Life begins at Halcyon

Crafty Chris is sewing the seeds of love

17 September 2019 | by Halcyon Greens

Chris Carter has never forgotten how kindness touched her life when she needed it most. “I was a single mum for a number of years and I had absolutely nothing,” the Halcyon Greens home owner recalled.

“I had a wonderful bunch of ladies that I worked with who could see that I didn’t have any food for the family when I ate Vita Brits for lunch every day for a week. “They would take up a collection for me, and every now and then they would buy me a food parcel. “I’ve never forgotten their generosity.”

That kindness and a humbling visit to a Cambodian orphanage several years ago with husband Ray strengthened her resolve to ‘pay it forward’ when she could. In 2016, Chris’s love of sewing brought her in touch with In Stitches, a Brisbane group that makes clothing and toys for kids in foster or crisis care in Queensland.

These items are donated to Care Kits for Kids Qld which puts together care packs for kids aged up to 16. As a result, these children receive a backpack full of new clothes, books, personal care items and education resources as they go into foster care.

To date, Chris has made more than 600 items of clothing including pyjamas, shorts, shirts, dresses, skirts and jumpsuits. “We have no idea the impact that a new outfit can have on a child who has either lived in poverty or dreadful circumstances,” she said.

“I like to think that every outfit that I make has some love in it. “I ask myself ‘would I make this for my child and would my child wear this’? “I’m fulfilling my passion to sew and I’m feeling good about myself because I’m doing something for somebody else. “I’m paying it forward for those girls who used to feed me.”

Since moving to Halcyon Greens last year, Chris has helped to establish the community’s craft group which meets each Friday in the Pavilion. Not surprisingly she’s recruited fellow members to the foster kids’ cause and their sewing wizardry can produce eight pairs of children’s pyjamas in a matter of hours.

“Our biggest challenge is making clothes for the older kids because they want to look trendy, so you have to be aware of the latest fashion,” she said. Chris said she was so pleased to find herself surrounded by kindred spirits at Halcyon Greens with many fellow home owners wanting to donate items and help however they can.

“We have so much, and this is the time in our lives when we can help out,” she said. “To me, that’s what community is about; we’re one big family and we’re supporting people around us who are less fortunate than us. “And that’s what I love about this place so much, is there’s so many like-minded people who think it’s now our opportunity to give back.”

Earlier this year the craft group sold and raffled their beautiful handiwork to raise more than $1,100 for Queensland-based domestic violence support group, DVConnect. They hope to raise even more funds for various charities close to home owners’ hearts in the months and years to come.

Chris expects she will be sewing for the next 30 years given the extent of her personal collection of fabric which fills her walk-in linen closet and a wardrobe. “I will not rest until my fabric stash is gone,” she laughed.

How can I help?
Chris accepts donations of:

  • Fabric, lace, zips, buttons, elastic, wool
  • New or good second-hand clothing
  • Sheets and towels (new or used in good condition)
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Face washers
  • Soap, shampoo and conditioner
  • Good quality books for children and teens

You can find In Stitches Brisbane and Care Kits for Kids Qld on Facebook

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