Minutes 2022 – 2023

Annisquam Sewing Circle Minutes 

June 6, 2023 – Annual Meeting

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Suzanne Brown called the meeting to order at 12:55 pm in the Village Hall. She and co-president Sue Harris reflected on the past year, noting the success of the various fund-raising events and thanking members for reliably stepping in to help when asked.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the May meeting was distributed to members to review prior to the meeting. No changes were made at the meeting. A motion to accept the secretary’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): Maria noted that the fiscal year ends on June 30, so there may be some activity during the remainder of June. The current available funds are $10,166.89 after donations to selected charities and scholarship awards having been distributed. There are some expenses and revenue expected from the Plant Sale and web page as well as the proceeds from today’s auction, which are not included in this report. During this fiscal year the ASC made contributions to seventeen charities and awarded two scholarships to Annisquam students. The total contributions to the community were: $25,000. A complete report is on file with these minutes. A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Correspondence Secretary’s Report (Kate Meader): Kate sent a card to Pat Makin for her 90th birthday. Also, Kate will send a card to Cynthia Borghesani, who is having hip surgery today.

Committee Reports

  • Finance Committee (Sue Willis): Sue has received thank you notes from many of the recipients of our recent donations, including the Good Neighbors, Rose Baker Senior Center, the Annisquam Village Church, The Open Door, and others.

Sue thanked members for letting her serve on the finance committee for so many years, and welcomed Gerry Herbert, who will be effective as chairman next term. Sue Harris thanked you to Sue Willis and Martha Hooper for working with Gigs and Lee Cunningham over Zoom during COVID.

  • Hospitality (Judy Gustin): Judy thanked those who made the desserts and fruit for today’s luncheon. Sue Willis thanked Judy for stepping in to chair the committee this year.
  • Membership Committee (Mimi Emmons): There are currently 53 members. Three new members were proposed and approved recently: Gina Milne, Heidi McGrath, and Karen Guerin. Mimi reminded those who sponsored members of their responsibility to orient and mentor them throughout the year. She noted that new members can be proposed using the nominating form on the Sewing Circle web site.
  • Nominating Committee (Stevie Neal): The nominating committee included Gigs Cunningham, Wendy Banks, and Stevie. They proposed the following slate or officers and committee chairs:

Recording Secretary: Stevie Neal (for a one-year term)

Finance Committee: Gerry Herbert

Hospitality Committee: Lida Bernard

Publicity/Web Site Liaison: Lisa Accardi

Nominating Committee: Wendy Banks as Chairman for 2023, Gigs Cunningham serving for a second year, and Kate Meader serving her first year.

A motion to accept the slate proposed by the Nominating Committee report was seconded and passed unanimously.

  • Scholarship Committee (Lee Cunningham): Jack Delaney and Tony Rose Babson were selected to be awarded $1,000 each in scholarship funds. A motion to accept the recommendation of the Scholarship Committee was seconded and passed unanimously.
  • Website (Lisa Accardi): Lisa has used Facebook and social media effectively to maintain visibility for the Sewing Circle’s events. She noted that word of mouth is still the best publicity.

Old Business

Unfinished Projects (Suzanne Brown): Meetings will resume in late August or early September, alternating between Thursday mornings and Tuesday afternoons to accommodate more members. Plans are developing for small workshops for beginners who want to learn the basics of knitting, smocking, or any other craft that interests the group.

May 20 Plant Sale: (Stevie Neal): The plant sale was a tremendous success, netting $1596 thus far, which is about $200 more than last year. The final accounting is still in progress.

Bake and Flower Sale (Sue Harris): The final event for the year is the Bake and Flower Sale on Friday, June 30, during the Farmers Market. Help is needed for set up and managing the day. An email will be sent to members asking for volunteers.

There was no new business.

In advance of the opening meeting on September 12, Sue asked members to vote on whether they would prefer to return to the library for future meetings, assuming COVID is not an issue. The vote was 17 for the Village Hall and 13 for the Library. A final decision will be made prior to the first meeting.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 1:17 pm.

Following the business portion of the meeting, there was a lively auction led by Maureen Quine, chief auctioneer, and her talented assistants: Sue Willis, Mimi Emmons, and Judy Gustin. Secretary’s note: Members were later informed that the auction earned $1,945.68, money that will be donated to organizations next year.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary

May 9, 2023

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Suzanne Brown called the meeting to order at 1:31 pm in the Village Hall. A moment of silence was observed in memory of Chicki Hollett (4/21/23) and Bill Friend (5/2/23). In keeping with established tradition, a donation of $50 will be made to the Annisquam Village Library in honor of Chicki.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the April meeting was distributed to members to review prior to the meeting. No changes were made at the meeting. A motion to accept the secretary’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): Maria was not at the meeting, but submitted following report in writing: The current banking account balance is $26,976.35, a decrease of $125.86 since the end of April, due to the expense for Easter flowers. There are no outstanding checks and there has been very little financial activity since the last meeting.

Correspondence Secretary’s Report (Kate Meader): The committee sent cards to Christine Lundberg, Maureen Quine, Chicki Hollett’s family, JoAnn Beck, and Bill Friend’s family.

Committee Reports

  • Finance Committee (Sue Willis): The Finance Committee met last week to finalize this year’s charitable donations. Sue thanked Martha Hooper for her leadership and the Sewing Circle members for completing the member survey; there were 48 responses in all. She also pointed out that the $17,000 being donated at this time is in addition to prior contributions this year to the Open Door and Doctors Without Borders. The recommendations are below. A motion to accept the report was made and seconded, and passed unanimously.

Action Shelter: $1,000

Annisquam Village Church (Maintenance): $1,500

Annisquam Village Hall (General Fund): $2,000

Backyard Growers: $600

Cape Ann Animal Aid $300

Cape Ann Museum $600

Cape Ann Youth Symphony Program $600

Gloucester Education Foundation $1,500

Good Neighbors Inc. $1,000

Grace Center $2,000

Mt. Adnah Cemetery $600

Open Door $1,200

Pathways for Children $1,000

Rose Baker Senior Center$ 600

Wellspring $1,000

YMCA-Cornerstone Program $1,500

  • Hospitality (Judy Gustin): Judy thanked Germaine Fritz and Dona Shea for providing the food for today’s tea, which is the last tea of the year. She also thanked Germaine for the floral arrangements on the buffet table.
  • Membership Committee (Mimi Emmons and Gigs Cunningham for Perry McIntosh): There were two member proposals, as follows:

Karen Guerin, proposed by Mimi Emmons. Karen is Mimi’s neighbor and has lived in Annisquam for six years, having moved here from Bolton. She is involved in the Annisquam Village Church and the Cape Ann Red Cross Blood Donors. Her interests are extensive – a full application was submitted to Perry McIntosh for follow-up.

A motion was made and seconded to accept Karen Guerin as a member of the Sewing Circle. It passed unanimously.

Heidi McGrath, proposed by Gigs Cunningham. Heidi is a 41-year resident of Annisquam. She has taught arts and crafts and knitting in the schools here, and at Boston Medical Center. She recently completed a six-year term on the board of Backyard Growers, is a docent and volunteer at the Cape Ann Museum, and volunteers at Cedar Rock Gardens. She has a wide variety of interests – a full application was submitted to Perry McIntosh for follow-up.

A motion was made and seconded to accept Heidi McGrath as a member of the Sewing Circle. It passed unanimously.

Perry will follow up with these new members and will invite them to annual meeting.

Nominating Committee (Stevie Neal): Wendy Banks, Gigs Cunningham, and Stevie are recruiting members to assume positions that are vacant and will have a full report at annual meeting. Current vacancies are Recording Secretary, Hospitality Chair, and Finance Chair.

Website (Lisa Accardi): Lisa is updating the website and asked every member to submit a current picture for the membership page. The May 20 plant sale has been promoted on all social media sites, and posters are being distributed this week. Sandwich boards will be installed as well. Lisa noted that the best publicity is by word of mouth.

Scholarship Committee (Lee Cunningham): There are two candidates applying for scholarships this year. A vote to award scholarships will be taken at annual meeting.

Old Business

Unfinished Projects: The last meeting before summer will be on Thursday, May 18 at 10:30 at Jill’s home. Jill will send an email with further details.

May 20 Plant Sale (Stevie Neal):  The plant sale will be held from 8:00 am – Noon on Saturday, May 20. Stevie circulated a signup sheet for member preorders, asking for replies no later than Monday, May 15. Volunteers will be recruited via email.

Annual Meeting (Sue Harris): Annual Meeting will take place on Tuesday, June 6 at noon in the Village Hall. Lunch will be served, then a meeting will be held to elect new officers, award scholarships, etc. Following the business meeting, there will be an auction to raise funds toward next year’s donations.

Bake and Flower Sale (Sue Harris): The sale will be held on Friday, June 30 at the Farmers Market. There will not be any sale in August this summer. More information will be announced at the annual meeting and via email.

New Business

Backyard Growers (Suzanne Brown): Suzanne took the opportunity to highlight the work of the Backyard Growers. This includes:

  • managing six community garden sites
  • offering gardening products for sale such as grow bags.
  • partnering with Seacoast Nursing & Rehabilitation to engage residents and patients in growing their own fresh food in the facility’s vegetable garden.
  • programs that provide 100% of Gloucester students from pre-school through 8th grade with direct, hands-on experiences in school gardens that have woven their way into the lives of thousands of kids.
  • Introducing an internship for high school students.
  • cooking workshops for 16-25-year-olds.

In response to an email she received from a local resident, Suzanne also delighted members with a demonstration on how to convert a t-shirt into a fashionable head wrap for those undergoing chemotherapy.

The next Sewing Circle meeting is annual meeting, scheduled for June 6 at noon in the Village Hall.

A motion to adjourn the meeting was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 2:40 pm.

Respectfully submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary


April 11, 2023

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Suzanne Brown called the meeting to order at 1:32 pm in the Village Hall. In her opening remarks she noted that two members volunteered to be co-presidents at a point when it looked like the ASC would be disbanded, and asked members to please “answer the call” when the nominating committee seeks to fill vacant positions in the coming weeks.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the March meeting was distributed to members to review prior to the meeting. No changes were made at the meeting. A motion to accept the secretary’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): There has been little financial activity since the March meeting, and the balance in the bank stands at $27,102.21. There are no outstanding checks and no expenses were paid in March. The Sewing Circle has made two donations to charity this year: $5,000 to the Open Door and $1,000 to Doctors without Borders. A full copy of the treasurer’s report is on file with these minutes. A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Correspondence Secretary’s Report (Sue Harris for Kate Meader): Sue read a card from the Teele’s thanking the Sewing Circle for the tulips they received. Sue noted that Judy Juncker started a tradition of using tulips at the church on Easter, then delivering them to various residents in the village. Stevie Neal does the legwork.

Committee Reports

  • Finance Committee (Sue Willis): Members will receive a survey by email this afternoon, the results of which will help advise the committee as they determine how funds will be distributed this year. A final vote on donations will be taken at the May meeting.
  • Hospitality (Judy Gustin): Thank you to Martha Hooper, Donna Caselden, and Stevie Neal for hosting tea at today’s meeting. Next month’s hosts will be Germaine Fritz and Dona Shea. Four volunteers are needed for the annual meeting luncheon.
  • Nominating Committee (Stevie Neal): A slate of board members will be presented for a vote at the annual meeting.
  • Scholarship Committee (Lee Cunningham): Jack Delaney and Toni Rose Babson have sent in letters of interest regarding a college scholarship from the Sewing Circle. A vote to issue the funds will be taken at a later meeting.

Old Business

Pie & Dough Workshop Report (Suzanne for Patricia Plevisani): Videos and recipes from last month’s workshop are on the web site. There is some talk of having a pizza workshop.

Unfinished Projects (Jill Lovejoy): Jill reminded members that they can bring any project to these meetings. The next meeting will be Tuesday, April 18 at 1:30 at Jill’s home.

May 20 Plant Sale (Stevie Neal): Volunteer signups will be sent to members at the end of April. It would be helpful if members preorder plants, especially geraniums.

New Business

June Annual Meeting: Tuesday, June 6 at Noon (Sue Harris): The annual meeting will take place in the Village Hall. A light lunch will be served prior to the meeting, followed by a fundraising auction. The new officers will be announced. Plans will also be discussed relative to the bake and flower sale in July. Sue asked members to think about auction offerings and let her and Suzanne know their ideas, which can be a service or tangible item.

 Bake and Flower Sale (Sue Harris): The sale will be held on June 30, the Friday prior to July 4th, at the Farmers’ Market. Details and sign-ups to follow.

The next Sewing Circle meeting is scheduled for May 9 at 1:30 pm in Village Hall auditorium.

A motion to adjourn the business portion of the meeting was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 1:47 pm.

 Guest Speaker

Erina McWilliams Lopez, Executive Director, YMCA Gloucester

Martha Hooper introduced Erina, who covered the following topics:

History of the YMCA:

George Williams founded the first YMCA in Industrial Revolution-era London, where he sought to create a supportive community to help young men like himself address pressing social challenges. The idea found a home in the U.S. seven years later at the Old South Church in Boston.

The mission of the YMCA:

Areas of focus include youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Examples of programs initiated by the Y include establishing a basketball college in Springfield; the Toastmasters club, which teaches public speaking and leadership skills; and Father’s Day, which was founded in Spokane, WA, at the YMCA in 1910.

On a personal level, Erina noted that her grandmother wanted to learn martial arts in Europe after WW II. The local Y was the only place where she could do so.

Cape Ann YMCA

Programs offered at the Y include typical activities such as cycling classes, aquatic sports, and group and individual fitness. Other programs include:

  • Work with all public schools in Gloucester and Rockport. Licensed after-school programs with intention and programing. A staff of inclusion specialists to teach social skills. Recess duty. Morning care in Rockport schools.
  • Camp Spindrift in summer.
  • Day Care at the Cape Ann Y.
  • Corner Stone program, a collaborative health and wellness program providing support to cancer patients, cancer survivors, and their immediate families. Initiatives include building cohorts, mindfulness activities, workouts, and get togethers.
  • Mental health services, a major focus of the Y. An annual gala serves as a fundraiser for the seven north shore Y’s (Cape Ann, Greater Beverly, Haverhill, Ipswich, Lynch/van Otterloo, Plaistow, and Salem).
  • Reciprocal membership to all North Shore YMCA facilities.
  • The former Cape Ann Y location will be redeveloped as the John J. Meany Senior Affordable Housing Project, creating 44 senior affordable housing units with services.


Member questions covered the following topics:

  • Corner Stone is still an area that can benefit from donations from the Sewing Circle.
  • Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program: Serves children in grades 1 – 3 for seven weeks in the summer. Students are in the classrooms during the day, except on Friday, when they come to camp Spindrift. The program is funded by a private circle of donors.
  • Literacy Program: Partners with local schools to provide transportation to the Y. Staffing is an issue at times. Teachers are funded by the school. Students are bused to the Y after school, then the Y takes care of expenses such as snacks or extra food (partnering with the Open Door).
  • Other initiatives in the works include an indoor/outdoor pool behind the Halyard Building complex, a creative art youth center, and a pickleball and/or a multi-use complex for sports.

Respectfully Submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary

March 14, 2023

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Sue Harris called the meeting to order at 1:35 pm in the Village Hall. She noted that, due to inclement weather, a video of the guest speaker from the Cape Ann Museum would be available to members.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the February meeting was distributed to members to review prior to the meeting. No changes were made at the meeting. A motion to accept the secretary’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): Since the February meeting, there was some income from dues, and a $1,000 donation was made to Doctors Without Borders. Currently, there is $27,102 available in the bank account. A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Correspondence Secretary’s Report (Kate Meader): In February, cards were sent to Vicki Bourneuf, Mary Warner (a second card), Chicki Hollett, Pam Saylor, and George Bird. Kate will send cards to Gina Milne and Lee Cunningham this month. Kate also thanked Suzanne Brown for designing the cards used to reach out to members.

Committee Reports

  • Finance Committee (Sue Harris): Sue announced that a representative from the Cape Ann Museum would speak at this meeting, the latest in a series of presentations arranged by the finance committee to inform members of the needs of local organizations. Sue has a list of recipients from the past few years to remind members when considering this year’s donations. Other suggestions are welcome. A survey regarding donations may be presented in April in order to give the committee time to sort through preferences in time for their presentation and member vote in May.

Members expressed a preference for completing an on-line survey as was done last year. Sue Harris will follow up with the Finance Committee.

  • Hospitality (Judy Gustin): Thank you to Lida Bernard, Mary Flaherty, and Lyn Fenollosa for hosting today’s tea. Next month’s hosts will be Donna Caselden, Martha Hooper, and Stevie Neal.
  • Membership Committee (Perry McIntosh): Perry announced that Sandra Caniff has resigned from the Sewing Circle. Currently there are three to four membership slots open.
  • Nominating Committee (Stevie Neal): The members of the nominating committee are Wendy Banks, Stevie Neal, and Gigs Cunningham. Currently the committee is looking for someone to chair the Finance Committee, the Hospitality Committee, and to serve as the Recording Secretary.
  • Scholarship Committee (Sue Harris for Lee Cunningham): Lee is working with eligible applicants for this year’s college scholarship awards. One member suggested an increase in the scholarship amount going forward, since the level has remained in place for several years. There was general agreement among those in attendance, and Sue agreed to consider this at a future meeting.
  • Website (Lisa Accardi): Images related to the upcoming plant sale have been posted on the Sewing Circle website.

Old Business

Pie & Dough Workshop Report and Sign Up (Patricia Plevisani): The workshop will be held on Monday, March 20 in the Village Hall kitchen. Patricia will demonstrate two different kinds of pie fillings, and two different doughs (phylo and pie dough). No supplies are needed from those who participate, and any contributions to offset Patricia’s costs are voluntary. Ideas from the workshop could be used for the summer bake sale.

New Business

May Plant Sale (Stevie Neal): The plant sale will be held on Saturday, May 20. Stevie and Bonnie Angus will be responsible for the logistics, and will inform members of the details in April.

Organizations List for our Philanthropic Giving (Suzanne and Sue): As mentioned earlier, the Finance Committee has asked for other organizations that might be considered as recipients for donations this year.

Adding the Annisquam Historical Society to the list of Non-profit organizations (Suzanne): Suzanne informed members that she has six boxes of archive material in her foyer, which is not the appropriate place to store Sewing Circle records. The Historical Society is making plans to accommodate the stagecoach in a new space when it returns, since the space it formerly occupied is now used for exhibits and meetings. Assuming they can raise enough funds, the Historical Society plans to build an addition to house the stagecoach. Otherwise, all exhibits and files will have to move to the second floor, where they will be much less accessible.

Sue endorsed Suzanne’s recommendation that the Sewing Circle contribute to the Annisquam Historical Society so that the documents could be housed in a local climate-controlled environment. This would be preferable to keeping records in private homes or at the Cape Ann Museum. The money from the Sewing Circle might also be used to digitize our documents as part of an ongoing effort managed by the Boston Public Library.

To follow up on this discussion, Suzanne will reach out to Peg Kohler and Holly Clay regarding the digitization process. Also, it was suggested that the Historical Society make a presentation to the Sewing Circle next year. 

Unfinished Projects: Suzanne reported that Jill Lovejoy would like to form a group called Unfinished Projects. Projects can be personal or something for the Christmas Fair. Meetings would take place on Tuesday afternoons at Jill’s home. Suzanne noted that there is fabric that was donated by Kari Gunn’s family for use by members. Jill will follow up with details related to the Unfinished Project group.


Sewing Circle member Dona Caselden will be exhibiting her work at the Gallery this summer.

The Cape Ann Shakespeare Company will perform Marlowe’s “King Edward II” in May. Rehearsals will be held the Village Hall throughout the spring.

The next Sewing Circle meeting is scheduled for April 11 at 1:30 pm in Village Hall auditorium.

A motion to adjourn the business portion of the meeting was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 2:00 pm.

Guest Speaker

Cathy Kelley, Education Manager, Cape Ann Museum

Cathy spoke to members about her role as education manager, working with the museum docents, whom she called “the heart of the museum.” As part of the outreach initiatives offered at the museum, she described a program, the Cape Ann Museum (CAM) Connection Program, designed for visitors who have Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or mobility issues. The initiative was launched in 2012, but paused during Covid. Active once again, the museum offers two tours per month for local groups who provide day care or residential care for this population.

Three or more docents host the groups and provide plenty of support throughout the tours. They welcome the visitors when they arrive, provide name tags and seats, and address other needs. The lead docent introduces the tour and the artists. Attendees are encouraged to engage in conversation through discussion question posed by the docents or by reflecting upon the content of the work being exhibited. Most importantly, the docents create an atmosphere of dignity and respect, allowing these visitors to have the time and space needed to experience the collection and connect with one other. During the discussion period Pippy Giuliano mentioned that a surprising, positive outcome of CAM Connections is that the caretakers who accompany the visitors often learn something new about their “charge”.

The CAM Connection Program is part of the docent program and is funded by private donations and the museum’s endowment. Pippy noted that the Sewing Circle donated money in the past which was earmarked for hearing devices.

In response to a question, Cathy said that the museum is looking for docents There will be training this spring for 20 new docents, a process that requires two hours, one morning per week for eight weeks. The upcoming Hopper exhibit will make this a busy summer.

Respectfully Submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary

February 14, 2023

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Suzanne Brown called the meeting to order at 1:30 pm in the Village Hall, and wished everyone a happy Valentine’s Day.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the January meeting was distributed to members to review prior to the meeting. Some changes were submitted at that point, but no further changes were made at the meeting. A motion to accept the secretary’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): Currently there is a balance of $28,082 in the checking account. There are no outstanding invoices. Maria reminded members that the Sewing Circle made a $5,000 donation to The Open Door at the end of 2022. This spring, scholarships will be awarded to high school seniors who apply, and donations will be made to local philanthropies. Typically, the Sewing Circle maintains $10,000 in reserve to cover expenses related to the Christmas Fair preparation. A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Correspondence Secretary’s Report (Sue Harris for Kate Meader): Cards were sent to Peg Kohler (knee), Vicki Bourneuf (knee and grandchild) and Christine Lundberg (shoulder).

Committee Reports

  • Finance Committee (Sue Willis): The Finance Committee would like to donate to a relief agency serving the victims of the recent earthquake in Turkey and Syria. They recommend that the donation prioritize those in need in Syria, since Turkey is better funded. The committee would choose between Doctors Without Borders, the International Red Cross, UNICEF, World Kitchen, or another well-known charity, and would donate $1,000. A motion to donate $1,000 to a “reputable” organization to be decided by the committee for earthquake relief was made, seconded and passed unanimously.
  • Hospitality (Judy Gustin): Judy thanked Peg Ris, Pat Makin, and Lisa Accardi for hosting today’s tea. Next month’s hosts will be Lida Bernard, Deb Byrd, Mary Flaherity, and Chicky Hollett.
  • Membership Committee (Perry McIntosh): There are no membership applications pending.
  • Scholarship Committee (Sue Harris for Lee Cunningham): Lee has been in touch with the four eligible high school seniors to help them with the application process.

Old Business

Legacy Membership (Sue Harris): Sue Harris and Suzanne Brown will organize a committee to pursue the idea of a legacy membership category, rather than hold an open discussion at a monthly Sewing Circle meeting. Recommendations from that committee, either for or against the concept, would be presented to the larger membership at a future meeting. Anyone interested should contact Sue or Suzanne.

 New Business

Brainstorming Meeting hosted by Patricia Plevisani (Sue Harris): At least ten committee chairs from the Christmas Fair met to discuss ideas for next year’s fair. Anyone interested in participating in a follow-up session should contact Sue or Suzanne.

One idea that was suggested was a pie and dough workshop. Pies are extremely popular at the Christmas Fair and the Farmers Market. Patricia offered to host a training workshop in the Village Hall on how to make a pie to sell. The workshop will take place on Monday, March 20, from noon to 2:00 pm. Anyone interested can sign up at next monthly meeting.


The next meeting will be on March 14 at 1:30 pm.

A motion to adjourn the business portion of the meeting was made, seconded, and passed unanimously.

Guest Speakers: Wellspring

Melissa Dimond, President and Executive Director

Lisa Robinson, Director of Development

Melanie Murray-Brown, Director of External Relations & Development

Melissa introduced herself and her colleagues. She has been the executive director at Wellspring for eight years, and a resident of Gloucester since 1998. She then gave a brief description of some of Wellspring’s initiatives.

The mission of Wellspring is to inspire families and adults on the North Shore to achieve employment and financial security through stable housing, education, job training and career readiness. At the core of their services is Wellspring House, an emergency shelter for families in need. Additional services at Wellspring include homelessness prevention assistance, adult basic education, job training, and career and educational planning to low-income adults. Approximately 1,200 families are associated with Wellspring in some way.

Wellspring helps families avoid short-term financial crises, or continue with training and employment programs. These programs include preparation for high school equivalency tests, help navigating the job market, and English Language Learning classes at the Sawyer Free Library.

Wellspring’s annual budget is $3MM. Funding for operations comes from both public and private sources. The state helps families for one year through a homelessness prevention program, but Wellspring seeks to work with them for closer to two years to guide them through finding housing, training, jobs, and other needs. Other income comes from contracted work with other organizations and from property owned by Wellspring.

Members asked how to help. Melissa described some options for volunteers. Complete information can be found on their website: Wellspring or by contacting Melanie Murray-Brown, or Lisa Robinson.

Respectfully Submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary

January 10, 2023

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Suzanne Brown called the meeting to order at 1:30 pm in the Village Hall. A moment of silence was observed to honor Alden Nichols. Suzanne reminded the group that it is the tradition to donate $50 to the village library with the passing of any member. A motion to do so was seconded and passed unanimously.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the November was distributed to members to review prior to the meeting. There were no corrections. A motion to accept the secretary’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): The Sewing Circle donated $5,000 to The Open Door, which was matched with another $5,000 donation, bringing the total impact to $10,000. The Christmas Fair was very successful, generating a net profit of $17,634. Maria reported revenues by category, although the totals are somewhat approximate, a combination of those captured by the sales slips and numbers from the table chairs. In any case, the total revenues and costs are accurate. A copy of the treasurer’s report is on file with these minutes. A motion to accept the treasurer’s report was seconded and passed unanimously.

Co-president Sue Harris read a letter from Val Gilman, congratulating the Sewing Circle on the success of the Christmas Fair, and another letter from the Annisquam Historical Society (Rita Teele) thanking it for use of the Leonard Club room during the fair so the Society could sell merchandise.

Committee Reports

Correspondence Secretary’s Report (Kate Meader): Notes were sent to the following people: Maggie Stevens, Lance Banks, Alden Nichols’ family, Dona Shea, Judy Gustin, Mary Warner, Joanne Beck, Hazel von Rosenvinge, and Jaye Whittier. Kate also thanked those that donated scarfs, mittens, and hats to The Open Door.
Hospitality (Sue Harris for Judy Gustin): This was the first high tea since COVID impacted our meeting protocol in 2019. Sue thanked Connie Mason for setting up today’s beautiful high tea, and Judi Gustin and Jackie Littlefield for their contributions. It’s still not clear when we will be meeting again in the Library. Peg Ris, Pat Makin, and Lisa Accardi volunteered to host the tea in February.

Finance Committee (Sue Willis): The committee has scheduled speakers from various community organizations to speak to the Sewing Circle over the coming months. Members who know of a charity to be considered for donations should let the committee know. Final votes for donations will be in May or June.
Membership Committee (Perry McIntosh): There are no new candidates under consideration, although there is still room for additional members. The nomination form is on the web site. Perry reminded members to be sure to inform candidates about the responsibilities they must meet when joining the Sewing Circle. That information is in the bylaws, on the web site.

Scholarship Committee (Sue Harris for Lee Cunningham): There are four high school seniors who will receive application information from the Sewing Circle to apply for a $1,000 tuition grant: Will Andrew, Mack Trotman, Toni Rose Babson, and Jack Delaney. If members know of any other seniors in the village, please contact Lee.
Website (Lisa Accardi): Lisa thanked those who “liked” Sewing Circle posts on Facebook.

Old Business

Christmas Fair Debriefing
Sue Harris congratulated everyone on the success of this year’s fair, noting that it felt like a whole new event after the two-year COVID hiatus. Sue asked committee chairs to report on their experience this year: what worked, and what changes should be considered or implemented. Below is a summary of the remarks. Note that each committee head took time to thank those that helped with setup, managing the tables during the fair, and item contributions made by members.

Hospitality During Greens Week (Sue Harris reporting for Judy Gustin): Keep things simple. Offer coffee, bottled water, or cider and simple snacks. Setup and cleanup are absolutely necessary. Keep in mind that the fair happens at a busy time for everyone in their homes.

Wreaths (Stevie Neal): The wreath sales were a tremendous success, thanks to those who signed up to help each morning, and the finished wreaths were beautiful. Preparation of the bows and pinecones went well. All 250 wreaths sold by 11:30. In the future, members who plan to buy a wreath should order them ahead of time so they can be sold independently from the day of the fair and not impact those wreaths that could be sold to the public. The committee donated wreaths to the following: The Grace Center, The Open Door, The Rose Baker Senior Center, Sarah Hackett, Alden Nichols’ daughter, and Doris Rust.

Centerpieces and Boxwoods (Lyn Fenollosa): Lyn thanked her team, especially Jill Lovejoy, who is the co-chair and designs Connie Mason’s boxwood trees in addition to helping with the other pieces. Lyn suggested there be one group that organizes the centerpieces, rings, and mugs, and another to manage the boxwood trees. The mugs were very popular and sold out. Members can donate (clean!) mugs for next year. The space in the Leonard Club is a optimal work space, allowing the boxwood, tools, and decorations to be contained and accessible in one room.

Take Out Casseroles (Mimi Emmons): The committee recommends discontinuing the sit-down luncheon, as they did this year. Doing so made the day of the fair less hectic, both in the kitchen and in the hall in terms of cleaning up from the fair and setting up for a luncheon. The committee cooked and sold 81 casseroles. There is no need for any more than that since there is not much interest outside the Sewing Circle. Precooked chicken worked well, but the meat must be removed from the bone by those that donate them. Prices for supplies have gone up by almost 30%, which cut into profits, although the casseroles made as much money as the sit-down luncheon has in previous years.
The committee undertook a much needed clean out of the kitchen, discarding out of date supplies and foodstuffs that had accumulated over the years. Thanks to the Village Hall Association, a professional cleaner was hired to do a final cleaning.

The committee needs to use the refrigerator/freezer on the first floor since the one in the upstairs kitchen doesn’t hold the temperature during the casserole preparation process.

There needs to be a better, more accurate, method for collecting money and tracking sales. Perhaps one member could be assigned to this task.

Crafts (Gigs Cunningham): Gigs thanked everyone for the variety and quality of the crafts donated to the fair this year, and highlighted some of those that were particularly popular. The Grace Murray hat sold for $400. The needlepoint group made 30 ornaments which sold for $60 each. There were sweaters from Sue Lannin, hats from Annie Storr, 19 lingerie bags made by Patricia Plevisani, and a wide variety of note cards, all of which sold well. As always, when donating items to the craft table, Gigs recommends members make something they’d keep themselves or give to a friend.

It is helpful if donors name the item, set a minimum price, and include care instructions and fabric content.

Hats and scarfs weren’t as popular this year. Perhaps there were too many? Too expensive? Too coarse? The committee will put the excess items in the Exchange for sale.

The glass ornaments didn’t sell well, perhaps because the snow pattern was too generic.

Gourmet Foods (Wendy Banks): There was a great variety of items in attractive packages, resulting in brisk sales at the gourmet table. All the items were sold in the first hour of the fair, so clearly there is a need for more next year. Cakes sold for between $20-$25 apiece. The pies sold out, but only one was cherry; the rest were pecan. Nisu sold for $15 apiece. There were lots of cookies and brownies, some of which were gluten free, which was well received. All the sauces and jams sold, even though there were plenty in stock. The committee would like to sell cocoa cones next year, as they have in the past. Betsey Colby offered to lead the effort, perhaps offering a workshop.

Jewelry (Sue Harris for Donna Caselden): The committee noted that there was plenty of jewelry, and many items were left after the fair ended. It’s possible people didn’t understand how to access the table, which was on the stage. Next year the committee would like to use a larger table and move it down to the floor so it is more visible to shoppers.

Grab Bags (Gerry Herbert for Jackie Littlefield): Gerry noted that even though the grab bag table is popular and all the donated items were bought, sales were only $400. A brief discussion followed. A suggestion was made to raise the price per item, although one of the features of the grab bag table is that the items are inexpensive, “take what you get” items. Sue Willis argued that $400 is a reasonable goal for the table if every member donated three items and each item sold for $3. Another suggestion was to add categories such as housewares, garden, kitchen, tools, etc. Children grabs are the least popular.

Sewing Group (Patricia Plevisani): Patricia thanked those who helped make stars for the Starry Tree, particularly Holly Perry. Given how small the group was and how many stars were left over, however, the committee does not recommend this item again next year. Also, it’s not clear if the tree might come back from Seacoast; Jocelyyn Ramella will follow up with them. There was general support for the tree initiative in the discussion that followed, particularly since the tree brought in $1767 on the day of the fair. Rosalie Hughes was credited for her savvy solicitation efforts, including stickers for those who donated.

If the tree is included in next year’s fair, a member suggested we have Santa sit by the tree to welcome young shoppers. A lively discussion ensued regarding who would play Santa! If the tree is not part of the fair next year, perhaps the group could make smaller stars for decorating presents.

Patricia supports regular meetings throughout the year in the Village Hall to have craft time and promote fellowship among members. She also recommended the committee heads meet regularly from now on to start planning for next year’s fair.

Sales Slips and Checkout Procedures (Maria Marolda): Maria recommended the sales slips be redesigned if proceeds are to be broken down by table. There were some suggestions voiced at the meeting, and it was agreed that this issue could be resolved at a later time.

To be sure a procedure is in place, the committee recommends that next year all table managers arrive 15 minutes early on day of fair to be trained on how to use the sales slips. Also, prices for all items should be full dollar amounts!

Check out during the first hour of the fair was chaotic. The committee recommended two stations that mirror one another, each with someone to total the sales slips, someone to accept cash or checks, and someone to run the credit card machine.

The wreaths and casseroles committees should be consulted as to the best procedure for collecting money.

New Business

Legacy Membership (Perry McIntosh): Perry introduced the concept of a legacy membership category. This would be available to a daughter or granddaughter who is interested in joining the Sewing Circle, but would not impact the maximum allowed members. Sue Harris suggested that any legacy member would not have to live in Annisquam or Gloucester. There was some concern among members regarding the level of responsibility a legacy member would need to meet. There was no vote taken on this matter.

The next meeting will be on February 14 at 1:30 pm. For those who want to gather beforehand to work on projects, they can do so at 12:30.

A motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 2:40 p.m.

Good Neighbors Presentation
Good Neighbors President Pammy Saylor updated members on the organization and some of the initiatives being implemented. The committee is addressing two central questions: 1. Who are we now? 2. How should Good Neighbors assist residents now that Gloucester no longer supports a CERT team in Gloucester (Distress Response)?

Who are we now?
Good Neighbors will distribute a new informational brochure to the community. Designed by Penny Neal, this brochure replaces one that has been in use for the past eight years. Topics include “Our Commitment”, “What we Do”, “Ways to Help”, and “Board of Directors”. A registration card insert is included as well.
Many traditional events involve in-person gatherings. Due to COVID concerns, the winter dinner has been put on hold, and the focus will be on “fun” events. Recent events have included celebrating Doris Rust’s 99th birthday; a Secret Santa drive with 35 elves serving 44 people, and a community noise event on New Year’s Eve.
Collation care will continue. This includes planning and coordinating with the family, set up, clean up, and providing baked goods.
Distress Response
All sexism aside, Good Neighbors reached out to a number of gentlemen for their strength to help with physical tasks. These include safety measures during snow storms and help with event setup and cleanup. This outreach brought a younger population of residents into Good Neighbors initiatives. Ron Beck will help Good Neighbors connect with the city and advocate for our needs.
Good Neighbors will continue to coordinate rides to medical appointments for residents.

How to help
Good Neighbors hopes to de-emphasize the concept of official membership in favor of creating a community-wide group of helpers. Anyone interested in the various activities should complete the sign-up form in the brochure, including information that the group might find helpful in case of an emergency. This could include snow-clearing equipment, generators, or names of household occupants (including pets).
Donations are the only source of income for the organization.

Respectfully Submitted,

Janet Langer, Recording Secretary


November 8, 2022

Call to order and welcome: Co-president Sue Harris called the meeting to order at 1:30 pm in the Village Hall. Members were encouraged to continue preparing bows and pine cones for the Christmas Fair wreathes during the meeting. Co-president Suzanne Brown shared a bit of history from Charlotte Lane’s journal: During the fall of 1887 a group of women decided the best way to help their neighbors was to join together. In 1882 they sold items from a grab bag at 10¢ per piece ($3.85 today). In 1889, the one person still living in Dogtown had to be carried out and taken to the poorhouse. As Suzanne concluded, what we do and where we donate our money is impactful to the community.

Secretary’s Report (Janet Langer): A copy of the secretary’s report from the October meeting was distributed to members for review prior to today’s meeting. There were no additions or corrections. A motion to accept the minutes was made, seconded, and passed unanimously

Treasurer’s Report (Maria Marolda): Last month’s income was $552.25, from dues and sweaters sold at the Exchange on behalf of the Sewing Circle. The Sewing Circle donated $5,000 to The Open Door in October. The current checking account balance is $10,337.30.

There were two announcements related to the member directory:

  • Members can pick up directories and pay their dues at the library during opening hours.
  • Changes to the directory: Lyn Fenollosa’s email is [email protected]. Sue Harris asked members to call her cell phone, not her home phone, to reach her.
  • Committee Reports
  • Correspondence Secretary (Kate Meader): Cards were sent to Martha Hooper and Jackie Littlefield, both of whom had medical issues recently. Members welcomed Martha to the meeting.
  • Hospitality (Stevie Neal): Judy Gustin will assume leadership of the Hospitality Committee in January for the rest of the term. Maggie Stevens is scheduled for knee surgery and can’t continue as chairwoman. Signup sheets will be circulated today for help during greens week. and for January’s meeting. Thank you to Wendy Banks, Joline Hentschel, and Nancy Davis for today’s goodies.
  • Finance (Sue Willis): The Open Door was extremely grateful for the fall donation, which arrived in time to take advantage of a matching gift grant. They sent a thank you note to Martha Hooper.
  • Web Site (Lisa Accardi): Lisa thanked members who contributed images of crafts from previous Christmas Fairs. Plans are in place for publicizing this year’s fair with informational posts on social media and local outlets such as Good Morning Gloucester, Next Door Neighbor, the Annisquam Village web site and The Sewing Circle web site.
    • Publicity (Chicki Hollett): Updated Christmas Fair posters will be left in the Village Hall for groups that meet during the week. A banner is hanging on the Village Hall building. Smaller posters are being printed and will be displayed at locations around the city. Jocelyn Ramella announced that the Annisquam Sewing Circle has been invited to appear on Channel 13. It was suggested that this occur one week prior to the Christmas Fair in order to have the greatest impact on attendance.
    • Membership (Perry McIntosh): The Sewing Circle has 52 active members. Dona Caselden submitted an application for Gina Milne. Gina has been a full time Annisquam resident for six years and was a summer resident twenty years before that. She has a wide range of interests, including interior design, roses, bee keeping, and wine. A motion was made and seconded to accept Gina as a member. It passed unanimously. Perry noted that two spots for membership still remain.

Old Business

Knitting Group (Suzanne Brown for Jill Lovejoy): The group will meet on November 22.

Christmas Fair

  • Starry Tree Fundraiser: Sue repeated an announcement she had made at the Village Hall Association meeting Monday night: The Starry Tree Fundraiser is a three-way win opportunity for Annisquam Village, Seacoast Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, and the organizations in greater Gloucester that receive donations from the Sewing Circle. Donna Shea donated a Christmas tree, which will be decorated with stars created by the sewing group and displayed at the Christmas Fair. Tax deductible contributions will be collected at the Fair in honor of the fact that “some of us are actually sewing.” The fully decorated and lit tree will be donated to Seacoast at the conclusion of the fair. Proceeds from donations will be added to the funds distributed to organizations in greater Gloucester.
  • Sue noted that this year many members cannot participate in the Fair, due to illness or other personal challenges. They will be contacted and asked to donate to the Starry Tree in lieu of participating in workshops, donating crafts, or helping at the Fair itself.
  • Greens (Stevie Neal): Thanks to everyone who has already signed up for Greens Week. Currently, the focus is on making 250 bows for the wreaths. Stevie will be taking special orders for greens prior to the fair. Members can email Stevie with those requests.
  • Luncheon (Mimi Emmons): Mimi circulated two sign-up sheets: one for 25 – 30 volunteers to donate chicken for the recipe; the second for meal orders. The committee will make 100 meals, which can be frozen for future use. The entrées will be prepared Monday through Friday during the work week, and help is needed. The meals feed 2 – 3 people and will be sold for $18.00 each. The committee will also be selling coffee and commercial donut holes at the chicken table during the Fair.
  • Crafts (Gigs Cunningham): Gigs thanked everyone who has contributed crafts thus far. She reminded members that all submissions should include the creator’s name, any special care instructions, a suggested price, and whether it should be returned if it isn’t sold. Otherwise it will be donated to a local organization.
  • Gourmet Foods (Sue Harris for Wendy Banks): A signup sheet was circulated for volunteers to contribute to the food table.
  • Jewelry (Vicki Bourneuf and Donna Caselden): There have been lots of jewelry donations so far, but more are needed by Monday of green’s week.
  • Grab Bags (Sue Harris for Jackie Littlefield): Every member should donate three items: one appropriate for a man, woman, child, or pet. There are plenty of items for children already.
  • New Business

Deb Byrd reminded members that we are a baking as well as a sewing group. New members can pair up with someone to create a craft or baked goods. “Don’t be daunted – play to your strengths.”


A motion to adjourn was made, seconded, and passed unanimously at 2:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Janet Langer, Recording Secretary

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 https://www.digitalcommonwealth.org/book_viewer/commonwealth:3r077d610

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 https://theannisquamsewingcircle.com/ 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