Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ornaments 4 Orphans

I'm finally back with more

Gifts that Give Back! 

Today I'd like to share

Ornaments 4 Orphans

 {Buy an ornament. Bless a child.}

Every time you buy an ornament from this site, 100% of the proceeds benefit orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda, East Africa.

All the ornaments are handcrafted in Uganda and would make a PERFECT gift for an ornament exchange this year!

Now, while my mother works for Hallmark, and I DO love their ornaments, this is something that I think our children would appreciate years down the road.  An addition to the glitz and bling of the Christmas tree that actually makes the lives of children better.

I am absolutely in LOVE with these stuffed animal ornaments!

They also sell beautiful and unique nativity scenes if you know anyone who collects those!

Please go check them out.
Over 12 million children in Africa have been orphaned due to AIDS.
This is a great way to be able to help them out.
I know we'd all adopt them if we could, right?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday!

What a day for our Internet to be down!
(I'm currently in the parking lot of McDonalds catching up on BLB orders that came in today!)

So, the wonderful post I had planned for today will have to wait until Detroit decides to turn back on the Internet.

Until then...

you MIGHT want to check out the Ucreate Holiday Boutique.

You MIGHT see me over there.

And you MIGHT be able to save a little money on a BLB and other great handmade items!

Bye... Until our Internet returns...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

World Vision Gift Catalog

Every year I receive a catalog from World Vision around the holidays.

In it, you can purchase things like toys, dolls, Bibles, sewing machines, and bikes.
Sounds like a regular Christmas catalog, right?

as I flipped through the pages, I started seeing things like goats, chickens, clean water, ducks, and flocks of sheep for sale, too!

This blew my mind.

I could actually BUY 5 ducks and 2 chickens for a family in Bangladesh whose chicken farm was demolished from floods for only $55!

Or how about sending a girl to school for $35 since studies show that half of all girls in developing countries don't finish primary school.

My brothers would love to know that their Christmas gift was giving 2 soccer balls to children and schools in a developing country.

And something close to my heart...
Buy a sewing machine for $275 or a share of a sewing machine for $25 that allows a woman in a poverty-stricken area the chance to make a living as a seamstress!

Or, for my many pregnant friends, I could purchase a sweet new mother and baby kit to provide the necessities to a brand new mommy going through the first critical weeks of raising a newborn.

Your purchase of a bicycle for $85 would provide safe, speedy transportation, enabling a young woman to get an education and be safe from assaults or kidnapping on the long walk.

Brand new clothes and shoes will help protect needy children from freezing temperatures - or the hot sun.
You gift of $35 will multiply 11 times to $385 worth of new clothing!

Of course, all of the above items do not give YOU anything to give to someone else.
You could be creative and give a picture of a goat or a stuffed chicken with a creative tag explaining that their REAL gift is on its way to Haiti to a needy family.
Which could be cool.

However, World Vision also allows you to make a donation to the "Maximum Impact Fund" and get a free gift to give to someone you love in return.

Something like this Handmade Thai bag for $125

Or this beautiful handcrafted Thai jewelry for $100.

(necklace and bracelet are also sold seperately)

Go online and check out all the cool gifts you could give this Christmas!

When my kiddos get older, I'm planning on having one of their Christmas presents be something from this catalog.
I think it will be neat to have them tell their friends that they got a goat for Christmas and then gave it to a hungry family who could use the milk and income.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

TOMS Shoes

I'm sure many of you have heard about my next retailer in this mini series called
Gifts that Give Back
... because if you're going to give a gift, you might as well give one that gives back!

While I don't personally have a pair of TOMS shoes, I've seen many people wearing them around this past week.
I've been told they are super comfortable.
And every time you buy a pair of shoes, TOMS gives a new pair of shoes to a child in need.

How cool is that?!

Here's how TOMS Shoes started:
In 2006, American traveler Blake Mycoskie befriended children in Argentina and found they had no shoes to protect their feet.  Wanting to help, he created TOMS Shoes, a company that would match every pair of shoes purchased with a pair of new shoes given to a child in need.  
One for One.  
Blake returned to Argentina with a group of family, friends and staff later that year with 10,000 pairs of shoes made possible by TOMS Shoes.

How about a little video for you visual learners:

If you buy a pair to TOMS Shoes for someone this Christmas, you can be confident that a child in need somewhere in the world will also be receiving a pair of brand new shoes.

Over 1 million pairs of shoes have been given away already!

Buy a sparkly pair for your little girl.

Or your teenager brother.
They are sure to be hits under the tree!

Visit their store here.
Or check out their blog.

If you have a pair, leave a comment with your personal review of the fit/comfort/style!
I'd love to hear about them from those who have experienced TOMS Shoes!

Monday, November 22, 2010

31 Bits

I'm so excited about this new mini-series on my blog...
Gifts that Give Back
... because if you're going to give a gift, you might as well give one that gives back!

This series will highlight stores/companies that, like Better Life Bags, are giving to those in need as a result of selling their products.
I hope you are inspired and find some fun Christmas gifts in the process!

The first store I'd like to highlight is 

Look at the incredible jewelry you can order from them.
Juniper $38

Ollie Twist $42
Daphne $10
Darby $14
 All of their jewelry is handmade from paper by women in Uganda.

Here is how they describe themselves:
31 Bits began in 2008 when five college students from Southern California traveled to Uganda and met six amazing women. The girls saw there was a need for change: the women needed shelter, food, medication, school fees for their children, and the list continued…. The women attempted to provide for their families by creating hand-made jewelry, but due to the lack of market, their income was hardly sustainable. 31 Bits was formed when the girls knew they could make a difference; they had to do something to partner with their new friends. 31 Bits now works directly with the women in Uganda, enabling them to make a better life for their families by providing a market for their jewelry.
31 Bits has grown for partnering with 6 women to 35. We are excited and ready to expand and continue to change more lives.

And you should see all the beautiful Ugandan women that design and make these pieces!

They are beautiful!

All 63 of them!

Be sure to head over here to read about each one of their stories.

Of course, 31 Bits also has an incredible blog where they update you on the ladies and introduce new pieces.
Their Winter Line just launched!

What makes 31 Bits even more special to me is that some of these young women who started this business actually live in Uganda with the 63 designers!
I think it's incredible when we can get our lives mixed in with those we are helping.

You can read more about the 31 Bits Team here.

I ordered 3 pieces of jewelry from 31 Bits as Christmas gifts and I hope you'll think about it, too!
The packaging was adorable and each piece came in a fabric bag with a picture of a Ugandan designer on it.
Sounds a lot like Better Life Bags, huh?!

Let me know if you end up ordering anything from them!

Oh, and if anyone is thinking of getting ME something from 31 Bits, I LOVE the Ollie Twist and Juniper necklaces.
Just sayin'

Friday, November 19, 2010

On Vacation!!!

Finished a ton of bag orders this week!

Emily Diaper Bags:

A Cyndi:

And the ever popular Freitas Clutches:

It felt so good to put the last bag in it's box!

And they're off!

Don't worry if you don't see your order here.
There are MANY more to be done!

But, I'm taking a vacation for Thanksgiving as we travel to go see both of our families.
It's going to be weird to not work on bags!

I'm so excited for the posts I have lined up for next week.
It's called "Gifts That Give Back!"
I'm going to be highlighting some other shops/companies that give proceeds of their items back to charity, people in need, etc...
(besides Better Life Bags, of course)
Just in time for you to do your Christmas shopping!

I figure that if we're going to give gifts at Christmas, we might as well give gifts that give back!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Broken Car Window Craft

Last week, my car was broken into and my GPS was stolen.
It was quite the shock as I walked outside my house with Little Bug and was greeted with a sidewalk full of broken glass.
It shouldn't surprise me - as we DO live in Detroit.
In fact, I usually wake up every day and look outside at our cars to make sure they're still there!

After calling insurance and getting Little Bug secured with a movie in the car (thank GOODNESS they didn't take our portable DVD player!), I started to clean the glass out of the driver's seat.

I started to realize how beautiful the pieces of broken glass were.
Many of them were still in large chunks.
I knew I had to collect as many pieces as I could to create something with it later.

A few days later I had turned the shards of glass into this beautiful stained glass window!

It was really simple to do.

Using some clear craft glue, I simply glued the pieces to the back of the glass until the whole thing was full!

The frame is actually an "as is" cabinet door from IKEA.
(Remember this cabinet door redo here?)

I love how it looks like rain on a window up close.

That night my husband came home and told me about a Bible verse he was reminded of that day:

Matthew 6:19-21
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in a steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I thought that verse was so appropriate for what had happened to my car and my GPS that day.
I wanted to display the stained glass broken glass window even more now - 
to remind myself not to store up treasures on earth that won't last anyway.

I just can't decide if I should display it down low...

... or up high?

What do you think?
You all had such GREAT suggestions for Lady Bug's wardrobe, thanks!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Painted Wardrobe

I have been WAITING to post this because I'm SO EXCITED to have finally completed my FIRST furniture revamp.

Our house does not have closets, so when I found this old beat up wardrobe at a friend's house, I knew I had to have it for Lady Bug's room.
They graciously gave it to me looking like this:
(We have no idea what KOB stands for, and I'm a little afraid to find out.  This wardrobe was left by previous owners.)

And a few days later, here is what it turned into:

How about a side by side picture?

I decided against putting the mirror back up.  
It was scratched and funny looking.
But I still feel like that door needs something (besides a door knob, of course).
Any ideas?

I'm pretty much in love with the details.
It makes me smile every time I walk by her room!

Little Bug can get away with just a chest of drawers, but I have a feeling Lady Bug is going to have LOTS of dresses to hang up!

I'm so excited about this yellow and the room is already taking on a rustic chic look!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Turkey Cookies

Every year since I can remember, my mom has been making these adorable Turkey Cookies.

She sets them at each place setting.
And often, it's the first thing I eat!

I asked permission to share them here so you can all enjoy this fun tradition, too!

Here's what you need to make one Turkey Cookie:
Fudge Stripe Cookies, Rolos, Gummy Lifesavers, Candy Corn, and chocolate frosting
Take one Fudge Stripe Cookie and lay it with it's stripes vertical.
Using some frosting, "glue" one Gummy Lifesaver at the bottom.

"Glue" your second Gummy Lifesaver on top with a little more frosting.

Unwrap your Rolo and frost the top.  "Glue" it to the bottom of the lifesavers.

Finally, "glue" a candy corn on upside down for the turkey's face/beak.

Make some more and lay them all on a cookie sheet to dry.

Once the frosting hardens a little, you can stand them up!

I just LOVE these.
Almost as much as I LOVE my mom!
Thanks for starting this Thanksgiving tradition, mom... 
I know Little Bug will have fun helping me make these some day!

I'd love to hear some of YOUR Thanksgiving traditions, too - maybe we'll adopt them as our own!
Related Posts with Thumbnails