Valentine's Day is one holiday that manages to conjure up strong feelings on both ends of the spectrum. In love? Then you might spend February 14th in a happy, go-lucky fog. Not so in love? Then there's a chance that all of the hearts and cupids and boxes of chocolates at every turn just aren't your thing.
But no matter what your personal feelings are about Valentine's Day, this year we can all come together for something bigger and better. Because this year you can help support families in Haiti that are rebuilding their lives after the 2010 earthquake by making a purchase from the Macy's Heart of Haiti collection.
Helping Haitian families construct and restore their lives after the devastating earthquake two years ago, items in the Heart of Haiti collection use some of the most unlikely materials to create metalwork, ceramics, quilts, paintings, jewelry and other home decor items and accessories.
From raw materials such as recycled oil drums and wrought iron to paper-mâché and stone, each item is handmade by a Haitian master artisan. By creating art that reflects their rich culture and history, artisans have a sustaining income to provide nutrition, education and health care for their families.
Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and, despite the earthquake, people there are filled with hope and a desire to improve their lives through employment. Although options are very limited in this country, Heart of Haiti is a "Trade, Not Aid" initiative launched by artist and social entrepreneur, Willa Shalit, The Clinton Bush Haiti Fund and Macy's.
By providing artists with an opportunity to make a living, feed their families, and pay their children's school fees (school in Haiti is not free), they are able to support their families with dignity and purpose. In fact, the Heart of Haiti collection has led to employment of 750 artists in Haiti, providing financial benefits for an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people in the country.
As well as being such a great cause, the Heart of Haiti collection features a variety of items that can only be described as beautiful. I was fortunate to have the chance to see the Heart of Haiti Songbird Picture Frame and the Heart of Haiti Goddess Heart Pendant in person and was in awe of the talent and skill that went into making such stunning pieces.
Painstakingly cut, hammered and varnished by hand, the Songbird Picture Frame is created out of steel from recycled barrels. The handmade, one-of-a-kind rustic beauty that this frame encompasses gives it a much more unique look than traditional, mass-produced frames that you'll find in the store.
Every time I look at this frame I am amazed by the way that Haiti's master artisans are able to make such detailed, intricate carvings and markings out of something so mundane as recycled steel. The results make such an attractive and artistic place to display photos of my favorite people and places!
The Heart of the Goddess Pendant is also handcrafted in steel cut from recycled barrels and measures in at approximately 1½" tall. Hung on a 29" black cord, this pendant demonstrates the creativity and beauty that Haiti's artisans can create out of a simple texture on a classic heart.
This pendant makes a great gift for yourself or a loved one for Valentine's Day as well as beyond. The $10 price tag is affordable in itself, but when you take into account the meaning and wonderful support for families in Haiti, that just makes it even more beautiful.
With more than 40 home decor items including quilts, metalwork, ceramics, paintings, vases, candleholders, serving trays, picture frames, mirrors, coasters, necklaces, clutch purses and more, you're sure to find pieces you'll adore from Heart of Haiti.
The collection is made almost entirely from recycled and sustainable items such as old cement bags, cardboard, oil drums & local gommier wood and can be found exclusively at 25 Macy's stores around the country and on Macy's.com. Most items fall in the price range of $25-$60 but the added benefit of feeling that you've supported something great? Priceless.
Thanks to the generosity of Macy's Heart of Haiti, one person will be able to celebrate in the love of this collection as well, because...
One lucky person will win a Heart of Haiti Goddess Heart Pendant!
To enter to win: Leave me a comment telling me what would happen on your dream Valentine's Day. Vacation? Presents? Family time? Ignoring it completely?
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry if you follow Heart of Haiti on Twitter.
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
WIN a Macy's Heart of Haiti Goddess Heart Pendant - beautiful and a great cause! http://bit.ly/wqU35h @thxmailcarrier #giveaway #win
1 Extra Entry (per follow method) if you follow me with Google Friend Connect, subscribe to my RSS feed, subscribe to Thanks, Mail Carrier by email, become a fan on Facebook or add Thanks, Mail Carrier to your blogroll.
2 Extra Entries if you put my cute button up on your blog. Please leave an address where it can be found.
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Giveaway will end on March 5th at 11:59pm CST. By entering this sweepstakes, you are agreeing to these official rules. No purchase necessary, void where prohibited by law. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning and the giveaway sponsor is solely responsible for prize fulfillment. This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only and entrants must be 18 years of age or older.
A big thank you to the Everywhere team for providing a Songbird Picture Frame and Goddess Heart Pendant for me to review as well as a Goddess Heart Pendent for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest and if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.