Inspiration from two women in their 80’s discovering new ways to express their creativity.
Dot Barr, Age 81
Dot, a retired school teacher, expresses her creativity by sewing quilt blankets – and then gives them away. She started the Luv Blankie Project which began with giving one quilted blanket to soothe a foster child in 2001 and has grown to giving away thousands more to other foster kids throughout Orange County, California.
I met Dot at a quilt class at Moore’s Sewing Center in Orange, California where she was learning a new, simple quilting method by Lisa Maki of Crooked Nickel Quilt Designs. She was anxious to share this method with the Luv Blankie Project members so that they could make even more quilts for charity.
Dot has enlisted eight other former teachers at her church to join her in making the blankets. Together, they have presented their homemade blankets to other “special” recipients besides the foster youth: people undergoing chemotherapy, people in rest homes that “no one comes to see,” and girls that give up their babies for adoption.
Dot explained that they actually give two quilts for those courageous moms, one for them and one for the baby they are giving away. “The hospital takes a picture of the mom and the baby with their quilts, and gives a copy to the new adoptive parents.”
When Robert Kaufman Fabrics heard about what Dot was doing, they offered to give her some of their fabric for the quilts to save costs. Using their fabric, Dot said the Luv Blankie Project was able to donate 64 Christmas quilts to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
Dot explains her passion for making and giving away her quilt blankets this way: “I guess you could say my definition of a blankie is: Scraps of fabric and pieces of yarn bound together with enough love to heal a broken heart.”
Using frosting as her medium, Pattie created hundreds of original arty cakes for all occasions. Her business, Pattie Cakes, was based in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California for almost 40 years.
When Pattie and her husband Bill retired to Arizona, she gave up cake decorating. Looking for new ways to express her creativity, Pattie tried her hand at various craft projects to fill her time. It wasn’t until last year that she landed on a new business venture: sewing holiday table runners. Each table runner is reversible and features two holiday themes. “Picking out the material is the funnest part,” said Pattie.
Pattie learned her technique from a friend and perfected her system making several table runners for family last Christmas. Since then, she has gotten requests to make more from friends and acquaintances, so many that she decided to put her efforts in to a small cottage business. What does Pattie think of her new endeavor? “It’s just a little thing but it keeps me busy and brings such joy to others.”
Dot and Pattie are great examples that creativity has no age limits.