I was in the USA for almost 6 months recently, helping with a new grand baby, enjoying the holiday season with children and grand children , and doing shows to support and promote the Namibian women in our project. 

Thanks to many of you, who purchased beads and jewelry, we were able to raise over $10,000 USA dollars to keep our project solvent!  There was a time when we could make enough sales in Namibia alone, but most of our sales in country are to tourists, and fewer and fewer tourists are coming to Namibia these days. We sell in country, only about 1/3 as much now, as we did in the pre-2011 days.

My beautiful model here is Asteria Shilongo. She is facilities manager at our community training center. She is as beautiful inside as out!

When I first realized I would be training Namibian women in hand craft, I must have thought there were 20 of me. I had so many ideas! And I brought tons of supplies to Namibia for all those hundreds of ideas. Back in 2003 and for a few years after, we were allowed two 70 lb. bags of luggage.
Weren't those the days!

Now that both my husband an I are in our 60's, we are looking at a bit slower pace and to spending more time in the USA with our grandkids, while still promoting the hand work of Namibian women.

 We are thinking 9 months in the USA and only 3 months per year in Namibia.( For  the past 13 years it has usually been 9 months in Namibia and 3 in the USA).

All that to say, I recently began going through all those supplies I brought years ago, and passing them on to other organizations who could put them to good use.

When I came to the ribbon box though, I had a hard time giving up all my never used plans for the ribbon.  I also still have lots of fabric I had thought to use for making hand bags.  My most dear friend here has just been diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, so I have been thinking head covers anyway. Over the weekend head bands just kept pouring out of my little garage work room.
Here's one with a crocheted band and silk ribbon flower
I got my crochet patterns here. I love her patterns !

Head bands are such instant gratification! A new one can be whipped out in a little over an hour. And they will be much less complicated to teach than hand bags.

Now the question is..........Is there a market?  Please give me some feed back.  Do you like wide or narrow? Is there a market?

I am also working on some children and baby sizes.

Here's the week end stash


It's winter here in the Southern hemisphere, so for those of us who grew up in the Northern one, it's as Christmas feeling as it's gonna get ! 
No snow, but a little frost now and then. Sweaters and hot drinks are in order. It reminds me of a Florida winter with lots of sunshine but a definite nip in the air.

Snow man candy jar

I am also going State side early this year to help with a new grand baby, so we are in the Christmas making mood in the studio.

 Angels we have heard on high..........

 Some wheel thrown ornaments I have been experimenting with


and more ornaments

Christmas bells

even an African patterned bell

And as always, the OKAWA beads are rolling out with a couple of firings a week. We have lots of stock, and I will soon have to slow the ladies down  in order to be able to handle pay day.
We are all praying for a break through in finding some kind of wholesale outlet in the USA or Europe. 
(And here I thought if we built a fabulous " mouse trap they would come" :))


I've been working on some new designs, and we have some new ladies working now, so Friday was training day.  The ladies are proficient at rolling and painting beads, but sometimes it's good to try something new !

I am also flying back to the U.S.A. early this year for the birth of a new grand baby, so I thought we had better get cracking on Christmas ornaments.

Here is Vicky working on star ornaments

Otillie ( in the foreground) is woking on small flowers. Any B.T.W. ever wonder where those Lyon's club glasses go? We we were happy to receive a bag of them because anyone over 40 needs them !

Wonky star pendants

Lodie is working on the star pendants

Bracelet bars

 I got busy and forgot to get a photo of everyone, but we had a productive and fun day.


Lodie ( pronounced Lloyd-a )is a 40 year old single mother of 4 children. She is the sole bread winner of the family, since all her children are still in school.

Lodie has been with us in the ceramic bead making project since September 2013. When I asked her what she did for income before working with us , she told me she collected Acacia tree pods for selling to farmers , who feed them to their goats. The trees only drop pods during part of the year, so I can not imagine how she actually survived with only collecting pods for income.

Acacia tree in Makhtesh Gadol, Negev Desert, I...
typical Acacia tree

English: Acacia confusa (leaves and seedpods)....
some typical pods ( there are many varieties)

Lodie has a seventh grade education. She said that she lived with her grandmother as a child, and when her grandmother died, there was no one to pay her school fees.

Lodie lives in a tin hut,with no running water, and she cooks over an open fire. She  collects fire wood before work, or her children collect it after school.

I asked her what her biggest worries were, and like most mom's it was about her children. While we might worry about our children's friends or bullies at school, or how they are doing in school;

She worries about providing for their food, clothes and school fees. When I asked her what her immediate needs are, she said that she really needs some blankets, because we are headed toward winter, and her oldest, took blankets when she went to live in the school hostel . This made me feel kind of bad that I had not asked her before now......of course I will go buy her a blanket.  

Our winter weather here in Namibia is a lot like winter in Florida. The days are quite warm and sunny, but nights are often in the  40's to 50's and can sometimes get down to  freezing.  When there is no heat in the house, anything below 60 is darn cold. I know, because no houses here  have central heat. At my house however, we have portable heaters, and a heavy down comforter on the bed.
Enhanced by Zemanta