Category Archives: Janery

Why Janery Donates to Programs for the Homeless

Each year I donate a portion of sales from Janery to programs for homeless people and pets. I donated approximately $500 of my 2013 profits to the cause, and I hope to significantly exceed that number in 2014.

As the parent to four previously-homeless pets, it’s fairly obvious why I support animal rescue. But the reasons for my support of programs for the homeless may surprise you.

When I was in college, my view of homelessness changed overnight.  One cold winter night, my friend got a phone call to alert him that his aunt had died.  It wasn’t a peaceful death; her body was found naked in an icy stream in Washington, DC’s Rock Creek Park.

His aunt had struggled with schizophrenia and manic depression for most of her adult life. He remembered times when she would show up at his place in what was clearly a manic streak.  She had trouble holding down jobs due to her mental illness, and when she was unemployed she had no access to affordable medication.  Prior to her death, she had gone off her medications and became homeless in Washington DC.

It pained my friend to know that he’d only found out about her suffering when it was too late.

I was 21 at the time, and the image of the dead aunt stuck with me.  Before then I hadn’t realized that:

  • 60,000 of our veterans – the people who voluntarily served our country – are homeless
  • At least 25% of the homeless population has a mental illness or disorder
  • 28% of homeless families have fled domestic violence
  • Many struggle with addiction, which is an illness which requires real treatment

This is why, in addition to helping animal rescue groups, Janery will continue to donate a portion of sales to good programs for the homeless.  Everyone deserves a safe place to call home.  To find that, the homeless usually need resources, counseling, and most of all – for people to believe in them.

I’m currently donating to a local organization:  The Lamb Center.  It is a small but powerful daytime center only 10 minutes from my home.

It serves the homeless population by providing a warm, safe place for them to drop into if they choose, and it’s staffed by a wonderful group of volunteers from local churches.  Additionally, The Lamb Center provides an extensive group of services to help guests get back on their feet:

The Lamb Center Homeless Shelter ServicesA note about the shelter’s religious affiliation:  I don’t often donate to faith-based groups, but I feel the Lamb Center is one of the most ethical and fiscally responsible organizations in the area.  Some faith-based shelters require that their homeless guests participate in bible study prior to receiving a meal.  At The Lamb Center, services are available to anyone, regardless of participation.

My donations for last year were primarily in the form of purchased goods rather than cash (toiletries and thermal underwear for the brutal winter we had), but my 2014 donation will be more cash-based to support their programs and (hopefully) their move to a larger facility in Fairfax.

I’m working on nailing down a more concrete plan for how Janery will donate each year, both to the Lamb Center and various animal rescue groups.  In the mean time, I just wanted to share my story of why homelessness matters so much to me.

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Save 50% With the Janery Winter Clearance Sale!

Did you know?

Janery was born from my quest to make a better dog bed, inspired by my rescue dog Charlie.  

But over the last two years I made all sorts of items, from pillows to sunglasses “sweaters” to coasters and iPad cases, because I just love fabric, color, and design.

After I said goodbye to Charlie on Christmas, I realized that I had gotten distracted from the original Janery mission to produce my ultimate dog beds.  So this spring I have only one goal:  to bring the Charlie Cushions to market in her honor.

Before I do that, however, I need to clear out my inventory to make space in my sewing studio – because these big, fluffy dog beds take up a lot of space!  This is great news for you:  Janery Winter Clearance Sale 2014I’m having a once-in-a-lifetime sale with a ridiculous discount:  50% off everything in my shop.

Shop Janery and enter the code CRAZY50 at checkout. Everything is ready to ship.

Janery Winter Clearance Sale 2014

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Getting Past a Funk & Upgrading My Sewing Equipment

I’ve been in a funk ever since Charlie died, and I haven’t been motivated to do much – projects, blogging, sewing. In fact, I wasn’t able to set foot in my sewing room for a few weeks, because the one time I did, I kept thinking I saw Charlie outside the sewing room door in her usual spot.

After an hour of this happening, I gave up and went back upstairs.  During our cabin trip, I finally told Ryan what I had realized – I was avoiding the space.  He said he’d suspected as much.

But I had to snap out of it because there was one big thing left to do for Charlie.

Do you remember when I said I was working on big fluffy dog beds for Janery?  That was the dream that propelled me to start a business, after all. Last June I told you I’d run into some snags but they were now coming soon and asked for your opinion on fabrics.

Charlie Cushions Mascot Dog Bed

Unfortunately, I ran into more snags after that and didn’t persevere hard enough.  But I learned my lesson when Charlie got cancer and I realized I’d never be able to photograph her on the beds, which were going to be named Charlie Cushions – named after her, because she deserved a cushy bed after sleeping on the streets for years.

Sometimes procrastination has a silver lining, though. In the last year I’ve changed my design a bit so it will be even better, and as of this weekend I’ve purchased a key piece of equipment that will help me create a much more professional, sturdy product.

Babylock Imagine Serger Self Threading 2014

I bought a serger*.  It’s not just any serger, though – it’s a Babylock Imagine, which is a really great machine that self-threads and automatically adjusts tension, so you never have to mess with it yourself.  This is key, because tension and threading are the two things that cause the most tears when sewing.

Babylock Imagine Serger Jet Air Threading

I’m very excited to use the serger,and it helped me get past my funk and get back to the sewing studio, so I started putting the final touches on that space. I need to modify my sewing table because the serger needs to be bolted down for best results.

Faux Built In Shelf Finishing Touches

Finally finishing off the middle shelf of the faux built-ins.

I’m going to share more details about the serger later, along with the other machines I considered and what you should look for when buying a good machine.  For now I just wanted to share my excitement that Janery is back on track!

*A serger is the best machine you can use to make a sturdy, professional product, because it creates two strong seams while sealing them from fraying  with a very speedy, multi-thread overlocking stitch, and it also trims the edge of the fabric as you sew

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