Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Last week I received a phone call from a wonderful woman in California. She was inquiring about an order for several felted wool bowls to bring with her on her trip to Africa to present to a group of women she is visiting to host a writing training class. Of course, I jumped at that chance once I heard her story and couldn't be more thrilled that she chose my little shop to make a small, but very meaningful contribution to the women of Malawi.

With every stitch I kept thinking about these women and how different we are.. yet how similar as well. Although we are on opposite ends of the earth and live very different lives, we are still connected - as all women are. We become individuals based on the influences of our mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and friends and as each of us evolve into ourselves, we also influence others.

Mary is traveling to Malawi to help these women write their legacies - personal and cultural histories that will allow future generations to embrace their values and beliefs. I get goosebumps when I think about it!

Below is Mary's story and you can read more at voiceflamewriters.com

School of Holistic Studies
Global Outreach - Malawi

“There is no agony like bearing the untold story inside you.”
~Maya Angelou

When I woke up that Friday of November in 1999, it was to the dawn of a new era in my life. The only woman I had looked up to since a child was gone. As the sun went to hide that day, my stepfather’s relatives had emptied our house of everything. Not only were my two siblings and I left motherless, but also without a thing to call ours.
That night, I sat down and recalled my conversation with my mother a month before. She had told me never to expect things to come to me on a silver platter. It was then, after our step uncles had stolen from us everything we had, that I realized my mother had prepared me well. She had not left me weaponless, but with the formula to earn as much as I wanted to own. Her life and words would forever be my guiding star. If hard work is what had made her look after us so fervently, then my life would always be in her footsteps.
Sarai Tiyanjane Changalusa, Malawi, Africa

This is a story of the valuable legacy received by one woman in Malawi, Africa. In the midst of nothing, Sarai knew her mother lived in her. Malawi is one of the ten poorest countries in the world, a country in which AIDS has lowered the life expectancy to a mere 36 years, and where young teenage girls are frequently expected to be heads of households as a result. Children grow up without parents and often without knowing who they were and what their lives meant. Without documentation, the legacies of these families disappear forever.

The women of Malawi thirst for a way to connect with each other and with women outside their borders. While talking with me during my travel there, I heard over and over again of their desire to tell their stories and allow their gifts to be remembered: “Tell us what to do and we will do it!” they cried.

My goal is to answer their cry – to provide the training, tools, resources and encouragement these women need to share their stories and preserve their legacies. This effort consists of the following:

Global Field Experience. In August I will travel with eight women from the United States to Malawi to conduct a series of Legacy and story writing workshops that will help ensure the preservation of values, beliefs and blessings for future generations. Through this project, Voice Flame Writers – Malawi, we will teach women to create a sustainable social network through which they can share their stories and honor life experiences. This training is the first in a series intended to increase awareness of the deep international connection between women and increase the resolve of American and Malawian women to work for their freedom and wholeness worldwide.

Business Education. Jill Dubreuil, a MBA student at The College of St. Rose in Albany, NY, is creating a program in which business students will work first hand with Malawians to share useful business tools, thereby furthering their social entrepreneurial experience and learning the value of businesses that improve communities and better the environment.

Documentary Production. Plans include the making of a video and a photographic documentary to preserve the stories of women, particularly those with HIV/AIDS. The documentaries will be used to promote awareness of the needs of the women in this small African nation.

Cultural Writing Exchange. In 2008, VFW conducted concurrent essay contests, one at JFK University in Pleasant Hill, California, and one in Malawi. Participants were invited to submit stories of how women have touched their lives. The winner of the contest at JFK University received a travel grant to accompany the group to Malawi in August.

The Malawi contest received one hundred and forty-four heartfelt essay submissions! So far, we have awarded nine winners, and each received a micro-grant toward starting a small business. It is the goal of VFW to support every woman who entered with at least a $100 micro-grant and to create a writing exchange between women in the U.S. and Malawi to provide an opportunity to learn from each other’s personal stories and cultural experiences.

Book Drive. In Malawi, many children and adults can only dream of having one book to call their own. Most schools do not have textbooks for the classrooms and have only a handful of books in their library. JFK University has already collected over 1000 books to take to Malawi and start a library.

Personal Statement:
I want to conclude by saying a few words about how valuable I find this initiative to be, both on a personal level and for JFK University. The first time I went to Malawi was with my colleague Masankho Banda. It was on that trip that I discovered how much Malawian women wanted and needed ways to share the powerful personal statements and cultural experiences that make up their legacies, and since that trip, I have dedicated myself to this calling. This work has also found a symbiotic home in the School of Holistic Studies, where it is an important part of the school’s social action and international engagement goals.

This legacy work helps Malawian women understand who they are and who their ancestors were, and, in doing so, helps them construct a sense of pride and place, and ultimately more empowered lives. This is meaningful and valuable work, and your support would mean the world to this project and the deserving women of Malawi.

“I want to acknowledge and honor the women of this world, whose wise voices for much too long have been excluded and discounted. It is time for the world to hear women’s voices, in full and at last.”
~Teresa Heinz Kerry

Mary Tuchscherer, MA
School of Holistic Studies
Adjunct Faculty
Administrative Director

Mary - I can't thank you enough for letting me be a small part of your upcoming trip!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Morning

I woke up to sunshine and birdy sounds this morning. It is incredibly peaceful this morning and I enjoyed a cup of coffee on the porch soaking in the sunshine.

We kept to our walking plan all week, missing only one evening due to severe thunderstorms, and going between 2 - 3.5 miles each night. It's funny how I've started looking forward to our walk each night now that it is becoming routine.

I was recently approached by Traci of Big Fork Bay Cotton Co to donate an item to Heart @ Work Auction which benefits the Susan G. Komen Foundation, and I jumped at this chance to stimulate creativity. The auction is August 8, 2009 and you can see more etsy shops that are donating items on her blog:

This is the bowl that I made to donate to the cause. I wanted to make something with pink and I think these pink flowers go nicely on the grey background.

I have a couple fresh goodies for you in my shop this week as well ~

This knit scarfette combines wool, linen, cotton and acrylic for a wonderful soft blend and is knit with a braided cable center with traditional cable edges.

Fill this vase with fresh cut flowers to brighten up any room - Knit in a beautiful sunny yellow wool with cables surrounding the vase.

This set of 4 felted wool nesting bowls in bold primary colors are pefect for home or office to organize and brighten your space.

To view more fiber work, please visit my etsy shop or artfire studio.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Morning

If you have been following my blog you know that Daryl and I have started an eat right and walking program two weeks ago. I'm happy to say that this morning I weighed in and have lost 10 lbs. My goal - loose 50 lbs by October. Why October you ask? Well, that is the month I turn 50 years old and I seem to have convinced myself that it's now or never ~ as if the clock were running out of time so to speak.

I have also been working on creating my own web site, which is ready for viewing. I hope you will stop by and check out my calander of events. If you nearby, please stop at my booth and say hello~ woolietreasures.com

That aside, I have some brand new goodies for you this week.

This lovely felted wool bowl is purple and lavender with yellow flowers and green rambling leaves. Just too sweet ~~

I love this red berry bowl on a grey background:

This bowl is named Hot Stuff - made with gorgeous red, orange and yellow ~~

This cute little vase cozy makes a perfect house warming gift. If you need one in a different color - just contact me. And yes - the vase is included with the purchase!

For more great felted wool and hand knit work, please visit my etsy shop or artfire studio!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bamboo / Wool Blend Scarf

Wow! I just finished knitting a scarf with a bamboo / wool blend yarn that is absolutley beautiful.

I never worked with bamboo yarn before and I am amazed at how easy it is to work with. A few years ago I switched to wooden knitting needles and bamboo yarn and wooden needles are a match made in heaven. The yarn simply glides and seems to form effortlessly with the pattern.

I used traditionally cables on each edge and a braided cable through the center for this charcoal beauty. It is soft, warm and simply perfect!

Find more knit scarves in my etsy shop and artfire studio.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Daryl and I have been walking every evening after dinner for the past two weeks and have discovered some wonderful trails right in our own town. Tonight we made the 3 mile hike along the Black River Canal from Boonville going toward Forestport.

This trail is limited to hikers, bikes and horses this time of year, but in the winter it is a popular snowmobile trail.

I finally remembered my camera tonight, so I thought I would share some photos with you. I hope you enjoy them!

EtsyHookers Challenge Winner ~ Rocky Raccoon

Congratualations to Doris Strum of the Etsy Hooker team ~ the winner of the Hooker Challege ~~~

Rocky Raccoon is just too adorable for words!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday Morning

Good Morning ~ The sun is shinning and it looks to be a beautiful day here in Central NY.

I've been busy this week with gardening and yard work as well as setting aside time for a daily walk with Daryl. We've been taking a different route every night and have found some very beautiful places that I didn't know existed, even after living in this town for 20 years! So far my favorite is the BREIA (Black River Environmental Improvement Association) Canal Trail. It's mainly used for Cross County Skiing, but this trail is great for walking as well. Here's a link for your convenience: http://www.sar101.com/x-c_sking/x-cSKING.pdf. Of course, all these pictures are in the winter. I must remember to bring my camera on our outings!

I've added a few new items this week, including a pair of pretty pink piggy baby booties. These are just so cute and soft~

Two sets of felted wool banges have been added as well. Both are super fun and great colors!

A beautiful nesting bowl set in orange and grey is a great home decor piece, for yourself or a great gift.

This green scalloped edge wool bowl is perfect to keep your buttons, paper clips or beads handy. Or my favorite... candy~

Need a unique gift for a wedding? This wine bottle cover will do the trick. Just slip it on the bride and grooms favorite bottle and you've got a winner! Knit in 100% wool with a classic cable design in white and the lightest of grey with beads on the tips of the drawstring, it really puts that extra special to a basic gift.

Enjoy more felted goodness by visiting my etsyshop and my artfire studio.

Enjoy your week!!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Etsyhookers Challenge - Voting Open

EtsyHookers Team Members are having a challenge ~~ Members were asked to create a crocheted item either for or about animals. As you can see, we have very creative crocheters in our group!

Here are the entries ... Come vote~~ http://etsyhookers.blogspot.com/
Voting is open until June 15th.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday Morning

It looks like it may rain today so it's a good thing I spent the day gardening and doing lawn work yesterday. I have cucumbers, beans and summer squash just popping out. It's thrilling when I see another new one starting to show itself!

This past week I added a few new items to my stores including a new felted clutch in lovely tourquoise green. This is large enough for your wallet, cell phone and other small essentials and is very soft!

Another item added to my stores is this super soft bowl made in a gorgeous blue with a 3 demensional flower that I have named Dahlia.

Of course, I added a new animal to my zoo collection. We can't forget the reptile section... Freddy the Frog is just waiting to keep babies toes warm and bring a smile to their face.

And on a more conventional note, this simple but fun bowl is sure to be useful and beautiful in any home or office

You can find more felted goodness by visiting my etsy shop or artfire studios.

Next week - be on the look out for a set of nesting bowls, more felted bangle sets, a scalloped edged bowl, and yes, Karen, my friend... a pair of piggy booties!

Saturday, June 6, 2009


When we bought this old house 6 years ago, the grounds were over grown from years of neglect. But beyond the growth, I found so many wonderful old fashioned flowers and can't help but think of the women who tended these flowers so meticulously at one time.

I found several iris plants that were smothered in weeds along with what must have been one of the main gardens as they were mixed with rose bushes, blackberry plants, flox, daffodils, violets, tiger lillies and lillies. Two years ago, I cleaned this patch out and moved the lilies, tiger lilies and iris to a new spot that I built with rocks that were found by the old barn foundation. This new flower garden has matured and is doing wonderful!

The iris are in full bloom and the lilies will follow soon!

I left violets, flox, roses and black berries where they were, and I notice that the berry bush is coming along great too! Last year we had enough berries for a pie and some cereal toppings. It was the best pie I ever made and I can't wait for them to ripen this year.

Many, many thanks to the women who gave me all these wonderful flowers and never even knew me. I hope you are happy with what I have done with them.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Cable Knit Tote Bag

I recently finished knitting up a very cute mini-tote bag with cables and ribbing. This bag fun and perfect for a grab and go day on the run! Whether your going to the beach and need your sunscreen, latest book and bikini or running off to your kid's softball game and need some first aid and some poweraide, it will do the job in style.

The bag measures 12 inches deep and 9 inches wide with 15 inch handles. This unlined bag has three cables on both sides and ribbed top gives it a sweater type design.

I'm pleased with the way it came out and hope you will like it too!

Find more fun knits in my etsy shop and artfire studio.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Robins ~~

Remember this? My husband left the ladder on the porch and a robin came to build her nest on the top rung back in May.

Now the babies are here and growing quickly! Here they are sleeping, but it is fun to watch momma feed them. If we are out there, momma flies away but keeps close by. She will creep closer and closer and sometime squawk at us to get away....