Spring is coming!

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Today is supposed to be ALMOST 60 DEGREES!!! And for those of you who know me, you know that I looooove warm weather and sunshine. I woke up at 4am today, maybe because I am so excited for this little glimps of warm weather, and thought I should spend my early morning  blogging about spring and sipping coffee:)

I have a feeling that bright colors, such as orange&neon yellow, will dominate this season. Here is some inspiration:

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#lyproject

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Last night I participated in an event for Leap Year Project.  Their mission is simple. “Everyone has had ideas, dreams, and thoughts about creating change in their lives or around the world (yep…even you). Though it seems like there is too much going wrong and too little time, 2012 is a Leap Year and we are inviting you to take a risk to change your life, your community or your world for the better.” They had this amazing space to use in a coop downtown, right off the Chicago stop. The room had this creative energy to it that led everyone in conversation about what inspires you and what are you passionate about and how are you going to get to where you want to be. Great conversation, people, and atmosphere. Overall, I would say the event was a success!

A few weeks back I met with my friend Andrea who asked if I would help with some of the decorations for the #lyproject event. I love projects and I love to decorate, so that was an easy answer.  We partnered with Green Light New Orleans, who installs free energy efficient light bulbs in households to create a sustainable community. They sent us over 100 lightbulbs to use for an installation I was to create. Our theme was ‘It all startes with an idea’, hence the lightbulbs:) I have never built an installation in any fashion, so this was going to be a first.  And did I mention that the light bulbs were not getting delivered til Monday and the event was Wednesday!  I was so excited when the bulbs came because they were all different shapes and sizes and the majority were Edison bulbs, so cool!  Here are some pics of the final product! I plan to hang them over a dining room table, once I actually or make one:)

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Recycling my Leather Bags! FOR SALE

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For those of you that don’t know yet, I decided to eliminate the use of any animal products in my life.  So my recent dilemma has been this: what in the world do I do with all the leather I have in my wardrobe?   I think that throwing away each piece would just be counterproductive and wasteful.  I do, however, feel that walking around with a leather bag in tow while claiming to live a ‘kind’ life feels very hypocritical.

After much consideration, I have decided that I want to recycle each piece. I want to sell each bag and donate 100% of the proceeds to a wonderful organization, The Gentle Barn. The Gentle Barn’s mission is this: ‘To rescue, rehabilitate and give sanctuary to abused animals. Through the interaction with our animals people learn reverence for all life’. TGB is located in California and houses over 130 rescued farm animals that were abused, neglected or ready to be slaughtered.

Each bag is used, but loved none the less. If you are interested in purchasing one, please email me at Laura.anne.hebden@gmail.com.  I plan to ship for free, all I ask is that I receive a check made out to THE GENTLE BARN for the selling price and an address you would like me to ship it too!  If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me as well!

These make wonderful gifts as well:)

I got this bag when I lived in Italy. It is hand crafted and an 'Il Medici'. It has gold buckles and a british racing green interior. Asking price $40.00 SOLD!!!

This is probably my most favorite one. It is mint green with a cream interior. There are tons of compartments inside and is large enough to cary a laptop in. It was purchased at Anthropologie and made by Nest. Purchase Price $35.00! SOLD!!!!!

Never been used Coach Wristlet. It is light lavender and I am including a Banana Republic credit card holder with this purchase. Purchase Price $25.00 SOLD!!!!

This Banana Republic bag is a beauty and in fantastic condition! It can fit SO much, I was able to carry text books around in it. Purchase Price $40.00 SOLD!!!!!

This Miss Albright clutch was purchased at Anthropologie. It has have a few water stains in the base of the bag. It is fairly large and works a great summer everyday clutch. Purchase Price $25.00

This pink clutch was purchased at Anthropologie and is made by Nest. It has been used maybe 3 times and has bright yellow interior. Purchase Price $15.00

I love this bag. It is shiny maroon rust red color. It can hold a laptop and my favorite part is the owl interior. See image below. Purchase Price $40.00. Check out the owls! SOLD!!!

I LOVE this clutch! It goes with everything and you can dress it up or down. Perfect for those city date nights:) Purchase Price $20.00 SOLD!!!!!

Empower Women this Holiday Season

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With the holiday season less than a month away our minds are consumed with buying the latest and newest products developed.  Let’s be honest, there is something about coming down the stairs Christmas morning and finding beautifully  wrapped gifts under the tree with your name on it.  The mystery and wonder of what might be wrapped ever so perfectly for you is alluring. Sure, getting the iPhone4s would be a great present to receive, but like with most gifts,  the initial excitement soon wears off and it becomes just another ‘thing’  incorporated into your everyday life–one that seems to become a necessity. Something you couldn’t live without. In modern America, we’ve seemed to confuse our ‘needs’ with our ‘wants’.  While the first few days would be extremely difficult, I could actually survive without my iPhone (and honestly, I’d definitely welcome the break from the communication overload).

So this Christmas, I’ve decided to reevaluate my needs vs. my wants, and seriously consider how I can transform my wants into providing needs for others.  This doesn’t mean I’m swearing off Christmas gifts all together, but I’m going to try to be much more socially conscious about what I give and what I ask for. Instead of fighting crowds at the mall so mom can get another set of her favorite bathroom towels, why not give a hand-crafted gift that is providing a job for a woman who needs to feed her family? Did you know that woman make up of 70% of the world’s poorest people, and 2/3rd of them are illiterate.  Mothers, daughters, sisters without a jobs, lack of education, little food, and no shelter for their families.

This holiday season lets commit to supporting those woman who need it most!   Check out these social enterprises who are dedicated to supporting underprivileged entrepreneurs and artisans around the glob by providing them with an education, training, and the resources needed to create a sustainable lifestyle.

I love this piece. and made by HIV- positive women in Ethiopia using beads formed from melted down bullet casings and recycled metals (brass, silver, copper).

Perfect beauty care gift! Helping indigenous women of Morocco who harvest and produce the Argan Oil.

From Rwanda to Anthropologie! Hand knit through Rwanda Knits.

"Women use the oldest form of crochet known on earth to create the jurab, a brightly colored, soft, extra warm and toasty winter stocking." -The Bootstrap Project

This clutch is $450, however " Each clutch sold will provide 1,000 school meals for children through the UN World Food Programme's School Feeding initiative - the largest donation to date for one of our FEED products!" - Project FEED

31 Bits! Love their stuff!

YALA - Handmade by Indian women formerly trafficked in the sex trade.

Ralph Lauren Sells Fair-Trade Bracelets! Hand-made by the Twiyubake Family of Kayonza, Rwanda. After the 1994 Genocide, these master weavers were determined to lift themselves out of poverty with spirit and dignity and did so their craft!

Raven + Lily Journals! Only $18!

Hand-woven Ikat Fabric. Sold by: The Bootstrap Project

Perfect stocking stuffer! Handmade by HIV-positive women in Ethiopia out of genuine leather cord and recycled metals. Raven + Lily

Sites worth checking out for holiday gifts: The Bootstrap Project, Indego Africa, Raven + Lily, Yala Design, FEED projects, 31 bits, Rwanda Knits

Indoor Bonfires

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This past week I have woken up only to stumble out of bed and look at the thermometer reading for outside, and it has consistently been in the 30′s! Buurrrr… Fall has left too quickly and I miss the smell of crisp leaves and bonfires.  I know having a woodburing fireplace might be messy and a hassle to always have wood handy (or maybe this is just the perfect excuse to marry a mountain man!) but don’t these look so cozy and wonderful! Wool socks, cup of coffee, a good book while sitting next to the fire! That is how everyone should spend their day.

Perfect for a cabin

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I know you can't see the full fire place, but these socks are incredible!

this is kind of enchanting to me.

Croatian

rustic

simple.