Thursday, November 27, 2008

The end (for a while).

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to send out a quick update to let you know that we will no longer need you to save toilet paper rolls or supplies for Love Stems (at least temporarily). We are going to use up what we have stored in our basement for one or two last deliveries and then will be taking a break for a while. We have some really busy times coming up and are afraid that we won't have the time we need for this project.

Thank you all SO much for saving them! It was appreciated more than you know. Just want to make sure that everyone recycles the rolls in some way! We heard so many people say that they didn't recycle their TP rolls because the bathroom wasn't close to the recycle bins. So if you don't recycle them....do! ;-)

Thanks again everyone! I hope you all had a beautiful Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Here we roll again.....



So, after a long hiatus, Love Stems is back in business. I have been so busy the past few months starting my own photography business, that I have really neglected the project. The kids have been a little more than annoyed, and the roll collection in the storage room has reached record heights.

Next week, we will be delivering 40 pots to the Lutheran Senior Services Hospice Care in St. Louis to be given to their hospice patients and families. We can't wait to deliver our flowers....and an update on the delivery will be coming soon.

Also, in the next few weeks, we will be hosting another Love Stems painting party...in which we bribe our friends to come and help...by feeding them lots of yummy food. :-) I'm sure there will be fun photos and updates from that day as well.

Thanks for all of the saving of the rolls, boxes, paint and brushes! We really appreciate all of your help! We could never do this without the roll donations....a family of five goes through enough toilet paper....but not nearly enough for a project like this. :-)

Talk with you all soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Spreading the joy.

We absolutely love it when we get emails about others using this idea and making flowers for people who could use a brighter day. The more the merrier! A while ago, I got an email from a woman named Christie, telling us about her family and their experience with making flowers. Here is her email:

My best friend (Kelly) and her mother (Jana), who is much like my own, live in Florida. Back in February her mother started having medical issues that couldn’t seem to be diagnosed. Amazingly enough I knew exactly what is was after a couple days of research on the internet but it took until this past Friday to diagnose her with small cell lung cancer. Through out this time all I have been able to do is call and order plants and flowers for each visit she ended up in the hospital. I live in Alaska and didn’t want to go until I knew the prognosis and more. Upon her most recent admittance to the cancer ward I told Kelly, I suppose I need to send flowers, since the last go ‘round I sent a plant. We laughed and went on. The next morning Kelly called me and told me cancer patients going through chemo can not have fresh flowers in their rooms or on the ward. There is such a risk for infection and I understand the standing water poses a risk for infection which is very bad for patients with low immunities caused from the chemo.

Anyway, remembering your site I decided to round up my three girls and set to work creating flowers. We decided to make enough for her and enough for her to share. Even if she was too shy to pass them out herself she could give them to the nurse to pass around the ward. They are on their way to Florida as we speak.

Also, in this process, I’ve told my mother who belongs to a community group in Fort Mitchell, Alabama and they are going to start making them for the cancer ward at the hospital there.

It has been a wonderful experience and I thank you for the idea.
If you would like to see photos and read more about their experience...go visit them on their blog.

Thanks for the email Christie, Scott, Cori, Cassi and Cali!! We are so excited that another family is enjoying this project!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The making of Love Stems

I have had a few requests for instructions on how we "grow" Love Stems....so I thought I'd write it out. I intended to have how to photos...and I may add them still, but for now, I *think* this is self explanatory.
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The first thing we did was start collecting TP rolls, paper towel rolls, wrapping paper rolls, etc. We asked friends, coworkers, the kid's teachers, church, etc. We were amazed by how man accumulated. Once we get the rolls, the worst part is cleaning off the excess tp and paper towel tidbits left on the rolls. After we do that we spray them with a disinfecting spray. Many people I talk to think this step is silly and unnecessary....but we still do it. :-)

After that, we paint the outside of the rolls (don't cut anything yet) and let those dry. We found regular craft paint to work the best. Along with sponge brushed for applying the main color. After that you can decorate it with dots, strips, basically whatever you want with regular cheap brushes. To save money, I save every plastic container we use (butter, sour cream, cream cheese, plastic kids cups from eating out, etc). These all work great to hold water for cleaning brushes, and we use the lids to put our paint on.

After the outside rolls dry, you cut the flower. Basically, you cut strips on one or both sides of the roll, and the fold the "petals" back to show the inside of the roll that isn't painted yet. You can get snazzy with this part, using scrapbooking scissors, hole punches, and unique cuts or you can cut simple strips. Either way, once you add the paint, they are beautiful. :-) After you cut your flower, you paint the petals. After those dry, we use BBQ skewers (painted green) and stick them through to make the stems. I usually use a tack to make the initial holes.

After that, we use paper cups for the pots. We get those all over on sale. You can get huge lots at many stores....but I also found luck at party stores when they clearance out their designs. We pour about an inch or two of plaster of paris in the bottom of each "pot" - I usually do about 12-16 at a time (make sure all of the flowers are ready to put in there). Wait for the plaster to set a bit and then stick them in.

For grass, we decided to recycle instead of using the easter grass (which is another great thing to teach your kids!). We shred all of our junk mails and letters that the school sends home that are no longer needed. Then we use water bottle trays to transport them. Whew.

Sounds like a lot, and it is. It just depends on what scale you want to do it. :-)

The only cost associated with doing it is the cost of paint, brushes, cups, skewers and the plaster. As a bargain shopper....you can find good deals on almost everything. I never really kept track of what we have actually spent....but we do ask for people to donate any of those materials they no longer want or need. Sometimes we get donations of paint, brushes, skewers.

As far as drop offs, we just look around our local area for places that we feel would enjoy them. Hospitals, camps, schools, fire station, churches, etc.

And....we are back!

We took a brief hiatus from Love Stem making the past couple of months. But summer is near, and we are ready to paint all of these rolls we have been saving up! Be looking soon...we are going to have a painting party to celebrate Love Stems one year birthday (which is May 31!). Not sure on the exact details yet....but we may very well do it on the actual birthday (next Saturday!)

Thanks for all of your continued help! :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Over 165 Love Stem Pots delivered today!

Hello everyone!

We had two places that we dropped Love Stems off to today. The first was a DaVita Clinic that just opened near us. We are actually going to be hitting about four DaVita clinics in our area over the next couple of weeks. Our friend Tabitha is a dietitian for them and we are giving all of her patients flower pots. Anyway, we dropped off twenty-five pots to them this morning.

We didn't get to see the patients here, as they are brand new and the patients haven't started yet. But they will be there for when they first come. Which, we hope is a nice little extra welcome for them. :-)

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We also went to Price Memorial Nursing Home and delivered 140 pot to the residents there. The kids were able to bring them in and give hugs to a couple of the residents. They all had big smiles on their faces.

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The kiddos also had fun watching the fish in the lobby. :-)

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Anyway, thanks again for all of the help the past couple of weeks. We appreciate the help of everyone who painted, cut and potted with us! Thanks for all the rolls as well! Keep them coming....and come back next week for more delivery updates!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Fire truck fire truck!!

Today, we took 50 Love Stem pots to our local firehouse. The kiddos marched in carrying boxes of flowers, and were greeted by the coolest firefighters ever. Not only did these manly men act excited about fake flowers, they were so cool to our kids.

They let them tour the firetruck, and then the most amazing thing ever happened (well, the most amazing thing for kids anyway!). They took all of us on a firetruck ride. They even turned the sirens on and honked the horns. The kids were all smiles and giggles the entire time. :-)

We just wanted to say thank you to all the men and women there who work so hard to keep our community safe....and they went and treated us with such a special day! Thanks everyone! Here are a few photos from the day:

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And another big thank you to Mom D., Mom Z., Chris, Tammie, Fiona, Jaimie, Scott, Tabitha & Tina for all of your help painting, cutting and potting last weekend! We have a lot more drop offs in the coming weeks thanks to all of your help!!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Love Stems WEEKEND!!

We had a crazy weekend filled with nonstop Love Stems. Jeff, the kids and I started on Friday night, continued Saturday morning. My mom came over for a few hours with a lifesaving faster way to paint (with mini rollers). That evening, Chris, Tammie, Fiona, Jamie, and Scott came over (and stayed past midnight). Today, Tabitha, Tina and the mom-in-law came over too!

We got so much painting, cutting, blooming and potting done! It was a super fun weekend with lots of great friends and family. Thank you all so so very much!!

Be on the lookout later this week...we have several drop offs going on soon! :-)


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Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Love Stems Party

So...be on the lookout for an update soon. The holidays put us in hiatus mode the past month...but to catch us up...we have scheduled two Love Stem painting parties this weekend. We'll be posting an update soon about our next drop offs!! :-)

Thanks for all of the rolls everyone!!

Monday, November 19, 2007

As promised....two deliveries today!

Well, we did it. We made 155 pots of Love Stems in ONE weekend. We had help. A big thanks to Auntie Julie Marie, Granny D. and Great Granny C. for all of the cutting of flowers on Saturday night. And thanks to Grandma Z. for all the painting yesterday! :-)

The first drop off today (almost 100 flower pots) was at the kiddo's elementary school. They have been wanting to give everyone who worked there a pot of flowers since the beginning of the school year. Every single person at the school plays such a major part in our children's lives....so we feel so blessed to be able to brighten their desks a bit. A small token of thanks....but it is from the hearts (and hands) of our entire family.

The kids loved every second of their delivery...although there was a bit of sibling scuffle over who got to give which flowers to whom. Luckily, we got them all passed out without too much trouble. ;-) A big thanks to all of the teachers and staff at our kiddo's school. You all mean much more than you know.

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The second delivery (36 flower pots), was to a lovely woman, Peg, who is in charge of a Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow night at the Friedens United Church of Christ in Hyde Park (St. Louis). Our flowers will be the center pieces on the tables and bring smiles to over 300 people. We were able to come into her home to drop off the flowers and meet her puppy (big puppy!), Dude.

It was so nice to meet you Peg! We look forward to hearing how the dinner went and feel so lucky to have been able to brighten up the tables.

We have another small batch to drop off which will hopefully happen towards the end of the week. I will post on that as soon as I can.

Here are a couple of photos...the first a look at all 155 pots of flowers in my mini "studio" that I use for my photography. The second, the kiddos getting ready to pass their flowers out today after school.

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We hope you all have a beautiful Thanksgiving this year....with much to be thankful for.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Rollin' rollin' rollin'

I am absolutely unable to write in paragraph form this evening. So...bullet points are my friend.

  • We are painting maniacs this weekend! We hope to have one delivery on Monday...and another right after Thanksgiving.
  • I am not ignoring your emails! I have been in and out of town the past couple of weeks! I am getting to them as soon as I can.
  • A lot of people are asking where they can drop off rolls. The best place is at Mid-America Truck Tops (next to Denny's in Eureka). My parents own that business and they can take them. Monday-Friday, 8:30-6:00 and Saturday, 8:30-3:00. If you know where we live, you can drop them on the porch any time. We will also pick them up. We want to make it easy for you....we already know that saving a special spot for tp rolls is enough work already! Just email us and we'll work something out.
  • We are always looking for new places that will enjoy our flowers. If you have any ideas...EMAIL!!
  • I am working on putting together a "how to" post so that everyone can see what the steps are in making Love Stems. We have a lot of people ask about that. I hope to have that up soon.
  • A big shout out to crystal and mike who helped paint tonight! :-) Thanks!
  • Oh....one more thing....I was feeling dorky today (whats new??) -
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

*knock knock* "FLOWER DELIVERY!!!"

Today, we had the pleasure of knocking on the doors of 62 senior living apartments at the Hilltop Manor Senior Community in Eureka. The kids would knock on the door and then Westley, our youngest, would shout out "FLOWER DELIVERY!!" It was darling. He got quite a few giggles.

Many of the men and women were home and the kids were able to talk to them and deliver the flowers in to their hands. The seniors welcomed them with huge smiles and lots of hugs. You could tell that they really enjoyed the flowers (and the kids!), and the kiddos were so proud and happy to be delivering their flower pots that they have worked so hard on.

Some of the occupants were out and about enjoying their day. When no one answered, the kids picked a spot on the ledges outside their doors to place the flowers. Most of the ledges were filled up with fall decorations, trinkets, and homemade crafts, but we managed to find a perfect spot for each pot.

We had such a great time today. I think it was one of our favorite drop offs because we had so much interaction with the recipients. A big thank you to everyone who is saving rolls. This really is bringing smiles to the faces of many people!!

Here are a few photos from our day. I didn't take any of the people there out of respect for their privacy...but I managed to snap a few for our Love Stems scrapbook. Be on the lookout for another update soon!





Friday, October 5, 2007

busy busy

We have been so busy the last month or so settling in to the new school schedules but we are still committed to our little philantrophy. :-) We have been super busy the past couple of days painting, painting, painting. Be on the lookout for an update soon. We have TWO drop offs the week of October 15!!

Keep saving those rolls!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Summer is over....

But Love Stems is still going strong! Just wanted to clear up a question that has been coming to us a lot lately....Love Stems was not just a summer project! We may slow down a tad bit with our busy schedule...but we hope to still do a drop off a month! So keep saving those rolls!! We have a couple of drop offs in the works right now and we will let you know as soon as we have more information!

Thanks again for all of your support!!

**Edited to add...WOW I must be really excited about this post. I used 8 exclamation points in just 6 sentences.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Camp Wyman Drop Off.

Tonight, we had the pleasure of delivering 113 Love Stem pots to the teenage campers at Camp Wyman, in Eureka. We arrived a bit early, so we were able to see the "hoppers" - the campers that are in charge of dinner duty each night, set up the tables for their fellow campers.

Our kids enjoyed watching them work together to turn the room into a dining hall in less than 10 minutes. We were able to watch them grab their food for the evening and gather as friends to eat. Halfway in to dinner time, we handed out the pots to the campers. My kids enjoyed handing them out (and so did we!!). It was such a blessing to see all of the smiling faces.

In the short hour we were there, we saw teamwork, strength, friendship and gratitude. Those kids are amazing and we feel happy that our kids were able to see the attributes that each of these campers had!

They gave us a huge *thank you* as we were leaving, clapping and shouting. Some of the kids (ugh...I call them kids...when did I get old? they are really young men and women!), held their Love Stem pots up in the air, waving them around. It was a great moment for the Abby and Delaney (West was home with granny), to see where all of their efforts are going.

Here are a few photos from tonight!

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My granny came along with us this time!

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some of the campers!

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