Wednesday, 4 May 2016

The new season starts!

Last Monday marked the start of my selling season, with my now annual visit to Ickwell May Day.  This is a truly traditional event, and a truly village one.  Children from all the local village schools process to the green, where their decorated hoops are judged and awarded prizes, and they - and adults - perform country dances and maypole dances.

The weather this year was not as wonderful as last year, but the rain held off until nearly the end of the dances, just drenching the adult dancers!  I managed to keep my stock dry, and sold lots of items to lots of interesting and interested people.  There were definitely some highlights among the conversations. 

It was also thrilling to see several of my bags from previous sales still favoured and used.  More than one previous purchaser commented that they lasted really well.  It was such an encouragement to see them being worn. 

A fabulous total for the day left me feeling very happy - though I do wish that the torrential rain had not hit me just as I was unloading the car....

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Phanice's new shop

This is what Phanice's shop looked like on the day she moved in:
It used to be a fish shop - "samaki" is Swahili for fish.  Chris went with her to pay the first four month's rental and the first year's trading license from the money I passed on for this purpose.  She had previously passed on more money for Phanice and Eddy to buy stock to get the shop going. Because the shop is just off the main street, the rent was cheaper than expected so they were able to pay for 4 months' rent with the money I sent.
This picture shows Phanice with Eddy and one of Phanice's sisters.  Phanice, like Eddy, comes from a large family - she has five sisters and three brothers.  The sister shown here helped to redecorate and set up the shop.
I love this photo of Phanice inside the shop - she looks so very happy.  I pray that her shop will be a huge success.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Early Christmas presents!

No, not my new sewing machine (though that may merit its own post later!) but some photos from Kenya.

You may remember, if you have been reading this blog for a while, my explanation of my first "business sponsorship" - a young lady called Phanice who was selling items door to door but longed to have a market stall.  Well, friends who visited Kenya recently took with them the £300 to pay for (as it turned out) the first four months' rent on a stall, a year's market trading license and extra cash to stock the shop.  Today they sent me the photos, which I share with you:

Phanice looks so happy, and her "stall" is much more of a shop than I anticipated, which is even more wonderful.  I am so looking forward to seeing this for myself when I visit Kenya next summer.  

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Bromham Ladies' Night

I had a wonderful evening last night at Bromham Ladies' night.  The Church was beautifully decorated, with free crafts, pampering and unlimited puddings.

We were entertained by Unisong, the local community choir, and everyone seemed to have a wonderful time.

The money raised is being given to the Utange project, to help with the orphanage, feeding programme and, the latest project, building a high school in the village.  I had a fabulous evening of sales, making a staggering £378.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

How does your garden grow?

This would be a great present for a gardener.  As with others of the applique bags, I have used a Hobbyycraft Fat Quarter pack for these applique squares.  I can see that I will be doing a lot of applique sewing after Christmas; I am already planning which lines I intend to stock up on in large numbers, and this style of bag is definitely one of them.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Final batch of solar lamps delivered

I have been eagerly awaiting these photos.  You may remember that I ordered forty solar lamps back in July - ten for each of four Utange schools: Utange Baptist Primary, St Peter the Rock, Noah's Ark Academy and Utange Primary School.
The lamps arrived in Utange at the end of them month, just after most schools had closed for their holiday.  Pastor John was able to distribute the Utange Baptist Primary School lamps, as they had not quite finished their term.  The head teachers of St Peter the Rock and Noah's Ark Academy both came to collect theirs.  Unfortunately Pastor John was not able to contact anyone from Utange Primary School, and so I resigned myself to waiting until the new term started.
Unfortunately, it didn't - start that is.  There was a major teachers' strike in Kenya, and all schools remained closed for an extended period.  Then John went off to do his spell at university.  Yesterday, however, I received these photos:

John told me, in his message, that the delivery went very well - "they did not expect any gift".  My prayer is that the lamps will be a blessing to their recipients.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Turtle power!

This is another new "cuddly" pattern for this year.  I am careful to tell purchasers who suggest that they are buying these for a child that these are not designed as toys; they are not tested to the standards to allow this, and I do not have time to do so!  However, they do make great decorations for a child's room.
This is another Funky Friends Factory pattern, and another which is a delight to make.  Using the African fabrics for the shell makes them very attractive; even so, I was surprised at how well they sold on their fist outing.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Pocket purse restock

The little unlined pocket purses continue to be very popular, particularly at events where children are present in large numbers.  To my mind, these are ideal for tucking in the car for parking money, or slipping into a school bag for tuck shop funds.  At only £1 each, I love being able to tell purchasers that the price they have just paid will feed a child on the feeding programme for a week.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Ladybird, Ladybird... away home.
I hope this bag will soon find a home to go to.  It was a fun one to make.
 This was another applique pattern bag.  These have proved very popular this year, and I foresee that my (fast approaching) new year restock will include a number of applique bags.  I have to say that the Fat Quarter packs from Hobbycraft are very useful for this design ... maybe this is a great excuse to buy more of them!!

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Please Mr Crocodile...

...may I cross the water?

Anyone else remember this children's rhyme / game? To me it evokes cold playgrounds with groups of children trying to keep warm.
My Mr Crocodile really isn't very threatening - he is far too cuddly!  He is made from another Funky Friends Factory pattern - quite a lot of pieces, but a pleasing result.  I even enjoyed hand sewing the teeth - and hand sewing is not my favourite occupation!