Men at Hawke's Bay Regional Prison have painstakingly sewed Christmas-themed decorations, advent calendars and table runners for local charities to distribute.
The so-called "Sewing Room Crew" made up of five men, with assistance from instructor and Corrections Officer Cheryl Hall, made 30 advent calendars and 104 Christmas decorations over two weeks, which were sent away to charities by November 22.
Hall, who recently received an Unsung Heroine award from the Heretaunga Women's Centre for her work with the "crew", said the men who did the stitching had learnt on the job.
And so had she.
"I am a chef by trade, and I spent 12 years in the kitchen, but when the laundry instructor retired two years ago, I took over.
"I had never sewn before and neither had the men I work with."
She said the sewing room crew did laundry for the prison and then sewing.
Over the past two years they have stitched everything from breast pads for new mothers to grocery bags, and this year Hall decided they would make advent calendars.
"I work with a lot of different companies who work with charities. This year, when I went shopping for advent calendars for my grandkids I thought 'we could do that easily'."
Local community group Re-Source supplied donated fabric and bedding for the men to create the calendars, and each pocket was filled with treats donated by prison staff and their families.
Treats included toys, games, balloons, candy canes, crayons and pens.
The men upcycled the fabric waste that would have otherwise been sent to landfill.
"It took the men a couple of weeks to make the advent calendars. They had to start from scratch - cut up the material, make sure the dimensions were correct otherwise the end product would be messed up, iron out the material, and then start sewing."
She said the men had to learn the basics first before they were considered competent enough to make something like an advent calendar.
"To begin with they need to learn how to sew in a straight line."
The men behind the calendars were in prison on serious charges, and ranged in ages from youths to 72, she said.
But they were learning real, transferable skills for when they left prison.
"They make me so, so proud of what we achieve and what we give back to the community.
"It's a really cool thing to be able to give back to the community."
Hall's nomination for the Heretaunga Women's Centre (HWC) "unsung heroes" awards was not only because of the work she does, but because she takes it to "incredible heights" while bringing a team of previously unskilled prisoners along with her.
The centre said she had not been acknowledged previously in the community before and they were pleased to be able to "honour her hard work, ingenuity, and dedication".
Hall was responsible for handling five full bags of dirty pillows, washing and drying them and arranging for them to be covered so that they were able to be passed on to people in need in the community.
According to Heretaunga Women's Centre, her "ingenious upcycling" has seen the most unpromising materials being turned into pet beds that are then donated to the SPCA, shopping bags, aprons, quilts, bags to carry drains post-mastectomies, breast pads, kitchen clothes and more.