Saturday, September 25, 2010

Taking a break for now.

Well, it's time to take a break from blogging until we get settled in our new home, which happens to be across the Caribbean sea and up the East Coast to a the green mountains of our new state, Vermont.  I am really excited about continuing and growing my little venture in a new place. Just like other moves I have made I will take a bit of the Caribbean culture and style with me as I move on.  I am looking forward to spring and summer Farmer's Markets and Craft Shows and am working on getting an Etsy shoppe up and running soon.

We arrive just in time to enjoy the fall leaves, apple picking, Thanksgiving, cutting down a Christmas tree and (most likely) a White Christmas! 

So, stay tuned.  Don't forget about me.  I'll soon be back!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Rug Making

The last time I was out in Cercadillo we taught the women how to crochet the yarn they had previously cut from t-shirts into small rugs.  It was a challenge to teach something so technical in Spanish, but they all got it and now they are on their way!  I hope to share some more pictures of their progress and the finished product.
Here is a finished rug and Elida and Ricki crocheting.

Undin  and Ramona cutting t-shirts into yarn.
Elida crocheting.
Rosi perfecting her chain stitch.
The cutest kids ever in the campo were sweeping up our work area when we arrived.
We had a minor animal roadblock.

A typical house in the campo.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Custom Book Covers

As things are winding down here for sewing they are winding up in other ways. We are moving to Vermont in less than a month and there are so many things to do to get ready to go.  I will soon be taking a break from blogging through the transition as it's hard to find time to be online for any length, as well as find a time and place to sew (I sold my sewing table and chair last weekend and my sewing machine will most likely be going home to her new owner in a week or so).

I was able to fulfill this nifty custom order.  It's a book cover for a daily prayer guide.  It has a pocket in the back where prayer beads can be stored and a ribbon tie to keep it all together.  I think they turned out well and the customer seemed pleased.

Who could turn out to be an item as the dimensions are right for a calendar or a checkbook. 

I wish I had time to sew as I have some really fun ideas for a couple of purse/carry-all/clutch ideas.   If I'm lucky I might be able to squeeze it in between the packing and taking care of my son and all of the other things that require my attention.

Just wanted to share.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

My ladies.

Some of the women of Cercadillo at our weekly Bible Study.
Let me introduce you to one of my passions here in the Dominican Republic...the Cafe y Cocer project in the village of Cercadillo.  Each week 25 women gather for a Bible study and to learn handcrafts and sewing techniques which they use to make all kinds of great artisan products that are sold.  The proceeds are then put back in the program and provide these women with income.  I have been working with this program in some capacity almost the entire time I have lived here, helping to design some of the products we have sewn and teaching the women sewing techniques.  It has been an amazing process to see them grow as artisans and women of God. 

Our director, Ina is out of the country for two months and Kirsten and I are taking on the project in her absence.  This past week we started working on our latest project, crocheting rugs from repurposed t-shirts.  We spent the entire morning preparing t-shirts to be crocheted by cutting them in strips and rolling them into balls.  We are going to be teaching the crochet stitches to them next week. 

Kirsten and our director, Ina admiring the patchwork rug the women made for Ina last year.
I have such a huge place in my heart for this project because I see what a great help it is to these wonderful very poor women.  Until Ina started this endeavor (which is part of a larger project) these women did not have any consistent opportunity to make an income for their families.  Through Cafe y Cocer we have seen the lives of these women transform in so many beautiful ways. They have not only learned many handcrafts like crocheting, bead making, macrame, and sewing,  but they have gained a new level of confidence as they have seen that they can learn a new skill and use it to literally feed their families.

At the sewing machine.
Working on one of the over the shoulder sling bags.
I don't have pictures of this past week, because I was busy working and teaching right alongside the women, but the next time I go out I am going to make a point of taking some pics to share, because it's just too good not to share.  I am, however, sharing pics from other weeks, so I can share some of my beautiful friends with you.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Custom Orders

It feels so good to mark things off of a list if you are a list maker like me.  The weather was more agreeable for sewing this weekend than last.  Hot, but bearable. So, I got a chance to catch up a bit and make these items for some friends who had put in special orders.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tengo Miedo.

...which means, "I'm scared."  What frightens me, you ask?  This gorgeous fabric and what I am about to do with it.  It's Australian merino gaberdine and it's so silk you would think it's silk and not wool.  It's the single most expensive cut of fabric I have purchased and it is soon going to be a black A-line skirt that will no doubt be my favorite black skirt ever - or at least that's what my goal is.  The story behind this is that I (like most women I know) have been on the hunt for that perfect black skirt.  The one that you can wear most all of the year that looks great with sandals or boots or tights, flatters my figure, can be worn casual or dressy and will be my new best friend.  I actually had a skirt like that about 10 years ago when I was first entering the professional world. It was a Liz Claiborne black wool pleated skirt.

My fear is that I might just mess it all up.  As soon as I cut into it I am committed.  Yikes.  I have the pattern planned in my head (it starts with a favorite A-line skirt to which I have added a waistband idea and a longer length).  If it all works out as planned I might even make it into a tutorial about making a skirt as I have made several figure flattering A-line skirts from a pattern I made from one I own. 

I can't cut into it just yet as I have a few custom orders I need to make an deliver.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sewing with friends is the best.

I had so much fun sewing with my friend, Diana.  She is from Columbia and is an amazingly creative woman.  She makes beautiful jewelry from Columbian beads, made costumes for our Christmas pageant at our church, and can dance interpretively in a way that stirs up a wave of emotion. Love her.

Well, I made a super easy, super fun wrap skirt a few months back.  I actually made a pattern from a friend's skirt and modified it to fit my size.  I found some fun fabric from Ikea and whipped it up in an afternoon. It's reversible, so you are really getting a lot of bang for your buck...two skirts in one.

Diana wanted to learn how to make one, so I hauled my sewing machine (and 3 year old) over to her house one morning for a sewing playdate.  It's so much fun to sew together, because conversations come so easily and travel in so many different directions when you are facedown cutting out a pattern or sitting at your machine sewing a seam.  I always walk away having learned something about my sewing friend that I never knew.

And, sharing a skirt pattern is just one of the best things to share together, don't you think?