Category Archives: Bella Features

Bella Finds

Craft the Rainbow

Brittany Watson Jepson brings fun paper crafts to your home through Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Products. Each of these 40 crafts, split amongst nine color-specific sections, have step-by-step directions and images. Starting with pink and ending with rainbow, each section opens with a quote and some fun facts about the new color. These color-filled pages won’t just tell you how to make each craft, but will also tell you what materials you need, a description of the design and where her inspiration came from. While Jepson does give the time frame for these crafts, they’re mainly based around shows or music. So, if you like The Great British Bake Off, in a just a couple episodes you can complete the White Paper Sculpture on page 101. Or, if you like Michael Jackson, within just one album you can complete the Crepe Paper Streamer on page 125. Do you prefer Gilmore Girls? Then, during your favorite episode, why not make the Rainbow Necklace found on page 129? Or make the Rainbow Paper Plants on page 144 while you watch the VHS of Anne of Green Gables. Whatever craft you choose, and whatever method of background noise you choose, you can find the templates for these designs in the back of the book. Just trace what you want, pick a color, and get started.   

Written by Samantha Fantozzi

 

Just Creative People

Find your creative inspiration at Studio Six!

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Grace Brian (left) and Maggie Perrin-Key (right) met in November 2017. They connected immediately, and decided to open an art space together, Studio Six, located in The Aurora Studio Center in Downtown Roanoke. Their serendipitous meeting led them to realize that they had the same vision for an art space that welcomed creative people within the community through workshops and portfolio consultations. The artists complement one other, creating a fulfilling and nourishing space where their talents flourish.  

(Grace and Maggie photo by www.paigelucasphotography.com )

Both Grace and Maggie began developing their crafts at a young age. Grace received a sewing machine at age 10, and Maggie started oil painting during a summer camp in fourth grade. In her early years, Grace never considered fashion design as a career option. While planning for college, she didn’t think of it as something she wanted to pursue. After attending Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCU) for a while, she went back to sewing and found that the stigma she had originally attached to fashion design kept her from seeing the bigger picture. More importantly, sewing made her happy. She decided to transfer to the College of Textiles at North Carolina State University, where she became interested in sustainability within the textile industry. 

As a young adult, Maggie continued her pursuit of the arts. First at VCU, and then at Hollins University. At Hollins, she studied printmaking, bookbinding, and papermaking. She also began exploring fiber art and textiles. 

“Coming from somewhere that was so arts-centered, I didn’t realize how important it was to have so much support for studying the arts. Originally, Maggie and I wanted to make a place where anybody, specifically young adults who are looking to pursue a career in the arts, can come and get that support. Guidance is important because a lot of people get to the art school application and they need a portfolio and they haven’t been working on one, don’t know what to do, or don’t know how to photograph their art,” explains Grace.

That initial idea morphed into something bigger, however, when the two decided to offer workshops within their space. The workshops have taken off, and with their success, Grace and Maggie have expanded their vision.

“I wanted an art space that was not as daunting and was more on community level where young people felt like they could come and hang out with us or make something,” says Maggie.

“There is a human desire to create things. It’s rewarding and confidence-boosting when you see something that you made. We want to be that outlet that gives people that opportunity. To be able to make something and create something gives you power and knowledge. In addition to knowing you can now do this, you will also know what goes into a painting the next time you see it. Consumer education is so important to me, so I think that when we are talking about the arts, this is consumer education in a way,” Grace adds.

Grace and Maggie offer portfolio consultation and open studio opportunities throughout the year. They also host popular workshops including Zodiac Embroidery, DIY Pom Pom Wall Hangings, Live Model Figure Drawing and so much more. Visit their Facebook page (@studiosixroanoke), Instagram (@studiosixroanoke), or visit their website at www.studiosixroanoke.com for more information on upcoming workshops and events!

Funding Your Next Home Improvement Project

Four Tips for Funding your Next Home Improvement Project: Finding the money to cover these costs may not be as difficult as you think.

If you’re a homeowner, you know how long your home improvement to-do list can be. The kicker? It just keeps growing. While finding the time to complete these projects is tough enough, you also have to factor in the cost. Before you put off the deck repairs or master bathroom upgrade for yet another day (or year), consider these options for funding your next project.

Save up the cash. This is the most financially responsible way to pay for home improvements. While you might have to wait longer to complete the project because you’re saving up the funds, you’ll be in much better shape financially when you don’t have to make future payments toward a loan that generates interest. Just don’t blow your entire savings and make sure you still have the recommended three to six months’ worth of living expenses saved up in an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.

Refinance your mortgage. This option can potentially free up extra cash each month with a lower mortgage payment. You could also look into cash-back refinancing. This allows you to take out more money, using your home as collateral, that you’ll receive once you close on the refinance. This works well if you have equity built up in your home and can cover the addition to your monthly mortgage. Many homeowners prefer this method because they don’t have to worry about making a separate payment elsewhere.

Open a home equity loan or line of credit. Home equity is calculated by taking the value of your home and subtracting the total amount you owe on all mortgages. With a home equity loan, you receive the money you’re borrowing in a lump sum payment. It usually has a fixed rate and is often best for large, one-time expenses like a new roof. Alternatively, a home equity line of credit operates more like a credit card in that you can draw money as needed from an available maximum amount. This is best for ongoing expenses that require spending flexibility.

Get a credit card. The benefit of using a credit card is that you can make purchases as needed while spreading the payment out over time. Look for a card with a low, fixed annual percentage rate (APR) or one with an introductory APR and plan to pay it off before the promotional period ends. Otherwise, you could be stuck with a hefty credit card balance that accrues interest. Also look for a card that offers cash back or reward points for your purchases that you can redeem later. If you go this route, try to use the credit card to pay for smaller things like materials rather than the entire home renovation so you don’t incur thousands in credit card debt.

Presented by Member One Federal Credit Union

 

Making Her-story

Former Texas Senator Wendy Davis will be speaking at the Planned Parenthood Spring Luncheon

Written by Hayleigh Worgan

Senator Wendy Davis will be the keynote speaker for the Planned Parenthood Spring Luncheon on Thursday, April 26. Senator Davis is known for her defense of women’s rights, and her fight for gender equality. Specifically, her eleven-hour filibuster in 2013 that temporarily thwarted a bill in the Texas Senate to enact a bill that would greatly restrict a woman’s right to end a pregnancy in a safe and legal fashion. Although the bill was later passed, the filibuster inspired women across the nation to stand up and fight for their reproductive rights. It called attention to the politicians who were trying to strip those rights, and others, from their constituents while few were paying attention. Most importantly, it added fuel to the momentum of a movement that continues five years later.

“I’ve had so many women, young and not so young, who have shared with me and continue to do so to this day, the inspiration experience that they had watching the 2013 filibuster. It motivated them to get involved on this issue, and I think that was the most important thing that happened that day. We brought awareness to what is happening in Texas and across the country. We made a lot of women who thought this was a right we could take for granted understand that it’s not,” Davis recalls.

Restrictions on ending a pregnancy in a safe, legal environment will ultimately cause devastation to women and families across the nation. Currently, we are facing potential limitations on abortions after 20-weeks. These cases only make up a small percentage of abortions, and those that do occur often happen because the baby will be delivered stillborn or is endangering the health of the mother. This is not a decision that women make lightly. As Davis explains, even if the law is written with exceptions in order to anticipate what women may be facing, each individual case is different.

“No language can capture what each of us, as individual women, may face. There is the danger that our autonomy is removed,” she explains. “My feeling is, why would we make a change from where we are today, when currently we are allowing women and their doctors, guided by their faith, to make these decisions for themselves?”

This is a question that needs to be repeated before every politician until lawmakers understand that women are not going to watch their rights be stripped away. With so many ignoring phone calls and refusing to see constituents, communication can feel difficult, if not impossible. It’s important to find respectful and effective ways to discuss these matters. If you’re looking for suggestions, try Davis’ organization, Deeds Not Words (www.deedsnotwords.com). Described as a “starting point for turning ideas about women’s equality into action,” the group began as a way to provide answers to questions people asked Davis as she travelled across the country. She found that many young women were passionate about gender equity, but had no idea how to get involved. They were at a loss on how to use their energy and passion to really make a difference.

Deeds Not Words seeks to show those fighting for gender equity how to do so digitally, by engaging, inspiring, and motivating women to understand how the process works at local, state, and federal levels. The goal is to show them where they can most effectively add their voices to progress in a way that motivates change. In Texas, advocate trainees recently worked ten different bills proactively and they were able to pass seven of them. All were centered around protecting women from sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, and protecting vulnerable young women who are victims of sex trafficking. They hope to expand their advocate trainee program to other parts of the country soon.

Ultimately, Davis and the Deeds Not Words program hope that women will continue to get involved in running for office in 2018 and beyond.

“We have to start by looking at who represents us across the country and the fact that we have an incredibly small amount of women at the local, state, and federal levels. What that means, of course, is that we don’t have the champions that we need. There are many men who support women’s reproductive freedoms. However, the true champions for these issues are women, and they are the ones who are going to fight with everything they have to make sure we don’t go back,” says Davis.

Davis is encouraged by the fact that more women are owning the responsibility for themselves of stepping out of their comfort zone and running for office. As she explains, if we don’t do it, no one will do it for us.

In her memoir, Forgetting to Be Afraid, Davis quotes Lady Bird Johnson on the idea that sometimes you have to get so caught up in something you forget to be afraid.

“The good thing is that we are there for each other,” she adds. “I see that more and more, particularly post-2016 election, the number of women stepping forward to run for office and support those putting their names on the line is increasing. There is a growing sisterhood and network, and that is important to know when we, as candidates, feel afraid. It’s so nice to know that our sisters are there and have our back.”

Davis hopes to continue to stay a prominent part of the conversation about gender equity and its many forms including reproductive autonomy, safety for women from domestic violence and sexual assault, and equalized economic opportunity. Although she knows she speaks from a place of privilege, she will use her voice to do everything she can to empower other women. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear her speak in person. Purchase your tickets to the Planned Parenthood Spring Luncheon at springluncheon.ppsat.org. Space is limited, so make sure to secure your tickets as soon as possible!

Virginia Made: Lane Paper Works

Meet Sydney Lane of Lane Paper Works!

Written by Faith Jones, Hill City Handmade

In a complicated world, there’s something to be said for simplicity. Simple shapes and colors are the signature that twenty-four-year-old Sydney Lane has become known for. What began as hand drawn greeting cards has now grown into illustrations and custom portraits. Lane Paper Works has emerged to be the area’s go to source for uniquely illustrated family portraits, localities (Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Nashville to name a few), and pets. Each of Sydney’s digitally drawn designs capture her subjects in a cartoon-like way that has become instantly recognizable as her work. After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design and starting Lane Paper Works, she never dreamed that it would all take off so quickly.

Exactly one year from its internet launch, the company opened a storefront location on 11 S Main Street in Chatham. The quaint building features not only her own handcrafted designs but those of fellow makers. With a passion for supporting small businesses, the contents of the store consists of artisan gifts, each piece carefully selected from talents across the region. There are many advantages and challenges to going from a website to now running a store. Sydney has not given up her website or selling at handmade markets, she now has not only her products but all of the store inventory to take into consideration when making decisions.

Every day her she remembers the advice of her grandfather, who recently passed, “Do your best.” Sydney holds these words close to her heart as she goes through the day to day operations of planning out store products, display windows, and sales all while still creating for herself. While there are many pressure-filled days running the business, Sydney feels extremely humbled to have a supportive family and loyal customers who follow her work and shop in Lane Paper Works.

A self-proclaimed cat lady who takes pride in the unique names she gives her cats, Sydney also enjoys music. Her love of music keeps the tunes in the store changing to match her mood for the day. Every day is a fresh start. New and old customers to interact with and get to know, window displays to design around the season, and new work to create. Most importantly, every day is a day to be thankful as an artist and as a supporter of artists. Giving back is just as important as profiting. Her grandfather’s favorite three words of encouragement are featured in one of her prints whose proceeds benefit the American Heart Association. In addition, Lane Paper Works also supports another charity, A21 with proceeds from Sydney’s “Strong Women” print. “It is about 10% luck and 90% hard work, day in and day out. However, it is worth it—so worth it.”

For more information, visit www.lanepaperworks.com. She’s on Facebook and Instagram @Lanepaperworks. Enjoy a special discount during April for our readers! Enter code “lovelybella” for 25% OFF!!

Meet Maryam Durrani

Young Female Writers Club: Fan Girl Dreaming

Written by K.L. Kranes

It sounds like the plot of a book. 13-year-old Maryam turns fanfiction success into successful book series and finds her true self in the journey.

This isn’t fiction. Maryam Durrani, fanfiction writer, novelist, self-published author of three books, has accomplished more in her 18 years than many writers twice her age. Maryam’s book dreams likely started far before fanfiction readers discovered her stories of the Last Airbender. In fact, it really started with a shampoo bottle.

“I always loved reading,” Maryam explains. “When I was little, in the bathtub I’d read the back of shampoo bottles.”

As a child growing up in Ashburn, VA, Maryam would read anything. If it had letters strung together to make sentences, she devoured it. She spent hours daydreaming, building worlds and characters in her mind.

Soon she picked up a pencil and strung together sentences of her own. Family, friends, and teachers encouraged her to write. Maryam completed her first book in the back of an English classroom, filling 350 pages of a spiral-bound notebook. It still sits on her bookshelf in her room, a token of her passion and talent.

Winning first place in an international writing competition gave Maryam the courage to aim for something bigger. At 13-years-old Maryam stood in front of her parents and told them she wanted to publish a book.

Many parents would pat their young daughter on the head, smile, and forget about the idea five minutes later. Most 13-year-olds would forget five minutes later too and move on to another whim. Not Maryam. Writing was not a whim. She was ready to write and publish her novel even if no one supported her. She expected a lecture on the difficulties of publishing a book. Instead, her parents gave her the kind of advice Dumbledore might give Harry Potter. “You have to do it because you never know where it’s going to go until you reach the end,” they told her.

And so she did. Maryam was only 14 years old when she self-published her first novel, Assassin.

By its name alone one might expect Assassin to be a story of an innocent boy trained to be a deadly assassin. It might conjure an image of him with swords crisscrossed behind his back and a scar from his temple to his neck. But Maryam had read enough books about boys battling for the fate of their souls. She wanted to write something different.

A determined, intelligent girl, Maryam didn’t always connect with the characters in young adult books. She gravitated toward strong female characters and they were hard to find. Even Hermione Granger, one of Maryam’s literary idols, didn’t star in her own story. She was a sidekick.

Maryam longed to read books about smart, independent female characters who took control of their own destinies. Since she couldn’t find any, she decided to create one. Adalia, the main character of Assassin, became the character Maryam had always wanted to read. Instead of a boy with swords crisscrossed on his back, it was a girl battling for the fate of her soul.

“Adalia doesn’t let anyone slow her down. Her confidence, perseverance, and determination always shine through even in the darkest of times,” Maryam explains of her main character.

Like her main character, Maryam oozes confidence and determination.

“If I had a catchphrase would be, “Prove ‘em wrong!” Maryam explains.

Although there’s little reason to doubt Maryam’s ability to accomplish her goals. By the time she turned 18, Maryam’s young adult, science fiction novel had grown into a trilogy, Assassin, Ascendant, and Apprentice and Maryam had grown as a person and a writer.

She’d fought to write and publish her work. She’d fought against self-doubt, spending many nights wondering if editing, revising, and the painful process of story creation were all worth it. Now, at 18, Maryam speaks of herself and her writing with the kind of maturity usually found over three or four decades, not less than two.

“Don’t be afraid of what people think, because, at the end of the day, your writing is yours,” she says.

Maryam also looks to the future with a practical determination. Although filled with dreams, she understands the difficulty of becoming a professional novelist. It’s time for her to leave behind writing in the back of high school English classes. She is considering a career in the sciences. That doesn’t mean she won’t continue to write. Maryam has already figured out the writer’s secret. If you’re a real writer, then you’ll write. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s your job.

“Wherever I am with whatever I have and how much I’ve achieved,” she says. “I see myself content, curled up in a warm blanket with a hot cup of coffee and an exciting new book to read.”

Books are a part of Maryam’s soul and she could never leave them behind. It is only a matter of time before the story of another strong female character stirs Maryam’s pen to start writing again. Until then, there are plenty of chances to enjoy her writing.

Maryam’s work is available on Amazon and on Wattpad (www.watpad.com/user/draninator).

 

 

Local business: Hawk + Owl Weaving

Meet Jen Whitcomb of Hawk + Owl Weaving

Interview by Samantha Fantozzi

How did you get your start with Hawk and Owl?

So my business came about from the need to just be creative again. I studied art in college and a couple years ago I stumbled across Maryanne Moodie; an Australian, well-known female weaver. And within the weaving world, she’s super popular. She made me want to learn to weave. Her weavings were super colorful, and full of texture and I thought ‘I really have to try that’: so, I did. And people really wanted to by them, which was a surprise. I didn’t plan on that becoming an actual business. But when they started reaching out to me, I opened an Etsy shop and it took off from there.

How did you come up with the name?

It’s about my kids. I have twins; boy and girl. My daughter was a really bad sleeper, so she was the night owl. My son was the opposite. They used to share a room, so it was totally insane. One would be awake, and one would be sleeping. So, when it came time to come up with a fictitious name, I had a hard time deciding and I finally landed on something funny that reminded me of them. Plus, my husband is super into birds, he can do like 400 different bird calls so it’s kind of a thing within our family. Not too much to do with weaving, just more of a family connection.

What kind of weavings can customers expect to find in your shop?

My color selections change seasonally, as do the designs. I don’t really plan out my designs, they’re mostly geometric, free-form weaving. They come in a variety of sizes from extra-large to small, and I also take custom orders. I try to have between 10 and 15 things in my shop at a time. Closer to the holidays I offer more smaller pieces like tassels and pom-poms. But, on a regular basis, just a broad selection of random geometric and bright pieces.

How long have you been weaving?

Not long, I would say 3 ½ years. I picked it up pretty quickly. I made my first loom. I took a premade frame that had canvas on it that was meant for painting. I stripped the canvas off and used the frame and hammered in some nails. After that, I started ordering professional looms. Made my first loom and just went to town: didn’t take too long to get into it.

Do you have a favorite piece that you’ve done?

I made a piece as a submission for a New England based magazine called Taproot Magazine. It was really big and had lots of heavy fringe. I photographed it on the Blue Ridge parkway and I still have it. It was fun to make, and it’s become one of my favorite pieces.

Find Jen on Facebook at Hawk + Owl Weaving; Instagram at hawk_and_owl_weaving; and hawkandowlweaving.com. Her website contains a small portfolio of her work. If you wish to make a purchase, you can either click her Etsy shop from her website or go to the shop directly at etsy.com/shop/hawkandowlweaving. She also posts about upcoming events, such as workshops and pop-up events, on her website. She does classes through Wool Workshop in Roanoke and will be having one this April.

 

Meet Pareena G. Lawrence, Hollins President!

Pareena G. Lawrence became the 12th President of Hollins University in July 2017. During the same summer, the book she coauthored, Life Histories of Women Panchayat Sarpanches from Haryana, India, was published. The book considers stories of elected women leaders in villages across India. Her life, research, and professional accomplishments have elevated and continue to support women in her community and around the world.

Lawrence grew up in India. Her childhood was filled with a lot of rules and things she couldn’t do, and the only reason she wasn’t allowed to do them was simply, “because she was a girl.” The fact that women were so confined in her society sparked her eagerness for change.

“Changing the world and rules seemed wrong became a passion of mine at a very young age,” she recalls.

After she finished college in India, at the University of Delhi, she followed her friend’s lead and applied to some grad schools in the states. In the education department of the US embassy, she looked through pamphlets of colleges and wrote to them asking for applications. She found that continuing her education in America would be the best option for two reasons. The first was that she heard a PhD in America could be finished in a more reasonable time frame than in India. Second, she was surrounded by family in India that, sooner or later, were going to start to push her towards marriage, and she wanted to have her education completed before thought of marriage.

Two years she after she graduated from her University in India, Lawrence started at Purdue to work towards her PhD. She decided to take an education job while there was the hiring freeze in her intended field, international development. She planned to go back and apply for a job in that field after the hiring freeze was lifted. However, Lawrence found that education was the perfect place to put her passion for change. She thought her impact would be larger through higher education. She explains, “The most important thing for me to do was to help prepare [this] generation to be change agents of the world.”

Her last job before coming to Hollins University was the Provost, Vice President of Academic Affairs, a Augustana College. When asked why she took a job with Hollins, President Lawrence recalled her time at an all-women’s school she attended in India.

“The whole idea of ‘of course I can do anything’ and self-confidence came from that all-girl environment,” she explains.

This feeling stuck with her throughout various career positions in her life, so when she was offered the job at Hollins she already believed in their mission.

“I strongly believe that this education we have at Hollins and the environment we have is transformative,” Lawrence says. She also believes that, at an institution like Hollins, the students strive to be the best they can be and the support systems give them a chance to believe in themselves.

President Lawrence is a big believer in the importance of a liberal arts education, not just for women, but for all genders. To her, it works so well in a women’s institution because people are willing to take more risk in a place they feel safe and supported. For more information on President Lawrence and her accomplishments, visit www.hollins.edu.

Written by Lilith Turman