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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Show your support!

Just in time for the holidays, A Little Something is coming to a T-shirt, hat, or tote bag near you! Check out our shop at CafePress:

The shop has T-shirts for men, women, juniors, and plus sizes, plus a tote bag, sticker, hat, and totally fabulous coffee mug all announcing your support of The Denver Refugee Women's Crafts Initiative, a.k.a, A Little Something.

Because CafePress doesn't print items until they are ordered, we don't pay up-front setup charges. However, we don't get a huge commission on sales, either. That being said, every dollar we make from our CafePress sales will be put toward the purchase of jewelry and craft supplies for the women in our program.

Shop soon--Christmas is just around the corner!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Out and about...

It seems like it's almost every day that we find out about another woman in the refugee community who wants to join the crafts group. Word is spreading, and that's a very good thing! Since many women can't join us on Saturday lesson days, home visits are the best way (for now) to get these women started. A first visit includes delivery of a bead box (a partitioned box filled with a selection of beads), a design board and mat, tools, and a custom one-on-one lesson. It's like this:

Thanks for the kindness!

The Bead Women would like to extend our deepest thanks to Kate Goodspeed and the members of the Park Hill Congregational Church in Denver.

Kate graciously offered to include us in the church's annual Alternative Gift Market, a craft sale for fair trade groups. We didn't even have to be there--Kate and her congregation took care of everything for us.

The Bead Women made some money, but more important, a wider circle of people in our community learned about our project, our mission, and our artisans.

Thanks Kate! Thanks PHCC!! We truly appreciate your thoughtfulness in including us in such a special event.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

A universal language?

Not from the same country. Not from the same continent. Different cultures. They speak with different words. Some moments transcend language and create a connection in spite of differences. Teachers, students, sisters, friends. Community beyond commonality.

A shopping we will go!

In the past few weeks, Haiffaa was determined that we would find carbon paper for her to use for her embroidery projects. It's not all that easy to find. Anna took Haiffaa on a shopping trip the other day, and they went to the most magical place of all...Hobby Lobby. Haiffaa was very impressed by the crafts supply buffet before her. She was even introduced to the joys of the "40% off any regular priced item" coupon that is well-known to any savvy Hobby Lobby shopper.

It was a good learning experience for one of our students to see where the rest of us get our supplies and what retail prices look like. By the way, they found carbon paper. Next field trip: Michaels.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Like ripples in a pond...

Anna isn't much for putting her thoughts on paper (or in Cyberspace), but I want to take the liberty of sharing excerpts from an email message she sent to Susan and me today. Her day included visits with Haiffa from Iraq, Khadiga from Sudan, Htee from Burma, and Angelique from Democratic Republic of the Congo. I was at a conference, so no crafts fun for me! Glad to see that Anna did enough work for both of us. --SM

Busy, busy, busy. Susan, I feel like you must everyday. Nearly every minute of my day from 8-4:30 was jam packed...I dropped off my sewing machine with Haiffaa today. I brought so much stuff with me this morning I looked like a pack horse. I am going to go over to Haiffaa's tomorrow and we are going to do a small lesson on how to sew small gift bags for the jewelry.

Khadiga also showed me her sewing machine that she brought with her from Sudan. It is a Singer... a very good vintage Singer. She just recently got it fixed. Tomorrow I will be bringing her some material and patterns that were donated to me by my mom. I have been waiting and waiting for this point... Khadiga said she makes skirts and dresses, so I am excited to see what she comes up with.

And the new development of the day.... I gave Angelique a beginner's jewery kit today. I went over to her house around 2pm and we had a very short one-on-one lesson on how to make braclets, necklaces and earrings. I have attached the photos from today. It was easy to see that she has had very little experience with using tools. It was very hard for her, but she was very happy to make something beautiful. Her daughters were very intrigued too. So intrigued in fact, the younger one kept trying to sit in my lap and be a part of the action.

Ohhh... I forgot about Htee... How could I? I brought her a bunch of yarn, and she had a whole new bag full of woven scarves and a bag. I didn't have time to look through the whole bag, but I am sure there is a lot more great stuff in there. I will be visiting her tomorrow after I see Haiffaa.

Just in case you were wondering, I made sure to let Khadiga know that Angelique was just starting out with the jewelry making, and Khadiga automatically said "She come to Khadiga's house. We do same." Which, in my book, translates to "she can come over and I can help her." I made sure Angelique knew that too. They only have English to communicate with each other, so that will be interesting for them. They both seemed happy to get together, though.

Building community ladies... It is hard work.


The pre-holiday craft fair season is upon us! The women have been busy, busy, busy making things to sell. Considering that they only work with a hodge-podge of donated this-and-that, their finished pieces come together quite well, actually. Whatever would we do without the donated findings and stringing wire?

Here are some pictures of some of the many pieces we've been sorting, bagging, and pricing this week: