Ujamaa score!

Have you ever heard of the Ujamaa Gramma’s? A Calgary, Alberta (Canada) initiative, they do massive work to help support a very worthy cause and solution.

Approximately 14.8 million children under 18 have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS pandemic. In many African countries, 40 to 60 percent of these children now live in grandmother-headed households.

As part of the Stephen Lewis Foundation Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign, UJAMAA GRANDMAS works to raise awareness for these tens of thousands of African grandmothers who are struggling to raise their orphaned grandchildren.

Since 2004, this dedicated local group of (mostly) women has raised a lot of money for the Foundation through an annual stash busting sale: donations of anything textile related from the surrounding area crams an entire large church basement, and people eagerly and happily wait in line for up to 2 hours to get in. (Gotta follow fire code regulations for occupancy!) It sounds like small potatoes in a way, but when you realize that the dollar bags of threads, the fabrics at a dollar a metre (except for higher priced quilting items, still a grand deal though!), yarns, notions, crafting supplies, tools, books and patterns raised $42,000 last year alone, that’s a lot of metres and miles of yarn and threads!

(With no way to snap pics as i was shopping,ย  i “borrowed” these from the FaceBook site) Imagine these spaces with huge knots of gridlocked shoppers too! What you don’t see, is all the little side and back rooms crammed with stuff as well.

Last year, i spent the magnificent sum of 37.00, this year a mere 12.00–not because i couldn’t find anything, but because A. i was overwhelmed by the amount offered, B. overwhelmed by the number of people and C. (unfortunately) overwhelmed by all of the perfume! I also had a specific list this year, and finding alternatives to items on that list was not a Thing. (Part of both those amounts included a $2 dollar admission fee, and a small “keep the change” donation as well.)

I bought 3 bags of embroidery threads at a dollar a bag–and even with some of them being short ends, i figure i saved at least 96bucks, by not buying “new” or from a retail operation. I fooled myself again, and do this frequently–i always get excited by the look of the “variegated” threads in the bag, which always turn out to be specific colours knotted together for someone else’s defunct/fuhgeddaboudit projects ๐Ÿ™‚ You’d think i’d be more on the ball by now, but no-ooo-oo-ooo. Quite happy regardless! Some of the colours that i won’t likely use will be for overdyeing, so not a waste at all!

Edit next day: Untwangled everything, and discovered i have 102 skeins, counting some of the shorts as one—that works out to a wee bit less than 3cents per!

A bag of tassels for a buck:

A Maggie Grey, and a Jan Beaney/Jean Littlejohn, both hardcovers, both a measly 1buck each:

(The Beaney/Littlejohn book is signed by Beaney, but so what? ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Another (small) bag of threads for dyeing:

I say “small” because i COULD have crammed the bag full with three times this amount, and still have been charged only a buck!

Lace bits for a dollar:

One chunk of fabric i want to cut into small bits and play with, again only a dollar:


And my best score to date. As we stood in line to get in, we noticed there was sidewalk length of “free items”, mostly weaving frames, tapestry frames, and a few tapestry/embroidery stands. I poohpoohed the idea that i “needed” any of it. However, since i finished an hour before my friend Susan whom i’d gone with, i was sitting on the bench outside and thought “Hmmmmm…” So i pulled a stand over by my sit spot and looked at it, sneaking glances out of the corner of my eye, hoping it wouldn’t bond with me. When Susan came out, she reminded me that it’s FREE, sensibly mentioned that it’s wood so i could burn it if i didn’t need it and give the metal attachmenterthings to the Greyman, and that if it was semi wobbly, Greyman could fix it, and reminded me again that it’s FREE. How can i argue with that logic?

Never mind the mess behind–it’s “creative exploration” ๐Ÿ™‚

I did a bit of research this morning, and the closest model i could find online sells for $195US (PLUS the shipping of course). Miss Susan was correct in her logic therefore.



shop update, “Gifting”

As they say, “Buy my art before i’m dead” please. This is the last day of my Day Job, and i really don’t want to work in the ffFlower Mines anymore!






Gifts for that special someone needed? Wanted? Support your local artists please!

and for all the other stuff on offer!


holding my breath

I think that’s the final “name” too for this piece. As i’ve worked it again in the past 2 weeks, it’s freed up a lot of thought processes and worries i’ve had, and some major decisions were made.

I found a few spots where the initial stitching wasn’t completed either. Sometimes it’s hard to see the trees for the forest, or the forest for the treesย  — i’m never sure which makes more (non)sense! I figure this will be done by the end of the month, and i might just dig through the UFO pile to see what else has been holding *it’s* breath for finishing!

I’m also going to be combining some media–not glued and recycled bits of paper, metal, cloth, gumwrappers, tea bags and whatever else can be recycled from the Nasty GarBahj, but more in form and for use. If i’m bored with what i’ve been doing, i might as well try either some new things, or go back to some old things!


Not only can i walk today (LOTS of drugs, water, rest, heating pads and special supine stretches), but i am closer to finishing this six year old piece than i thought.

I was worried i’d run out of the colourway i’ve used, but apparently i have a lot more violets and pale purples than i thought, yeah me.

running in place

I’m pretty much confined to my stitching corner these past few days. And now i can’t sleep lying down, so now it’s going to have to be made into a nest. Not sure how i’m going to survive my last 6 days at the Day Job….. Robaxacet is starting to not help much, and ice packs make look your bum and back look funny when stuffed down your underpants. (And they have to be Granny Pants to stay high enough for good contact…)

Originally, i was just going to stitch up and down on this thing, but quickly realized it was not only boring in execution but in look as well. Running stitch doesn’t have to go only one way. I was hesitant to do the background this way, but it doesn’t fight with the defined elements after all, so will continue. There are small areas i will leave unstitched, as i’ve always subscribed to the void space theory, giving the eyes a place to rest, not crowding everything. It’s still a bit horror vacuii, but the other details stand out enough that this becomes only the background, not the story.

hand embroidered detail on painted cloth

I’m going to run out of the violets and pale purples soon! And i love this cloth, the result of using a large scrap as a sop/drop cloth when painting something else.



if it’s not one thing, it’s another

This winter has been hell: a fall on the ice in December resulting in a hip crunch that is still bothering me, an angina attack and all the ensuing tests, poking, prodding and stressing, a bad cold that lasted 3 weeks and wiped me out, a spine jarring drive on the bus through a deep pothole that has left my back in agony, and the resignation from my Day job, after 5 years, effective on the 17th.

I’m frickin’ tired, and about all i can do, (besides whine i suppose…) is fill in space and time, so yesterday saw me go back to the strange face. (Previous post)

Since i started this in January of 2012 and have lost the flow and notes, i’m not sure what the intent was, but what the hell.

I’m guessing it was an exercise in colour, and stitch type, and followed/parallaled the making of “Not A Hive Mind”.ย  I might as well finish it, and then maybe i’ll get it!