Kentucky Art and Craft Shops Unite for Tornado Relief

Like a lot of you, my thoughts have been with Kentucky’s tornado victims this week.  There has been so much support and help from the surrounding communities that it really makes me proud to be from this state and from such a small area. Kentuckians may be mocked as being ignorant hillbillies (which isn’t entirely true – a few bad apples ruin the bunch) but one thing is for sure- Kentuckians know how to be neighborly.

So neighborly, in fact,  that our local donation centers had to stop accepting food and clothing for tornado victims because they had more clothing than they could store and so much food they are worried it will begin to spoil.

But that doesn’t mean those families are out of the water. Thousands have lost their homes – some have shells remaining that have been condemned, others have only minor displacement issues. But then there are the others- the one’s who’s homes are now in a million pieces scattered across a yard or a field. These people can still use our help.

This weekend we’re partnering with a couple of our fellow Kentuckian artisans to host a flash sale.

So, shop for a good cause this weekend at these great Kentucky shops:

Kym’s Kreations– Winchester’s local jewelry artist Kym Pelfrey makes an amazing assortment of necklaces from all sort of materials. Her shop also includes gorgeous wire-wrapped tree of life pendants and fun button rings. There’s definitely something for everyone at Kym’s Kreations. And starting this weekend Kym will be donating 20% of her sales to tornado relief efforts throughout our commonwealth.

Creative Chocolate Supplies-  If you’re into cake decorating, you’ll love the sweet deal Rhonda Georgian is offering at her cake and candy supply shop this weekend. This weekend only, Creative Chocolate Supplies will be sending 40% of their sales proceeds to Kentucky Tornado Relief. So satisfy your sweet tooth and help out your fellow Kentuckians.

The Fish Jig Lady–  Who ever thought of wearing fishing lures as jewelry? Layla Sutherland – owner of The Fish Jig Lady shop- that’s who. Layla has some nifty earrings made from bass and crappie lures that the outdoorsy woman will adore. Stop by her shop and have a look around.

Hip Earth Designs-  Last, but certainly not least, our shop will be donating 10% of our proceeds to the fund. As an added bonus, we’ll also be donating 10% of any custom orders make this weekend. We’ll be giving our proceeds to the West Liberty Elementary School which was condemned. The school is moving to an old factory in town and they are in need of a temporary playground to bring normal back to the children’s lives.

Help us help them recover!

Happy shopping!

Kentucky’s Tornado Aftermath – How You Can Help

Last week was truly chaotic between Ava’s early arrival and the tornadoes that tore their way through our region.

I still cannot believe this amount of destruction happened so close to our home.

All the following photos were taken from those shared by friends on Facebook. I do not take credit for these photos and will only post credit to these private Facebook users at their request.
Can you imagine your home being demolished in seconds? So. So. Sad.
Continuing the search for victims and survivors using canine officers.
Notice the red car has been completely flattened.
The remains of a local eatery known as "Freezer Fresh" - I've probably ate here 150 times!
This was once the town's H&R Block office.
This is an overturned police car that had responded to the first touchdown.

Another car flipped on it's side.
Even the town cemetery suffered damages.
A destroyed church at the main intersection in town.
The aftermath of a trailer park in the heart of town.
Destroyed homes right off the town's main drag.

Damaged apartments.
And the town's small hospital was also the scene of damage.
But West Liberty was not the only town hit by the twister- many small, rural communities were also devastated by the storms.
And numerous cell phone service towers were flattened.

And finally…

The best image of them all: trucks full of clean, bottled water and other supplies to benefit the amazing workers and the families in need.

I had to ride out the storm at my part time job in Sandy Hook. I was calm the entire time- but it wasn’t until the next day that I realized just how lucky I had been. The map below shows just a few locations where tornado and wind damage occurred – you can sort of map the path of the twister that touched down in West Liberty which passed only a few miles from my location in Sandy Hook. A co-worker and I were both experiencing extreme sinus pressure – which I hear often happens when the barometric pressure drops when a tornado develops.

So scary to think about how close I came to being in the path of destruction.

So, we ended up losing mobile phone reception, Internet connectivity and long-distance calling (some people in the region where totally without phone and electric – even those who managed to survive the destruction) for only a day or two. I am amazed at how quickly both the cell towers and Internet was restored – I was sure it would be weeks before any of those were restored (I should mention that our Internet Service Provider’s main office was located at ground zero on Main Street in West Liberty). It really speaks volumes for how hard all the amazing rescue teams, utility workers, emergency services, the National Guard and countless volunteers have done to restore communications so that families in the region can get word to their families across the nation and the globe.

So many families have lost their homes and vehicles. And even the places that they worked have been virtually wiped off the map. Though some may be able to pick up the pieces, others will never be able to rebuild and many may be displaced to new locations. In the meantime, they can use all the help they can get. You can call 800-RED-CROSS for details on how you can help out.

However, you can also donate clothing and food at many locations throughout the region – if you’re a local. I haven’t got much to give except some clothes that no longer fit. I’m spending my Monday washing the clothes and plan to drop them off before work on Tuesday.

If you would like to donate clothing or food- or anything else- please email us at hipearthdesigns@gmail.com and I’ll do my best to direct you to your nearest donation center. My Uncle is also a member of the West Liberty/Morgan County Emergency Response Team so I’ll post additional updates here or on the Facebook page to let you know how you can help.

Handmade Spotlight: Artist Valri Peyser

Glassware art by Valri Peyser

If Valri Peyser’s amazing glassware doesn’t inspire you to upcycle your wine, soda and beer bottles, then nothing will.

By Valri Peyser

In fact, Valri has an ongoing relationship commissioning bottle art for a local winery – Hillcrest Vineyards in the Santa Cruz mountains of sunny Cali. (Hmm, anyone noticing a trend forming with our spotlighted artisans?)

But, wine bottles are not Valri’s only specialty- she also creates amazing wall art paintings in varying styles. She creates bold abstract art as well as stunning, vibrant portraits.

Make sure you stop by her website and check out the rest of her work.

What’s your favorite?

Welcoming a New Addition to Our Family

Last night at 8:02pm our family welcomed an adorable new addition – Miss Ava Grace.

new addition to the family
Born February 29, 2012

Ava wasn’t due until April 5th, but she decided she wanted to be a Leap Day baby.

She weighs 4 lbs 5 ounces and measures 18-inches long. She will be spending a few days in NICU, but aside from being small she’s doing just fine. Breathing well and her heart rate is perfect. Mommy and Daddy are all smiles!

I’m heart-broken over the no-Aunts-in-the-nursery-rule, but I understand and I’m going to love every minute of watching her grow up.

Also- she has my dimple chin!

We’re all so proud and happy that – despite coming so early – Ava and her mommy are doing so well.