Friday, April 5, 2013

UPDATE: Aria and her team of elephants saver raised...

$1000!!!  Isn't that amazing?!?  Thank you to everyone who supported us in big and small ways.  It means a lot to Aria and our entire family!

Stay tuned as I suspect my little Leader of the Elephant Savers will be up to more elephant saving missions down the road.  <3

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The auction is LIVE

Aria Jae's Elephant Saver Fundraiser is officially LIVE as of yesterday March 13, 2013.  It will run until March 23 at 8:50pm PST.  Head over to and check out the great handcrafted elephant items!   Many of the items are still WELL below their retail cost so you might snag a great item at a really great price.  And remember proceeds raised go to Elephant Family to support their conservation efforts!

Also, check it out: Aria is on Portland's local news for fundraising efforts!

Thanks to everyone for their support!  You are showing my little girl that she can make a difference in this world!


Sunday, March 10, 2013

The girl has hit the news

:)  Aria's fundraiser is getting a bit of publicity.  Here she is on page 20 of the March issue of NW Kids Magazine.

Also rumor has it KPTV (our local Portland news station) wants to interview her on Wednesday.  Stay tuned and I'll let you know what comes of that. 

The auction is gearing up to go live on Wednesday March 13.  We decided that it would be easier and less confusing to hold it on hyenacart, so if you don't have an account, be sure to sign up for one soon.  Its free.   I'll post the link to the auction when its ready! :)

Thanks everyone for the support.  Aria is very excited to have you on her team.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Elephant Saver Update

I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to everyone for supporting Aria's fundraiser.  She has received so many great donations and we are just touched by everyone's kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm. 

The latest act of kindness is from Smashworks, who is donating a fabulous vinyl elephant purse.  Seriously, how cool is this?  I first "met" Ashley from Smashworks on  She and I have participated in a number of craft swaps there and I've been the lucky recipient of some of her fabulous handcrafted items.  So I know firsthand the high quality of her items.  The person who wins the high bid on this item will not be disappointed.
Photo from Smashworks
We also received word this week that NW Kids will be featuring Aria in their cool kids section of their magazine so if you live in the area be sure to pick up the March issue.
Elephant Clip-on Earrings courtesy of Dot from Busted Button
My baby girl is growing up.  A week ago, I gave her the earrings that Dot from Busted Button made for her.  First, how sweet is that of Dot?  She not only donated artwork and a pair of earrings to Aria's fundraiser, but she gifted my little girl these adorable elephant earrings.  And she made them clip-on since Aria doesn't have pierced ears.  Second, check out that face!?!  That is the face of a little girl that is absolutely full of joy! Thank you Dot! <3

The fundraiser also received this BEAUTIFUL mini quilt from Becky of Belle & Bee!  I think it would make an amazing wall art or adorable dollie quilt. 
The attention to detail is amazing!  Thanks Belle & Bee!
Aria's fundraiser has some AWESOME goodies to auction on March 13.  Be sure to put it on your calendar because you're not going to want this miss out!


Saturday, February 9, 2013

Art Open House

For any of you located in the Pacific NW in the United States, we hope you'll consider dropping by on March 16 for some art fun.  Art ala Carte is hosting an art open house for Aria Jae's Elephant Saver Fundraiser.  It is just $9.00 per person (adult and child) and half of the proceeds goes to the fundraiser.  Aria from Art ala Carte is also going to be raffling off a full year family membership to Art ala Carte.  Seriously, isn't she just the most fabulous person ever!?! Le Cookie Monkey will be donating 3 dozen delicious elephant shaped cookies to the event so rest assured there will be yummy treats.  :)  

I love this town.  Seriously.  The folks are just awesome.

Last week I whipped together a little elephant for Aria from a great pattern by Bingle Bears.  Aria named him Feather and she is in LOVE with him.  I will be making another to auction online.  I'm thinking of making one to auction at the art open house as well.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Dreaming of Elephants

I had to order some books for my upcoming field exams (I'm a full time doctoral student) and I just couldn't help myself.  I found myself browsing the kids book section looking for more elephant books for Aria. I stumbled upon Elephants: A book for children by Steven Bloom and just had to buy it for her. I'll never know what drew my little girl to elephants when she was just a wee two year old but I have to say the more I learn about them the more I fall in love with them myself. 

The photography is simply gorgeous and the information is presented in such a kid friendly way.  Did you know that elephants are excellent swimmers?  Or that that their trunks are longer than the tallest person you know and weigh more than two normal-sized men?  Perhaps the sweetest little elephant fact from the book is that when an elephant dies, his/her family members will stay by the body often for days as if they are willing the elephant to live again.  And if they pass the same spot, they will stand still and silent for several minutes to pay homage to their lost loved one.  When I read that to Aria I seriously choked up.

I admit I am extremely sentimental and it doesn't take much to get my tears flowing but the timing was impeccable as just days before Elephant Family posted about the murder of 14 elephants in Sabah, Borneo. One tiny 3 month old calf was found near its mother trying to wake her.  Heartbreaking.  These majestic animals need all the help they can get from us.

*Photo from the Elephant Family page* Seriously, how sad is this?  Poor little elephant.
I do not imagine anyone can see this picture and not be moved.  I debated posting this picture because of how heartbreaking it is but ultimately decided to because I believe we truly need to understand the brevity of the situation.  Elephants are endangered because of humans and its up to humans to do something about it. 

Yeah...I can't even look at that picture without crying.  In more uplifting news, I am excited to announce that I will be attempting to make the most awesome wool felt LED elephants.  What in the world is that you ask?  A long time ago, I pinned an amazing felt momma and baby elephant kit designed by Syuzi Pakhchyan of Fashioning Technology.

Salt 'n' Peanut.  *Photo by Syuzi Pakhchyan.*

Seriously, how cute is this pair?  Syuzi writes, "Salt n’ Peanut were inspired by the exuberant display of love in elephant society between a mother and it’s calf. In elephant social customs, the mother and its calf always remain in constant touch.When the trunk of Salt (the mother elephant) and the trunk of Peanut (the baby elephant) connect, the LED in Peanut’s chest illuminates, signifying love and joy."  I stumbled upon the sweet little kit again while searching for elephant crafts for Aria.  I knew immediately that I wanted to make some for Aria's Elephant Saver Fundraiser but when I went to purchase the kits I discovered they were discontinued.

I messaged Syuzi and inquired whether there was any way that I could find a kit somewhere or attempt to make them on my own for the auction.  You know what I love about the creative community?  The absolute generosity that I have found within it.  This fundraiser is teaching not only my child but me as well about the depth of human hearts.  Reaching out to others is sometimes scary but so far its been an amazing experience.  Syuzi not only gave me permission to make my own little LED elephants but she also gave me some construction tips.  <3

I'll leave you with this awesome little elephant craft that Aria and I did together.  I go the idea from Red Ted's Art Blog.  It was super easy and Aria enjoyed turning her little hand prints into a small family of elephants.  Okay, I admit it...I rather enjoyed turning my hand prints into elephants as well. 

My favorite has to be the one on the left.  She looks like she is laughing.  :)  All prints are Aria's except for the elephant on the right in the top right photo.  That would be my hand print.  We collaborated to create a mommy and baby elephant picture.
*X-posted to*


Friday, January 25, 2013

A little elephant update!

Well as I'm sure you know by now, its all about elephants over here in my household. Aria is getting more and more excited as people join her team of elephant savers. Jody from Penguin and Owl Acre's Wooly Creations finished up her awesome felted elephant and he is just the sweetest little thing ever!

[Photo by Jody Richards.]  How stinking cute is this baby elephant!?
Becky from Belle + Bee is also joining Aria's team and is designing and making a mini elephant quilt.  I can't wait to see what she whips up; she has brilliant sewing skills and makes the cutest kids' clothing. This weekend I am going to cut out some pattern pieces out of fleece.  I bought a sweet elephant pattern from Bingle Bears.  The pattern uses traditional teddy bear making methods, but I'm going to try it first with fleece and button joints.  I'll let you know how that goes.  Hopefully it won't be a major craft fail.  

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this great kids' book called Endangered Elephants by Bobbie Kalman.  I got this for Aria for Christmas and we finally got around to reading it a few days ago.  The book provides a great overview about African and Asian elephants, outlines what dangers they face, and then ends with uplifting examples of conservation efforts.  Aria and I both enjoyed the book.  Definitely a keeper!  

See you next Friday with some more Elephant Saver Fundraiser updates.  

x-posted to


Friday, January 18, 2013

Gathering Aria's team of Elephant Savers

Last week I revealed Aria's big plans to raise money for Asian elephants and so far its been going very well.  The wonderful InĂªs Almeida from Toward the Stars and the folks from Elephant Family both shared Aria's fundraiser on their Facebook pages.  The best part was that I never even had to ask either of them to do so.  It was a wonderful surprise and feeling to wake up one day to find a link to Aria's fundraiser in my newsfeed.

If you don't follow Toward the Stars on Facebook, you ought to.  Its an organization and community that focuses on empowering our girls to be true to themselves and live up to their full potential without restrictions. 
Aria has also received her first two donations.  Penguin and Owl Acres is donating a felted elephant.  The owner of Penguin and Owl Acres, Jody Richards, has also been such a force for spreading the word.  Words cannot express my gratitude for her support.  Dot Falcon from Busted Button is donating beautiful button artwork and some earrings.  More locally, Aria (yes, my daughter and she share the same name!) from Art ala Carte PDX has generously offered to host an art party/open studio and donate a percentage of the proceeds to Aria's fundraiser.  Again, I cannot express how much I appreciate these women and their willingness to support Aria's dream.  We don't know really know any of them, have never even met them, and yet they are sending such a powerful message to my daughter about kindness and generosity.  If I could I would hug them and say, "Thank you. Thank you for showing my daughter the good side of humanity.  Thank you for supporting her dream and most of all thank you for teaching my daughter that caring about something bigger than yourself can connect you to not only a purpose but a wider world, a community of compassionate and caring people."

Dot from Busted Button shared this photo of her button artwork.  She is crafting up a similar piece of work for Aria's fundraiser.   She is also donating some cute elephant earrings and offered to make Aria her very own pair as well.

I have also heard from several folks that they are planning on participating as well and I'm excited to see what these wonderful people create.  On the Tansy Doll team, I know that Cady, our yarnie extraordinaire, will be making a crocheted elephant and perhaps a felted one.  Lesley, our resident artist (seriously, she is a brilliant fine artist) is creating an elephant painting.  I have a few ideas for some sweet sewn elephant stuffies.  And...Tansy Doll will be donating a 10" Blossom doll complete with cute little elephant pillowcase dress.

My little artist is already working on her elephant artwork.  This is one of her first pieces.
 So how does the little elephant saver feel about all this? are a few highlights from this week.  When I first showed her Dot's beautiful elephant button artwork, which was the first official donation Aria received, Aria immediately started jumping around and shouting, "People are helping me?!  Momma, people are HELPING me!  I didn't know that people would help me!!"  When I showed her the video that Jody posted of herself in the process of making a felted elephant, Aria again expressed gratitude and surprise that people were seriously donating items to her fundraiser.  She pumped her little fist in the air, stroke a superhero pose, and said proudly, "We are going to HELP those elephants!"  And when I told her that Aria from Art ala Carte PDX had offered to have an art party/open studio for her fundraiser, Aria said, "Wow, Momma, she has the same name as me?"  Heh.  What can I say, she's 4, sometimes she gets a bit derailed.  But after she got over the idea that an adult out there has the same name, she was pretty darn excited that a local business and an ART one at was joining her team of elephant savers. 

I enjoyed reading the comments to Aria.  Her little face beamed and her whole body was shaking in excitement.
But the response that I think amused me the most was when she found out that Elephant Family had posted her fundraiser on their Facebook page.  Aria knows that we are donating the money she raises to Elephant Family, she knows of the great work they do, and yet when she found out they had shared her fundraiser, she proudly exclaimed, "Momma, Elephant Family is joining my team of elephant savers...YES!"  Heh.  In and of itself her comment made me chuckle but more importantly it revealed how much Aria truly owns and takes pride in her fundraiser.

Feel free to download and share this picture.  The simplest way to support Aria's dream is to share, share, share.  The more people who know about her fundraiser, the bigger the potential to raise some money for Elephant Family.
If you're reading this, I'd like to ask one more favor.  Please "like" and show some love for the companies and organizations that are supporting Aria's dream.  When I posted about Aria's fundraiser last week, I had no idea what would happen.  I hoped but I did not expect.  Their willingness to help Aria has not only taught my young daughter about the generosity of  the human spirit but has also reminded me that we understand our humanity best when we make connections with others to work for something bigger than any one individual.  With that I'll leave you the words of the late Howard Zinn, who inspires me to strive and hope for a better world for all.  <3


Friday, January 11, 2013

4-year-old Aria Jae is an Elephant Saver!

Photo from
If you were to ask Aria Jae why the Asian elephants are endangered, she’d have a hard time explaining the complex factors that place the Asian Elephants at risk for extinction.  But she could tell you that they need our help and she’d be right.

One of the biggest forces behind this is the growth of the human population. More humans mean more human settlements, farming, mining, and infrastructure.  All of this carves up the forest homes of the Asian elephant, leaving them as well as other wildlife trapped within little islands of forests too small to support them. The result is devastating for elephants as well as humans. Stressed and starving elephants raid crops and trample villages; death and tragedy touches both humans and elephants. 

At 4, Aria believes she is capable of changing the world.  When she heard that her favorite animals were in danger, she didn't ask “if we could do anything,” she asked, “what we were going to do.”  And as her mother, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn't foster this belief that she CAN make a difference in the world.

Aria has decided to combine her love of art and her love of the Asian elephant and is designing some fabulous artwork that we hope to turn into cards to sell to raise money. As her mother I am incredibly proud of her and she has inspired me to do more also.  After talking it over with Lesley and Cady, Tansy Dolls has chosen to support Aria’s dream and is hosting an online auction to raise money for Elephant Family, a UK based nonprofit agency working hard to alleviate human/elephant conflict, preserve important wildlife corridors, and educate the world about the plight of the Asian elephant.

Here in the Tansy Doll family, each of us are using our skills to help raise money.  Aria Jae will be designing elephant cards and prints.  Tansy Dolls will donate a 10” doll.  I will be making sweet elephant stuffies.  I hear that Cady is thinking of making crocheted and felted elephants.  Lesley is creating an elephant painting. We hope that those in our handmade community, both locally and globally, will also reach out and contribute something for this special auction to support a little girl’s dream to save the elephants.  Aria has taken to calling herself “the elephant saver,” and she says that it’s her job.  For me, there is nothing more amazing than the proud and determined look on my little girl’s face when she says that.

If you are interested in donating something, please read the Info for Vendors tab at the top of this blog as it will provide the details of the auction, how it will work, and what sorts of items we are looking for.  Read the other tabs if you curious to learn more about Aria, Elephant Family, and Tansy Dolls. After reading it if you still have questions, please email us at  

<3 Robin