Saturday, December 31, 2011

12/31/11 at least I'm updating ...

Heading into a new year in just a few hours, I have been thinking that I really need to update my blogging. Oh, I can't say that I have done nothing - on the contrary, I have been very busy - just not doing the things that I necessarily would like to do.

The main area of focus has been my work here in-country with Peace Corps. I have 2 distinct areas, post disaster response and a budding women's group. It is the women's group that has overwhelmed at times. This is a wonderful group of women in a town that was overwhelmed by flooding a year ago. Water still is found in many homes, in the fields, etc. These women of all ages recognize that they need something to keep their minds off, even if for only a short time, their difficulties and the possibility of it happening again this year. (All photos were taken by a 9y/o boy who loves to play with my camera).
This group of women wanted to learn "new things" and "to have a home business" that would provide employment for them and their families as well as to simply have a "get together" where they could chat and have fun. And what a time we have had - we have even managed to bring together groups that do not normally talk to one another with requests from other parts of town to do the same.

One of the things that all of the women wanted to do was to learn how to cross-stitch. So off I went scavenging for plastic canvas to teach them on. But they had to have a project that could be done with this canvas. So handbags, clutch bags, and purses were the order of the day for them. And produce they did. Once their stitching was learned, we went on to stitching on aida cloth. Aida is available here in white and cream and only 14-count. I found an old CD on the road, picked it up and challenged them - make an ornament using the CD inside for form and stability. Taking a folder, I add patterns that are
free online for them. 

We made bags, decorations, and anything else that they wanted. One of the things however, that I think would be a good "cottage industry" for them is making coiled fabric baskets. I made a small one up and  introduced them to it. Finding the cotton cording was somewhat of a challenge but once found, they were off and running. It is interesting because these women all know how to do things, they just need incentive and examples. I don't teach them step by step, but rather a general "this is how you do it", "these are the supplies", now use your imagination. And they do!

Along with the women came the proverbial niƱos or children. They accompany their mother wherever and whenever and as such we had to come up with activities for them. So, in essence, we are doing 2 distinct groups: women and children ranging in age from 3 to 15, all like sponges, soaking up whatever we have given them. We started with simple coloring and went on to making ornaments, FruitLoop jewelry, popsicle stick items, paper chains, hats and boats, to name a few. And of course, at the end of it all, certificates of attendance for all with potato salad with chicken, cake and soda. All held together with a promise that the "tallers" or workshops will continue in the new year. 

On the home front, I had to make demonstrations of all projects and that pretty much took up all the time that I had available for the last 4 months. For each idea I had to make a "show n tell" item plus a partially made one to show how it is done.

Just a few of the things that had to be made in many parts.

As a result, I still haven't finished the one quilt top that I pieced "Stairway to Dreams" as seen in the October 1 blog; nor have I finished the Enchanted Sleigh, nor the Santa ornaments, nor the Christmas blocks and definitely no the finishing touches to the Halloween blocks. Oh, I have made some progress, completing segments, but not finished. Then too I haven't done any traveling like I did in Panama.

So what does the new year bring? Why always, new projects, UFO's to complete and an attempt to find the time in between work and play, to get them done! Happy crafting everyone.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Merry Christmas

I can not believe that so much time has gone by yet again. I can say that a few things have been accomplished but mostly in the Peace Corps mode, not the personal mode.

But today, I am here to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous, joyful 2012. May all your wishes, hopes and dreams become reality. There are definitely miracles out there, albeit tiny all the way to gigando. For my husband, family and I the miracle of good health and the ability to enjoy life to the fullest is in the forefront.