Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Buy Duracell Batteries--Support Volunteer Fire Departments.

I'm on the board of our local rural volunteer fire department.  It's a small department (in terms of number of vehicles and volunteers) that covers a large area here in southern Arizona.  This little department does a lot with very little.

Think about 35 square miles.  25 volunteers.  With jobs.  

When we put pencil to paper, we figured out that it costs us about $50-60,000 each year to operate.  That includes  radios, lights, training for our volunteer firefighters and emergency medical personnel, vehicle repair and maintenance (all of our vehicles were well used by someone else before they came to us), insurance, medical and firefighting equipment, fuel, firefighting clothing, helmets, masks, gloves, boots.  You get the idea.  The list goes on and on.  Things wear out.  They break.

Batteries need to be replaced.  Think about radios and flashlights.  We know batteries are not cheap.  And it seems like a small thing.  But we all know that every little bit helps.  Each dollar that we save on batteries can go to another project--like finishing our station building or replacing helmets or medical supplies. 

We get funds from various locations.  We have a core of reliable subscribers--property owners who pay a fee on a regular basis for "free" firefighting and emergency medical calls.  Non-subscribers still get excellent response from our fire department, but they also get a bill later.

We get excellent major support from The White Elephant, a high quality thrift shop in our area, that has an eBay store.

Some generous donors help us out when they can.  A couple of fundraiser volunteers work regularly at a local farmer's market and nearby stores to solicit donations from area residents and visitors.  We apply for grants  and sometimes our department is selected for grant monies which are usually required to be spent on certain items such as turnouts (fire jacket and pants) or other equipment. 

Duracell, the battery company, is running a promotion to support volunteer fire departments.  It's called "Power Those Who Protect Us."  When you buy specially marked Duracell battery packs (10 and 20 packs), Duracell makes a battery donation to the volunteer fire department that you designate at their website, using the code from the specially marked pack of batteries.  If you don't want to buy batteries, Duracell has a link for you to make a direct donation, too.

Here's how to find the code:  When you get your "firefighter" batteries, open the pack.  Inside is a little strip of paper with a loonngg code of letters and numbers.  Then you enter the zip code for the fire department that you want to support.  I'd be honored if you would support our Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department and that zip code is 85629. 

We thank Duracell for featuring and supporting volunteer fire departments.  Volunteer departments are made up of "regular" people who give their time and energy on a ongoing basis.  They go to weekly training.  They keep the vehicles running.  They respond to all kinds of calls at all hours--fires, medical calls, and automobile calls.  Most of these volunteers have a full-time job, too.

I'm not a firefighter or an emergency responder.  I'm too wimpy for that.

I serve on the board of the Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department and help where I can.  The Green Valley News, a newspaper in a nearby town wrote an article about our department here.  This story is very typical of most rural volunteer departments.  The departments need all kinds of equipment and supplies to keep the department going.  Duracell is doing its part and we appreciate that.  Green Valley News intern Alex Dalenberg wrote about his experience at a Saturday morning training with the Helmet Peak VFD here

So . . . I'm asking you.  Every one of us uses batteries.  Go get a specially marked pack of batteries (look for the red fire department logo above).  Take the code from the package and go to the website.  Direct Duracell to support your own volunteer department, if you have one.  Select one from the Duracell website.  Or . . . I'd be pleased if you wrote in Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department in Sahuarita, Arizona. 

If you want to support a rural volunteer fire department directly, they are always looking for help.  Money helps.  Labor helps.  Are you willing to fight fires or respond to medical emergencies?  You don't need to fight fires or treat injuries or ailments.  Do you know how to work on a truck engine?  Do you know how to build or maintain a building?  Do you have writing or fundraising skills?  You'd be surprised at how happy a group of volunteers can be with even a small donation of money or time or materials.  It means that we have someone at our back.  Just like our firefighters know they have other trained volunteers ready to get them out of a tough spot.

We'd be honored if you'd think of our little department:

Helmet Peak Volunteer Fire Department
Post Office Box 758
Sahuarita, Arizona  85629

Our fire chief's pride and joy.  This truck came from New York to Arizona.  It was donated by area resident Wally Karnas.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lightning Strikes Twice . . . Quilt, That Is

Lightning Strikes Twice quilt top

 Quilts in progress . . .  I have 10.  No.  I have 20.  No.  I have LOTS of quilts in progress.

I LOVE to make quilts.  I want to make all different kinds of quilts.  That's part of my problem.  I find a quilt or get an idea of what I want to make and I start it.  Then a quilt with a deadline (a custom order, a class sample, event, birth of a baby, birthday) comes in and pushes something aside.  Or I get a little bored with my current project.  Or I need to go get something for it, but I can't go today and don't want to lose my sewing/quilting momentum and set the unfinished project aside to pick up something else.

My friend Jacquelyn is really good at finishing quilts.  Check out her quilts at her blog here.

Our friend Sheryl makes quilts, too.  And purses!  Take a peek at her blog here.

Anyway, this post is about the Lightning Strikes Twice quilt that I made.  Well, the top is made.  It's not quilted yet.  So, it's still a UFO.  Big sigh . . .

First you start with the pattern from Scrap Therapy.

  I chose the version that takes fewer scraps and makes larger blocks.  Fits my (lack of) patience level.  The pattern calls for scraps cut into squares.  I bought a couple of new fabrics (from the Michael Miller Southwest Monument Valley line), but used quite a few fabrics from my stash.  Then you sew and cut and sew some more and you end up with some small blocks that look like this.

Then you trim these blocks to the correct size.  Keep those pattern instructions handy.  And maybe draw a diagram for yourself so you can keep it straight in your head. 

Then you arrange the little blocks and sew some more until you get larger blocks that look like this. 

Then you start putting your blocks into rows.  Can you see the lightning bolt now?

Then you add sashing and borders and you get this quilt top. 

It's hanging up now in the local quilt shop where it's a sample for my classes on this quilt. 

Of course, as I mentioned above, it's not quilted yet since it had a deadline to be in the shop--before the newsletter announcing the classes.  When the classes have run their course, it will come home to me and wait to be quilted.

So . . . quilters . . .  what are your ideas for how I should quilt this baby?  I'm thinking I might follow the path of the red lightning bolts.  What do you think?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Snow in Southern Arizona!!

Just a few days ago--February 27, 2011--we awoke to the above view of our back yard.

We live in southern Arizona.  This snow stuff just doesn't happen here!  Well, very often that is.  When we went to bed, the wind was whipping up this storm.  I heard it raining some in the night.  Then I didn't hear anything.  It was VERY quiet.

When we got up and looked outside, we saw this whitish-bluish view of a desert sunrise through snowy trees.  The trees above are the same trees that are in the photo at the top of the blog.  When we opened the door to really get a look at the snow, it was VERY quiet outside.  All sound was muffled by the snowy blanket on the desert.

This desert dweller was probably not impressed by this whole thing.

Cactus in the snow.

The friend of the rabbit above--also huddling in our back yard.

This snow was a big deal to those of us in the desert of Arizona who rarely see this.  The storm was fast-moving.  The snow was gone by noon.

That must have been our last hurrah of winter.  The forecast for later this week calls for temperatures in the mid-80s.  It will be really hot here soon enough, so I'll turn back to these photos from time to time to recall the cold and the quiet of our snowy morning.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Etsy Finds

Dog Stare by joykilledthepoet
Etsy has so many talented and creative people!

I love this shop by joykilledthepoet.  She makes jewelry and bookmarks.  She sells prints of her photographs like the one above.  I love her creations and her varied talents.  I also love that she mixes those creations all in one Etsy shop.

Pure raw chunk honey by honeyrunfarm

 Then there are those people who have a "unified" shop that features one thing.  But then, they get so creative with that one thing and make so many different products with it.  This Ohio couple started with one beehive.  The hobby became an obsession and now they have 110 hives.  They sell honey in their Etsy shop and at local farmers markets.  They also make beeswax candles and cold process soap from the gifts from their bees.  They have a cute blog here that also tells you where else you can find products by this busy couple.

Blue Cowgirl by Carla Sonheim

 I enjoy Carla Sonheim's art.   It's whimsical and fun and doesn't take itself too seriously.  However, it is expressive and the texture and color draw your eye in.  Carla's Etsy shop has original art and prints.  Right now her shop features girls, but soon she will get her animals series posted on her shop.

Wild Rose Ring by Osiris Jewelry

This shop features handmade jewelry (rings, earrings, and pendants) by an Australian jewelry artist who uses reclaimed or recycled materials.  She's open to custom requests.  I can only imagine what the items USED to be.  Before they became these beautiful creations.

If you haven't visited Etsy yet (or lately), you ought to visit these shops above and look around.  And buy!!  And then let your fingers do the shopping as you wander from small shop to small shop looking at all the creativity that abounds there at Etsy!

Thanks for looking!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More Vacation Photos--Weminuche Wilderness Continued

During our camping trip in Colorado's Weminuche, we hiked on the Squaw Creek Trail. 

 It was pretty chilly on our last morning in the wilderness!!

Farewell to the wilderness . . .
Our kind of quilt store!
We went back to Durango to return our rented hiking sticks and to explore a bit.  We were there in time to see the narrow gauge train leave town. 

Then it was time to head towards home and back to full responsibilities.  Big sigh . . .

Thanks for following along on this picture show from our trip in August/September 2010.  It was a great trip.

Have you begun planning your next adventure?  Let us know what you're going to be doing!