Archive - November 2011

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On the Eighth Day of Christmas
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On the Seventh Day of Christmas
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On the Sixth Day of Christmas
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On the Fifth day of Christmas
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On the Fourth Day of Christmas
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Thanksgiving
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Thanksgiving= “12 days” break+ a sewing project
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On the Third Day of Christmas…
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On the Second Day of Christmas…
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On the First day of Christmas (2011 edition)

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

We have been focusing on the international scene over the past week. Today our featured organization is right here in the US, Nashville to be exact.

Thistle Farms is a social enterprise of Magdaline, a residential program for women who have survived lives of violence, prostitution and addiction.

The program offers 2 years of housing, food, medical and dental care, therapy and job training.  They do this without any government assistance and currently provide services for 27 women.

32 Magdaline residents and graduates create natural bath and body products by hand. The products are simply and beautifully packaged. The Thistle Farms enterprise (non-profit) teaches the women job skills as they earn a living wage.  They also learn about responsibility and cooperation. Read more about the program here.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve become very conscious about the products that I use. With so many chemicals in our bath and body products today I’m always looking for natural alternatives.  Thistle Farms products are naturally and responsibly made. Add that to supporting an amazing cause and it’s a win for everyone!

Today Thistle Farms will be joining us for a wonderful giveaway.  Up for grabs is their Hand-poured Holiday candle. (umm… great gift idea right?)

How to enter:

1. Leave a Comment, let us know what you think about the Magdaline/Thistle Farms Program.

2. Share this on your Facebook profile (suggestion below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 8 giveaway from Thistle Farms http://wp.me/pNXTN-o6

3. Like Thistle Farms on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @thistlefarms (if you haven’t already)

4.  Tweet this! (copy and paste below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 8 giveaway from @thistlefarms — http://wp.me/pNXTN-o6 #aroadhome

And Now, the winner of the Hello Somebody watch from yesterday:

Congratulations Erin Pisano!!

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

The first time I saw the Hello Somebody site I immediately read it as HELLO somebody. (inflection on the Hello) Like a greeting.

Then I read the story.

Hello Somebody is a question. Like, Hello??? Are you listening? Do you realize what’s going on in our world.

Hello Somebody has answered that question for a group of 100 street boys in Rwanda. Rwanda, whose people, Tutsis, were victims to mass genocide at the hands of Hutu militia in 1994. That year 800,000 people were brutally killed between the months of April and July alone.

But that was yesterday.

17 years later Rwanda is developing and utilizing the aid they have received.  They have come a long way. But like so many African countries half of their children are starving and malnourished. There are orphans and street children. The future of Rwanda, these children, can never meet their full potential if their most basic needs are not being met.

Hello Somebody: The Program

Hello Somebody has partnered with Africa New Life. The 100 boys in the program are given the opportunity to receive either a primary or vocational education based on their age. They also receive 2 meals a day. They are able to do these things by selling some pretty sweet watches.

Each watch is $25. Pretty good price for a watch that changes a life. H.S. is also promoting a Christmas campaign to bring a little joy to the boys in their program. A $10 donation will bring Christmas to these sweet boys.

Today we are excited overjoyed humbled to promote this organization. Hello Somebody has graciously provided a watch for our giveaway today!

Here’s how to Enter. An entry for every action.

1. Leave a Comment, let us know what you love about Hello Somebody.

2. Share this on your Facebook profile (suggestion below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 7 giveaway from Hello Somebody http://wp.me/pNXTN-nT

3. Like Hello Somebody on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @hellosomebody (if you haven’t already)

4.  Tweet this! (copy and paste below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 7 giveaway from @hellosomebody — http://wp.me/pNXTN-nT  #aroadhome

 Can’t wait to announce the winner tomorrow morning!

The winner of yesterday’s Blood:Water Mission package is: Kathryn Gin

Congratulations!

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

Today’s organization really hits home with me.

Why?

Because Africa is my home away from home. Because we are adopting a child from Africa. And because clean water is really a basic human right.

Blood:Water Mission currently works in Zambia, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Kenya and Central African Republic.

The Mission:

Founded by the multi-platinum, GRAMMY Award-winning band, Jars of Clay, Blood:Water Mission began as a call to personalize the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. The members of the band were committed to share the often-untold stories: those of creative, compassionate, hard-working Africans bringing health, hope and healing into their respective communities.

Blood:Water Mission first stepped into funding a late stage AIDS hospice and discovered the vital link between living with HIV/AIDS and the need for clean water. As a result, Blood:Water Mission launched the 1000 Wells Project in 2005 as a nation-wide effort to raise enough money to provide clean water and sanitation to 1000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa based on the equation that $1 provides one African with clean water for an entire year.

Since its launch, Blood:Water Mission has raised millions of dollars through the creative efforts of tens of thousands of individuals seeking to make a difference, providing for the completion of the 1000 Wells Project at the end of 2010. To date, they have partnered with more than 1,000 communities in Africa, providing life-saving water and health care for over 600,000 people in 13 different countries. Along the way the 1000 Wells Project has expanded holistically to include a variety of clean water solutions, sanitation and hygiene training, the capacity building of their local grassroots partners to improve their ability to develop sustainable programs, as well as funding health clinics, community health workers, and support groups, which help in the prevention, treatment, care and support of communities affected by AIDS. Although the 1000 Wells Project is completed, they aren’t moving on; instead, they are moving deeper. There are still millions without safe water, and Blood Water’s commitment to them continues. Additionally, moving forward they are incorporating HIV/AIDS programs, building on the foundation of ongoing water programming.


This is the part where you start wondering what this has to do with Christmas giving. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Become a Community Builder. As a family you could give up a few presents and commit to a year of clean water.

2. Cement your love. Take $25 and buy a bag of cement. Find out more here.

3. Give a one time gift as a “gift” for someone on your Christmas list.

4. Purchase an item from the online store. All purchases support the work BWM is doing in African communities.

So are you ready for giveaway time? Blood: Water Mission has given a pretty fun little package for our giveaway today! 1 t-shirt, 1 water bottle and a wrist band!

An entry for every action! Don’t forget to tell me what you did!

1. Leave a Comment, let us know what you think about what BWM is doing in Africa.

2. Share this on your Facebook profile (suggestion below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 6 giveaway from Blood: Water Mission http://wp.me/pNXTN-nz

3. Like Blood:Water Mission on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @bloodwater (if you haven’t already)

4.  Tweet this! (copy and paste below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 6 giveaway from @bloodwater — http://wp.me/pNXTN-nz #aroadhome

 Can’t wait to announce the winner tomorrow morning!

On the Fifth day of Christmas

On this Fifth day of Christmas we are featuring one of our favorites: Sseko

I happen to own a pair of Sseko sandals and probably more straps than I can count. Here’s what I love about these sandals:I can change the strap color to match my outfits, they are made from high quality leather, they are cute!, and most importantly they enable women to pursue education.

The Story:

Sseko Designs is a not-just-for-profit enterprise that recognizes the power of business and responsible consumerism to support sustainable economic development, which in turn affects a country’s educational, justice, and health care systems. The goal of Sseko Designs is two-fold: provide university tuition for these promising young women through a sustainable monthly income, while also contributing to the overall economic development of Uganda.

AND… they just launched a new line of clutches. Very, very cute clutches. You should really put one on your Christmas list.  Or maybe you should head over to Sseko for a good old cyber Sunday/Monday deal. All straps and sandals will be 20% off with code ssekocheer.

Click here to find out how Sseko purchases benefit our adoption fund

Congratulations to Meghan Tucker! She is the winner of the fashionABLE scarf giveaway from the fourth day of Christmas. Stop by tomorrow for another great giveaway and the Sixth day of Christmas!

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

Still recovering from too much Turkey? Getting a little bored maybe?

Well let’s perk up shall we?  I have something really fun to share with you today.

Today we are featuring fashionAble as our Fourth day of Christmas.

Your purchase of a fashionABLE scarf creates sustainable business for women in Ethiopia.  fashionABLE is commited to developing people by working with women who have been exploited due to the effects of poverty.  So, when you purchase a scarf you are providing jobs, and then the profits are sent back to holistically rehabilitate more women.
Scarves provide jobs, profits provide restoration.

fashionABLE partners with an organization called “Women at Risk” in Addis Ababa Ethiopia. The women in this program are former sex workers. The program gives them an alternative, rather than remaining trapped in the sex trade by poverty and limited opportunity they can find employment and hope for a better future.

Why do fashionABLE scarfs make great Christmas presents? They represent a woman’s future.  Her children’s future. Sustainability.

And what else?

Well. You can always fit into a scarf.

Even if you have a few too many Christmas cookies.

BTW…(Cyber) Monday they are having 15% off and FREE shipping (um.. yes to that)

So who wants to win one of these beauties?

As always, an entry for every action. Let me know what you did!

1. Leave a Comment, let us know about your favorite fashionABLE product!

2. Share this on your Facebook profile (suggestion below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 4 giveaway from fashionABLE http://wp.me/pNXTN-n8

3. Like fashionABLE on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @livefashionable (if you haven’t already)

4.  Tweet this! (copy and paste below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 4 giveaway from @fashionable — http://wp.me/pNXTN-n8 #aroadhome

Can’t wait to announce the winner of this beautiful scarf!

Thanksgiving

It seems only appropriate to do some Thanksgiving adoption thoughts today.  I’ll keep it short. The kids are in Turkey coma, snuggled in their beds, so I have a few short minutes to spruce up the house… and blog of course.

The recent weeks have been hard for me. I have grown tired of waiting.

But that’s okay. We grow tired, we refuel, and we continue on.

I’m thankful that we have a little boy in Ethiopia who needs us to keep our heads up. I’m so thankful for him. I’m SO thankful for him. I’m thankful that we are even allowed to do something like this. That someone somewhere will say, yes, you are fit to be parents for this child. Yes, you can raise this precious little person. I’m thankful that there is a someday when we won’t be waiting for a call.  I’m thankful that God brought us here and that he will continue to carry us forward until the day our family is complete.  Baby Boy. Little Boy. I am thankful for you. Mommy is thankful that you are in this world. You have a brother and sister and a Daddy who are thankful for you. God, whisper this in his ear. Tell him he is cherished. And we are waiting for him.

Thanksgiving= “12 days” break+ a sewing project

First things first: The winner of The Light Gives Heat giveaway is… Jennifer Chase!  I found it especially funny to draw her name because I responded to her comment yesterday saying “surely” as in, surely you’ll finally win one of my giveaways. Too funny! Congrats Jenn!

Thanksgiving week has been pretty wonderful. I had some vacation time saved up and decided to spend a week at home with my kiddos. It’s been so nice to hang out in P.J.s and read stories with them. I even had time to work in a few sewing projects. My goal is to finish all their little Christmas outfits this week.  Here’s a quick tutorial on reverse appliques and some super sweet pics of Charlotte and my niece Bella modeling their new outfits.

Reverse Applique: Quick Tutorial (Easiest project ever!)

Step 1: Get a cutie pie to help you cut. Check. Choose your shape and draw or trace it onto sturdy paper. Candy canes aren’t terribly challenging so I drew this one.  As you can see, it still took me a couple of tries.

Step 2: Cut a piece of fabric big enough for the shape you cut out. Use fusible webbing and iron it onto the wrong side of the fabric. I’m using a nice red and white stripe here.  As you can see I did not have fusible webbing.  Instead I used a scrap piece of blue flannel and fused it to the wrong side of the fabric using wonder under.  Work with what ya got! This actually worked out quite nicely.  When your fabric piece is cool trace your shape (backwards) onto the wrong side, back side, of the fabric.

Step 3: cut around your lines, not on them.  You will want to leave space around your lines as shown above.

Step 4: Turn your shirt inside out. Pin your fabric shape onto the shirt with your fabric facing down as shown above. Your shape should be backwards, opposite of how you will want to see it on the front of the shirt. (My stripe fabric is laying face down.) Pin it in place.  Please use more pins than I did here.  I was being a little lazy. (=

Step 5: sew along the lines that you drew.  Make sure you are only sewing through one layer of the shirt. Once you have sewn all the way around your shape once or twice, following the lines, take your shirt off the machine and turn it right side out.

Step 6: You will see the stitched outline of your shape! Carefully snip the fabric to make a hole in the center of your shape.  Carefully cut away the fabric close the stitching but not too close.  Make sure not to cut through any of your stitches.

And it’s finished! Easy as frozen pumpkin pie.

I used this technique to make two more shirts for Charlotte and Bella.  I found a quick and easy tutorial for crinoline skirts over at Somewhat Simple. I used an old pillowcase for the lining of the skirts, and that makes me happy.

Happy Thanksgiving!! Check in with us on Saturday when we resume our 12 days schedule.  Lot’s more fun to come!

On the Third Day of Christmas…

It has been said that jewelry is the key to a woman’s heart.

What if jewelry were the key to a woman’s future?

In this case; it is. The women who create the Suubi line for Light Gives Heat have spent their lives surviving war in Northern Uganda, running from danger and watching those they love perish for senseless reasons. Light Gives Heat currently works with nearly 100 women. Allowing them to earn a wage and support their family. They are healing and finding pride in their work.

"I have found hope in providing for my family." ~Jasinta Akello

The EPOH line by Light Gives Heat employs Ugandan tailors.  The EPOH line includes beautiful fabric bags.  Each bag is unique and has the story of its tailor screen-printed on the inside.

Today we are excited to do a very special giveaway with Light Gives Heat.

Introducing the “Hazel”

Connected by a toggle clasp, a black fabric overlay on either end gives way to three beaded strands that run through a metal plate before branching into six layered strands. Perfection. Art. Love it.

Help us spread the word about Light Gives Heat! Each action gets an entry.  We will announce the winner tomorrow!

1. Leave a Comment, let us know your favorite LGH product!

2. Share this on your Facebook profile (suggestion below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 3 giveaway from Light Gives Heat http://wp.me/pNXTN-mC

3. Like Light Gives Heat on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @lightgivesheat (if you haven’t already)

4.  Tweet this! (copy and paste below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 3 giveaway from @lightgivesheat — http://wp.me/pNXTN-mC #aroadhome

Don’t forget to let me know what you did! Can’t wait to announce the winner of this beautiful necklace!

On another note…

The winner of yesterday’s Feelgoodz giveaway is:

Stephanie Lamberth!!!


On the Second Day of Christmas…

Who doesn’t love a good pair of flip-flops?  Even as November nears its close I still find myself sporting flip-flops.  They are simply a wardrobe staple.

Our featured company of the day is feelgoodz: a people conscious, Eco-conscious flip-flop company that strives to create positive social change around the world.

Feelgoodz uses all-natural rubber to create a flip flop that molds to your foot as you wear it.  I wore this particular brand all over Uganda and although my feet were stained orange from the Ugandan clay they were never sore!

Not only are these flip-flops comfy, but they also give back. A portion of each purchase benefit Pencils of Promise, a non-profit that builds schools and provides education around the world. Feelgoodz also gives back to the Earth. You can chuckle at that if you want, but you can literally plant these flip-flops in your garden when they eventually wear out. 100% biodegradable. How’s that for shrinking your carbon footprint?

It has been rumored that Feelgoodz will be launching a kids line soon. I’m pretty sure my kids would “dig” planting their old flip-flops in the garden.

So….

Do you want a pair?

I thought so. Here’s how to play and win today:

1. Leave a Comment, tell us why you love flip-flops!

2. Share this on your Facebook profile (suggestion below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 2 giveaway from Feelgoodz http://wp.me/pNXTN-m3

3. Like Feelgoodz on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @feelgoodz (if you haven’t already)

4.  Tweet this! (copy and paste below)
12 days of Christmas! Day 2 giveaway from @feelgoodz — http://wp.me/pNXTN-m3 #aroadhome

Don’t forget to let me know what you did! An entry for each action. The winner will get a promo code for a free pair of flops with shipping from www.feelgoodz.com

AND

The winner of the amazing Grove necklace from 31Bits is…

Becky Milstead!!!!

Congrats!

On the First day of Christmas (2011 edition)

My true love gave to me: Jewelry made out of 100% recycled paper by internally displaced women in Northern Uganda.

31 Bits currently employes 99 women in Northern Uganda…purchasing beads from them, giving them English lessons and financial training. So good. And that’s just the beginning. Nearly one-third of the women employed by 31 Bits are HIV positive. Through their counseling and health programs the women are able to learn to manage their disease and care for themselves both mentally and physically.

31 Bits offers handcrafted bead work that is both practical and whimsical at the same time.  The beads are beautiful worn with a t-shirt or even a wedding gown. (check out the bridal line!) And with earthy, imaginative names like “Apple Drape”, “Golden Hollow”, and “Rosebury” 31’s pieces become even more delightful.

Today we are honored to do a giveaway with 31 Bits.

I hope you’re as excited as I am!

Presenting the “Grove”

This picture is fabulous.  But it almost doesn’t do justice to the great bead work going on here. The texture in this particular piece is almost mouth-watering.

So how does one acquire this piece? There are 4 ways:

1. Leave a Comment, tell us which piece is your favorite! 31 Bits

2. Share this on Facebook (suggestion below)
12 days of Christmas! 1st giveaway from 31Bits (Grove necklace) — http://bit.ly/tfNZYC

3. Like 31 Bits on Facebook or follow them on Twitter @31bits (if you haven’t already)

4.  Tweet this! (copy and paste below)
12 days of Christmas! 1st giveaway from @31bits (Grove necklace) — http://bit.ly/tfNZYC #aroadhome

Don’t forget to let me know what you did! An entry for each action.

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