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