September 14, 2014

Kiva - August 2014

Hello and welcome back!  I'm quite excited about my August donation.  I've been wanting to support an educational cause for some time now and Rosalba's story really jumped out.

Rosalba (Colombia)

A loan of $800 helps Rosalba to buy educational material for the children in her daycare.

Rosalba is a community mother who dedicates her life to helping others. She works with children, caring for them while their mothers work. They are low income people and have government help. Her work is to be admired, because it is not well paid. Her services provide her with what she needs to live. She doesn't seek luxuries, she only wants to offer a service.

She is asking for a loan to buy educational materials for the children. It is a beautiful thing that Rosalba will help all the people who have children with the loan, paying for it with a great community united for the same cause.

Her dream is to get ahead with her family and to see those neighborhood children grow and to guide them down the right path.

I'm happy to say that I was one of the final people to fulfill Rosalba's loan amount.  I also wanted to share with you a new video that perfectly demonstrates the brilliance behind Kiva:

Join Kiva today!

September 10, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Hello, hello!

I'm excited to announce that I've finally started on the final month blocks for my Nice People, Nice Things embroidery quilt!  Last weekend I stitched up the first picture block - so cheery.

 One down, eleven more to go!

Linking up to Freshly Pieced:


September 08, 2014

Happy B-Lated B-Day Card

Hello, hello!

I recently bought a fantastic new punch - Fiskars' large hexagon punch, which was the inspiration for this rather belated birthday card.  I knew I wanted to have some fun playing around with my new toy and naturally when one thinks of hexagons, one tends to think of honeycombs.  A little play on words with the bee theme and I was off!

I kept the background a simple cream with some mist and gold lame spatters and a machine stitched, wobbly border.  For the hexies I used a bold geometric print paper.  Next I stamped the sentiment directly onto the background and finally layered up my bee sticker plus some gold sequins and rhinestones to suggest glittering honey.  And of course the little bee needed some whimsical flight lines.

Oh, and I couldn't resist adding in a little 'Hope you had a 'sweet' birthday' in the sentiment.  ;)

Kiva - July 2014

Okay, last catch-up on my recent Kiva loans (can I still claim it's recent, even if I'm a month late in posting?)

Andres (Mexico)

A loan of $4,625 helped Andres to produce organic cucumber.

Andres is a 24-year-old rural entrepreneur from Yecapixtla, México. Andres has been working for Truequio, a cooperative that produces organic cucumber for the past 2 years.

Andres is asking for a loan to start producing organic cucumber on his own and become part of the cooperative he now works for. With this loan, he will be able to rent a greenhouse and buy seeds and some machinery.

Laura, Andres’s 22-year-old sister will help him with the cucumber. They are the first two members of their family to earn a college degree and instead of looking for a job away from their hometown they want create jobs in their community.

Laura and Andres still live in their parents’ house where they have set up a small greenhouse in order to try different types of seeds and agricultural practices. Andrés and Laura’s goal is to earn enough money to buy their own greenhouse and expand their production and employ more people in their community.

September 05, 2014

Odense Quilt Exhibition

Are you ready for some photo love?

Last weekend my quilt guild took a day trip to Odense, Denmark for the Danish guild's quilt exhibition.  Quilting and sewing vendors from throughout Scandinavia and Northern Europe were there, along with a lovely exhibition of completed quilts on display.  It was a lovely day out and my friends and I couldn't believe just how quickly the day passed by.

A glimpse among the vendor stalls.

Despite all of wonderful shops, I kept my shopping to a minimum (let's be honest, I really don't need anything more right now...)  Here's my very modest haul for the day: 1m of adorable fox and raccoon fabric, a Fiskars hexie punch (for both scrapbooking and quilting), a brooch and a bottle of Best Press starch (Carribean Sea scent).

 And then on to the exhibition...

The Danish guild had organised a themed challenge featuring bicycles and what amazing projects were created for it!  I did quite enjoy the first place winner (below), just a shame that the lovely hand stitched details were rather lost in the distance.

#1 Winner

#1 Winner - Detail

This was my favourite, the third place winner.  The stamp design is such a clever idea and the black, white and red makes for a dramatic contrast.  The details are just so exact and I love the embroidery on the skirt guard and the metal accents for the bolt nuts.

#3 Winner - My Favourite!

And with this being the centennial of WWI, poppies are all the rage right now, as seen by these stunning beauties.

This particular poppy quilt was just stunning - an art quilt with layering that played with the light and shadows, cut into sections and held together with fancy hooks and eyes.

And another amazing art quilt:

And how about this inchie quilt?

Or how about embroidered bees with 3-dimensional, stitched wings?

And the patchwork quilts were equally fantastic, such as this rainbow beauty:

And of course I had to have a photo of this colourful quilt with the cute owls in the top and bottom borders:

And this applique quilt was truly mind-bloggingly:

Now just looking forward to my own guild's exhibition end of this month.

September 03, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Welcome back to another WIP Wednesday!

I've been continuing to make more progress on my Nice People, Nice Things embroidery blocks and have completed the phrases for month #8 - whoot!

Nice People, Nice Things - phrases #8

I always find the phrases harder to get through than the pictures because let's face it, they're not nearly as interesting or pretty as the pictures.  But they're done and just one more month's worth of blocks to go.  In the home stretch now!

Linking up to Freshly Pieced:

August 31, 2014

Group Role Cards - TpT

Wait, what?

Is that what you just asked yourself?  What's this post all about?  It's not quilting or scrapbooking related...

That's true, it's not.  However, you might recall that earlier in August I posted about a little make-over here on the blog.  What began as a bit of a cosmetic face-lift has steadily been morphing into branching out on the content, too, so I hope you enjoy the new variety (feel free to drop me a comment!).

For all you fellow primary teachers out there, I have a new resource available on my TpT store that I hope you will find useful in your classrooms - Group Role Cards.

My class this year really needs to work on their group work skills so I'll be using these role cards extensively.  The set comes with six cards on bright and cheery polka dot backgrounds.  Each card clearly explains the role's jobs / responsibilities in an easy-to-read format.  Additionally, each card also lists the IB Learner Profile, Attitudes and/or Transdisciplinary Skills related to the role.

Roles include:
  • Facilitator
  • Secretary
  • Mediator
  • Resource Manager
  • Investigator
  • Time Keeper
The cards are designed to be printed on A4 (landscape) paper, then cut into A5-sized cards.  Laminate and punch a hole in the corner to clip together for long-term use and easy storage.  Since I'm an IB teacher, these obviously align with the IBO curriculum.

Now that all the formal and official info is out there, I need to gush a little.  I'm SO chuffed with myself!  I finally sat down and figured out how to make pretty resources using PowerPoint (yeah, it was one of those 'Well, duh!' moments when I researched it...)  But never mind that, now armed with this new knowledge, I will be happily creating more pretty and eye-catching resources in the future.

And of course, if you download and use these role cards, I'd love to hear back from you - did the quality measure up to what you would expect?  Did you find them useful in the classroom?  Any tweaks or considerations to suggest (bearing in mind that I'm still new at the whole PPT design element)?

Cheers and happy group work!

August 29, 2014

Just One Slab - A Follow-Up

Hello, hello!

This post has been a long time in coming.  Last summer southern Alberta suffered a horrible flood that caused great damage and thousands of people lost their homes; absolutely tragic.  Among the many who jumped to their aid was Cheryl Arkison of Dining Room Empire, who organised and led not only local Albertan quilters but international quilters into creating relief quilts for flood victims and I'm so proud to count myself among the many contributors.  I wanted to take a little time to reflect back on this amazing project and share with you Cheryl's update posts throughout the project.

I first stumbled across Cheryl's "Just One Slab" project last July, which you can see in this post.  The project immediately grabbed my interest (and heart) and I was hooked.  Within a day or two, I had already whipped up 7 slabs and was so excited.  Incidentally, I totally fell in love with the green and orange slab blocks so I kept them for my own slab quilt and then sewed two replacement blocks for the charity.  Within the week they were winging their way from Sweden to Alberta...

Throughout the last year, Cheryl has periodically updated her own blog on the progress of the Just One Slab project.  In her Round 1 Update you can see the amazingly beautiful rainbow coloured piles of slab blocks and some of the first few quilt tops created from the donations.  I just love this photo; it gives me warm fuzzy feelings:

Then in her Round 2 Update you can see a large number of completed quilt tops.  In fact, I even spied one of my contributed blocks - so exciting!  Check it out:

Bottom row, second block from the left - that's mine!

How cool is that?!  Out of the 9 blocks I made and sent, I actually found one used in a quilt!  Pretty impressive when you consider that the project received over 2000 blocks!  More cool stats about the project can be found in this post (along with some more photos, of course).

Eventually delivery day came...  This is such a heart-warming post you just need to read it for yourself.  So lovely, too, to see all of the delivery volunteers and the children getting involved.  There is also something just simply beautiful to me about this photo; I can't describe what it is but I just love it:

And finally, Cheryl herself looks back on the wrapping up of the project one year on from its conception.  Yes, even after an entire year, the last few slabs are still going into quilt tops and will find homes with those who need them.

Thank you, Cheryl, for the opportunity to reach out, help those in need and join in your truly inspiring initiative.  I feel truly grateful to have been a part of making a difference and paying it forward.

August 27, 2014

WIP Wednesday

Yup, it's that time again - WIP Wednesday!

I've been stitching away here and there and it's been adding up:

Nice People, Nice Things #8

Yes, that's right - month 8's picture blocks are completed!  Just one more month's worth of picture and phrase blocks left to go...and then I'll need to decide what/how I'm going to proceed from there (I sense fabric shopping on the horizon!)

Linking up to Freshly Pieced:

Now your turn!

August 25, 2014

Kiva - June 2014

Continuing to catch myself up on sharing my Kiva project, today we're looking back to the loan I supported in June.

Kiima Foods (Uganda)

A loan of $25,000 helped Kiima Foods to buy and sell Barefoot Power Solar Lighting products.

Kiima Foods is a farmer-registered organization with an objective of improving the livelihood of the rural poor people (1200 households) through increased access and usage of clean energy.

The loan applied for will be used to increase the working capital for the solar lighting and phone-charging project that is benefiting the rural people. The loan is intended to be used to procure 400 solar systems at once. Through this bulk purchase, the business will access a price discount and increase the business returns.

The loan is planned to extend to the active poor people a loan system that will enable them to access solar systems and pay gradually over 12 months.

Six Month Kiva Update
And in case you've been wondering what the current status is on my previously supported lenders this year, here's a little update.

January -  Sreyleang (Cambodia), building latrine: 30% repaid
February - Christine (Kenya), chlorinated drinking water: repayment begins 2016
March - Matay (Tanzania), purchased biodigesters: 25% repaid
April - Salome (Kenya), purchased irrigation kit: 24% repaid
May - Carlos Alberto (Mexico), community recycling programme start-up: repayment begins Dec. 2014
May 2014 Bonus - Milagro (Columbia), sewing business supplies: 14% repaid
June - Kiima Foods (Uganda), bulk purchase of solar power units: repayment begins 2015