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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

My Heart Belongs to Daddy: Stitch Red = Heart Health

I've always been my father's daughter.  We loved the same kinds of foods; had the same passion for life; were both Type-A personalities who started our own businesses. But one thing that I'm determined not to have in common with my father is heart disease.  When he died at 79 of congestive heart failure, I decided then and there that I was going to take very good care of my heart. He would have wanted me to.

So I lost 25 pounds, found an exercise routine that I truly loved (NIA and yoga), started eating more fruits and veggies (see one of my favorite root veggie bake recipes below) and am almost a vegetarian. I also dumped my addiction to cookies and chocolate and discovered that my acid reflux no longer exists!  One more thing: I take time for myself (hot baths, quarterly vacations to the beach so I can float mindlessly in the Gulf of Mexico, massage therapy and a struggling but growing meditation practice. Oh yes, and I laugh a lot!   

When Leanne Pressly from The Wool Wide Web, a social media marketing consultant to the yarn industry, first told me about Stitch Red (it was TNNA 2010), I knew that this campaign to promote women's heart health to the stitching community of knitters, crocheters, spinners and weavers was for me! My father would have been proud!

But the big question was: How was I going to do this?  Who could I reach and how? 

Cotton Clouds' website (www.cottonclouds.com) reaches over 2,000 readers a day, our newly updated and fastly growing Facebook page is approaching 3,000 friends, our monthly e-newsletter goes out to over 5,000 dedicated Cotton Clouds' customers.  I take personal interest in each of my customers and care not only about meeting their fiberarts needs, but in their general welfare as well.  Some customers have been a part of the Cotton Clouds' family for all 34 years we've been in business. They are friends. If I could wake up just one person to the warning signs of a heart attack and heart disease my mission would be a success.

Cotton Clouds launched our own online Stitch Red campaign. On January 10, 2012 our Stitch Red e-newsletter went out to over 5,000 readers.  Click Here to read a copy. If you do only one thing, please Click Here to watch the video “Just a Little Heart Attack” by Emmy winner Elizabeth Banks. It might save your (or a loved one’s) life! Do it now!

But we didn't stop there.  As a way to celebrate women's heart health, Cotton Clouds has designed five Stitch Red kits for:

  Weaving (A Red Chenille Scarf)

 Rigid heddle weaving (A Multi-Textured Scarf)

Of course they're all in Red!  Each kit includes a Czech glass heart bead that can be sewn on the finished project.

We really wanted to make a difference, so we are donating the requested 5% of sales and another 5% on top of that to The Heart Truth from sales of these kits. 

If my Stitch Red campaign saves just one life by alerting my customer to good heart health, I’ll consider my efforts a huge success. Together within the fiberarts community we can support each other and live long, happy and productive lives.

What gets my heart racing? I love that feeling of hiking up a really steep hill and upon reaching the top, looking out over a beautiful vista and feeling my heart furiously pumping in my chest. It's the combination of "I did it", the physical sensation of blood pulsing through my body and the beauty of nature that surrounds me. I guess you can say what get's my heart racing is mind, body and spirit wrapped up into one!  It's great to be alive! 

- Irene Schmoller

My favorite heart healthy recipe: To the Root of It Veggie Bake
2@ large carrots
1@ large rutabaga
2@ medium turnips
1@ medium sweet yellow onion
1@ medium sized yam
1@ tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1@ tbs garlic powder
1@ tsp sea salt
1@ tbs fennel seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Peel and dice vegetables to approximately 1” cubes.
Mix vegetables together with olive oil, garlic powder, salt.
Add fennel seed.

Line a baking pan with tin foil or parchment paper.  Spread vegetable mixture evenly on pan.

Bake for 15 minutes.  Stir. Bake another 15 minutes until vegetable are soft.

Serve hot as a side dish, or add cold to salads.

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