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Crafting Hope



~ by Roberta Miller~ by Roberta MillerRecently I came across a wonderful book called Craft Hope. The author, Jade Sims, has combined creative endeavors with making a difference in the 
world. She started her efforts by calling for handmade pillow case dresses for a children's shelter in Mexico. Within a few weeks, she had received 27 dresses in the mail from like minded folks. Her next project was making dolls for an orphanage in Nicaragua. Soon the Craft Hope community grew beyond her wildest dreams, allowing her to provide patterns and ideas to crafters internationally. But, this is much more than an "isn't-that-a-creative-idea" book. The author provides 32 project ideas AND connections to appropriate charities to which we can send our finished projects. This connection is unique in my experience and makes the connection to Service Learning.

My particular interest in the book is that many of the projects utilize reused and salvaged materials that can be turned into something fabulous. A prime example is the Simple-Knot Newborn Cap on page 35. The sleeves of t-shirts are used to create caps for tiny newborns that help them retain body heat and increase survival. When I teach the t-shirt reusable bag project, inevitably there are t-shirt sleeves left over. Making caps would be a perfect way to repurpose these cut off sleeves.

Some of the projects require basic sewing skills and sewing machines. This may be out of the reach for many, but if students can do a basting stitch by hand, they can create some great items.

Your students can investigate a local charity or underserved community, assess the need and find a way to help out. This book can give you some ideas. If nothing else, the book will serve as inspiration.