You mix crafters with plenty of space and a keen desire to do something for the bushfire survivors?
- Fabric, food, and fast-action fusing. (Eh? Read on if you're not 'au fait' with fusing.)
- The hum of many sewing machines, whirring along.
- Toys, toys, books and notepads.
- and a gentle buzz of concentration.
Saturday's sewing bee was a great experience. Nikki and her friends threw open the doors at her studio, where craft spilled out into the hall and the bags of goodness were assembled.
About 50 crafters turned up in a marathon day-to-evening sewing session, and assembled 80 bags (of three different styles for different age groups), 23 t-shirts with stuff on them (this is the fusing bit: you cut out a fabric butterfly, for example, iron it to a t-shir, and sew around the edges to hold it secure), 21 hairbands and pretty hair ties, and many, many more projects part-completed and pledged back by the end of the week.
If you haven't already read here about the Rainbow Comfort Packs, they are little bags for the kids whose homes and communities have been devastated by the bushfires. The latest count says 7,000 people are homeless, and so many more are affected, with friends, family, and neighbours gone. Some will return to a house, but nothing else: a garden and landscape of ash. Schooling in strange suburbs, staying with friends. A very strange, unsettling time - whatever age you are.
So the comfort packs are meant to provide a little bit of cheer and something for the youngster to be occupied with while the reality of rebuilding sinks in. Mums and Dads and the rest of the community will have a lot to do - perhaps some colouring books and jigsaws, games and skipping ropes, will give them a breather, too. Notepads, pens and crayons, coloured paper, glue and sparkles - for crafty kids to get creative, and perhaps heal some of the grief that's washing around.
James and I had a super time, and met some lovely, inspiring women. Leah and Bronwyn, Beccasaurus and her daughter Siddie, Karen, Cathy, Kitty - and so many more new faces to meet.
Is that a BLOKE in there?? (My goodness.... didn't I have some Ikea furniture to put together....? OH - and he can design Appliqué motifs??!! Come in, Mr Tacc!!) - Nikki
James was told many times that he was brave to come along. After assembling tables, he discovered a talent for designing and cutting fabric patches to go on t-shirts (watch out Zach, you'll be wearing pirate ships, cowboy hats, cool cats and bombs before you know it!) - thus inspiring some delighted teasing.
- And I fused the fabrics to a seemingly-endless pile of donated t-shirts, passing them on to the zig-zag team for stitching, and the yo-yo fairies for embellishment. (A yo-yo is a little fabric puffed circle).
We were pleased with the day, and the crafting will continue. I'm cooking up a quilt for a craft blogger I know whose everything is gone, and there are little sewing bees popping up all over the city. I'm sure I'll be back out there on Saturday, sewing up a storm.
Don't forget - even if you are reading this from afar, there's lots you can do, starting at Handmade Help. Please go and have a look - bid on a fundraising item on ebay or Etsy, send in a recipe, make an apron.
And if you think this outpouring of help is too much, or futile - then read the open letter from a bushfire survivor. And get crafting.