My friend Rachael's Etsy (online site where people sell their crafts) is up and running! Check it out; it's called Simple Wishes. Her simple wish is to provide a wonderful Christmas for some older orphans on the outskirts of St. Petersburg. 100 % of her sales up until December 18th will be used by a friend of hers, Kate, who will purchase toys and other presents and deliver them personally. I contributed Russian fabric to Rachael's shop and you can see some cute matryoshka library totes that she has made so far. She is mainly selling beautiful fabric totes and purses, but her sisters are also helping out by donating pottery and paintings. You can click on "items sold" to see other bags she has made; she's open to filling a few special request orders. You can also donate directly to her cause via PayPal at her online shop.
Considering that Rachael is a mom to four kids *and* a full-time practicing doctor, I'm amazed that she's doing this--and I would love to send any of you her way! It's hard to believe that she only just got into sewing (she wanted to personally make her daughter Katya's first Halloween costume--she's seven and joined their family in April); her seams are perfectly straight and the bags look great! I guess all those years of sewing up people were good practice...!
Another delicious holiday offering is homemade truffles by Elle. Her shop is called Sweet Hope and I've heard that her chocolates are amazing. What's even nicer is that she uses the proceeds from her annual sale to provide a grant to a deserving family facing the staggering costs of adoption. I'm giving some of these for Christmas...
You could also win a long list of wonderful prizes (to give as gifts or to keep for yourself!) in very big, very awesome raffle that two generous blogging moms have organized to support two other families in their adoption journeys. Sig and her family are adoptiong 10-year-old Tarana from Azerbaijan, and Krystal and her family are adopting brothers Gerson and Elviz from Guatemala. Just look at these kids!!! Check out their stories; I did and I was moved to donate Russian children's books to their raffle. You can purchase a ticket for just $5 and view the long list of prizes (including handmade boutique children's clothing, a digital camera, scrapbooking supplies and gift certificates to Target, Gymboree and Starbucks) here. Hurry, the raffle ends on Friday, November 16th!
I also love the beautiful zip-up bags that Heather sells on Etsy. She and her husband are in the process of adopting a little girl from China and all of her sale proceeds go towards bringing Lily home. Her combinations of of fabrics are gorgeous and unusual; these bags would be memorable gift.