on the needles

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Zoila's Gifts

This is Zoila, one of our sponsor kids from Honduras. She is nine years old. One of her older brothers usually helps her to write her letters to me.

We sent Zoila a money donation as part of my Mother's Day present this year. I was so pleased when I saw that she was able to buy a bed!

Zoila is the one in the pale pink outfit. The other little girl is her younger sister Glendy. I think the other people in the photo are probably her mother, grandmother and her father. Not totally sure about that though!

They used the rest of their money to buy some clothes for all the family, some household items and some new shoes for Zoila. They look like such a nice family!

I haven't gotten to know Zoila very much yet, just enough to know that she is a sweet girl. I really like her smile. It's slightly shy but very big! From the pictures that I have seen of her over the years that she has been in the Children International program it looks like she has become more and more self-confident and nowadays she is less shy and smiles more often. That is one of my favorite things about sponsoring girls through CI. You can really see how they gain confidence.

(Don't forget you can click on the photos to see them bigger.) :)

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Jhonny's Gifts

This is our other Ecuadorian sponsor child Jhonny. We sent him a money donation for Hubby's Father's Day present. Look what Jhonny got!

The family bought this nice looking wardrobe. Jhonny said that he used to keep his clothes in boxes so he was happy now to have a place to keep them where they won't get dusty.

Jhonny also got a new pair of sneakers. You can tell he loves those sneakers!

Jhonny is a really cheerful kid. He is one of seven brothers! He is very close with is family and his most favorite thing is when they can all spend time together. He also loves to play soccer.

I love this picture of Jhonny, his mother and his youngest brother. It reminds me of how I am with my son. Jhonny's father abandoned the family so they depend on his mother's income to support the family. Like many of the parents of my sponsor kids, Jhonny's mom is a street vendor. I'm glad that they were able to spend their donation money on something other than food! I think that is probably due to the fact that Jhonny's older brothers also work and contribute income to the family.

In crafting news, I had finished knitting the body of my daughter's dress only to mess up when I picked up the stitches for the sleeves. Don't ask how. :( Since this dress is knit all in one piece from the top down this is a pretty serious issue. There's no way I am ripping back to the sleeves. So I think I will be doing some serious knitting surgery and redesign in the days to come.

Wish me luck!

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ana's Birthday Gifts

This is Ana. She just turned eleven and lives in Ecuador. This was our first experience sending a package to Ecuador and it seems to have worked out just fine. We just got these pictures and a letter from her a few days ago.

Ana likes math and used her birthday money donation to buy a scientific calculator. I was really pleased to hear that she was able to do that. I'm sure it's a big help to her studies.

Isn't it sweet how Ana put one of the dresses we sent her on over her other clothes? And isn't she just the most pretty little thing? She has such a serene and self composed expression and so far what I know of her personality seems to match. I have a feeling that Ana will really go far and make something special of her life.

My favorite photo of Ana, showing her sense of fun. She can seem quite serious on the outside but you can tell she also has that little glow in her heart. I can't wait to meet her someday!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Mary Joy's Birthday Gifts

This was the first package we ever sent to one of our sponsor kids. We were testing the waters to see if anything would really arrive. But so far Children International has handled everything on their end really well and the international post hasn't let us down yet. (Fingers crossed because we are still waiting on a package that we sent to Jester that should have arrived weeks ago!).

My sister did have some problems with packages she sent to one of her sponsor kids in India. Only half of the contents arrived safely - the rest was likely stolen by customs workers. :( I think some countries are safer than others in that regard for sure. We have done Ecuador, Guatemala and the Philippines without any problems. I'll let you know what happens when we try Chile and Honduras!

This is Mary Joy our very first sponsor kids. She is twelve and lives in the Philippines.

We had just started sponsoring her around the time of her birthday so a few months later we sent these little gifts as a belated birthday present.

We mainly sent her girly things. I thought every girl likes hair accessories, handbags and Hello Kitty stuff right? Also, the t-shirt she is wearing is one we sent. I was relieved when I saw that it fit okay! Since then I have gotten braver about sending clothes to all the kids.

In other news, we just got some photos of our sponsor kid Ana in Ecuador that I can't wait to share. And I am nearly at the bottom of the dress I am knitting for my daughter. Only 2-3 more inches to knit, then the ruffle and then it's on to the sleeves. That should go fast since I am knitting half sleeves. This has been a fun project and I can't wait to show it to you all! Only problem is that it was supposed to last me through my up coming vacation. Now I've got to hurry up and swatch for something else!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 25, 2008

Joey's Gifts

My posts about my sponsor kids don't seem to generate many comments but I'm plowing ahead with them anyway. :)

I don't have any knitting that is any state that's fit to be seen on the blog right now but I'm working on it! Lots of crafting to come...

In the meantime...

These are the pictures we got from Children International of what Joey and his family were able to do with the donation we sent for Hubby's Father's Day.

Looks like they were able to get lots of kitchen stuff and some clothes as well.

Joey is nine and he lives in the Philippines. His father is a farmer and I expressed an interest in knowing more about that so recently Joey wrote me a sweet letter describing all of the things his father plants. Since Joey is the eldest son in the family it is his responsibility to help with the planting.

I love how the bag of rice is almost as big as Joey is! Rice is a huge staple food in the Philippines. The global food shortage has hit the Philippines hard, making rice even more expensive for my sponsor kid families. It's a real crisis situation in many countries and many times even if the families can find the money there is simply no rice to buy. So I'm always happy to see these massive bags going to my kids!

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Maica's Birthday Gifts

We just got these photos yesterday! Again we were very happy to get them since we have only one picture of Maica that is fairly old. It looks like her hair has grown a bit and so has she! :)

We're getting better about the package thing. We sent her some dresses, shirts and pj's as well a jump rope, stickers, coloring book and other small toys.

Happily, this package actually arrived before her birthday! So I think we are starting to get the timing right. Usually we need to send packages at least eight weeks in advance. We just sent one off to Nyslin in Guatemala and her birthday is in September.

Maica lives in the Philippines. This was her ninth birthday. Maica writes her letters to me in English. She wants to be a teacher when she grows up. She seemed genuinely pleased with her gifts and said the dresses were beautiful which made me happy since I really tried to pick things I thought would look pretty on her.

I really enjoy being able to give my sponsor kids birthday gifts. It's one of the nicest things about Children International!

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Little Hermelinda

These are some of my favorites amongst the "gift" photos we got of our sponsor kids. I was really glad to get them since up to that point we had only one photo of Hermelinda. She is six and lives in Guatemala.

I just think she is the cutest little thing! She's so petite. And so totally unfazed. LOL! I am determined to get this kid to smile. :)

I have noticed that the girls especially seem quite shy and reserved when they first enroll in Children International's program. It's not that often that you get a little girl that smiles in her first picture. But, little by little, you can see that they gain self-confidence and feel safe to express themselves. That's one of the greatest things about CI - seeing the children grow and become more confident. Many of the older girls in the program often comment that CI helped them to lose their reserve and become more self-assured. It's like sponsor kid girl power!

We'll keep working on Hermelinda. :)

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 21, 2008

Lesly's Birthday Gifts

Hubby has been scanning our "backlog" of photos of our sponsor kids so you'll be seeing alot of them on the blog for awhile. So, if you are a child hating Grinch just tune out for the next week...:)

This picture of Lesly is of her receiving the gifts we sent her for her birthday. This was back when we were new at the whole package sending thing & just testing the waters so to speak. So we only sent her a few small, but fun things. Lesly has really pretty long hair and is a real girly girl so we sent lots of hairbands and nice ponytail holders. She wrote that she especially liked those. She is holding some photos we sent her of our family (smudged out obviously). My sponsor kids seem to like to get photos of us as much as we like to get photos of them.

Labels: , ,

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Lesly's Fancy Shoes

Okay - these photos really made me smile. This is Lesly who is our daughter's special sponsor child in Guatemala.

These are the things Lesly was able to get with the gift $$ we sent her for Hubby's Father's Day.

As usual the family spent most of the money on food. Don't you just love Lesly's smile? I think Kelloggs should hire this kid. Lesly loves cornflakes!

Luckily Lesly was also able to get a new Winnie Pooh blanket, a few clothing items and so sweet little fancy shoes. Look how proud she is of those shoes. I think Lesly is a shoe gal. She always seems so happy to get her new shoes!

Labels: , ,

Friday, July 18, 2008


The color on these photos didn't come out quite right but...here you go anyway.

This is the second set of hexagons for my Etsy blanket. This colorway is also from A Piece of Vermont and I think was called "Mushroom". It is less yellow and more brown in real life. Also, quite a bit darker than these pictures show.

This blanket is growing almost by accident. I work on it while doing other things - watching movies, waiting for appointments etc., and in between stages of working on other projects. (Especially the knitted dress I am currently cranking out. I am making up the design as I go along so there are times when I have to set it aside and let it marinate. :) Do you ever do that with your projects?) Anyhow, I think I'll end up being done with these hexies before I even know it!

I've still got about 20% left of the crocheted Square Target Patches to sew up. I need to get on with that because I really don't want to have two blankets laying around waiting to be sewn up. One is daunting enough!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Double Squeee!

We got a new photo of Harry as well! Harry is thirteen and lives in the Philippines. He is the oldest of our sponsor kids.

A few months ago we sent Harry's family a special donation. Harry's family lives on $30 a month - and he is near the bottom of our list of sponsor kids in terms of the resources they have. So for Mother's Day, instead of bunches of material gifts for me we gave donations to three of our sponsor kids. My wonderful Hubby scanned the photos we got from Children International when Harry's family got their donation and went shopping. Children International has the kids pose for pictures along with what they have bought with the money you sent - so you literally know exactly what the families did with the money. (They also send a detailed list.)

Harry's family spent alot of the money on food - which is typical in my experience because food is the upper most concern for these families in general.

Luckily Harry was also able to get lots of school supplies and some new clothes as well. I was really happy about that because I know that school is really important to Harry. Check out the backpack! Also, I'm sure it was fun for him to be able to choose some new clothes. In fact he told me that he planned on wearing his new clothes for his annual picture with CI - so I guess that's what he did. :)

It's amazing what they were able to do with the money we sent. I'm positive you could never get that much stuff for the same amount in the USA. I'm so happy we did the donations for Mother's Day & I will definitely do it again next year too. I'll share the other kids pictures as soon as I get them scanned.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


We got a new picture of Mary Joy, one of our sponsor kids from the Philippines. I always get really excited when we get new pictures. :)

Isn't she so pretty? Whomever is taking the pictures in the Philippines this year is doing a great job! Jester's newest picture was really nice as well.

Mary Joy was our very first sponsor kid. She's a really nice young lady. I can't wait to see what she will make of her life as she grows up. She really has so much potential.

I recently asked Children International to make inquiries with all of our sponsor kids families in the hopes that I may be able to help some of them get started in their own small businesses. The process may take awhile and may not be a viable option for many of the families but I am hoping that I can do something for at least some of them. I'm really interested to see what CI has to say! There are so many variables that I can't really predict an outcome at this stage. So many of the parents are street vendors or maids/janitors so I am not sure if they have any skills which could translate into a self-sustaining business. Plus, the community would have to be able to support any business that we started. And the main ingredient is the desire on the part of the families to commit to making it happen. Hopefully, with the support of CI and a little cash from me some of my sponsor kids families can find a way to have a better future. Wouldn't that be awesome!?

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 14, 2008

Look at me!

If Scooter were a human he would be constantly shouting "Look at me!". He is such a funny character. Lately he has been working on saying "Hi", "Hello" and "Thank you". He also does a variety of sounds - including the same clicking that Lucy does to identify me. Scooter is like a puppy with wings. He loves to be ruffled all over and kissed on and snuggled. His favorite spot is scrunched up under my chin. He also loves to hang onto my pony tail and get swung all around. I guess it's the bird version of an amusement park ride. :)

And the big news is that he has his first yellow head feather! My little bird is growing up. *sniff*


Labels: ,

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Ode to Etsy Blanket

Okay - it's a dumb name but it's all I could think of under pressure. :)

Here's my crochet project that I am working on after I finish up the Square Target Patches Blanket. (Only 25 more squares to sew up into patches! Yay!)

For this blanket I am mixing it up by doing hexagons instead of squares. I also chose this diamond motif for some texture. This is from a free pattern that's out there on the web. But I have modified it - I didn't like some of the techniques used. I'm getting to almost the same end design, just by a somewhat different route.

I had a quantity of nice hand dyed sock yarn (much of it bought on Etsy - hence the name) just sittin and stewin in my stash. Since I know I'll never knit it up into socks...how about a nice patchy blanket instead? I think it looks pretty good crocheted up into these hexagons. This yarn is from Jessie over at What Housework?. The colorway is Confetti. It is probably the most colorful of the yarns I will be using. The blanket will be mostly earth tones, blues and drabs. :)

And here are my finished hexagons sitting on top of the Square Target Scrap Yarn Blanket that I made out of all the leftovers from the patches. :)

PS. I can still knit! (Although my special cast on did give me a moment of panic.) I'm halfway through a dress for my daughter. :)

Labels: ,

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Here's what's happenin with all the scraps leftover from my Square Target Blanket. I have crocheted them into one big continuous square.

I've woven in all the ends, except a few close to the edge. I don't consider this a finished project yet. I'd like to add more yarn to it (but it would have to be a cotton sock yarn. It's acceptable baby or lap blanket sized now - but I always want to go bigger. :) Also I need to crochet a border for it. I think I'm going with a simple single crochet edging in a solid color.

I have ordered five skeins of cotton sock yarn I saw on crazy discount sale. I don't know yet if I am going to make more patches for my blanket - I'll decide when I lay out what I have and see how it looks. So for now, until more scraps are generated, the Scrap Square est finis.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Patches, Patches, Patches

Sewing squares in the day time.

Sewing squares at night.





Labels: , ,

Monday, July 07, 2008

If Only You Could Dye Yarn Like That

Lucy looking very proper.

She has been talking more lately. Her voice is nowhere near as clear as an African Grey's but you can figure out what she is trying to say. It's sort of like being a parent whose kid is just starting to learn to talk - you can understand them but maybe other people wouldn't. Lucy says: Hi, Hello and is working on Thank You. She also makes "love love" sounds when she is happy. She imitates the tone and cadence of many, many more phrases than she can actually say. And she is very good at clicking and whistles and beeps. Thankfully she does not imitate the phone or microwave or anything. But she has learned the little kissy, clicking sound I always make to her. She shows me that she associates that sound with me and makes the sound when she is happy or trying to show she loves me. All in all a very smart little lady. :)

Labels: ,

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Apparently it's Genetic :)

We're a family of softies. It's not just me!

My daughter saw me reading this article and asked me to tell her what it said. I read it to her and she couldn't stop talking about it. She was even calling people she knew to let them know about it!

So now we have 15 sponsor kids. :)

Meet Jenie!

Jenie will be my daughter's second "special" sponsor kid (along with Lesly). Click on the link to the article to read Jenie's story and to see some more (adorable!) pictures of her.

When my hubby got home I had him read the article. When he was good and melted I said - "We're sponsoring her!" (I know I'm bad - but in a really good way. :) ) Luckily Hubby's response was, "Good!"

I hope everyone has a great 4th of July/long weekend. I'm off to get a head start on my plans for the weekend - extensive sitting-on-my-butt-and-doing-nothing. For me that's a vacation! :)

Labels: , ,

Has Anyone Seen These?

It's a new needle threader from Clover. I'm wondering if it would work with thinner yarns and the Chibi needles. I can't tell from the picture so I was hoping someone might have seen them in real life. It would make sewing up all these patches a bit easier!


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hold On To Your Hats...

There's actual knitting in this post.

I don't know what came over me, but last night I finally got around to sewing on the buttons to this sweater I knit for my daughter. I finished the sweater a few months ago.

It is Haiku from Knitty. Heavily modifed of course. I don't seem to do anything straight from the pattern anymore. I blame (thank!) Elizabeth Zimmerman. :) It is done in a Koigu color that I like to call Fruit Punch. :)

I didn't like the basketweave stitch on the original sweater so I substituted ribbing, which gave the sweater a ruched look that I think is really cute on a little girl.

I also added ribbed cuffs instead of the plain and extended the ribbing up the sleeves. I just liked it better.

And now into the closet to await the return of colder weather. :)

Please click on the photos to see larger, more detailed versions.