Blankets of Love

By Mayra, age 17, California
Sweet Designs Featured Writer

Blankets of Love is a community service project helping to educate children to learn to serve someone else beside themselves. The program began when Susie Gallegos was inspired to remember her great aunt Rhoda Macgregor who passed away 3 years after Susie first visited her. Aunt Rhoda's ministry was making and giving away quilts to those in need. What initially helped Gallegos and her daughter Sammy to feel relief for their aunt's death became what she calls "This Madness".

The first grade teacher explained the story, as she cut into the fleece blankets during the after-school training session at Cedargrove Elementary School. Before the Valentine's Day delivery Gallegos trains volunteering parents and students ranging from 1st to 12th grade to assemble and cut the blankets properly. She continued by telling the group (and me) how the blanket her daughter received from her aunt became an object of comfort after her death. The two paired up to create a blanket of their own, later for Gallegos to show off to her 1st grade class. One student immediately said she wanted to learn how to make a blanket, and that's when things began to multiply. The program evolved from 20 blankets and 20 kids to 1,000 blankets and 1,900 students. Over the last six years the program has expanded into 12 different schools in California.

Susie Gallegos

At some stage in the program Shane Pierce, one of Gallegos' students, was diagnosed with cancer. Shane's death took a heavy toll on her as well as on the school. The program became about more than a blanket. It was now a symbolic event, a day filled with "love medicine", as they call it. Despite Shane's passing Gallegos continued to make and deliver blankets to the City of Hope, where she was confronted with a defining moment. A mother who had lost her child approached her and talked to her about her situation. She told Gallegos how her child had received a blanket from Blankets of Love and the impact it had had on her. Gallegos said, "She told me, 'I sleep with that blanket every night', and I was left speechless and began to choke". Susie Gallegos was determined to continue making the blankets every year no matter what the circumstances.

The process of making blankets initiates in late December and continues through early January. This year Gallegos assigned her class to earn the money to pay for the materials. Other teachers at Cedargrove and several different schools raised their money by recycling and asking for donations. With the money earned Gallegos drove to downtown Los Angeles where she purchased 4,111 yards of material, equivalent to approximately 3 and a half miles! The development of the blankets has brought people to work together for one cause, and that's what Gallegos loves the most. These blankets are delivered in a special bag with a letter from one of Gallegos' kids or other students. When the blankets are made, washed, and have a written letter, they are put in a bag where they are delivered on V-Day to several hospitals such as the City of Hope, Children's Hospital of Los Angeles, Riverside Burn Center, Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, and as far away as India.

Blankets of Love for me has given a new meaning to Valentine's Day. A day when people from all ages, cultures, and races have come to work together for one cause - and that's love. Why not reach out to your community and see what you can do to get involved? Maybe you can start Blankets of Love in your community.

Happy Valentine's Day!
Mayra B.

"Dear Friend, I made this blanket just for you on Valentine's day. When you warm up in it,
remember it was made with love. Get well soon!"

To make a blanket for yourself or to give one away, follow Susie Gallegos' special recipe:


1.Solid fabric (one color)
2.Print fabric (designs)
3.Scissors or router cutter (Using scissors takes longer, so you might want to consider buying a router cutter instead. It makes the process easier and takes less time.)
4. 3 1/2 inch square made from an index card.

Fleece Blanket Directions

1. Put the print fabric on top of the solid fabric.

2. Trim all four sides of the material so the top and bottom fabrics are the same size.

3. Cut out a 3 1/2 inch square from all the corners.

4. Cut the fringe about 1 square wide. (Some people like a thinner or wider fringe. I use the 3 1/2 inch fabric squares to measure the fringe cuts.)

5. To cut a small slit in the fringe, flip the fringe piece upon the blanket. Cut a 1/4 inch slit on the fold.

6. Lay the fringe piece back down. Then take the corners of the fringe piece and pull it down through the slit.

7. Continue cutting the fringe all over the fleece and then follow step number 5 and 6 until you have finally made you fleece blanket just like the one from Blankets of Love.

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

Sweet Designs Magazine
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