Crafting in Kosovo

Kosovo crafting

One of the highlights for me on our recent trip (of which there are many…is there a limit to highlights?) was getting to plan and present an easy craft to a group of ladies in Kosovo. This group, consisting of ladies from the village where we were staying as well as from a sister church in Pristina (Kosovo’s capital city), meets periodically for fellowship, crafting, food, and a short talk.

Hmmm, could’ve been anywhere, huh? I promise we were thousands of miles away!

My cousin’s lovely Irish wife, Primrose (really, I wish everyone could have an Irish cousin named Primrose, she’s so sweet!) had asked me before leaving, but we had decided the craft should be using things they could actually get in Kosovo, so I shouldn’t try to bring anything. Since chalkboard crafts are pretty popular here in the States, I thought it would be easy and fun to make different kinds of chalkboard labels to use on things like jars and baskets they already had.

crafting in Kosovo

Since I had discovered that flat black paint works just as well as chalkboard paint, I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to find paint there to use to label the jars. Um, three shops later we finally found a ‘flat’ black spray paint (the brush-on paint only came in huge containers) – the word flat is in quotes because it wasn’t, really. It was more of an eggshell, but thankfully worked!

And for labels I found out that a textured, black cardstock looked like chalkboard when ‘primed’ with chalk (rubbing and then wiping the surface) – talk about using what was available!

Kosovo finished crafts

In the end, both painting labels on jars and creating paper labels turned out perfect for all levels and interests. They did not know about chalkboard crafts, so it was fun to teach something new – and many had never used spray paint before, either, so they came away with a couple of new skills.

Kosovo crafting group

Oh, did I mention that most didn’t speak English? It was harder, to be sure, to teach with an interpreter (how much do I say at a time? did that translate well? oops- I went on too long…), but guess what? Yep, crafting crosses all barriers! I mean, look at those smiling faces (ugh, why did the best photo of everyone have me looking down?).

Of course, that could’ve been because of all the good food and sweet ladies, but I’m gonna go with the craft, okay?

Comments

  1. Jami this is so cool – what a great cross-cultural experience to add to an incredible trip! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. Good idea! I only have two jars with chalk paint on them and I have to admit I did not do them. One was a large cookie jar from Costco about ten yrs ago and another is a small terra cotta pot that a friend painted an area on about 9 yrs ago. It holds my makeup brushes.

  3. Cherie W. says:

    What a wonderful experience for both you and those lovely ladies !!! I’m sure they won’t soon forget you and your kindness.

  4. Martha Ellen says:

    Jami, such a meaningful time you had with your new friends. We are all alike aren’t we?

  5. Melissa Johnson says:

    Loved reading about this…and what a small world. I forwarded your post to a friend (she was my R.A. my freshman year of college at Moody Bible Institute) because she and her husband used to be missionaries in Kosovo (before they moved to Albania, and then last year, after 20 years on the field, returned home). As it turns out, she knows your cousin Primrose VERY well, and used to lead a teen girls’ Bible study with her, and left her all her cardstock/cardmaking supplies when they moved back here. She got a real kick out of reading your post. And I am again amazed at just how small the world is! Just had to tell you that! :-)

    • Primrose says:

      Oh, I know who your friend is :) I loved working with her and miss her dearly, even though we hadn’t lived in the same city for about 3 years before they returned to the US. Jami, I believe she is the same lady who your friends in Athens also know as they worked with IT as well! Small world indeed :) The hole punches we used that day came out of one of the boxes of craft supplies she left me. I’m hoping that we’ll be able to use more of those supplies with this group of ladies in the coming months.

    • Oh my goodness, Melissa, this really IS amazing! :) I had a super busy weekend and wasn’t able to get to my comments until now, but just wow – that you read the blog, that your friend not only worked with Primrose, but also the IT Greek friends we visited as well – that truly is incredible. :) She must’ve been shocked to see her hole punch being used in a random blog post – and probably other things as well! SO fun – thank you for sharing. :)

  6. Linda in Oregon says:

    We spent three weeks in Korce, Albania in 2005. What amazing people and a life changing experience. The people had so little in the way of material possessions (and electricity/water) and yet their hearts were full of joy. They were so gracious and kind-hearted. I wish everyone could spend time in a “third world” country. When we came back, it was so hard for me to adjust to our country of abundance. Thanks Jami for sharing your experience with us. Good memories.

  7. Carla Terry says:

    When my husband was stationed in Kosovo with the UN, I went for a visit. This was my birthday present. The women there were so sweet to me. They wanted to take me shopping and just visit. Wonderful experience over there. I would recommend it for anyone traveling. We were in Pretistina.

  8. Primrose says:

    Ha Jami…the daughter of one of the ladies asked me yesterday whether you would be teaching us something else the next time we have a meeting. When I explained that you had gone back to the US, she said her mother thought you were living here and working with us!! I guess something got lost in translation, but take it as a compliment :) I sprayed some more labels earlier today on smaller jars for the new spice mixes I bought in Florence. I think I need an Ikea trip (Thess) to find a suitable shelving solution now ;)

    • Isn’t this great, Primrose? Truly is a small world! You’ll have to take a picture when you get your shelf and your organized jars all set up to share. :)

  9. Jamie … what a thoughtful and creative idea to introduce to new friends across the miles. I’m certain you have made a difference in the lives of these women. Blessings, C. (HHL)

  10. What a marvelous gift! How thoughtful to teach a craft across the languages! :D

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