Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25 Set-Up

Nancy Hanson and Paula Fagan joined me in setting up the little two-bed apartment for the Rubio family yesterday and it went super smoothly.  We took our time and chattered and primped until we were completely happy and the pictures show below show how well it went.  It was Paula's first set-up but she needed no instruction, quickly getting into the way of things and settling her own personal touch on everything she did.  We love having artists join us!  We had originally been scheduled for last Friday when Karen Saeki, Paula Dove and Lorna Britten Banks were also going to help, but today wasn't a good fit for them.  Patty Colvig joined us before the set-up with fresh food for the family and Nancy brought bags of non-perishables from Geraldine (thanks you two!).  Karen had pulled the bedding and some other items before she went to visit her Mom and Mary Morley helped me finish gathering last week so we had lots of lovely things to welcome this family to their new home. 

When we were chatting about creating an updated promotional short for TWC, Patty suggested that I get more before pictures which could better show any potential donors just what it is that we do, so here you go...some pictures.  Many before and afters.  

As some of you may know, Karen and I sit on the Advisory Board at Westwood Transitional Village and we have hammered the point home that they were not getting good value for money in the cleaning stakes.  Because tenants move at varying times, they have to have an on-call relationship with a cleaning company and they were getting taken advantage of regularly.  What a delight it was, then, to walk into this unit and find it absolutely spotless. It was a pleasure to furnish and really reflected a change in policy.  Shortly before we left Diane Good, the director at The Village and Lissette Maldonado, the housing liaison employee who works for the independent company that manages the site, popped over to see the apartment and were absolutely charmed by all we had done. Lissette lives on site and commented that she wished we could have decorated her apartment like this before she moved in.  That reminded me of a moment years ago when Karen and I were unloading our cars for a set-up and a woman talking on her cell phone in the parking lot saw us and asked, ''Are you the decorator ladies?'' High praise, indeed! Here are some photos.

 Bags and boxes everywhere, Nancy gets ready to make sense of everything in the kitchen.

 Paula is surveying just what needs to be done in the living room.

 Everything was sparkling clean today...and ready for our magic.

 The little girl's room
 The parents' room.

 Paula had no idea when she joined TWC that she would be moving furniture.

Decorative window treatment...these little 'flags' were originally meant for the dining room table. They look great in the bedroom. I cannot believe that the two shots I took of the darling bedroom did not turn out because it was so cute.

 The parents bedroom. Super comfy and welcoming.  An alarm clock ticking beside the bed 
and books ready to read.

 Nancy showing the pretty teapot that Ildy donated.
Sorry I didn't kill the flash on this picture, Nancy.

 And answering the door to two little ones who wondered just what we were doing and, um, did we have a spare pillow pet (which they spied on the little girl's bed) that they could take home? I am not sure who donated the three polar bear pillow pets, 
but they are darling and we thank you!

 The bathroom.  Love this shower curtain!

 Ildy's teapot again!

 And the shelves are full. Nice tea kettle and coffee pot as well.

 I think the living room looks great. Really welcoming and the rug, only $19.99 at Ikea, 
really warms it up and makes a huge difference to the space.
The white box under the table is filled with arts and crafts supplies that Annie Gabbert 
and her mother-daughter group put together for the families we serve.  
These have been the most wonderful additions and I am sad to say this is the last one.

 The kitchen really looks welcoming. Cute mother-daughter aprons hanging on the fridge

And no set-up is complete without one of Holly Baumann's 'welcome to your new home' cards.
They are truly special.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

3/14/13 Meeting at Marlene Franz's

We had a lively meeting at Marlene's beautiful home on Thursday evening.  The air was warm and soft and some of us enjoyed our delicious dinner al fresco; it was just one of those perfect evenings. Take a look at her beautiful view which sits on five acres of pristine oaks…a really, really lovely corner of the Canyon (and it is going on the market soon!).   

Click on photos to enlarge

We had a good turnout, loads of delicious food and three new ladies to introduce:  Amy Martinez (who has already helped with a set-up at Venice), Paula Fagan and Kelly (whose surname I have misplaced…sorry).

Nancy took some very detailed notes but I left them in the car and now Roger has headed off to watch one of our granddaughter's soccer games (with the notes fluttering around his feet no doubt), so my suspect memory may leave some very large holes.  Please let me know what I have forgotten and I will amend all of this!

There was lots to discuss, including Patricia Mitchell's update on introducing TWC in some way to the Topanga Film Festival organizers and attendees, perhaps this year by having a booth with our brochures and a TWC member to answer any questions…all of this with an eye to expanding our presence in the following year with our very own, updated film.   Amy chatted with Patricia and hopefully she and her roommate and new volunteer, Jill Schneider, will be able to work together on this, along with input from Teresa.

Arlette's early film, narrated by TWCs very own Catherine McClenahan, is a fabulous little piece, but no longer accurately represents TWC as it is today.  Everyone who sees that DVD agrees that the most captivating moments on film are of the mom and son explaining just what it felt like to move out of homelessness and into transitional housing and to be greeted by all the efforts of our volunteers to create a home for them.  It was suggested we need more footage of all of you on the job as well as interviews, when possible, with those we help. 

Patty Colvig, no stranger to creative thinking, has entered TWC for a chance to be awarded a $10,000 grant from The Women's Foundation of California.  Here is a little more information which you can share with every person you have ever met when you encourage them to vote for us!  

''The Women's Foundation of California proudly supports hundreds of organizations that are making a life-changing difference for the women and families throughout our state. 

This March, to celebrate Women's History Month, we decided to do something different. For the first time ever, we're putting the decision about who gets one of our grants into the hands of you and our network. 

Vote for a California organization you think is making the biggest difference for women and families by submitting the ballot on the right. Then spread the word to help them get the votes to win. The nonprofit with the most votes will be awarded $10,000 by the Women's Foundation. 

You may vote anytime until noon PDT, March 28. Best of luck to you and to your favorite organization!''

Do we have what it takes?  I think so! Here are the requirements and I think we fit the bill!
Do they have what it takes?
They must be:
1.       A 501(c)(3) nonprofit
2.       Improving the lives of women and children living in California
3.       The bees knees

I have sent you all an email showing just how you can vote for TWC (forward this page to everyone in your addy book!) and also posted on my Facebook page and the TWC page.  You can only vote once, darn it, but voting is open until March 28.  I will be reposting on my FB page each day as a reminder.  By March 28, I will probably have been dropped by half my FB friends for annoying behavior, but all for a good cause, right!?  And one more time, here is the link:   

I told you I would forget something important and here it is! Holly and Margie were unable to come to the meting as Margie was a little under the weather but Holly did jeep it on over to Marlene's with a box of the most beautiful cards that Margie had photographed and put together. Her photos are beyond  beautiful and I am sure will also appeal for Mothers Day and many other occasions.  Karen and I sized some vellum inserts that were printed last year and they fit perfectly.  We will also have those available at our Mothers Day meeting. (Sorry Margie!)

And now onto our annual Mother's Day Card Fundraiser.  We went over our goals and shared a lot of photo stock that we have historically used and generally just chatted about how many cards we can sell/purchase/send etc.  I will write a little article for The Messenger and take down a sample card so hopefully our community outreach will generate even more sales.  In the past our members have used this as their major annual gift giving to TWC.  For example, Patty Colvig bought around 20 cards last year and she shared with the group how much the cards meant to those who received them. The message and the images touch all women, of that I am sure.  Catherine Grasso sent many, many cards out as well.  Annie Gabbert sends one every year to her mom and her aunts and last year we got a very heartfelt note from Annie's mother a couple of weeks after Mother's Day.  She shared with us how much she loves the card and the fact that all monies raised go to such a good cause.  She then said that even though Mother's Day had been and gone, would we please send a card to her daughter…and she presented us with a generous check, as well.  There are many stories like this.  Some people choose to send a card to friends who have lost their moms…these cards are in memory and some people just send us a donation.  Remember, you can purchase and send the cards yourselves or place your order with us, share the message you would like us to include, and we will mail them for you. 

Julie Rosendo was unable to make the meeting but shared some great photos of mothers and children that she had shot in Africa and Bhutan.  Shutterfly had cropped them poorly so she is going to get copies at Hooper Camera (a super place to get your digital prints done online and then you can pick up).  Paula Fagan also mentioned that she had some good shots of mothers and children from her trekking around the world so she will get some prints made before our next meeting.  Any prints you would like included, please get them to me and I will put together a page on this blog which you can link your friends to and where they can choose the image they would like to order. Patty Colvig is going to bring photos she has taken of her friends and their children so she can personalize the cards she makes for them.  All grand ideas!

And here's another idea.  Just tell Karen or me how many cards you would like (no need to pay us for them) and then you try and sell them to friends and colleagues.  They are still at the bargain price of $25. We can put together a little variety pack of cards for you. We will have another meeting about two weeks before Mother's Day when we assemble the cards.  Hopefully, most of the orders will be in by then, but it is never too late, so do not discourage latecomers!  If anyone would like to volunteer to host the next meeting, please let me know. The main requirement is a big dining room table so we can spread out and do our work. Karen and I thought Saturday, April 27?  That is two weeks before Mother's Day. We usually put the cards together on a Saturday, meeting around 10 or so and finish around 2 PM. 

And the Topanga Garden Club will be making their beautiful baskets again this year and selling them on the Boulevard the weekend of Mother's Day.  Debra Skelton brought this up at the meeting and hoped they would be able to share their profits with us.  Once we know more, we will share the info with you. 

And finally, here are a few photos from our last set-up at Venice.  Dana Briskman and her family were as generous as ever and bought all the perishables for the families.  What a great assortment of good food, Dana!  Thank you.

And as you know, it is always tougher to create anything beautiful when the accommodation is so tight and shared, but we tried.  And here are some photos from the two set-ups we did that day.

In the beginning, just after we hauled everything up, here we are trying to figure out a 
plan of action.  Looks like Becca has some ideas!

 This small bedroom will be shared by a mom and her 11-year old son.
Amy Martinez and I got to work on it

And here is the after picture.  New, fresh PJs on the bed and 
stuffed animals for the little boy to cuddle.

 Some great new toys for the little guy, as well as some good books, including a dictionary.

 Because the shared bathroom space had not yet been cleaned, we decided to leave all of her fresh new towels and toiletries in the bedroom.

 A special message for them. After living in a shelter for the last six months, this very modest accommodation will feel very special.

 The kitchen, shared by three families, needed some cleaning (not normally on our to do list!).  
Wendy and Becca were up to the task.

 And downstairs, where a mom and toddler boy were moving in, Mary and Donna created a really sweet space for them.