The Hogs for Heroes 30th Bike Gifting Was a Great Success!

How was your weekend? I’m still in recovery mode after another “no rest for the weary” couple of days here at Primitive Gatherings. The type of tired I’m feeling is one of the best kinds though – one with a whole lot of effort and hard work behind it. It’s the kind that you feel once you’ve hit a major goal but for some crazy reason, you want to keep going and do more. After all the hard work and dedication that went into raising over $43,000 for the Hogs for Heroes Organization in just a little over a year, everything finally came together beautifully on Sunday when we were the proud hosts of the 30th key ceremony, right here at The Gathering. Despite the rainy weather, we had a great turn-out, with both veterans and civilians from all over WI turning up to help honor our veterans.

After so much anticipation before the big event, it’s hard to believe Sunday is already in the past. What a great day! The retreat house was packed – just like I had hoped. The rain certainly tried, but thankfully it was not successful in ruing our plans – we simply moved everything inside. I guess that’s one of many advantages of having a big retreat house to hang out in! Co-founders of Hogs for Heroes Audra and Kevin Thompson were the perfect Masters of Ceremonies for the affair. During their opening statements, they did a beautiful job explaining the concept behind Hogs for Heroes and what they’re all about. Then, after a few initial introductions we kicked off the ceremony properly by welcoming the U.S. Color Guard, reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and singing the National Anthem. Patriotism was definitely in the air as they told the story of Hogs for Heroes and explained why they chose Sergeant Nick Brewer as their 30th Hog recipient (the eighth one this year!). If you haven’t had a chance to get to know Nick and why he was chosen for this great honor, you can read his full story by clicking HERE!

I really wish you could have all been there to see this! I was especially honored to be invited to stand along with the people who handed the keys of his dream bike – one-by-one – down a line of dedicated volunteers and other veterans, until they reached their rightful new owner’s hands. Every ounce of effort, and every hour spent making this great day happen was totally worth it. I mean if you want to see what true happiness looks like, just look at the smile on Nick’s face as he starts and revs the bike of his dreams for the very first time.

Just when you thought you had all the feels, we added to the love fest by awarding each veteran that was here to help present Nick with his new bike a quilt of valor of their very own. It was magical! These beautiful quilts are extra special because they were made 100% by volunteers from around the U.S. – and even a few from Canada! The best part is, none of them were expecting it, so their reactions truly showed the gratitude and humble nature of these selfless individuals.

I know I’ve said it a lot but I’ll say it again – I am just SO honored to be a part of all of this. The pride I’m feeling is over the top! To everyone who participated and contributed toward this collective effort, I thank you times infinity. Those of you who donated money, quilts blocks, or time toward putting these quilts together will always have a special place in my heart. And I can’t forget to give a huge shout-out to my staff here at Primitive Gatherings. You are all top-notch! Everyone needs to take a second and give yourself a pat on the back – you deserve it! Just look at what we can accomplish when we all work together!

One of the best parts of the whole day was near the end, when the rain decided to quit just long enough for use to be able to watch Nick take his maiden ride on his new bike. Of course, we couldn’t let him get away without a few photos first, to archive this awesome moment in time! I honestly will never forget this epic day at Primitive Gatherings. This was a huge accomplishment for everyone involved. Even though this part of it is over with and I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders, I can’t stop my mind from already thinking about what to do next to raise even MORE money for Hogs for Heroes… Believe me, I will let you know what that is as soon as I figure it out!

Until then I have plenty to keep me busy, that’s for sure. For instance, speaking of great accomplishments this week we’re celebrating 19 years in business with our 19.1 Anniversary event! That’s 19 years in business, and one year in our new location! Looking back, we really have come a long way in the last year after our big move from Menasha to our new facility in Larsen, WI. I guess you could say it’s a double anniversary, which is all the more reason to celebrate! In order to do just that, this week, August 8th through the 14th, come take advantage of some of the best sale prices you’ll find all year on fabric, kits, and more as we offer 20% OFF store-wide (sale does not include Garden Gatherings pre-cuts or yardage, pre-ordered items, sewing machines, thread kits, Creative Grids rulers, the PG 2022 Holiday Box, Letters for Santa QAL bundles, Meet Me in the Garden merchandise, or any other item already on sale)!

If you’ve been waiting for an excuse to replenish your stash, or are just trying to decide whether or not to take on your next project, this is the perfect reason to stock up! Take 20% OFF your favorite fabrics, notions, apparel, kits, and more now through Sunday August 14th, 2022!  Of course we also had to plan some fun activities in honor of our success, so we came up with some fabulous demos and make-n’-take projects to get involved in throughout the week! We kicked it off today with an adorable wool pin project demonstration. This decorative piece can be used to snazz up well… pretty much anything! Attach it to your favorite jean jacket, purse, or hat. Getting married soon? Real flowers are expensive and they die. Why not use an alternative that will last forever? These darling flowers would make the perfect archival solution for your wedding day flower needs!

The fun continues tomorrow with mini basket making, instructed by Gloria Parsons (participation fee = $20.00). If you’ve ever wanted to learn the art of basket making, now is your chance! Gloria will be showing us how to make a small basket project – great for storing jewelry, a votive candle, or nicknacks. If you’re new to the art, this mini project is a great way to test the waters of basket making. By the end you’ll know whether or not you want to tackle a bigger project or if this little guy was just enough!

Coming up this Wednesday August 10th, 2022 I will be giving demos on how to make a super cute thread spool project (participation fee = $40.00 – if you have extra old thread spools, please bring them!). I think this piece is especially cool because we are using recycled sewing items to make sewing-themed art. You can spruce up any sewing room, den or even kitchen with this charming piece as either hanging décor or a tabletop conversation piece. If you’re feeling extra ambitious and have a lot of spools to use up, I bet a set of three in different sizes would be extra adorable.

Do you love barn quilts and want to learn to make your own? Join us this Thursday as my sister Lisa and I (yes you read that right!) will be demonstrating how to go about making a 12″ mini barn quilt (participation fee = $50.00). These mini barn quilts are so much fun to do, and the design possibilities are endless! If you’re a fan of colorful geometric shapes in your décor but you don’t have time for large quilting projects, mini barn quilts could be for you! There’s only one way to find out, come give it a try!

I’ll be wrapping demos on Friday August 12th, 2022 with our final project, an adorable small fabric tote (participation fee = $25.00). This bag is a perfect size for running quick errands or transporting a small project. It easily could take the place of a purse if you just need something light to throw your keys and wallet into, rather than having to lug around your entire bag. I have several of these and use them for all sorts of things. I even have one to hold my favorite bible!

There you have it… Five fabulous make-n’-takes for five fabulous days of anniversary celebration (all make-n’-take projects are available from 10:00 AM until 1:00 PM on their scheduled day only, and are located at The Gathering. SPACE IS LIMITED! Please sign up by calling 920-778-8031 if you plan to participate)!

If you’re local you should really stop by and check out all the excitement…and if you have a project you’re currently working on (or one you should have started long ago), bring it with you along with your machine! We also have an open Sit & Stitch going from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM all week through Friday! Set up shop in our spacious retreat house for the day, surrounded by friendly people who share your love for stitching! Enjoy excellent lighting with multiple steam stations and large spacious cutting tables that are equipped with electricity! Plus, I’ll be around to help you with any problem child projects you might have holding you back. It’s only $25.00 to participate AND lunch is included. You can’t go wrong! Space is limited, so if you plan to join us for Sit & Stitch , please call Judy at 920.778.8031 to reserve your seat!

Alright everyone! Time to go home and get rested up for tomorrow. We’ll be here bright and early for Shop Talk with Shelley LIVE at 9:00 AM CST on my Stitch with Lisa Bongean YouTube channel. We’ll be taking a stroll around the shop looking at all the great things that are ON SALE this week! Tune in and leave us a comment for a chance to win yourself a nice little prize – that’s really all it takes to be eligible! Click the STITCH link below to watch. In the mean time, if you weren’t able to attend or catch the LIVE stream of our key ceremony on Sunday but would still like to see it, you can catch the replay by clicking HERE. Thanks for watching and I will see you all soon! ~Lisa

Wind Therapy is the Best Therapy – The Date Has Been Set!

Hey again! I’m glad you’re back. This post was long anticipated and I’m super happy and proud to finally be making it. I am so thrilled to be able to say that we have officially picked a date to present the latest Hogs for Heroes bike recipient with his keys here at Primitive Gatherings. Mark your calendars and join us at The Gathering on Sunday, August 7th, 2022 at 11:00 AM to watch this exciting event unfold (doors open at 10:00 AM!). As most of you know we’ve been partnered with Hogs for Heroes for two summers in a row now, and have currently raised over $43,000 between private donations, our 2021 “American Quilter’s Stitch Along” fundraiser, and our most recent online auction. Truly amazing! If you’re not familiar with the Hogs for Heroes Organization, let me tell you why I love them so much. This wonderful and generous group of people helps give back to injured WI veterans by raising funds and using the proceeds to provide deserving recipients with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Seriously, could this idea be any more right up my alley? If you would like to learn more about Hogs for Heroes or want to make a donation directly, visit the Hogs for Heroes website by following the link below!

Today is a special day because we finally get to announce the veteran chosen to receive a Hog funded %100 by Primitive Gatherings through Hogs for Heroes. I am so honored to be able to say that we had such a significant hand in awarding the 30th set of Hog keys donated to a WI veteran in the last six years! We can’t wait for this Army National Guard Veteran to regain his passion for the road, and the healing and the brotherhood that comes with it.

After careful thought and consideration, this time around the generous people at Hogs for Heroes have chosen Sergeant Nick Brewer of Oshkosh, WI as a 2022 Hogs for Heroes bike recipient. Originally from Madison, Nick wasn’t exactly a model student in his younger years. After a childhood of being bullied and fighting, Nick joined the Army National Guard in 2005 in an attempt to straighten his life out. After attending boot camp he discovered that the structure and discipline of the Army actually suited him. He quickly became enthralled with the idea of being deployed while he worked as a Petroleum Supply Specialist with the Guard, and applied four different times to deploy and support other units – only to be turned down each time. In 2009 he finally received full-time orders to serve stateside during the H1N1 outbreak. Soon after his unit was deployed to Iraq, and he was finally granted his chance to serve overseas.

Nick was quickly promoted to Sergeant and was given a tremendous amount of responsibility. Still working with fuel, he and his team worked in an extremely intense and highly flammable arena on a daily basis, that left little to no room for error. The combination of being in such a dangerous environment along with the inherent stress of being responsible for a staff of people under him, Nick became exhausted, mistrustful, and numb to the violence and danger he found himself in. As if the emotional trauma he was already experiencing wasn’t enough, to make matters worse Nick suffered a back injury during training that not only left him in excruciating pain, but also proved to be an injury that would plague him for years to come. He then returned home in 2011. Unable to reenlist due to his back injury, Nick officially separated from the National Guard in February of 2012.

Transition back into civilian life was harder than Nick could ever imagine. His experiences while serving his country left him bewildered and angry, and unable to trust people. He struggled to relate as depression took over, directly affecting his actions and perspective. Nick knew that bottling up his emotions was not healthy and that he needed some kind of release to help him cope. That’s when he decided to take a motorcycle riding course. In spite of the fact that he was using a 30-year-old bike that was too small for his large stature, he quickly discovered the healing power of “wind therapy” through his learning process. His passion for riding was officially born.

Though he was doing everything he knew how to heal and move forward with his life after his time in the service, Nick was still having trouble coping. He found that the one thing that helped settle his anxious mind was his bike – so when it broke down and he wasn’t able to afford to repair or replace it, he was left without his only form of effective stress relief. Despite his best efforts, both Nick and his wife could see that he was fighting a losing battle with his mental health. Along with committing to active counseling in 2015, Nick also found that helping other veterans helped him to release some of his mental anguish. He has volunteered with the Oshkosh VFW, and worked with the Office of Veteran Employment Services. He is now a Veterans Outreach Coordinator for a seven-county territory, and uses both his expertise and personal experiences to help other struggling and at-risk veterans find the help and resources they need.

Nick has since had his back repaired and has been physically pain free for some time, however, his mental struggles still remain. Years of counseling have helped him to channel his inner turmoil into an energy he now uses to push forward for his family’s sake and those he serves. These reasons among many others make it easy to see why Nick was chosen to be one of this year’s Hogs for Heroes bike recipients. Nick has accomplished so many things including serving this great country and dedicating his post military career to caring for fellow veterans, the least we could do is get him back on the road doing what he loves – riding his motorcycle. Of course there’s more to Nick’s story than I could fit into one post, so if you’d like to read more about him and his family, CLICK HERE!

So now we prepare for what I consider to be the best part of this ongoing fundraising effort. This Sunday August 7th, 2022, I am so excited to say that we will be presenting Nick with the keys to his very first ever Harley Davidson motorcycle – a 2017 Ultra Limited with only 8,500 miles on it – here at The Gathering at 11:00 AM (doors open at 10:00 AM). This particular bike was chosen after numerous test-drives and hours of searching to find him just the right bike for his large stature – not to mention it’s his favorite color, “blood red.” Win-win! Each and every bike reveal done by Hogs for Heroes is truly remarkable, but I have to say that this time around it’s going to be even more special because this bike has been fully paid for by quilters all across our nation! I am just SO PROUD to be a part of this, and I can’t thank all of you who participated enough. There are simply no words.

Though I know so many of you are far away and unable to attend, I’m officially inviting each and every one of you to join us for this special event. If you can’t be here in person don’t worry. We will be live streaming the event on my STITCH with Lisa Bongean YouTube channel that day. That means you can join us from the comfort of your living room as we hand over the keys that will keep Nick riding for years to come. Make sure to stock up on Kleenex because I’m confident that there won’t be a dry eye in the house – in a good way, of course! In addition, we will also be gifting several hand-made red, white, and blue flag quilts to veterans who are previous Hogs for Heroes bike recipients. Each quilt was made collectively by volunteers from across the U.S. and comes complete with an embroidered label on the back that includes all the names of those who contributed. If you are local I really hope you’ll join us so you too can help present these deserving heroes with their quilts of valor. Let’s show these veterans that we still care about their well-being long after their service is complete! Nothing we do can make up for the adversity they’ve faced as a result of their sacrifice, but this is certainly a great start. Please come! You deserve to be a part of this special day too!

The big event starts at 10:00AM on Sunday August 7th, 2022. Presentation of the keys will be at 11:00 AM. Lunch will be available for purchase from 11:00 AM until 2:00 PM for your enjoyment. The only thing that could make this great day even greater would be to have a phenomenal turn out. Don’t let these veterans down – be there or be square!!! To tune-in remotely, simply hit the STITCH button below! No excuses… See you there! ~Lisa

The Mission Continues…

What a beautiful day it’s been so far! The sun is shining and there’s not a cloud in the sky. It’s the perfect day to take my little black convertible out for a spin – a sweet and sporty two-passenger roadster I have stashed away for just such occasions. Admittedly, I don’t bring it out much and think about selling it from time to time, but then I drive the darn thing and all the appeal comes rushing back! I have a feeling that if and when I do decide to re-home it, the space in the garage will quickly be filled with new and more appealing toys – like maybe another Harley Davidson??? Nick and I both already have one but as anyone who rides Harleys knows, once you get your first you just want to keep adding to your collection… Kind of like tattoos!

I love being part of the Harley family. It’s one of mine and Nick’s favorite things to do together in our free time. We are firm believers in the power of wind therapy! That’s why when I found out about the Hogs for Heroes Organization I knew I had to figure out a way to get on board and help. As most of you know we’ve been partnered with Hogs for Heroes for two summers in a row now, and have currently raised over $43,000 between private donations, our 2021 “American Quilter’s Stitch Along” fundraiser, and our recent online auction. Truly amazing! If you’re not familiar with the Hogs for Heroes Organization, let me tell you why I love them so much. This stellar group of people helps give back to injured WI veterans by raising funds, and using the proceeds to provide recipients with a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Seriously, this idea couldn’t be any more right up my alley! If you would like to learn more about Hogs for Heroes or want to make a donation directly, visit the Hogs for Heroes website by following the link below!

I’m proud to say that Primitive Gatherings continues to contribute toward Hogs for Heroes and their fundraising efforts by combining our love for stitching with an even greater love for these deserving heroes. Our current “Mystery Mission” is right on track, and quickly coming to fruition. With your help, we were able to collect enough donated red, white, and blue flag blocks to create over 30 quilts, which will be donated to Hogs for Heroes bike recipients in the near future. Last month, the amazing generosity of my quilting family continued as stitchers from near and far showed up to help at our volunteer assembly event.

Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to this mission. Whether you sent in blocks, or came in to help assemble the quilts – or both! –  we could never have achieved this massive goal without you! I can’t tell you how humbling it is to see these true works of art in their final stages on the longarms right now. If you tuned in to Stitch with Lisa Bongean on YouTube yesterday, we came to you LIVE from the quilting studio where you got a sneak peek of the progress the guys are making. Check it out!

Things are really coming along down there. In fact, Jake just told me that he suspects that they will be finished with all of the quilts by the end of the day today, which means we are that much closer to being ready to go when it comes time to present them to their new owners. While we don’t have the exact date of when that will be set in stone quite yet, you can catch the replay of yesterday’s episode of Stitch with Lisa Bongeanfor more details on when that miiiiight be by clicking the STITCH button below. Our plan for that day is to not only help Hogs for Heroes award this year’s chosen bike recipient with their new hog, but also to present each bike recipient – both past and present – with their own flag quilts as well. I can’t wait! It’s going to be an amazing day to say the least.

T.G.I.F.! I just about forgot it was Friday but don’t worry, Nick was quick to remind me with all of his fishing talk. As always, I hope you all have a great weekend and that the weather is a bit more cooperative than it has been. I know many of you have been dealing with some super hot temps lately, so I’m hoping we’ll see a little relief in that department by Sunday. In the mean time, if you’re stuck inside hiding from the fireball in the sky, now is the perfect time to do a little shopping both online and in our retail shop (we have great AC!). Don’t forget that we’ve extended our summer fabric SALE! Now through midnight this Sunday, July 24th, 2022 – take 25% OFF all fabric in stock (SALE includes pre-cuts and yardage – minimum of 1/2 yard cut. Sorry, offer does NOT include my Garden Gatherings line or any fabric that is already on sale).

Have you taken advantage of this great sale yet? If so, were you buying for a project already in the works or just for a bit of inspiration for your next one? Let me know in the comments! I’m always super curious about what everyone else is doing. I get a lot of comments thanking me for inspiring other people, but it really does go both ways! I find inspiration all around me, including from all of you! It’s one of my favorite things about being a stitcher – I couldn’t ask to rub elbows with a better group of people! Have a great weekend and I will see you all Tuesday during Shop Talk with Shelley.” This week she’ll be talking all about wool! We might even get lucky enough to welcome a special guest…or two! So don’t miss it. See you soon! ~Lisa