Thursday, January 12, 2012

Coffee, Adoption and Friends

 I've been having a lot of fun with coffee bags lately.
While sewing a few of these bags, I realize how adoption has woven its threads through these projects and through my life.  I met Alan Spear and Mary Allen Lindemann who own Coffee By Design  several years ago when they were in the process of adopting their daughter from Russia. I was teaching adoption education and they were in my class.  We have remained friends and Mary Allen has always supported my crafting ventures. I won't go on here about all the wonderful things these people do, in Portland, and in the coffee growing countries, but I could fill pages.  My favorite CBD coffee, the one that starts my day is Rebel Blend.  (You can buy their coffee at Little Dog in Brunswick if you can't get down to Portland.)  Lately, they keep me stocked with used burlap and jute bags. The bags themselves are geography lessons:  Sumatra, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala.  I have "upcycled" the bags into totes which have sold well at the Long Branch store here in town. I've also discovered that the scraps burn well in my woodstove!

I wish I had taken a picture of the tote bag I made from this beautiful Colombian coffee sack.  It was really nice, and I almost kept it for myself.

  Allen and Mary Allen have developed a special relationship with the community of coffee growers in Jardin, Colombia and have funded the building of a kitchen and cafeteria in the local hospital.  If you buy a pound of Colombia Antioquia Jardin Alma del Cafe, a portion of the price will go to support that project.

There are other reasons that this region of Colombia is special, but I'll blog about those another day.  On to a different country, and different adoption story, and a different coffee sack.

This tote was made from a bag shipped from Antigua, Guatemala, a beautiful city surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, and crisscrossed with cobblestones, history and culture. Notice the logo on the coffee sack... its the same Santa Catalina arch as in this picture I took on my visit to Antigua.  Notice a glimpse of Volcan Agua in the background. 

I was very lucky to have travelled there in 2007 on another adoption journey.  This time, it was my friends Jonathan and Lalla who were in the midst of the long process of adopting their son Ben from Guatemala.  While fostering their son in Guatemala they lived in Antigua and I spent a wonderful 5 days there.  

Coffee, adoption and friendships.  Oh, how rich I am.

Friday, January 6, 2012


OK, kids.  Sit down and Miss Kate will tell you a story of a wonderful happening in the world of recycled crafting.

Once upon a time there was a woman who lived in VT and called herself Recycle Moe. Actually, she called her business Recycle Moe. Anyone could tell by looking at Moe that she had a certain flair for life and craft.  She made lots and lots of great things out of recycled materials. She designed great products and sold them all across the land (well, VT, at least).  One fine summer day she sold a little purse made out of a discarded cassette tape to a woman from Bowdoinham who brought the little purse home and showed Miss Kate, telling her all about the wonderful crafter in VT named Moe.  Kate wanted to learn more... like how the heck did Moe make a notebook out of a floppy disk???

It turns out that Moe had a website and generously answered her fan mail, and told the fan from Bowdoinham that she made her cool little notepads with the help of  ...(musical fanfare here, including trumpets)...

        The Zutter Bind-it-All!

Within 2 hours of getting the trade secret revealed by Moe, Miss Kate was ordering up her OWN Zutter Bind-it-All, and soon, the joys of making journals out of recycled stuff spread to Bowdoinham.

Miss Kate especially liked making journals out of Readers Digest Condensed Books.

Miss Kate made lots and lots of journals and raised lots and lots of money for her library.
She is very thankful to Moe and hopes to meet her in VT some day.

And they all lived happily ever after.