Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Big Congratulations for New Year honours!

I was stoked to read this morning that two ladies I have a huge amount of respect for have been awarded the Queen's Service Medal in this year's honours list for "services to prisoner rehabilitation programmes"

Janet and June run the Shut-in Stitchers programmes at Arohata prison teaching ladies how to quilt. They do fantastic work, giving women a creative outlet, a new skill, a new way of networking with other women when they get out of prison. They help strengthen bonds between mothers and the children they are apart from as these women are able to make something tangible to send home to their loved ones.

I am in awe of the time that they have dedicated to such a fantastic cause (over 20 years now), and have had the privilege of being involved with the program myself this last year working with them and several other talented selfless ladies do this important work.

It takes a special type of person to be able to go into a prison environment week after week and foster an environment in these classes that is free of judgement and mistrust and is a positive encouraging space to be.

The full honours list can be found here.

Saturday, 28 December 2013

The happiest/busiest time of the year

So how did everyone's Christmas go? Was it relaxed? Madness? Still rolling along in eggnog fueled bliss?

As you can probably tell from the lack of posting lately, I've not had a heck of a lot of time to myself. I need to get more organised again. I started off so well this year, but I've let it slip and now I have so many projects on the WIP and To Do lists that I'm starting to loose track of them.

So a quick update on what has been happening.

I have been getting photos back from some of the lovely ladies from the Going Dotty quilt I have been teaching. The first was from just before the course I took at QuiltWorks in Lower Hutt.

Student #1 used all bright novelty prints and played with the layout
 Next is the first of my QuiltWorks ladies to finish. H was a heck of a lot of fun to teach!

Student #2 used her stash of gorgeous butterfly prints
I am confirmed to rerun this course at Quiltworks in February - the start of the new school term. If you are interested, it will run on Monday nights for 4 weeks (7pm - 9pm). For more details, contact the lovely ladies in store.

In other news, I will also be teaching this quilt as a single all day class through the Wellington Quilters Guild in March. That one will be a MUCH bigger class - woohoo!

The shortest critic is now getting to an age where I can play dress-ups now. Busy little bee walking and running around, but still young enough that she will usually put up with what I put her in. She is already showing preferences though. Thankfully for me, she is drawn to bright colours not just girly pink. So it was well past time to make her a party dress. Well done Kelly. First item of clothing you choose to make in years and you pick something that has toddler sized armbands and 19 individual pieces!

Hand artfully covering Mummy's booboo
Have you seen the lovely modern Christmas tree wall hangings? The ones that have a highly stylised tree made of dots or swirls on a plain pale background? I love them. I wanted one, but I wanted one with a bit of a Kiwi flavour. So I made my own.
Kiwi Christmas #1
This one is my first attempt. And yes, I am a geek. I finally found an excuse to play with electrically conductive thread! I took it with me to the December guild meeting and it caused a wee bit of a reaction during show and tell. It was reasonably well appreciated when it was held up for show and tell. I think that my modern without being stark style is quite liked by a number of the ladies. 

I had someone at the back turn the hall lights down for me to show this quilt's secret. Under one of those presents is a little switch that turns the Christmas lights on:
Kiwi Christmas 1 - lights on
The 2nd version of this is almost finished now (I'll take it along to the January meeting). It has twice as many LEDs hidden inside the quilt and a pre-programed chip that makes groups of the LEDs randomly turn on and off so they look more like twinkle lights.

The pattern for that one is going to be fun to write! I'll also have to import more parts in bulk so I can make some kits up. That one is a project for the new year though. 

I have two important projects on the machine at the moment that I can't go into just yet that have to be finished first.

That's me for now, catch you soon