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Announcing… Bead for Life

September 21, 2010

In just two days, I’ll be boarding an airplane, flying across the country and spending five glorious days with the most sparkly group of friends ever. We’ll be be-bopping around downtown Asheville, North Carolina, listening to more friends speak on writing, blogging and life.

It will be magic.

But for me, attending the Type A Mom conference would be impossible without the help of some very, very special people. I’m taking two sponsors with me to Type A, and I can’t wait for you to meet them. They are both beyond spectacular.

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Bead for Life.

Bead for Life began when three women visited Uganda and fell in love with the beautiful bead jewelry being made by African women. They ended up bringing beads home to America… and their friends here were also smitten.

Through a series of events, a powerful organization was built in which this stunning, handcrafted bead jewelry is only one of many crucial players.

The way Bead for Life works is that it rescues women (typically single, with young, starving children) and brings them to a safe place where, over a set time frame, they learn life and business skills to support themselves and their children. Women then graduate the Bead for Life program equipped with sustainable skills to do any number of paying jobs, thus bringing them out of poverty and into life.

One of the early stages of the program involves hand rolling these beautiful, colorful beads and crafting gorgeous jewelry from them–necklaces, earrings, bracelets.

This jewelry is then sold in the US through bead parties held in homes, churches and community groups across the country. It’s like Mary Kay or Pampered Chef… but with a purpose.

I found Bead for Life through my favorite magazine earlier this year and was immediately taken by their vision and passion for these precious ones in Africa. You know my heart for our brothers and sisters around the world and how passionate I am about sharing the resources with which we’ve been blessed. I was thrilled to partner with a group who was doing just that.

Bead for Life’s mission is to eradicate poverty around the entire planet, from Africa to America and America to Africa. We’re cooking up some ways to extend such a vision to our own neighborhoods, our own communities and those who are in need right under our very noses.

Would you like to jump aboard?

If you’re interested in buying a necklace, hosting a bead party, hearing more about the ideas Bead for Life and I are hatching for future poverty eradication efforts or if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

In the meantime, we’re giving away two handmade African necklace and bracelet sets (like these and these) to two commenters on this post. Every comment will be counted toward the giveaway, and if you tweet about it, Facebook it, blog it, etc, and then leave another comment about each form of spreading the word, you’ll receive extra entries. (You know the drill.)

Every time I wear my African paper bead jewelry (which is often) I find myself staring at each bead, imaging the woman whose fingers so deftly rolled and fashioned that bead. I wonder about her story, her life, her face, her words. I ponder what might have brought her to Bead for Life. I wonder what her future holds.

A woman with dark skin and a beatiful smile made this for me from across the ocean. And here I stand, wearing it here, a part of an effort to give her and her family a life. Just because I’m wearing a necklace. I’m in awe.

As Bead for Life founder Torkin Wakefield says, we can all do at least a little… so just do something.

Flying Free

September 16, 2010

“Fly free?” she asks

without a care

and turns, to sing

the wires, there

She knows not.

“Fly free?” she asks

with trembling chin

must leave this cage

still chained within

(but how… ?)

She knows not.

Fly free!” she soars

above the trees

and freedom, it is

she sees

She knows it.

I love this Lisa Leonard necklace. It’s one of my favorites.

For some reason, wearing it close to my heart

always reminds me of freedom.


Speaking of flying free, my amazing mother has finished an online move and has begun a fresh, beautiful new blog. And now, she’s beginning to tell her story.


The winner of the Moja Creations snack set is sweet Tracey of Make Room For…! Congrats Tracey!


Have you ever been separated from the one you love? I’m looking for suggestions, ideas and stories of how you, your spouse and/or your children have stayed connected during deployments and other separations.

Of First Days

September 6, 2010

This week was one of many firsts.

The biggest one?

The first day of preschool.

Our oldest boy headed off, last Tuesday, to the first of his two mornings each week of preschool. He was beyond excited. A teacher. Friends. A playground. Crafts.

He donned his new backpack (“my ECO-pack, Mama!“) and literally skipped out the door.

His first two days were perfect, according to both Troy and his sweet teacher and he asks, each morning, how many more days until he gets to go back to school.

No, I didn’t cry when I left him in his classroom.

But I came pretty close to it. Ahem.

So, along with school comes… lunches.

In preparation for school starting, I did a bit of Etsy browsing, looking for handmade lunch sacks that were both cute and easy to clean.

I was thrilled to find Moja Creations and their simply adorable lunch and snack bags!

These bags are very eco-friendly–not only are they reusable and thus reduce waste, but they’re completely free of lead, BPA, OR phthalates.

Moja Creations has agreed to give away not just one, but TWO of their snack bags to one happy commenter here! The winner will choose any combination of the snack size, small size, or sandwich wrap.

To bring home two reusable cloth snack bags for you and your little people, just leave a comment on this post, telling me what you usually eat for lunch.

I usually have a chicken salad these days. Or leftovers of some sort.

If I eat lunch, that is.

{I try! I really do!}

For extra entries:

Please leave a separate comment for each entry, otherwise additional entries will not be counted.

I adore these bags, both for lunch, and for just tossing in some raisins and banana chips, apple slices or carrot sticks when we’re on the go!

Read my giveaway philosophy here.

Mimi’s Babies Giveaway Winner

August 15, 2010

Just a quick Sunday morning note to let you know that we chose a winner for the Mimi’s Babies Giveaway!

According to, the commenter who wins $25 store credit from Mimi’s Babies Etsy is:

Alisha Lesage
(yahoo email)

Alisha said she is a fellow Etsy addict and that she doesn’t often wear many pretties in her hair for doing housework. But, Alisha, let me tell you… wearing a flower in your hair, even if you’re just in an old t-shirt is sure to brighten your day even more than a shiny sink. You are going to have THE MOST FUN picking from the goodies offered by Mimi’s Babies!

Perfectly Adorable Wonderfulness

Mimi’s Babies Giveaway!

August 5, 2010

I didn’t used to host giveaways on this blog.

I simply ran ads from a major blog ad company and called it a day. That was the extent of my “business” blogging and was as far as I chose to go.

But then I developed an Etsy addiction. A serious Etsy addiction.

I already love handmade items and am passionate about supporting home businesses. The more I found shops I adored, the more I wanted to introduce you to some of my favorites. But I wasn’t allowed to do so with the ads I’d been running for several years. (Additionally, the ads were often for products, services and events I wouldn’t typically support.)

So I ditched the ads.

And quickly emailed all my fave crafty people.

(Hence, celebratory Raindrops on Roses Giveaway Week.)

I’m not eager to have my blog be overrun by ads and giveaways and business, business, business.

But I am eager to show you the sparkly happy pretties I find around the internet. I am eager to help and feature small businesses about which I’m over the moon. I am thrilled to support handmade shops and ethical, eco-friendly practices.

And you can always, always be assured that any product or company featured here at Heart and Home will be one I truly love and only because I’m completely smitten.


Today, allow me to introduce you to the sheer sunshine that is Mimi’s Babies:

Do you SEE that headband on my precious little niece? The big white one, crocheted and clipped to a super soft blue headband?

I die.

(I think Shiloh has a career in modeling, don’t you? I wuvs her, I do.)


I fell in love with Mimi’s Babies when I was browsing Etsy for birthday gifts a few months ago. Clicking through page after page of lovelies, I fell head over heels for everything my eyes found.

Mimi’s Babies has a wide selection of handmade goodies… appliqued t-shirts for boys and girls, laptop covers and wallets, absolutely adorable hats (I want one for ME) and especially their headbands and hair clips.

(All the crocheted flowers for the headbands are attached with a sturdy clip, which means the flowers can be used later in bigger girls’ hair, on little dresses or bags, or even, ahem, in the mommy’s hair.)

And look at what Mimi’s Babies sent for my two year old:

He would wear this shirt every day if I let him.

I kid not.

He calls it his “super car shirt.”

Of course, everything is “super” these days.

Super shoes, super cape, super hair, super jeans, super goggles, super car, super hat…

But I agree… this shirt is pretty super.

And the best part for you?

Mimi’s Babies is giving away $25 shop credit!

People, that is enough for both of the items pictured above, or at least three headbands, or a zillion hair posies, or a laptop cover and posy clip, or an uber-cute wallet, or these to die for kimono shoes and a matching headband, or, or, or

To enter, simply leave a comment on this post, telling me whether or not you wear pretties in your hair, or if they’re not your style, or if you think it’s completely ridiculous and juvenile.

(It’s okay if you think pretties are juvenile. I can handle it. I’ll just put more flowers and bows and ribbons in my tresses to make me feel better.)

For additional entries:

Separate comments must be left for each additional entry for entries to be counted.

Giveaway will end Thursday night, August 12th. Winner will be announced and emailed the next day.

Disclosure: I was sent Mimi’s Babies product for review, but, as expressed above, all opinions were my own, even before I held the wonderful adorableness in my hands!

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