Category Archive: Charity Stuff

Completed! 1/2 Marathon at Royal Parks Foundation

Hope you all had a fabulous weekend. We had a manic weekend: Saturday Mary and I visited Knitting & Stitching show at Alexandra Palace. Sunday I ran a 1/2 marathon at Royal Parks in London.

So today is all about my running experience on Sunday. I will write a Report on the knitting show after this post this week.

Well, the day of the run did not start well. We woke up at 6am and it was dark and raining…. By the time we arrived in Hyde Park, the rain was clearing but ground was muddy!!!

Arriving at Hyde Park at 8am

Arriving at Hyde Park at 8am. It was hard to smile.

What made me feel so nice was that meeting with all other WWF people at the marquee. They must have had like 10 cups of coffee on that morning, because they were all awake, happy and very welcoming. Some of the actual WWF staff were running on the day – it’s really good that they themselves are also involved in fundraising.

At the marquee. I wrote my name on the vest so that people can shout my name while running!

At the marquee. I wrote my name on the vest so that people can shout my name while running!

People absolutely loved the penguin hat by the way, so thank you so much for getting involved in the vote to choose the funny hat 😀

Me, my penguin and a panda. Love wildlife.

Me, my penguin and a panda. Love wildlife.

Before the run, everyone did stretching together…

Mass stretch at Hyde Park... Some of the moves were clearly not a proper stretch but it was fun.

Mass stretch at Hyde Park... Some of the moves were clearly not a proper stretch but it was fun.

I was looking forward to loud fast music while running but it was only this Royal Parks brass bands. They had a cool outfit though.

I was looking forward to loud fast music while running but it was only this Royal Parks brass bands. They had a cool outfit though.

I asked my husband to stay at mile 6 because he will be able to see me at the 6th and the 11th mile. With all the adrenaline going around, I got to mile 6 earlier than expected so I missed him. But luckily he found me just before the finish line. I had to take the penguin hat off towards the end because it was making my head far too hot!

Wesley found me just before I reach the finish line. I was really going for it!

Wesley found me just before I reach the finish line. I was really going for it!

After the run, you get water and a banana followed by some goodies (this year was shredded wheat, oreo biscuits and tooth paste…).

So many bananas ready for the runners. It really helped.

So many bananas ready for the runners. It really helped.

I must say the 11th mile was really hard for me. I could feel my thigh muscle contracting and starting to slow down. But I concentrated that I could do it.

After the run, I got my medal and my bags then met my husband again. I was relieved and soooo happy!!!!!!!!

So happy! So grateful for all the sponsors and all my family and friends!!!!!

So happy! So grateful for all the sponsors and all my family and friends!!!!!

We went back to the marquee and met with all the runners. I made a lovely friend who run with me on the day. We said that we will do it again together.

We had a lovely celebration lunch together with friends. Then Wesley and two of our friends said that they would run with me in the future. I was thrilled felt that I have achieved something good.

Most of all, while I was running, I felt all the positive energy, supports and kindness from everyone not just at the event but through here in the world of Cotton & Cloud. I could not have done this without you and I am thankful for all your wonderful support. Thank you thank you thank you.

Oh, the time? It was 2 hours and 9 min for 13 miles 😉

Innocent Big Knit Starts on Worldwide Knitting in Public Day

Hope you all been having a good knit week. My hands are constantly working and I can’t believe it has been over a week since I last blogged. Today I just had to blog because I wanted to let you all know about the fun charity knitting event.

Have you heard of Innocent Big Knit? AND have you heard of Worldwide Knitting in Public Day?

Worldwide Knitting in Public Day starts from 11th June this year which is the day for the Innocent Big Knit starts.

the innocent big knit 2009

Innocent Big Knit 2001. This is CUTE. If you are big on crochet, you can make crochet hats too!

If you live in the UK you would have seen a bottle of Innocent Smoothie with a knitted hat. It’s a charity knitting event where we knit little hats and send it off to Innocent Drinks. The hats you knitted will be put onto their smoothie bottles. For every hat knitted 25p is given to a charity. This is the basic concept of Innocent Big Knit. Here is a message from Innocent:

We want to raise 160k this year for Age UK by knitting 650,000 little hats which will go on our smoothie bottles and be sold in stores in November.

For every little hat knitted, we’ll give 25p to Age UK to help them make winter a little warmer for older people across the UK. We need your help to reach this huge target – we have 3 different patterns to start you off and there will be lots more going up on our website very soon. You can find the patterns by searching innocents Big Knit on Ravelry and the pdfs will also be going up on the website next week.

Every hat counts- so why not get together this Saturday with your Knitting chums and make a few hats for innocents Big Knit?

Here are some fun images of Innocent Big Knit.
The Big Knit

Big Knit 2010

Carmen Miranda

The weather is getting better which is perfect for a knit-al-fresco. I really would like to make little hats this year (especially after browsing all the fun images!). It’s a great opportunity to get rid of your random stash. Often postage can be a limiting factor for charity knitting for overseas participants. I think Innocent Big Knit is fantastic as the hats are tiny and light the postage won’t cost much (well unless you make hundreds!). This means anyone from anywhere overseas can participate and send them off to Innocent!!

The pattern can be found on Ravelry, I am selecting the stash to use for the little hats 😀 😀

Mason-Dixon’s Mitered Crosses Blanket Pattern for Japan

Our boiler and local internet server broke down during the weekend, which meant we had no hot water and internet. It was extremely inconvenient, but then I thought that is totally nothing compared to what people in Japan (and other part of the world) are going through at the moment. We were able to go to our gym to shower and get a (very poor but) reception of the wifi signal from the nearby cafe.

Last week, I was chatting with Juliet the editor of The Knitter magazine. She told me about Mason-Dixon’s charity knitting pattern. The sales of their Mitered Crosses Blanket pattern is donated to Mercy Corps for Japan Tsunami Relief. They have already raised $7500 for this!! Absolutely amazing, and as a Japanese person myself I am so thankful for their amazing generosity.

So I bought the pattern too… and it is a fabulous pattern.

I think the trick is to combine a variegated and plain coloured yarn. My plan is to make lots of small mitered squares using much smaller needles.

winding the skein

Quickly I dug up my old stash from under-bed storage. I picked a random maccha green 3 ply which my sister gave to me years ago. Then I saw the gorgeous Celestial Merino Dream sock yarn which I frogged many years back. No time to be wasted, I made the skein into a ball and I am ready!

winding skein into a ball

I have so much other things to knit, but this is something I just had to start casting on. I am using 2.5 mm needles to make small squares 😉

mitred square

I had more verigated yarn than the plain one so I decided to use the pink yarn for the background. I really like the way it came out. For the edging, I “tweaked” the pattern a little bit so that I do it all in one go:

mitred square 2

Isn’t it wonderful that a combination of simple things (i.e. two needles, yarn, garter stitch modular pattern) can make a beautiful blanket? And even better, many thousands of people benefit from us knitting!

If you can, please spread the word about this pattern (and all other charitable knitting patterns too)! The easiest way is to re-tweet, but any other means (blogging, facebook, any other!) would be greatly appreciated!

Happy knitting!

BUPA 10k London Run Completed! – The Aftermath

Hello! Hope you all had a great weekend. Monday was a bank holiday in the UK and it was the day for my BUPA 10k run in London. I had an amazing experience!
The night before, I prepared all my gear. The orange tag (above photo) was put on the shoes. It measures the time accurately on the day of the run.
On the day, the tube line that I usually use was closed and a large area of London was also closed off for the event. I was very lucky to have Mary and her family to drive me to Waterloo and I took the tube to Green Park station (photo above).
The starting time was 10 am and I arrived at 9.15am. By then Green Park was packed with runners. I knew there will be a massive queue at the ladies toilet at the venue so I decided to invest my time queuing 15 min at the station loo… I think I made the right choice 😛

At Green Park, there were loads of charities. I kept looking for WWF but because it was already 9.30am, they had already gone to the running route to prepare for cheering the runners. I also saw two smurfs (above)!. The whole event was well organised. For example, there was a runner’s only area to put our valuables while running (photo below).
By then there was an announcement for people to line up to start. So I rushed to the start line…
Strangely, my running number indicates that I am at the very front group with very physically fit-looking people… I thought there was something wrong. I am not that fast…. Also, I was the shortest person there…

While I was running as much as I can, someone cheered me up from behind “Go WWF!”. It was a fellow WWF supporter runner (who obviously over took me straight afterwards) and this completely gave me energy to run more and more.

10km completed!! I looked at the time… 55 min!!? I usually run 10k for about 45 min. What is going on? This is what I discovered later but my iPhone has been measuring the time and the distance short. So basically I was running about 7.5k when my iPhone said 10k!
Anyway, what is important is that I completed the run (with no injuries) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. After the run, I quickly went to WWF area and said hi to them. Apparently there were 23 people running for them and I was the third to finish (yippe!). They were so grateful for all the supporters and I really am glad that I run for them. I still don’t know who it is that cheered me running while he was also running (well, over taking me), but thank you so much!
Now, the most important thing – the goodie bag (LOL!)! I must say that it was not as good as the one Mary and I got for last year’s Addidas Women’s run.

Buckingham Palace was full of people. After finally reuniting with Mary and her family, we went to China town for our celebration lunch. It was truly lovely.

Most importantly…THANK YOU SO MUCH everyone for sponsoring me for this event. I was able to raise just over 350 (on and off lines together) for WWF. Without your support, I would not be able to donate this much money for such great cause (to save wildlife!). Thank you, thank you, thank you!!


Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

This is the last C&C blog post for 2009. I am so proud that I have fostered an elephant from David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (charity registration number 1103836).

Dida is the name of an elephant whom I fostered. She is a victim of human/wildlife conflict. She fell down an open man-hole on the border of East and West Tsavo National Parks, illegally opened by the local people in order to help themselves and their livestock to water. The lid was never replaced. Four other of their orphaned elephants have also suffered the same fate. I wanted to raise awareness that one’s action, no matter how harmless it may seem at the time, could lead to tragedy if selfishness is the underlining reason of action.

DSWT fostering certificate

That’s it for 2009. I look forward to seeing you again in 2010. Thank you so much for all your support and kindness. I am always inspired by you all and I couldn’t have done this without you guys! 😉

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and a very happy new year!


Used Stamps for Charity

Used Stamps

This post is about 1) how old stamps are used to raise funds for charities and 2) lists of charities that collect stamps (this will be an ongoing list).


Used stamps are sold by charities in bulk (called bags of ‘kiloware’). The collectors then sort through them looking for anything distinctive (e.g. slight colour variations, unusual types of perforation, minor printing errors, inverted or sideways watermarks, rare postmarks etc. ). So even ordinary looking stamps may be collectable from the collectors eyes!

They can raise money for both UK and overseas stamps (e.g. 1.50-4/kg for UK stamps and 12-20/kg for foreign stamps). For foreign stamps, they can raise more money when they are on neatly cut thin airmail paper.

Generally stamps should be left on their backing paper, with a border of about 1 cm left around the stamp. No need to steam them and remove from the backing.

It helps the sorter if UK and foreign stamps are put in separate, labelled envelopes.


I think majority of the charities collect used stamps for fund raising purpose. Though it’s always good to be 100% certain about it. Below is the list of charities that definitely collect stamps. If your favourite charity is not listed here, why not contact them and ask? 😉

Care and Relief for the Youg (CRY)

CRY is a Christian charity dedicated to caring for disadvantaged, destitute and suffering children, young people and their families.

Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)

This is an organisation that tackle climate changes and promote sustainable eco-living. Their “about page” is here.

Irish Peatland Conservation Council (IPCC)

Life Uplifted by Change in Africa (LUCIA)

Preemies UK

A group of volunteers that knit and crochet clothing for premature babies. They also knit burial items for babies that sadly don’t survive.

They do collect used stamps to raise money. You can send them to: PreemiesUK, 138 Farmers Green, Droitwich, Worcs, WR9 9EH.

Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)

They also raise money by involving us to recycle. Check out this page for more info.

Saint Francis Hospice

I contacted them (Dec 09) and got a confirmation that they do collect used stamps. You can send them to : Fundraising Department, Saint Francis Hospice, The Hall, Havering atte Bower, Romford, Essex, RM4 1QH

The Leprosy Mission (TLM)

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)

World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

I have e-mailed the UK office about this and they told me that we can send the used stamps to: WWF-UK, Panda House, Weyside Park, Godalming, Surrey, GU7 1XR

Addidas Women’s Run 5K

For those who visited Mary’s blog may already know but I did a 5 k run in Hyde Park in September with Mary and Grace. I run for WWF (the panda charity) and I would like to thank for those who sponsored me!

addidas run 2

It was amazing on the day. There were loads of women packed in Hyde Park who ran with us. There were various music bands too. I had never done anything like it before and I had a fabulous time.

addidas run 1

These are the goodies we got for completed the run. Why we got a pot of jelly, I don’t know.

goodie bag

Thank you again for everyone who supported my fun. Couldn’t have done it without you!