Monday, August 24, 2009

Etsy Monday! Issue #3: Special Charity Edition

There's something to be said about handmade artisans and their charity. I think that comes directly from doing what you love. There are many Etsians out there like you who have made a special commemorative items to promote awareness, donated proceeds from the sales of your shops, creating fundraising drives, and probably a million other things Etsians have done to help those in need. I'd like to dedicate this Etsy Monday! to all the Etsians on this mission.

My boyfriend's grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It has been an enduring road for her, through chemotherapy trials, the numerous medications, and deteriorating physical condition. She has since recently had a masectomy, stating that she "didn't need them anymore, really. I've had all the children I can, and they can feed themselves!" Sharon kept her sense of humour all throughout her illness, and with her family by her side, she has had some excellent report. The chemotherapy sessions and a few medications weren't covered by OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan, for those not familiar), and I offered 100% of the proceeds of my Etsy shop will go to help Sharon's medical expenses. We had also hosted a Beatles tribute night, with local talent performing their renditions of Beatles tunes. Nick, his sister Katee and I got up together and performed a set ourselves, and announced the fundraising effort on the shop. I had also donated pieces from my collection for the raffle, which were a great hit!

Please welcome Etsy Monday's charitable mentions!
Mikiye has got it cut out for herself. With celebrity clients like Kelly Osbourne, Paris Hilton, and Vanessa Williams, and with her work making appearances on hit television shows such as The O.C. and The Simple Life, her flower-inspired pieces, using only the finest materials from freshwater pearls to feathers, silk chiffon to Swarovski crystal, has made her a hit for weddings and other special occasions. She personally handcrafts every piece, and, like a true artist, learns more techniques through self-teaching hands-on experience. Between the childhood memories of her grandmother "always making something" and helping her in her beautiful rose garden, she took that love with her to San Francisco and Southern California, she was always known as 'the flower girl'. Whether she was wearing fresh flowers in her hair from a flower cart, or stopped in the street and asked, "Where did you get that lovely flower hairpin?", her love for all things blooming and handcrafted art was obvious.

Mikiye's mission: A fellow Etsian, Joyce Richards, has been diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer, which has now spread to her brain. Mikiye has created the Elegant Camille Flower hairpin, with 100% of the proceeds going to help Joyce with her medical expenses. A beautiful and classic design, the purchase of this hairpin will not only add a flare of originality to your accessory collection, but you can feel good wearing it, reminding yourself of the good deed you had done when you purchased it.

Latest tweet: @MikiyeCreations RT @tweetmeme Mikiye Creations: Elegant Camille Still open to purchase for Donation to Joyce Richards Fund

 Elegant Camille hairpin,
 Crystal Dreams chandelier earrings,
  The Sparkling Ruby hairpin,

Emerald Queen agate necklace,

Cherub Feathers earrings,
Yellow Sparkler hairpins,
April Virk and her husband were married in his ancestral village in Northern India, where she witnessed the large gap between wealth classes in the country.  In 2008, she combined her love for making jewelry into a passion that would make her mark in the world: she started a non-profit organization dedicated to providing educational and medical resources to the deprived people of Dadherian, the village in which they were married.  April loves to work with gemstones and purchases directly from a gemcutter in Jaipur, Rajasthan, ensuring that the stones have not come from a source using child labour, an issue that still persists in India.  Here's a observation April shares on her Etsy profile about the conditions she witnessed:
"One of the most glaring differences was in the quality of education afforded the rural poor. While wealthy children attend schools with tennis courts, pianos, television sets and new textbooks- poor children in rural schools don't even have power throughout the school day. I saw primary school teachers sending kids home on rainy days because they couldn't study out in the school yard in the rain and it was too dark in the classrooms to read."
I have a personal connection to what April had experienced.  I had spent a few months in Paraguay with AFS, an organization that coordinates global volunteers to help in impovershed communities.  The school that I had volunteered in, called Escuela del Futuro ('School for Tomorrow') organized a similar drive for a school in the outer district of the city, collecting unused schoolbooks, writing utensils, clothing, food, and medicines.  I ended up donating most of my wardrobe that I had travelled with at the time for these children.  When we got there, I saw that the school in the outer district was no more than a crumbled down building, and most children didn't have shoes.  I spoke with a few children who came all the way from the border of Argentina by donkey, taking them a better part of two hours.  These children were polite, respectful and took care of each other, going through the donations and handing them to other children, instead of hording it for themselves.  This kind of poverty was so far apart from what I had ever seen as in Canada, that it had really opened my eyes to everyday things we can take for granted. I was lucky that I was in high school when I had this experience, making me aware of more worldly issues, making me more connected with the global community.  My heart was broken that these children live in this condition, but it makes me happy that to this day that the drive still continues at Escuela del Futuro, and that these children have such a kind heart to help.

How's she doing so far?  April and her organization,, have raised enough money last fall to install some much-needed electrical lighting in children's school in Dadherien.  "Now we just need the power to turn them on 100% of the time," she says.  Just a few days ago, April had sent a shipment of classroom and art supplies to the school, as well!  Pencils and erasers, glue and construction paper, stickers and crayons, markers and much more!  This will be the first time a lot of these children have used crayons, something we took for granted as children.

Shop news: April's having a summer sale in her shop, from 10% to 95% on selected items!  Know that whether it's a sale item or not, just know that you're putting much needed supplies into the hands of tomorrow's leaders.

Hearts of Green Onyx earrings,
Golden Sunshine citrine and copper necklace, 


Robin's Blue earrings, 

Momma Bird necklace,

Bees Knees in Leaves earrings,

When Dragons Roamed necklace,


After reading her profile on Etsy, I found that Suanne and I have something in common - we can't sit still unless we're making something.  Then, she found the art of origami and presented this art to the world in something we haven't seen before.  Suanne makes jewelry with her little paper baubles at the advice and admiration to her friends.  The paper charms have been treated with a gloss resin that will help preserve the paper shape.
Suanne's mission:  An advocate for child rights, Suanne created the LOVEbird Project, designing pieces especially to raise money for Love146, an organization working on "the abolition of child sex trafficking and exploitation through prevention and aftercare".  The organization builds homes, provides food and health care, and other services for these victims to lead a normal, healthy life.  For more information on their valiant efforts, visit
Latest tweet:  @paperaffection I'm getting featured in Country Living's December Magazine! And not just one feature, but possibly TWO! :dancedance:
 Silver Phoenix origami earrings,
Designed for the LOVEbird Project, proceeds from the sale of these earrings will be donated to Love146 to help fight child sex trafficking and abuse.

 Cobalt Butterfly origami pendant,

Yellow Arabesque petit origami ornament,

origami rose bobby pin,

Mini Mod Disco origami earrings,

 Star Cube origami ornament,
We translate the love of what we make into acts of love to those in need.  These Etsians are great examples of those who perform acts of 'paying it forward', creating beautiful pieces of art for you to enjoy, and knowing that your purchase helps a good cause somewhere else in the world.  Support these artists and their causes, and don't be afraid to stand up for a cause you believe in!

Stay tuned every Monday for more honourable Etsy mentions!

visit and follow the cause: 


Unknown said...

I truly feel honored to be a part of this group that you have shared! You are not only a talented artist but a very talented writer!!!

I am so touched by what April and Suanne are involved with.
I agree that especially here in the States it is SO easy to forget the poverty and hardships of others.
I thank You for sharing these wonderful stories about those that are doing something so special to aid others.

Suanne said...

thank you so much for the mention! I'm so honored that you decided to feature me for such an admirable blog entry.

Best of luck to you!

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