After I returned from Tanzania from my last trip in 2011, a lovely Renmark woman donated some craft supplies for my next craft workshops on my next trip. Inside the big bag of crafty goodies was some crochet cotton, with which I thought I would easily learn to crochet and then pass the skills on.. but it didn’t work out that way. Continue reading →
These are my latest creations, five iPad sleeves made from the denim from one pair of maternity jeans and some African kitenge fabrics. The jeans weren’t worn for long, so the denim is still nice and dark but still softer than new. I loved making these, using the jeans meant I had to be a little creative Continue reading →
Thanks to the generosity of friends and family for donating the supplies needed and/or cash for craft stuff, I have recently been lucky enough to host three craft workshop afternoons at Kesho Leo, an eco-friendly children’s village run by foodwatershelter.org.au, just outside Arusha, Tanzania. I volunteered with fws for the year 2009, and it was so wonderful to be back to see the mamas and kids again. The mamas have learned to sew since being employed as live-in house mamas at Kesho Leo, and have been making bags and purses for the past couple of years which they sell in town. I decided to give them something a bit different to do, something which I was hoping would spark some creative interest and make use of otherwise wasted materials. Before I left I got googling, and found a lot of different things to make with recycled magazine paper. I felt this would fit in well with fws values, as there is no paper recycling facility available in the area so this paper would otherwise go to the local dump and be burned. Why not make something beautiful with it instead?
Tiring work for some! My baby enjoys a nap while I get crafty
We started with paper beads, a tutorial I found here. These are quite simple to make, and you would never know they are made from paper.. and they make gorgeous unique necklaces!
Next thing we did was make some beautiful gift bows. One brightly coloured magazine page makes one bow, and I thought they would be a hit at the Arusha Christmas fair this year. Another Christmas themed project we made were tiny origami “lucky stars”, which can be strung together to make a garland.
Oliva’s beautiful bow
Lastly we used scraps of fabric and spare buttons to make some fabric yoyos. Some fabric scraps are too small to use for anything, and a project like this is a great way to use them, and also for developing fiddly hand-sewing skills.
As with everything in Africa, these projects took a lot longer to teach than I expected so unfortunately I didn’t get to the other craft projects I wanted to show the mamas. On my list were paper bowls and coaster sets, patchwork (for bags, cushions and purses), baby bibs and nappy covers. Oh well, there’s always next time I guess!
While volunteering in Tanzania, East Africa, in 2009-10 I learnt the value of giving a hand up rather than a hand out. In a developing country like this one, there is no such thing as government assistance, free health care or free education, so having some kind of potentially money earning skills is incredibly important.
I have since returned to settle in Renmark, South Australia. I am enjoying living here and have met some wonderful people, but Africa is calling me again so I am returning for a very short trip in October with my one year old baby, with a longer trip planned for next year.
While I am there next month I have organised to hold craft workshops in the village of Sinon, just outside the busy, dusty, sometimes crazy town of Arusha, Tanzania. I will be putting into practise the theory of giving a hand up, by teaching disadvantaged mamas from food water shelter some new eco-friendly skills such as using old magazines to create unique bowls and beads, and using small otherwise useless fabric scraps to create vibrantly coloured patchwork bags and cushions, with the intent of then selling their creations at the local tourist market.
With access to the supplies needed, these mamas will be able to potentially generate an income from otherwise wasted resources. This is were I need your help! I am looking for donations of craft supplies, new or used, such as small scissors (for cutting paper), clear plastic rulers, pens (any colour), toothpicks, small paintbrushes, velcro, pins, pincushions, and small bottles of PVA glue (unopened). Any donations of these supplies (or even cash for me to buy them when I get there to save me carrying it all) will be very much appreciated, so if you have anything lying around that you can spare, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org . Asante sana! (that’s swahili for thank you very much!)
I’ve been given a pile of old magazines, so I’m getting crafty! After going through them to cut out pictures to stick in a little book for my bub, I began experimenting. First up I made some beads. I first seen this type of bead in Africa, and they are surprisingly easy to make. I have found that one magazine page makes about 24 beads, quite a lot really! Here is the link to the tutorial by Mzuri Beads http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-Paper-Beads/.
Next I tried a magazine paper bowl which I have seen in a couple of different places. This obviously used a lot more paper, and was very messy! It is surprisingly strong and hard wearing though, and the best thing is it won’t break when dropped. Perfect for having around at the moment, my babies latest thing is to swipe everything off tables onto the ground with his arm! I think I need to keep practising with the bowls to see if I can make them neater, and also to try and make a wider, flatter baby proof dish for my coffee table. This is a tutorial for a simliar bowl: http://crabandfish.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/diy-decorative-bowl-from-old-magazines.html