Monday, August 22, 2011

And away we go!!

Paska & Medina tracing patterns.

LIFTED Uganda is growing by leaps and bounds! I had a feeling once the bibs made their way into the world and people saw how stinking cute they were that we'd start to get busy! Yay for having more orders than we have bibs at the moment.  I'm thrilled that the demand for LIFTED bibs has risen and given us an opportunity to train up more LIFTED woman.  It brings me so much joy to be able to see women crafting, talking, taking turns playing with the kids, praying for each other, and earning a supplemental income to provide for their families. 

Just check out this adorable bib Mary made! My favorite so far!
Every Wednesday. at Sojourn: Uganda, Mary, Paska, myself and now our newest lady, Medina meet and start cutting, sewing, and getting to know one another.  Mary our second woman to join LIFTED, and I are teaching the other ladies how to trace patterns, cut, and hand stitch.  As of now we have Alice sewing for LIFTED in Arua and now Mary is sewing complete bibs on her own.  Mary has blown me away with her tailoring skills! She's already contributed to a new stitch that has improved the look of the bibs.  It's hard to believe we just started the training in mid April and she's already created almost 20 bibs that I have shipped to the states to sell in a store in Oklahoma!  My hope is to eventually have Mary lead the Kampala team of ladies and even possibly send Mary to a more advanced 2 year tailoring school near us.  It would be wise to start a savings plan through LIFTED for her schooling.  I envision doing this for all the women that are a part of the LIFTED Uganda group.  

Paska is still working hard to learn hand stitching. She's determined to continue practicing and we're seeing her work improve.  We hope to be able to provide a job for Paska even if the stitching proves to be too difficult.  Paska is an incredibly strong woman caring for 7 children.  One of her kids, the youngest, named Princess, suffers from an life altering condition, possibly cerebral palsy.  She carries Princess wherever she goes because she cannot walk.  Although Princess doesn't speak as of yet, when she looks at you, you can see the sparkle of love in her eyes.  Paska is a superb mother, doing all she can for her children. 
The newest lady to LIFTED is Medina! Medina also attends Sojourn-Uganda and is well known by her community.  She has 6 children and is raising them on her own with little help from the father.  She's sweet, kind, and a quick learner.  She's been working on the hand stitching part of the bibs and she's doing a really fantastic job so far. 

Mary's bib- our newest style!
Also, super funtastic news...while I was in the U.S. this past month, I was able to get the LIFTED bibs in our second U.S. store!! It's one of my favorite stores in Fort Collins called Curiosities!  We're super thrilled with how LIFTED is going and look forward to providing more opportunities for Uganda's mothers to earn a living so they can care for their families.    

LIFTED bibs in Curiosities, a store in Ft. Collins, CO.!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Our first LIFTED Customer comment!!!

I'm not one to brag...but I felt I had to share this sweet note from a mama in the U.S.  I'm so excited for the Ugandan ladies in LIFTED and I love hearing Finn's mama brag about their bibs!! 
FINN enjoying his LIFTED Uganda bib!
 Hi, Katie.
Last fall, Jeff gave us one of the bibs that Mama Alice crafted.  Our son, Finn, has been using it since; it is among our favorites!  It's beautiful, it's the perfect size, and it holds up very well to washing (we rinse it in the sink every time we use it and then throw it in the washing machine about once a week).  I also love that it's reversible.   A friend recommended that I take a look at your blog.  It's so exciting to see what a powerful difference LIFTED is making in the lives of Ugandan women and in their communities!  I would like to order three more bibs (one for Finn and a couple to give as gifts.)  I looked at the options on your website, and I love the yellow/blue star bib, as well as the giraffe and bird patterns.  If these are available, that would be great, but we would enjoy having any of the patterns.
Also, I wanted to mention that we've recently discovered that it is hard to find bibs with snap fasteners (as opposed to Velcro).  Snapped bibs have the advantage of staying on a little better when certain little ones learn how to tear off their bibs. (-:  We will be happy to have more LIFTED bibs with Velcro, but I wanted to let you know that there might be a good market for bibs with snap closures if you are interested in trying that out in the future. 
Congratulations to you and to Mama Alice, Mama Mary and Mama Paska.  Best of luck to all of you as LIFTED continues to grow.

P.S.  I'm attaching a picture of Finn enjoying his bib (it holds up to avocado quite nicely!)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


 LIFTED Uganda had its first training session a few weekends ago and it was a wonderful time!  It’s hard for me to believe all of this started almost 3 years ago with the idea to make a baby bib for a gift for my cousin’s first baby!  It is fascinating to me how God takes our little nuggets of creativity and passion and infuses them with LIFE and LOVE and PURPOSE! I love it!!

Mama Alice and baby Sarah teaching!
Our dear friend Alice was the first woman to start sewing the LIFTED bibs and she is producing high quality beautiful African bibs!  Over the last 2 years, she’s been receiving the profits from the sales of the bibs and has been able to pay for school fees, medical bills, roofing material, and help support her grandparents, cousins, and orphans in her village.  When I recently visited Alice, her whole family was so grateful for the opportunity  that Alice has to earn extra money to help her village. 

We have only just begun to envision what LIFTED will be! My desire is to see many women use their skills and creativity to create artwork that can be appreciated and used by people across the globe, while providing important income.  We are in the process of selling the bibs in stores in the U.S. and Uganda.  In order for us to take this next step, we needed to expand LIFTED and train 2 more women in sewing.  So...Alice traveled 8 hrs. by bus from Arua to come teach the newest LIFTED ladies and she did an excellent job!! They quickly became friends and really enjoyed one another’s company over the weekend.  We trained all day Saturday, half day on Sunday and then again on Monday! It was a long weekend but both ladies learned the steps for making bibs. 

Mama Paska learning to hand stitch.

Our friends, who are church planting, have established an awesome community of people called Sojourn in Kampala.  Check 'em out!  The two women we trained in sewing are from the Sojourn community.  Mary is mother to 2 little boys, married, and volunteering in the church.  She and her husband lead worship in Sojourn church and Mary also teaches preschool.  She is thrilled to be a part of LIFTED and already has proven to be a quick learner!  Paska is a single mother to 7 children ranging from preschool age to high school.  Her youngest daughter has a life altering disease that affects her ability to walk, talk, speak, and function.  Paska is currently selling greens at the market and brings home $1.50 a day on good days.  Feeding, clothing, and caring for 7 children on that income is a huge challenge!  Paska will be doing most of the hand stitching of designs on the bibs.  We hope to train her on the sewing machine in the near future.  Paska and Mary worked very hard to learn the process and are still practicing on their own at home. 

Mama Mary making her first bib!

Alice is teaching Paska how to trace a bib pattern

The women cutting bib patterns out of the beautful Ugandan waxcloth material

What a privilege to sit with these Ugandan women talking, laughing, working, and sharing food over the training weekend.  I know these women have a strength that is unknown to me.  I am sure they have struggled to provide for their children.  I am sure they have cried out to God many times in desperation.  I am sure they have persevered through hardships I’ll never experience, and through all of this,  I am also very sure that these women know HOPE and JOY that is as real as the hot sun that beats down on the red African soil.  Look upon their faces and you can see these women are treasures to be treasured.    
                So, what’s next?  Sewing On! And on and on…. We are looking for retail stores that are interested in selling LIFTED Uganda bibs.  My sister, Mekay and I are working hard to keep moving ahead with design ideas and selling.  LIFTED also has a few volunteers that are a huge part of making LIFTED happen! Natalie, our graphic designer, is volunteering her time, creativity, and skills…Thanks Natalie!!  Chloe, a mother to 2 and a heart for Africa and empowering women is marketing the bibs in several stores in Oklahoma. Thanks Chloe!!  I am preparing a stock pile of bibs to market in the craft stores here in Kampala.  We welcome any other connections to stores in the U.S. that are interested in selling products from Uganda that are fair trade and women-made.  Please email me if you would like to be a voice for the women of Uganda and help spread the word on LIFTED bibs!  We will have the latest batch of bibs to sell very come on back and buy a one-of-a-kind bib!

Rukia-our fabulous chef for the weekend!

LOVE IT! The LIFTED ladies of Uganda.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

LIFTED UGANDA bibs for sale!!

We were so excited to release the newest batch of
LIFTED Uganda bibs!!     

And even more excited to say that out of 24 we have only .... 5 left to sell !!
We have more bibs coming in April including 2 new designs.  
Give a beautiful, hand-made African gift with a purpose!

LIFTED Uganda --   Baby bibs with velcro closure are hand made by Ugandan women using beautiful and colorful Ugandan cloth and a treadle sewing machine.  Each bib is decorated with a LIFTED tag which includes a biography and photo of the artist.  All the profits go back to the Ugandan mama's.  

LIFTED engages Uganda women in money generating employment to supplement their income and help them care for their families.  Our friend Mama Alice is doing a great job sewing the bibs and receiving profits to provide for her large family.  I just recently visited Alice and was able to pay her for the last batch of bibs she made!  She is putting the money towards the building of a small mud house with a tin roof, which will eventually become their home.  She is currently living in a mud home that is being destroyed by ants and the thatched roof is old, leaking and in need of replacement.  Alice is also training her cousin in hand stitching.   As soon as she is able to stitch properly, she will join the LIFTED team. 

We are thrilled to share that we are in the process of extending LIFTED to an area close to Kampala, where we are currently living.  We hope to train and employ several additional women in the coming year.  To do this, we need to continue selling LIFTED bibs and getting the word out about these one-of-a-kind baby gifts!  We need your help!  Do you have a blog? Can you help spread the word about LIFTED Uganda bibs to your friends and family? How about sharing our link on your FaceBook page?  Thank you!!

To Purchase a Hand Made African Bib:

Email Katie at with fabric and design, number of bibs and shipping address. Once I receive your email order I will send a confirmation email to ensure we have the bib/s you want to purchase. After you receive my email confirmation, you may use the PayPal button on the blog or send your check in the mail. Please do not send checks or use PayPal until you receive a confirmation email from me. Thank you!! Once payment is received your African bib/s will be shipped immediately.

                                    LIFTED UGANDA     WOMEN MADE     FAIR TRADE 

1 Green/ Yellow fabric with Tree

2 Yellow/Blue star fabric with Star

 1 Blue/Green/Yellow fabric with One Star 

1 Blue/ Green/Yellow fabric with Two Stars

Here are some other designs that have already sold out, but will be back in April!