ASC Minutes 2022 – 2023

October 11, 2022

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Suzanne Brown called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. in the Village Hall. She introduced co-president Sue Harris, who asked members to recall crafts from previous Christmas Fairs: things that went well; things well-liked; an idea for this year. Members worked in pairs and offered the following suggestions:

Fire starters, small themed baskets, Annisquam items (matchboxes, calendars), knit socks, Christmas mantle stockings, sea shells that can be drilled and decorated for ornaments, clear glass ornaments that can be painted, birdhouses, small rum cakes, pet toys, toys, for grandchildren baby bandanas/drool bibs.

Sue also asked for volunteers to host workshops in their homes.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the September meeting was distributed to members for review prior to this meeting. There was one correction: Under the member committee report, the sentence, “Kate Meader reminded active members that they are required to attend six meetings per year.” should read “Perry McIntosh reminded members…”. A motion to accept the minutes as amended was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): Maria noted that the accounts are essentially the same as last month, with the current balance standing at $15,366. There were no expenses, only dues added as income. A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Committee Reports

  • Correspondence Secretary’s Report (Kate Meader): Cards were sent to Jaye Whittier (knee), Janet Langer (COVID), and a sympathy card to Emily Murphy upon her husband’s passing. Gigs Cunningham informed the members that Good Neighbors is organizing a meal drive for George Williamson.
  • Hospitality (Maggie Stevens): Maggie thanked Jocelyn Ramella, Patricia Plevisani, Gigs Cunningham, and Rosalie Hughes for helping with today’s tea. A sign-up sheet was passed asking for volunteers to provide refreshments for future meetings and for greens week. Four people are needed for each meeting.
  • Finance (Sue Willis): Sue suggested we donate to Open Door this fall, since we have money in our account, and considering the challenges posed by inflation. Peg Ris noted that Open Door is trying to raise $35,000 through a match program, so now is a good time to contribute toward that goal. Maria stated that we have plenty of money to cover the cost of greens for the Christmas Fair. Connie Mason made an initial motion to donate $4,000 to Open Door. After a brief discussion, there was general consensus that the Sewing Circle could afford to donate more. Connie withdrew her original motion, and proposed a $5,000 donation instead. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.
  • Web Site (Lisa Accardi): Lisa asked members to send photos of crafts to her to generate interest in this year’s Christmas Fair. Pictures from past fairs are acceptable.
  • Publicity (Chicki Hollett): The committee will update the wooden Christmas Fair tree. There will also be a large banner on the front of the Village hall with the web site address on the bottom, a sandwich board at the church, and laser decorations. Posters will be distributed in Gloucester to encourage more people to come. Cable Channel 12 invited the ASC to publicize the Fair on their local show. The committee may ask a long-time member to appear on the program to give some background information on the Fair.

Old Business

  • Knitting Group (Jill Lovejoy): The knitting group has met once this fall. Next Tuesday at 1:30 at Suzanne Brown’s home, there will be a mini-workshop on finishing sweater seams. For those interested in creating a piece for the Christmas Fair, there are patterns available for small projects (children’s clothing), which take about 20 hours to complete. Meetings could be scheduled on alternative Tuesdays to work on these projects. After January, the group could regroup and begin working on longer term projects.
  • Sewing Group (Patricia Plevisani and Jocelyn Ramella): The star tree is coming along, but more help is needed. Interested members can contact Patricia. Also, the project needs a larger tree. Dona Shea volunteered to donate it. If the star tree is a successful Christmas Fair item, the committee can repeat the project every year. Jocelyn added that two artists who are Sewing Circle members have volunteered to make custom stars to donate to the tree project.

Christmas Fair

  • Greens (Stevie Neal): Bonnie Angus has ordered 250 wreaths from Wolf Hill, and will order ribbon this week. Greens week takes place Monday through Wednesday the week prior to the Fair. The committee needs more new pine cones. They can be dropped off at Stevie’s barn – the side door is unlocked. There will be a workshop in two weeks in the Village Hall to wire the pine cones and make bows for the wreaths. Stevie noted that the committee will take pre-orders for wreaths and holiday plants. When asked about setup and cleanup after the Fair, Stevie assured Sue that no there is no need to create a separate committee. Members typically pitch in and the task is taken care of.
  • Luncheon (Mimi Emmons): Mimi ordered 160 8” pie pans for takeaway orders, up from 120 in past years. Members will be asked to supply chickens for the meal. The price for the meals will likely increase this year. There will be no sit-down luncheon this year, per orders from the board of health, but Mimi predicted the takeaway orders will raise the same amount of money as in the past. Pre-orders will be accepted. The committee is considering offering coffee and donuts to shoppers during the fair, while being careful not to interfere with the sale of gourmet table items.
  • Crafts (Gigs Cunningham): Gigs asked those who donate craft items to put their name on them, note laundering or care directions, and indicate whether you want them back or have them donated. Contributors should suggest a price; otherwise the committee will price the item.
  • Gourmet Foods (Lee Cunningham for Wendy Banks): Lee asked members to think about what they might donate: jams, jellies, candy, etc.; She will send out a sign-up sheet.
  • Jewelry (Vicki Bourneuf and Donna Caselden): Any jewelry donations can be dropped off with Vicki or Donna.
  • Grab Bags (Jackie Littlefield): Jackie asked members if the grab bags are still something to be included in the Fair. A vote was taken and a majority was in favor. Every member should donate three small items: one appropriate for a man, one for a woman, and one for a child or pet. They should be wrapped and labeled. The consensus was to charge $3 per piece.
  • Member access to the Christmas Fair: There was a brief discussion concerning members purchasing items prior to the Fair being opened to the general public. Should there be a Friday night event for members only? The consensus was no. Members thought it was important to maintain our reputation for being a “good fair” that has quality items and is open to everyone. A motion was made and seconded not to have a Friday members-only event. It passed unanimously.

Kate Meader reminded those that are participating in Hazel’s scarf project to deliver them to her (Kate) by December 12.

There will be a workshop on October 25 at 12:15 p.m. in the Village Hall.

The next general meeting will be on November 8 at 1:30 p.m. in the Village Hall.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 2:42 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary

September 13, 2022

Welcome and Introductions: Co-president Suzanne Brown called the meeting to order in the Village Hall at 1:30 pm. She noted that the Sewing Circle, originally called the Annisquam Female Benevolent Society, is celebrating its 185th year of service to this community. She shared some facts from 1837: The Financial Panic; instability in the labor force, including high unemployment and a female textile workers’ strike; and racial tension between Irish and Yankee citizens. In Annisquam, a group of women recognized that a number of their neighbors needed a helping hand, and formed a society to support those in need, raising $25.25, equal to $804.41 today. Suzanne reminded members, “As the recipients of their legacy, we are called upon to share our bounty with the organizations that provide the assistance to the needy now.”

A more detailed account of the history of that time in Annisquam can be found in Charlotte Lane’s book, online at

Co-president Sue Harris invited members to participate in a get-acquainted exercise, allowing those who had joined the ASC recently during COVID to learn more about one another through quick introductions. She emphasized her philosophy of “fun and philanthropy” and reminded those in attendance that “we’re all in this together.”

Previous Minutes (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report was distributed to members for review prior to the meeting. There were no additions or corrections. A motion to accept the minutes as sent out was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): Maria offered a brief summary of the financial standing of the ASC, with information from FY 2021-2022 and a look ahead to this coming year. She noted that the fiscal year (FY) now runs from July 1 until June 30.

FY 2021-2022

  • The Christmas Fair & Greens sale and the Plant Sale yielded the most income.
  • Donations of $16,000 were made to ten local and regional agencies and non-profit organizations, along with a contribution to World Food Programs to support citizens of Ukraine.
  • The auction at the Annual Meeting in June added approximately $1782 to our income.
  • The Bake & Flower sale in July added $1260.

FY 2022-2023

  • The ASC is now designated as a standing committee of the Annisquam Village Hall Association. While the day-to-day finances and financial decisions will continue to be managed by the ASC, the Annisquam Village Hall Association will serve as an umbrella organization for financial needs and tax reporting purposes. Checking accounts have been updated to reflect this change.
  • The checking account balance stands at $15,135.26. This is intended to cover anticipated scholarships for qualified high school seniors and costs for wreaths and greens which will be sold at the Christmas Fair.

Membership directories are available to members who pay their dues: Active members $5.00; Associate members $10.00.

A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Committee Reports

  • Correspondence (Kate Meader): There were a number of members who couldn’t attend, for various reasons. A sympathy card was sent to Deb Ebeling upon her mom’s passing.
  • Membership (Perry McIntosh): Caroline Rogers submitted her resignation from the Sewing Circle, due to personal circumstances. Currently, we have 53 active, 16 associate, and 6 honorary members. There is room for two more active members. Kate Meader reminded active members that they are required to attend six meetings per year. They also need to participate in events such as bake sales and the Christmas Fair. Membership is available to women who are residents of Annisquam, who will attend at least six meetings per year and who participate in the Sewing Circle events.
  • Nominating (Stevie Neal): Stevie nominated Lee Cunningham to chair the scholarship committee, a position left vacant after Caroline Rogers resigned. A motion to accept Lee as scholarship chair was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.
  • Finance (Sue Willis): In response to members’ requests, the committee will invite some of the charities supported by the Sewing Circle to future meetings where they can update members on their activities in the community. These presentations will occur prior to any final decision regarding contributions from the ASC.
  • Web Site (Lisa Accardi): Lisa is updating the web site. She noted that all members will be asked to send pictures of crafts for a “12 Days of Christmas” section of the site; more details will follow. The address for the web site is and the member log in is Circle01930 (capital C, no spaces).
  • Publicity (Chicki Hollett): The Christmas Fair is the main focus of the committee this fall. Lisa will help with web site matters. Banners and signage will be displayed at high visibility sites.
  • Hospitality (Maggie Stevens): Sue thanked Maggie for organizing the opening meeting, and in turn Maggie thanked members for their help. It was agreed that the next few meetings, and perhaps some workshops will be held in the Village Hall, which offers space and ventilation for safe gatherings. Maggie will contact those who volunteered to make refreshments.

Old Business

  • Knitting Group (Suzanne for Jill Lovejoy): The knitting group didn’t meet in the summer, but will resume meeting this fall. A sign-up was passed around for those interested in making small sweaters (up to size 6), or doll clothing.
  • Sewing Group (Jocelyn Ramella): Jocelyn thanked Patricia Plevisani for hosting the sewing group and to those who contributed fabric. Plenty of stars have already been made for the Christmas Fair tree. The group will find uses for the donated fabric, perhaps including table cloths. The group has been meeting on Tuesday mornings, but might move to the afternoon. Rosalie Hughes emphasized the need for a dedicated group to come regularly this fall. Patricia added that people don’t need to know how to sew since there are other tasks that support the effort to finish the trees in time for the Christmas Fair. The purpose is to get together, meet, and have sewing time.
  • Farmer’s Market (Sue Harris): Sue posed two questions for next year’s planning: 1. Should we request June 30, 2023, the Friday before the 4th of July, for a bake and flower sale? It was very successful this year as residents settled in for the long weekend. 2. Do we need a second sale in August? We canceled it this year due to weather, people leaving for the summer, and the Village Players’ musical.

There was a brief discussion regarding these questions. Members supported the July bake sale and felt that even more baked goods would sell if they were available. Having only a July sale might cause more members to volunteer. In the summer, tasks pile up, and people sometimes get overwhelmed by too many “asks” and the sense that everything associated with the Sewing Circle is about raising money. While the ASC was established to raise money, it needs to be fun, and congenial.


  • A motion was made and seconded to host a bake/flower sale the Friday before the 4th of July. The motion passed by a majority vote.
    • A motion was made and seconded to forego the August bake/flower sale next August. The motion passed unanimously.

New Business

    • Christmas Fair logistics (Sue Harris): The 2022 Christmas Fair will be the first one in three years to be held in person and open to the public. Sue identified the chairwomen for the following fair committees, asking them to consider recruiting someone new to the task so they can learn the process:
      • Greens: Stevie Neal and Bonnie Angus.
      • Luncheon: Mimi Emmons, assisted by Pippy Giuliano, and Jolene Hentschel. Mimi noted that she took over from Connie Mason, and that the committee needs one more person. The Board of Health is aware of our plans, but due to COVID considerations, recommends offering take-home casseroles only, despite the tradition of having an in-person event. Typically, 50-60 casseroles are sold at the Christmas Fair. Mimi will hold a committee meeting soon to address logistics and will report back next month.
      • Crafts: Rosalie Hughes, Gigs Cunningham, and Peg Ris. The committee will accept any craft that will sell and suggests making something you would give as a gift to someone. Alternatively, members can attend a craft workshop.
      • Bow making: Pam Saylor. Bows could be made in a workshop or by individuals.
      • Gourmet Foods: Wendy Banks.
      • Jewelry: Vicki Bourneuf; Donna Caseldon.
      • Grab bags: Jackie Littlefield.
      • Photographer: Suzanne Brown

Committees that need leaders:

    • Raffle: The star tree is a good option. Maybe display the tree at a meeting prior to the fair.
    • Setup
    • Cleanup after the Fair

There was a question about the policy regarding members purchasing goods prior to the opening of the fair. In the past, members had to wait until 10:00 am so the general public had an opportunity to purchase items. This would preserve the reputation we have as one of the best Fairs in the local area. Alternatively, members could be allowed to “tag” an item for purchase, perhaps the Friday prior to the fair. Since no decision was needed at this meeting, the issue was tabled.

 The next meeting will be on October 11, 2022 at 1:30 pm.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 2:55 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary