Tag Archives: worthy cause

ArtSound Kyanite Pendant and Earrings Set

Kyanite Earrings and Pendant Set

I was so pleased when my dear friend Judy asked if I could create another matching pendant and earrings set for her to donate to the ArtSound FM Radiothon fundraiser this year. (Last year I created this set).

ArtSound Kyanite Pendant and Earrings Set

I drew up a few quick ideas, incorporating the ArtSound logo, and Judy chose the one she wanted. She  chose kyanite cabochons from my gemstone collection, which I think looks just lovely!

ArtSound Kyanite Pendant and Earrings Set

Thank you, Judy, what a pleasure to create for you!

Worthy Cause – Beyond Blue

Butterfly No. 1 (image credit Allison Trentelman)

Butterfly No. 1 (image credit Allison Trentelman)

Three million Australians are living with depression or anxiety. Are you, or someone you know, one of these people? If so, beyondblue could help.


beyondblue is working to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience. They have plenty of information and resources available, so if you need ideas or help, visit their website now.

Elafonissi Pink Meander Greek Ceramic and Sterling Silver Earrings

I know the debilitation and pain of depression and anxiety first hand, so this month I’ll be donating 10% of The Silver Forge proceeds to this worthy cause. If you’d like to help and get yourself something fab at the same time, pop into my online shop.

Worthy Cause – Share The Dignity

Angel McNall - Magnolias

Pink Magnolias (image credit Angel McNall)

Share The Dignity is an initiative run by two Queensland based women, Rochelle Courtenay and Heather Ranger. Their aim is to provide homeless and at-risk women across Australia with sanitary products to allow them a sense of dignity at a time when they need it most.

Share The Dignity Logo

Because no woman should suffer the indignity of choosing between eating or buying sanitary products, Share The Dignity have a network of homeless and domestic violence shelters who they supply the donations to and allow them to distribute the donations where they see the need.

To help, you can donate sanitary items at one of the many collection sites, or if you’re not close to one of those, through the Tsuno website. Tsuno  make environmentally friendly pads, and is also a social enterprise which exists to donate 50% of profits to charities helping women in the developing world.

Pink Handblown Glass Teardrop and Sterling Silver Earrings

Another way to help is to pop into my online shop – I will be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge proceeds from this month to this worthy cause!

Worthy Cause – Assist A Sista

Echidna Art and Cards Blue Butterfly

Iridescent Butterfly (image credit Echidna Art and Cards)

Assist A Sista is a Gold Coast based group of community volunteers who work together to help survivors of domestic violence to rebuild and repair by bringing hope and restoring faith.

Assist A Sista Banner

Domestic violence affects nearly 500,000 Australian women per year. Although women are the majority, men can also be subjected to domestic violence. It does not discriminate; affecting every community regardless of class, culture or background, young or old.

Domestic violence is the misuse of power to gain control over another person. No one deserves to live in fear of domestic violence – especially not children. Assist A Sista strives to empower victims, with the aim of breaking the cycle and enabling victims and their children have a fresh start; a comfortable home with all the basics, whilst they continue to heal.

Assist A Sista provide support by bridging the gap, where government support falls short:, by meeting immediate crisis needs, by providing specific “Wish List” Items requested by survivors of domestic violence, and by creating “Assista Havens” for the women (and sometimes men) and their children, once they have exited a refuge and are commencing their journey towards a safe new life in a new home.

Grotto Blue Greek Ceramic and Sterling Silver Earrings

If you can help Assist A Sista, either with cash or a donation of household goods, head to their website, or if you’d like to help by making a purchase from The Silver Forge, head to my shop – 10% of this month’s proceeds will be donated to this very worthy cause!

Epilepsy Australia

A Wish Made (photo credit My Little Pixels)

A Wish Made (photo credit My Little Pixels)

Epilepsy Australia is the National Coalition of Australian Epilepsy Associations working together to advance the cause of people living with epilepsy and other seizures disorders in Australia.

Epilepsy Australia Banner

Their vision is to achieve a quality of life for all those living with epilepsy and other seizure disorders no less than that expected by the majority of Australians.

Epilepsy is a disorder of brain function that takes the form of recurring convulsive or non-convulsive seizures. Epilepsy is not just one condition; rather it is a diverse family of disorders comprising many seizure types. 10% of the population are at risk of experiencing a seizure during their lifetime, while 3-4% will go on to be diagnosed with epilepsy.

Would you know what to do if you saw someone having a seizure? A goal of Epilepsy Australia is for every household in Australia to be seizure aware – find out more here.

Iris Purple Faceted Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Earrings

I will be donating 10% of the proceeds of all The Silver Forge sales for this month to this worthy cause! Pop to my shop and see what you can do to help!

WOCAN – Supporting Nepali Women

Dandelion - Chris Grieve

Seeds of Change (photo credit Chris Grieve)

Earlier this year, my sister became a Board member of the international non-profit Women Organizing for Change in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (WOCAN), which is dedicated to supporting women’s empowerment in rural communities in developing countries. A particular area of work is Nepal where many women and their families have been devastated by the recent earthquake.

WOCAN Banner

WOCAN is a women-led international membership network of women and men professionals that provides expertise to assist agriculture and natural resource management organizations strengthen women’s leadership and mainstream gender into their internal structures, programs, projects and policies.

One of WOCAN’s core associates, who lives in Nepal, has travelled to one of the project areas and discovered people urgently need food, tarps and blankets. They have the contacts and capability to get aid to where it is needed.

Pistachio Green Tiny Czech Glass Cube and Sterling Silver Earrings

WOCAN has set up a relief fund – please consider donating – it’s easy through PayPal.  I will also be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge proceeds for this month to this worthy cause. Please head to my online shop now and see if you can help out there, too!

Desert Flower Foundation

Red Desert Flower (photo credit to Lily Shih)

I first heard about Waris Dirie when I read her autobiography, ‘Desert Flower’ (published in 1997 by Harper Collins).

Desert Flower Book

Waris was born in 1965 into a nomad family living in the Somali desert near the border to Ethiopia. At the age of five, she was forced to undergo the inhuman procedure of female genital mutilation. This horrible tradition is still practiced in many countries around the world today – by both by Muslims and Christians.

At the age of 13, after being forced to marry a man who was old enough to be her grandfather, Waris fled her homeland. After a daring escape and many tribulations, she arrived in London and initially found employment as a housemaid and later at a McDonald’s.

At the age of 18 she was discovered by one of Britain’s leading fashion photographers, who thought she would be the perfect model. She quickly became an international celebrity. In 1996 the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, appointed Waris a United Nations Special Ambassador for the elimination of female genital mutilation. In 2009 Waris started the Desert Flower Foundation.

Desert Flower Logo

Female genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women. It is nearly always carried out on minors and is a violation of the rights of children. The practice also violates a person’s rights to health, security and physical integrity, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and the right to life when the procedure results in death.

According to World Health Organisation more than 125 million girls and women alive today have been cut in the 29 countries in Africa and Middle East where female genital mutilation is concentrated. You can read more about FGM here on their website.

The Desert Flower Foundation protects little girls in Africa from female genital mutilation with the Desert Flower Adoption Program.

Red Triple Berry Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Earrings

I will be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge proceeds for this month to this worthy cause. Please head to my online shop now and see if you can help out.

Heart Kids QLD Fundraiser

Blue Hearts - My Little Pixels

Hearts Are Shining (photo credit Anna Jane – My Little Pixels)

I was approached by one of my lovely customers who wanted to see if I could assist a friend of hers with some fundraising for HeartKids QLD.


HeartKids QLD

February is Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Month, and here is what Sarah has to say:

“Heart Kids is an organisation with different offices all around Australia and I myself am a Heart Kid. I was born with Pulmonary Atresia and had my first open heart surgery at 36 hours old. I have since had 2 open heart surgeries to replace this valve as I have grown. I am currently waiting for a date for the 3rd valve replacement (and it may have to be a double valve).

Heart Kids is the first port of call for all families that have a CHD child born expectedly or unexpectedly. They are there to support the parents through the very traumatic and emotionally draining period. They are there to support the parents during the baby stages and surgeries dates.

As us Heart Kids get older they do special events each Christmas with a large Christmas party and they also do a Teen Camp in Jan for teenagers with CHD – as it is hard to be a teenager, let along a teenager with health issues. So this is a great networking weekend for all teenagers with CHD. I am still friends with people who I met on my camp when I was 17.”

Valentine's Red Heart Pendant. Sterling Silver Modern Contemporary Drop Pendant.

The fundraiser is to be held on Saturday 28th February at 10.00 am at 21 Luckie Crescent, Tivoli. There is a $5 door charge with a door prize. Raffle tickets are available, as well as an Intimo and PartyLite party to help raise funds. This will be followed by a $2 sausage sizzle.

Kids are welcome with a $2 door charge with their own special door prize. For all kids there will be a coloring in competition (free to enter), and free face painting. There is also a great play area and a jumping castle for them to enjoy.

Please RSVP to yarhams85@gmail.com by the 21st Feb (to provide Sarah with numbers for catering and face painting.)

I have donated a $50 gift voucher to be raffled, and I am pleased to be able to support this worthy cause!

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation – Revisited

Little Red Flowers (photo credit Lily Shih)

Little Red Flowers (photo credit Lily Shih)

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation was established by parents Bruce and Denise Morcombe in 2005 after their son Daniel was abducted and murdered in December 2003 while waiting to catch a bus on the Sunshine Coast. The Foundation was established as a lasting legacy to Daniel and now has two main aims; to educate children on how to stay safe in a physical and online environment and to support young victims of crime.

Daniel Morcombe Foundation Logo

The Foundation’s belief and vision is one that incorporates a future where all children are provided with protection, education and support in their lives. The objectives of the foundation include educating children regarding their personal safety (including abduction); assisting victims of crime, particularly where crime involves children; and honouring the memory of Daniel by appropriate public awareness.

Where is Daniel

I have long been in awe of the strength and courage of Denise and Bruce Morcombe and their family, and was filled with admiration and moved to tears by their book ‘Where is Daniel?’

Red Leaf Czech Glass Sterling Silver Autumn Earrings

I previously supported this worthy cause, and I’m proud to say that this month, I am again donating 10% of The Silver Forge proceeds to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to help with the marvellous work they do. Pop to The Silver Forge Shop and see if you can help!

Sodalite Earrings and Pendant Set

Sodalite and Sterling Silver Pendant and Earrings Set


I was honoured to be asked by my dear friend Judy to create a matching pendant and earrings set for her to donate to the ArtSound FM Radiothon fundraiser.


Sodalite and Sterling Silver Pendant and Earrings Set


Judy asked me to incorporate the ArtSound logo into the piece.


Sodalite and Sterling Silver Pendant


She and her colleagues chose sodalite from my gemstone collection to really make these pieces gorgeous!


Sodalite and Sterling Silver Earrings


You can head to the ArtSound webpage on 17th November to pledge your donation and get your chance to win this set!

Miracle Babies Foundation

In Australia approximately 44,000 babies each year require the help of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit or Special Care Nursery. For families, the experience of having a baby come into the world not as expected or planned is life changing. Without support, this overwhelming experience can have lifelong effects on the emotional well-being of these miracle families. Miracle Babies Foundation is Australia’s leading organisation supporting premature and sick newborns, their families and the hospitals that care for them.

Miracle Babies Foundation

We have some miracle babies in our family, so this cause is one that is very close to my heart, and I’m so happy to be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge proceeds this month in support.

Ombre Blue Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Earrings

Please do visit my online shop and see if you can find something you love and help this worthy cause today!

SIDS and Kids

I Give You My Heart (photo credit Yvette Gysen)

I Give You My Heart (photo credit Yvette Gysen)

SIDS and Kids is dedicated to saving the lives of babies and children during pregnancy, birth, infancy and childhood; and supporting bereaved families. They deliver on their vision through world class research; evidence based education and bereavement support; and advocacy.

SIDS and Kids

In Australia each year over 3,500 families experience the sudden and unexpected death of a baby or child, either through stillbirth or during the first month of life, from sudden unexpected death in infancy (SIDS or fatal sleeping accidents), SUDC (sudden unexpected death in childhood) or accident.

Sadly, for many of these deaths there is no known cause. For example, more than half the deaths of unborn babies during the last 8 weeks of pregnancy each year are unexplained.

SIDS and Kids works to find answers for parents by funding and supporting vital research into stillbirth, SIDS and safe sleeping practices. Through evidence based community education we aim to prevent these deaths and we advocate for and support bereaved families.

Red Leaf Czech Glass Sterling Silver Autumn Earrings

I’ll be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge proceeds to this very worthy cause this month, so if you can help out, do pop into The Silver Forge shop and get yourself a little something at the same time!

White Ribbon


Flow (photo credit Yousouf of Echidna Art and Cards)

Flow (photo credit Yousouf of Echidna Art and Cards)

White Ribbon is Australia’s only national, male led campaign to end men’s violence against women. The White Ribbon vision is to have all women live in safety free from all forms of men’s violence. Their mission is making women’s safety a man’s issue too.

The campaign works through primary prevention initiatives involving awareness raising and education, and programs with youth, schools, workplaces and across the broader community.

White Ribbon Banner

White Ribbon’s website says “Intimate partner violence is the most common type of violence against women, affecting 30 per cent of women worldwide, according to the 2013 World Health Organization report ‘Global and regional estimates of violence against women: Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence’.

Violence against women is a serious problem in Australia, where:

  • Over 12 months, on average, one woman is killed every week as a result of intimate partner violence.
  • A woman is most likely to be killed by her male partner in her home.
  • Domestic and family violence is the principle cause of homelessness for women and their children.
  • Intimate partner violence is the leading contributor to death, disability and ill-health in Australian women aged 15-44.
  • One in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence perpetrated by someone known to them.
  • One in four children are exposed to domestic violence, which is a recognised form of child abuse.
  • The cost of violence against women to the Australian economy is estimated to rise to $15.6 billion per annum.
  • One in five women experience harassment within the workplace.
  • One in five women over 18 has been stalked during her lifetime.”

White Cone Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Earrings

I’ll be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge sales for September to this very worthy cause, so if you’d like to help out, head over and and get yourself or a woman you love a little something from The Silver Forge shop, knowing that you’ll be making a difference.

Australian Koala Foundation

Dramatic Snow Gum - photo Jennifer Watson

Dramatic Snow Gum – photo Jennifer Watson


After a recent school excursion to the lovely Bunyaville Environmental Education Centre, which was much enjoyed by grownups and children alike, I have chosen the Australian Koala Foundation to be this month’s worthy cause.


Aust Koala Foundation


Koalas are in danger. Koalas in the wild face a series of threats to their continued survival mostly stemming from destruction of their habitat for human uses and associated threats like cars, dogs and disease.

The mission of the Australian Koala Foundation is to diminish the threat to the survival of koalas and to increase global consciousness and to reverse the rapid degeneration of all the world’s flora and fauna.


Drusy Agate Earrings - Grassy Green Druzy Agate and Sterling Silver Drop Earrings


I’ll be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge sales for August to this worthy cause, so if you can, get behind it and treat yourself to something lovely from my shop at the same time!


Manly Beach Panorama Landscape (photo credit Hamish Ta-mé)

Manly Beach Panorama Landscape (photo credit Hamish Ta-mé)

UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Fund. UNICEF’s vision is of a world where the basic rights of every child will be met.

Unicef Banner

UNICEF works in over 190 countries to promote and protect the rights of children. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, clean water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and HIV.

Every child deserves these basic provisions, and I’m proud to support UNICEF this month with 10% of all The Silver Forge sales.

Ombre Blue Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Earrings

Head to The Silver Forge shop now for a browse, and see how you can help!

HeartKids Raffle Fundraiser 2014

Crimson Curls (photo credit Ben Cordia)

Crimson Curls (photo credit Ben Cordia)

Kelly got in touch with me again this year, as she is arranging another fundraiser, to be held on 5 July at Vani-T Emporium in Glenelg to raise much needed funds for HeartKids. HeartKids are dedicated to providing support, encouragement and hope to families of children with heart disease, while raising awareness and providing vital funding into researching the causes of this chronic disease.

Carmine Red Heart Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Earrings

I was happy to donate a gift certificate to this worthy cause, which I was also pleased to help out last year. Good luck, HeartKids, I hope this year’s fundraiser is another success!

The Ocean Cleanup

It’s a very scary thought – since we humans started making plastic, millions of tons of it have entered our oceans. Plastic NEVER biodegrades, and so it simply bobs around in the sea. Due to the movement of the water around the world, this discarded rubbish concentrates in five rotating currents, called gyres. The Ocean Cleanup is developing world’s first feasible method to rid the oceans of plastic. The Ocean Cleanup’s goal is to extract, prevent, and intercept plastic pollution by initiating the largest cleanup in history.


At least one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals die each year due to plastic pollution. The survival of many species could be jeopardized by plastic debris. On top of that, plastic pollution is a carrier of invasive species, threatening native ecosystems, to say nothing of the economic and health effects this plastic waste has on human beings.

While diving in Greece, Boyan Slat became frustrated when coming across more plastic bags than fish, and wondered: “why can’t we clean this up?” He decided to dedicate half a year of research to understand plastic pollution and the problems associated with cleaning it up. This ultimately led to the passive cleanup concept, The Ocean Cleanup. A team of approximately 100 committed people, performing research in the fields of engineering, physical oceanography, ecology, finance, maritime law, processing and recycling, are all working to make this concept a reality.

Ocean Cleanup Concept

An array of floating barriers and platforms are attached to the sea bed to concentrate the plastic before extracting it from the ocean – a collection process which is 100% driven by the natural winds and currents. Instead of nets, solid floating barriers make entanglement of wildlife impossible. Virtually all of the current flows underneath these booms, taking away all neutrally buoyant organisms, while the lighter-than-water plastic remains in front of the floating barrier, up to the microscopically sized particles. The scalable array of moorings and booms is designed for large-scale deployment, covering millions of square kilometers. Thanks to its projected high capture and field efficiency, a single gyre can be covered in just 5 years. The method is theoretically highly cost-effective.


What worthier cause than the health of our beautiful oceans? 10% of all The Silver Forge sales will be donated to The Ocean Cleanup this month. Head to my shop now to help out, won’t you? I love to support enterprising and hardworking people dedicating themselves to the future of our planet!

Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors

Steve Irwin – a man of passion and integrity, who did his utmost to change the way the world views wildlife. His tireless work for his worthy cause and his legendary enthusiasm have always captured my heart, and the hearts of millions of us all around the world.

Irwin, Terri - Steve and Me

I read ‘Steve and Me’ a while back, written by Steve’s wife Terri; as well as being a great and moving read it further increased my admiration for both Steve and Terri and their wonderful work, and inspired me to do something – however small – to help. Without wildlife, we are nothing, and the conservation of nature is incredibly important.

Wildlife Warriors

Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors are carrying on Steve’s legacy. Wildlife Warriors believe that people, wildlife and habitat should be able to survive and prosper without being detrimental to the existence of each other. Their objectives are:

To protect and enhance the natural environment
To provide information and education to the public and raise awareness of wildlife issues
To undertake biological research
To research, recommend and act in the protection of threatened or endangered species.
To enter into cooperative arrangements with like-minded organisations

Apple Green Czech Glass Tube and Sterling Silver Earrings

I am proud to support Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors this month, by donating 10% of sales from The Silver Forge. Shop up and help save the planet!



{title photo credit – Guillaume Blanchard}

Red Cross Australia

Red Phone (photo credit Jake Cecil)

Red Phone (photo credit Jake Cecil)

The Red Cross. Celebrating 100 years of helping people here in Australia in 2014, they’re a household name and a bit of an icon!

Red Cross Banner

Red Cross Australia help people nationally and globally. They provide assistance in many diverse areas. We’ve all had some experience with them, whether they’ve helped in a time of need, or you’ve seen their humanitarian work on TV. As well as providing timely assistance in times of disaster, the little daily services provided are just as laudable. Someone very close to me, due to her age, receives a daily phone call from a Red Cross volunteer just to check that she is ok.

Red Cross Australia began as a branch of the British Red Cross Society on 13 August 1914 at Government House, Melbourne, nine days after the outbreak of World War I. Throughout the decades, The Red Cross have focused on social welfare, national emergencies, natural disasters, building the blood bank and first aid programs. Today one million Red Cross members, volunteers, donors, staff, blood donors, recipients and supporters make a positive difference to the lives of people in need every day.

Red Cross Help

From responding to large scale disasters to tackling disadvantage and helping vulnerable children and supporting families facing personal crisis, The Red Cross are there for everyone in need. Their watchwords are humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and universality. To me, all of these traits are most admirable in a charitable organisation!

I urge you to consider The Red Cross as a great organisation to donate to. It doesn’t have to be monetary – giving blood is a great way to help out. I went just the other day, and it really isn’t a big deal – plenty of TLC and snacks provided, too!

Vermilion Red Faceted Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Contemporary Earrings

This month, 10% of all The Silver Forge sales will be donated to Red Cross Australia. If you’d like to treat yourself to a little something, and help a very worthy cause, head over to The Silver Forge shop now!

Breast Friend’s Day – Cloncurry

Breast Friends Day


I was recently asked if I could support a breast cancer awareness event, “Breast Friends Day”, which is been held in Cloncurry, North West Queensland. All proceeds to this event are donated to The McGrath Foundation, considered to be one of Australia’s leading breast cancer support organisations with over 25,000 Australian families supported by McGrath Foundation nurses nationally in the past 4 years. The Foundation raises money to place Breast Care Nurses in rural and remote communities throughout Australia, and to increase breast awareness in young women.


Fairyfloss Pink Czech Glass Sterling Silver Modern Contemporary Drop Earrings


I was very happy to donate a Silver Forge gift voucher to help with this very worthy cause. “Breast Friends Day” takes place on the 22 March in Cloncurry. Gates open at 11.00am. If you’re up that way, do call in and check it out!

Lifeline Australia

Save Our Souls (photo credit elgarboart)

Save Our Souls (photo credit elgarboart)

There is a new call to Lifeline every minute somewhere in Australia. It is estimated that every day, 180 people attempt suicide. That’s more than one new attempt in Australia every 10 minutes.

Lifeline Logo

Suicide remains the leading cause of death for Australians aged 15-44. Suicide accounts for more than one in five deaths of younger Australians. Men account for four out of every five deaths by suicide. More people die from suicide in Australia than in road related transport deaths. More people die from suicide in Australia than from skin cancer.

The Gap

Lifeline provides access to crisis support, suicide prevention and mental health support services. Lifeline also provides national services and campaigns that promote emotional wellbeing, encourage help seeking, and address suicide prevention and awareness. They currently answer around 1,800 calls each day, with around 50 calls from people at high risk of suicide. 

If you, or anyone you know, are in crisis, or experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, please talk to someone, and get help. Lifeline are only a phone call away. Phone their 24 hour crisis line on

13 11 14


Navy Blue and Sterling Silver Cathedral Style Czech Glass Dangle Earrings

We all have a role to play in suicide prevention. My life, and the lives of many of us, have been affected by the suicide of loved ones, and I will be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge sales this month to this very worthy cause. Please help if you can.

Barnardos Australia

Dreaming In The Rain (photo credit Aga Farrell)

Dreaming In The Rain (photo credit Aga Farrell)

When I was a child, we used to get books through our school from the Scholastic Book Club – oh, the bliss of choosing books, and their happy arrival some weeks later! (This was obviously the start of what would later become my love of online shopping 🙂 )

The King of the Barbareens

One of the books I chose, and have loved and re-read many times over the years, was ‘The King of the Barbareens’ by Janet Hitchman. It is Janet’s autobiography of her childhood in foster care in the early 1900’s. Towards the end of a childhood in and out of various foster homes, Janet was placed in a Barnardos’ Home. Janet’s story is fascinating and touching – a really good read. Her time at Barnardos always stayed in my mind, and I have chosen Barnardos Australia as The Silver Forge’s worthy cause for this month.

Barnardos Logo

The Barnardos website says: “Dr Barnardo was born in Dublin in 1845 and originally studied medicine in order to become a missionary in China. However, while a student in London he worked part-time in a ‘Ragged School’ and became aware of the poverty and homeless children in that city.

On realising that one of his students, ten year old Jim Jarvis had no family or home Barnardo asked the boy to show him the conditions under which he lived. Jim showed him Stepney Street and Dr Barnardo became aware of the terrible living conditions of these often young children. He estimated that there were 30,000 homeless children living on the streets of the West End.

Barnardo originally opened a mission for the children but was given donations to buy two cottages, which allowed him to establish the ‘East End Juvenile Mission’.

Barnardo abandoned his missionary plans in China in 1870 when MP Samuel Smith offered him one thousand pounds to work with the homeless. Barnardo rented a house at 18 Stepney Causeway and this became his first boys home. The house took 25 boys but many others had to be turned away because of lack of money and space. One of the boys turned away was 11 year old ‘Carrots’ who died of cold and hunger some days after. Barnardo decided that no other child should die this way and declared that “no destitute boy or girl ever be refused admission”.

In 1873 Barnardo married and opened a home for girls at Mossford Lodge. Ten years later Barnardo had 1,000 children in his care. A second Home, Leopold House, was opened in London, followed by Homes in Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Newcastle and Liverpool. All Homes were open to children regardless of race or creed.

Barnardo began to foster children out to families and during his lifetime arranged foster care for over 4,000 children. He also worked with children with disabilities. He opened a small hospital in Stepney Street and the Children’s Fold in Ilford. These were followed by Homes in Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Barnardos’ emphasis on education and training led to a search for opportunities in the colonies. In 1882 the first Barnardos boys sailed for Canada. In 1883, a party of eight boys left Barnardo’s Stepney Home to start a new life in Australia.

Lack of suitable supervision during the long voyage delayed the immigration program – but Barnardos maintained contact with Australia by sending a party of ‘Musical Boys’ to tour Australia and New Zealand in 1891-92. Apart from bringing tangible proof of the work of Barnardos, they also raised 10,000 pounds. The money raised from this tour and a subsequent tour in 1902-03 was used to build the Australasian Hospital at the Girls’ Village at Barkingside. Thus, the link between the two nations was forged.”

Dr Barnardo

Today, Barnardos Australia helps to stop child abuse. They find safe homes for abused children and young people, work with families to prevent abuse and use our knowledge to improve the future of disadvantaged Australian children. 10% of all sales from The Silver Forge shop for this month will be donated to Barnardos Australia to help with their valuable work assisting abused and vulnerable children. Do what you can to help!

Sparkly Green Handblown Glass Bubble and Sterling Silver Earrings

Christmas By Grace Fair

Christmas by Grace

The Silver Forge has very kindly been invited to have a market stall at ‘Christmas By Grace‘, so this Saturday, if you’re in Brisbane, why not come along!

‘Christmas by Grace’ is Grace Lutheran Primary School’s Christmas fundraising event, comprising of twilight market stalls, amusements for children, ‘Carols by Candlelight’ and fireworks to end the night. It will be held on Dalton Oval, 38 Maine Road, Clontarf on Saturday, 30th November, from 3.00 – 9.00pm. I’d love to see you there!

Pink Champagne Faceted Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Hoop Earrings

Meals on Wheels

'Eat' (photo credit birdseyephotography)

‘Eat’ (photo credit birdseyephotography)

Since its inception over 60 years ago, Meals on Wheels has been a household name here in Australia. While age and disability may reduce some people’s capacity to get out and about, Meals on Wheels helps make it possible for them to stay in their homes (where most people are happiest), and maintain some independence.

Meals on Wheels

Delivery of nutritious meals, social interaction and regular visits ensure a clients’ wellbeing and can help people live the lives they choose.

Meals on Wheels - Lunch

Each year, over 14.8 million meals are delivered by more than 78,700 ‘Meals on Wheels’ volunteers to about 53,000 recipients Australia wide in cities, regional and rural areas.

Celadon Green Faceted Czech Glass and Sterling Silver Dragon's Scale Earrings

This month, I will be donating 10% of all The Silver Forge sales to Meals on Wheels. So pop over to The Silver Forge shop now, treat yourself, AND do your bit to help this worthy cause!

Rural Fire Brigades Association

Bush Fire Silhouette (art by Wendy Sinclair)

Bush Fire Silhouette (art by Wendy Sinclair)

I recently picked up a copy of Ian Mannix’s ‘Great Australian Bushfire Stories’, and I found myself unable to put it down until I had read it cover to cover. The real and moving stories of everyday people’s experiences with bushfire that are contained within it affected me more deeply than any book I’ve read for a long time. In particular, it was a bizzare experience to read about the 2003 Canberra bushfires. I lived in one of the suburbs on the outskirts of Canberra at the time, and vividly remember the blackened skies and billowing smoke, and the preparations I was directed to make to my home in case the fire swung around and headed our way. I was lucky, unlike so many others, but it brought home to me what a dangerous and unpredictable country we live in, and how circumstances can change in an instant, uncontrollable flames spreading (literally) like wildfire, threatening (and taking) lives and property mindlessly. Reading Ian’s book brought a new dimension to the madness and terror that being caught up in a bushfire must be filled with.

Great Australian Bushfire Stories

We are extremely lucky that we have a valiant and heroic team of volunteers, who risk their own lives to protect those of others. Here in Queensland, our rural fire brigades are made up of more than 1,400 volunteer brigades, and more than 34,000 volunteers (both firefighters and support members). The Rural Fire Brigade Association of Queensland also support the 2,600 rural fire wardens who are an integral and highly valued part of the rural fire fighting movement – many of them volunteer firefighters as well.


These volunteers protect their local and wider communities: not only by fighting bushfires, but also attending house fires, assisting with flood preparation and clean up; providing support in cyclone preparation and clean up; and helping the community through hazard reduction burning, and delivering the ‘Prepare, Act, Survive’ message. Brigades work closely with other agencies such as local councils, SES, Department of Main Roads and Forestry and this close working relationship helps local brigades meet local community needs.

i made this for you felt friend

This month, while contemplating which worthy cause I could support, I was fortuitously inspired by my friend from the lovely MadeIt shops ‘i made this for you‘ and ‘..and then some‘, who has had her own experiences with bushfire, and I’m glad to say The Silver Forge will be donating 10% of all sales to the Rural Fire Brigade Association of Queensland. Please help support this worthy cause, either directly or by purchasing something from The Silver Forge shop, won’t you!

Long Red Czech Glass Sterling Silver Sleek Fresh Drop Earrings

Australian Marine Conservation Society

Turtle Power (photo credit elgarboart)

Turtle Power (photo credit elgarboart)

This month’s worthy cause is the Australian Marine Conservation Society. AMCS is an independent charity, staffed by a committed group of professional and passionate scientists, educators and advocates who have defended Australia’s oceans for over 45 years. AMCS work to recover our threatened species, stop overfishing and create marine national parks – places in the sea where our wildlife is safe from harm. They work tirelessly to create sustainable fisheries, protect threatened species, tackle threats to our oceans and to create marine sanctuaries.


Because I love the sea, and it is such a source of inspiration to me, I thought it was high time that I made a donation to help protect and save our beautiful ocean habitat! 10% of all sales for the month will be given to the Australian Marine Conservation Society to support their good works, so head over to The Silver Forge Shop now and do your bit. Without clean healthy oceans, we are nothing!

Zodiac Water Sign Blue Topaz Set Wave Pendant

HeartKids Raffle Fundraiser 2013

Pale Pink Baby Mama Sterling Silver Czech Glass Earrings

I was recently contacted by Kelly, who is arranging a fundraiser at Vani-T Emporium in Glenelg to raise much needed funds for HeartKids. HeartKids are dedicated to providing support, encouragement and hope to families of children with heart disease, while raising awareness and providing vital funding into researching the causes of this chronic disease.

Heart Earrings. Sterling Silver Modern Contemporary Drop Earrings.

Kelly was looking for raffle prizes, and I was happy to donate these two pairs of earrings to this worthy cause. Good luck, HeartKids, I hope the fundraiser is very successful!

Heart and Lung Transplant Trust Raffle

I saw a request from Camille, my fellow MadeIt seller from the gorgeous CurlyPops, asking for donations for a raffle and trivia night being held for the Heart and Lung Transplant Trust. Camille has recently undergone a double lung transplant, and I was happy to do something, however small to help by donating a pair of earrings.

Fucshia Pink Czech Glass Sterling Silver Modern Contemporary Drop Earrings

Almost $2500 was raised, which is enough to cover the accommodation costs for one transplant recipient and their carer (from country Victoria or interstate) who are required to live close to the hospital for 3 months post transplant. Well done, Camille and the team! Do consider giving support if you can, and I strongly urge everyone who is not already signed up to get yourselves on the Organ Donor Register.Talk to your loved ones today. Maybe your legacy could be that you save some lives.

Knitting for a cause – Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital Ethiopia

Silhouetted Tree - Ethiopia

Silhouetted Tree – Ethiopia (photo credit April Lahti)

I don’t quite recall how I came across the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital (on Facebook I think) but the more I read, the more the story of the Hamlins and their fine work touched me. In our western world, we take it for granted that we have access to medical facilities, in particular obstetric facilities should something go not quite right while we are giving birth. (Both my children were delivered by emergency caesarean section, so I know how that can be!)

Hospital By The River

Catherine's Gift

It wasn’t until I read ‘Hospital By The River‘ and ‘Catherine’s Gift’, written about Catherine and Reg Hamlin’s life in Ethiopia, that I started to really understand what life might be like if I had not been able to have those caesareans. For thousands of Ethiopian women, their lives are torn apart when they have difficulty in birthing their babies. First, their baby dies. As if that wasn’t more than anyone should have to bear, as a result of days of labour with the baby pressing down into the pelvis, blood supply is cut off to the walls of the vagina, and tissue dies, resulting in holes that are known as obstetric fistulae. The contents of the bladder and bowel leak uncontrollably through these holes. The woman is usually ostracised by her village because of the leakage and the smell; often her husband leaves her, and sometimes, there is nerve damage to the legs and feet, making walking difficult. Also, from lying still over many weeks in an attempt to stop the leaking, she can suffer atrophy and tightening of the tendons making it impossible to walk.

Catherine Hamlin

Catherine Hamlin and her late husband, Reg, have dedicated their lives to assisting these long-suffering women, not just by providing life-changing surgery to repair the fistulae, but by helping these women to make a dignified return to their lives; and also by providing them with ongoing support to ensure that they are able to give birth safely next time.

Hamlin Shawl Knitting

One of the items that the women are provided with during their stay at the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital is a new shawl. My mother, sister and I are in the process of knitting one to send. Acrylic yarn is required so that the women may wash their shawls in the river and have them dry quickly. Information about sizing, a basic pattern, and when and where to send your blanket can be found here.

I highly recommend you read either the books I mentioned above or have a look at the website to see the story of these wonderful people, and of some of the courageous women who suffer so much and sometimes travel hundreds of miles in order to have the operation which will make them whole again. Donate if you can, knit or crochet if you can. Every little bit helps!

This month, 10% of all Silver Forge sales will be donated to this very worthy cause. Head to The Silver Forge shop now, and see if you can help out, and get yourself something lovely at the same time!

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation

Red Door

(photo credit to Renee Summers, CandyMountainPhotos)

The Daniel Morcombe Foundation needs no introduction. My heart went out to the Morcombes when Daniel first disappeared, and has stayed with them ever since. Their courage and dedication in the face of such tragedy is moving and inspiring.

Daniel Morcombe Foundation Logo

The Foundation’s belief and vision is one that incorporates a future where all children are provided with protection, education and support in their lives. The objectives of the foundation include educating children regarding their personal safety (including abduction); assisting victims of crime, particularly where crime involves children; and honouring the memory of Daniel by appropriate public awareness.

Cherry Red Czech Glass Cube Sterling Silver Dangle Earrings

10% of the proceeds from all June sales will be donated to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation to help with their ongoing excellent work. Pop to The Silver Forge Shop and see if you can help.

Raw Toys

My friend Kylie from Raw Toys also donates 10% of her sales each month to the Daniel Morcombe Foundation. Kylie makes the most divine wooden toys. I highly recommend you check them out and see if there’s a little something you might like – and you’ll be helping this wonderful worthy cause at the same time.

Motor Neurone Disease Association Week

Belinda and her dad, Ray

One of my fellow MadeIt sellers, Belinda from Studio Astratta, recently lost her Dad to Motor Neurone Disease (MND). She is raising funds this month to assist the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Queensland to provide essential equipment, care and support to people and their carers living with MND. These support services are crucial to enable people with MND to remain active for the longest possible time.

MND Qld Logo

MND is a group of related diseases affecting the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. These nerves are known as motor neurones. As the nerves become damaged the muscles they control weaken and waste.

The muscles first affected tend to be those in the hands, feet or mouth and throat, depending on what type of disease it is. MND does not generally affect the senses, so sight, smell, touch and hearing remain intact, as do the sphincter muscles that control the bladder and bowel. Other areas that are not usually affected are sexual function and intellect. MND is not contagious.

Motor neurone disease is a progressive, life limiting disease and the rate of progression varies greatly from one person to another. There is currently no cure for this disease.

For the rest of May, The Silver Forge will donate 10% of all sales to the Motor Neurone Disease Association of Queensland via Belinda’s fundraising page at Everyday Hero. Do what you can to help this worthy cause by purchasing yourself a little something from The Silver Forge shop, or by going to the Everyday Hero page and making a donation directly.