Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Short Break

We went camping in the mountains for a couple of days after Christmas and I managed to get another string pieced QAYG quilt finished before I left. We had a lovely break with friends and now I'm back to work for the New Year. |
Today I'm catching up on washing etc and plan to get some more QAYG blocks made for another quilt. It's a pity that my sewing room doesn't seem to be any tidier than when I started using up my scraps. I need to spend more time there than on the computer.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Blessing Others

Well our Christmas celebrations have come and gone and I've been happy to watch the cricket on TV while I'm knitting hats and jumpers for East Timor babies. Here's some of the finished items which will help to keep some babies and children warm next winter. The quilt is one I've put together from orphan blocks and it looked better than the photo.
I've been lucky enough to have other quilters donate rice bags, school supplies and knitted jumpers and hats for the East Timorese people and I'm happy to know that they will all help to make life a little better for them. I've made at least one hat and a pair of booties a day, most days and still have many bits of wool to crochet into blankets to donate.
I worked 6 out of 7 days just before Christmas, at my paid job, including night shift, so I'm happy to relax a bit at home and watch the cricket. I have a big pile of QAYG blocks finished too and plan to put them together into a quilt later tonight. We're probably going camping for a few days tomorrow, so I'll be taking my knitting and a few books to read while I relax in the mountains with DH and friends. Life is good!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Unfortunately I can't wish my friends in Timor all the seasons blessings and a peaceful 2009. However I will be thinking of you all and hoping you all have a prosperous New Year for 2009 as well as a peaceful celebration for family and friends.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Title Change

I've found another blog with the same title as mine so I've added the extra words that were part of my blog address to save on confusion. Here's a couple more quilts from the last shipment to East Timor. One of them was made from donated odd blocks and will make a pretty quilt for someone to keep them warm.


We attended the local school's Christmas concert on Tuesday as our youngest DD has been a teacher there for the last 3 years. It will be our last year of this event as she is moving to Melbourne to teach in a larger school next year. We know quite a few of the families at the school and it's been good to maintain the contact over the past 3 years. The kids had lots of fun singing and dancing in front of their family and friends.
I'm still focused on the plight of the Timorese people, especially as we are entering our time of celebrations for Christmas. There is such a stark contrast between the life we have here in Australia and their needs for simple things like food and water. I'm starting a chocolate drive to help raise funds to send medical equipment over there and I'm still networking to find ways to help train the nursing staff at a small hospital in the mountains, as that will bring a big improvement in their lives. We take our health care for granted and people become very impatient if kept waiting to see a doctor, and yet in Timor there was no doctor to provide care and the people waited in line all day to see the clinic nurse. I still think of those people who would have been too ill to walk to the clinic and how they could be given care as well.
On a brighter note I do have plenty of people who will be happy to receive a quilt from the next shipment and this is one of the quilts I've donated to East Timor.
I hope you are all looking forward to a peaceful time of celebration with family and friends at Christmas time.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas is Coming

I finally have the tree up but it looks prettier than the photo shows here. I have also been busy getting more quilts ready for the next shipment to East Timor. I put this one together yesterday from my QAYG blocks using fabric and batting scraps. I love how a quilt can be made from scraps that others would throw away. I have more blocks to make today and I also quilted 2 tops yesterday so I have their bindings to finish.
I think I'll also do some more mindless sewing on some more QAYG blocks and try to get some of my scraps under control.
I'm wishing you all a festive season as you prepare to celebrate your holiday season.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Seaside Break

We had a lovely break from work so we spent it at the beach. We also managed to call in to pick up some donated blocks from a quilter in Tasmania. Her son had brought them over for us and dropped them off at another SCQuilter's home and we called in on our way to the beach. DH was awake up to me and knows that was a main reason we were on the way to the beach. It was a big reason but I also love Point Lonsdale and Ocean Grove so it was a lovely break. We came back a day early as rain was expected and it has rained ever since. We were lucky to have a couple of fine days and we checked out where they filmed the TV series- Seachange.
I also managed to knit a couple of hats and make crochet squares for another blanket. Now we're home again I'm busy getting some more quilts finished.
WE really need the rain so we're not upset that our trip was cut a bit short and DH was happy to come home to watch the golf on TV.- always a silver lining!!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Our Wedding Anniversary

It was our 29th wedding anniversary yesterday and we had a lovely day together, I sewed up this bag from a half completed table runner which was donated for my charity work. It was easy to convert it into a bag and will make a lady in East Timor happy as she can take her goods to market instead of using a plastic bag. I have some more bits and pieces that I'm giving a new purpose before I donate them and I'm trying to clean up my sewing room as well- a never ending task!!
We spent the evening picking up our youngest DD from the airport, 2 hours drive away from home, and I'm grateful for my 29 years with DH and hopefully at least that many in the future. Today I'm planning to take some quilts to the local women's refuge for them to hand out for Christmas and also finish off some more booties and bags.
I must get the Christmas tree up too and start playing some carols to get into the mood for the season.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Quilts and Friends

Here is the quilt I slept under in Dili , East Timor. I'd donated it about 6 years ago so it was good to see it still going strong and no signs of wear. I stayed at a home for young people run by the Carmelite nuns in Dili. The home provides accommodation while they are studying or working and was built by Australians.
The second bright quilt is one I've finished from donated blocks and it's on its way to Maubisse in East Timor. They love bright colours so I'm sure it will be loved and appreciated for it's warmth as well as its colours.
The last photo is of one of the Carmelite nuns who fed me so well in Maubisse. She was taking some time to do some garment sewing on a treadle sewing machine. There was no fabric in Maubisse so the fabric must have come from Dili or Indonesia. Sister spoke little English but was always smiling and welcoming and ran the household for the other nuns so she didn't go out with the mobile medical clinics.
I miss being able to catch up with the community there and I'm looking forward to going back and meeting old friends again as well as helping out with medical care.
I spoke at a local Rotary meeting on Wednesday and have a couple more lined up for the new year so I'm hoping to spread the word and get more support for these lovely people as the need is great. In the meantime I'm still making quilts and knitting hats and baby clothes as well as crocheting blankets.
We are blessed to live where we do and I'm also blessed to be able to share my quilts etc with others.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Quilts Out of Nothing

I read at one of my online groups that one quilter uses up all her scraps at the end of the year so she start the new year fresh with new projects and new scraps. This seems like a very good plan to me as my scraps always seem to take over my sewing room.
On the other hand I do have lots of strings and thin pieces to make blocks and they go together quickly when I have so many pieces already cut. I make Quilt As You Go (QAYG) Blocks using up all my thin pieces and batting scraps and have been making so many in the past few days that I almost have enough blocks finished to put a quilt together. I call these my Quilts Out of Nothing as they are made using bits and pieces that most people would throw out but I'm able to make a lovely quilt which will keep someone warm. I've shown some of the blocks I made yesterday as well as some of the quilts I've made previously using this method.
Something to think about as we hear so much negative talk about the economy and our money tightens. Perhaps you can make a quilt or two out of nothing and donate it to someone who needs a warm hug.
I doubt that I'll use anywhere near enough scraps to clear out my sewing room but I'm having a pieceful time trying!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Quilting Progress

It's been a good week for finishing things and getting more tops ready to quilt. I'm working on putting these blocks into a top and I love the strong colours. They actually look much better in daylight too.
I've also managed to spend a day putting 5 more tops together. Three of them just needed borders added to make them larger and two were sets of blocks to put together into a top. I'm using this as a means of tidying up my sewing room but my DH says that's like "shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic" and I must admit that although I get lots of quilts made each year, it's hard to see much progress in the tidying of the sewing space.
I'm grateful that I don't have to keep the quilts when they're finished as I really don't have enough storage space or use for 250 plus quilts made each year. Some go to the local women's refuge but the majority go to the mountain villages in East Timor, where the warmth of a quilt may help to save a life. That has to be a good reason to keep quilting. I'm also using every spare minute to knit garments like baby jackets and booties; and hats and scarves for the bigger kids and adults. I'm also crocheting blankets to send over so life is busy but I'm used to that while trying to fit everything around my paid job. Back to work!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Children of East Timor

These are some of the faces I can't forget as I sleep in my very comfortable bed; shower with running water which I haven't had to heat or use in a bucket; flush my western toilet; eat whatever I feel I would like; and work at a job I mostly enjoy so I can save some money to look after my family. These kids won't experience most of what I enjoy as even getting enough to eat is a problem in East Timor. I didn't take photos of the worst cases of disease and malnutrition as I was busy working with the medical clinic and trying to help.
The photo with all the children on the road shows them walking home from school. They are the lucky ones as they are able to attend a school with a roof and may have a desk and a book to write in. They are close to Dili and the further away from Dili you are, the less chance you have of this. In the mountains I saw a lot of kids with malnutrition and many I treated won't survive as they were too ill and malnourished. The photo of the child with her father is typical of some of the children I was working with and a medical visit and free meal once a month is not enough.
The kids near the beds with mosquito netting are at an orphanage which has been built and equipped by Australian NGO groups and the kids were happy and reasonably well-fed. They may not be orphans but more likely their families gave them up as they couldn't feed them.

These two little jackets are some of the clothes I've had donated and will keep some kids warm when they receive them. They need all the help they can get as lack of food and warmth will mean they are less likely to survive. Now you can see some of the reasons why I can't turn my back on these kids.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Delivery Day

I delivered 15 large boxes of quilts, knitted hats and scarves, booties and tote bags as well as warm clothes all to be sent over to East Timor.
I ran out of room in the car and put 2 boxes on the roof rack. I must remember that I can carry more that way next time as I still have a few more things to add to boxes and of course the production won't stop before Christmas so I will have more quilts ready to send before the end of the year. I also knitted 2 hats yesterday so the collection of hats and booties will continue to grow. I never worry that what I send won;t be used as the need is great and the people in the remote mountain areas don't have access to supplies of warm garments. I know that they also need school supplies and more will be gathered for the next shipment. The stack of quilts are some of the simple quilts made from 6" squares and the photos of the other quilts will be loaded onto my webshots page soon. Off to my paid job now so more later.


One of the lovely children who befriended us while helping to build a new school. The kids love to have their photos taken and I'll take copies for them when I go back.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Going Back

I'm back to the gym to get a bit fitter as I've decided to return to East Timor next year. I had to weigh up how much I could do there compared with what I can do from home making and sending over quilts and warm clothes. They are very much needed but there is also a need for people with certain skills in health care, education and agriculture and I can help with some of the health care needs so I'm finding it hard to turn my back on the people I met there.
I also made some good friends on our team and have many good memories of our time in Maubisse. Here I show some of the work being done on the house we stayed in at Maubisse as well as some photos of the hospital. I've been very busy getting boxes of quilts and clothing ready to add to the next shipping container as well as knitting lots of baby clothes. Better get back to work again.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Village Life

Village life in Maubisse is much the same as at home as the women look after the children, do the washing, which you can see strung along whatever is handy such as bushes and fences, and buy groceries. The difference lies in the time it takes to do such simple jobs when there is no electricity and often no running water. You can see one of the small shops which supply basic goods if you have money to buy them and they wash their clothes often as they don't have a lot to choose from.
However life here is also at a slower pace and most seem to be up at sunup and then have a nap at lunchtime. They have a fairly social life and spend their days working in their vegetable gardens and chatting with friends when there is time. If they are lucky enough to have land it can help them make a small income by selling the extra produce. Their homes are simple and yet they are clean with the earthen floors well swept and often a small garden of lovely flowers enhances their surrounds. The children usually go to school unless they are needed at home to look after their younger siblings. They love bright colours and I'm mindful of this when I knit hats and scarves and make quilts to send them.
I had a similar routine while I was there, washing my clothes in a bucket as well as washing myself that way when the power was out. I was fortunate enough to have a western style toilet but no flush option so we filled buckets every morning to use for flushing during the day. We take so many of our basic comforts for granted and travelling to Timor was a good reminder for me that life is good here and it should be better there if we all do a little to help.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What I've Been Doing

I've been busy knitting booties and baby hats from a bag of odd balls of baby wool and I've also been busy quilting. This is one of my crumb quilts using odd scraps to make the blocks and using plain sqs to off set them. This week has been a busy quilting time for me and on Tuesday I bound 10 quilts and I still had 7 left to finish. Yesterday I made 2 more quilts from QAYG string blocks and started piecing more blocks to finish off a UFO someone donated.
I'm trying to get as many quilts finished as possible so the next shipment can be sent off the East Timor. I'm also looking for toys to add with the quilts as I didn't see any kids playing with toys other than a hoop and a stick to propel it. I think soccer balls, bats and tennis balls as well as dolls may be the best to send. Also I'm gathering school supplies so life is busy and rewarding. Off to my paid job today but I did enjoy a few days of sewing at home.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

More at the Market

Horses were everywhere on market day as they are used to bring goods to sell down the mountain such as coffee beans or tobacco. Then they carry the bought goods home. The people all walk and they climb the mountains without effort, whereas I was out of breath and had to stop at times while walking up the steep roads or tracks.

Above you can see the bread seller's cart in the market place. The tobacco is sold as "chop-chop" and the vegetables are carefully placed on stalls on on the ground so that they entice the buyers. Market day is a chance to catch up with friends as well as just wandering around and seeing the produce. I didn't get any photos of the really crowded back lanes ad there were just too many people. More later.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Market Day

Blogger is being very slow with photos today so I'll try more later. Market Day is Sunday after Mass and everyone seems to come down into the town from the mountain areas. They go to church and then buy or sell what they need. In the afternoon there is cock-fighting and gambling but I didn't go to see that. It's hard to believe how much I managed to see while I was there and I'm enjoying going over my photos.
More later when blog co-operates.