When Angela Cowan was 12 years old, she learned how to knit, and when she was 19, she added to her repertoire learning how to crochet.
While she makes special things for herself and her family, especially at Christmas, Angela also knits and crochets gifts for Ronald McDonald House Orange.
Together with fellow Blayney Woolcraft and Hobby Centre members, Angela donates a few bags full two or three times a year.
"I usually make toys, beanies, scarves, jumpers, bed socks, gloves, rugs and 'lovies' or cuddle rugs, which are a 12-inch square with a toy's head in the middle for small children to carry around and cuddle," Angela said.
"One lady makes clothes for dolls and donates the whole lot to Ronald McDonald House.
"I find it really relaxing and, I suppose, a bit of a challenge sometimes.
"It's nice knowing I'm doing something to help others."
Angela was looking for something to do to help people, and Ronald McDonald House came to mind after she noticed some of their advertising.
Over the years, Angela has knitted hundreds of items.
"I'm close to Orange, so I thought I could make them and donate them there," she said.
"That way, people who come in can have jumpers, scarves, and things to keep them warm in winter.
"Scarves and beanies don't take too long.
"I like making toys most of all. I do it knowing little kids can enjoy cuddling and playing with them."
Angela has been a member of the CWA of NSW Carcoar-Mandurama Branch for 45 years, where she heard about other groups needing handmade donated items.
"We are just starting to make rugs for Veritas House at Bathurst and Orange," she said.
"We also make twiddle muffs and mats for people living with dementia living in care - that helps keep their hands busy."
Ronald McDonald House Orange offers a home-away-from-home for seriously ill children and their families.
It provides the whole family with a comfortable place and peace of mind, knowing they can stay together and close to Orange Hospital.
Ronald McDonald House Orange executive officer Rebecca Walsh said the handcrafted items enabled her and her staff to provide a gift from the house to each child, patient, siblings, and new mums for their babies.
"To be able to provide that unexpected gift and put a smile on the face of the families when they arrive at Ronald McDonald House or on their way home is such a beautiful thing to do," she said.
"We love having tubs of beanies and scarves waiting at the front door for families to be able to select from.
"We all know what Orange's climate can be like, and there are people who arrive who may have only the clothes they are standing in, or the temperature changes unexpectedly, so then they can choose something to wear when they're walking back and forth to the hospital."
Rebecca reminisced about an unwell adolescent and his family who stayed at Ronald McDonald House in 2022.
"As his healing progressed and he was allowed to come and stay with us at the house and visit his family, we learned about some of the things he really loved," she said.
"At that time, he mentioned he was an avid South Sydney Rabbitohs supporter, and we were able to give him a beautiful blanket, quilt, beanie and teddybear in South's colours.
"He had them on his bed in the hospital, but we also know to this day those items are still on his bed at home.
"It's not only his connection to Ronald McDonald House but also the healing journey."
Rebecca said the simple handcrafted gifts had a powerful impact on people's lives.
"I think it is easy to take for granted that the simple things add up to so much when a family is going through a difficult time," she said.
"To be able to bring a little bit of light to someone's day and bring a smile to someone's face or watch an adolescent come down from one of the units hugging their teddy bear or wearing their blanket around their shoulders - it is giving them the comfort they would have at home while they're in our home.
"The people who do this for us, like Angela and the team at Blayney Woodcraft and Hobby Centre, are part of the Ronald McDonald House volunteer family, and we can't do it without our volunteers.
"We can't do what we do without our community, and we can't thank them enough for the support that enables us to wrap ourselves around families when they come through our doors."