Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Campaign: Fadra of All Things Fadra

All Things Fadra celebrates Christmas in July by raising money for charity. Get to know Fadra, her beneficiary, and her answers to our questions about the virtues of generosity and compassion with this post from the Balsam Hill blog.Fadra and her adorable dog

After years in the research, teaching, travel, software, and marketing professions, Fadra Nally found herself in 2009 as a blogger. As it turns out, she had a passion for storytelling—be it “mom stories” or tales about her travels and other experiences. What matters to Fadra is that the accounts found on her blog All Things Fadra inspire readers and make them come back for more. She does not consider herself a mommy blogger, but will take no offense if she is referred to as one. Personally, Fadra is a wife, mother, writer, blogger, marketer, explorer, do-gooder, and lover of life.

Fadra’s love of life encompasses all living things, especially animals. Just recently, during one Friday night in March, Fadra lost one of her dearest companions—Emma, her pet poodle. Emma was a breeder from a puppy mill that had cast her aside due to her old age. Like Fadra, Emma found herself out of a “job,” out of the world she used to know. This is the common ground which allowed them to bond.

Many are not aware of the challenges faced by a puppy mill dog. When Fadra took Emma home, the poor creature did not know how to play, go for a walk or behave around other dogs. Fadra also had to help Emma deal with a cataract in one eye, anxiety and having no teeth. Emma was also a runner and had a habit of peeing everywhere. Despite these, Fadra was adamant to prove that no dog should ever be cast aside and treated like a commodity.

The Humane Society of the United States

To curb her grief from Emma’s passing, Fadra has lobbied in North Carolina against puppy mills. She also pushed for a legislation that would require licensing and regulation for the industry. She continues with this mission until today. For Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Charity Campaign, Fadra has decided to give her support to The Humane Society of the United States. In honor of Emma, Fadra also urges everyone to adopt a second-chance pet instead of buying one from puppy mills or pet stores.

For more information on how to find the right dog for you and how to get involved in the fight against the vicious cycle perpetuated by puppy mills, please visit the puppy mill section of the Humane Society of the United States.

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

Fadra: With charities, it’s sometimes difficult to discern between those that talk the talk and those that walk the walk. While I try to open my checkbook when I can, I have a strong affinity for charities that want more than just your donation. With my chosen charity, The Humane Society of the United States, I’ve been able to have firsthand experience with my state legislators lobbying for bills I believe in that will help improve the lives of animals. They’ve helped me walk the walk. Read This Entry

Dagmar Obert | Balsam Hill Design Consultant

Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Campaign: Erica of Let Why Lead

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

Erica of Let Why Lead

If you’re looking for living proof of the adage “opposites attract,” Erica Neilsen is the quintessential example. Happily married to her “opposite in more ways than one,” Erica is a loving mother of three young children ages six, four and one. Her blog Let Why Lead shows readers that it’s all right to have big dreams and to pursue them. Erica herself dreams of someday writing a book on family life. And she always keeps an open mind so that she will continue to learn through her blog. She believes that Let Why Lead can help others learn about life and also help her gain insight through meaningful interactions with her readers.

The name of Erica’s blog stems from her belief that why you live should determine how you live. Focusing on one’s deepest intentions help put focus on what really matters. It also relieves the pressure of trying to do everything at once. It helps in letting go of the things that, in retrospect, don’t really matter at all. For now, her goal is to build a family that is filled to the brim with love, while seeing the beauty in everyday things. Erica aims to empower women by helping them believe that their best is good enough and by showing them how she has become the “purpose-driven wife.”

Mothers Without Borders

For Balsam Hill’s Christmas in July Charity Campaign, Erica has chosen to support Mothers Without Borders. This organization has worked tirelessly to provide love, care, and support to orphans around the world, and now Erica joins them to continue that beautiful and important works. It is a worthy endeavor, one that is important especially in this time when more and more kids need all the guidance in the world.

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

Erica: What I love most about Mothers Without Borders is that in addition to the other work they do in Zambia, Africa, they house 22 orphans in a family setting. Ten years ago this month, I volunteered in Zambia with MWB. Their mission was to contribute sustainable solutions to the global orphan crisis. So I’ve sat on these children’s beds and I’ve watched them sing and dance on a dusty porch in the setting sun. Children who had almost nothing before coming into the home have found themselves with a family and a new sense of belonging. Read This Entry

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