Why, hello there. If anyone at all is still coming by to check on this blog, much appreciation to you! I have been away from the computer since Thursday (our internet was down, followed by a weekend trip up to St. Louis/Jacksonville). I looked at my google reader this morning and then promptly closed it. Where does one even begin when there are 1000+ unread posts (yep, I learned it stops counting out 1000 and just gives you a "+" from then on...it knows no one is really going to read 1000 posts anyway). From this experience, I learned I probably have WAY too many blogs and sites that I follow, but I don't know how to whittle them down...I really like them all. So, my next project will be to organize them into folders by category, so that I can just read them by category (family and friends having highest priority, so at the very least I stay caught up with them!) and then I can little by little get caught up with everyone else. Travel sure does throw off the daily routine! Also, I just saw an e-mail from my friend Sam telling me the link to last week's tutorial over at Monkey's on the Bed was broken. Ugg, sorry about that!! It is fixed now, so if you didn't make it over there yet, please check it out!
A week ago Saturday, I had the lovely opportunity to host a BeadforLife party here at my home. I heard about BeadforLife from my friend Morgan (who does not yet have a blog to link to, but definitely should!). If you are unfamiliar with BeadforLife, it is an organization that is helping to eradicate extreme poverty in Uganda by providing a way for women to earn a sustainable income by making paper beads and jewelry. BeadforLife buys the jewelry and beads from the women, and in turns sends the beads to people in the United States who volunteer to host bead parties. At the bead party, attendees have the opportunity to purchase these handmade items and the profit is then collected and returned to BeadforLife, who in turn return the money to Uganda for community development. It is REALLY a neat organization and it was a privilege to host a party for them!
How to host a BeadforLife party:
1. Visit the BeadforLife website. Click on the 'Host a Bead Party' tab at the top.
2. Register to host your party--the party is of no cost to you. You do need to plan ahead, because you'll need to sign up about 3-4 weeks before you plan to host the party. They need to have time to prepare your bead packet and get your information ready to go. Information you'll need to know when registering: 1) The date you plan to hold your party, 2) Approximately how many attendees you expect (less than 100, 100-300, or 300+), 3) If you plan to have multiple parties, you'll need to know the date of your last party.
3. Send out invitations! BeadforLife provides digital invitations you can customize, or you can download and print a paper invitation to send. I sent mine via Facebook events and on my mom's group message board, both of which allow people to RSVP, so it was easy to know how many to expect.
4. Await your package. About a week before your party, you will receive a box from BeadforLife with everything you'll need to host the bead party. In total, I received about 300 pieces jewelry/loose beads/jewelry bags/etc. You'll want to count them when your receive them to double check you have as many as are listed on the inventory sheet. Our box was missing one bracelet, which we just noted on the page. The box will also include traditional Ugandan recipes (we served the Pumpkin Mango soup), a DVD about how the beads are made, a CD of Ugandan music, leaflets to handout, reading material, and more.
5. The day of the party, you'll want to display the jewelry in a way that really highlights the beautiful colors. We turned over bowls and boxes on the table and covered them with black cloth and laid the beads across them at varying heights. It is also a good idea to provide a little hand mirror.
6. it is VERY important to keep very good notes about which items get sold and how much money is collected. You must send back a list of how many of each item you are returning, how many sold, and how much was collected. A tally sheet would be helpful. Mine got a little chaotic, but we eventually figured things out. Just make sure you don't label things with too similar of names (I had triple strand bracelet and triple strand necklace right next to each other and got a few tallies mixed up--we figured it out, but it wasn't pretty!
7. Remember to take pictures! Have fun! And look forward to hopefully attending another bead party in the future hosted by one of your inspired guests : )
BeadforLife has a blog! Be sure to check it out as well!