Giving Back – Annette Piper

19 11 2008

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

 – Winston Churchill


How much do you participate in your community or in your artistic field?  Not just in selling your wares and promoting yourself or your goods – but actively helping organizations that you are surrounded by?   


Is there an organization within your community that you admire for what they do?   Is there a professional organization that fosters new artisans/artists?  Is there a group that helped you in the past?


I live in a small rural community.   Every organization (and there are a LOT of them) fundraise to meet their expenses or to achieve their goals.   They are all run by volunteers.   I have found that I no longer have the time to sit on stalls all day, to spend a day baking, or to help organize a fundraising function. 


However I do have a product that people appreciate and want.  This makes it ideal for me to support these organizations by the donation of a piece of jewellery.  The jewellery is either raffled or auctioned – either way someone gets some lovely jewellery and the organization gets much needed funds!  


Of course, they don’t ALWAYS want jewellery, but three or four times a year  I will donate an item or two to organizations in my local town or the surrounding district.    And you know what, it feels GREAT!


How about supporting a local artisan group by giving lessons or talks to young people interested in getting into the artistic field?   Encourage their efforts and support their endeavours.  


Hopefully your generosity will inspire others to do the same.  And you will benefit by getting the satisfaction of strengthening and helping your community.

This coral, lava and silver necklace raised several hundred dollars for a neighbouring school.

This coral, lava and silver necklace raised several hundred dollars for a neighbouring school.


“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”

– Aesop


To read more by Annette, see her blog, Under the Loupe and view her jewellery at


Giving Back — Lisa Liddy

10 10 2008

I feel blessed to have the talents I do and the opportunities given to bring in some income from those talents. Several years ago, I met Deb Leone through another community organization. Deb founded the Melonhead Foundation about 10 years after losing her youngest daughter to leukemia. Melanie was a beautiful young girl with aspirations to swim for the US in the Olympics. Her swim friends called her “Melonhead” after she lost her hair and signed her head before meets for luck.

The Melonhead Foundation provides financial support for families going through pediatric cancer treatments (typically one parent must quit work to be available for hospital/treatment/care issues). I was touched by what Deb had accomplished and a friendship developed. I’ve been providing graphic design work and printing for several years for the fundraising events. That was so easy to do given my other business. And I wanted to do more, but finding extra money each month is never easy.

One evening after a successful fundraising event, Deb and I were relaxing and talking. I shared with her my dream of actually getting a website up for Joolz by Lisa and having a page of watermelon-themed jewelry (I had no real idea of what I meant by that then) where a portion of the proceeds could benefit Melonhead. I started searching eBay for watermelon themed lampwork beads and building a stash for that time. In late 2006, the page on my website became a reality and inbetween I was again blessed with donations of watermelon-themed beads from beadmaker friends. It was an amazing outpouring of support to help me make a difference. My friends would ask “what kind of beads did I want?” and my response would be “Make what your heart tells you. Use the your style of beads in your interpretation of watermelon colors or shapes and I’ll create jewelry around them.” I didn’t want them to have to fit a mold and I also figured that the more loose the interpretation, the more people I could appeal to with jewelry, benefitting the organization.  Here are some examples of collaborations that have resulted.




There are several Melonhead events every year with silent auctions or raffles and I am always able to donate a couple of Melonhead Joolz. Since local supporters of the group often attend the same events, it is fun to see bidding wars going on. In addition, the Melonhead Joolz are on my website and now on Etsy. I’m am estimating that by the end of this year, $2,000 will have been raised for Melonhead from sales and donations of the Melonhead Joolz. I am honored to be able to do this and couldn’t do it without the support of my many beadmaker friends.

I have a stash of beads waiting to be made up and I know when I run low, my friends will come through with more. What I love is seeing the interpretation that they create. Some whimsical in watermelon shapes, some an idea with watermelon colors, each unique and different and made with love and support.

In January, I was asked to serve as a trustee on the Melonhead Foundation board.

Take a look at the Melonhead site, watch the video of the difference Melanie Leone made in her short life, and bookmark my store for the next time you need a pick-me-up that will make a difference in someone else’s life too.

Thanks for letting me share.

Lisa Liddy, Joolz by Lisa