Showing posts with label Amani Ya Juu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amani Ya Juu. Show all posts

Monday, April 11, 2011

International Quilt Festival - Sharing the fun

Cincinnati is such a beautiful city and I had so much was like being in another state and I was only 3 hours from home.  I was so excited to meet Lois Grabowski from Lois Creates Blog.  We have been internet and blog buddies and she invited me to stay with her and I'm soooooo glad I did.  It was an absolute pleasure to spend time with her and getting to go to the show together.  This is a photo of us as we entered the show on Friday.

We look so well behaved here...but we weren't always this good :)

Of course I had to introduce Lois to Waldo (Mrs. Rosemary) and her daughter Sue.
We also had the great pleasure of meeting up with Sheila, Kay's Sister.   You may remember Kay is a dear friend from PA who lost her son in a tragic accident.  I felt like I was being greeted by an old friend.  My heart and soul enjoyed all the people this past weekend.  Lost more people to come.

Mary Ogwel, from Maendeleo Imports had a booth at the festival.  Mary happens to know the women from the Amani Ya Juu and she was sharing some stories with me.  You may recall many bloggers teamed up with IHAN to raise money for the purchase of a mid-arm quilting machine that was needed last year.  If you don't here : )

The fabrics stir something in me that I can't describe.  They are foreign in appearance in that I don't typically see these types of designs.  They call to a story unfolding....about another people far from my home with wonderful creative talents...lives, hopes, dreams and families.

 Mary travels selling these fabrics, baskets, bags and mud clothes. 

All our hand made items are made by the women in various villages in Africa. Our goal is to help as many women as possible to get out of poverty.This enables them to educate their daughters, buy food and medicine. Maendeleo owner travels to East Africa more often and trains the women on how to start small businesses

By purchasing any of the baskets, hand dyed fabrics and batiks , you are helping us help the women of Africa to step forward to get out of poverty.
                                                                                Copied from Maendeleo Imports Website

I need another basket like I need a elephant in my living-room.  However, I absolutely could not pass up this beautiful basket.  I will gladly give away one of my baskets to be able to have this lovely basket in my home.  Another little piece of Africa here in Ohio.  Before I die, I pray I get to visit the women who make these beautiful things.  I would love to be able to contribute more ....not only in Africa....but everywhere.  We all need to be able to feed ourselves and our children.  In the larger world it is unfortunately common that women are dependent on men for their well being.  Female Interdependence may just be a way to have a larger impact on our world and its' well being.  
I purchased these fabrics from Mary.  It was a difficult decision I have to tell you....I wanted them all.  Clearly I don't know what I'm going to do with them.....I rarely know what I'm going to do with those "must have" fabrics.  One thing for sure.....I will love what ever I make with them and I will smile when I look at them.

Lots more to post about....more soon!


Thursday, February 17, 2011

IHAN CEO Goes To 2nd Grade

You know when you have "arrived" in mommy life when you are invited to give a talk at your child's school.  A rare and savored moment when my son was so proud and pleased that it was "his" mommy talking to the entire 2nd grade class.  Remember those days?

The kids are reading a book about a quilt so I was invited to come and talk about quilts today.  I literally had 10 minutes to set up and 10 minutes to take down ....that is why the quilts are piled on the table.

I brought my current sewing machine and an older model (made before I was born...good to know I was not the oldest in the room :)  I was thinking that children who come from families who don't sew might not have ever had the opportunity to see a sewing machine.  There were several who raised their hands when I asked if this was the first time they had seen a sewing machine. 

 I started by showing them a quilt made by Mr. McSteamy's Grandmother (who will be 100 in 2 weeks).
This is a mug rug (one of you will recognize it, it was a gift : ) that I sent around for kids to touch.  The loved seeing such a "small quilt."  I told them that people from all over the world swap these and fabric postcards too. 
Of course I had to get my pitch in for recycling.  I showed them a feed sack dress and shared how it was recycled from feed sacks.....just in case they thought recycling is a new invention.
Nanny, Rick's Grandma, made this one and gave it to Rick and I for our wedding.  She was 89 when she made this and it is hand appliqued.  Could we all be so lucky?  I sure hope so.....especially since I have projects to keep me busy until I'm 124 years old.
Aaron was beaming when I showed this "Crayon" quilt.  I made it for him when he was a baby.
Then just 18 very short months later came Zach so he got a panel quilt....nursing one and two in diapers does not leave much time for piecing....know what I mean?  It has a lot of hand embroidery and trapunto.  (I made it while living in PA.  Took it to Needles to show the girls and they said, "I love your trapunto."  I said, "No that is not trapunto....I stuffed it."  ROFL....I had no idea what trapunto even was...gotta love it.)
My only sampler quilt, "Many Hands."  I thought it would be a good one to show all the variety of blocks.
This was not even was taken straight off the sofa and put into a box and to the school....nice ay?
Of course I had to show them some Hawaiian applique.  I explained the difference between hand stitching, needle turn applique and machine applique.  These were needle turn applique and hand none other than MJ...Thanks again, and again, and again!
My signature quilt, "Crossroads."  Given to me by MJ...she had all my PA friends sign it when I moved away.  I cherish this piece.  The kids liked that you could "write" on your quilts.  Hope they don't go home and start autographing without permission....yikes.
Thankfully, my friend Diane, loaned me some quilts to take with me as well.  Believe it or not I don't really have any "fun" kid quilts.  I need to get that on my list.  Diane shared these with me and the kids absolutely loved them.  This Halloween one was done with machine embroidery so that was cool to be able to show them that as well.
This quilt was just way toooooo coool!  The kids were pointing and talking....Thank You Diane!!!

These two are Diane's stained glass quilts.  One of the kids said, "hey, they have that at my church."    I need to Google "possession" again....because if I remember correctly.....possession is 9/10ths of the law isn't it? 

This was the show stopper.  All at once the room went, "ooooooohhhhhhhhh" and they smiled.  I loved it...Thanks again Diane :)
Another one of Diane's quilts, a photo quilt. Neat for the children to see you can use photos on quilts.

Of course I took my, "Red Eyed Tree Frog" made by Susan Brubaker Knapp.  It was a fun  to see the kids eyes light up.  Who could not love this tree frog?  (my ears are plugged....and I'm humming loudly..I love frogs)
Waldo's grand daughter made this one.  Maddy made this using fabric swatches and she tied the centers.  The kids were interested in a quilt made by another kid.....hmmmmm....I gotta get my co-workers busy quilting too.
Of course I loved showing this table runner made in Kenya at Amani Ya Juu.  What fun being able to share a little of Africa with them today.
Then on to India.....still not quilted...."Passing the Sacred Orb."  Hey, a wild hair may just grab me and it will be done in no time.....oh yeah baby.
This was the insane part.  When I was asked to come and talk about quilting I opened my big mouth and said I thought it would be cool if the kids could make a paper quilt.  That was when it was just Aaron's class....then it was all of the 2nd graders....106 of them.  So, it went from a paper one block!  We cut a zillion little pieces of scrapbook paper and put them into envelopes....a little block kit for each child.  I showed them how they could use their pencil or marker to do the stitching.  Note to self.....cutting a zillion little pieces of paper and counting them into kits takes a lot of time....let them color in a quilt made on my EQ 7 Software!!! 

Speaking of the Electric Quilt Company, I phoned them yesterday to see if they had ever presented to children before and did they have any recommendations.  (Ya gotta go to the experts!!).  They were so kind to e-mail me a little demo so I could show the kids that quilting has gone high tech and you can design quilts on the computer (fascinating to this middle aged mind).  McSteamy came home for lunch and helped me pack up the van and off I went to the school.  Guess what was not in the van? laptop.  He figured I did not need it (he had didn't know what I had planned).  But....I'm ready to go next time :)  Thank You Penny and everyone at EQ who helped me out!  They rock....but IHAN blog readers already knew that, right?  Right!
Well....sheepishly I share this new Tutto Machine on Wheels Bag....was delivered the day before yesterday but I did not open it because I've been sick.  So this morning, I figure if I'm taking Martha to school....she needs her Mercedes to ride I put baby Martha into her new Mercedes and off we went.  Dang....I love this Tutto Machine on Wheels.  Wanna know why I did not pick that pretty Red, Lime or Purple?  Yes you do....don't act like you don't care....ok, so you don't care....just let me tell ya anyway....come on please...... because everything I have gets dirty...this won't show the dirt so quickly. 

Thanks for listening :) 


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mail Treasures

Lauren, the mail carrier,  has been good to me, really good to me this weekend!!!  Look at this amazing hand dyed batik table runner that was made by Abigale in Kenya.  Rosemary sent it to me as a thank you for helping her raise the money necessary to take the Nolting Mid-Arm quilting machine to Africa several weeks ago. 

Look at these batiks.  They are absolutely lovely and I am so awed that I can't stop touching the table runner.  I'm afraid my co-workers would not have the same reverence for this gift so I'm going to ask Mr. McSteamy to make a special wall hanger so I can hang it on the wall.

It is 5 feet 10 inches long too.  Every time I touch it....I think about it being made in Kenya and know I'm a little closer to Africa and my dream of visiting.  I am so moved by the gift, Thank You Rosemary!!! I am also  moved by the process by which this treasure has arrived here in my home.  The "chance" meeting and the "chance" phone exhaustion and hesitation at doing "one more thing" and then at night thinking about the women who have learned to sew so they can feed their families and care for themselves. 

The gift of sharing a skill, the gift of friendship, connection to those near and far......extending the human chain of kindness, compassion and willingness.....a Quilters Dream.....and the grace by which all of these amazing events have given me a gift.....I live for experiences just like this one....this is what nourishes my soul and gives me hope and joy.  (the entire process....not the material gift itself)

I thank everyone who contributed and you all know who you is only because of your care, concern and generosity that I was able to be a link in the chain....we all made the chain and I hope your lives are touched by what we were all able to accomplish together!!

Two packages arrived......this one was full of some fun fabric from Linda Poole.  

I know I'm busy and I don't know weather to wind my butt or scratch my watch ....however, I had to  squeeze in this one little project because I believe it will help keep me centered in doing what I love and also allow me to nourish myself by accomplishing one of my goals.  You may have noticed the button on the right sidebar of my blog that says, "My Plan For Self Care."  I'm making a quilt for me!!!  I have wanted something to put in my screened in porch that is colorful and bright that enhances the feeling of being outdoors.  What better challenge than to make one with Linda's new "Iridescence" fabric line.  If you have not joined in the challenge.....I'm inviting you to join me....together we can encourage one another to finish our projects and take better care of ourselves :)
I have to get off of this bot and get over to my serger to serge the edges of this fabric so I can wash it.  Before I go, I want to know if anyone is considering the Electric Quilt Cruise?  I can't make plans to go unless I know I'll have some cronies with if you are even thinking of going please e-mail me, 
Joyful Smiles,

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Amani Ya Juu Update

These are the photos Rosemary has sent to me from her recent trip to Amani Ya Juu.  I will do my best to narrate with the notes she sent to me with the photos.  At the bottom is (edited version) the  letter she wrote and sent out to those who helped with the Amani Ya Juu project.

This is Rosemary at the Minneapolis Airport.  She was" loaded with 3 machines and lots of goodies."

I cut and pasted this to blow up the sign because I could not read it in the first photo.
"This is an Amani wall hanging, made from hand dyed and batiked fabric with the symbol of higher peace and it is available on the web."
"This is a photo at the center getting ready to bind quilts."

"These are quilts displayed in the shop not making over 25 designs!"

"A hand batiked baby quilt."

"Monica using the NEW Notling fun quilter on a hand dyed and batiked strip quilt.  The busy little machine that could!  You made it possible!"

"Africa in fabric."
"Mel, an American missionary who helps them at the center with quilting."
"The basic area where they sew."
"Grace and I in Rwanda."
"Teaching the new sewing machine I took to Rwanda."
"The fabric market in Rwanda!!!"
"Teaching the new sewing machine in Burundi."
"The finished market bag -Joselina and I."
"The Unity or Peace quilt we developed for Rwanda."

This is an edited version of Rosemary's letter.  If you would like to contact Rosemary directly you can e-mail her at

July 16, 2010

Dear friends and family,

I want to express my thanks for the prayers and thoughts that came my way as I was away. Traveling alone was a new experience for me and a bit challenging for this social being. But it gave me a lot of time to think, plan, and pray.

My time went rather quickly and looking back I can hardly believe how much was accomplished! In Kenya I helped develop several pillows with appliqué designs, taught a class on basic quilting techniques, helped Sandi with the two unity quilt designs and helped get the Nolting mid arm quilt machine back in place and working. I was able to visit all the areas at Amani and reconnect with so many “sisters” there. It was fun to meet new acquaintances and reconnect with those I have come to love. I am amazed at what has been accomplished since my visit 3 years ago. The ladies are making over 25 different quilt designs. Three women trained in Long arm quilting are each quilting between 2 to 4 quilts a day. Others do the binding. There are many new products as well as some of the original things we taught such as the children’s book still being made. I was again blessed by wonderful food, fellowship, and friendship.

I enjoyed staying next door to Sandi and spending time with her family and other missionary friends. Life can be quite challenging in Kenya so the sweet fellowship of friends is very important.

Sandi (another volunteer from OHIO), Joyce our Kenyan host who is part of the leadership team at Amani and I traveled to Rwanda. Here I reconnected with dear friends whom I had met when traveling there with my daughters in 2005. Our main purpose was to help develop a Unity (Peace) quilt to tell the story of the women who work there. It was interesting taking their ideas and seeing them come alive on the wall hanging and hearing how it represents how they feel now and how it tells the story of reconciliation and peace. Emerging from the ashes of the genocide in 1994 this has been a difficult process of finding peace and reconciliation between the 3 tribes and the country striving towards peace and growth. It is the women of Rwanda who have led the way.

I also was able to teach a new purse pattern, and a wall hanging for the women to make. The wonderful donation from Quilt Smart was used to develop a shield of faith wall hanging and a vine and leaf pattern.

After our short visit to Rwanda we traveled to Burundi a very small and poor country between the Congo and Tanzania. It is very hot with a lot of breeze from Lake Tanganyika. Here I worked at the Amahoro Ava Herjuru center which is a sister mission of Amani in Kenya. The small center has 6 women and is run by Goreth who originally worked and trained at the Kenya center and felt called to return to Burundi and help women from her country. The women speak French here as well as in Rwanda. While here we again developed a unity or peace quilt to tell the women’s story of coming together and the reconciliation of differences after war and ethnic differences and the finding of peace through faith in God. Each unity quilt symbolizes how reconciliation and peace was demonstrated culturally and also how finding a higher peace through God’s love can reconcile differences with each other as they work along side one another, love and support one another, and find acceptance through giving grace. We also taught several new products, a market bag and a gathering bag, as well as a table runner. We visited the market and saw first hand the effects of poverty, war, poor healthcare and the unstable economic conditions. Many people only eat once a day or every other day in Burundi. It made me recognize how often I complain for no reason and how ungrateful I am for the many blessing I have as an American.
As I have often told others it is not the skills and the machines I bring it is that I care, and you care, and give for even perfect strangers that demonstrates something beyond what is normal and shows love, a higher peace. I wish all of you could experience the heartfelt appreciation for all that has been done by your gifts and support of me. I know when I go I do not travel alone but carry with me a part of all of you. I am humbled that I have been called and given the opportunity to represent all the stitching sisters, dear friends and family who support me in so many ways.

From my visit there is still work to be done, supplies to be obtained and sent, skills to be taught and people that God will call to go and help. You may be one of them. I know that your life would be enriched beyond measure so if not now when, if no you then who?

I often chuckle to myself that God can use even me!

So thank you all so much for your part and may you count your blessings each day, and feel like you had a part in something bigger than yourself.

In faith, Rosemary

If you are interested in helping me meet the needs I have identified here is a list.

Quilting rulers and large squares, for all centers

Two Janome treadle machines for Rwanda

Two Janome machines for Kenya

Someone to go and teach sewing machine repair and maintenance

Someone to teach soap making

6 sewing kits for Burundi

Several bolts of fusible interfacing

Beading elastic cord

Consider yourself up to date on the latest developments.  Again, THANK YOU to everyone who made donations so Rosemary could take the Nolting Mid-Arm Quilting Machine with her to Africa.  As you can see, these women are using it to make a living for themselves and their families.  I want to also THANK Rosemary for being willing to continually spend her own money, time and energy to support others on our planet.  One person can make a difference.....sometimes you just have to be willing to do what you can from where you are at the moment. 


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