Primrose Grannies Craft Club
The Wasilla Primrose Arts and Crafts Club, fondly referred to as the “Primrose Grannies”, is a busy bunch! They just finished the 1st Annual Primrose Solstice Bazaar and Garage Sale, held on June 19th, which was an amazing success. The Grannies worked tirelessly making one-of-a-kind handmade items to sell. There were several local community members who set up booths, as well as more well-known vendors like Avon, Scentsy and Partylite. Each vendor gave a generous donation to the Arts and Crafts Club. There were also baked goods for sale, donated by the residents and staff of Primrose. The onion bread, cheese bread, cinnamon rolls and homemade bean and ham soup were the biggest hits. All proceeds from the bazaar went to the arts and crafts club, which has two big projects in the works.
The first project benefits the local hospital, Mat Su Regional Medical Center. The group decided to make baby hats for each newborn born at the hospital. And it all started with bunny rabbits. Teri Bennett had spoken with MaryAnn, who is in charge of the volunteers at the hospital, to inquire how many rabbits they would need. “MaryAnn, head of the volunteers came to me, cause it was the bunny rabbits that got it all started. The bunny rabbits were gifts for the kids in the hospital. MaryAnn asked if we could do seventy more. I thought, ‘there aren’t 70 kids,’ but it turned out that they gave them to everyone. Then Ginny (another Primrose resident) wrote the poem that went with it. How if they have a boo-boo, ice went into the bunny and made it go away. So we made the rabbits.” Teri went on to say that the hat idea came from their fun making the rabbits.
Barb Rice, another Grannies member, said that the idea for the hats actually came from RSVP (a national organization of senior volunteers which she belonged to). “I was in RSVP and they were making hats more for the kids in school, but no one was making hats for babies.”
Teri said, “I had done seven hats and MaryAnn told me RSVP was doing it, but none of us here were interested in getting involved [with them]. So we decided to take on the project of making hats for the babies. “
Since the idea caught on with the other residents, the Grannies have made over 300 hats; every newborn has left with a hat made by the Primrose Grannies. The residents also said that each time they drop off the hats at the hospital they are told by a new mom that their little one has one of the hats made by the Grannies.
Nancy Van Loon, another member of the craft club, said this about why she enjoys making the hats: “I just do it cause its fun. I can’t think of any other reason why I’d sit and do this all day long,” she said with a smile and a laugh.
Ruby Williams added “I enjoy visiting with everybody and I enjoy doing things.”
With so many wonderful club members making hats for the newborns, the hospital recently stated that they had a surplus and didn’t need any for awhile, so the ‘grannies’ have switched ideas. They are now making hats for the local schools, including the local alternative school, Burchell High School. Barb Rice said “the school has a day care and you have all these new moms [whose] babies need hats too.”
Teri added, “We decided to take on this new project now that we’ve caught up with the hospital, so we’re making them for the schools. And now we also want to do them for cancer patients to wear. So the hats have become a larger thing than we ever thought it would be. The name ‘Primrose Grannies’ is really getting out there.”
Another project close to the club’s heart, is the Primrose Quilt. Each resident has an individual quilt block decorated by them, and when finished, will be proudly displayed in the home. Velma Moddison said about the beginning of the quilt: “We needed a workspace — something to work on — so Mitch, the Life Enrichment Coordinator at the time, brought the big table down to the Arts and Crafts area. Then he and I decided we needed a cover, so we talked about making a quilt top. He took a busload of us over to Joanne Fabrics and got us samples. We picked the Alaskan print. The original thought was to have the Primrose logo on the front and then a block for each resident around it, but we decided that there were going to be so many blocks that we would sew them all together. Each time we meet we change our minds, but we want to include spots for all the new residents too, so there will be blank ones for the new people. I don’t know when we will finish it. It’s a work in progress.”
For Ruby and Nancy, the quilt was already in progress when they arrived. Ruby got involved because she and her husband had worked on quilts in the past. “A window company gave the place I used to live some fabric scraps, and the next thing I knew someone asked us to make some quilts. By the time I was done, I had two full time people sewing and then my husband Lee would tie them off. Lee used to hand paint quilts that we made for our family. When I came to Primrose (and they found out I had done quilts before) they asked me to help.”
Nancy has a slightly different reason to help with the quilt. “It was here. It was something that needed to be done. I don’t have any experience in quilting, but I am learning a lot!” she stated with her trademark smile.
Teri made a comment that I think best sums up the Arts and Crafts Club: “We do it for the community, our community. It’s something we do for the community, from the ‘Grannies’. And the more we do, the more ‘our people’ are getting involved. We started this group with two. This may be the only thing some folks do. There are those who this is the first time learning to do things like this. But they keep coming back, they keep having fun.”
To find out more about active senior living at Primrose, contact your nearest Primrose Retirement Community today to see more of our fun and social living. We’ll happily answer all your questions and show you around our beautiful communities. Come see why we say, THIS IS LIVING!