Love with Actions – Kigali

In my continuing effort to help women in Rwanda, I’d like to take a minute to introduce you to a friend of mine, Gilbert. He and his wife Esther have created a foundation in Kigali called Love With Actions (LWA). This faith-based organization is focused on helping children with disabilities in Rwanda and their families (most often single mothers and other siblings). In Rwanda, children with disabilities are frequently treated with little to no respect. Gilbert and Esther are doing their part to change that, and I’m happy to be able to spread the word about their work.

Gilbert has shared stories with me about a few of the young boys who are receiving life-changing medical care and surgeries for things like club foot, spina bifida and more. Jackson and Aime are undergoing surgeries and treatments now that will help them to live better lives. Ildephonse, pictured below, has recently undergone surgery. He was born without tibia bones in his legs, but thanks to Love With Actions, post-surgery he has been fitted with prosthetic legs.


This is Ildephonse before surgery. His lower legs were amputated in recent surgeries.


Now here is Ildephonse after surgery, standing on his new legs, with Gilbert.

In addition to helping the children, their mothers (along with other impoverished women in the community) are being trained to sew handbags and weave baskets. This important educational experience will help them to support themselves and their families. They’re making some wonderful products!

Please visit LWA’s website for more information. If you feel moved to donate, please do so. LWA operates as a 503c organization in the United States (in part with InFocus Ministries), so deductions within the U.S. are tax deductible. If you are not interested in donating, that is perfectly fine too. They would appreciate prayers, good thoughts, and help spreading the word about this important work for the children of Rwanda and their families.

Thank you Gilbert for your help to me personally (keeping me in touch with the women, and now children, in Rwanda), and for your help and love of them as well! Keep doing what you’re doing, and I will going to keep creating!

Posted in Africa, General Info, Products | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Buranga Update

Well, it has been awhile since I last wrote. Somehow, seemingly while we are not looking, life happens, things change and time slips away. One thing that has not changed for me is my love for and support of the people of Rwanda. I have not had as much time as I might like, or maybe more accurately have not taken as much time as I might like, to work with my paper beads. Behind the scenes though I have been doing a little bit here and there and I am trying to get back to having them front and center.

Fortunately I have kept in touch with several friends in Rwanda. I have received updates about the women of the Buranga Cooperative and I am happy to say that they are doing well in their newest endeavors. The paper bead business was difficult for them, so they have shifted to sewing handbags using colorful African fabrics.

Some of the women of Buranga showing me their new handbag designs.

I received three bags from them as a gift after helping them to purchase sewing machines and to hire a sewing instructor (in great part from the purchase of paper bead and African bead items from my shops – thank you to my customers!). I am hoping to purchase more handbags that I can sell or gift to others to spread the love. The women are looking for ways to market their handbags, so if you are interested in learning more, ordering or helping out, please let me know.

These three handbags were sewn by the women in the Buranga Cooperative. They each have a small matching removable pouch (similar to the bag on the right), and are nicely padded! I love the different fabrics and handbag designs. The two on the outside are large enough to hold a laptop or tablet and other accessories.

Here are a couple of my newest necklace and earring sets listed on Etsy, using pretty Rwandan paper beads.

Yellow and Green Stripe Rwandan Paper Bead Necklace and Earrings

Black and White Stripes

Black, Brown, Yellow and White Striped Rwandan Paper Bead Necklace and Earrings


Posted in Africa, General Info, Products | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Women of Buranga

As you may know, part of the joy I get out of making my creations with beads is to know that I’m also helping others. The paper beads I use in my designs are handmade by women in Rwanda, Africa. In 2011, I visited Rwanda and worked with some of the women who made many of the beads I use. I talked about them in a previous blog post. It was an awesome experience to be face to face with them and to see the joy they have.

Some of the newer paper beads I have were made by women in Rwanda who are a part of a cooperative called Buranga. Buranga is the name of the village that they have also adopted for the name of their co-op. The name “Buranga” in Kinyarwanda (Rwanda’s native language) means “beauty” and I find it very fitting. The paper beads they make are beautiful, and each one is unique. The same goes for the women in the co-op – each is beautiful and unique.

There are about 25 to 30 women in the Buranga group at any given time. Many of them are former prostitutes who have turned their lives around and are working to support themselves and their families. Their lives have changed for the better and they are learning to create beautiful products.

Recently I sent a donation to the women of Buranga to be used to further their skills in bead making and artistry. This came from a portion of the sales of items that I’ve sold in person and online through my Etsy shop and Facebook page. If you’ve purchased any of the African bead items from me, this is a thank you to you as well!!

I love having these photos to remind me of the wonderful ladies who made the beads. They are truly appreciative for the continued support of my customers. They are wearing the jewels they’ve made, and holding them in their hands, to show their happiness for the donation that will help them to enrich their skills and their lives.

You can see some of the items I’ve made and have available online in my Etsy shop. If you are interested in making a donation or in making a purchase, just let me know. Thanks for your continued support!

Posted in Africa, General Info | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Women’s Art Festival 2014



The Women’s Art Festival in Minneapolis has a new home this year. Please check out the details below and come and check it out!

The 22nd Annual
Women’s Art Festival
Saturday, December 13th, 2014
9:30 am – 4:30 pm

Formerly held at the Midtown YWCA, we have a new home this year. Please come join us at:

The Colin Powell Center
2924 4th Ave S, Minneapolis

Free guest parking in the Wells Fargo Ramp at 28th St and 4th Ave.

Same great event! Over 130 women artists. Live music all day by local women performers. Food and drink by Sisters’ Sludge Coffee Cafe & Kabomellete food truck!

Women’s Art Festival on Facebook

Posted in Craft Shows | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

St. Vincent de Paul Christmas Bazaar 2014

It’s that time of year again! The St. Vincent de Paul Annual Christmas Bazaar is this weekend. Looks like it will be nice weather for a change, so hopefully everyone will be out and about and ready to shop. I will be located in the gymnasium again, so please stop by and say hello. I have snowflakes and other Christmas ornaments (including the popular shotgun shell and bullet themed ones, with the addition of some new fishing lure ornaments this year), as well as jewelry, purse hangers, wine glass charms, rosaries and more. I’ve added glass, clay and wood beads from Senegal to my selection of Rwandan paper bead items. More opportunities to help support women in Africa and to get that unique gift for someone special!

Alongside me for the second year will be my Aunt Amy who makes some really wonderful microwave bowl holders in a variety of sizes (use them to nestle your bowl of hot soup in a potholder so you don’t burn your hands, or alternatively a nice big bowl of ice cream without freezing your hands) as well as knit scarves, dish scrubbies and more.


3 Dimensional snowflake in purples (with handmade Rwandan paper beads)


Wood bead necklace made with beads from Senegal


9mm snowflake ornament (available with new, unfired or previously fired casings) – other calibers also available

Red and Green Snowflake (with handmade Rwandan paper beads)

Red and Green Snowflake (with handmade Rwandan paper beads)

The hours are Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, December 7, 2014 from 8:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Mass times are 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, and 7:30, 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on Sunday.

The address for St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church is 9100-93rd Avenue North, Brooklyn Park, MN. It’s located just west of Highway 169 at the corner of 93rd Avenue North and Jefferson Highway. Click here for a map. They’ve changed the intersection of 169 and 93rd Avenue North, so be aware that you can only get off of 169 at 93rd when going north, and can only get back on 169 from 93rd to go south.

There will be over 90 crafters selling all homemade items, and a great bakery selling lots of Christmas cookies, breads, pies and more as well as Java Joe’s Coffee Shop serving hot coffee, hot chocolate and other goodies. Santa will be in attendance. There are many raffles and drawings, live musical performances and lunch available.

Thanks for helping to support locally handmade products and the church bake sale! Hope to see you there.

And as always, feel free to check out my Etsy shop if you can’t make it to the sale (or if you do make it but forgot to buy something!).

DTB sign 10-15-13 with website and Rwanda Africa


Posted in Africa, Craft Shows, Products, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cyber Monday 2014

Looking for Christmas gifts or a little something for yourself? Today only, for CYBER MONDAY – use coupon code CYMON14 at checkout on 12-1-14 for 10% off a purchase of $10 or more at

Thanks for shopping!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Epiphany Star Bazaar – November 1-2, 2014

Epiphany Star BazaarI am participating in my first craft show of the season this weekend! Seems like it arrived before I knew it. Please see the info below to find out more. Stop by, say hello, and get a start on that holiday shopping.

Saturday, November 1 / 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 2 / 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Over 70 Crafters

Bake Sale
Face Painting
Kids Corner

Church of the Epiphany
11001 Hanson Blvd NW
Coon Rapids, MN

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment