Monday, February 22, 2010

I feel pretty . . . oh, so pretty!

Let's show off. Our yarn group makes some gorgeous things . . . and the women who made them are beautiful, too. Our Iraqi friend (above) loves to knit scarves. So does our Congolese friend below.
Hanaa, from Iraq, could knit day and night. She loves making creative scarves.
Our Somali beginner is learning how to crochet our famous and very popular dishcloths.
How about this pretty scarf, made by Hloa?
Dikura made some eyeglass cases. We've sold a lot of these!
A lovely scarf that's extra long. Our Bhutanese friend made this to our specifications. Great work!
Another pretty scarf made by this sweet Bhutanese woman.
Bhutanese scarves are so pretty!
Saraswati, from Bhutan, knitted this warm scarf.
I love everything Dil makes. And I love Dil, too! Her face has such character, and her personality is so gentle and sweet.
A beautiful navy blue scarf made by our Bhutanese friend.
Man Maya figured out how to crochet these shawls. Love 'em!

How's this for a soft, warm scarf?
Padma is one of our best crocheters. She is from Bhutan, and she's very shy. But look at her handiwork! Gorgeous.
Here, lovely Samaher from Iraq, was discussing some paperwork problems with me. Government documents always pose a big hurdle for people with limited English skills. Isn't Samaher lovely?
Our Sudanese student loves to crochet. Notice those interesting fingertips?
Dipping your fingers into henna dye is very popular among our African Muslim students. It's as pretty to them as a nice shade of lipstick is to us.
Speaking of pretty . . . we have some of the loveliest volunteers. Here Yvonne, an Emory student, is helping cut tags.Kristin works in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory. She is so loyal and supportive. And pretty, too! They say pretty isn't just skin deep. Working with these precious women, I'm sure beauty goes all the way to the heart.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

And the winner is . . . Indiana!

Maybe not in the Super Bowl, but in my book Indiana is No. 1! I spent three days in Indianapolis right before the big game. What a fun place! Ladies of all ages gathered for the Women's Enrichment and Renewal event with the theme "Designed with Style." Allison Kinion, director of women's ministries for the Indiana Baptist Convention, picked me up at the airport. This lovely and delicate lady not only organized a huge event with eighteen speakers and 800 attendees, but she also helped fold bags, arrange displays, and prepare for The Refugee Sewing Society's marketplace.
It wasn't long before women began browsing.
These traditional Bhutanese caps were a source of amazement . . .
. . . and amusement!
Our refugee bags were a big hit.
I had brought several hundred market bags, so arranging them was a challenge.
We parked a snood atop the easel that displayed photos of our women at work.
Amy's bead group had made gorgeous necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. She found boxes that made them easy to transport and display.
The baby caps and booties were popular.
I don't know what I would have done without the wonderful volunteers. This gentleman kept watch over the cloth diapers and knitted scarves.
And this fellow could add prices in his head faster than I could punch them into a calculator!
I was so grateful for those who stepped behind our tables and helped keep the stock organized and replenished.
After my short speech, a wonderful message by Page Hughes, and music by Tina Hutchison and company, women flooded into the halls of the hotel and rushed over to our tables to begin shopping in earnest. "I'll take that and that, please!""And I'll pay you, too!"
Market bags? Who wants market bags?
We like that green stuff in the bottom right hand corner there. Our refugee women's handmade items earned nearly $4,000. Amazing! God is good . . . and I love Indiana.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bustin' out all over!

Sometimes when I look at our small rooms filled with women sewing, knitting, or making jewelry, I'm amazed at how harmonious we are. The advanced sewing class actually chose to remain in our narrow room even after we started renting a larger one. They like all that togetherness . . . and so do I!

Yarn class has about 18 students -- more than we can keep busy making marketable products. Even so, the women in this group love to come together over knitting needles and tea.
On the left, a young woman from Sudan chats with her Iraqi friend. They both speak Arabic. The Sudanese woman is expecting a baby soon. We are always blessed with many women awaiting the birth of a child.
Elaine, our new yarn group leader, has her hands full -- literally! Here, she and Sharon are sorting through our popular dishrags. We sell a lot of these wherever we go.
Two Bhutanese friends discuss knitting techniques. Padma, on the right, is skilled with yarn, and she enjoys helping others in the group.
I love the beautiful faces of our Bhutanese refugee women.
Hanaa and Elaine share a laugh.
Dhan, from Bhutan, is helping a new Somali student learn to crochet. What a sweet spirit!
Hanaa, on the right, is helping another Somali learn to crochet. Most of the women in yarn class already know how to knit and crochet, but some are new at the craft.
When the sewing group gets busy, we have to set up our ironing board in the hallway. Netra came to class wearing a turquoise salwah -- and a pink cap to top it off!
Our new Iraqi student, Samaher, has blended right in with the advanced group. She makes some really pretty bags.
Hinde and Rabha are always kidding each other. Here they were discussing which one was jealous of the other's sewing skills. Our ladies keep us all laughing!
Beautiful Hinde . . .
Buddha's baby is due any day now . . .
Tulasa suffers terrible migraines and can't find any medicine to relieve them . . .
Zahra works on a market bag handle . . .
We have lots to rejoice over and lots to pray about. Join us, won't you?