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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lessons here and there

Summer is over, and we didn't write a thing about it! Looks like we were busier than we thought. Even when we appear to be idle, there's a lot going on--you just can't see it unless you're with us.

Back in mid-July, we had another lesson day. We always say that our meetings are like throwing a party: You can send out the invitations, but you never know if anyone is going to show up. The size of our group was just right.

Two new volunteers joined our group, Carol Amato and Amanda Czarnecki. They have a steep learning curve ahead in terms of learning to make jewelry and learning about the many aspects of A Little Something. For Katrina, Jaime, Anna, Susan and I, it can be a surprsie to realize how much we know and how much information we actually have stored in our heads. It's when we set out to share our knowledge that we can really see how we're each like a different volume in our unique set of encyclopedias. Let's hope Amanda and Carol weren't too overwhelmed on their first day.

The first order of business--before the women arrived--was to create a "Yes/No Board." Since the overall English level of our members is very low, we wanted to create a display of clear exaples of good jewelry and problematic jewelry. Every piece on the board was a real-life example. When it was all laid out, it was evident that although there was a lot unorthodox technique in front of us, our women are consumate and creative problem solvers.

The four women from Iraq had finished work they brought for us to look at. Quality control revealed that we need to schedule a lot of lessons in the next few months. Technical issues aside, the jewelry was beautiful, original, and highly marketable. We told Hind and Zainab they'll definitely make some money when we resume our sales.

Beda is a petite woman from Bhutan who already knits but also wants to learn how to make jewelry. She said she hadn't been making anyting at all because she can't see. It took some careful listening, but we finally figured out that Beda needs glasses. There is no money for an exam or prescription lenses. A quick trip to the nearest ESL classroom proved to be worth the effort. Beda tried on four or five pairs of reading glasses (we buy them when they go on sale at Walgreen's) and when she found a pair that worked for her, we were back in business.

The time flew by, and we had to pack up and call it a day long before we were finished. Many thanks to the security staff and Saturday custodians at Emily Griffith Opportunity School for their hospitality.

About a month after our group meeting, several of us gathered at HQ (Sharon's basement) for some bead sorting, organizing, and planning. There is always far more to do than it appears at first glance. We dream (often) of the day we have our own dedicated office and studio space so the tasks related to keeping the project running wouldn't have to be put off until we can all synchronize our schedules.

We never actually stop working on this project, even though it may appear that way. We have big plans for the future of A Little Something. In the meantime, at least one of us will be at the Denver Bead Renaissance show on Sunday, while others will be taking care of other business. There is a full schedule of sales and craft fairs coming up in the near future, plus new members to welcome into the family. So much to do, so little time.

Borrowing a wrist to measure a bracelet's size.

Susan and Hajia enjoying the moment

Anna helps Fatuma conquer the crimp tool.

Our newest teen--from Congo.

Anna reviewed finishing techniques with the Iraqi women.

Jaime works with Zainab on a refresher lesson.

Overheard as I was passing by: "You. Children? You have children?"

Anna teaches.

Hajia is always ready to try a new technique.

Smile! Look at our awesome yes-no-board!

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