea bag     was sitting right where I'd left it...oh well.  (confession: my language in the car on the way to Ross was as blue as that bag!).  But, while there, I did find some good deals on single bed sheet sets. 

Teresa, Mary and Catherine are seasoned setter-uppers and everything was done and dusted in an hour and a half and here are a few pictures that give you a better idea of how it turned out.  I love the way TWC can make each unit look just that little bit different, thanks in great part to your super donations.  No doubt you'll recognize something of yours in the pictures. Click on them to enlarge.

Cook books, a cute little container with napkins and some measuring spoons.  
The cookbooks are a great addition to each set-up, but I still haven't given up 
on the idea of TWC creating one for the families we serve.  
[Gentle hint:  if you haven't done so yet, please send family favorite recipes 
with accurate instructions, measurements, cooking times, etc., 
as well as a one or two sentence little intro to each recipe.

 Fresh fruit on the dining room table and a welcome note to Lorena and her boys,
Michael and Matthew. 
Teresa bought the fruit and I think it makes a real impact when you walk into the flat.

Living room with a small rug but it still helps the place feel warmer.  
Mary found the cushions when she stopped by an estate sale on Sunday
and they looked great.

A chair made a little more welcoming with a cushion.

This is in the living room.  I'm sure Matthew and Michael, aged 4 and 6, 
will be thrilled when they walk through the front door.

Doesn't this look welcoming? The other little boy's bed looked just as cozy...
each with their own big teddy and other stuffed animals.

Another Cutie from a Topanga Elementary School 
Fourth Grader.  I just love these notes.

Their chest of drawers.  Look at the really darling clock in the background.
Catherine brought that with her this morning.

 It's a handicapped bathroom and extra big. Unfortunately, there were no towel rails
so here's a shot of the shower curtain.  Exciting, I know.

Another shot of the bathroom.  The colors all worked really well together.  
Not that you can tell from this bad photo!

Lorena's bedroom.  I can't remember who gave us this quilt, 
but I think it looks terrific in her room. I'm sure she'll love it.

Mom's chest of drawers.  We had a pack of greeting cards but Mary found 
a better use for them.  She slipped a card into each picture frame and I think they look great.

Hopefully this young Mom and her two little boys will find some 
peace and happiness in their new home. 

Don't forget the Open Bin this coming Friday.  April and her twin Ashley will be there, along with Mary Morley.  If you can remember to stop by with any non-perishables, that would be terrific.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Set-Up Today, 10/7 and Tuesday, 10/11 (OOPS, forget to send this to press and it was in my draft file)

Date Correction
Thank you Toni Colvin for noticing I put the wrong date for this coming Tuesday's set-up, but the real date is October 11th.  Mary has said she's free and can help and if anyone else can join us, please let me know.  I need to get back down to the Bin to see just what we have in the way of children's clothing but if you happen to have any outgrown little boy's clothing still in decent condition (sizes 8 and 6) that you'd like to move along, let me know!  Here's the latest info I have for the family moving in to 1351-D on Tuesday. 

Can You Help With Any of the Following Items?

Non-Perishable Foods (cereal, pb & j, sugar, flour, instant coffee, tuna, soups, mac 'n cheese, pasta, spaghetti sauce, mustard, ketchup, salt and pepper, cooking oil and the beat goes on....

Paper Goods:  We're completely out of toilet paper (and I forgot to buy some for today's set-up).  We're running low on paper towels.  Out of napkins, baggies, tall kitchen trash bags, aluminum foil and plastic wrap.

Plastic Containers:  We're now officially out of plastic containers for storing food in.  If you see any of the Glad or other sets on sale, they're usually a good deal and not nearly as expensive as Tupperware-like products.

Fresh Fruit:  I really think putting some fresh fruit on the dining table is a great idea.  Good to encourage healthy eat habits and it's a decoration!  So anytime you can offer some fruit the day before/day of a set-up, that would be great.  Just let me know if you're going to bring it so we don't double up.

Area Rugs:  I know I'm sounding like a tired old record, but keep your eyes open for any area rugs for $20 and under and remember, we'll reimburse you.  They make a huge difference.  I'd also love to have smaller rugs to put by the beds.  Hey, a girl can dream.

Today's Set-Up
Today's set up went super smoothly, aside from forgetting (mea culpa) two twin mattress pads (thanks for running to Ross for us, Linda Mann!) and I'm sure you'll agree, the end result will please the incoming family.  It's a small unit with only two bedrooms and one bathroom and the boy and girl will be sharing a bedroom.  We did our best to create an individual feeling for each child and I think it worked.

Many thanks to Pia Christensen who helped me pull all the items for today's family and after helping at yesterday's set-up in Venice, it was a long day.  Isabel Freeman, Linda Mann and Mary Morley (who's back in town after her two-month road trip!) spun their magic and created a lovely home for this new family as you'll see from the pictures that follow.  It's always fun to see if you can find your donations in the pictures.  Look closely!

I don't think this one qt. container was meant for utensils, but it works perfectly in the kitchen.  
It's fun to look in discount stores for multi-use items.  Remember, we're the queens of cheap!  Measuring spoons and a couple of cooking mags complete Mary's arrangement!

 The cupboards were full!  Thank you!

There's another one of our cheap rugs adding real pop and warmth to the room.  I think the cushions and cozy throw are pretty great, too.  On the table are some old National Geographics and I mean OLD.  One was from 1967, the year after I graduated they were still compelling reading.  
My point:  old magazines are wonderful additions to these set-ups. 

This is Kwanta's bed.  Look closely, you'll see a yellow in the pattern of his comforter that matches the yellow of his sister's comforter.  Cutie and sweet note are cozied up to the monkey and bears.  
What little boy wouldn't like a bed like this!

I think Khariana's bed looks so welcoming, especially with the sunbeam spilling through the window. I loved the fact that there was a tree right outside her window.   
Did you read 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn?'  
I couldn't help but think of Francie and Neely, the protagonists in that compelling series of novels.

These Cuties from Topanga Elementary Fourth Graders are just getting better and better and the notes written to welcome the incoming children are so very dear.

 A long shot of the kids' bedroom.

The master bedroom.  I think it really looks welcoming and having adult books is a nice addition to their room.  Karen and I found these sheets for $12.99 and the QS comforter $16.99 at Ross.  
Pretty good deals!

I think the bathroom turned out really nicely.  When Linda Mann ran over to Ross for the mattress pads, she couldn't resist the liquid soap/hand lotion set.  They were a great addition to the bathroom.  Love the turquoise wash cloths with the green towels. Nice job, Mary!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

First Two Set-ups of This Week

There's no time for many words (or proofing!), but here are some sweet pictures from Monday's set-up at Westwood Transitional Village.  Claire Chapman and her two beautiful girls, Chloe and Mila, joined Karen and I for this set-up.  This was their first visit to the apartments and they did a phenomenal job on the little boy's bedroom and needed so little guidance.  The girls put their hearts into making this room very special and it shows.  Born decorators!

Chloe looked at each and every book before deciding exactly where they should go.
Check out the little rug she's sitting on.  Karen found it at Target for $14.99!  
It completely changes the feel of the room.

 Here's little Mila smoothing out the bedspread making it just perfect.  

 Still working on the books!

 I love this arrangement!

 I can't imagine a little boy not loving this room.

 The master bedroom.  I'm sure someone recognizes their donation!

Fruit (courtesy of Paulette Rapp) always makes a nice centerpiece.  
Susan Lovell started the practice of leaving a welcome note for the incoming families and 
we've continued this tradition

The living room.  Magazines on the table are a welcome addition and our discount rug! $12.99 at Target.  Remember, if you see any small area rugs ($20 and under), 
pick them up for us and we'll reimburse you.

We had another set-up today at Venice Community Housing's transitional home for moms and kids.  Ildy Lewis and Pia Christensen came along and it went quickly thanks to their help.  Ildy tackled the kitchen after spending some time with the on-site social worker, Carmen Navarro.  Ildy has volunteered to teach cost-saving, nutritious cooking classes to the ladies at Venice and they're really keen to get started. 

Sophie Kipner dropped off some wonderful clothes that a colleague of hers at work brought in for this set-up.  They were clean, folded and in great condition...just the way we like them.  Plus there were some toys.  Perfect donation!  It's always worth talking to friends and colleagues; they may have something we can use!

Here are a few photos from today, starting with this heartfelt letter from a Fourth Grader at Topanga Elementary School and his little handmade 'Cutie.'

  A welcome letter from Topanga to Venice.

 The Mom and her 10-year old son will share this bedroom.  Little boy on top and Mom below. 
I hope they're comfortable and feel safe

There wasn't a bedside table or a chest of drawers...only the bunk bed and some shelving in the closet.  Hopefully the Mom will be bringing some furniture with her.  Here are some great things for the little boy, including a new lego set (thank you Lizzie Kipner).

And tomorrow, October 7th is one more set-up at Westwood.  Pictures to follow.  We've had loads of folks come forward to help at the set-up, though some may not be able to make it due to root canals and wisdom teeth issues! Isabel Freeman, Linda Mann, Mary Morley, April Hinkle and Janaki Welch have all volunteered.

Our Open Bin will be ably handled by Annie Gabbert, Catherine Grasso and Teresa Royer.
Thanks, ladies!

And next Tuesday, October 8th is one more set-up at Westwood.  
If anyone can help, let me know!

And let's all send our very best wishes through the ether to Karen and Foster as they
wing their way to a much-deserved holiday in Hawaii 
and then on to more adventures
in The Philippines.
Bon Voyage!!!