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

August 23, 2014

A Thought on Hemming...

Every time I have to hem trousers...


I die a little inside.

Sort of like Michelangelo painting his house.  Surely I'm not alone in this.

(But honestly, how fun are those new turquoise trousers?)  :P

August 22, 2014

Persian Pickle Project 2014 - Part II

Welcome back!

So as you know, my Haberdashery group had our big reveal this Tuesday of all of our Persian Pickle-inspired projects.  In case you missed it, I shared my wallhanging here.

Today, however, I wanted to share with you the wallhangings the other ladies in my sewing group made.  I know, how exciting!

Tea Time by Ingrid

Birds by Karen



Houses by Lena N.

Cottage by Annika (WIP)

Attic Windows by Britt

Cathedral Windows by Hanna

Dresden Plate by Lena F.

Singin' in the Rain by Birgitta (held by Ingrid)

House in the Woods by Inger (WIP)

Flowers by Marion

Puzzle Pieces by Lisbet


This was such a fun project, I'm hoping we continue to do a group project each year.

August 20, 2014

Persian Pickle Project 2014

Hello, hello!

I'm so excited to be sharing a completed project with you today!  In case you haven't yet noticed, I'm not always (cough, cough - usually) very good about finishing sewing projects...  But this one had a deadline and I usually work well towards deadlines (if you count waiting to nearly the last minute as working well - thanks, Mum).  Anyway, personal foibles aside...

You may recall that at the beginning of the year, my Haberdashery sewing group had decided to do a group project based on the fabric swapping principle behind the book The Persian Pickle Club.  You can find the full details of our project in this post.

In February we made our fabric swaps, which you can read up on in this post.  And here is the photo of all our fabrics together (unsurprisingly, mine is the orange dragonfly print).


Right from the beginning I had an idea of what I wanted to do for a design - a paper pieced circle of geese blocks.  I had intended on using basic white as the background colour but since so many of the fabric contributions were pale or light coloured, a darker background would be necessary.  Except that I didn't want to use black, because it felt very flat so instead I found a mottled brown with warm and cool tints throughout it; it's not really my style but I think it works with the rest of the prints and sometimes you've got to work outside of your comfort zone.

And so...the big reveal!


Ta da!  The wallhanging finishes at 40cm square (as stated in the project requirements).  It features a central circle of geese block in counter-clockwise rotation (yeah, I'd meant to do it clockwise and printed off the wrong pattern by mistake - oops but not the end of the world).  I added a one inch border into which I used some off-cuts of the fabrics to lick & stick tiny geese around the edges using odd numbered groupings and gaps for added interest.

The quilting was a little challenging as my machine is quite old; so old it's been impossible to find a quilting foot that will work with it so I had to go slowly with a regular sewing foot and ease in fabric manually where needed.  My machine can also sometimes have tension issues when quilting but luckily I seemed to find the right combinations of settings this time around.


Originally I had thought to reinforce the circular concept by quilting concentric circles in the center.  Unfortunately you can imagine my dismay (and laughter) when I realised that I'd effectively quilted a bulls-eye into the center of my geese...  Open season, anyone?

Time for Plan B: geese flying by star light.  I stitched in the ditch around the large central star shape and added some additional lines in each arm of the star.  Then I drafted a smaller star template which I quilted into the corners.  For the geese I stitched in the ditch around each goose and then added arched lines on the insides.  I repeated this quilting on the small one inch geese in the borders (not easy, I can assure you).  I also quilted simple geese shapes into the rest of the borders; 12 geese per border, one every inch and some I reversed, again for interest.


The final touch, I recorded the project and contributors on the hanging sleeve on the back.  This Tuesday we will be revealing all of our wallhangings to each other at our next Haberdashery meeting.  Then the whole collection will be put on display at our guild exhibition end of September, which will be exciting.

August 17, 2014

Guild Show & Tell - August

Last week was our first guild meeting since the summer holidays and I thought it would be fun to start sharing some of the photos of projects brought along for Show & Tell.

First up, this lovely scrappy strips quilt top was sewn by my close friend, Ingrid, using a treadle sewing machine while on holiday with friends in Kansas.  How productive was she, sewing while on holiday overseas?!


This delicate hexie quilt is hand quilted; so pretty.


I also really loved this fun fox faces quilt.


Another great stash-buster project:


To see all of the Show & Tell projects and/or more information (in Swedish) from our meeting, you can check out the original ÖQ-Augusti Möte.

August 12, 2014

Surf's Up Kit

Last month I introduced a fun new scrapbooking group led by Margareta Carlsson called Scrap Stash Kit Club.  The premise of this club is simple - every month Margareta posts a new 'kit' made from her existing stash supplies and based on a theme (colour, season, etc.).

July's kit was Squeeze, a collection of citrus-themed papers and embellishments.  I posted photos of my HUGE Squeeze kit but unfortunately (fortunately?) hosting an overseas visitor left little time for crafting (but many, many new photos to scrap!) so I have yet to actually use my kit.  That hasn't discouraged me, though, and I still plan on using it for a few layouts and/or cards.

Margareta posted the new kit theme for August a few weeks ago: Surf's Up, a collection of navy/blue, yellow/gold and turquoise/aqua papers and embellishments.

Surf's Up kit by Rochelle Barnes

Yummy, right?

Margareta has also made a video featuring her own Surf's Up kit with ideas and suggestions for what to include and different options for your scrapbooking style.


Got your creative juices flowing yet?

August 10, 2014

Kiva - May 2014 BONUS!

Oh my, I've suddenly realised that I'm quite a bit behind in sharing my Kiva project the last few months.

Back in May I was pleased to receive a bonus $25 donation sum from the Kiva team, to use as I saw fit.  How cool!  So, I put it to good use here:

Milagro (Columbia)

A loan of $550 helps Milagro to buy a sewing machine, fabric, thread, and sewing accessories.

Milagro, 39, has a business making clothing for men, women and children. She has 17 years of experience. When she was very young, in the year 1997, she learned how to sew and decided to set up a dressmaking workshop so that she could help her husband with the household expenses that he had been in charge of covering. Today, she buys supplies in cash from the dressmaking supply stores, and she sells in part for cash and in part on credit, depending on the type of customer.

Milagro works every day from 8am until 8pm, because she has a lot of goals to achieve, such as buying more sewing machines, and completing the remodel work on her house. However, increasing her production is a great challenge, along with retaining her customers and being able to save. At this time, she is applying for a Kiva loan, the first financing that she has done through Fundacion Mario Santo Domingo. With this loan she will buy a sewing machine, fabric, thread, and accessories so that she can make new designs, increase her productivity, and improve the quality of her final products.

As always, if you find the Kiva project just as awesome and inspiring as I do, you can easily get involved by checking out their website: Kiva.org.