Looking for opportunities to donate at Christmas? Here are my favourites.

So, speaking of the Christmas Spirit, I thought I’d share with you a few of my favourite charities in case you are looking for some ideas of where to spread your Christmas cheer too. I donate to these charities every time I get a royalty statement too, so thank you for supporting my books because you in turn support these charities. xx

____________

Kiva

kiva-logo

To see who’s leading the way of amazing things you can do for the world in my list, head on over to the Kiva site. These are TRULY the gifts that keep on giving. Kiva is a phenomenally life changing micro loan site. That means, your money is a loan to an enterprising individual or group and they pay it back to you in tiny amounts at a time. You can literally change people’s lives with a $25 loan that comes back to you and then… here’s the awesome thing… you can send that same $25 on to someone else! It’s incredible. We can change the world with micro loans. I’ve got tiny loans out to people in Cambodia, Senegal, Phillipines, India, Zambi and Peru. I cannot speak highly enough of this charity.

And if you ever want to feel unbelievably inspired and hopeful for the world, listen to anything Jessica Jackley (co-founder of Kiva) has said. She is one of my heroes in life and I’ll be she’ll quickly be one of yours too.

Australian Koala Foundation

akf-logo-rnd-outline-and-text-2014-rgb

On a sad note… Koalas, our national emblem, our national disgrace.

Did you know it takes fifty (50!) trees to supply food for ONE koala for ONE year?

We are losing our koala trees through deforestation and land clearing and cannot plant them fast enough to save this much-loved, cuddly species from a wipe out. The AKF is very clear: the only way to save koalas is to legislate protection of their habitat.

As their slogan says: No tree, no me.

Twice a year I donate to AKF to buy trees for their tree planting programs, building up crucial tracts of koala networks to save our friends. If it’s too late for the wild populations, then there is always the hope that zoos will have breeding programs to repopulate our land, and if that happens, the trees that AKF are planting right now (on private land, often donated or bequeathed) will be leading the way in providing food for them.

Freedom Hill Sanctuary

12313975_1123045207737653_6295477902484630982_n

These are our sponsor cows: ‘Teddy’ is on the top and ‘Christina and Batman’ are on the bottom. Teddy is my husband’s cow and the two on the bottom are mine. Cute, aren’t they? We have a real thing for cows. (Actually, we have a real thing for everything, hence why we founded and ran a horse rescue charity for three years and now have a paddock full of horses.) This year, hubby wants to add on a pig. Getting a real live pig is the one thing I have resolutely said we can not under any circumstances get!! I love pigs, don’t get me wrong, and haven’t eaten one for twenty odd years. But everything I’ve read about pigs leads me to expect broken fences, endless ear-splitting squealing and earth destruction! I just don’t think I can cope. So anyway, that’s why sponsoring your favourite animals is a great alternative, and hence why this time next year I’ll probably be showing you a photo of ‘our pig’. 🙂

Book Drive

You’ll likely find a children’s book drive going on somewhere near you. For us, it’s run through our library system in Books 4 Kids here on the Sunshine Coast. Because kids and books just go together, don’t they? And no child should have to be without books, especially at Christmas.

 Oxfam

logo

“One person in three in the world lives in poverty.”

Wow, right? How lucky we are.

Oxfam’s slogan is: The power of people against poverty. They help people all around the world, including here in Australia, through industry, agriculture and businesses that provide ongoing employment, education and food resources.

And fortunately for all of us, they supply us with great Christmas decorations and gifts for everyone. We do a lot of shopping with Oxfam at this time of year. 🙂

 

So there you go! Please, go forth and be merry! xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creative Tuesday, week #5: Beach shack wall hanging

Beach shack wall hanging

Beach shack wall hanging

I’m a little bit pleased with this effort.

This is my ‘beach shack Christmas’ wall hanging. It’s easy to do and gives a great result, I think. I just painted a canvas (picked up for a few dollars in a cheap shop) and dusted the whole thing with sparkly glitter for a ‘starry night’ effect, glued on driftwood pieces to resemble a Christmas tree, and topped with a starfish I picked up ages ago in a shop at the Noosa Marina. Voila!

Creative Tuesdays: Week #3, Snowy Owls from Toilet Rolls

Snowy owl ornaments

Snowy owl ornaments

Christmas decorations were back on today’s agenda for Creative Tuesday.

They’re made from toilet rolls, white paint, white card cut into circles and glued with glitter, paper for the beak, glue on eye pieces and thumbtacks into drift wood for feet. I still want to wire them up to hang in the tree.

I think it’s important to stress that my philosophy for Creative Tuesday is not to produce something GREAT but simply to CREATE. Thus, I present my homemade snowy owls!

Christmas Appeal: Books 4 Kids

Noddy_(character)-imageOne of my strongest memories of Christmas as a child was the unbelievable anticipation and excitement of unwrapping a brand new Enid Blyton Noddy book. Oh boy. How I loved that little guy and his friends.

Kids and books: they just go together, don’t they?

I’d love to pass on that excitement to another child (other than my own, obviously) so I’m donating books to the Salvation Army’s book appeal through the Sunshine Coast Libraries.

If you don’t live on the Sunshine Coast, there are other ways to get books to children. You could try these links:

The Smith Family

Wesley Mission

Or you could connect with your local op shop, shelter or council to see what’s going on.

Christmas, at its best, is a joyous, imaginative, creative and inspiring time of year. My wish is for every child to receive the lifelong gift of reading.

 

 

Booksellers: Love Your Local

Since my last post about high tea in Melbourne, I have enjoyed another two events (in Brisbane and Sydney) with booksellers, who are smart, funny and creative people who absolutely LOVE books with all their might. Where in the world would we be without booksellers? I can’t even imagine but I know that’s not a world I want to live in.

You see, I spend a lot of time in bookshops, gazing at books as others might gaze at works of art in a museum, smelling the books (it might be a tad addictive), and writing. I sit quietly in corners, on couches, and sometimes on the floor. I find immense inspiration in the words and images already in print and there’s something just a little bit transcendental about absorbing the best of what surrounds me.

And I also listen (eavesdrop is really too strong a word) to the booksellers. And they are amazing. People come in and ask the most vague or helpless question about a book they want but can’t remember the name of, or about the gift they need to buy for their child/ neighbour/ boss/ crazy uncle, and those booksellers SELL. My word they do. But they don’t just hand over anything. Their passion and belief in a book spills over in their words and gestures and the customer smiles with relief and walks away happy. And I sit there with my notebook/laptop, pulling words from my brain for my next book, and I think, ‘Wow, I hope someone does that for my book one day.’

For me, the greatest part of the high teas was getting to talk to these champions of books and authors and publishers, hear how they constantly reinvent themselves to compete with global markets, and admire their tenacity and wit.

This Christmas, buy books! For everyone in your life, from your mother to your dog. And support the booksellers who are out there every day keeping our books alive.

20131121-070600.jpg

Me with my friend, Kathleen, who came with me to Sydney, doing the tourist thing and stopping for a selfie.

Christmas Presents for Literature Nuts

Wuthering Heights arm cuff

Wuthering Heights arm cuff

Here’s a few ideas out there for Christmas presents for the literature nut in your life.

Mr Darcy’s proposal on a scarf

Wuthering Heights arm cuff

A Little Women t-shirt (and every product sold through this site sees a book go to Africa for the Books for Africa program).

Mr Darcy's proposal scarf

Mr Darcy’s proposal scarf

Little Women t-shirt

Little Women t-shirt

Christmas Book Advent Calendar

Christmas book advent calendar

Christmas book advent calendar

Want a cool Christmas advent calendar with a fun book theme for your kids?

My clever sister has made a Christmas book advent calendar. She’s taken a heap of Christmas themed books and wrapped them in Christmas paper and put them in a big red box.

Each night during December, her two boys (one-and-a-half and three-and-a-half years old) get to take turns to pick a book (like a lucky dip) to unwrap and read before bed.

What a wonderful tradition to start with your kids (or indeed yourself!).