Last month I was lucky enough to host two more sewing workshops for the mamas from the Kesho Leo childrens village run by Food Water Shelter (FWS) in Arusha, Tanzania. The day before the first class, I went fabric shopping to choose the fabrics we would work with. I selected three vitenge, and ended up donating an extra one as well – the chicken one. 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 →
I have had a fantastic suggestion this week of making something like my rattle blocks, but as a door stop! I think it’s a great idea, and something I will definitely make for myself, so this afternoon I designed a small, cute fabric door stop with a carry handle. Continue reading →
My little one was given a flip out sofa by his Nan, and he loves it. I think its great too, what I don’t love are the huge pictures of Toy Story characters all over it. After looking at it for months and thinking, I really should make a cover for that, this afternoon I decided to get around to actually doing it. Continue reading →
What to do with lots of little fabric scraps? Turn them into a cute patchwork bookmark! This would be a cute gift to pop inside a card for an avid reader, or just to keep for yourself. Here’s mine, which will soon be available for sale along with some others in my madeit.com.au shop, and here’s how I made it. 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!