Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Love Goes Beyond Borders Adoption Fundraiser

Lately my life has been on a faster, crazier, more sleep-deprived track than usual - but I'm happy to report it's for a fantastic cause. I've been working in collaboration with a friend I went to high school and college with, Ashlee Othick Andrews, who is expanding her family through adoption. Ashlee and her husband live in Calgary (Canada) and have two gorgeous children of their own, but they believe strongly in adoption and have decided to welcome an 18-month-old boy from Uganda into their family. Between traveling to Uganda and the fees associated with the adoption, they are looking at a significant financial hurdle.

Ashlee and I began talking a few months ago about doing a jewelry fundraiser to help offset these expenses and make their adoption a reality. I've since been hard at work designing a Uganda-themed jewelry collection, producing sample pieces, taking photographs of everything, writing descriptions, and brainstorming how to get the most support possible for the fundraiser. In short, Ashlee and I have pulled off the design, production and marketing for a jewelry line! Not an easy feat, especially with the craziness of school, but it's been an amazing experience and I'm really proud of the collection.

It's been especially inspiring to work with the gorgeous handmade paper beads I sourced for the collection. Women artisans in Uganda make these beads by cutting strips from magazines and rolling them up until a bead is formed. They then coat the outside of the bead with a clear varnish to make them stronger and water-resistant. The colors and patterns in these paper beads are unbelievable, some of the most amazing materials I've ever worked with. I sourced the beads from two nonprofit organizations, Paper to Pearls and Outreach Uganda (both out of Colorado of all places!) who send their proceeds back to the women in Uganda who made the beads.

Ashlee has set up an online shop at Etsy where we're listing the fundraiser jewelry. There are limited quantities available, and some pieces one-of-a-kind. We're taking orders through Tuesday, February 15th, then I'll do all the production and have everything shipped out by March 10th. All shop proceeds go directly to the Andrews' family adoption fund.

Please stop by the Love Goes Beyond Borders shop on Etsy, if nothing else to have a look and admire all the fantastically colorful pieces in the collection. If you are able to support Ashlee and her family in bringing home their new son, it would mean a great deal to them and to me as well. Thank you all in advance!

You can read more about the Andrews' adoption saga on their blog.

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