Hey, are you busy next Thursday night? What about the one after? Well, I am, but you'll never guess what I'm doing! Oh, ok, I'll tell you. But only coz I like you!

I'm changing the world! And you're invited!

Ok, that might be a tad dramatic, but it's pretty close. I, in fact, am running two fundraisers (including a craft class and a movie!)- and no, before you jump to that conclusion, they are not to support my ever-increasing fabric stash. They are to support a voluntary project I've been accepted for!

What voluntary project, you ask? Well... I've been accepted to undertake a placement with Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), an organisation that works to help people escape from the atrocities in North Korea and rebuild their lives in free countries! I'm off to the USA in two weeks to spend 3 months working with them, and there are heaps of ways you can get involved.

Would you like the full story? Fair enough. It's all a bit of a surprise, isn't it?! Here's the story (and if you just want to come to the crafty fundraiser or the movie fundraiser, skip to the bottom of the post for all of the details, or just head here).

I had always been vaguely aware that there were significant humanitarian issues in North Korea. On a cold day in 2009, however, that vague awareness was shattered when I was introduced to the harsh reality of what was actually happening in the country.

I was surfing the internet at the time, using StumbleUpon to find new & exciting websites. One of the topics that I regularly surf through is ‘Activism’, and that’s the channel that I was on when I came across an article about the crisis in North Korea. It detailed the atrocities that were occurring right under my nose, the lack of international response to the situation, and the desperation of the people involved.

As I explored the crisis further, plans that I had had for the day ahead disappeared. I read article after article, watched videos that brought me to tears, found stories from survivors, and was touched by tales of underground bloggers and journalists. I couldn’t put my computer down, and by the time the night came, I was convinced beyond a doubt that I somehow had to become involved in the solution to what I now knew was a massive problem.

Throughout my research, I kept coming across one organization that was making a noticeable difference to the people of North Korea: LiNK. I was inspired by the fact that unlike other organisations, LiNK didn’t simply fight from afar; they were on the ground, assisting people to escape from the country, supporting them to develop educational and workplace skills, and helping them to relocate and live lives full of freedom and choice. By the end of that fateful day, I was a monthly supporter of LiNK.

One day in April this year, on a morning like any other, I received my regular email update from LiNK. This time, the update was a little bit different to normal. Although there were still inspiring stories of change that had been created as a direct result of supporters, there was also a call to action: Become A LiNK Nomad.

A nomad? I thought. What's that?

Off I went to the LiNK Nomad website, where I found a little description that read:

North Korea is one of today’s least known yet most complicated crises; but where skeptics would argue that the future of North Korea is already written, a collective of passionate individuals – LiNK Nomads – are standing to say that the ink is not yet dry. They refuse to adhere to prescribed formulas and have instead chosen to bring this crisis out of the shadows to empower more North Korean refugees.

Don’t wait for others to be the change. Be on the frontlines, rewriting the history of North Korea. Are you ready to make this your story? Become a Nomad...

Above this description was a video, and it was a video that ended up changing my life:

Within a week, I had submitted my application. Within another, I had been accepted. In two weeks, I am off to the United States to change and save the lives of people I might never meet, but who I now know will experience a freedom that I take for granted on a daily basis.

This is where you come into it! You can join me on this incredible journey by coming along to one of my fundraisers:

Come along to this gorgeous craft class, where you'll receive beautiful handmade paper from Papers By Pepperberry and be taught how to create your very own Paper Lampshade.

As if crafting, creating, chatting and giggling isn't enough, you'll also receive a lampshade base and lampshade pattern to take home, as well as have all of the tools and materials provided. And did I mention that all of the funds raised support a great cause? What's not to love! So, grab your friends, family, kids and any randoms you find on the street and come along:

WHAT: Light Up For LiNK- a Craft Class that makes a difference!
WHEN: Thursday, 27th May 2010 @ 6.30pm - 8.30pm
WHERE: Kaye Coghlan Theatre, Thornbury High School, 238 Collins St, Thornbury
HOW MUCH: $30 (full) - $20 (concession)
TO BOOK: Call 0401 766 348 or email thatLiNKproject(AT)gmail.com

 Click on the flyer to check out it in all of its glory,
and save it to your computer so you can email it to all of your friends!

Enjoy a night out watching one of the most powerful movies ever made, whilst also raising much-needed funds to help end the human rights abuses & humanitarian crisis in North Korea.

Based on a real-life story, Kim Tae-kyun’s Crossing tells the tale of a North Korean defector & his desperate fight to save his family. An uncompromising, touching & inspiring movie, its depiction of the harsh reality of life in North Korea will touch your heart & move your soul. Don't miss it!

WHAT: Movie Fundraiser: Crossing
WHEN: Thursday, 3rd June 2010 @ 7pm
WHERE: Kaye Coghlan Theatre, Thornbury High School, 238 Collins St, Thornbury
HOW MUCH: $15 (full) - $10 (concession) - $120 (group of 10)
TO BOOK: Call 0401 766 348 or email thatLiNKproject(AT)gmail.com

 Click on the flyer to check out it in all of its glory,
and save it to your computer so you can email it to all of your friends!

I hope to see you there! If you're not in Melbourne or can't make it but would still love to support my quest to change the lives of North Koreans, you can always help out in any of the following ways:

- Learn all about North Korea, and then learn even more about North Korea and what's being done to change the situation at the LiNK website

- If you can't come along but still want to make a difference, donate! Even $5 can make a difference, and most of us have that to spare. I'm accepting donations of all sizes for my Nomad Project via PayPal- simply click on the link below! (EFTPOS, Bank Cards, Credit Cards and PayPal Account payments are accepted)

Donate to thatLiNKproject 

via PayPal

- Speaking of donations, LiNK are always looking for one-off and longer-term supporters to help more people escape from North Korea and start new lives elsewhere.

- Become a follower of thatLiNKproject to stay up-to-date with what's happening

- Spread the word! Let your friends and family know about how much the North Korean situation has shocked you, point them to the LiNK website, or grab them by the wrist and bring them along to one of the fundraisers!
And now for the giveaway! 

The more people who know about the situation in North Korea, the better. And the more people who come and craft or watch the movie at the fundraisers, the more fun we'll have! So, I need your help: your help to spread the word. And what better way of saying thank you for helping than by entering you in a giveaway?

What you'll win is the entire range of the soon-to-be-released Pepperberry & Co. Sewing Patterns:
To enter, simply blog, facebook or tweet about my crafty fundraiser (or my movie fundraiser, or both!) and leave a comment with the link. You'll receive one entry for each!

Thanks in advance for your support. I'm off now to panic about how much I need to get ready in the next two weeks!

P.S. The haunting images in this post were sourced from CompleteAll.


That is the main word that keeps escaping from my mouth now that the mind-bogglingly brilliant and phenomenally fantastic Melbourne Stitches & Craft Show has finished. As usual, the Show was five chock-a-block days of crafty and creative goodness, with inspiration galore and enough fabric, fibre and paper goodies to make even the most stoic crafter go giddy at the knees!

It all began on Tuesday morning, when the great challenge of setting up began. I, of course, was still running around Melbourne like a mad chook, organising patterns to be printed, buying furniture for the stall, and folding and ironing fabric. 

Even though the venue opened at 7am for set-up, Sharon and I didn't arrive until 7pm... not that that stopped us from creating an exciting and extravagant Pepperberry & Co. stall, complete with a built-in-a-panic Ikea shelving unit!

As a small, indie crafter, I was lucky enough to have a stall in the beautiful Incubator section with a group of uber-talented, ridiculously fun crafters. Below are pictures of their amazing work- can you imagine being surrounded by this kind of brilliance every day and not buying every thing? Sheesh, talk about high expectations!

From left to right, top to bottom, my fellow Incubator pals were: Jen from Red Parka Designs and her stunning handbound books; Claire from Craft Shmaft and her super-cute owls; Jodie from Vintage Ric Rac and her too-cute-for-words softies; Nic from Yardage Designs and her stunning hand screenprinted fabrics; Michaela from Wren's Nest Studio and her incredible Paper Quilts; Kristen Doran and her inspiring fabrics and softie friends; Pauline from Funky Friends Factory and her collection of cute critters; Nicole Mallalieu from You Sew, Girl! and her amazing bags; and Lisa from The Red Thread and her funky cute friends. Also inspiring me on a daily basis were Hollie from Two Cheese Please, Caitlin and Leisl from Pippijoe and the girls from Ink & Spindle.

Apart from running the shop (which the wonderful Sharon was in charge of!), and shopping up a storm (which I was in charge of!), I also taught sewing classes, where I met some gorgeous crafters from all across Australia (and even the world!); gave Small Business talks to a group of inspiring and inspired up-and-comers; and even squeezed in taking some classes, which resulted in the world's cutest sock owl and a Japanese patchwork purse! 

To say that I'm exhausted would be an understatement, however the smile that is still on my face from the Show means it was all very well worth it. Thank you so much to Angela, Ross, Graham and the team for putting on such an extraordinary event! Here's to many more.

xx Sandra