Thursday, September 22, 2011

Napa Valley Fall Trunk Show

 Fall Trunk Show

This year it will be held at
The Mustard Seed Clothing Co.
1301 Napa Town Center, Napa California
Saturday, October 22, 2011
 10:00am until 5:00pm

For those of you visiting the beautiful Napa Valley for the grape harvest, this is an opportunity to enhance your visit by shopping for a Christmas gift or two.
Our new fall season alpaca knitwear will be on display as well as Cuddle Grams. Soft, warm alpaca throws ready for all gift giving occasions. Plus, every throw that you purchase Our Hands For Hope donates a warm, cuddly blanket to a child in need.
A great way for you to have your gift, give again.
Your purchases will be giving back to mothers and children living in the barrios of Peru.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Mustard Seed

 The mustard seed. 

 A tiny seed that is only 1-2 mm in diameter. 

Photo Credit: Georgetown edu. Artist: Dorothy Woodward

Yet,..."when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes a tree, 
so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches".... 
                                                                                         Gospel of Mathew 
I don't think it is a coincidence that our first retail store partner is,
 Like the tiny mustard seed the small beginnings of Our Hands For Hope has been planted here, and now we Iook forward to it's continued growth so that the birds of the air can come and lodge in it's branches.

We are so pleased to announce that The Mustard Seed Clothing Co. is now carrying our hand knits. 
Located in the heart of the beautiful Napa Valley, California, this boutique has been named 
"Best clothing boutique in the Napa Valley"
for sixteen straight years in a row!
Stop by, browse the shop, and tell Barbara Wiggins the owner "thank you " for offering her hands to work with Our Hands so that we all can make a difference in the lives of others.
The Mustard Seed Clothing Co. 1301 Napa Town Center, Napa California

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Shipping from Peru

How many stamps does it take to get a package from Peru to California?

This many!

Friday, June 17, 2011

What is a barrio?

Every time I open a box and see the hand knits that the mothers in Peru are creating, I am humbled by knowing the conditions they are living in and reminded of why we are doing this.

 Here's a bit of history.

Over the last twenty years Peru has gone through some major cultural changes. Ten years removed from communism the country is still struggling to pull its people out of severe poverty. Jobs are being created but not quick enough.
One of the organizations at work down there is 

While I was there, one of the best days of my trip was to go into one of the barrios with two of the organizations directors. 
These photos are ones I took while in Trujillo, Peru.

In Peru, a barrio is referred to as a district or community of people that are living on top of landfill areas in the outskirts of the cities.

How the barrio system works is sad yet hopeful. 

The city is ever expanding from the center out. If you draw imaginary concentric circles around the city's core you eventually come upon a 7th, 6th, 5th, generation barrio, all the way to the outskirts which would be considered the 1st.
These are pictures of a first generation barrio

 The family, usually abandoned or widowed women and children have come out of the Andes mountains in hopes of finding work in the city. 
An informal a system had been set up where a small (approx 15'x15') plot of land is assigned to them.

The concept is like homesteading, you develop your home and you get to stay. 
The houses, estera huts are created out of anything found; straw matting, cardboard, plastic, twin and reed.

Eventually they begin adding adobe brick, maybe a found window, a plywood door and a small plant out front to beautify their home.

Over time the homes begin to grow into each other. Businesses are created by entrepreneurial spirits and a community is formed.
During the first year, the government drives by with a water truck once a week and families collect water in whatever they have gleaned.

The second year, a community water station is built.
Third year, electricity is dropped in and a few main roads are paved.

Fourth fifth, and sixth years more roads are paved, trees planted and a park is created.

The barrio has now begun to blend the boundary's and has become a part of the ever growing city.

The people that I met were wonderful. 
Cheerful, hopeful, and beautiful. 
They proudly shared their homes and posed for photos.
Kids were as kids are, giggly, playful and happy.

It is these mothers that are creating the hand knit alpaca throws, sweaters, wraps, etc. that we are featuring, This is creating a sustainable income for them and their families.
Seeing all these photos again, just reinforces how much I want to go back!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Alpaca Facts

Alpaca, one of the world's most luxurious natural fibers. It is as soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool. The natural colors of this animals fleece comes in 22 basic colors, more than any other fiber producing animal. Because of it's excellent affinity to dye, it can be transformed into an array of colors. The average life span of these cute creatures is 20 to 25 years. Once a year in the spring, they are sheared, producing 5 to 8 pounds of  buttery soft fleece that is spun into beautiful yarns.

 Flickr photos by: Janine Russell

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Birthday: Pinwheels and Polka dots

April showers bring May flowers and that is just what can happen for a late spring birthday. 

Create table centerpieces from giant, yellow gerbera daisies and pinwheels suspended in red and white striped popcorn containers.

Add 1" white stickers to red tablecloths for a fun polka dot effect.

Wrap all gifts is bold, and bright colorful paper.

 Tie bold colored balloons to every chair.

Dress in your bright blue dress, accent with those to die for shoes and slip on your alpaca hand-knit sweater.

Now rest assured your gift, the one with the Cuddle gram logo is going to be the perfect gift! 

A snuggly, cuddly, hand knit alpaca throw, that will be a reminder of a big hug from you.
And just think, a child in a barrio tonight is staying warm too.

Every time a Cuddle Gram is sold, Our Hands For Hope, LLC will gift a warm cuddly blanket to a child in need.