I received an email last month from Byron, my contact in South Africa, who delivers the food we help to provide for The Ebongalethu Educare Center Preschool and Nursery. They are located in Motherwell, South Africa and like the rest of the world, are dealing with the pandemic.
He let me know that the South African government had created 5 levels of lockdown and at the time of writing, they were on level 3 and only Matrics (final year schooling, grade 12) were allowed back to school under strict circumstances.
Preschools/nurseries have not been allowed to operate so it has been a difficult task to get the food to where it needs to be. However, Byron and Gladys, the amazing woman who runs The EEC, have worked together and managed to successfully and safely deliver food to ALL the little ones who attend her school so that they don’t go hungry and have nutritious meals during this time. The visits have been strictly a drop and go situation to ensure the safety of all parties involved.
I have so much admiration for Byron and Gladys and the love and commitment they have for the children they look after. Byron delivers the food as a volunteer and Gladys created this place when she saw a need in her community, sometimes taking little to no money if parents cannot afford it. I can’t imagine two people who fit the definition of hero better than them. They amaze me, inspire me, and give me hope–they remind me of what we can do if we put our minds and hearts to it.
The photo above is from a pre-pandemic food drop at The EEC–I love getting photos and look forward to receiving them in the future when things are better and safe again.
What are your plans for the summer? What are you looking forward to? What do you want to try to get during this time of year? I have always loved making bucket/to-do lists for every season because each one seems to come and go so fast and there’s always things I plan on doing that I miss/forget about!
Since 2016, I’ve been sending out checklists with ideas to celebrate each season with but this summer, I wanted to try and create something different, something interactive, and something that was visually interesting and fun to fill out! I was inspired by lettering layouts and wanted this list to have the same feel–if creating this type of layout is something you’ve been wanting to try, this is an easy way to start. Here’s the new and improved Summer List PDF (if you want to see my completed list, I’ve included a pic below)!
This PDF is a free download that you can get by subscribing to my newsletter! Once you subscribe you will receive the latest newsletter which will include a link to the PDF Library and password so that you can access this PDF as well as all the other freebie downloads I have created in the past. To subscribe, click here.
The layout is separated into 10 different areas and each area has a little circle or square checkbox for so you can check off each item as you complete it.
If you are already a subscriber, you should have received the latest newsletter that includes the 2020 Summer List–if not, send me an email or comment below and I will make sure you get it!
10 THINGS TO ADD TO YOUR CHECKLIST
The list includes 10 spots for you to fill in with 10 things you’d like to do this summer. I know that we might not be able to do the things we typically do or go to our regular spots BUT it’s during times like these that I feel like we can get creative, do something we might not have done, and still enjoy this time of year while being safe.
Here are a few things I have been asking myself as I came up with my list:
What can I learn during this time? Where can I virtually go? Even if I can’t travel, is there a way for me to see that culture or experience that country or destination in a different way? What outdoor places can I visit? How can I connect with my friends? What personal and professional goals do I have? What’s been on my to-do list for far too long that I want to knock off?
It might also be helpful to know that summer ends on Sept 22nd this year, which gives us about 10 weeks (at the time I am writing this).
MY 10 THINGS ARE:
Learn 10 Chinese characters using flashcards I’ve been using the Duolingo app to brush up on my Mandarin but knowing the characters is still a challenge!
Hike at Eaton Canyon It’s been 10 years since I’ve been!
Visit the South Coast Botanical Garden with Valentine during their dog nights
Do 5 push-ups Why are they so hard?
Release the Beginners Brush Lettering Kit
Launch year 2 of Better Letters in 15
Donate 10 items of clothing I’d love to own only 33 (ish) items in the future–see the Project 333.
Unpack/clean out 1 box I moved here in December…there’s still lots of unpacked boxes…
Create a painting using my art meditation kit
Relax Breathe, meditate, read a book, unplug, stop worrying.
CREATING DIFFERENT FONTS + FILLING UP THE SPACE
Once you know what 10 things you’d like to add to your list, start filling it out! I really encourage you (even if you have never lettered before or are hesitant to) to try writing each item in a different style font–this will really give your final piece that lettered look! You don’t have to make it complicated–you can use different pens so your words have different widths and colors, it can be writing bigger or smaller, using all caps or all lower case letters, making block or bubble letters, alternating between cursive and your regular print, etc.
If you’re a bit of a perfectionist like me, I highly recommend starting with pencil first, then going over everything in ink!
If you need some font ideas, start looking at the text that is around you–words on food packaging, mail, fliers, magazines, etc. You can also go online and head to dafont.com to explore all the different fonts they have available on their site! They are organized by category and you can even type in your sentence in a preview box, hit submit, and it will pull it up in a bunch of different styled fonts. Here’s a picture of some random things by my desk that could provide some font inspiration:
The trick to this type of letter layout is to fill in the spaces so that the only empty space are the margins between each section! I’ve tried to section off each area clearly so you can see the spaces that need to be filled up. Within each area, try to use every part of the space–this can mean stretching your letters so they are really long then gradually getting smaller, writing really tiny, writing really big–there are many ways to do this! You can also add doodles and drawings. Have fun with it and don’t be afraid to experiment :)
And here’s my final list:
SHARE WITH A FRIEND
This PDF is 5″x7″ so there’s 2 list templates that print out on one sheet of regular sized paper or cardstock–I did this because I thought it’d be fun to share this project with a friend and also have an accountability buddy! And who doesn’t love snail mail? The size also makes it a little less intimidating to fill out and can easily fit on a fridge (which is where I am keeping mine) or bulletin board.
I also think this becomes a cool keepsake or you can take a picture of it then compare it to next summer’s list.
I hope you enjoy this project and have fun thinking up your 10 items and lettering each one! If you would like to share your list with me, I would love to see it! Snap a picture and email it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy summer to you and yours!
PRINTING TIPS: * I recommend printing on cardstock. * If your PDF is getting cut off, make sure to change your printer settings to “fit to page”.
This is a gentle reminder that this PDF is designed for PERSONAL USE ONLY. Please ask for permission first if you would like to share this. Contact Olivia at email@example.com.Thank you for your cooperation!
The final newsletter for the month of June went out yesterday! It includes a brand new end of month project and PDF I am calling Time Capsule Letters, June Shares (podcasts, articles, music, games, and more that I have recently discovered and think you might like), and a brief update on where to find info and how to stay in touch.
Check your inboxes if you are a subscriber–if you don’t see it, check the junk/spam folder or promotions tab. If you still can’t find it, email me and I’ll make sure you get it!
If you’re not a subscriber, this is the perfect time to join by clicking here! You’ll also get the following perks: 10% off your first order from my Etsy shop, access to the PDF library, and the latest newsletter will be sent to you.
I am very excited to share with you that the Seeds of Beauty Grant, a campaign supporting women creatives by Fleurs de Prairie, is back for its second year!
I was lucky enough and so honored to be one of the recipients of this grant in 2019. It was an amazing opportunity to help grow my business and I am extremely appreciative to have been chosen! The grant allowed me to take the next step in my business and outsource the printing of my cards for a cause, create more products, and most importantly, continue to give back. I wanted to share this grant with you in case it can help support you and your goals, ideas, and dreams, or those of someone you may know. Below are more details!
WHO IS FLEURS DE PRAIRIE?
Fleurs de Prairie is a wine brand that produces a Provençal rosé made by the family-owned Les Grands Chais de France. “Fleurs de Prairie” translates to “wildflowers,” celebrating the beautiful fields of wisteria, lavender, poppy, and sunflowers carpeting Provence.
WHAT IS THE SEEDS OF BEAUTY CAMPAIGN?
Fleurs de Prairie’s Seeds of Beauty Campaign is designed to recognize and support women who are dedicated to creating beauty in their communities through art, design, food, writing and beyond! FDP embraces the idea that we can help inspire one another and #FleurishTogether! Through Seed Grants, Fleurs de Prarie will provide creators with the means to positively impact the world.
WHAT IS A SEED GRANT?
Seed Grants in the amount of $5000 will be given to three creators to help them grow their brand and create even more beauty around us. In addition, grant recipients will also receive a mentorship opportunity and guidance to help grow their businesses.
WHO CAN APPLY FOR A SEED GRANT?
This grant is for you if you are someone who is creating beauty within your community and looking to grow your business or side hustle! You must be 21 years or older and a US resident to apply. Learn more by taking a look at the overview and official rules
HOW DO I APPLY?
The applications are open and the deadline to apply is August 31st, 2020. Spread the word if you know someone who would be the perfect recipient for this grant–if that person is you, I wish you the best of luck! Click the link below to learn more and apply:
Thank you and birthday card PDFs are now available in the shop!
Do you need a thank you or birthday cards ASAP and don’t have time to order one or stop at the store? Now you can print one out at home with these instant download card PDFs! All A2 sized cards come with 2 layout options as well as a free envelope template. You can learn more and see the PDF pages in the listings before purchasing.
Each card PDF is $3.75 and a portion of proceeds from each PDF will be donated–see each individual listing for the details! You can pop over to my shop to take a look at all the designs:
These PDFs are for your personal use and you are welcome to print out as many cards as you need to after purchasing the PDFs! I do just kindly ask you to not share the PDFs with others and reselling/duplicating the brush lettering in any way is not allowed. I work very hard on each of my designs and stealing/copying will not be tolerated. Thank you for your cooperation and understanding!
Thank you to each of you who placed a Father’s Day cards for a cause order this year and helped to fund 9 micro loans for these amazing dad entrepreneurs around the world: Ali, Muhannad, Yves, John, Athanase, Jose, Luis, Ion, and Vasile! Also, this year we were able to increase the amount of our microloans and contribute $50 to each one!
My favorite part about these loans is that as they are paid back, the funds can then be re-lent to another entrepreneur. I started funding microloans with Father’s Day cards back in 2013 and so far have been able to lend to 73 dads from 36 different countries! I always look forward to getting to do this each year and learning more about each dad’s story, goals, and dreams.
Please take a moment to learn more about this year’s father entrepreneurs and how you were able to help support their businesses!
Please meet Ali (pictured below, to the left)! He is 44 years old, a husband, father, and refugee and living with his family in Tulkarem, West Bank in Palestine. He is enthusiastic, active, a hard worker, and full of hope and energy. He recently opened a store selling electrical goods to help improve his family’s living standards. This loan will help Ali buy more electrical goods for his store. He thanks all the Kiva lenders for their help in advance.
This is Muhannad (pictured above, to the right), a 46 year old refugee living with his wife and children in Tulkarem, West Bank. He is the sole provider for his family and works hard to support his family. He has a stall for selling tools and home products. This loan will be used to buy new products for his stall which will increase his sales and improve his family’s living standards. Muhannad thanks all the Kiva lenders for their help!
This year I also wanted to learn more about the countries these men are from. Here are some things I learned about Palestine, where Ali and Muhannad currently live:
The average annual income is $4,900
45% of land in the country is dedicated to growing olive trees–many trees are over 1000 years old!
Maqluba is the national dish of Palestine. It consists of layers of rice, veggies, herbs, spices, and meat (although it can be made without). Maqluba means upside down and this layered dish is turned upside down before serving and garnished with pine nuts or chopped parsley.
The dead sea is found in Palestine
Palestine is known for some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world, including irises, jonquils, and wild poppies.
The fathers I am going to introduce to you next all live and run their businesses in Rwanda. Yves (pictured below, to the left) is a passionate entrepreneur and runs a grocery store in Mahama refugee camp, one of 6 in Rwanda. He has been living in Rwanda since fleeing violence in Burundi. Since 2015, he has steadily grown his business and now also runs a mobile money business. Yves has successfully paid off his first Kiva loan and is now applying for another to invest in float (electronic credits) to meet the demands of customers and increase his income. His business has helped him provide for his wife and children; he is also able to save for the future of his children so they can live a comfortable life. Yves says his business has changed his and his family’s life.
John (pictured above, to the right) is a father and owner of a mobile transaction business. In 2013, John and his family fled from violence in Congo due to political insecurity and resettled in one of Rwanda’s refugee camps. He quickly started his business to provide for his family and has a good reputation and strong base of loyal customers. John is requesting his loan to help grow his business by adding increasing his product line. This will offer his community more options and also give him the opportunity to build a better life for his family.
Please meet Athanase (pictured above)! He is an entrepreneur, husband, and father of 7 children living in one of Rwanda’s refugee camps. Like Yves, he left Burundi due to insecurity and resurgence of war in his community. He owns a general shop and now operates in over 7 different locations! He has strong business skills and really understands what his neighbors and fellow refugees want. He has successfully paid off a previous loan and is now applying for another to buy more food and supplies for his business to meet his customers’ demands and continue to grow. He hopes to become a business guru so that he can improve life for his family of 9. He has already shown great success in his business!
RWANDA, BURUNDI, CONGO
I wanted to read more about Yves, John, and Athanase home countries as well as Rwanda–these are a few facts I learned:
Rwanda’s average annual income is $1,700
Rwanda has the highest representation of women in parliament in the world–over 60% of parliament members are women
Rwanda government has banned plastic bags/sachets to protect the environment
Rwanda has introduced the use of drones in medical services like distributing blood to emergency stations
Burundi runner, Venuste Niyongabo, won a gold medal in 1996 in the 5000 meter race. This was the first time in Olympic history that Burundi won a gold medal.
Football (soccer) is the national sport of Burundi
Burundi’s rainforests has housed one of the world’s biggest crocodiles
Congo is also known as Republic of Congo, Congo Republic, West Congo, and Congo-Brazzaville
Congo terrain includes plains and basins and a virtually uninhabited jungle in the north.
The rainforest in the Congo Basin is the second largest in the world and home to many different animals including elephants, chimpanzees, and Mountain Gorillas
This is Jose (pictured below, to the left)! He is 44 years old, lives in San Luis de Since, Colombia, is father to a son, and works in the construction industry. For the past 18 years, he has tried to provide a stable life for himself and his family with his construction finishing business. Jose requested this loan to buy work tools and supplies such as blocks, cement, and sand. This will allow him to improve his sales and be more sustainable.
Luis (pictured above, to the right) lives in Chinu, Colombia, is 64 years old, and is happily married and father to 2 children who are his biggest motivation and inspiration. He is known in his community to be smart, responsible, determined, dedicated, and hardworking. He has a mechanic workshop and wants to be the best and take his business to the next level. He lives in a post-conflict town so it is not easy being an entrepreneur. Many businesses are also affected by the Corona Virus so this loan will help get them through this time. Luis will use his loan to buy glue and vehicle parts to keep his business going. His goal is to make sure his family has a bright future.
These are a few things I found out while reading more about Colombia:
The annual average income in Colombia is $11,100
The traditional national support of Colombia is Tejo, a team sport that involves launching objects at a target. The most popular sport is football (soccer). The national team won the 2001 South American Championship.
Colombia is home to the Cano Cristales, the “River of Five Colors” or “Liquid Rainbow”. The river’s bed changes color between yellow, green, blue, black, and red during the end of July though November. I had never heard of this and had to find a video of it–it is stunning! Click here to head to the video.
Age is valued in this country. Elders are deeply respected and the older a person gets, the more powerful their voice becomes.
Bandeja Paisa is Colombia’s national dish and is made up of chorizo, minced meat, red beans, white rice, arepa, tomato-based sauce, fried eggs, fried pork, plantain, and a slice of avocado.
I’d like to introduce you to Ion (pictured below, to the left)! He is 46 years old, lives in Causeni, Moldova, is married, and has a beautiful family. Ion has an auto repair business–currently the first floor of his business provides car repair services and he would like to open a car parts shop on the second floor. He is applying for this loan to repair the room so he can make the shop a reality. Growing his business will help him bring in a better income for a better life.
Please meet Vasile (pictured above, to the right). He is 43 years old and a farmer. He is married with 3 children and lives with his family in Balanesti village in the Nisporeni region of Moldova. Vasile has been a farmer for a long time and grows corn, vines, and vegetables on his land. Part of the production feeds his family and another is sold at the market. He is requesting this loan to purchase seeds and fertilizers for the spring work so he and his family can process their land. This will give him the opportunity to get income to support his famiy.
I’ve heard of Moldova but I know nothing about it so I was excited to do some research. Here are a few facts about this country:
The annual average income in Moldova is $3,800
The national dish is Mămăligă , a porridge made out of yellow maize flour. It’s traditionally served as an accompaniment to stews and meat dishes, and is commonly garnished with cottage cheese, sour cream, or pork rind–here is a picture and recipe.
According to the Guinness World Records, Moldova is home to the world’s largest wine cellar with nearly 2 million bottles of wine at the Mileștii Mici wine cellar.
When entering someone’s home, it is considered impolite to leave your shoes on.
Moldova is home to about 300 species of birds
All photos shown above are courtesy of Kiva.org.
I wish all these fathers the very best in their businesses! It is really inspiring to read of what they have already accomplished and I hope these loans help to bring them even more success!
Thank you again to every single person who made these loans possible and I hope all of the special men in your lives enjoyed their cards! I hope you enjoyed learning more about each loan recipient as well as the places where they are from! If you’d like to see all micro loans we have helped to fund since we started doing this, you can find Atiliay’s Kiva Profile here.
And if you feel inspired to make a loan of your own, it is very easy—head to Kiva.org to learn more. (If you do lend, please tell me about your entrepreneur!)