This hat, below, was made for the purpose of an online auction to raise a donation for AnySoldier.com
Also on the AnySoldier front- here is a set of 8 pillowcase tops which I made for Christmas presents for paratroopers of the 173rd who are currently in a remote part of Afghanistan. These were shipped out in early December and feedback is starting to trickle back in. Each pillowcase top was backed with soft warm flannel and shipped with a pillow and a few cans of Copenhagen snuff and a big Hershey bar.
The original idea for these came from a classic Chuck Norris joke which says that everyone has Superman sheets- but Superman has Chuck Norris sheets. I always think of our soldiers as Supermen- and I thought if anyone should have Chuck Norris sheets it would be them (did you know that bedding is a prized care package item and that many soldiers will go their entire deployment without a pillow or set of sheets?) - after shopping around I found out that they don't make Chuck Norris sheets... so I thought that I would have to just make them myself.
I did some research and found out about a product called "Bubble Jet Set" which allegedly will make regular old printer ink waterfast when printed on treated fabric. I'm not going to be there to see the long term waterfastness of these pillows... I feel a little uncomfortable not having done any tests beforehand - but from what I understand- these guys will be lucky to get a hot shower... I really doubt the pillows will be washed much, if at all before this deployment is over.
In order to get your fabric to run through a printer it needs to be backed with butcher paper for stiffness. I spent a few days working on photoshop collages of military themes for paratroopers (Including lots of Chuck Norris facts) - these were specially customized for our heroes of the 173rd "Sky Soldiers". In the end I had about 20 various layouts which would print on 8.5 x 11 either verticaly or horizontally. Each pillow top required 7 pages of printed fabric which was then pieced like a quilt.
On a final note, I was forwarded a very beautiful thank you note from a soldier who had been a recipient of some of the "Sew Much Comfort" retrofitted clothing (see the link in my sidebar) If you have sewing abilities, please consider this very worthwhile way that we in the civilian sector can give back to the brave men who give so much to our country.
"My name is XXXX XXXX . You probably don't remember me or my story but, I remember you every time I open one of my clothes drawers. I received some of your clothes during my stay in Walter Reed Medical Center, as I was there recovering from wounds I received in Afghanistan on XXXXXXXX. I was very badly wounded and your clothes with the Velcro sides allowed me to change my clothes with less pain than I would have been able to otherwise. When I left Walter Reed for XXXX my wife contacted your group asking for help again. I am very happy to say that your group was able to once again help me and sent me more pants, shorts, and drawers which I still use today. I just want to thank you and your group for all your help I had broken my pelvis, shattered my foot and broken both my legs. Without your fine clothes I don't I would have been able to be dressed without being in terrible agony so I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you and the volunteers who help you do it really means a lot to me and my wife. If you can thank everyone there it would mean a whole lot to us. By the way I came though fine my pelvis was fixed, my legs healed and I lost my foot. Don't worry about the foot though it was my left one which I never liked anyways and I have a prosthesis already so I am walking already. Once again thank you and keep up the good work"