Christmas is over, and I hope yours was as great as mine. I spent it in Virginia Beach with my dear friends Herb & Jill who adopted my 12-week-old Goldendoodle puppy, Kelly, when I fractured my hip early last year. We've BOTH come a long way! Kelly, the runt of the litter, is now a regal (but whopping!) 65 pounds and I'm able to "jog" again for an hour each day (way slower than in my racing prime), but having been told I'd never run again, this is for me and for anyone who has to deal with me a MIRACLE!
This month I want to highlight another of my artisans who is truly making a difference in our world. You know the old saying about how God brings people into our lives at different times for different reasons...well, one of my dearest friends in FOREVER was Eileen Reed, an incredibly accomplished artist, whose unique "bespoke" creations I carried in the shop. Unfortunately, we were together a mere two years before pancreatic cancer stole her away. Eileen had a broad circle of artist-friends, and one of the best things she did for me -- and for ADO -- was to introduce me to many of them.
Eileen introduced me to Kalvindar (Kali) Basi at a prestigious craft event in Pennsylvania, where I fell in love with her awesome felted creations...and with Kali herself...and we have become fast friends. Kali was born in New Zealand with an East Indian heritage that deeply influenced her passion for Indian cottage-crafts. Traveling extensively in India and Nepal for inspiration, Kali had the opportunity to work with master artists as she developed her craft and love for vintage sari fabrics with their exotic richness of colors, patterns, and fibers passed down through generations. Her style is a fusion of East Indian culture blended with today's Western fashion. Kali now lives in the state of Washington, and is a nationally recognized textile artist.
As Kali's success multiplied, she has felt an increasing desire to give back to the communities represented in her artistry. In her travels, she has seen up close the scourge of human trafficking. Human trafficking is currently the 2nd biggest crime industry in the world (after the drug trade), and it's not just over there -- it's right here in the US (see last month’s BLOG). Victims as well as survivors are often ostracized by society, even by their own families, until they are able to gain some measure of independence. Kali has concentrated much effort -- and many dollars -- to help them achieve this goal. Conscious by Kali is a program that has helped survivors gain the self-confidence they need to rejoin society. Kali has coordinated with a shelter in Kathmandu, Nepal, where survivors can live while learning textile artistry from Kali herself. She provides the materials and training and guides these women -- the fortunate ones -- along a path to a brighter future.
I now proudly carry the Conscious by Kali Collection including original hand-felted and silk scarves in rich hues and styles. These are unique pieces -- each one "signed" by the artist herself with empowering words such as "I AM FREE" or "JOY." They represent one woman's determination to help break the cycle of human trafficking. And when YOU purchase one, you will know with certainty that you too are helping someone build a better life.
To learn more about Kali, or to make a donation to this outstanding program, go to www.consciousbykali.com
BECKY-REC: I hope you all had a chance to experience The Good Doctor (last month's Becky-Rec -- an amazing portrayal of an individual at the top end of the Autism spectrum and the adjustments he must make to live in today's world. AND DON'T FORGET that I've teamed up with Autism Speaks to help raise money for the work they do. You can donate online at www.autismspeaks.org, or at All Ducked Out. A note of thanks to ALL OF YOU who shopped with us during December Tuesdays to raise a charitable donation for this important cause.
This month's Becky-Recommendation is a RECIPE, which you may assemble before going out to celebrate New Year's Eve! With a couple of easy steps, this will be ready to pop in the oven on New Year’s Day…no matter what time you get up!
1 pkg frozen dough balls
1 small box butterscotch (or vanilla) pudding mix (NOT instant)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup raisins
1 stick butter, melted
Prepare the night before. Line a Bundt pan with dough balls. Sprinkle pudding mix over top. Mix sugar with cinnamon and sprinkle on top of the pudding mix. Add chopped nuts and raisins. Drizzle melted butter over all. Cover with wax paper, and leave on kitchen counter overnight to rise. Next morning, prepare to be amazed when you see it! Bake at 350’ for 20-ish minutes. DELICIOUS -- and GUARANTEED to become an ANNUAL HOLIDAY BRUNCH TRADITION!