Author Archives: Leigh Aquart


We are looking for cashiers to help with customer service at the annual Fabric and Yarn Sale. Duties may involve: processing credit and debit transactions on a technological device, making cash transactions, issuing receipts etc.Cashier training sessions will be provided prior to the sale days and the duties will be reviewed 1/2 hour before shifts commence.

Cashiers shifts are scheduled for the duration of the sale and will include a 30 minute break around the halfway mark.

We also need individuals who have good mental math abilities to work as tally counters. Duties would include checking and totaling purchases on customers’ tallies and in turn, directing them to cash stations.

Lastly, we would like to have a list of spares who are willing to be on call in the event of an emergency.

The success of the sale is dependent on our volunteers. Your help will be greatly appreciated.

To volunteer as a cashier or tally counter, sign up here and select “F&Y CASHIER SIGN UP” tab



The annual Fabric and Yarn Sale cannot happen without your help. Any time and any help you have to give will be gratefully
received. There are two ways to help; before the sale and during the sale.

SET UP – Main need is for sorters and knowledge of fabric and yarn is an asset. You are invited to select a preferred area in which to work and best efforts will be made to honor this preference. However, once needs are filled in any specific area, you may be assigned to an area of greater need. Please respect this assignment to ensure we can be prepared for the public.
SALE – Duties include assisting customers on the sales floor, cleanup, transportation of recyclables (cardboard & plastics), and organization of the leftover fabric and yarn.

Please fill out one form for each day, you can select as many shifts as you’d like to volunteer for on each form. When we have enough volunteers for a shift or for a particular area it will no longer show up as an option. The volunteer schedule will be sent out on April 7, 14 and 21 to all volunteers who have signed up. Sign up will close at 6:00 PM on April 23, 2019.

To volunteer for the F&S Sale, sign up here. and select the “F&Y SIGN UP” tab.


Pre-sale donations of fabric 1 metre or longer, yarn, knitting needles, sewing notions, thread are accepted through contact with

Donations are accepted at Woodcliff United Church Wednesday, April 24, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM and Thursday, April 25, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM


WHAT: 2019 Fabric & Yarn Sale
Setup Dates
Wednesday, April 24, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Thursday, April 25, 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Friday, April 26, 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM
Sale Dates
Friday, April 26, 2:30 to 7:30 PM
Saturday, April 27, 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM
WHERE: Woodcliff United Church, 5010 Spruce Drive SW, Calgary

To volunteer for the F&S Sale, sign up here.

  • The committee will try and adapt the pre-registration to your preference but sometimes it is just not possible. Specific days and times are not the concern, it is where you want to work that can be an issue.
  • Substantial donations and a very tight setup schedule frequently demand a shift in manpower and your understanding is greatly appreciated.
  • 2019 cashiers will not register online.
  • The 2019 Quilt Room is moving upstairs. This is a very popular area with repeat customers so if you could broadcast the change it will help with the transition.
  • Apple boxes are fundamental to the setup so please collect as many as you can.They can be collapsed, but not crushed, for easier home storage and dropped off at the church on Wednesday, April 24 when the setup begins at 10:00 AM.
  • Fabric cardboard rectangles and rolls can always used.
  • Canisters that will hold knitting needles are needed. They should be heavy enough not to fall over and tall enough to hold various lengths of needles.

The next steering committee meeting is tentatively scheduled for Wed. Mar. 20, 2109 at 1:00PM at Woodcliff United Church, 5010 Spruce Drive SW, Calgary.



Bagettes and Handcrafts are offering a two-day workshop to UJAMAA members only during which we will make the latest Bagettes pattern – LAPEL TOTE. This workshop is suitable for a confident beginner or intermediate/experienced sewer and no previous bag making experience is required. We will talk about bag and lining structure and the role of interfacing, zipper choices, topstitching, bag “birthing” and finishing techniques. We will make and apply two zippered pockets, two slip pockets, ring tabs and a unique two-piece closure. Strap making will be discussed but the finished bag will use webbing.

Workshop can accommodate 10 members.

See examples of the workshop bag on Instagram #lapelcrossbodytote or on
Bagettes Facebook page at Ujamaa Grandmas Bagettes.

1. A hardware kit – 2 swivel hooks, 1 adjustable slider, 2 O-rings or D-rings (you get to choose), two-cord lock, exterior zipper, interior zipper. Pattern proceeds cover the cost of the hardware kit.

2. A fabric kit – exterior fabric, lining fabric, pocket fabric, contrast fabric, closure cording and webbing. All fabrics will be pre-cut and fused. There will be a class fee to cover the cost of the fabric kit.

3. Choice of non-woven accent materials from our stash of leather and vinyl.

4. Loads of additional tips and information for bag making.

Participants must bring:
1. A sewing machine in good working order and be familiar with its use.

2. Universal #12 or #14 needles. Please bring a spare just in case.

3. Your regular sewing foot, a zipper foot and the regular tools for sewing – snips, bobbins, thread in both a light and dark neutral, scissors, measuring device , rotary cutter small cutting guide.

4. LUNCH – bring your own.

5. Pattern must be purchased via ETSY. Workshop participants will be given a link to the site and a discount code after registration. The pattern purchase will cover the cost of the hardware kit. This email will be sent no later than March 15.

6. Prior to the workshop, participants are urged to read the pattern but no other pre-work is required. There will be “homework” to be completed between the two workshop days. This homework will require the participant to supply their own decorative bead or button for the closure.

WHAT: Two-Day Bag Making Workshop
WHEN: March 27 and April 4 from 10:00 AM to 3:30 PM
WHERE: Along Came Quilting,  6432 1A Street SW, Calgary
COST: $7 plus GST to purchase the LAPEL pattern on ETSY. Registrants will receive confirmation, a link to the pattern and a discount code via email prior to the workshop. Pattern proceeds cover the cost of the hardware kit. $15 class fee to cover the cost of the fabric kit. This cost is being subsidized by Handcrafts. If you wish to keep your finished bag there will be an additional fee of $10 to cover the full cost of the supplies. Additional hardware kits will be available for purchase at cost at the end of the workshop.


Maximum 10 participants. Everyone who signs up will get a confirmation email and link to the pattern and additional details.

QUESTIONS? Just ask at


Now is the time to register for Demo Day 2019!

9:30 AM – Doors open at Woodcliff Church (5010 Spruce Drive SW)

10:00 AM – Gathering Activity

10:30 to 11:30 AM – Registered Sessions #1

  • Odd Ball Knitting Ideas – Mary Anna Louise will share ideas for using leftover balls of yarn to create new projects, OR
  • Stripping for Fun or Profit – Janet will show a variety of samples using the “sew strips together, then cut.” method.  So many possible variations.

11:30 AM to 12:15 PM – Let’s talk about upcycling, recycling, zero waste, slow fashion and more!  What does it all mean and how are the Ujamaa Grandmas making a positive contribution.
Eco Friendly Show and Share. Please bring in items that you have created that you feel help to reduce waste in our world to share with our group.


1:00 to 2:00 PM – Registered Sessions #2

  • Maker’s Journalling – Cheryl will share a variety of ways to plan, organize and celebrate your creations, OR
  • Ziptastic with Patty – Metal, coil, vislon, open, closed one end, closed both ends, by the yard, #3, #5, #8 #10 locking sliders, free sliders. Yikes. Come learn to speak zipper and pick up some cool tips for adding zippers to a project.

2:00 PM – Farewell and Draw Prizes

Looking forward to a great day of learning, sharing, and connecting!

WHAT: Demo Day 2019
WHEN: Wednesday, May 8, 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM
WHERE: Woodcliff United Church, 5010 Spruce Drive SW.

Please Register here.


Reminder: Members from the Speakers Bureau are available for presentations to other groups you are involved with. Email

This month the Speakers Bureau highlights books about Africa and the challenges for African children impacted by HIV/AIDs. The four books listed below are all available at the Calgary Public Library.

A. One Hen: How one small loan made a big difference – Katie Smith Milway
This is the story of Kojo, a boy from Ghana who turns a small loan into a thriving farm and a livelihood for many. After his father died, Kojo had to quit school to help his mother collect firewood to sell at the market. When his mother receives a loan from some village families, she gives a little money to her son. With this tiny loan, Kojo buys a hen. A year later, Kojo has built up a flock of 25 hens. With his earnings Kojo is able to return to school. Soon Kojo’s farm grows to become the largest in the region. (Elementary school aged children)

B. The Heaven Shop – Deborah Ellis
The Heaven Shop is a novel that puts a very real face on the African AIDS pandemic, which has orphaned more than 11 million African children. Inspired by a young radio performer the author met during her research visit to Malawi, Binti Phiri is a compelling character that readers will never forget. (Ages 7-9)

C. Our Stories, Our Songs: African Children Talk about AIDs- Deborah Ellis
This is a collection of children’s stories dealing with poverty, loss as well as their new lives and hopes for the future. In the summer of 2003, Deborah Ellis traveled to Malawi and Zambia and met with children and teens whose lives have been touched by AIDS. In short, autobiographical vignettes, the young people, many of whom are orphans or living on the street, discuss their families, their favorite pastimes, their fears, and their dreams. (Grade 6 and up)

D. We are all the Same: The story of a boy’s courage and a mother’s love – James Wooten
This is the story of a courageous South African boy’s fettle with AIDs but also focuses on the failure of South African leaders to confront the AIDs epidemic in their country. ABC senior news correspondent Wooten tells the story of the bond between Nkosi and his birth mother, Daphne, who gave him up for the sake of his health and who subsequently succumbed to AIDS, and his white adoptive mother, Gail, who made his illness her number one priority. (16 and older)


Interested in ordering a Grandmother to Grandmothers Campaign T-shirt?

These shirts are 100% cotton (with compacted yarns to minimize shrinkage), available in sizes XS – 4XL and a range of colours: black, charcoal, maroon, kelly green, navy, purple, red & royal blue all with the white Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign logo.
All proceeds go the SLF through the Peninsula Grannies Group in Southern Ontario.
The cost is $23 and includes shipping to one address per Group.

If you are interested please contact Marilyn Simmons through
The deadline for ordering is March 15, 2019

GRL Report:
Alison Longson is now a co-liaison with me to the SLF for Southern Alberta.
Alison brings a wealth of knowledge of the campaign and a lot of experience with Ujamaa Grandmas to the position. I look forward to working with her in the coming year.
Please see the letter from the SLF Campaign Team.

Marilyn Simmons
GRL for Southern Alberta


Our AGM has been re-scheduled.  We need this additional time, as CalVista just notified us that they will no longer be our accountants. Please mark your calendars now – though you will receive notification closer to that date.

ALL members are invited – we want you to know all the exciting happenings in our vibrant organization! The 2018 Annual Report will be highlighted, as a culmination of all the activities that happened for the Ujamaa Grandmas in the past year.  The slate for the Board of Directors will be presented – see the Nominating Committee’s report as to what positions are available.

Our guest speaker will be Eveline Goodall who is one of our members, who will tell us about two organizations close to her heart and efforts – “Days 4 Girls” and “Inspire Africa”.  She will describe the philosophies of these two organizations, how they were established, and how they mirror much of what we, as Ujamaa Grandmas, do in our organization.  Refreshments (and they’re always so delicious!) will be served following the meeting.  More information to follow.

WHAT: Annual General Meeting
WHEN: Sunday, May 5, 2019 at 2:00 PM
WHERE: Crump Room at Christ Church, Elbow Park at 3602 – 8th Street SW, Calgary


Serving on the board is a great way to get involved with Ujamaa Grandmas. You can play an important role in shaping role in shaping the future of our group.
We are looking for several enthusiastic members to replace directors that are retiring.
The position of Vice President is open as well as 2 members at large.
Someone with a communications background would be greatly appreciated.
The board usually meets once a month for approximately 2 hours.
If you would like more information please send an email to
Your name will be passed along to the nominating committee who can give you more information on positions.  If you know of someone who would make a great candidate, consider asking their permission to pass their name along so that we can be in touch with them.


VOLUNTEERING!  At what point in your life did you begin?  My mom was a ‘star’ volunteer – there were 5 of us kids in the family, and she became involved, in a volunteer capacity, in whatever we were doing.  She was an inspiration and role model for me, but I didn’t realize that at the time.  When we needed to advocate for both our sons, during their school years, we volunteered to establish our credibility.   ‘Volunteering’ must be in my genes – as I guess it is in yours, for whatever reason.

We are such an inspirational group of people who give of our time, efforts and talents.  There are now multitudes of opportunities to be involved with Ujamaa Grandmas  – come to the AGM in May to learn of all that’s happened in 2018.  I’m still learning so much about how many of you volunteer in so many different ways – a sincere thank you.  Our next major sales event is, of course, the Fabric and Yarn Sale – there are more than 500 volunteer ‘slots’ to make this fantastic event occur, and then raise a phenomenal amount of funds to send on to our African grandmother sisters, through the Stephen Lewis Foundation (SLF).  Watch for the volunteer registration in the April e-News, for the ‘set-up’ of products April 24th to 26th, and then the actual sale the afternoon of the 26th and the 27th.

Another of the inspirational aspects of Ujamaa Grandmas is our resiliency.  After the disappointing failure to complete some of the transactions at our Bags, Babies & Beyond sale in October, a Root Cause Review was established.  Thanks to both Alice Campbell and Leslie Buckle for undertaking this process.  They presented their report to the UG Board and Committee Chairs on Saturday, February 9th.  That afternoon, the Board accepted the recommendations of the report, and a Sales Financial Committee was established, to follow through with these recommendations for all fundraising events.  They met on February 23rd and will again on March 1st.  More details to follow in the April e-News.

This is a simple ’thank you’ for all of your volunteering.  We’re making a huge difference for the support of our African Grandmothers, and the Community Based Organizations with whom they are involved.  Our contribution to the SLF in 2018 was an amazing $152,890, which included donations made in our name!  And our total lifetime contribution is $1,347,557 – imagine how this has helped so many grandmothers and their families, over the years.

We’ve included letter from the SLF Campaign Team to tell you of the retirement of Ilana Landsberg-Lewis, who was the founding Director of the SLF.  She has given so much of her time, efforts and talents, as so many of you have done.  Thank you again!