Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Been Craftin'

So when we first arrived at post, I was aware that working would be difficult here. While Fiji does have a bilateral agreement, there is a high local unemployment rate, so a lot of hoops need to be jumped through to prove that there is no one locally qualified to do the job you are applying for. I was okay with that and had planned to not look for employment. I did have (apparently unrealistic) hopes of being able to volunteer my marine knowledge and experience. Again, paperwork doting i's and crossing t's would have needed to be done as volunteering would affect my visa....but I hit a ton of dead ends and no responses (I even let them know when I would be leaving the country, so there would be no concern of me trying to take a job in the future...I sincerely just wanted to offer my services). I would have benefited from some warm fuzzies while helping the ocean/reefs and the marine biology portion of my résumé wouldn't be quite so desolate. Alas, that was not to be.....

(On a side note, I did get a surprise email about an unpublished report I had written about 10 years ago. I worked with a few people and we recently got it published! If you have some insomnia and you would like to read about the Seafood consumption habits of South Carolina shrimp baiters, click on this link to the journal, I have 50 free online copies to share).  

So in order to contribute to the family budget/society a bit, I applied for a part time job at the Embassy. I received a contingent job offer back in November...woo hoo!! My offer was contingent on obtaining the same clearance I had when we were posted in Georgia. So, there was about an one year gap that would need to investigated (a program has been developed to help EFMs...aka family members like me, more easily transfer their clearance from post to started the beginning of 2016...right after we arrived at post, so too late for me sign up for it as we had already departed our last post...sigh). I got all the necessary paperwork in as quickly as I the election had just occurred and new administration hires can quickly backlog investigations. As I type this, I am still waiting on my clearance which could come through any day....oh but wait...there is a 90 day federal job hiring freezing happening too....well that bites....

So while I wait...I've been craftin'! Fabric is relatively inexpensive here...(about 1/2 the price of fabric in the US) and it is super bright and colorful. How can you not be happy when looking at? Apparently, when we leave post, we will always be reminded of Fiji.....

I've made Clarissa two pairs of pajama regular length and one capri length (good for early morning walks on the beach...don't have to roll those up!). I've also made Clarissa's favorite doll Baby Ruth matching diapers.

So Clarissa likes using Pure Fiji hair conditioner...(so spoiled...I'll have to stock up before we leave), so I will typically let her skip washing her hair the next day as it is normally still soft and yummy smelling (pineapple or starfruit are our favorite scents!). We were using free hotel shower I order some waterproof fabric and made her a shower cap! Now she is happy and stylin' on her skip day!

So you aren't worried that Clarissa is getting all my crafty love. Mason had a pile of t-shirts that he had out grown, but had sentimental value and he couldn't part with. In an effort to reduce our HHE weight, I made him a t-shirt pillowcase for a reading pillow he took to school for DEAR (drop everything and read) time at school. He loves it and I scored major cool points (important with tweens....which by saying that I probably just lost said cool points).

So when we were in Hawaii, we tracked down a fabric shop as I needed some knit fabric for the Powerpuff Girl costumes and knits are impossible to find here. While there....we found the mother lode of Aloha fabrics....there were so many choices, almost to the point of being overwhelming and I didn't get any yards of anything (but I do have their web address). I did pick up some fat quarters of assorted Aloha patterns with the intention of making some placemats. I made them double sided so I can easily mix it up...

As most of you know, I'm a tree hugger. When Richard and I first got married, we had some gift cards to Bed, Bath & Beyond. I picked up several sets of some solid colored everyday napkins. Come this June....that will be 10 while unpacking when our belongings arrived last year. I noticed our napkins were getting pretty threadbare and napkins! I made regular size and cocktail size. The small ones are for good a sandwich at lunch, ice pops, or book club nibbles! (Locally, those knotted rag rugs are sold on the street. I asked our housekeeper if anyone in her village makes those and if she wanted to take our old napkins to give to them to cut out the bad parts but use the still good parts to make rugs with....she took them...yeah, internal tree hugger still happy).

After napkins, probably one of the most used shell collecting bag. After our first couple beach weekends where I was juggling my phone and then kept finding beautiful shells I had to pick up and suddenly my hands were full and my phone was starting to get sandy....I was all there has to be a better way. Viola...thank you internet! Ordered some mesh fabric and used some local fabric to make shell collecting bags (I made my mother-in-law one too for a Christmas gift). Clarissa always asks for it when we are ready to go for a walk on the beach!

When going over our house inventory (and noting all damage), our coffee table has a lot of scratches and scuffs on top of it due to many of years of being well loved. So per Richard's suggestion, I made a table runner to hide/protect it. To tie the room together a bit, I also made matching ones for some other tables in the room.

When arriving at post, you are typically given a certain amount of furniture. Sometimes you can send some back and sometimes you can request extra items. We requested a couple extra side tables (one holds our printer) and we put one in the kitchen to hold fresh fruit. To disguise the fact that it is a side table I found some cute beer bottle/surf board fabric locally...perfect for the kitchen....and made a little table cloth.

Clarissa really enjoys dress up. In addition to princess up dresses and crowns. She also likes to put on some Clare's (or hand me down mommy) make-up. When doing her semi-annual cleaning/purge of her room, I noticed lots of make up dust and lip gloss smears on the built in table in front of her mirror. In an effort to avoid damage fees when we depart post, I found the perfect use for some of the spa girl fabric I found and it was too cute to not get in Hawaii.

Clarissa has decided to have a small Spa birthday party with a few friends. So I used the remaining spa girl fabric to make the goody bags. (We have only decided on a theme and number of guests....not the guest list don't tell anyone yet).

So we have figured out due to a number of quirks, part of our house is an add on from the original construction (which we greatly appreciate). One of those add-ons is our closet/bathroom. There is no door separating that addition from the bedroom, just a doorway. So I made a curtain that we can pull to hide our clothing when we have company. The kids are also adjusting beautifully begrudgingly to sharing a bathroom again. Most of the time it is not an issue, but in the mornings before school it seems to always be a problem. Inevitably, one child needs privacy when the other is about to brush their teeth. So in an effort to make mornings more pleasant (aka reduce the number of door slam & locks followed by yells), I made a privacy curtain. It has helped.....some.

We lucked out with a cabinet in the hall that hides most of our consumables. We do have some odd shaped large items (three tiered stand and cupcake carrier I'm talking to you), that we don't use often but need to stash somewhere. So they fit nicely on top of the hall cabinet. In an effort, to hide my odd shaped items from prying eyes, I made another little curtain.

When I wouldn't be sewing something for a few weeks, our housekeeper would always take a piece of fabric I had laying around and cover up my sewing machine to protect it from I figured, why not make a pretty Bula fabric sewing machine cover. Still straight lines, but with a little complexity.

I'm working on more, but I don't have photos to post yet....and as you may have noticed, most things involve straight(ish) lines.....during our upcoming R&R, I am hoping to take a few more skills classes. I may graduate to things like skirts and zippers...woohoo!

So even though I always draw a blank when people ask what have you been doing, but between the weekly grocery shopping (which involves several hours and stops at 4-5 shops to get the items you need), running the kids to their assorted activities, planning weekends away, setting up appointments for our upcoming R&R, taking care of things around the house, blogging and crafting. I am surprisingly busy....but it's hard to fit that into the short answer someone probably wants when I'm also trying to get all the little projects I've found online that I've printed out and said 'ooh, that would be handy to have' or 'that would be fun to make' finished up before I potentially start that job I mentioned earlier....that I may start...someday...hopefully not a month or two before we leave post....


  1. Fun projects! I especially like the shell bag - so genius and very professional looking!

  2. So many crafts and wonderfully colorful fabrics. I can see why you've been inspired. Well done! I especially love the reading pillow result - what a great way of handling favorite old t-shirts!