Developmental Playgroup on the move

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You ask and we listened!  We are pleased to announce the relocation of Developmental Playgroup which will now be held at Ability Centre in Coolbinia.  A more central location with easy access from all areas of the city!

Our friends at Ability Centre can't wait to get started in Term 4 and look forward to meeting the 12 children and their carers who will be participating.

More information about Developmental Playgroup can be found on our dedicated information page here or you can go right ahead with an enrolment through our shop here.

Please remember that placement in this program is limited to 12 and is on a first come, first served basis.  Know someone who would benefit from this program?  Please go right ahead and let them know all about it.

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Christmas Quilt Drive 2018

We can't believe how quickly this year is flying past.  We've had lots of enquiries already about our Christmas Quilt Drive, along with requests for project options, so we are releasing all of the information a little earlier than usual.  Here is everything you need to know...

We are thrilled to announce that this year you can choose between two options!  Quilts or Stockings, and if you are enthusiastic maybe both.  Please read right to the end to cover all of the instructions and FAQs from past years.


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Christmas Quilted Stockings

We are grateful to Amy Smart who blogs at Dairy of a Quilter for providing permission for us to use her 'Easy Quilted Stocking Tutorial'. You can find the instructions to make your Christmas Quilted Stocking here.


Christmas Quilts for Tiny Sparks WA

This pattern was kindly designed by Jill of Patchwork Place in Albany. You can download the instructions here, or find them below.

Size 16" x 24"
 Or
41 cm x 61 cm

Requirements

Piece backing approx. 18" x 26"  (45cm x 65 cm) - white or cream
Piece 100% cotton light weight batting/wadding same size as backing piece.
Small amounts of Christmas coloured fabrics.

Suggestions

Any basic 4"  or  8" block pattern

No borders.
Keep blocks simple.
Avoid using yellow or gold.
Use conventional quilt binding or a commercial satin or pre-made binding or finish by “bagging” then turning through to right side. Top stitch around edge if using last method.
100% cotton fabrics (though not essential) are easier to work with.

A - Basic 4" Block - Total of 24 squares cut 4 ½" x 4 ½ "  in Christmas colours

  1. Arrange design into 6 rows of 4
  2. Join together into rows with ¼ " seam.
  3. Press seams in row 1 to the right, in row 2 to the left, row 3 to the right etc
  4. Join the rows together.
 
 Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs

Basic 4" Block - 2 alternative designs

 

B - Basic 8" Block - Cut 6 squares 8 ½" x 8 ½ "in at least 2 Christmas colours.

  1. Sew into 3 rows of 2.
  2. Press seams in alternating directions then join rows together.
 
 Basic 8" Block

Basic 8" Block

 

Finishing Quilts

Finished Quilt created by Jill of Patchwork Place, Albany

  1. Lay the backing right sides down, place the wadding on top and finally the pieced top right sides up. Pin together and quilt.
  2. Prepare binding by joining the 2 bits end to end with a mitred (angled) seam.
  3. Press in half lengthways. Sew onto the right side of the quilt having ALL raw edges level. Mitre the corners as you sew.
  4. Trim off the excess from the edges.
  5. Handstitch the folded edge of binding over onto the back of the quilt.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How many items will you need? - We will need a minimum of 220 items to mail out across 20 neonatal units state wide so that every baby in a neonatal unit on Christmas Day receives a gift.
  2. Can I deviate from the instructions/patterns/specifications? – No, we ask that you follow the instructions carefully. They have been set out for a reason. The hospitals have very specific guidelines about what can be around the babies in the NICU and SCN.  In particular please ensure the backing for your quilt is white or cream.
  3. What material should I use? – Quilting fabric, 100% cotton (or very close please). No flannel.
  4. Should I prewash the material? – Either way is fine please.
  5. What cotton should I use? - Cotton or poly/cotton blend is fine.
  6. What designs can the material have? – Anything that is in the Christmas spirit, please make sure the design is child appropriate.  The backing for your quilt must be white or cream.
  7. Can I add a personal touch to the stocking? – Yes! Embroidery and applique is fine.
  8. Can I add my name, sewing tag to the stocking/quilt? – Yes, we just ask that you keep it small.  
  9. Can I contact you to make some other arrangements? Given the volume of donations we handle we cannot make individual arrangements.
  10. Will I get a personalised response about my donation? We will attempt to acknowledge all donations sent in, although we are only able to do so if you provide us with your name and email address clearly written inside your package. We are unable to mail a response due to limited resources. Please allow for up to a month for us to acknowledge any items posted or hand delivered.
  11. How many stockings/quilts can I make? – We would prefer that each person make no more than 10 items each.
  12. What else can I sew for you? – We need sewers and knitters all year round. If you’d like to help further, please see the details here.

When and how can I get my donation to you?

  1. We require all donations by the 1st of December 2018. This will enable us time to sort and send out donations state wide in advance of the Christmas postal rush. Any donations received after this time will be put aside for next year.
  2. You can post your Christmas items to us at:
    Tiny Sparks WA, PO Box 1114, West Leederville WA 6901
    Please include your name and an e-mail address inside your parcel.
  3. Can you collect my quilt when I am finished? - No, we are a small team of volunteers and unable to collect your donation.
  4. I don't want to mail my donation, how can i get it to you? - Please e-mail admin@tinysparkswa.org.au for metropolitan drop off locations, alternatively you are welcome to come along to our Neonatal November event and leave your donation with us there.
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If you have a question that has not been answered above, please email us at admin@tinysparkswa.org.au  We will do our best to respond as quickly as we can.  Please keep in mind that we are all volunteers and this is a large project to manage so it may take a few days for us to get back to you.

We are so very grateful for your support and thank you for your time and energy in helping us to make Christmas in the Neonatal Unit a special time for our families.

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"I thought I was living a nightmare."

Blog post by Mum and Volunteer Sheree.

It was a Sunday afternoon and I was relaxing watching Netflix, as I'd been feeling a bit off with a mild headache.  I was 33 weeks pregnant.  I remember laying there thinking surely I can't get much bigger than I currently am, and just thought I was tired from working and that was the reason for my headache.

I had a rough nights sleep that night and called in sick the next morning as I just didn't feel like I had the energy to go.  I had an appointment with my obstetrician that afternoon, but I still just thought what I was experiencing was normal pregnancy symptoms.  It was at that appointment I was told I was being admitted to hospital for observation as I was showing early signs of pre-eclampsia.  I was scared and severely emotional.

My baby was the result of a hard journey through IVF and the very thought of any threat in my pregnancy resulting in anything other than our dram come true, was too much to bare.  I was a total mess.  My night that night in the hospital was full of hourly checks and observations and by morning I was told by my obstetrician than I wasn't to return to work, as I was still borderline pre-eclampsia, but I was fine to head home on bed rest.

I spent the next 4 days sitting on the couch taking it easy, but on Friday night I began to feel off - a little nauseous and that headache was back. I didn’t know whether to think too much into it or whether to go to the hospital. After an hour wondering I decided to at least call the hospital. After telling them how I was feeling they advised me to come in. So off we went to the hospital and I was hooked up to a machine to see how the baby was going. He was doing well, but I was not. The doctor told my husband and I that my liver and kidneys were showing signs of being in distress and whilst it wasn’t an absolute emergency that night, I was to stay in hospital. I thought I was living a nightmare. I was so scared for my baby and the thought of him being born early was too much for me to cope with. I was an emotional wreck.

The next three days were a routine of hourly checks and lots of blood tests. By Monday morning my obstetrician wasn’t willing to hold off any longer and I was to have a caesarean that morning, as my condition had worsened. Again with the freaking out.

The nurses were so supportive. I was taken down to the Neonatal Unit to see where my baby would go when he was born. It was weirdly comforting and intense all at the same time. The nurses talked me through what some of the machines were and what role they would play for my baby. 

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My son was born 3 hours later at 33 weeks and 4 days. He came out crying and weed everywhere, so I was able to hold him before he was taken away. It was this moment I hadn’t wanted to miss out, of all the moments you get when having a baby. I was so amazingly happy and so in love. 

We spent 3 weeks in NICU before my son was able to come home. The nurses and doctors in our nursery were absolutely amazing. I was allowed to be my sons mother. Even though changing a baby with cords is difficult, it was amazing. The day we were told we could take him home, I panicked. We were in this safe little bubble in the nursery and it just seemed so scary that suddenly I really would be totally in charge. 

My son is now 14 months old. He’s endured two surgeries in his short life, but he is healthy, happy and totally adorable. When we think back to our time in the nursery, we just remember how lucky we were that all our little man had to do was grow a little. For some this isn’t the case. The experience has made us more aware of what others sometimes have to go through, and how lucky we are. Every day with our son is amazing.


We welcome you to share your story with us.  Please e-mail your story along with a few pictures to admin@tinysparkswa.org.au with 'Family Story' in the subject.

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The Brightest Brains Trust - Quiz Night Wrap Up

{ T H A N K Y O U }

To all of the amazing people who joined us at our annual Quiz Night on Saturday 21 July, thank you for coming and we are so pleased to hear you all had a fabulous evening!  Congratulations to our table prize winners, head & tails, paper planes and true or false, so much fun was had.

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This event would not have been possible without the generous support of the wider community.  Please join us in thanking:

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Coming up next...

Next month we are honoured to have been chosen as beneficiaries of the Army Art 'Transition' Exhibition.  This fine art exhibition will take place over the weekend of 24-26 August.  Please consider coming along to the opening night of the exhibition on Friday 24 August.  Tickets are available here.  Keep up to date with this event via their Facebook page.

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