Shared Threads (or local women making a global difference!)


Instagram.I love it. It's my online happy place. A community of squares of loveliness and amazing people from all walks of life sharing a little bit of beauty and inspiration every day.Yet while we worry about who our kids are meeting online and the potential dangers of that cyber world, I find I am meeting more and more like minded folk through this little app.  And not only that, some of these instapals are becoming friends IRL (that's In Real Life in cool kid speak FYI!!) Take the lovely Janice of @gatheredthreads. I've met Janice several times and a lovelier person you couldn't actually dream up! She is so inspiring with her floral posts and wreath making and her photos are a highlight of my day.And then there's Kirsty, @songofanest on Instagram. She is a beautiful and gentle soul and inspires me to slow down and find small moments of beauty in the everyday.Which leads on to Kirsty's other awesome online project, Shared Threads (@shared_threads), a project designed to help girls affected by poverty in third world countries whose lives are seriously limited because they have no way of dealing with their period. Kirsty and her merry band of makers have begun making cloth sanitary products to send to some of these girls, allowing them to continue their schooling every week and be an active part of their communities. It - not surprisingly - wasn't an issue I was even slightly aware of and it certainly isn't one that we tend to talk about. But Kirsty's passion for it drew me right in and I knew I wanted to be involved somehow.That opportunity arrived a few months ago when Kirsty asked if I would come along and photograph a fundraising wreath making workshop she and Janice were holding in Belfast. Eh, yes please! Flowers and creative people and my camera? That's like a drool-worthy crazy photo combo right there! And so I arrived, camera in hand to meet Kirsty and see magic happen.In her recent blog post about the event she said of the Shared Threads community: "A truly beautiful community of women is forming around the ‘Shared Threads’ project. Women who love to make, women who love to sew and women who can’t do either but who come and iron and cut out squares and work their socks off. There is a feeling of togetherness, of purpose, of women helping women." And I can totally endorse that! I watched as women arrived with friends and on their own, bringing cakes and supplies and creative hearts. I watched as Janice made absolutel gorgeousness out of baskets of wild flowers, and as women followed and giggled about their own attempts. And I watched as young and old, friends and strangers chatted and laughed over tea and cake. It was like a giant birthday party for grown up girls where everyone of us was the birthday girl! But the most amazing thing was that all the while these women were helping girls they will likely never meet have a better life and more opportunities. Amazing!! Please do go and check out the links here, especially the Shared Threads link. Kirsty's blog, Song of a Nest, and Janice's, Gathered Threads are both drool worthy so don't miss out on those either! If you're on Instagram, check out more amazing feeds from @bendyweed@janmary, @dekkobird and @petitjoujou who attended the workshop. Oh, and me, @jblifedocumented! It would be so lovely to meet even more of you creative souls over there!