WHAT ARE YOU DOING THIS SATURDAY?

Well if you know what a cassette tape is, couldn’t choose between The Backstreet Boys and ‘Nsync, wore baby tees with overalls, and watched TGIF, then you should stop by A Little Known Craft’s 90s Nostalgia Art Gallery + Craft Show!

I am very excited not only because I loved the 90s and listening to Ace of Base, but because this is my first official craft show with atiliay!  I have been working hard on my pieces for the art gallery, designing my booth, and developing new products so I am looking forward to sharing that with you!  Every item including pieces for the art gallery are paired up with a non-profit organization and a portion of proceeds will be used to support them.

All the details are below and here is the Facebook Event Page as well as some sneak peeks at the pieces I have been working on for the art show…

9090s Nostalgia Art Gallery + Craft Show

Polaroid Camera / Sketch to Stamp / atiliay.comA portion of proceeds from the final product for this Polaroid Camera block print will be donated to Las Fotos Project, my friend’s local non-profit empowering Latina youth facing adversity through photography.

Work in Progress / Cassette Tapes / atiliay.comI loved making mix tapes, I actually still have in possession a Dawson’s Creek Mix my friend made for me– now if that doesn’t sum up the 90s, I don’t know what does.  I’ve since graduated to making mix CDs, but I’ll always have a special place in my heart for cassette tapes!

A portion of proceeds from this piece will be donated to Peace of Heart Choir, a non-profit collective of musicians who promote healing, diversity, community bonding, and mutual understanding through music in the NYC area.

Work in Progress / Floppy Disks / atiliay.com

Oh the floppy disk.  I still have tons in my possession and didn’t know what to do with them, until I recently came across this floppy disk turned succulent planter idea on Pinterest!  I might have to give that a try.  There are also a bunch of other cool ideas in the link!

The final floppy disk print will be supporting One Laptop Per Child.  I love what this non-profit is doing!  Their mission is to empower the world’s poorest children through education by providing each with a laptop.  They actually designed and create a durable, low-cost, and low-power laptop that children all over the world can use!  Learn more here.

It’s time to get back to work but I hope to see you tomorrow!

A VISIT TO THE GENTLE BARN

Did you know that a male turkey’s head will change colors– when they are feeling happy it is a blue-ish milky white and if they are angry or upset it becomes bright red?  Did you know you can hold a turkey and whisper to it and it will fall asleep in your lap?? Did you know that chickens also like to be cuddled???  I had NO idea but I learned all these fun facts at The Gentle Barn!

I have been waiting so long to visit The Gentle Barn ever since I saw it on The Ellen Show (click on the link to watch) and I finally got to go on Sunday!

The Gentle Barn, if you have not heard of them, is a sanctuary for abused and neglected animals. Their mission is “to rescue, rehabilitate and give sanctuary to abused animals. Through the interaction with our animals people learn reverence for all life.”  They also bring in children from the inner-city, group homes, mental health care facilities, foster homes, and schools to work with the animals.  It’s a wonderful relationship where these animals who were once in tough situations are able to help these children who may be in tough situations of their own.  Ellie, the founder of The Gentle Barn is so inspiring– I don’t know her personally, but I love her and all that she has done and continues to do!  The Gentle Barn is a great place of healing and understanding.  The animals and the staff and volunteers there are a symbol of hope, trust, love, and learning to live and coexist together peacefully.

Each animal at The Gentle Barn has their own past, their own stories.  All are victims of abuse whether it comes from the hand of an individual, the cruel and harsh methods of factory farming, by being genetically altered, or being used as subjects at agricultural schools.  They are a few of the millions of animals that are hurt, beaten, mutilated, sexually exploited, ripped away from their families, and ultimately killed every daily as a result of being used by humans for human profit.  Some of them have completely recovered both physically and emotionally, while some still have a ways to go.

(My favorite part of the picture is the little boy with the stuffed cow looking at them =)

The Gentle Barn has saved so many lives and is the home to horses, cows, donkey, goats, turkeys, chickens, pigs, dogs, even llamas and a peacock!  The great thing about TGB is how up close and personal you can get!  You are encouraged to hug a cow, to rub a pig’s belly, to pet a turkey.  It’s a great way to introduce children to animals and show them how wonderful they are!

The Gentle Barn welcomes visitors from 10AM to 2PM on Sundays.  We arrived a little before noon and it was packed!  There is parking inside the grounds as well as along the perimeter.  We got in line, signed waiver forms being passed along, and waited to be wristband-ed and make our donation ($10 is suggested– it all goes to support what they do!) to get in.  It was pretty warm that day and there is no shade at the entrance so I recommend sunglasses and a hat, none of which we had.  But it was OK, I was content standing there and looking at the cow enclosure and excited I would soon be in there hugging a cow!

Once we entered, we were allowed to go to the cow and horse enclosures and had access to the picnic tables and benches.  Presentations by Ellie are made every hour at the top of a hill next to the barnyard area.  If the presentation is full when you arrive, which is what happened to us, you can have some lunch or hang out with the cows and horses.  They have delicious vegan pizza, popcorn, cupcakes, and beverages, and you are also welcome to pack and bring your own vegan-friendly picnic out of respect for the animals which I love!  We had the pizza (thumbs up) and brushed Faith and Buttercup, visited with the horses and Addison the donkey, and read the various stories posted around the barn.

Buttercup is a lovely and friendly tan colored cow who arrived at the barn after being rescued from a backyard butcher.  Buttercup lost a baby of her own because her previous owner provided no prenatal care, but she does a beautiful job adopting all the calves that come to the barn, many rescued from becoming veal.

I was really excited as we sat down under a canopy to hear Ellie speak!  It’s amazing what she has done and continues to do for animals, and to be in her presence is pretty awesome to me.  It was great to hear her personal story as well as more about the barn and the animals.  I think she does a great job of making the presentation kid-friendly and interesting while conveying wonderful information and teaching everyone how to interact with the animals.  There are also fliers at the end of the presentation for people interested in a plant-based diet- yay!

After the presentation you are allowed to roam in the barnyard where the animals are hanging out!  Some are friendly and will want to be pet /interaction, while others like their space.  There are volunteers and staff making sure things are going smoothly and can answer any questions you may have.  My favorite part is learning about each animal and their stories.  Although they come from a difficult past, it is comforting to know they will never be harmed again.  If you want to learn more about the residents here, you can visit the Virtual Barn Tour on their website to meet every single animal that has and still calls The Gentle Barn home!

I wish and hope everyone will have a chance to visit the barn and look into the eyes of each of these living beings and see them for who they are– not a piece of meat or a machine to pump out food, but a gentle cow who wants to be with her mother, a turkey who likes companionship and wants to be cuddled, or a pig who just wants his belly scratched.  They all want to be with their families, they all want to be happy, and they all want to live– very much like you and I.

If the way these animals are being treated doesn’t sit right with you, there are plenty of things you can do to help them!  You can adopt a plant based diet which helps animals and the Earth, you can donate to The Gentle Barn to support what they do or sponsor an animal or group of children, you can research more about factory farming, and you can help be a voice for those that cannot speak using words.

The Gentle Barn shows what cruelty and harm humans can cause animals, but it also shows the compassion and love humans can also bring to them.  Regardless of what our diets are, I hope we can all agree that if we don’t need to bring unnecessary harm to others, we shouldn’t, and that we choose to bring compassion and love to other living creatures we share this world with.  We can find a way to coexist where all living beings can exercise their right to live, be happy, and be free.

“The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different.” -Hippocrates

All images were taken at The Gentle Barn.  For more information please visit their website or becomes friends on Facebook.

Sending Our Love

I am so very excited to announce that we DID it and by sending our love all across the world, we have been able to provide meals for The EEC Preschool and Nursery in South Africa with meals for OVER a year!!!

I am still hard at work tallying up everything and cards are still being sold at Share and Do Good and Deep Dog Yoga so Valentine’s Day is when I will be making the big reveal of what we have all been able to accomplish together!

“Do your little bit of good where you are; its those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
–Desmond Tutu

Cards For A Cause Update, Thoughts, + Thank You!

We are 5 days away until the last day card delivery sign ups are available!  I can’t believe Cards For A Cause started almost a month ago– it seems like yesterday I was drafting my first email to introduce this project to everyone I could get a hold of =)!

Here is an update on where we are currently at:

Which means 125 days left to be sponsored and 5 days left to secure those meals!

You might be wondering how come 138 cards are going to be sent but 240 days of meals are secured?  Isn’t 1 card equal to 1 day?   Yes it is, but we were able to get the most out of the funds because some folks sent checks or gave cash to avoid PayPal fees, some supporters donated but did not sign up for any card deliveries, and others donated more than the number of cards they wanted.

I am so elated and touched by how supportive everyone has been with this fundraiser, whether you are an old friend or new, heard of it through word of mouth or happened to see it on Pinterest!  This is the most funds I have ever raised and I am super excited!

Whether or not the 365 day goal is reached (I hope that it will!) this fundraiser is already a success in so many ways!

First and foremost we are able to provide nutritious meals for the children at The Ebongalethu Educare Center in Motherwell, South Africa.  The “South African Child Gauge 2012” states, “…in the first 1000 days of a child’s life, there is a never-repeated window to fulfill a child’s physical and psychological needs, through nutrition and stimulation, in a way that can have lasting consequences if these needs are unmet. It has been found that investment into early childhood development can do more than practically anything else to alleviate poverty”.

This meal you are feeding them is not just a bowl of porridge for a day, it is a chance at a healthier life,  it is a sense of well-being, it is the knowledge that they are cared for and loved, it is the start they need to become the citizens who will help to end the poverty they were born into– for themselves, for their families, for their communities.  It is the beginning of healthy bodies and minds, ready to learn and grow!

There are many things in life we cannot control or choose, that are predetermined before we even enter this world:  what type of life we will be born into, whether we are born with both parents alive and well, or whether we are born in a time of peace or a time of war.  These babies and toddlers do not have a choice yet of what kind of life they can and will lead, but if we can help their lives develop in a positive way, then I believe we have been successful.

I truly love this project and all aspects of it–making the cards, writing messages that are filled with love, thought, and/or humor, addressing every envelope, talking to the donors, imaging the reactions of the recipients– but most of all, I love the sense of community and connection it represents.  From the card maker, to the card sender, to the card recipient and everyone in between, it couldn’t have happened if those dots had not been connected.

I love that we are able to represent how one person can make a difference without a huge budget or having it be time consuming– all it takes is sending a simple card.

I love that together with all the cards and donations, we have found a way to give to each other and give to others in this world– even though they are oceans away.

I love that we are able to fill many tiny tummies with warm and nutritious meals– and they can spend the rest of their day being kids, laughing, playing, learning, and growing.

I feel like we have been able to create a start, a nudge in the right direction, a swing to start the momentum going for positive change in the world– with endless possibilities!

Thank you for being a part of Cards For A Cause!

Let’s end Cards For A Cause: The Valentine’s Day Edition with a bang– keep on spreading the word, tweeting, pinning, sharing, and I hope to see you at the trunk show!

Cards For A Cause featured in DailyCandy Kids!

I am so excited and thankful that DailyCandy Kids has shared Cards For A Cause with their readers! Check out the post here or click on the image below:

If DailyCandy Kids has brought you here, please follow the below links to find out how you can get involved with Cards For A Cause!

– For more information on the project and cards, go here: yyproject.org/vday13
– To make a donation and sign up for a card delivery, go here: yyproject.org/count-me-in
– To learn more about the cards and see more pictures, go here: yyproject.org/the-cards