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my new favorite thing

several months ago, i was reading a blog that's on my list of "check into every few days to see what's up," and the author wrote an entry about noonday collection. noonday is an amazing idea that takes home parties, jewelry, altruism, artistry, self-reliance, hope and compassion, and stirs it all together. what comes out is something amazing. and i'm now hopelessly hooked.

now, i'm not a jewelry person, but i was so moved by noonday's mission that i couldn't wait to support them. their purpose is to become a way for women (and a handful of men) in impoverished communities around the world to craft something beautiful and become their own industry, providing an income for themselves and thus finding their own way out of poverty, and to provide safety and education and hope for their children. after i finished reading the blog entry about the company and its vision, i immediately looked on noonday's web site to see if there is an ambassador (the person who represents the company and leads the home parties) in the twin cities area. turned out, there was only a single ambassador in all of minnesota (that has since changed; now there are two.), and she lives in my town. go figure. i called it fate, and immediately emailed her about having a party.

we got a time set up, and in october i had a great evening of girlfriends, appetizers, and noonday.

while everyone got excited about the product and the philosophy behind the company, the thing that really got us talking was noonday's support of overseas adoptions. friends at the party had either been through the adoption process themselves or knew someone who had/is. we had the best conversation about it, and it created even more excitement and support among us for noonday.

i've now been to a few other parties in my neighborhood, and there seems to be an unspoken agreement that every couple of months *someone* will host a party and we'll eat more appetizers and buy more jewelry. and give yet another artisan/mother hope.

some things i love:

i couldn't resist this necklace. it is made in ethiopia, from found ammunition casings which are then melted down and made into beads. the artists have found a way to take something that brings fear and destruction and remove its power, take control over its state, and turn it into something beautiful that will bring only good things. and it is nearly weightless ... like all of the pain has been stripped away.

the beads of this necklace are made from a seed found in ecuador, which is where marc is from. so i feel a little affinity toward it.

the paper beads are made in africa and are so colorful and lightweight. the earrings in the top right corner? have them. love them.

i am currently coveting everything on this plate. i mean, come on.

my favorite thing is this scarf, crocheted from alpaca by an artist in peru. sadly, this scarf left me at a swim meet last month. i set it down next to me, and then it was gone. the school doesn't have it in the lost & found. i have a feeling someone else saw it and liked it. which i am choosing to view as the universe's way of telling me to get another and support this artist twice; which is proportional to the amount of love i have for this scarf.

one of the things i love most about noonday is that the ambassadors are not in it to be on the top of a sales pyramid. the company is structured so that the profits go back to the artisans. ambassadors gain nothing from recruitment; they just want more people out there spreading the word about noonday in order to bring more good to the communities and artists that are supported by it. so if you need some extra income and love the home party vein of employment (and, really: this stuff sells itself. my ambassador, andrea, gives the history and mission of noonday and shares some of the artisans' stories at the beginning of the party, and then lets everyone touch and try on the jewelry, and answers questions. no pressure, no guilt.), you may want to consider this. or find an ambassador in your area and have a party. you'll have a great time, find some great pieces, and do a good thing.