Thursday, September 30, 2010

Last Minute Donations

Let it not be said that I don't have any friends, because I have some of the best friends ever. Some very generous friends that helped add 250 dollars to my donation total. I love you guys. Thank you so much for generosity, and your friendship. You are true gems!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The George Mark Family

In life, there a big moments and small moments. Some of those big moments happen in small ways, almost most with a whisper, that in retrospect becomes a shout.

I went to George Mark House today to drop off a quilt my mother made, the jewelry I made, and the donations I received plus the piggy bank amount.  I didn't know what to expect, but I tried to emotionally prepare myself for almost anything. When I got there, Dr. Beech was out on the patio just to the right of the building. She was surprised and completely happy to see me. Her open arms took me in with one of her patented hugs that's simultaneously strong and comforting. I showed her the contents of the box I was carrying and she took it with great enthusiasm. She sheep herded me around and made sure I got lunch and a drink. In true Dr. Beech fashion, she talked with great enthusiasm and reverence about the House and organization she believes so deeply in and works so hard for. In true Dr. Beech Fashion, she listened patiently as I recounted in my own words what George Mark House meant to me, how truly it had touched me.

She introduced me to the companion she was having lunch with, another woman who had lost her daughter in January, only a few months before I had lost Ukiah. And we talked about everything, about our experiences as mothers who'd lost children, about what George Mark meant to us, about our aspirations as writers, about life after loss, about it all, about our hopes and dreams for the future. It was such a simple meeting, it was all such a simple thing. Going to George Mark House, dropping off my donations, having a brief meeting with a woman I'd never met before, and yet it feels huge. This little adventure I had today made ripples that I think will be big waves.

The donations made ripples as well. The woman taking my donations and I talked and I told her how my donations plus the checks I was dropping off and the donations made from Piggy Banks for George Mark fundraiser made close to 700 dollars. She looked at me straight-faced and earnest and said. "That's a day for some child." We as a collective unit were able to provide one day of care for some child. We were able to provide some parent a piece of mind that their child would be cared for and watched over the same way my Ukiah was for one day. To me, that means something so monumental, I can't put it into words. I almost couldn't contain myself.

I want to be able provide as many days as possible. I want more families to have more days. I've done my part, and you can still do yours. Please donate. Give some family a day, a small sliver of a day of solace, of love, of courage, of reverence, of family. Because George Mark House is all those things and more. And it deserves to have its doors open and keep them open. You won't find an organization more thoroughly thankful and respectful of your donation.

I think I'll always be doing my part. The piggy bank is empty now, but that means it can be filled again, and again and George Mark can benefit from its contents again and again. I think this has solidified my will to do this fundraiser again. Because as Dr. Beech put it, it's not just about the money, but it's also about spreading the word, and that's huge!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

This Little Piggy Went to Market

This little piggy has stayed home for far too long, longing for an adventure, to go outside and get some fresh air. The nursery is a lonely place, especially nowadays, and it's good to get outside and see the sights.

So this little piggy went to market.

Getting to the market was an adventure in and of itself. The laundry room change bin came along for the ride and it couldn't contain itself and spilled some of its contents out all over the place. This little piggy was concerned, very, very concerned.

This little piggy did finally make it to market and the nearest Coinstar machine and this little piggy shook and shook itself fiercely until it was no longer full. This little piggy also had a fifty stuck in it (Thanks Mom!). This little piggy was a proud little piggy indeed. This little piggy watched as the laundry room coin bin got cashed out as well. This little piggy watched as the coin layers peeled away to what this little piggy thought was the mesozoic era. This little piggy looked at the bottom of the coin bin and realized that the coins on the bottom had left rusted impressions of themselves on the coin bin. This little piggy felt really bad about the poor, maligned coin bin.

This little piggy did not feel bad about the grand total. The change brought just over $360 dollars all told (400 hundred if CoinStar wasn't such a gouger, but whatevs) That plus the fifty and a couple of random ones found in some odd places brings the grand total to 422 dollars! This little piggy was a very happy little piggy.

This little piggy wondered how much roast beef it could have with that money, but this little piggy had none. (This little piggy has always wondered why this little piggy would eat roast beef, what with roast beef originating from cows, one of this little piggy's farmyard brethren. This little piggy thinks that's cruel. This little piggy is thinking about going vegetarian.) This little piggy went Wee! Wee! Wee! all the way home! (Well first this little piggy stopped at Jamba Juice where The Bloody Munchkin got a sinus freeze and went Ouch, Ouch, Ouch all the way home, but same difference).

This little piggy can't wait for the money to go to George Mark House  tomorrow! This little piggy thinks that'll be a great adventure (I am running to George Mark tomorrow, so if you want me to hand deliver your donation, better get on the horn and let me know, tyliagardner @ hotmail dot com). Remember, I'm not counting this as part of the grand total of contest, so if you guys still want me to do the truffle shuffle, you better get your collective butts in gear and cash in 700 bucks to George Mark House and let me know about it!

Cash in those little piggies! Feel free to make up ridiculous stories just like this one and let me know about it and e-mail me and I'll post the story. I may or may not have a prize attached to the best story! Because this little piggy is a dork for such things apparently! (And why did my brain want to insert a Deliverance "Squeal like a pig!" reference? So twisted, so bizarre!)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Jewelry for George Mark House

I have made a whole mess of jewelry for George Mark House for their silent auction taking place on October 2nd that I thought I'd share with you. If donate to George Mark House and send me the receipt, you could have some of my one of a kind jewelry in your future!

I probably won't make these pieces again for the donations, but keep these designs in mind if they strike your fancy and I'll be happy to make something similar. Also, be kind to me about the photography. I don't have a nice camera and a studio. I have a canon power shot and my couch cushions, so I did the best I could.

First up is matching necklace, bracelet, and earrings I did using green crystal beads.

The bracelet is cuff I made using elastic string and metal eye hooks. Here's a close up of the bracelet.

The green pendents in the bracelet match the green pendents in the necklace. The necklace itself is three stranded using green and clear crystal beads along with the green pendent beads used in the bracelet.

The matching earrings are a simple wired and green crystal design.

I also did a simple but funky garnet and wire bracelet with a magnetic clasp and two sets of earrings, one's a funky day look and the other, longer pair is a more elegant night look. (Look at me, talking about jewelry in sophisticated terms, like I know what the heck I'm talking about).

Take a gander and let me know what you think. I haven't taken these to George Mark House yet, so they might not go to auction. If not, I'll make them part of the prizing proper, but in order to give them out, I've got to do a little better than 200 hundred dollars in fundraising efforts. If you haven't donated, consider this your reason for doing so.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Piggy Banks for George Mark Update

Hi all! Sorry I haven't been around last week very much. Work was crazy and I had a health thing that knocked me on my butt for a few days and made me feel miserable, but that's not say there aren't updates to be made. I finished some more jewelry items that I'm donating to George Mark House for their own silent auction taking place on October 2nd. I'll be posting pictures of those items some time this week so you can peep some of what might be in store for you if you donate to George Mark House and win!

Also, I might have another item to put on the Prizing list that I'm finalizing. I think, I hope, I don't know.

The awesome and wonderful Sars has made a decision on the bracelet she wants and I'll be getting that out the door this week, so I'll be updating the prize list to exclude that bracelet.

And lastly, I just got a donation yesterday, which puts the total for this fundraiser at $200! I'm so happy about this because that's two hundred bucks George Mark House wouldn't have had otherwise, it's two hundred bucks that will go a long way to helping children just like my son and families just like mine. But there's still more to be made, more to do.  You guys have to raise 800 more bucks to get me to do the truffle shuffle, but I think we can do it, so let's get 'er done! Get those donations in and e-mail me. You've got sixteen more days until the end! Get those piggy banks filled and cashed in! Whatever you can do to help! I'd appreciate it.

Did you get a receipt but you haven't e-mailed me yet? E-mail me at tyliagardner @ hotmial (dot) com. I'll try and put a direct e-mail link into the George Mark Fundraiser panel on the right. If that doesn't work, let me know in the comments and I'll try and work something out.

Thanks you guys. Keep it going.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Prizing Update

I've finally added some new prizes to the list and hope to add a few more within the next week. A wonderful friend of Tomato Nation donated a pair of knitted, beaded fingerless gloves which I'm very excited about and I made some bracelets for 7 very lucky winners, that look like this:

See all the new additions here in the prizing page.

Friday, September 03, 2010

George Mark House fact of the day #3

O.k, first thing's first. The total is up to 150! Great News!

Also, new prizes will be eminent, but I'm still finalizing a couple odds and ends, so I'm not sure exactly when I'll post, only that it'll be within the next week.

Onto the fact of the day.

Fact #3:

Rather than overcrowded hospitals, George Mark House holds a maximum of eight children at a time. Each child receives and his or her family receives  a great deal of attention from from both the staff and the volunteers. Each room has its own individual theme, with beautiful murals in each depicting different scenes. My son stayed in the Railroad Crossing room that had two murals of beautiful rolling hills with a train meandering through the scene. The rooms and the personalized care provided a perfect place for my son to get better without being intrusive. They provide a high level of care without being intrusive.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

A New Way Home Screening Date

A New Way Home finally got that screening date it deserves! October 4th, at 7:00 pm, at the Grandlake Theatre in Oakland, CA! If you're in the Bay Area, its well worth your time! Mark your calenders!

George Mark House fact of the day #2

I have some quick updates before I get started. First, I added a total counter to the side panel so we can all keep up with the donation total. Keep it glued to the Piggy Banks for George Mark panel for total updates.

Also, I have a few more prizes to add to the prizes list in the next week, so keep a locked here for prizing information.

Thirdly, the current total just doubled from $25 to $50 this morning!!!! Yeah!!! Keep those donation reciepts coming!!! Thanks to everyone who has donated and spread the word on this little drive so far!!!!

O.k., so without further ado, here's your little fact of the day about George Mark House.

Fact of the Day #2:

George Mark House offers a wide range of services to the children who come into its doors. They have an in house hydrotherapy pool as well as a fully licensed on-call hydro-therapist. They also have a child life specialist that provides fun, games, arts and crafts not only to the children but to their siblings as well. They offer a wide range of fun events to all the occupants that come in the door. And I'm talking a wide range of fun events. Therapy dogs, fireman, bunnies, traveling zoos, proms. They have it all. They actually had a camel on their campus! A camel! They once brought a mini pony into my son's room. Where else can a sick patient get to pet a mini pony? Nowhere else that I know of. So let's get those doors back open!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

George Mark House fact of the day #1

Today marks the official start of this little contest of mine. I just want to take a moment and thank everyone whose participated so far. Right now, the official total stands at $25. If you want to make me do the truffle shuffle and FILM it (I mean, I do the truffle shuffle a lot, there's never been videotape proof though), we're shooting for 1,000, so get those jars going and scrounge that loose change!

In the mean time, I thought I'd post little facts and tidbits about George Mark House that make it great, unique and center worth your money and energy.

Fact #1

George Mark House is the only palliative pediatric care house in the nation that helps children with life-limiting illnesses. There are upwards of 40 houses like George Mark House in the U.K, but there's only one in the United States and that's George Mark House. And right now it's doors are closed, so the US doesn't even have that. We have a responsibility to kids like my son to ensure that they do have something like this available. Let's think of the kids.