Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Heart for Tanzania

Carlyn Kerney first visited Africa in 2008, when she worked at the Good Hope Orphanage in Tanzania for four months. “The land, culture, and people of Africa have truly captured my heart and I feel very blessed to have the opportunity and ability to help within Tanzania,” she said. That summer her church helped raise money to buy a water cistern for the district of Karagwe, Tanzania. It provides enough water to support a health clinic in the area, serving thousands of people. 1

In 2009, Carlyn went back to Tanzania: "... I spent time in an incredibly rural village of 6,000 people. About half of that population is children. As I talked with villagers, mainly women and children, I soon learned that the children do not have the opportunity of education because they don't have a school. The level of poverty the village is living in is unbelievable and the lack of education is entirely to blame. It has restricted the population from nearly everything. 99% of Kitwe's population are farmers who must sell their crops locally (because they don't have the resources to travel out) resulting in a price that is less than half what the could get at a larger market. Women spend long days gathering firewood and fetching water, children begin bearing children at 12 and 13, and men work on their plots. When I heard and saw of the great need for a school, I made a promise to the community that I would build them a school with the help of my friends and family here. I am currently building a school that will eventually have 6 classroom and 4 latrines..."2

I heard about Carlyn's efforts through Facebook. I emailed her immediately and asked how I could help. In her emails, she shares heartwarming stories of how she has raised money for the village so far. Like using the money she gets back from her recycling every month! Or sending friends home with red cups to collect their loose change. Needless to say, I found her attitude quite refreshing. In a world mostly bent on cynicism and hopelessness, Carlyn sees the impact that little things can make - like an old can or a handful of coins.

And this upbeat, go-to attitude has paid off. She is already making good on her promise to build a school in the small village of Kitwe. "The budget needed is $45,000 and so far, we've raised about $5,000." It seems like there’s still a long way to go, but it's encouraging to see photos of the schoolhouse already under construction and knowing that it is the humble efforts of Carlyn and her friends that are making this dream a reality.

A schoolhouse is a fantastic accomplishment, but I was curious about how it would be put to good use. So I asked Carlyn what will happen when construction is complete? Will a teacher be brought in? What resources are there to support ongoing education? To my surprise, she has a detailed plan for that too. "We will hire teachers from Tanzania and also open up international volunteer opportunities. I hope to get a grant that will cover the cost of salary for hired teachers for 2+ years. All government schools... have tuition fees. But by getting salary covered for the teachers through a grant, we can escape tuition for a while." She also has ideas for implementing student sponsorship programs.

As far as funds go, Carlyn has been thinking a little bigger than a red cup lately. A benefit concert was held last Wednesday at LaSalles in Chico. Four bands (The Kevin Reid Project, Bear Hunter, Magdalena, Surrogate) lent their talents to help Carlyn raise money. Over $400 was raised for the Kitwe Schoolhouse that night!

Obviously, support is needed to help her complete the task. I'm sure your prayers and good wishes are much appreciated. A website will be up and running soon with information on her projects and how people can get involved. In the meantime, if you'd like to contribute financially to this amazing project, you can send a check to:

Cross and Crown Lutheran Church
5475 Snyder Lane
Rohnert Park, CA 94928
(payable to "Cross and Crown Lutheran Church" with "Africa School" written in the memo area)

As Carlyn shares,
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world." -Nelson Mandela

1. info taken from the Press Democrat
2. from Bricks for Tanzania Benefit concert (Facebook)
    please also see Chico Enterprise Record

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


One of the more appealing features of is the treasury application, which is "an ever-changing, member-curated shopping gallery of handpicked items," and basically allows you to arrange some of your favorite Etsy finds into one neatly-packaged little webpage that will be posted on Etsy and last for about 3 days.

Originally, there were alot of limits to the treasury. The biggest in my opinion was that Etsy only allowed a certain number at any given time, so for every one treasury that was expiring, there were several people trying to get theirs uploaded. If you didn't time it just right, you lost your chance. Needless to say, it's a pretty nail-biting, clock-watching, button-pouncing hobby to get into and that's why I used to avoid it.

Until now...

Enter Treasury East. This is a "testing ground for the future of the Treasury." It is different in that you can make as many as you like, whenever you like, and they will never expire. No more watching the clock! You can make them at your leasure, and once they're posted, they will be on the web to be enjoyed indefinitely.

So, I finally checked it out today - made my very first treasuries. And I have to say it was delicious fun. I don't pretend to be the most hip cat in the ally, but it really brings out the designer in me.  It's like planning a party or picking a new color scheme for your bedroom or (more similarly) like arranging a store front window. All of which I thoroughly enjoy. =)

Anyway. Here are my First Treasuries. Tell me what you think! Try one for yourself and post the link in the comments so we can all check it out. The elite that was the Treasurers have fallen. Lets have some fun!

Check out: Earth Day Celebration and Chocolate and Ice

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Media Monday: Swell Season

Well it's Tuesday again. Must be time for another Media Monday. Haha.

I first heard Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova sing their beautiful song "Falling Slowly" while watching the Oscars a couple of years ago. The song was so haunting I remember stopping whatever I was doing to just listen. And thinking, "Wow, these kids are good." Later that night they won an Academy Award for Best Original Song! Well, I'm pretty sure we added the movie ~ Once ~ to our Netflix que almost immediately. It's a cute movie, but the soundtrack is what's really entertaining. I think they actually made the movie around the soundtrack! Anyway... these days the couple have joined forces with Glen's old band The Frames and the accumulation equals The Swell Season. We saw them in concert last year in Oakland, which was terribly exciting. They are very charming and gifted people. Very down-to-earth. Being partly Irish doesn't hurt either. =0)

You can sample their current CD on their website, but don't miss sampling the soundtrack of Once (Falling Slowly, Lies, When Your Mind's Made Up).

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Reusable Grocery Bag / Tote

I am so excited to be releasing my new line of reusable grocery bags! This is something I've been wanting to do for quite awhile. I had such fun picking out the fabrics and designing them. I wanted to offer something eco-friendly in a style that anyone would be proud to carry to the grocery store or farmers market. These bags would even be great as an everyday tote or a book bag at the library! ;)

Each bag is totally reversible, with a patterned fabric on one side and a solid on the other. I've used a heavier weight, so it's durable, and the fact that it is two-layered really adds to its strength. It's also top-stitched around the edges to help keep the seams from wearing out. These are designed to last!

So (just in time for Earth Day!) I am hosting another GIVEAWAY!!
One lucky winner will receive one of my new stylish reusable bags in this bright summer~loving orange bohemian print with a brown reversible side. You can check out the listing here.
Directions to enter the giveaway are below. Good luck everyone! Thanks for participating! =)

Your comments on this blog are your entries
**You must leave an email address in your comments so I can contact you if you're the winner!**
1. Mandatory Entry (this must be done before other entries) - Become a fan of Lil Hipsters on Facebook, come back and comment, confirming your name!

Extra Entries (must have mandatory entry completed before you can gain extra entries).
~~Leave a comment for EACH additional entry!~~
2. Visit Lil Hipsters and tell me your favorite item in the shop.
3. Follow my blog publicly - confirm your name in comment.
4. Grab my button and leave a link of where I can find it - 3 entries (leave three comments!)
5. Email 3 friends telling them about this giveaway and sending the link  (I'm trusting you on this one) - 3 entries (leave three comments!)

This giveaway will end on April 24, 2010 and is open to US residents only. I will select a winner using a random number generator and I will email the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond to my email before I select a new winner.

4/20 UPDATE: I will be drawing the winner at 9PM PST on April 24th. Any entries after that will not count. Thanks

Just for fun...

A friend of mine just submitted a video to the Aflac 10 second challenge. I have to say, it's quite brilliant. If you are interested in quirky unique art, or in stop-motion video, or in ice-dancing badgers, you should probably check it out.

You should probably check it out anyway. Don't forget to vote! Today's the last day to do so...

Thanks for supporting indie film artists. Hehe.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Inauguration of Awesomeness

OK. It's time for my first installment of a little something I like to call

*Media Monday*

I know what you're thinking - "Charity - How can you start something called Media Monday today. It's a Tuesday."

Well, I was gonna start it yesterday, but the epiphany came to me a little late in the day. I usually can only guarantee same-day service on epiphanies if they happen in the morning... and I don't want to wait til next week... because I'm too excited.

Back to the matter at hand.

Media Monday was originally gonna be Music Monday, a place where I took the opportunity to share with you some of my favorite albums or songs, usually by little-known up and coming or indie bands. Mostly because mainstream just gives me a headache and I like to share art - even the musical kind.

But then I thought - I like movies too. What if one Monday, I'm all like "Man, I wish it was called Movie Monday instead of Music Monday, so I could share this awesome flic I just saw."

That is how Media Monday was born. The best of both worlds...

Anyhoo. If you're my FB friend, you've already got this link from me. But I just really heart this music and kinda want to share it with the entire world.

Always been a Zooey Deschanel fan. Have you seen Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy yet? DOH. I'll have to save that for another week. ;)

Anyway... I bring you:


You can sample some somgs here

Saturday, April 3, 2010

You know you're a mommy when...

...every little thing you eat becomes a meal for two.

I had this delicious streusel blueberry muffin that I got at the Starbuck's drive thru . I had pretty high hopes for this muffin. I purposefully did not devour it in the car, even though I was really hungry, because I wanted to save it for later, when I could take A Moment and savor it... alone... without those blue puppy-dog eyes staring up at me and that syrupy sweet "please" sign.

No no no. He was in the car. Awake. I couldn't let him know what treasure I had in my possession.

So...(surprisingly) everything went according to plan. I took the loooooong way home, he fell asleep in the car listening to Swell Season, I carried him upstairs to his crib, and ever-so-quietly unloaded the car-load of groceries. Then, on the other side of all this glorious accomplishment, I pulled up a kitchen chair to Sit and Eat. Muffin - check. Iced americano perfectly sweetened - check. Peace and quiet - double check.

Then, as I began to unwrap the beautiful pastry paper from the moist delicious muffin, with the gooeyish (but not too gooey!)  blueberries, a funny thought came to me. "My son would love this muffin. What a treat it would be for him. Which part should I save to give him later." I struggled with whether to save the muffin top or the muffin bottom. I ate the bottom first, deciding to be nice and save him some of the top. But then I started eating the top. And it was so yummy and so strueselly... that it became quite apparent half-way through the muffin - my son was not. getting. any.

How funny it is that everything I eat, I assume I'll be sharing. Well, momma's gotta have something all to herself sometimes... and that's ok. =)

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