Monday, October 27, 2008

Brisbane Creative Fun

Home from Brisbane on Sunday night after a few days in a luxurious hotel with my mum and aunt - a special treat for my Aunty Jeanie's 70th birthday. We were fortunate to choose dates when the Craft and Quilt show was on. I did some great workshops - especially lucky to get a place in Prudence Mapstone's Experimentation workshop and Catherine Howell's embroidery workshop. Other projects were the Shiva stick bag, felted pouch and the fabric postcard. I figure if I'm doing workshops I'm not buying stuff I really don't need - that's the theory but it didn't work this time and rarely does. Here are some photos of what I did in Brisbane.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Hello Dollies Challenge

Today was Hello Dollies in Newcastle - a great group which meets at Anne's Glory Box once a month. Here is my doll ( right) for the Hello Dollies Challenge 2008 - we were all given a "saying" to interpret. Mine was "Love is Blind" and my intention was to finish making this Patti Culea doll I started in a workshop last year ( yes, another unfinished project!) and to add a very ugly boy friend. I had already made his head ( photo left below) - really ugly but lovable! Unfortunately that was as far as I got, so she wears his photo in a heart shaped locket. Love may be blind, but absence makes the heart grow fonder .

I made a journal of the process and it looks great. perhaps if I hadn't spent so much time with the journal I may have had time to finish the ugly boyfriend. Anyway, I did think in the end, having a photo in a locket was less cliched. All the other creations were just so imaginative and everyone had researched so much and as Vicki said " this was a brain stretch" . Cheyin received an overwhelming vote of approval for her interpretation of "The early bird catches the worm." Her doll is certainly a winner - we all made a connection immediately. It is also beautifully done and every shopping bag was filled with miniatures of all the stuff we love to add to our stashes. Congratulations to all - there were some really fantastic interpretations of the popular sayings... thanks Fay for challenging us and thanks to all for your inspiring work.

Next week in Sydney, the Dollies members will show their challenge entries - I am sure they will all be fantastic, too. We will look forward to seeing them as well. After that meeting, Fay and I will create a Hello Dollies Blog and we will be able to publish all the photos and promote other challenges , the Christmas swap and other good news about Dollies. In the meantime I have tried to stitch the photos we already have from today's meeting - this is a just a glimpse of the great work. - below.

Tomorrow, is another big creative day - Bobbi , Jane and I are conducting workshops at Lamboart studio in Thornton - three lessons to create Christmas treasures. I am doing an ethereal angel ( felted, folded and beaded), Bobbi is teaching her beautiful nostalgic ornaments, and Jane will inspire everyone to make some special cards and a box for Christmas goodies. Looking forward to a fun day!

Please go to the link ( see Important Links on the left) to see better and more photos of the great work in the Dollies Challenge

Monday, October 13, 2008

Mando, Papua New Guinea

The completed classrooms - last day in Mando

Me and newborn at Goroka Hospital

Our PNG "home"

I am starting my new blog to share the amazing experience of being a Rotary volunteer in Mando in the Eastern Highlands Province, Papua New Guinea. Mando is an absolutely beautiful village, in the mountains about 2000 metres above sea level, and approximately 60 km from Goroka. How did this happen? A few years ago, I met a remarkable woman with a vision, Wendy Stein, who wanted to make a difference and bring hope to people whose life expectancy was the second worst in the world. I promised to help her project to bring better educational and health facilites to this village and last month, my husband Jim and I were part of the Highland Dream team. Essentially, Jim was involved with building three new classrooms - no mean feat without a supply of water and electricity. I established a women's support group and taught classes in jewellery making, knitting and crochet in an effort to supplement their family incomes as subsistence farmers. I also experienced other aspects of the project - painting blackboards, sorting library books, making library borrowing cards, cooking, painting signs , taking photos ... Although I have no medical training, I had the great privilege of watching a volunteer doctor from Cameroon perform cataract operations with great dexterity and care (one every 15 minutes) and even greater excitement when I happened to be at the birth of a healthy baby girl! Other members of our team were involved in building a piggery and a chicken coop, organising the school library, literacy lessons, assessing children with disabilites with the hope of establishing a special needs class in 2009, vaccination days, hospital and medical clinic visits. Together, I think we were able to meet our goal of helping to "make dreams real" for these wonderful people in Mando village. We made many friends and we will never forget the warm and close relationships we developed with individuals we worked with - both Australian Rotarians on the team, and the local people in Mando. As one of our team summed up " It is a privilege to help this community - a proud and dignified people" . This is just a tiny glimpse of what we did - I wish I could post all my photos!