Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays}

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I wanted to share an inspiring opportunity with you that I know many of you will love.  Some time back I was a part of a fabulous online course called Creatively Made Home, which was hosted by Jeanne Oliver and included some pretty inspiring women.  I loved the interaction with the women who participated as well as sharing a part of what made our home special to us.  I am really excited to tell you that Jeanne is hosting another course and the line-up is FANTASTIC!  The women taking part in this series are absolutely wonderful inside and out.  This course, “Creatively Made Home {Home for the Holidays}” will be filled with ideas and inspiration for your home during the holiday season.  The timing is perfect as it is early enough to really begin to figure out what it is that make the holidays special to you and your family, and how you can create a feeling of magic in your home.

 

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The course description from Jeanne~

 

Join eight of my friends and me as we celebrate loving on your home, friends and family through the holidays.
You will be encouraged as you hear honestly from each woman about the times things did not go as planned during their holidays.
You will hear honest discussions about their own journey of hospitality.
You will walk away inspired as you hear about the traditions and special moments from their childhood and how they create special moments with their families today.
You will be able to watch beautiful videos with gift giving ideas, decorating projects and favorite family recipes.
We all want to create authentic moments with our friends and families.
We all desire for the ones we love to leave our homes knowing that they were welcomed and loved.
My hope is that this course will help you slow down and find the joy and beauty in the holidays.
*****
*There will be 30+ project videos
These will be incredible videos that include everything from cooking, gift giving and decorating
*Tons of beautiful house photos from each of the nine women
*Supply Lists and PDFs for each project
*A digital recipe book of the recipes shared in this course

 

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I am also excited to be giving away one spot in this course. Simply leave a comment in the comment section and I will draw the winner this coming Sunday, August 25th.  If however you want to get in on an early bird savings, Jeanne is offering the course for $48 from now until Monday August 26th.  After that, the course will run $58.  When you register you will have access to the course for ONE FULL YEAR- plenty of time to get through the content and create the holidays that you have always wanted.

You can sign up for the course by using the paypal button below.

 

 




 

 

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and I left a bit of my {heart} there~

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There are so many wonderful things I want to share with you.  Right now I am in the process of trying to sort them all out and figuring out how to share them in a way that will let you truly understand all of the beauty I saw while in Africa.  I know that there will be posts that are more specific in the coming weeks but I want to begin to share some of the beauty I saw.  It feels a bit scattered still, but seriously- the photos are so – I can’t even find a word to describe them- beautiful or incredible doesn’t really capture it in my mind…

I want you to know that it was an incredible trip to a place that I immediately fell in love with.  While the trip itself wasn’t as long as I had anticipated it would be, I have no doubt that I will return there within the next year.  The beauty and joy of the people there completely captured my heart and I have already begun working on a plan of my own, a plan that I feel so passionate about.  I met some incredible people who both inspired and motivated me to do something. I  left knowing that I was given this opportunity in order to open my eyes to the power I have to make a difference in the life of someone I don’t even know.  I saw a world where daily life is a constant struggle, and the idea of material goods doesn’t really amount to much but things like food and school fees are everything.  I met women who work so incredibly hard every single day to make sure that their families were cared for and I wanted to carry some of their burden.  I saw children carry heavy jerry cans of dirty water long distances every day and my mama heart wanted to do it for them.  I saw mothers sitting in a children’s hospital, two and three to a bed holding their beautiful but terribly ill children for days on end and I had the opportunity to tell them, face to face, that I thought they were the strongest women I had ever met; that I couldn’t imagine how difficult it must be in a hospital with not enough plasma or medication.  Where most of the children’s IV ports are in their heads as their little veins are simply not healthy enough to insert them in their arms.  Where each ward has upwards of 20 beds – and remember, a bed holds 2-3 children with their mamas at a time- and two nurses on staff.  And my mama head thought “truly, how can this be?”.  You can see a video of where I was HERE.

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I visited a place where people lived in the meekest of conditions- referred to as a slum by many but I really dislike that word- so that Edwin and I could distribute water filters.  Thanks to your support I was able to bring 29 water filters with me on this journey, and five of them ended up here.  And while I had been warned that it would be incredibly difficult, I insisted on going.  And me being me, I also insisted on interacting.  So Dr. Isaac (Edwin’s brother for whom I am so incredibly grateful and excited to work with again in the future) said that I must cut all my nails and remove my ring and if I were to hug those children and hold their hands I was not to touch ANYTHING on my face until I had returned home and thoroughly washed.  And I was NOT to kiss a single child’s head- this was non-negotiable.  And so it was done and off we went.  My stomach was in knots on our way as I was so worried that I would cry and I desperately did NOT want to cry.  And then we arrived, and truly, all I saw was beautiful smiling faces.  Yes, conditions were beyond what anyone should have to survive in, but they were surviving.  Children were without parents in some cases, and yes, that broke my heart a little.  But when  I pulled out the fruit leathers, I was surrounded and loving every moment of it.  It was magical- it truly was.

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So I want to thank you- all of you who sent me grace, and prayed for grace.  Because it worked- it truly did. There were times when I felt so – giddy is the only word I can really find to describe it, or maybe joy-filled – and I wondered more than once if something was wrong with me.  I wondered why I wasn’t sad, why I wasn’t crying and feeling helpless.  But then I realized- how could I be sad when those around me weren’t? Yes, their life was hard, but it was their life, and when a chance to smile or feel happy arose, they grabbed it.

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I will be sharing more over the coming days and weeks as I get through the hundreds of photographs I took. Every time I see them it brings me back to that place and even though I knew I would love it, I had no idea how deeply it would bury itself into my soul.

x

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{the day} that they became a family

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Dear friends,

It is 9:30 pm here but it might as well be 2 am, completely exhausted as I am.  It has been an incredible day, for the most part impossible to put into words that would truly capture the magic that I feel filled this place today.  I can’t begin to describe what it felt like to see 8 beautiful faces at the gate, each with a simple bag in hand- a bag that held all of their worldly belongings.  Everything they owned.  In a bag- a small bag.  Can you even comprehend what that would be like?  Personally I couldn’t fit my toiletries into one of those bags, better yet my entire world.  And yet, there they were.

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 I can’t begin to imagine what it would be like to stand outside the gates of the very first place that they could really call home.  A place where they wouldn’t sleep on a dirt floor in a log and mud hut with a rusted tin roof.  A place where the people you lived with really are your family- not by birth, not by blood, but by divine intervention.  But there they were, waiting so patiently to enter, to sit around a table and be welcomed, to hear what life would be like in their new home, and finally, to be welcomed into their new rooms, complete with beds with mattresses and bedding, a metal box to hold their own towel, toothbrush and toiletries, a wash basin and a mosquito net.  On the top of each bed, a name plate hand-painted and laminated by my dear friend April who lovingly created each one.

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The evening was spent learning the ropes, unpacking their bags and putting their possessions in their metal boxes (which are 2 feet long and 12 inches high), finding common ground with “new siblings”, washing up before dinner, sharing a family meal made by the two “Aunties”- both named Sister Aida and both absolutely loving and wonderful around a long table in a thatched-roof hut.

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After dinner it was back to the children’s house where I found my way to the girls’ rooms- two rooms connected by a doorway with no door, three beds in each.  As one bed has yet to receive it’s resident I claimed it as my own and the girls joined me for snuggles with Hope and Desire sang songs and danced for us.  Sweet Hadeja took a cherished handmade necklace out of her metal box and carefully placed it on my neck.  She had given me one of the only things she had- and I was touched more than I can ever explain.  I then took out my packages of glow in the dark bracelets and we had such fun putting them on everyone’s wrists (Sister Aida included) and then turning off the lights to dance around.  You can imagine how difficult it might be to settle them down after that, but these girls, they are gems.  After a short while they were all in their beds- which were now decorated with all of their glowing bracelets-  waiting for me to tuck them in.  I had an idea and ran into the main house to ask mom if she had the hand-knitted bears she had brought.  I grabbed 5 of them (5 girls and 1 boy arrived today) and brought them back to the girls rooms’.  You have NEVER heard five little girls squeal and giggle as much as these girls did over those little bears.  I gave them each one while tucking them in, kissing them on the forehead and telling each of them how incredibly happy we were that they were there.  When I left Sister Aida was tucking them in for the night as well and all was quiet.  Absolute heaven.

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{faces}

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For those of you who follow along on Instagram and Facebook these photos aren’t new.  However I wanted to share the faces I have come to love over the past week.  These children are so filled with smiles and exuberance and endless giggles.  They screech and hide behind the bravest of the crew and then come forward in an attempt to show bravery.  Never have I seen anyone with less and yet rarely have I seen anyone happier.  For those of us living in very different circumstances it is so difficult to imagine, and yet, when I leave here I hope to bring some of what brings these little people joy home with me.  They have life.  Each day they get is a gift.  Every meal is a blessing.  I think they are thankful and that is something I want to be more of.  Thankful.  They are generous little souls, sharing their laughter and love freely- and I am feeling incredibly thankful for my time with them~

Who says Disney is the {happiest place on earth}

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Hello friends,

I wanted to share a bit of what I have been completely blissed out on these past two days.  These are only iPhone pics but that is because I didn’t want to overwhelm them with the big camera until they were a bit used to my face.  I must tell you I am completely smitten by these gorgeous children.  The village is filled with them, calling out “Mazungu!” (thanks Shelly!) – their term for a white person.  Some come running up, full of smiles and wanting to hold my hand or touch my white skin.  If someone has already claimed both hands, and arm or a bit of my shirt to hold onto will do.  Some approach smiling shyly but when I turn to say hello they scamper away giggling.  Others- young babies mostly- simply cry when they see me.  :)

As we are still working on the project and the kids haven’t yet moved in, I have been spending time with some of them in the village and also at the orphanage right next door.  Yesterday I posted a video of children singing on Instagram.  (kimberlytaylorimages) Front and center was Vanessa- a child that I was determined to get to smile at me, even if she was only 3- the cursed potential crying age…  :)  I returned today as the children had performed at church and said that they would sing for me while I recorded them with my camera.  It was beautiful- those sweet voices singing about their belief in Jesus, so pure and genuine.  Afterwards they organized a soccer football match for me to watch, and while they were organizing teams the girls taught me some foot games and hand games- like we did as children (tell me you remember “miss mary mack mack mack all dressed in black black black…).  These games however were done in Lusoga, so I didn’t understand a word.  I am finding that I wish I could speak the language as I can only imagine what those cheeky children are saying about me knowing I haven’t a clue!  :)

So Miss Vanessa found her way to me this afternoon while I sat watching the match.  I tried not to pay too much attention for fear of scaring her off.  Before long, however, she had made her way to my lap, where she promptly fell asleep.  Bliss I tell you, pure bliss.

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{Africa 2013}

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Hello friends~

It’s hard to believe that after all of the months of planning and preparing, I am a mere two days from leaving home and embarking on this incredible adventure.  My bags are mostly packed, preparations have been made for when I am away from my boys (thank you Nannie and Grandpa Rick!) and I think I am ready to go.  I’m pretty sure you have some idea of how excited I am to arrive in Africa and start loving on those kids.  I am really hoping to take you along on the journey and while I don’t know how much blogging I will be doing, I will try my best to instagram as much as possible- you can find me at kimberlytaylorimages  - and posting on my facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/KTI.kimberlytaylorimages

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I hope that you will follow along and share in this amazing journey.  I promise to share my photos when I return.  Thank you endlessly to all of you who have supported this endeavor from the beginning- from your kind words, encouragement and donations.  I hope you know how much your love means to me.

See you when I return my friends!

x

 

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{A Winner!}

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I apologize for not getting this done yesterday but alas, I couldn’t seem to step away from the gardens- even with this heat!  The winner of the fabulous Raven + Lily wristlet is Rachel Schindler!  Rachel- if you would be so kind as to send me your mailing address via email at kimberlytaylorimages@gmail.com  I will get it sent out to you!

Have a wonderful week!

x

 

Fabulous {wristlet} give-away!

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Hello friends,

 

After all of the recent emails asking for YOUR help, I would like to do something nice for you.  I have been so appreciative of all of the wonderful support, kind words and encouragement- it means so much.  I have less than a month before I depart and have finally been able to really focus on the packing, the collecting of items I plan to bring and the preparing to be away for three weeks (not a small endeavor with this little farm and all of it’s inhabitants).

 

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I’d like to introduce you to Raven + Lily.  I came across a wonderful source for items that were created by women, for women to empower women world-wide.  You can learn more about them here.  I bought this little wristlet and while I love it, I plan to purchase another for myself.  I love supporting such an amazing company and hope that you will visit their website to learn more.  They have some wonderful items available and doesn’t it feel good to know that the treasure you are purchasing was made by women who were compensated fairly for their work?

 

If you want to be entered into the draw to win this sweet bag leave a comment.  I will draw a name on Sunday!

Good luck,

x

 

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A Fabulous Offer from {Tippy Stockton}

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Hello friends,

I am still trying to process and wrap up the auction details but want to say once again how incredibly grateful I am for your continued support.  You are all amazing.

 

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I also wanted to let you know that there is still time to pick up something lovely for yourself or as a gift and contribute to the children’s home in Uganda.  My sweet friend Patricia at Tippy Stockton has been offering to donate 25% of her sales this week to the home.  Today is the last day and if you still want to contribute, you can head over to her site and see her gorgeous pieces!

 

Thanks again friends,

x

 

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{Thank you} – the auction is closed

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Wow.  Seriously- you guys are amazing.  I am so happy with the results of this auction and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for being so incredibly supportive.  I will be emailing the winners tonight and once the funds have cleared will be sending out the auction items.  I can’t wait to share with you the photos of this trip, the home and the beautiful children in Uganda.  I promise to post more soon but for now, the auction is closed and you guys rocked it.

 

Thank you.

x

 

 

 

{Auction for Africa}

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Update- as it wasn’t totally clear to those of you seeing this post and not having followed along since the beginning, please see THIS POST which will give you a better understanding of what we are using the money for.  My apologies for not having been clearer!  x

Hello friends~

 

I am so excited to share these items with you!  They have all been donated by my wonderful generous friends who know how much raising money for these children means to me.  I am praying that we raise LOTS of money so that we can really stock the house with food and supplies for after we are gone.  PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD - the more traffic we can generate the higher the possibility of success!

 

The auction will go live today and will run for three days, concluding at 6 pm PST on Wednesday June 19th.  It will be hosted on my website: kimberlytaylorimages.com  EACH ITEM WILL HAVE AN INDIVIDUAL POST, with bids being placed in the comment section.  On Wednesday at 6 pm I will record the last bid and that person will be the winner of that item.  If for some reason the winner isn’t able to purchase the item, the bidder with the next highest bid will have the opportunity to purchase the item.  All funds will be deposited into my paypal account, and then when the funds have cleared, the item will be shipped.  The winner will have two days in which to deposit the money before the second place bidder will have the chance to purchase the item.

 

Again, please spread the word- use social media, your blogs, your email!  I know that we can do this and I pray that you will be as excited as I am to make this happen.

 

Have a wonderful week!

x

Update #2 – a friend suggested that I offer an option for those who want to donate but don’t want to purchase anything.  If you do wish to donate, please email me at kimberlytaylorimages@gmail.com and I will let you know how to go about doing that~  Thanks Janet! 

{Vintage Grain Sack Dog Bed}

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This absolutely FABULOUS handmade dog bed was donated by Maria Carr of Dreamy Whites.  I’m not sure my kids sleep on beds as nice as this!  The description is below and as you can see, this dog bed is a treasure.

 

Our dog beds are made from vintage european grain sacks…..
These beds can be turned around and used on the other side as there is a grain sack pattern on the opposite side of the bed….
The sides of the bed is made from a sturdy vintage french hemp linen….
There is a zipper enclosure on the side of the bed.
They are machine washable. Grain sacks are made from handwoven hemp linen and is a very forgiving fabric….
The form is made from 100% premium polyester fiber fill and is also machine washable.
The form will ship separately from the cover….
These dog beds are approximately 37″ in diameter and the height is four inches…..

 

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{Custom Needle Work Piece of YOUR Pet}

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I am SO excited about this listing!!!  My dear friend Jeri has offered to donate an amazing needlework piece of YOUR pet- just as she did for her own bulldog Suzy-Q.  She would need a photo of your pet as well as a list of 4-6 things your pet loves.  (food/toys/etc)  Jeri is an incredible artisan and your piece is sure to be a piece of art.

Jeri Engen began her career as an Art Director but changed paths when she became a full time mom of three. For the past 12 years, she has focused her energies on teaching art to children through the elementary school, North Vancouver Arts Council, and Seymour Art Gallery. She enjoys exploring a variety of different art forms and several years ago discovered hand embroidery. She has since become a member of the North Shore Needle Arts guild where she is currently the President and finding new ways to use thread instead of paint and pencils.

 

{Custom Leather Cuff}

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Honestly, are these cuffs stunning or what?  This listing is for a custom cuff from Becky of Farmgirl Paints.  Becky does the most amazing work with leather and metal and I LOVE these cuffs.

Becky Strahle lives just outside Richmond, Virginia with her honey, two daughters, and dog Fergie.  To learn more about her, visit farmgirlpaints.blogspot.comfarmgirlpaints.etsy.com, or email her at beckystrahle@yahoo.com

{Claude the Elephant}

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Hi my name is Claude I am a friendly elephant looking for a loving home. I am much taller then most people think at 23 inches tall and 27 inches wide. I am handmade in San Diego, California out of old hand stitched quilts.

 

This incredible handmade elephant is truly one of a kind.  The creation and donation of Alexis Garrett of Fern & Feather, this gentle giant is a treasure for any recipient.

 

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{Hattie Bird Little Girl’s Dress}

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This beautiful garden dress in size 4 from the Hattie Bird line of clothing was donated by Liz Le Dorze of Komedal Road.  Liz has exquisite taste and whenever she does something, she does it with the utmost quality.  This little dress is no exception.  Made of 100% cream Italian hemp, it is light and airy.  It was designed by Liz’s studio on Bainbridge Island, WA and made locally in Seattle.  It is the perfect summer dress for a little girl who likes to run…. and jump…  and play… and feel pretty too!

 

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{The Emerson Handbag}

 

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Donated by Jeanne Oliver of Jeanne Oliver Designs, the Emerson Handbag comes in a gorgeous vintage fabric! The style of this bag is timeless from the shape of the body, the color of the fabric and the jute webbing handles. The body of the bag is an upholstery weight vintage fabric and the bag is lined with a tan ticking.  The bag includes a cell phone pocket and a larger buttoned pocket (6 1/2″ x 4 1/2″).  Each bag comes with a removable flower.

The Emerson measures 17 1/2″ (long) x 10″ (wide at the base) x 9 1/2″ (at the top) with handles that measure another 18″ from side to side.

This bag is made in the United States

 

If you haven’t “met” Jeanne, I would be happy to introduce you!

Jeanne grew up watching old movies and was inspired by the styles and femininity of the past. Nothing seemed more glamorous to her than Vivien Leigh sweeping down a staircase, Grace Kelly wearing white gloves with a black cocktail dress or Audrey Hepburn outside of Tiffany’s. Hours were spent designing her own creations and dreaming of wearing all the apparel her fingers could sketch. Today she has the honor of offering collections of clothing, bags, art, jewelry and vintage pieces that tell a story. Jeanne feels that it is such a privilege to be a stay at home mom and also have the opportunities to create, teach and sell her creations. She is just a girl that finally started listening to the creative whispers that had been there all along.

www.jeanneoliverdesigns.com

{Limited Edition Tap & Dye Leather Camera Strap}

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This listing is for a handmade limited edition Tap & Dye leather camera strap.  I currently use one of their amazing straps on my film camera and LOVE it!  Mine isn’t this gorgeous blue, but oh how I would love to have one of these.

 

 

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Tap & Dye is one of those companies that I want to support.  Their focus is simple — Camera straps. Durable. Rugged. High Quality handmade straps for the aspiring street photographer or the seasoned veteran photojournalist. Their Mantra: Quality above all else. As they say on their site: “Think of your purchase as an investment, not just a high quality good that will better with age and use, but an heirloom to be passed onto future generations of shutterbugs and camera lovers. All of our high quality handmade goods are made from components sourced from vendors and manufacturers within the U.S. Each strap is handmade from Premium Quality, extremely durable Full Grain Cowhide Leather. Every rivet is set, every impression stamped and every cut is made by hand in our humble New York City studio.”  Don’t you just love that?

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{Vintage Notre Dame Handcrafted Necklace}

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This beautiful handmade piece was donated by Patricia Mackey of Tippy Stockton Jewelry.  It holds a special place in Patricia’s heart, as told below~

“One of the most glorious cathedrals in the world…  the Notre Dame Cathedral is one of the crown jewels of Paris.  It is also the school that my mother studied at in Baltimore, MD.

I’ve been so inspired by the gorgeous castings that I have recently found.  This particular casting is the Ave Maria symbol.  Floating below that is a lovely locket; very unique in that when you slide the front panel of the locket over, hidden beneath it is the Lord’s Prayer.  A rhinestone cross is featured on the front of the locket and the necklace is made up of vintage Rosary beads.  A treasure to be sure.  The necklace measures out at 30″ and is secured with a brass lobster clasp.”

 

 

{San Francisco Area Photo Shoot}

 

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The incredible duo of Reverie Daydream have generously offered to donate a 2 hour photo shoot for a family, couple or individual.  The shoot will take place in the San Francisco Bay area.  You will spend two hours shooting with this dynamic duo to create beautiful images that will be digitally delivered.  The item includes an hour of editing work.
How fun would this be?  This team is amazing and you can find their work on their website:  http://reverie-daydream.com/capture/  I can personally speak for their incredible eye and attention to detail.  Anyone winning this item is in for a truly special experience.