Monday, September 26, 2011

Sorting and Storing

We received a lovely package from Sylvia in Tweed Head.  She sent us a box load of empty ice-cream and take away containers.   I immediately  brought a large handful to Bellekria.  Sinta pointed out the amazing timing of Gods provision.  That very week was the week we received the 10 boxes of sewing gear.  It took us a while to sort through everything, and just as we were getting large piles of items, here arrived the containers! She was impressed how God had touched the hearts of completely separate people in Australia many months before, and that it all arrived when we needed it.DSCF2977   
So While Sinta and Anna were working on the wedding dress, Nona and serenity helped me sort zips, elastic, ribbons, needles, pins, safety pins and lovely lovely buttons!DSCF2969 (2)

The Chiefs wedding dress

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A few weeks ago, we had an afternoon visit from the village Chief (Sheffie).  He explained that he was required to arrange and purchase a wedding dress for his god-daughter in the mountains.  We asked if he could bring her down for a measure up and to choose the fabric.  We also said we would give him a good deal.  
Anyway, a week later a small convey arrived – The Chief himself, an elderly woman and two younger women.  We trooped up to the sewing room in singe file, and set about establishing which of the young women was the lucky bride to be.   Funnily enough, she was absent!  But luckily, the chief had brought along his wife to measure up as she was roughly the same size.  As in, measure her, then make it “a bit” longer, cause the girl is taller, and she is “a bit” wider around the waist, and “a bit”smaller around the chest.  Hmmm so much for accurate fitting :)  We all had a giggle after they had left suggesting that if the dress didn't end up fitting the girl, maybe the older woman could wear it in her place!
Also, as the young bride to be wasn't around the other women chose the fabric for her.  DSCF2968 (2)Apparently the only request was that it was a pinky colour.  Can you imagine any woman in the western world leaving that wonderful choice to others? Anyway they were quite confident.  Earlier Sinta had helped me sort through our fabric stashes for all the pinky satin finish fabrics.  She had held up a very bright apricot fabric and said this is what they will choose.  I had repressed my revulsion and suggested putting the other options out just in case.  Of course she was right.  Its all relative isn't it?
Thankfully the desigDSCF2964n they wanted was very simple – no sleeves, simple gathered skirt with a fitted bodice.  Sinta kindly brought in her own wedding dress to use as a guide.  A lovely frothy green and yellow extravagance ;)
Sinta was the seamstress for this project – Our first wedding dress.
Here she is pinning and planning…
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Of course she was the closest in size so she got to model it as it developed.
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And here is the almost finished frock.  Seeing as the young bride to be still hasn't shown her face (or her body which is actually more important), we haven't stitched on the straps at the back to allow for at least a pretense of fitting.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Some New Products

So here is the unveiling of some new products….
Bean bags kits!  DSCF2997DSCF2992Complete with a games idea brochure(inspired by last years christmas prezzies) (we finished two sets off at the market and sold one of them ($6)
DSCF3003DSCF2990Bag Bags!  What a great idea (Thanks Beth!)  I want one too…We whipped up six and sold 3 of them last Friday night for $4 each.  They have either a small band of Tais (locally handwoven fabric) or batik print.

Peg bags!!! Another great inspiration from Beth…$4DSCF2987DSCF2988
Now here is where you also may want to purchase some of our products.  We have DSCF2991decided to produce some smaller cloth books about 20cmx200cm.  We will personalise the title (in either English, Tetun, Indonesian or Portuguese:) ). The example below says Barto’s book of shapes. So I’m thinking you can order them and we will deliver them to you before Christmas.  We can do shapes, colours, animals, fruit, clothing or objects( a mix of transport and furniture). What do you think? P&H may have to be around $4 But we can let you know.  email us if your interested
You have seen the balls before, but we keep making new adorable ones.  The women were keen to sew a few in Brazilian colours for a special Brazilian night at the market.DSCF2996
          So any orders welcome…. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

A windfall and some wild winds

Friday market day again!  The sewing room was buzzing in the morning as we all whipped up a few more balls and other new items to sell. (more on that later).  We were also excited that Samuel had driven off to the Rotary shipping container event!.  We were expecting a couple of  boxes from Northern NSW.  A combination of some items i had purchased earlier – lots of PUL and FOE elastic, as well as some sewing supplies collected by my parents, aunt, and friends.  Samuel had been gone a few hours and we were all heading out the door for a quick lunch before doing the big afternoon transporting/market scene.  But here comes the car!  How exciting!  The girls all say “Oh! there are lots of boxes!”   Sure enough  a total of 4 large boxes were emptied out of the car and shuffled into our cramped sewing room :)
Christmas!! Party! Presents! Open them lets have a look!

 We only had a short time, so we tore the tape away and had an amzing time seeing what what inside.  So much wonderful stuff!! laces, balls of wool, fabrics galore, books, sharp scissors, threads, threads and more threads!! And lots more!  What a blessing!
P1050145Thankyou so much to everyone who sent these things over.  The items are so valuable here, and the women know that this will help their sewing group to continue to move forward.  It is such an encouragement!!
God bless you abundantly!!

Friday is a long day, so this blog will be a long blog :)
So we dragged ourselves away from the boxes of goodies, and raced home for lunch.  Sweet Emmy had made lunch for us all which was wonderful as we had all been so busy.  After lunch we cleared the table, popped it on the roof of THE TRUCK! (Yes it is back in P1050154action – somewhat).
Then we drove around to the sewing room and loaded on a treadle machine, boxes and baskets of products  and chairs, etc etc
When we arrived at the market site there was a bit of a blustery wind stirring.  We started setting up the  table and chairs and clothing rack and putting our products on the table.  The first sign that things may get interesting was when our clothing rack fell over.  Hmm.  We tried putting heavy rocks on the base bu it fell again, so then we tied it to the metal frame.  However the canvas was flapping madly, and suddenly a metal bar from the centre of the top fell down and swung near our heads!  Aghhh!  Eeek!
We were getting a little disturbed.
Some market staff came and started wiring the metal frame at some places to make it a bit stronger.  However by this time we were all standing around the edge and slowly dashing in to get our gear away in case anything else should happen.  Our canvas roof was a particularly old damaged one, so the tears that had been taped up now started ripping with a frenzy.  So the market men came and took off the canvas, and we all agreed to move our bodies and our belongings to a safer location – a fixed timber shelter.  There we sat for around 2 hours.  Chatting, snacking, and ooohing and awing as the wind continued to blast the coast.  We finished off the hand sewing of the balls we had been making.
At one point a metal frame which had not yet had its canvas removed started swaying and then suddenly the legs were pulled out of the ground and the whole frame flew up and tumbled over!  There was a lot of screaming as you can imagine.  Thankfully no one was in the vicinity of the thrashing metal bars!  I tell you my heart was racing!
P1050164 Other stalls were securing their belongings and settling down to wait out the wind.    We were all wondering if we should just reload the truck and head home, or just keep praying that the wind would stop.  By around 5:30 the gusts were getting less frequent and we decided to have another go at setting some our heavier products out, as a few customers were starting to arrive. 
We used lots of masking tape to hold coat hangers in place, and rocks to hold cloth books and cushions down. 
And you know what?  It was worth the hassle as we sold over $60 worth of products!!!!P1050162
Lots of balls sold, as well as 1 book, 3 school skirts,  and 2 dresses.
Sinta, Anna, Novi and Nona were so happy.

And as the sun set over the ocean, the full moon was rising behind us over the hill.
We just made it home before midnight, exhausted but happy… and that is the end of the story…..

Cloth Pad Distribution

A Very exciting few days!  Yesterday we drove to a small mountain cluster of villages DSCF3075 - Copycalled Liquidoi.  We took up 10 packs of women's cloth pads, and gave some to a small group.  The ladies were grateful to receive them, and some men also asked to have some to take home to their wives.  We left the remaining packs with a Pastor’s wife (second from right) to distribute to other women.
Then today we visited Hera, to catch up with Soraya and Branca.  Branca is a nurse who I consulted last year when the idea of making cloth pads was just in my head.  Later in July 2010 I trialled a few samples through some of the females she sees at the Sidara Clinic (a small village).  So today I took a bag of 8 sets to her.  She was very grateful to receive them, and was impressed with how professional they look in their packaging.  She asked if we minded that she would keep some of them to hand out to some expectant mums who are due to give birth in her birthing clinic next week. Of course we thought that was a lovely idea.  She then explained how she had around 20-30 births every year, and that she try's to give out a care package to each new mum.  DSCF3099She told us how $20 would provide some baby clothing, wraps, hygiene needs  and that if she can, she spends $30-$40 to also include rice, milk and other food essentials in the care  packs.  We think this is a wonderful project, and have told her we will try and find support to provide her with cloth pads for each pack, as well as possibly trying to source baby needs for her.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The sunset fair

“To market to market” to haul in some dosh :)
We arrived at the Christo Rei Sunset Market  around 3pm, jam packed into the tiny suzuki (cause our small truck is out of action again!)
4 women and a sewing machine in the back – a bit tight.  But they were so sweet about it.  I guess its probably as much room as you get in a “mikrolet” (public transport mini bus). 
When we had unpacked ourselves we began the search for our spot.  There was a little confusion at first, as we could not find our name on any of the canvas tents that had  been set up….However after a few phone calls we discovered the organisers had made an error, so we did in fact have a location to set up our stall in….Its just that they had given Sinta a new name – Angelicca.  We thought that was funny.DSCF2968
Heres some pics of our products all displayed on the table.  We also had a number of bags and uniforms hanging up.
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The night was a bit slow…. A number of people were very interested in the sewing group, but we only sold $26 worth of stuff.  It doesn’t seem like much for all the effort it takes packing and travelling and unpacking and sitting…. But it is worth it to show the women how a market works, and how people like the products they are producing.   We used some of the 7 hours we were there, to chat about what else we could make to sell.  The problem is not really about more ideas, just about having the supplies, time and skills needed to produce them all!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cloth Pad set sponsoring

I mentioned a few weeks ago, about a lovely visitor from Melbourne – Celeste.  She returned home and started sharing about our vision here in Bellekria.  She produced a lovely PowerPoint presentation, and asked women to consider purchasing a cloth pad set for distributing to poor women in rural locations.
Well she has since emailed us with a list of lovely names – 6 women who also decided to assist this project.
The women who kindly gave were Margaret Devis, Cheryl Chaplain, Karen Young, Vanessa Clayton, Judy Cooper, and Deb Pledger
Thankyou so much for supporting this vision.  We plan to take some sets to a village about a 2 hr drive from Dili.  We hope to be able to take some photos of the women who DSCF2786receive the sets.  

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A Sack of Clothes

So remember how Serenity and I were discussing the idea of getting a sack pf second hand clothing in our village?  And how the women in the sewing room got really excited about the idea?  Well Guess what???
We did it!
Samuel assisted in purchasing the sacks.  2 smaller sacks for $30 each, and 1 large sack of remnants for $160.  We got the bags back to the sewing room and opened up the clothing ones.  We counted 175 items.  Which if we could sell half them at $1 each we would make a decent profit.  Anyway, Sinta offered to sell them on her verandah.  So Sat morning we grabbed a cart and loaded it up and walked around to her place.  I got to help her unload the stuff and organise it in piles.  (Of course i took the opportunity to pick up an item of clothing for each of us :) 
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The good news is, that even without any advertising, lots of people immediately started gathering around and rifling through it.  So Samuel and I snuck away (to be less of a distraction) and in the evening Sinta delivered $30 to me.  The following evening she delivered another $30!  And she had recorded about $70 owed by various people.  What a profit margin!  To top it off there is still a decent sack full of clothes left.  We were stoked as you can imagine…..