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2741 South Osceola Way
Harvey Park South, CO, 80236
United States

713-858-6401

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The Sparrow Studio

 

 

Rebuilding in Ecuador

Annie Phillips

Meet Germania!


Germania is a single mother and doing her best to make it in a rural village in Ecuador.  In December, her house fell down in the extreme rains.  This house was made with bamboo walls and a natural fiber roof.  We learned about this unfortunate event in early February.  So we placed extra orders right after receiving an order we hadn't even posted online yet.  We knew you guys would show up and help!  And you have!  We are about half way to raising our initial goal of $500 toward her new home.  

But now we want to raise the bar.

Because Germania loves making great product for you and sees that our orders are more frequent, she has taken out a loan to build a better house!  We are so excited about this!  Look at this great house!  We are so glad to know she and her son will be safer here.  This house will not fall down in the rain.  However, we need you show up big time.  We need to help her raise $1000, and she is delighted to work hard for it and make you the best product she's made yet!  What do you think?  Can you buy more great jewelry, made from nuts and seeds, in rich colors to help us meet this goal?  We honestly need each one of you.  

Because Germania loves making great product for you and sees that our orders are more frequent, she has taken out a loan to build a better house!  We are so excited about this!  Look at this great house!  We are so glad to know she and her son will be safer here.  This house will not fall down in the rain.  However, we need you show up big time.  We need to help her raise $1000, and she is delighted to work hard for it and make you the best product she's made yet!  What do you think?  Can you buy more great jewelry, made from nuts and seeds, in rich colors to help us meet this goal?  We honestly need each one of you.  

To help you get to know Germania, we thought we'd share a little interview (A very special thank you to Annie's neighbor, Cherith, for all her help interpreting! ) 

Annie:  What is your favorite color?

Germania:  My favorite colors are fuchsia and turquoise.

Annie:  What is your favorite type of jewelry to make? Do you prefer making original designs and one-of-a-kind pieces, or bulk orders from us?

Germania:  I like to make all kinds of jewelry, but I most like making earrings and necklaces. When I make them I feel happy. It's my passion.

Annie:  How did you learn to make jewelry?

Germania:  I learned first about making jewelry with plastic pieces in high school. Then one day I saw someone with a bracelet made of seeds instead.  I liked it and just by looking at it, I made one myself.  From that day forward I started making more jewelry; and I am always making jewelry that is different and unique.  In high school I graduated with a specialty in jewelry making.

Annie:  How many types of seeds/beads do you grow near your house?

Germania:  There are times that I have to buy seeds and other times seeds that are partially made already and I give you the final product.  And sometimes I grow the seeds and create the final product.  The tourists really like the natural jewelry.   In my yard there are about 10 types of seed that grow.  All the others (tagua, pambil, and acai) I have to buy.

Annie:  Tell me about your son! How old is he? What is your favorite thing about being his mom? What is your goal for your son? What do the two of you enjoy doing together?

Germania:  Well, I make jewelry almost every day, and on the weekends I go to sell them in another Shuar community that has natural hot springs, which is about four hours from my house. I leave at 4:30 in the morning for the trip with my son.  My son is 12 years old. I would like him to be some type of professional and if not then I would like to help him study to have some kind of business.
In my town there is one high school. Any others are private and they cost a lot. I don't know if I can change high schools for him but this is my dream. But, well, every parent wants the best for their children. As for what we do together, we go to the market shopping together and also just hang out and sometimes we even make jewelry together.

Annie:  Can you tell me one thing that you enjoy about working with us?

Germania:  I am very grateful to know you and I like to work with you! I like to work with you because I can learn to make new styles and I very grateful for you for your purchases and I have been able to have money for my necessities. Thank you very much, Annie. I would like some day to meet you if God permits. Everything is possible in this life, it's just up to God.

We also wanted to share a recipe for Germania's favorite meal with you!

AJIAKMU

Ingredients:

Chicken breast, uncooked

Hearts of Palm (Germania uses fresh, but I'm sure canned from the grocery store could substitute just fine)

Leaves for grilling (We suggest Banana Leaves.  These are typically available in the frozen food section of Asian and Latin markets. )

Plantains

Yuca

Rice (your choice!)

Instructions:

Clean and prepare chicken breasts.  If using canned hearts of palm, drain those.  Spread the banana leaves on your counter.   Cut 12" x 12" squares, approximately, from the leaves, and save the scraps for making ties.  Lay the banana leaf squares out on the counter, making sure the shiny side is facing up.  Place a chicken breast in the center of each square.  Place the desired amount of hearts of palm with the chicken breast.  Carefully fold in and overlap the excess banana leaf.  Place this "package" seam side down on a baking dish.  Tear a strip from the remaining banana leaf scraps and tie up your package.  

Germania might dig a hole and slowly smoke this meal,  But you can simply place your banana leaf wrapped chicken breast on the grill.  Heat the grill to high temperature, with the lid closed.  After 15 minutes, reduce to medium heat.  Then add the chicken packages.  Cook for about 25 minutes.  The leaves will get dark and have a smokey scent.  

Plantains and Yuca can be sliced and grilled as well.  Prepare rice as you prefer.  I'd do white Jasmine rice in a pressure cooker.  Here's a link to The Pioneer Woman's Yuca 101 to help you out.  And a guide to grilling Plantains.  

Enjoy!  Think of our friend Germania as you eat and post a picture on social media, tagging us, when you try this yummy meal!

NOW hop on over to the Ecuador page in our shop and make some purchases to help build Germania's house!  We are SO THANKFUL for each of you!!

THANK YOU! 2016 was a total success!

Annie Phillips

You shopped and pre-ordered and shared about us on social media; and we grew, our artisan partners met goals and felt your love.  The image above is from our Rwandan partner's Christmas party.  Through your donations and purchases, we were able to gift each woman a Bible, a hymn book, and a journal.  If you can't tell, they were VERY HAPPY about these gifts. Tears were shed and shouts of joy shared.  Many women expressed that they thought they'd NEVER own something so precious as a Bible.  They couldn't believe it.  Look at the joy you've given them!  We can't thank you enough.  

We have several great growth markers we'd like to share with you and a few prayer requests. We'll focus on More Than Sparrows, our Rwandan co-op partners, in this blog update.  Annie and I were able to FaceTime with Jane, our NEW manager, and Cheryl, the world's most outstanding volunteer, back in November, and it was such a gift to us.  We learned that, with Cheryl's guidance, the 34 women in the cooperative have created budgets, are earning a steady salary each month, and taking many tangible strides in growing and managing their business.  We are so encouraged by this news!  They are pursuing wholesale orders in Europe and Australia, so if you have any connections with shop owners, please email us (sarah@thesparrowstudio.com).   And if you are in Kigali, please be sure to stop by The Shop Kigali- their retail spot.  

Another great stride, as previously mentioned, is that the fabulous Usanase Jane has grown from being our interpreter and hands on helper to our official manager.  Jane is generous, hard working, smart as a whip, and in the front right of the picture in a white dress.  We are so excited to have her step into this role.  And she is in the midst of filling a giant order for us. Please pray for her as she settles in.  

Changes are also on the horizon for More Than Sparrows, Rwanda has passed a new law saying that co-ops can no longer meet in houses, which is what most co-ops do.  Its what we do. Please pray for the right spot to open for them and for God to provide the finances they need to make the move.

Thank you, again, for your care and support.  Great changes are happening in the lives of our artisans.  Step by step and purchase by purchase we are seeing real growth.  Y'all are amazing. 

P.S. Don't forget to sign up for our monthly newsletter to get insider deals.  We will only ever send you good things!  And we will never share your email.   

Two Festive Salads

Annie Phillips

More than likely you've popped over here from our Instagram Gift Guide- hello!  We thought two new salad recipes would be a great compliment to the gift of our Olive Wood Salad Servers.  So here are two of Sarah's tried and true Holiday gathering favorites!

Citrus Fennel And Avocado Salad (recipe and image from FoodieCrush.com)

SERVES: SERVES 2 AS MAIN, 4 AS SIDES

Ingredients

  • An assortment of citrus, totaling about 2½ to 3 pounds
  • I used:
  • 3 navel oranges
  • 3 cara cara oranges
  • 2 minneola oranges
  • 3 mandarin oranges
  • 1 blood orange
  • ½ fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, peeled, pitted and sliced
  • ½ shallot, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • Reserved fennel fronds

Instructions

  1. Slice the peels off of the citrus and place in a bowl or on a serving plate. Layer with thinly slivered fennel slices. Add avocado slices and shallot slivers.
  2. In a small bowl, slowly whisk the olive oil into the champagne vinegar until emulsified. Add the honey and whisk to mix. Season with kosher salt and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over the salad and season with more kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. Top with reserved fennel fronds and mint leaves.

Orange and Pomegranate Salad with Buttermilk Dressing (recipe and image from BrooklynSupper.com )

A vibrant orange and pomegranate salad recipe topped with creamy buttermilk dressing.

Author: Brooklyn Supper

Recipe type: Salad

Makes: Four servings

Ingredients

  • For the dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon shallot, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
     
  • For the salad
  • 1 large bunch spinach
  • 3 oranges, or other sweet-tasting citrus
  • 1 large pomegranate
  • 1/2 shallot, sliced paper thin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. To make dressing, one at a time, whisk zest, juice, vinegar, mustard, and buttermilk into olive oil. Add shallots, rosemary, and sea salt. Set aside while you prepare salad.
  2. Cut very top and bottom off of oranges. Carefully slice off peel, removing white pith while sparing as much flesh as possible. Cut into 1/2-inch thick slices.
  3. Pour most of the dressing over the spinach; turn with fingers to coat.
  4. Spread spinach on a large platter and tuck oranges throughout. Scatter with pomegranate arils and shallots. Finish with a final drizzle of dressing, a scattering of rosemary leaves, a pinch of sea salt, and several twists fresh pepper.

Enjoy!  And thanks for stopping by.  Leave a comment and let us know if you tried either salad!

#GivingTuesday AND Wednesday!

Annie Phillips

We hope its obvious, but we LOVE giving around here.  We maybe jumping in late in the day, but here's our Giving Tuesday deal!  Purchase ANY paper bead jewelry item, and we'll donate $3 per item to either Dry Bones Denver or Project Worthmore.  Simply leave a comment at check out about which non-profit you'd like to support.  We love and invest in both and are excited to share them with you!

Here's a quick summary about each group, in their own words:

 

Dry Bones Denver

In the context of relationships, practicing the way of Jesus, we meet spiritual and physical needs of homeless and street-connected youth and young adults.  We seek to equip and inspire all involved to relieve suffering, facilitate reconciliation, and free the heart to love.

We accomplish this mission through three main areas of focus.  Each part applies to everyone involved in the Dry Bones community.  

Reach
We are freely extended beyond our familiar boundaries in order to form relationships that reveal the God-given unsurpassable worth of all involved.  We hope to create intersections where people from different walks of life cross paths who would not normally meet; here, everyone belongs. (read more on Reach)

Rescue
Within the context of relationships, hope, love, opportunity, and beauty are revealed.  Everyone’s faith grows.  We all get “saved” in exciting and unexpected ways. (read more on Rescue)

Reconcile
The natural response in a rescued life will be the reconciliation of torn and broken aspects of life.  As rescue takes place, many will discover new beginnings, experience deeper faith, conquer addictions, reunite with family, and actively experience the beautiful Kingdom of God.

Project Worthmore

Project Worthmore (PWM) is a nonprofit organization that seeks to improve the quality of life of Denver-area refugees by providing cultural mentorship and community supports. Started by Frank and Carolyn Anello in early 2011, PWM began as a makeshift response to the unmet needs of our refugee neighbors. Now as relationships and knowledge of refugee needs have grown, the community response has become an organized effort to serve the vast needs through the heart of our community. 

Be it teaching use of public transportation, registering children for school, going grocery shopping, and/or teaching English, there was always more that could be done but not always enough people to help do it. Abandoning the needs of this community was not an option, particularly when surrounded by such abundance and resources to help address these problems. Increasing awareness of the existence of our refugee neighbors and their needs is an initial priority. Fundraising, recruiting teams from churches and schools, gathering and distributing donations, setting up apartments for newly arrived refugee families and coordinating cultural mentorship teams all eventually became a part of this organization. As PWM continues its work, it is the Anello’s hope that more people will become an active part of this movement that has improved the lives of all those involved.

Thanks for taking a peek at our Giving Tuesday AND Wednesday beneficiaries.  Hop over and shop our paper bead jewelry to make it count....TWICE.  Paper bead styles include Jubilee necklace, Garden Party necklace, Celebrate necklace, Game Day bracelets, Blue Moon necklace, Arrowhead necklace, Charm necklace, all Boho necklaces, Ibaba earrings, and Gold Bar earrings.

 

You did it!

Annie Phillips

schoolparty.jpg

You did it!

Dear Reader,

We want to tell you of a little dream come true. For 2 years Annie and I have been longing for the Rwandan co-op's school age kids to be in school. We have played around with lots of different ideas for sponsorship and incentive programs. And like anything in life there were pros and cons to all our ideas. Ultimately we want the most kids in school for the most years. But we also want to accomplish that in the most dignified manner, where the moms are choosing the schools, the moms are paying for the schools (in Rwanda, that means tuition, books, and uniforms), and the moms are overseeing attendance and schoolwork. The ladies we work with have had many choices denied them in their lives. We don't need to make more decisions for them. We have striven to listen to their goals and then work together to come up with plans to meet those goals. And for the most part the goals are fairly straightforward- to have enough work to feed their families, to have enough work to pay the rent, to have enough work to move away from abusive situations, to have enough work to pay for school. So this year Annie and I set a business goal to purchase three times more product than ever before, with our eye to providing enough work for the ladies to cover school fees. And the ladies set a goal to make enough to pay themselves a monthly salary that would allow themselves to set monthly budgets for themselves and look to the future with hope and sanity. (Have you ever tired to seriously plan for the year ahead but had no idea if you were going to make plenty or zero? It's really hard). That brings me to the happy ending of Chapter One. This week we celebrated good attendance and good grades, really good kids, and really good moms. We celebrated with cake, mother-student relay races, and cash bonuses (because what kid doesn't like a few dollars in his very own pocket for the very first time?) Thank you to all of our donors and shoppers! We humbly and genuinely could not have done this without you.  And a huge thank you to Jane and Cheryl, our leadership on the ground in Kigali, for making it happen.  And if you want to learn even more about this outstanding group at the More Than Sparrows co-op, you can hop over to this guest blog post about a Typical Tuesday.

We hope that your holiday purchases will be reminders in your home of all we have to celebrate- a season to be incredibly grateful, a season when Hope came to the world, and lives changed through generosity and kindness.  Now get to shopping so we can start 2017 off with even more growth and orders for our dear friends in Rwanda!  ;)  Jump over to the SHE Holiday Guide for amazing tips on having a richer, healthier holiday season.  We're so honored to be featured!
https://www.shechangeseverything.com/blog/2016holidayhandbook

And just in case you didn't see the announcement on Instagram , YOU FAR EXCEEDED our goal for our first order with our new partners in Haiti!  We asked you to spend $450, and y'all blew our minds by pre-ordering about $2500 worth of product!  YOU ARE AN AMAZING COMMUNITY, and we are so so very grateful!

Love,
Sarah