on the needles

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harry's Family & Income Generating Project

I have so much sponsor kid news I hardly know where to begin!

First - some background...

I recently asked Children International to provide me with photos of all of my children with their families outside of their family home. This serves a few purposes. It gets the field workers out to visit each of my families so that they can assess their situation and advise me of any special needs my sponsor kids might have. It also gave me a visual reference point regarding their housing so that I could prioritize which kids might need the most help in that area. And, most importantly, the field workers were able to meet with each of my families to discuss with them the possibility of me providing them with capital to set them up in income generating businesses.

The longer I have been a sponsor, the more my idea of what being a sponsor is about has evolved. At first I didn't think beyond the basic assistance my sponsorship dues would provide. But as I have gotten to know these kids I have found myself wondering what else I could do to help them. I wanted to move beyond addressing their basic needs. I wanted to help them, the best I could, to have a better chance of improving their lives and possibly even moving them out of a state of poverty. Setting up what Children International calls "income generating projects" is the best way that I can see to help my families to help themselves.

This is not something that CI expects every sponsor to do, but they have been more than helpful in assisting me. I love it that CI is not some huge, ponderous sponsorship machine. Instead, CI really gives meaning to and stands behind the idea of direct sponsorship. It has been fascinating for me to read the proposals for the various income generating projects as they have come in. It's truly amazing what you can do for these families with a fairly small output of capital!!

I also want to add that I recently spent 45 minutes on the phone with Greg Jones, who is the head of sponsor services at CI, discussing the income generating proposals for my families. He was so helpful answering all my questions. CI has never failed to give me excellent service as a sponsor.

So - over the next weeks and months I will be sharing the process of setting up these income generating projects. CI will be sending me progress reports and pictures as the businesses get started. So we will all get to see the change happen. I can't wait!!

Here we go!

The first income generating project proposal I received was from Harry's family in the Philippines.

Here is Harry with his mother, father and siblings outside their home. Harry, 13, is in the yellow shirt.

Harry's siblings are, Jericho 9 and Jerica Mae 4. Little Jerica Mae (who is a TOTAL cutie pie!!) does not have a sponsor yet. If you would like to sponsor her PLEASE EMAIL ME and I can have Children International set that up for you. If you sponsor her you would likely at some point get a letter written for her by Harry. Let me tell you, a letter from Harry is a singular experience! Harry has the heart of a poet. He is so wonderfully expressive!

Currently, Harry's family income is about $30 a month. How they get by on that I'll never know. They asked for help in setting up a small business selling fresh fish in the market. I provided them with $140 in capital to buy fish and coolers. That's all it took! $140 and now they have a self-sustaining business that can bring in a steady income. Isn't that amazing?

I sent Harry's family their money a month ago. In a few weeks I will probably get the report and photos from CI. I can't wait to share them with you guys!!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Edges of Squares

So let's see...where were we? Oh yeah, squares.

Today I give you edges of squares. :)

Square Target Patches

Square Target Patches

Square Target Patches

Today I'm thinking about:
How ominous a helicopter overhead sounds,
What to do about Indy,
Starting a new (and expensive hobby),
Taking a sewing class,
Making Chinese bread in the steamer.

Oh - and I've lost 12 pounds so far. I think actually more but I won't really know until the good ole PMS passes. Drat that water weight! Violet's mama says I should reward myself for losing weight by doing something fun that I haven't gotten to do for a long time. Unfortunately that would be...eat. Eat really, really fattening Mexican food. At this point if I ate food that calorie and fat laden it would probably just make me sick. So I've got to come up with something else....

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Stacks of Squares

Continuing with my showcase of squares, here are some photos of stacks of squares. I particularly like the first one.

Square Target Patches

Square Target Patches

I'm still enjoying this project but it is starting to reach the slightly overwhelming slog point. I'm starting to yearn for some knitting and thinking about sweaters and yummy wooly fall weather things. So I am working really hard on this crochet so I can finish before the magic wears off and I end up with a HUGE UFO pile.

Currently I've got the basis for at least three blankets, and right now I am doing some more crocheting of certain colors to "fill in" what I think the blankets need. I'm able to complete a whole sewn up four quarters patch in about a day and a half. I'd say I'm about 75% finished. That seems like a pretty good number - but when you are working on three blankets at once you realize there is still quite a ways to go. :(

At least I when I finish I will have three blankets completed "all at once". :)

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

More Sewn Up Patches

Here are a few more examples of what the patches turn out like once they are sewn up. The color is all washed out on these for some reason...and I also think that Hubby accidentally took pictures of the backside of all but the first patch so they look slightly weird...but you get the idea at least.

Square Target Patch

This one is going in the "crazy" colors blanket.

Square Target Patch

This one will either go with the "crazies" or the "normal", haven't decided yet.

Square Target Patch

This one goes in the big blanket.

Square Target Patch

I think this one will also go in the big blanket. I'm hoping for a king size on the finished blanket. I will likely be keeping that one! The other two blankets are for a charity project which I will tell more about later.

I used the other Flickr blog function for this post. It's better I think! Hubby described how to used it in the comments section of the previous "squares" related post. I also took every one's advice and cleaned up the sidebar. Don't worry Carrie, I kept the reading list. :)

ETA: Whew - I fixed the picture sizes so that they aren't ginormous! That was like the attack of the killer photos! I don't know folks, I may be too old to figure out this new fangled Flickr technology. :)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Can You Guess?

Hubby took this photo of one of our dogs. Can you guess which one it is?

(No mousing over & cheating!)

My guess is that Chris will really like this photo. Even though this one is canine rather than feline. :)


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Our baby Senegal Indy is going to come home with us this coming weekend!

We visited her last weekend and at first she was in a rather grouchy mood. Apparently there had been quite a few babies going home that day and all the activity probably upset her.

She settled down pretty quickly though and started grinding her beak. (For those non-bird people out there, birds grind their beaks when they are happy. It's weird but cute.) Indy is extra cute when she grinds her beak because she combines it with a funny little tongue wiggle - hard to describe but I've never seen another bird do it! If you click on the above picture you can see her in mid-wiggle. :)

I'm a bit apprehensive about her meeting with Scooter for the first time. They have to be cage mates so the first impression just has to be a good one. I'm thinking about taking Scooter with us when we pick her up - he needs his nails trimmed anyway. That way they can meet outside of our home on more neutral territory. But I would be glad of any advice from other bird mom's out there on how to handle their first meeting.

Thanks to everyone who offered advice/opinions on the sidebar & Flickr. I've made some changes to the sidebar & Hubby pointed out some other Flickr options I might try...

Guess that's it for now!

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Monday, September 15, 2008

So, what do you think?

So what do you, my wise readers, think about using the "blog this" function on Flickr for my blog posts? I personally think the format is a bit ugly. And, yes, it is easier than using Blogger's picture uploader thingy, but as far as I can tell the Flickr thingy only lets you post one photo at a time. That's lame. :(

Tell me what you all think though!

Also, now that we have Ravelry, do I really need the WIP's section on the sidebar of my blog? I think it's redundant and boring at this point. It doesn't really serve any function anymore. So, should I can it?

Help a blogger out yo!

Square Target Patches Phase 2: The Close Ups

This shows the medium sized patches.

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Square Target Patches Phase 2: The Close Ups

More close ups - just because I like them. :)

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Square Target Patches Phase 2: The Closeups


This is a close up of the smallest squares as they look sewn together. They are only two rounds of crochet each.

(None of the patches are blocked. I doubt if I will bother to block them at all.)

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Square Target Patches Phase 2

Memba the crochet patches I have been working on? The ones that were all different sizes?

Here's an example of what they look like all sewn together into the large patch. This colorway is in my "crazy" colors blanket. :)

From this point, the large patches will be sewn together to form the final blanket. Except for an edging of course.

Still alot of work to do!

(I'm trying out the "blog this" function on Flickr. Hope it works.)

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Real Yumi

This is what Yumi really looks like - when we're not messin' with her of course.

She is so sweet, so smart, so charming. I'm so very happy she came home to us. :)

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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More Fun With Yumi

Tired, sleepy puppy = crazy face.


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Monday, September 08, 2008

Fun With Yumi

Making Yumi have crazy hair - one of my favorite activities lately. :)


(Hey, I'm the one who has to take her out to pee and poop ten times a day, I'm allowed to have some fun.)


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Sunday, September 07, 2008

Portrait of Yumi as a Teeny Tiny Psychokiller

This picture makes me think of the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

"Well, that's no ordinary rabbit! That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!"

BTW - I had no idea that Killer Rabbits also roam the American South (!) and on one occasion even tried to attack President Jimmy Carter!

"We'd better not risk another frontal assault. That rabbit's dynamite."

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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Joey's New Photo

Joey's photo from last year:

Joey's new photo this year:

He looks a little taller and thinner. Joey is nine - the age when boys tend to stretch out and grow like crazy! Joey lives in the Philippines. If we ever get to go to visit our sponsor kids (fingers crossed!), the Philippines will have to be the first stop on our list. Seven of our sponsor kids live there. It would be great to get to see them all. We would have to throw a party! :)

PS - Did I mention I am on a diet? I've lost 9 and a half pounds so far. I'm doing it the safe and steady way. So far so good! What should I reward myself with when I get to my goal weight? I'm open to suggestions!

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Friday, September 05, 2008

Nyslin's New Bed

We sent Nyslin a special needs donation to celebrate her birthday. She was able to buy a new bed (and now no longer has to sleep on the floor), a packet of underwear and a box of cookies.

I'm always thrilled when my sponsor kids are able to get a bed with their donation. I've been told it's often what the families will choose to buy with their first special needs gift. Nyslin wrote that she was very happy to get her new bed and promises to share it with her siblings. :) Nyslin is such a tiny little thing and that bed just looks gigantic next to her!

I was also delighted beyond words that she got her little box of cookies. Every kid deserves something sweet for their birthday. And just look at that smile! Nyslin's smile is just so joyful. I always think of her as a little ray of sunshine. :)

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

Nyslin's New Yearly Photo

We just got a new picture of Nyslin. I was so happy to see a new photo of her since we only had one. She had just joined the program at Children International when we began sponsoring her. This was our first photo:

And this is the new one:

She's grown so much! She just turned seven this month. Nyslin is full of sunshine and very sweet. I always enjoy getting letters from her. We recently sent her a special needs donation for her birthday. I'll post the photos and show you what she got tomorrow. :)

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008


This weekend we were lucky enough to be able to have time to go visit our Indy at the aviary. She is perching a little better now.

Indy got many scritches from the whole family. She seems fairly comfortable with people now. Baby Senegals are notorious for being nervous.

She was relaxed enough to lie on her back for me without really putting up any fuss.

Violet and her human mom were also there so we took a photo of the Violet and Indy together to commemorate their "playdate". (Doesn't this photo look like it is Scooter and Lucy in a parallel universe?) Isn't it funny that we both wore shirts that were almost the exact same color? I swear we didn't call each other to co-ordinate.

Violet will probably go to her new home soon so I am glad we were able to get this photo. :)

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Monday, September 01, 2008

New Yearly Photo of Carla

This is the first picture we had of Carla. In fact, it's the only one we have ever had of Carla since I think she had just joined the Children International Program when we sponsored her.

Those cheeks are hard to resist huh?

Today we got our updated photo of Carla. She is five and a half years old now.

She's so cute! And so much bigger! We were very happy to get this new photo because Carla is the sponsor child we know the least about. We know she lives in Chile and has an older brother. And on a recent updated family report we were delighted to learn that her monthly income has risen to $380! That makes her far and away the "richest" of our sponsor kids. Good for them! But that's pretty much all we know about her. Carla is too young to write her own letters and her mother tends to write very short (maybe three sentences) letters. Mostly we just hear that she is being good, is healthy and thankful for our help. It's frustrating that our relationship with Carla and her family doesn't seem to progress beyond that point. I think building a relationship between the sponsor and the child is very important - it's what makes Children International's sponsorship program the best in my opinion! - and it also is the best way to know how specifically to assist each child. So I hope that our relationship with Carla is able to grow in the future. Maybe when she can write her own letters it will. :)

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