May 17, 2015

Kiva - April 2015

It's been a while since I've funded a group loan and this one jumped out at me as a great initiative; I'm a big supporter of empowering people.

Langalanga Organic Farmers Self Help Group (Kenya)

A portion of Langalanga Organic Farmers Self Help Group's $225 loan helps a member to buy farm inputs such as seeds and fertilizer that will help boost her harvest.

The lady raising her hand in the photo is Jane. She is married and blessed with seven children. She joined Hand in Hand Eastern Africa (HiH EA) in June 2014.

Jane is a farmer of maize, beans and potatoes. She is grateful to HiH EA for developing her entrepreneurial spirit through training and mentorship. This has enabled her to pursue farming as a business, unlike before, where it was predominantly for subsistence.

She is borrowing a Kiva loan to buy farm inputs in readiness for the upcoming planting season. She hopes that with better seeds and fertilizers, she will get a bumper harvest at the end of the season, enough for her family consumption and to sell, which will enable her to support her family needs and education for her children.

Jane is grateful to Kiva and its lenders for their support. She promises to repay the loan promptly.

At the time of this writing, this loan is 33% funded.  It's easy to get involved today, with this loan or another of your choosing.

May 14, 2015

Happy Birthday to You - Birthday Boy

Welcome back!

Have you ever had a situation where it dawned on you that a friend's birthday was sometime this month - but you weren't sure when - and then Facebook kindly reminds you that the birthday is that very day?  Well, that happened to me recently so I whipped up this quick little card.


I once again turned to my Simple Stories SNAP! birthday kits and it wasn't long before the basic design started to take shape.  I really liked this script 4x6 card and thought it would pop nicely on a black card blank.  I added a white interior inside so that I could easily stamp in black ink.


I layered up some 2x2 cards on top of a numbered washi tape line and popped this cute gumball machine die cut on top with some foam pads and the same with the little speech bubbles.  I also added in the little 'birthday boy' sticker.


Finally, a few cork stars and black rhinestones to balance out the design.  Signed, sealed and delivered!

May 11, 2015

Dinosaur Baby Shower Gifts

Hello, hello!

My colleague, Linda, and her husband have been trying for a baby for some time and with great joy, she announced in the autumn that she was pregnant!  So when I was looking for a fun, quick little project to work on a while back, I decided baby shower gifts would be perfect.  It didn't hurt that I had seen some really cute, new children's fabric come into the local quilt shop...  It was farm animal themed but in the end I decided against it because the background was very white and if you've had children, you know that's just going to be a never-ending laundry cycle.  So instead I chose the super bright and fun dinosaur fabrics.


I went with my go-to tote bag pattern as a nappy bag - it features 6 deep pockets all around the outside and a lot of room on the inside to hold nappies, wipes, clothes, bottles, toys and everything else you may need for outings.  I also made my go-to changing pad clutch, which you can roll around a handful of nappies and box of wipes and is super quick and easy to operate one-handed while holding baby.

I also decided to add in a few little bibs and I even picked up some terry cloth to back them with for extra absorbency (yup, lived hovering up bits of terry cloth around the flat for the better part of a month but totally worth it).  Finally, I made this adorable dinosaur-shaped tactile toy to totally match the dino themed fabric.

Thrilled mummy-to-be

Needless to say, Linda was thrilled with the goodies.  She later told me that her husband was completely blown away with them, too, and absolutely loved the dinosaur fabric (yeah!).  In fact, he claimed they were far too nice to dirty up with baby changing but Linda has assured me that she will use them with pride and joy.  So happy for them both.

May 07, 2015

Cutest Baby Ever Card

Welcome back!

Previously I've mentioned how everyone I know seemed to be having baby girls and so logically, I have a few collections of baby girl kits for making cards and things.  Now, of course, the tides have turned and everyone seems to be having baby boys - and I still have baby girl stash to hand.  Unperturbed by this challenge, I rose to the occasion with this Little One...Hello card and I was so pleased with the results, I decided it was time for a repeat.


This contemporary baby boy card is made entirely with the Simple Stories SNAP! Baby Girl kits.  I really enjoyed using the grey, green and yellow colour palette - so unusual from my normal choices but it really worked nicely together (and even colour-matched the accompanying gifts - more on that soon).


The overall design is pretty simple.  I wanted the sentiment card with its eclectic combination of fonts to really stand out.  I loved the impact that the layered heart die cut gave to the arrow.


The embellishment cluster uses some washi tapes, stickers and pins.  I was so thrilled to find a grey label sticker and thought the 'handle with care' type was perfect for a baby card.  I hemmed and hawed for a while on whether or not to add more to the cluster and in the end decided that less is more.

May 04, 2015

Kiva - March 2015

Oops!  I just realised that I missed sharing my March Kiva loan so here's a little belated update...

Geoffrey (Kenya)

A loan of $275 helped Geoffrey to buy a dairy cow to enable him to supply milk to get more income to pay school fees for his children.

Geoffrey is 24 years old, married to Mary, and they are blessed with two children. He is a dairy farmer and this has been profitable for the last five years he has been in this business.

Geoffrey has applied for his first loan of KES 25,000 from Vision Fund Kenya to buy a dairy cow to enable him supply milk and get more income. He plans to use the generated profits to educate his children and to expand his farming by buying farm inputs.

His future hopes are to expand his farming business and be successful.

Happily, Geoffrey's loan is now fully funded but you can still get involved with another entrepreneur on Kiva today!

May 01, 2015

Happy Birthday Party Card

Hello, hello!

I'm sure you won't be surprised to hear this but I've been pretty rubbish lately when it comes to getting cards made on time.  However, when one's gran turns 85, you get your act into gear!  This still didn't quite make it to her on the right day but it wasn't far off - at least it got made before her actual birthday and then it was just down to international mail delivery times.


I used the new Simple Stories SNAP! birthday collection kits - since first trying them out on my Barcelona album, I have to say that I really enjoy using them both for scrapbooking traditional or mini album layouts and also for quick cards.  I loved the bright, cheery colours and the clean, white backgrounds.


My original plan was to use the die cuts from the embellishment pack for the sentiment, as there was a cute little 'happy birthday' in a swagging banner shape but sadly, it wasn't big enough for the white space on the card and it just didn't look right.  But I liked the style of the blocky lettering and stamped effect, which is what inspired me to dig out my Amy Tan Yes, Please transparent sticker letters, which I layered haphazardly to create a similar effect.

Some orange and pink spray mist, star sequins and layered up die cut hearts added to the jovial, party-like feeling.

March 19, 2015

Kiva Update - Kiima Foods in Uganda

Another update from Kiva to share with you today.  This time it's regarding my Bare Foot Power loan to Kiima Foods.

Reposted from Kiva:
In this loan model, the organization Kiima Foods chooses and refers to Barefoot, small villages where residents do not have access to electricity. Then Barefoot goes to each village (with approximately 100 households) and meets with the different Kiima Foods groups to explain their solar home systems and gauge customer interest. If households want to buy a solar home system, they must pay 20% in advance as a down payment and then pay the rest in installments over six months.

However, not all households can pay the 20% down payment upfront. For these households, Barefoot instructs them to save up money for the down payment, and whenever they are ready with the down payment Barefoot installs their solar home systems.

Barefoot and Kiima Foods developed this arrangement in partnership, based on Kiima Foods' experience in the communities. Kiima Foods has reported, though, that households are struggling to pay the 20% down payment, so Kiima Foods' sales are slower than expected. Kiima Foods does hope that sales will pick up and intends to revolve the Kiva loan amount twice in the 12-month period.

Kiima Foods appreciates the help provided by all lenders.

***

This is such a great opportunity for these communities; the fact that so many of these families are struggling to put down a 20% down payment says a lot about their economy and living conditions, unfortunately.  That being said, if even just a few families are able to benefit from this programme at a time, I reckon that's still a win in the long run.  And hopefully, down the road, more families will be able to follow and join suit.

Want to get involved with Kiva, too?  Join Kiva today!

March 16, 2015

Mini Album: Sweden - Part V

Welcome back!

If you've been following this mini series, you'll know that I've been sharing a mini album about my friend Adam visiting me over the summer.  You can find the previous chapters here: chapter 1, chapter 2, chapter 3 and chapter 4.  And now, the final chapter 5: Copenhagen, Denmark.

Chapter 5: Copenhagen

The Little Mermaid

Copenhagen itinerary

Danish royal crown jewels

Leaving our mark on the Happiness Wall

Hop on/hop off bus tour sights

Canal at Nyhavn

Tivoli

At the end of this chapter I also included a few extra random tidbits:

Notes from a random sick day

Goodbye note

Extra photos & keepsakes envelope

And that's it!  Once carefully wrapped, it made its way over the Atlantic to Adam.  He absolutely loved it - worth every ounce of panic and stress getting it done in time.


Thanks for following along!

March 14, 2015

Mini Album: Sweden - Part IV

Hi again!

Welcome back to my little tour of a mini album I made for my friend, Adam, who visited me over the summer.  If you've missed the previous chapters, you can find them here: chapter 1, chapter 2 and chapter 3.  And now moving on to chapter 4: vikings!

Chapter 3: Vikings

Handmade Viking costume & fittings

And during our day in Simrishamn while paddling in the Baltic, we turn around to find a Viking longship sailing by.  You know, as you do when living in Sweden in the 21st century...  It docked in the harbour.

Longship in Simrishamn

Rune stones

Foteviken historical Viking museum

Viking longhouse and longship

Viking life

Viking ships with the Öresundsbro in the far distance

Viking attack!

Here there be dragons...

Eat your heart out How To Train Your Dragon fans.  ;)

One more installment left - see you soon!

March 11, 2015

Mini Album: Sweden - Part III

Hello, hello!

If you haven't seen the first two installments of this mini series on my mini album of my friend Adam's visit to Sweden, you can find the first two chapters here: Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.  Today we're moving on to chapter 3: fun and silliness!

Chapter 3: Fun

Selfie time!

Adam is a total gear head so we couldn't pass up the opportunity to tour the technical museum, which features a number of different vehicles and even a cool submarine!

Geeking out in the sub

Photo frame exhibition silliness

More photo frame silliness.

We enjoyed a day at the mini golf course, which features famous historical sights throughout Malmö.

Mini golf

Having fun playing on words in the park.

Playing on words

Accent card

Another little space for Adam to write some notes himself:

Note bubbles & interactive art

It turned out there's a big car museum in Simrishamn and they were even having a rally day so we had to go to it.  We jumped on the train and spent the whole day there and it was great fun.

Autoseum

Creepy mannequins & Ronald Reagan's car

Strangely, there is something about this photo and page that I also really love; perhaps it's the simplicity of it:

Paddling in the Baltic Sea

Random snippets

And that's chapter 3 all wrapped up!  Just two more chapters to go so be sure to come back soon.