Champion Your Charity

FREE JEWELRY!!!! Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. ~Dr. Seuss


There’s an interesting discussion taking place in the prototype forums in the Etsy community. The group having the discussion is one focused on exploring a new marketplace feature which will assist sellers in donating portions of their sales to non-profit organizations. The discussion is focused on openly “advertising” charitable contributions spurred by sales of merchandise. Apparently, the topic had come up on another board and it had been stated that some buyers are actually turned off by donation disclosure because it is seen as a marketing ploy rather than true charity. Another perspective expressed in the prototype discussion that not disclosing support of a non-profit forfeits buyers’ right to opt-out of contributing to a cause they don’t support or may even oppose. A third position states that giving shouldn’t be a public act directly tied to sales and that a truly charitable buyer will give to the cause he or she deems worthy independent of the choice to purchase any item sold anywhere.

Of course there is concern about the integrity of sellers who might claim to support this or that organization or cause for the sake of marketing and increased sales but never fulfill their public pledge. There’s also criticism, although not very articulate, for campaigns like the General Mills’ Pink Lids campaigns, stating that contributing to such campaigns should be possible without the necessity of a purchase. For what it’s worth, General Mills does have several options from which would-be contributors may choose that don’t require the purchase of General Mills products. Hopefully, anyone who hopes to get the warm-fuzzies because they’ve saved and redeemed yogurt lids will research the facts of the campaign and understand that General Mills’ pledge to donate 10 cents for each lid redeemed is capped at $1.5M.

This discussion is very interesting to me, but honestly, I don’t think that it’s relevant to my little shop. Maybe someday, but not today. I’m not quite ready to select an organization to which I am willing to tie my business publicly. The notion of charitable giving through my business, however, is appealing to me… But not through proceeds from sales of my merchandise. The better option for my shop’s philanthropic efforts is the donation of actual merchandise to fundraising events like silent (or not-so-silent) auctions, raffles and awards/prizes. The obstacle I’m facing in regards to this kind of charitable donation, because I haven’t selected a single, specific non-profit or cause, is knowing to whom I should make the donation.

So, at this point, I am researching auctioneers who specialize in services for non-profits and looking into what charity events may be up-coming in my community. Although I am interested in supporting a cause or organization that shares my values and conducts its business in a manner I find ethical and constructive, I believe that true giving comes from the heart, so I also hope to give support where I find an emotional bond. Finding that emotional bond may be something that I find directly, but maybe the most meaningful bond I find will come from your experience with an organization committed to service, education, welfare, research or civil rights (man or beast). I hope that if your life has been positively affected by an organization dedicated to helping others you will share your story with me. I promise that your story will remain confidential unless you give me permission to share it. If the group you nominate is one that is compatible to my goals, my first donation to that group will be made in your name, or in the name of the person you choose (unless you wish to remain anonymous).

If you don’t wish to share your story or nomination in the comments, please, use the form below.

Thanks in advance for helping with this important decision.


I have been participating in the weekly challenge presented by Laura on her I Am The Diva Zentangle-centric blog for a few weeks now. This week I submitted my entry of my posted Backbone ZIA through Waft, Three Ways. I appreciate all of the great (really great) comments, some of which inspired more tangling. Now I have a second submission for this week.

To refresh your memory, this week’s theme from The Diva is The Diva’s Weekly Challenge #156: “Curvy Gridlock” and is Laura’s answer to a participant who wrote that she can’t draw a straight line.

The Diva throws straight lines out the window and I did as well, in my latest drawing, as I focused on bending my grid-based patterns to conform to their containers. I call the result Escence, intentionally misspelled as in fluorescence rather than as in essence because of the highlights I added with three Crayola Twistables fluorescent pencils.

The images below were shot under black light. Unlike this week’s earlier monotangle, this piece is rich with a variety of patterns on my usual 8-1/2″ x 11″ sketch paper. I usually only tangle a portion of the page, but Escence pushes past any margins to the absolute edges of the page.


Black light capture of my ZIA, Escence. Click the image to view larger image. (Must see to appreciate.)

I am super happy with the outcome. What do you think?

Waft, Three Ways

Short but sweet today…

The Diva’s Weekly Challenge #156: “Curvy Gridlock”.  Today’s theme is Laura’s answer to a participant who wrote that she can’t draw a straight line. The Diva throws straight lines out the window.

My response, Backbone,  monotangles the Waft pattern three different ways onto a geometrically curvy string of my own creation. The string itself kinda resembles the interlocking vertebrae of a spine,  thus the title of my tangle. I thought the wavy pattern was an interesting contrast to the sure-straight ideal backbone condition.


Submission for The Diva's Weekly Challenge #156: "Curvy Gridlock"

I am happy, I think, with the outcome. What do you think?

Whitespace, Architecturally Inspired Zen

The Diva has presented another weekly challenge, and this one is right up my alley!

I have been a huge admirer of Frank Lloyd Wright, architect (1867-1959), and Piet Mondrian, artist (1872-1944), for as long as I have been able to appreciate architecture and art. The brilliance of both men is evident in the simplicity and beauty of their works. If any two men are responsible for any artistic ambition I have ever had, I would say that these men are those two. I could go on about my admiration of these men, but I am afraid I would fail miserably, understating the significance of their contributions to each of their respective fields.

As something like a tribute to these men, I have been thinking about recreating some of their abstract designs for use as strings for my Zentangle-inspired creations. (I have already created one or two ZIAs using strings inspired by abstract art from the 1920s and 30s). The moment I read this week’s challenge, I knew that I would be incorporating Neoplasticism, Art Nouveau, Prairie or what has become commonly referred to as Art Deco style into the string, as each style lends itself freely to the concept of whitespace, which is this week’s challenge:

Try leaving a big open white space in your piece this week! (sic)

You would think that with all of the fanfare over the works of Wright and Mondrian in this post I might have the decency to create a string from the works of one of these two men, but that would actually make sense, so I didn’t do that. My string for this challenge submission is derived from a stained glass window inspired by the window designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and adapted to accommodate a touch of ZIA with an abundance of whitespace.

Having said that, I suppose the only thing left is to reveal my response to the challenge… So, here it is: Wrightspace


The Diva's Weekly Challenge #155

The window design from which I created my string features the primary colors red, yellow and blue plus the secondary color green. I would have liked to have imitated the exact color placement in my tangles, but I wasn’t able to find a suitable yellow (one that would display the tangles in bold, vivid color), so I substituted the secondary color violet for the model’s yellow. I created a single instance of select tangles in the small areas of the string using pens in colors corresponding to the solidly colored in areas of the model image. (Where the model design shows a solid red square I created a singular red tangle. So on for blue, etc..) For the larger areas I repeated tangles to create patterns, in corresponding colors, using the same scale as the small areas.

So… What do you think of it?