Monday, August 23, 2010

Flea Market Fancy Fabric Giveaway and Fundraiser for Women's Sewing Workshop in Congo

Are you crafty?  Want to help your sewing sisters in the Congo? 

My friend Cate and I have been working alongside Amani of Action Kivu, a nonprofit in the Congo that works to empower and educate women and children affected by the ongoing conflict there.  The war has stolen over 5.4 million lives, and rape is widely used as a weapon of war, with estimates putting the number of rapes in the hundreds of thousands.

Cate's twin sister is a sewing / quilting queen, and has launched a fundraiser for Action Kivu's sewing workshop, to fund a safe place of community for the women to meet and learn a lifelong skill and to purchase sewing machines and fabric.  If you want to partner with and help your sewing sisters in the Congo, visit Handmade by Alissa to see a video about Action Kivu's work, the women in the workshop, and to read the details of how you can donate and also enter to win a fabulous giveaway.  I have no talent for sewing besides the odd button that keeps popping off, but apparently, this flea market fancy fabric is hard to find, and makes sewing that much more fun.  And fancy.

Your donations are tax deductible, go towards helping empower women to heal and become self-sustaining members of society, and every dollar makes a difference.  And if you want to partner with the women on a monthly basis, you can do that as well.

Visit Alissa's blog to read the details of how to donate for this specific fundraiser and be entered in the fabric giveaway.  And tell your friends / bloggers!  So thankful for your help.

(Generously donated by Jacquie from Tallgrass Prairie Studio.)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Illustrations and Sculpture I Love: Lisa Kaser

High Desert Gallery was our fifth art gallery in two blocks, and I was cruising through it. Bright, beautiful oils and watercolors, but nothing caught my eye, until I stopped to peer closer at a wax sculpture titled "She Went As A Pumpkin That Went As A Tree." Fanciful and slightly spooky at once, I was in love. And if I wasn't already planning my "Dooneese" costume for Halloween, I'd start working on the papier mache for a pumpkin that dresses as a tree, though the photo on the website doesn't do it justice.  

I also loved "Delighted by the Wind."

Lisa Kaser is an illustrator / sculpture...ess living in Portland, Oregon. Her illustrations are off beat and magical as well.

"Respite Under a Wild Umbrella" courtesy of Mireio (who has an interview with Lisa Kaser here).

And from Lisa's Etsy shop:

"The Angel of Mercy Moves in Mysterious Ways"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Hero in Your Story

Par-delà les nuages..., originally uploaded by Aelin Quan.

After 36 hours of lecture on story from Robert McKee, Donald Miller's roommate Jordan sums up what makes a good story in just 11 words: A character who wants something and overcomes conflict to get it.

Miller's latest book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: What I Learned While Editing My Life talks about living your own life like a movie story, cutting down on those superfluous scenes where nothing changes. Hearing this idea that we could be living good stories, Miller's friend Jason decides to craft a better story for his family, in hopes that it will help his teenage daughter make better decisions.

Looking for something worthwhile for his family to pursue, Jason came across an organization that builds orphanages around the world. When he learned that it takes about $25,000.00 to build one, he remembered that a good story involves risk, and not knowing where the money would be found, agreed to build it.

After his wife and daughter took some time to process how this chapter might change their lives, each jumped in the journey. His daughter asked to travel to Mexico to meet the kids, so she could share their stories and photographs on her website in the hopes that more people would find their place in the story, and help. And she quickly dumped her loser boyfriend, because, as her dad said, "No girl who plays the role of a hero dates a guy who uses her."

It reminds me of Iris, Kate Winslet's character in "The Holiday." (Mock the movie all you want, but Jude Law has never been more delicious.) When Iris flees her newly engaged, player of a non-boyfriend for Los Angeles, she meets Arthur, a screenwriter from the golden age of cinema. He introduces her to the leading ladies of his day, and teaches her to stop playing the best friend role and start acting like the star of her own life.

How many of us are walking through life, watching them happen to us, not sure that we would want to watch our own story on the big screen? As Miller asks, "I wondered if life could be lived more like a good story in the first place. I wondered whether a person could plan a story for (her) life and live it intentionally."

This year has been a period of quiet reflection, also known as unemployment. And now, I'm ready to take some risks.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
~ Mary Oliver

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Eat, Pray, JAVIER

"I want to go someplace where I can ... marvel ... at something," says Julia Roberts, playing Elizabeth Gilbert in the film adaptation of Eat Pray Love.

I too, want to go someplace where I can marvel at something, or someone. I plan to go straight to the Arclight, without stopping, to marvel at Javier Bardem. He's the reason I went to (and purchased the DVD of) "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."  He's the reason I almost lost my web producing job for posting too many photos of him during the "No Country for Old Men" Oscar season.  (Red carpet photos, of course, not the creepy bowl cut with a cattle prod look he rocked in the movie.) 

Here's the trailer, one more time (or twelve) before the movie opens this Friday.  Feel free to fast forward to 2:00 in, where you get a glimpse, just a tease, really, of Javier.  

(Photo courtesy