Tuesday, 27 November 2012

We love the Christmas stockings season!


As we have been doing for the past two years, we are making Christmas stockings for the all the children that have to spend Christmas Eve at the John Radcliffe children's hospital in Oxford. The nurses fill them in with little presents and bring some Christmas joy under these very special circumstances.

If you want to join our initiative, please leave a message in this post and I will send you the address where to send it. You can find step-by-step instructions here.

Making stockings is easy and really fun! What are you waiting for?

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Hobbycraft, you rock!

Board at the entrance

Hobbycraft has just opened a new store in Oxford this August and they invited us to be part of the opening week to give awareness of our cause. I have to say it was a lovely and fantastic day in a beautiful, brand new, and bright store! Here are some stories about our pillowcase makers for the day.

We had two brilliant volunteers: Sergio and Susannah. Sergio was in charge of ironing. He declared his new name was Ironman. We all loved it!


Susannah was in charge of sewing, as myself, and teaching customers how to make pillowcases like this one.


But we did more than sewing pillowcases... We overcame the fear to the unknown...


and invited the manager to sew his first pillowcase.


It is so easy to sew a pillowcase that he quickly became very confident and could talk on the phone, manage the store...


and all of this while sewing...


and pinning...


and sewing...


He even had a crowd to admire his work.


And I really think he had lots of fun! As Sue, one of our very special volunteers and Hobbycraft's employee.

David and Sue

In her free time, Sue is making pillowcases with the Oxford Air Cadets to support ConKerr Cancer Oxford. How wonderful is that? I will be talking about this very soon...


What made the day even more special were our little volunteers, who came to sew pillowcases with their parents. Here is one of our little volunteers with his mum, after sewing his first pillowcase and eating cake...

One of our little volunteers

We also had the youngest volunteers in the history of ConKerr Cancer Oxford. Alicia and William wanted to make pillowcases too. It was so much fun to watch them pin their pillowcases. We had to prepare them on the floor, because the tables were too tall for them.

Alicia and William

Alicia and William

Alicia was in love with the pins and enjoyed the pinning part.


They both did wonderfully! William is four and a half.


Alicia is only two and a half. She loved the princess fabric and shaking the pillowcases to turn them inside out. She would have melted your heart too!


And here are the finished pillowcases with a big smile!

Alicia and William

Continuing with the youngest volunteers we ever had... let me introduce you to Tilly and Annie. Tilly is only 2.


We were cheering her up for her to press the pedal. It was so much fun!


Annie is 4 and you wouldn't believe this was her first pillowcase! She did a fantastic job!



And when she finished hers, she came to help her sister.

Having fun

Beautiful, isn't it?


And here is the one Tilly (and Annie) made.

Tilly and Annie

I have heard that their mum had to make them both a pillowcase when they arrived home.

Every kid participating got a sticker as the one shown in Tilly's T-shirt. There were also cakes after the hard work.

Tammy knew how to sew already, and she barely needed help to sew this pillowcase.

Young volunteer

Another volunteer from Hobbycraft came to help too.


And we also had an incredible surprise. David, the manager, donated 50m of fabric to make 50 pillowcases. It was absolutely amazing!!! And they have such wonderful fabric in the store that it was like being in heaven. Sue was cutting the fabric for us while we were choosing it.

Sue and Sylvia

Every time a new pillowcase was made, it was hung up in the balcony. 

The pillowcases lined up

Thank you very much to our volunteers for making this day possible. I think they had a great time too.

Susannah and Sergio

And a big thank you to Hobbycraft Oxford for inviting us, donating fabric, and facilitating everything they could. We had a fantastic day sewing pillowcases. Now, it is time for these pillowcases to bring some smiles at the hospital.


Our next sewing event will be at Hobbycraft Oxford on Saturday 1st September 2012 and it will be part of the Miles of Pillowcases Smiles. This is our main yearly event and it consists of sewing as many pillowcases as we can during the whole month of September. Join us in our quest for smiles and sew miles of pillowcases!

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Oops we did it again! A little bit of Christmas magic...

tren Guzman

Todos 2011

This year I asked for a little help to the Spanish speaking community to make Christmas stockings. And they answered!! I have no words to express my gratitude to all those who contributed! We made a total of 50 Christmas stockings. 48 were donated to the Oxford Children's hospital.

Two were sent to Madrid, for a little boy, Guzmán, and his sister.


Guzmán was diagnosed with leukemia at 3 years old. He is a little fighter in love with trains, so I made these stockings specially for him and his sister. His father José has a blog, Uno entre cien mil, written from the heart in a very positive way. We should all learn from this amazing family and their way of facing difficulties. I wish them all the best for this New Year!
Kids like Guzmán keep us going on. Each stocking, each pillowcase, sends a message of love to these kids and their families, trying to accompany them in this hard path they have to live. These are our little superheroes.

We received a total of 19 stockings from Finland and Spain, including the Canary Islands. Thank you is not enough! Amazing people who took their time to make Christmas a little bit brighter for sick children.

This is what was coming through the post...

Conchi all

From Spain...
Mariví, Gemma, Irene, María...

including the Canary Islands...
Davinia, Lorena y MariMar

Some of these stockings were made by children, for children, like the one with the sweets above, made by Maria and her daughter Sofia, or these ones made by Daphne and her son. They are amazing, don't you think?


Here in Oxford, we have been quite busy these past months. These are the stockings made by Alexandra.


And these were made by Natalie, Stuart, and Natalie's family. So cute!


And these were made by Val.


Aren't they all beautiful?

These are the ones I made.

You can see them all in detail at the flickr group Oxford Christmas Stockings for Little Stars.

All stockings were delivered to the hospital on the 23rd of December. Each of them had a little card to wish the kids merry Christmas and to let them know they could keep the stocking.

We also delivered pillowcases, this time with Christmas motives and some small bags to the oncology ward. 


Christine, the play specialist, showed us the room full of presents. They were putting some inside each stocking and they were going to distribute them on Christmas eve to all the children at the hospital.  Father Christmas was also going to give them bigger presents on the 25th of December.

I also would like to tell you how sometimes an initiative can inspire other people. This time it went beyond Oxford... to the Dominican Republic. My friend Sory sent me these magical pictures to share. isn't she amazing?

Sory with some of the kids. Photos by Xavi Angulo.

Sory lives in Barcelona but she went back home for Christmas. She wanted to replicate our initiative and act at local level. She did a wonderful job and made lots of stockings for the sick children. Some companies also donated presents and sweets for the kids, so she could fill in the stockings. Sory told me that some of these families do not have anything at all, so this is a huge deal. Remembering these kids, whose families are very poor and do not always have money to eat. Some of these children are also very sick. However, kids are kids, no matter what.

So much love put on each stocking, on each pillowcase, some time from our busy lives, to be able to see the smiles in these kids faces. This is so amazing, so human. This is why I thank you all for your time and effort, for the love you put on each stocking, returned one thousand times in the form of a smile.  

Merry Christmas to you all!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Our first thank you note!

thank you note 2

Christine Turner, the play specialist of the Kamran's ward (oncology), at the children's hospital, sent us this wonderful thank you note! Thank you Christine!!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

More than 100 smiles!

More than 100 pillowcases

It has been a while since I have told you a little bit about what has been going on in ConKerr Cancer Oxford. When we started this chapter few months ago, we had no idea where this was going to take us, and here we are... more than 100 pillowcases later! It has been an incredible journey!

So far, we have delivered a total of 103 pillowcases, 128 small bags, and 48 Christmas stockings for the children. This was all possible thanks to our volunteers and sponsors. We would not be here without them, so I would like to say a big thank you to all the people that made this possible.

We had our third delivery before Christmas. The nurses asked us to make Christmas stockings, but this time it was not only for the cancer ward, but for all the children at the hospital that had to stay there during Christmas eve. Being at the hospital during Christmas eve can be sad, especially for children, and the nurses wanted to cheer everybody up by giving them a handmade stocking and some little presents that night. We started sewing stockings non-stop for a little bit, and this is some of what we did.

Christmas stockings

With the stockings, we also delivered 37 pillowcases and 10 small bags for the Hickman lines. We made enough stockings for all the children at the hospital that Christmas Eve.

Christmas delivery

Christmas delivery

Most of the pillowcases were made with the fabric donated by Petra. David, the manager from Hobbycraft Bicester also donated some beautiful Christmas fabric and felt for us to use. Lizzet, from The Fabric Loft made a donation of a big bolt of red felt that was used for the stockings (and we still have some left for next year). Thank you, thank you, thank you! Yes, it was a fantastic month full of emotions, snow, and Christmas magic! 

During December, as I posted in the previous entry, Waitrose (our local supermarket) raised some funds for us. A total of £600 were donated few months later. We are so grateful to them for this.

Our fourth delivery was in January after the holidays. This time we focused a bit more on the small bags, as these are very needed at the hospital and they still had some pillowcases left. Therefore, we delivered 9 pillowcases and 25 small bags for the children. The small bags are very popular and they go fast...

Small bag

With some of the money we got from Waitrose we wanted to buy lots of fabric to organise sewing events, but here the fabric is extremely expensive and some patterns cannot be found, especially the ones for children. I asked Cindy Kerr (founder of ConKerr Cancer) to help us find good deals of fabric in the USA, since one of our volunteers (Sana) was going there in February. Cindy not only helped, but she selected an incredible collection of beautiful fabric that could melt anybody's heart (you will see some of it really soon). Thank you so much Cindy for taking the time of picking up the gorgeous fabric. Sana collected it from Cindy and brought it to the UK. The result... a suitcase full of 24kg of fabric. British Airways allowed us to carry the suitcase for free since it was all going to the charity. Thank you very much to British Airways and to Sana for making this possible!

Meanwhile we were making pillowcases, and we delivered 18 pillowcases and 38 small bags in March, reaching more than 100 pillowcases.


I feel blessed! This has been an incredible journey surrounded by amazing people. THANK YOU!