Saturday, October 15, 2011

Winners have been contacted...

Hello everyone,

I am very excited to report that over $114,000 in total was donated to the Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund during the month that we hosted the giveaway!

The amount includes all the generous people who emailed me, left comments here and donated directly to the fund. This giveaway was initially planned to help raise additional money for Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund, but logistics required us to change things up mid-way. I am glad that we could still figure out a way to show our appreciation towards the donors and the non-stop work that has been ongoing at the fund.

Winners were chosen today using an online random number generator and they will be contacted directly over the next few days.Once we receive permission from the winners, we will post their names on this blog.

I would like to personally thank the amazing artists who donated all these handmade gifts and the hardworking staff at Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund - Thank You for helping me get this together (and for answering my incessant emails!).

To all the donors who made this happen, we would like to say a VERY BIG Thank You! Everyone who participated should be very happy to know that multiple recovery grants were distributed which have helped numerous small businesses affected by Irene all over Vermont.

We had started out hoping to spread the word about the devastation caused by hurricane Irene in Vermont and I think in the process you have helped people who needed it the most.

Thank you, once again! Stay tuned for the list of winners!


Sunday, October 2, 2011

Experiencing some technical difficulties....


I wanted to write in and thank everyone who has donated to the Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund over the last month.

We were supposed to pick winners tonight, but we have some technical issues to deal with - there have been some problems generating the full list of donors so we can pick winners for this giveaway.

We are working with an organization that works with an organization that handles the donor lists. So trying to sort through this has been the main problem. However, everyone involved is working on it and we should have something the week of the 10th.

We are extremely sorry for the delay! See you soon.

Friday, September 16, 2011

And the donating continues....

Hello again everyone,

Fall is definitely announcing its impending arrival tonight here in Vermont! A nice crisp fall evening/night coming on.

I wanted to write in thank everyone who has donated to Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund so far and talk a bit about a major change being established here.

You dont need to come back to this blog to let me know your information any more. You can certainly visit to just catch up with me (please do!), but now all you have to do is to DONATE to the Fund and we will take care of the rest. Easy-peasy :)

What we have decided to do is include everyone who is taking all this time out of their lives to give back to the community. So, anyone who donates to the Fund has a chance to win all the handmade lovelies. Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund and I will be in touch regarding all the donations they have received.

KEEP SPREADING THE WORD - the more people we get involved, the faster these small businesses we love can get back on their feet.

Thank you for stopping by.

Monday, September 12, 2011

The lovely handmade items you can win by helping those in need...

Time to learn about all the unique and handmade prizes that you can win through this giveaway!

Let me take this opportunity to thank all the artists who have donated their time and amazing products for this cause. When I started this, I was unsure if I would be able to reach any artist and if I would get a reply to my emails/links/messages/texts/stalking (sometimes I think they said yes just to get me off their backs! Thank you, any way!). Your generosity truly humbles me.

Here goes….

Made In Lowell: Liz from Made in Lowell has donated this needle felted mini cupcake pin cushion ring made from chocolate and strawberry wool. Yummy!

The Orange Owl: You can win your choice of one handcrafted vegan soap, luscious lip balm, decadent vegan body butter and luxurious vegan bath salt from The Orange Owl. Click on over to the website to look through the collections. Win some luxury!

Designs by Anna: Anna has donated a plethora of items that we will be raffling off as gift sets. She makes these using handmade felt and upcycled fabrics, and embellishes them with stitching, buttons and beads. Go Anna!
  • Set 1: 2 headbands, 1 ponytail holder, 1 sleep mask, 1 wrist cuff and 1 coffee sleeve
  • Set 2: 2 headbands, 1 sleep mask, 2 coffee sleeves
  • Set 3: 1 pony tail holder, 1 sleep mask, 1 wrist cuff and 1 coffee sleeve
  • Set 4: 2 coffee sleeves
Town of Beadrock: Susan from Town of Beadrock has generously donated 2 bracelets that will be given away SEPARATELY for this benefit. An original take on the popular leather wrap bracelets made famous by designer Chan Luu – these are stunning!

White Dove: A single-wrap beaded bracelet featuring large white freshwater pearls on natural brown leather with a pewter metal clasp. This chunky bracelet is rich and substantial all on its own, yet also works beautifully with other bracelets for an armful.  Dress up jeans or enhance a dress, this bracelet adds casual elegance to any outfit. White Dove measures 1/2" wide and 9 inches long; fits any size wrist but will hang very loosely on petite (6" and smaller) wrists.

Deep Sea: A 4-wrap bracelet featuring the iridescent glow of deep ocean blue matte-finish Czech glass (AB) beads. The beads are woven on on black leather and finished with a silver metal elephant clasp. This bracelet adds casual charm to neutral as well as colorful wardrobes; may also be worn double stranded as a choker necklace. Deep Sea measures runs a bit on the small side; it measures 5/16" wide and 30" long with multiple closures to wrap 4 times around wrists about 7 1/4" or smaller.

Sampler Village: Traci from Sampler Village is donating a $25.00 gift certificate so you can choose a sampler box of your choice! The gift certificate will be emailed directly to the winner. Click on over to the Sampler Village website to see your options!

The Owl And The Envelope: Megan is donating some beautiful handmade cards. You can win a set of 8 retro-striped note-cards and envelopes, in their own coordinating box. Includes eight handmade cards in two stylish, coordinated designs, along with matching handmade, end-opening envelopes.  Cards are A1 sized (3-1/2 x 5), and made on recycled, sustainable paper. Great for you, great as a gift!

Froggy Girl Designs: Mika from Froggy Girl Designs is making available these lovely rice bags that you can heat or cool and use to get rid of those aches, pains and colds. This gift set will include one large, one medium, and 2 small rice bags.

Like a Fresh New Penny: Rebecca wants you to have clean clothes without harming the environment! You can win an all-natural laundry detergent (10oz, enough for ~30loads). Made with ecofriendly ingredients - free of chemicals and dyes. Just the way we like it!

The Night Owl: Britni from The Night Owl offers quality custom handmade lettering and is giving away the opportunity to win a 4-5 letter word that she can design according to the theme you choose. Find The Night Owl on Facebook to see her previous artwork. These letters are 6inches high and about 1inch thick. Spell away! 

Walk On The Moon: Regina is donating 3 pairs of earrings from her charming store that will be given away together as a set. Sparkle!

Roadrunner Earrings: Sparkling custom coated Swarovski Crystal briolettes suspended snugly within a pretty pewter bail. A lush Aquamarine color with hints of gold & green. They measure 1” long & are suspended from sterling silver earwires.

Bird of Paradise Earrings: Deep blue-green Swarovski briolettes & a pewter bail are suspended from sterling silver earwires. They measure just 1” and are perfect for everyday wear.

Tanager Earrings: Rare custom coated Swarovski briolettes, pewter bails & sterling silver earwires. These sparkling beauties are the perfect everyday pair of earrings. They measure just about 1” in length.

Lovely Looks By Lauren: Lauren is donating a beautiful dandelion necklace. Bottles are 1.1/4 inches tall (not including the cork) and 1/2 inch wide. Encased with dandelion wishing seeds. Make a wish!

The Paper Crane: Miya is donating this wonderful origami ornament made from 16 pieces of 2 1/2" washi papers from Japan. These papers are folded into 16 units and then assembled to form this simple yet beautiful piece.  A 1 1/2" gold crane is suspended from a silk thread in the center of the ornament.  Peace!

Kooks Ginger Boy: Jane is donating a beautiful felt flower corsage brooch to this benefit. It is made from a 100% wool felt with a specially chosen button in its center. It could be worn on your best dress, a casual jacket or just as a pretty addition to any outfit. Dress it up!

Foto Macro: Angie would love for you to own any one of her 8X10 prints available on her Etsy shop. You can click on over to her store to make your choice!

Chick Family Ink: The Chick family is donating 3 of these lovely hand carved and printed 5 color reduction woodcut original on Rives heavy weight paper. This is part of an alphabet series and measure 6.25inches X 10.25inches. The oil based Daniel Smith ink and the acid free matte are archival quality and should last a lifetime. These will be raffled SEPARATELY.

Sue Salo from Bondville, VT: Sue is donating this 12oz stainless steel travel mug with a handle adorned with a detailed dragon design done by machine embroidery.

Carroll Photos: Mary wants us to enjoy nature all year round! These cards are from her garden portrait series and can be used for any occasion. There are four 4.5inches X 6.5inches blank note cards in each set and she is donating two of them. These will be raffled SEPARATELY. Let’s revise the art of note writing!

Suzanne Drown Art And Design: Suzanne is donating two gift bags filled with goodies designed with her original batik artwork. Each gift bag contains 2 signed open edition 8x10 prints, 6 handcrafted cards and 1 wearable art pin. These gift bags will be raffled SEPARATELY.

Blackbird Experience: Mary is donating one 8inches X 8inches photograph titled “Succulents” professionally printed on archival paper. It is unmated and unframed – set it up according to your style!

Elizabeth Noonan: Elizabeth would love to do something special for the person who wins this gift – she specializes in preserving memories! Have a sweater you are sentimental about but wish it looked a little different? She will do just that for you – how cool is that?!

Vermont Homespun: Andrea is offering this felted bowl to one lucky winner! Handmade felted wool bowls can be used any way you like to organize and beautify your home. They are perfect on the bedroom dresser holding jewelry or spare change...on your office desk to stash rubber bands or paper the bathroom filled with potpourri...anywhere you like as a decorative accent!

Just Crafty: Janet would like to donate this petal pink 32 inch square granny square lap robe/afghan to one lucky winner. Stay warm! 

Handmade Bows By Marsha: Marsha is donating this adorable little set of hair accessories to keep your little girl's hair in check! Made using fall colors this Korker Hair Bow & Butterfly Hair Clip. Both bows are made of high quality grosgrain ribbon and are attached to matching ribbon-lined alligator clips.

Stefani McGregor from Alexandria, VA: Stefani is offering a handmade earring envelope made of lightly reinforced cotton with a handy mesh insert to hang all your earrings on while traveling. Winner gets to choose from a selection of fabric designs. The design pictured is approximately 4.5" x 6" but can be made larger or smaller if desired. Includes one pair of floral earrings with a glass bead drop and sterling silver ear wires.

The Bobbin: Gyllian wants you to have one of your very own ecofriendly love bunnies! Every love bunny is handmade with sustainable textiles on vintage sewing machines with hand stitched butts & pom-pom tails. Their vintage fabrics & yarns are carefully selected with lots of love and no two bunnies are ever the same. Each Bunny has its own little apron/pocket stitched right in. Perfect for a little love note or special gift!

Olive And Pepper: Alison would love for you to own some of her custom designed onesies and clothes! She is offering a $75 gift certificate to one lucky winner. Click on over to her Etsy shop and choose what you would like to get for that special bundle of joy in your life.

Migration Goods: Eling is donating this beautiful hand-dyed fingering weight yarn. It is superwash merino, superfine alpaca & nylon, 438 yards / 100g and called Brightening. What will you knit today?!
We have other artists who have expressed an interest in donating items but have been busy given that there were craft fairs EVERYWHERE this weekend! So, I will be updating this list as I hear from them.

Once again, thank you so much for all these lovely donations! I cannot believe that it has come together this quickly and beautifully. 

Now let’s roll up our sleeves and get everybody donating to the Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund – they need all our help so they can continue helping those who are really hurting. 

The rules stay the same!
  • Go to Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund and donate generously. For every $10.00 donated, you get one entry into this giveaway
  • Come back to this blog and comment below - leave me the following information in ONE comment
    • Your email id (eg: theowl(at)theorangeowlshop(dot)com)
    • Your donation amount (eg: $25.00)
    • The receipt number emailed to you by Paypal (0303-6900-2502-1793 at the END of the email)
    • Is there anything in particular you would like to use your ticket(s) on? (optional) If you dont write anything for this, your tickets will be used for all the prizes
  • Winners will be chosen on October 2nd 2011 (we might change this depending on how things are going with the donations)
  • SPREAD THE WORD so we can have more people donating to the wonderful organization!
Add The Orange Owl on Twitter (TheOrangeOwl1) or on Facebook so you can stay updated.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Helping those in need

Hi everyone! Let me first introduce myself before getting down to business. 

My name is Akshata Nayak and I moved to VT last year with my husband. Here we started two businesses –
  • The Orange Owl ( based in Grand Isle which offers 100% handmade, all-natural, ecofriendly and socially conscious skincare products
We are very excited that through both these ventures we get to help people achieve the level of wellness they have always desired in their lives. 

What we have realized over the past year is that small businesses are the lifeline of Vermont. The little Mom-and-Pop shops you see downtown, the uniqueness and artistic quality of products, the appreciation and respect for nature, the rustic environment, baled hay in the fields, wildlife, farmers markets, giant farm tractors in the middle of the road, a feeling of community – this is what Vermont is all about.
Route 4 in Mendon, VT. Courtesy The Daily Herald
Approximately two weeks ago, everybody was glued to their television sets or computers frantically trying to track a rough hurricane that was threatening to make its way up the east coast. Large areas were evacuated and emergency protocols were put into place. 

When the time came, however, the now infamous Irene changed her track and moved inland hitting Vermont harder than ever expected. Whole roads were destroyed, bridges washed away, towns found themselves choked with mud and people were left stranded without any access to food, water and basic amenities.
House destroyed south of Pittsfield, VT. Courtesy The Rutland Herald

Times like these can bring out the worst or the best in people and Vermonters proudly put their best foot forward. Town-wide barbecues were planned in places cut off from the rest of the state, strangers helped each other out, fundraisers were organized and people worked tirelessly to reinstate access to all the affected towns. At the moment, the vibe in the air is nothing short of inspirational and infectious.

We know how lucky we are that we were spared in this devastation, while merely an hour away the destruction is unbelievable. It is imperative, therefore, that however small, we do our best to make a difference. 

Time to help your neighbors out! Brattleboro, VT. Courtesy Burlington Free Press

In my efforts to find an organization or fund that I could work with, I found Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund. Based out of Montpelier, this organization has been working nonstop to help small businesses, just like us, get back on their feet. Since this is the world I know best, I decided this is what I wanted to assist with.

So, here we are! The ideas, numbers, details and exhaustive directions -
  • The fundraising goal:
o   $1500.00 for Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund. This is a random amount and I would be DELIGHTED to increase it - we can do it!
  • Crafters/artists:
o   Contact me at theowl(at)theorangeowlshop(dot)com or send me a direct message on Twitter (TheOrangeOwl1) or find The Orange Owl on Facebook to donate handmade items as prizes (DON’T say you didn’t know how to get in touch with me!)
o   Over the next week, I will be contacting/nagging various friends/crafters/artists to get details about their donations (you DO NOT have to ship these items to me, I just need pictures, descriptions etc). We have already received great handmade donations from Made In Lowell, Gather Here, Designs By Anna, Sampler Village, Town of Beadrock, The Orange Owl and various just-starting-to-craft crafters. I know we can gather much more!
o   I will post a blog on September 12th, 2011 with all the information about the luxurious goods you can win

  • For people who want to participate in the raffle:
o   I request that you go on over to Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund to process your donations
o   For every $10 donated, you get one entry into our raffle
o   I will need you to return and provide three things in the comments section below (just one comment even if you have made a very generous donation, please!)
§   email ID used while making the donation (for example theowl(at)theorangeowlshop(dot)com)
§  donation amount (for example $30.00 which entitles you to 3 entries into our raffle)
§  receipt number given to you in the EMAIL that Paypal will send in response to your donation (for example 0303-6900-2502-1793 at the END of the email)
o   DO NOT FORGET this step, otherwise we will have no way to keep track of your generosity for the raffle drawing
o   On October 2nd, winners will be chosen for the prizes using an online random number generator
o   If  you win any of the above mentioned crafty-genius-items, I will contact you via the email you provided and request that you forward me the confirmation email sent to you by Paypal post your donation (so SAVE THAT EMAIL!)
o   It is then my responsibility to communicate with the crafters/artists and provide them the contact information of the winners so they can ship out their individual prizes directly.

It is very simple - you get to win awesomeness and Vermont Irene Flood Relief Fund gets to help more people out – definitely a WIN! WIN! situation.

National Guard preparing food to airlift into towns. Courtesy Associated Press
Who WOULD NOT want to participate?! So, let’s get started! PLEASE Facebook, Tweet, email, blog, text, call and whatever-else-it-is-that-kids-do-these-days about this raffle and get as many people involved as possible. Follow TheOrangeOwl1 on Twitter or Facebook to stay updated.

Thank you so much for your time and generosity!