Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Campaign: Diana of The Girl Creative

The Girl Creative celebrates Christmas in July by raising money for charity. Get to know Diana, her beneficiary and her answers to our questions about the virtues of generosity and compassion with this post from the Balsam Hill blog.  

Faith and family are two of the most important things for The Creative Girl’s Diana Miller. For her, these two facets of her life are what motivate her to do the best each and every time.  And while she may go through different trials, Diana knows that her faith in God and her love for her family will always help her overcome them.

As a designer, Diana extends this same burning passion when she works on her beautiful crafts. This loving mother of three shares her optimism to her followers by making sure they always get free printable subway art during the holidays. Diana says that while she may be far from being fancy, she is very proud of being just a girl who loves to create beautiful things and make people laugh. Her laid back attitude and her zest for life are what draw many people to this dynamic designer.

For her chosen charity, Diana picked the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In her interview with Balsam Hill, she says that she feels compassion for people who grow through a dark period in life where they begin to lose hope.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Having a loving support group behind you can help a lot in getting pass difficulties in life. With a caring family and a stern faith in God, Diana believes that anyone can overcome even the greatest of adversities.

BH: Could you tell us a bit about the cause you’re supporting and what it means to you?

Diana: The cause I’m supporting is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It’s heartbreaking to think that someone would feel so hopeless that their only option is to take their life. I have personally been affected by suicide and I know a lot of people who have also so this is a cause I’d love to support. http://www.afsp.org/ Read This Entry

Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Campaign: Cheryl of Sew Can Do

Sew Can Do celebrates Christmas in July by raising money for charity. Get to know Cheryl, her beneficiary and her answers to our questions about the virtues of generosity and compassion with this post from the Balsam Hill blog. 

Cheryl Bush

When it comes to hard work and dedication, Cheryl Bush of Sew Can Do is a proof that any person can learn to make artistic crafts even without formal training or years of experience. As she shares on her blog, Cheryl had a hard time learning how to sew when she was younger. This busy mother of three says surviving 7th grade Home Economics was the extent of her “crafting expertise” back then. However, she knew right from the start that she wanted to make beautiful things in her life. Cheryl overcame her “fear of the unknown” and gave crafting a try. Since then, she has fallen in love with fashioning various craft-related projects using her graceful hands.

Since setting up her blog, Sew Can Do, Cheryl has made wonderful pieces of art that she shares with her friends and followers. While her duties as a mom will always come first, she never fails to make some time for her projects. She has written articles on design for magazines in the United States and in the United Kingdom. A few of her concepts have been published in several books, including 20 Crafty Makes and Craft It Now. In addition, Cheryl is also a regular contributor for Timeless Treasure fabrics and has done several projects for Pellon, CRI-Kits, and many other craft supply companies. She has come a long way from that little girl who “could barely sew a straight line”.

In her recent interview with Balsam Hill, Cheryl provides insight to why she picked the National Stroke Association as her charity for our Christmas in July charity campaign. She recognizes the importance of the organization in helping victims of stroke cope with their condition. Cheryl points to an episode in her life when her grandfathered suffered a stroke and had a difficult time during recovery. “It was very isolating because most people didn’t understand what they were going through and there wasn’t much available to help cope with life after the hospital stays and limited therapies ended,” Cheryl shares. “Being able to get guidance, connect with people facing the same obstacles and educate others through an organization like this really makes a difference.  Those affected can feel hopeful instead of hopeless.

The National Stroke Association logo

Just like when she first started out in the world of design, Cheryl continues to face the challenges of daily life with the same vision and enthusiasm she had in overcoming her fears. And she never forgets to share her lessons, both in crafts and in life, with others.

BH: Could you tell us a bit about the cause you’re supporting and what it means to you?

Cheryl: I’m supporting the National Stroke Association.  Stroke can effect almost anyone – young or old, man or woman, seemingly healthy or not.  Many people still don’t know much about preventing or identifying strokes, despite it being the 4th leading cause of death in the US.  My grandfather was a multiple stroke survivor, so it means a lot to me to see an organization bringing awareness, reducing incidence and providing emotional & practical support to other families faced with this disease. Read This Entry

Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Campaign: Amy of One Artsy Mama

One Artsy Mama celebrates Christmas in July by raising money for charity. Get to know Amy, her beneficiary and her answers to our questions about the virtues of generosity and compassion with this post from the Balsam Hill blog.

Amy of One Artsy Mama

Starting with a love of art and all things creative, One Artsy Mama began as a small corner of the Internet where Amy Latta blogged about her craft projects. This small corner soon blossomed into a place where like-minded individuals discovered inspiration and shared their creations. Amy uses her blog to share tips and tricks on a variety of projects, including home decor, fashion, kids’ crafts, sewing, jewelry, crochet and more.

Amy started blogging when her son was just two years old, in an effort to find a creative outlet for him. In a few years, she started to mold One Artsy Mama into what she wanted it to be. Inspired by the game Honestly, Amy divided the content of her blog into a number of core categories: Honestly Doable, Honestly Relatable, Honestly Wearable, Honestly Edible, Honestly Teachable, and Honestly Accountable. The projects she showcases in her blog are not perfect—and rightly so. She aims to show through her and her son’s creations that there is no perfect project, that mistakes should not deter creativity.

Sharing is Amy’s passion and she shares the lessons she learned from blogging through a blogger mentoring program she started in January 2013. This program provides weekly readings, assignments, and one-on-one mentoring for up to 20 bloggers at a time.

Project Yesu

Project Yesu

Amy’s heartstrings were tugged by Mallory, the young teen who decided to help Africa for Christmas of 2011. In response, Amy decided to support Project Yesu for Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Charity Campaign. Project Yesu, which takes inspiration from the Hebrew word for “Yahweh the Savior,” and it has indeed become a savior for a number of African children who are now able to go to school and afford some basic necessities. Supporters of the project are constantly on the lookout for areas of need in Uganda, new partnerships to make, and ways to help. In joining hands with Mallory and Project Yesu, Amy aims to make Mahatma Gandhi’s words a reality: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

BH: Could you tell us a bit about the cause you’re supporting and what it means to you?

Amy: Project Yesu is an organization started by a young girl named Mallory when she was just 12 years old.  When her parents asked for her Christmas list, she began to reflect on the abundance of things and the vast amount of possessions she had compared to children around the world who didn’t even have enough to eat or clean water to drink.  Mallory became passionate about helping other children, especially those in Uganda, by providing supplies for them in a very personal way.  She and her team have traveled to Uganda several times to deliver food, medical supplies, pillowcase dresses and more.  I became involved with Project Yesu several years ago when Mallory’s mother sent me a message asking if I could make her daughter a special necklace with the name of the organization on it.  I was incredibly moved when I heard her story and couldn’t wait to help.  Since then, I’ve been able to help spread the word about Project Yesu, especially the annual pillowcase dress drives, to my readers. Read This Entry

Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Christmas in July: Giving Should Be More than Once a Year

Dagmar Obert of Balsam Hill celebrates Christmas in July by raising money for her chosen charity. Read her insights on her beneficiary and her answers to Balsam Hill’s questions about the virtues of generosity and compassion.

The holidays are not the only time we can embrace the spirit of generosity. In fact, we have the entire year to share our blessings with others. This July, Balsam Hill pledges to match up to $1,000 in donations to a selected charity through its Christmas in July Charity Campaign. Here is some information about the organization I intend to help, and why it has a special place in my heart.

Special Olympics

The Special Olympics was the natural choice for me since I have a child with special needs myself. The Special Olympics provides children, teens and adults an athletic experience with others who have the same condition. During this special occasion, they can join a team and compete in an exciting sporting event.

[pullquote]The Special Olympics builds so many positive connections for the children with special needs it serves.[/pullquote]I chose this organization because it provides unique activities that are not available for children with special needs. Sometimes, people with special needs are kept in front of a TV to keep them busy and entertained. Getting them into indoor and outdoor activities like bowling, soccer, golf, skiing, snowboarding and track can help them stay healthy and give them an opportunity to interact with peers.

Established in 1968, the Special Olympics is a sports organization that provides a venue for individuals with intellectual disabilities to be more active and sociable. Offering training and competitions to over 4.2 million athletes across 170 countries, the Special Olympics has turned into a global social movement that empowers children with disabilities by helping them find their strengths and develop new skills.

Project Unified

I appreciate that the Special Olympics constantly makes an effort to improve its mission. For almost 20 years, its Project Unify program has been creating sport teams that break down the barrier between regular people and those with special needs. Through this project, people with and without intellectual disabilities are brought together through sports and friendly competition. The relationships that are fostered in this program make those team sports more fun and memorable.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the world participate in Unified Sports. It is heartening to learn that more US states are embracing this approach to promote the social inclusion of special needs children.

This Christmas in July, let’s donate or help out any way we can. Seeing someone struggle to do something that we take for granted is a reminder of how lucky we are. Our lives are good. We have a lot to be thankful for. Let’s always remember that. I hope you have a meaningful year helping others have a more fulfilled life.


Special olympics logoBH: Could you tell us a bit about the cause you’re supporting and what it means to you?

Dagmar:  The Special Olympics builds so many positive connections for the children with special needs it serves.  It helps the mind understand rules of engagement.  It builds healthy bodies by teaching kids to exercise and enjoy activities. Finally, it builds relationships with coaches, volunteers and their peers. Read This Entry