Friday, September 21, 2018

Ornament Making

Making our yearly ornaments is a long and complex process containing more steps that you would possibly imagine. This is why we need so many volunteers to help make it a success!

Step 1: Find an artist to agree to paint an original design for you.

Step 2: Choose a design that they have submitted. Now you think this would be easy, but this year we decided to team up with the Victoria Soto Foundation and paint in honor of their cause. We got to know them last year when we painted our Tiny Treasure hearts with them and had them distributed at the Victoria Soto 5 K race last year. We love everything their foundation stands for and does for teachers, for the children, for the town and wanted to support them again this year. We asked if we could use our yearly ornament to support their cause and ours and they quickly jumped on board. Our team member and resident artist, Alise Taite, created 3 hearts for the Soto family to choose from. They loved all three so much, that this year we are actually making 100 of each of the 3 designs to sell. $5 of each heart sold will go to the Soto Foundation. 

Step 3: Round up volunteers to begin the multi-step process of creating these ornaments. 

Step 3 in Detail: Here is the process of ornament making: 

Photograph the original ornaments that were painted on hearts. 

Process the hearts on to paper, eliminating the hole and adding the wording and graphics. Print them on high quality paper.

The copies then have to be carefully and neatly cut out, which takes hours. And it also leaves your wrists and thumbs quite numb. 

Hundreds of clay hearts have to be made and fired well in advance and delivered to us.

Then the hearts have to be painted white.

A trimming might be necessary for some of the paper hearts so they fit properly on each heart. 

The paper hearts are then mod podged onto the hearts, making sure there are no air bubbles and the edges are secure. It can take up to 10 minutes before the bubbles appear and edges lift. 

Once the mod podge dries, the 3D dots are added. These dots need 4 days to cure. Each person's dots are different; some people make big dots, some make ones that look like little Hershey kisses. Depending on the humidity, sometimes the dots flatten like pancakes, sometimes they stand tall like mountains. 

After the dots are thoroughly cured, they hearts are mod podged, front and back. This is done over a two day period, giving the mod podge a day for each side to cure before turning the hearts over. 

We also have hundreds of Hope charms that need to be put on split rings, which is a time consuming process that requires good close up eyesight. 

Those Hope charms then need to be put on to ribbons, which of course needed to be previously cut to a specific length.

The ribbons need to be tied on to each of the individual heart. 

This is the front and back of the card that will be packaged with the heart.

The hearts will then need to be put into a bubble wrap bag, and then placed with the above card into a white organza bag for sale on our web site and a few locations around Stratford.

So now you can see why we need so many volunteers in order for this project to be completed. Without you, we can not make this dream come true.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Breast Cancer Awareness September 11,2018

Welcome Back Everyone!

After a well deserved summer break, we are back to our regular Paint with a Purpose monthly events at the Riverview Bistro. We start this season off with a cause that is near and dear to my heart, Breast Cancer Awareness. 

Anyone who knows my family's story knows that cancer runs rapid through it. Every generation has had multiple family members with or die from cancer, from a great grandfather who died from multiple myeloma... to a grandfather to died of pancreatic cancer... two grandmothers who had breast cancer...a great aunt with uterine cancer... two aunts with breast cancer, one of whom died of liver cancer two years ago... a cousin with osteosarcoma... another cousin with lymphoma... another one with skin cancer... to my mom who passed last year after a 15 year fight with ovarian cancer that metastasized to her lungs. These are just some of the ones I continue to fight against this disease in honor and in memory of.  And painting Hearts of Hope for survivors is just one of the ways I do this.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so September is the perfect month to paint for this. The hearts that we painted will be brought to the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Walk at Sherwood Island State Park on October 14th. They will be given out to Breast Cancer Survivors who are in attendance at the walk.

click on a photo to be taken to a larger view

 Sasha and Bridget, two of our high school volunteers

 Someone is loving our dotting tools!

 We love and appreciate the support we get from Patti, the president of our sister chapter in Newtown. 

 We wish to thank Connie for her guidance and leadership in making our Stratford Chapter the strong and vibrant chapter is has become and wish her smooth sailing on her new adventure as she and her family move to Mt Pleasant, SC. We will miss her more than words can say. 

 A child's heart is full of love and hope.