A garden of marigolds…. orange, yellow and rust, Bright, soft and rich, touched with golden dust. Quiet and regal, sun kissed and fair, Basil – citrus fragrance that mellows the moist air. A thousand smiling marigolds, a thousand smiling suns, Sweet nectar, ambrosia, for natures gentle ones.
Woven into garlands, yellow with tips of red, Woven into memories with many a words unsaid.
I have painted on many surfaces over the years: clay, canvas, wood, buildings, streets, sidewalks, fabric, faces. None of this prepared me for painting on elephants. This is definitely something I never even dreamed of doing. I had mixed feelings going into it. I always awed at the beauty of the photographs of painted elephants in magazines and online, but was worried about what all that meant for the elephants. Weren’t they meant to be in the wild? Would these elephants be treated well?
I read all about Elefun before we went. It had good reviews and people had good things to say about how they treated the elephants. Our amazing trip planner, Gouthami, checked in with some of her local connections who also had good things to say about Elefun. Elefun is an elephant village dedicated to creating a safe and natural environment in order to conserve elephants. In Indian culture, elephants are revered, loved, respected and protected.
My first impression was that the elephants were MASSIVE. Being an animal nerd I knew that Indian elephants are one of the smaller varieties, these were anything but small. They introduced us to the elephants, had us pet their trunks. Showed us how to feed them bananas. They ate entire bunches of bananas at once, in what seemed like one giant bite.
When I first started designing for merchandise, I realized how many products had cute animal designs but weren’t doing anything to spread awareness or give back. Around the same time, I was working with a handful of non-profits who wanted to raise funds by selling products, but they didn’t have the funds or knowledge to design them. (Usually they would just sell a t-shirt with their logo on it, which would only appeal to the audience they already had.) I wanted to bridge that gap by designing product that would appeal to popular markets, but would spread awareness and raise funds for these causes, too. So for the holidays I created four greeting cards for some of my favorite wildlife organizations.
“Let’s be honest, some of our most important holiday traditions revolve around food, and it just wouldn’t feel the same without certain dishes on the table. I truly believe that when food is prepared and served with love, it can create connections like almost nothing else can.”
Organized by season, each section starts with tips on how to embrace and connect with all of the senses – including texture, scent, color, and taste. Each party featured draws inspiration from Camille’s own life, celebrating major holidays, milestones, and everyday occasions through each season.
We love the section around picnics, complete with kid-friendly activities and fool-proof recipes! With the holiday season quickly approaching, don’t miss the holiday traditions section to help you through cookie exchanges and cozy game nights.
We’re giving away 3 copies of Camille’s new book. We will announce the winners Monday, November 10th. Best of luck!
Diwali [dih-vah-lee] is the Hindu festival of lights and one of their most important holidays. It celebrates the return of lord Rama from exile and the victory of good over evil. When Rama returned, they welcomed him by lighting “diyas” (lamps and candles). To celebrate, families have feasts, eat sweets, play games, give gifts and light fireworks.
Every year in the town of El-Kelaa M’Gouna, Moroccans celebrate the rose harvest with The Festival of Roses. The souqs are packed with rose-scented gifts that fill the air with their floral fragrances. Children hand out lei garlands, traditional Berber music plays through the streets and a Miss Rose is crowned for her beauty and talents.
Inspired by this tradition we threw our own mini-festival, complete with rose flavored snacks and handmade paper leis!
Tissue paper flower garlands hung from the ceiling and real roses filled the room. Photos were snapped in front of our mosaic rose backdrop and a good time was had by all! Soon, you’ll have your chance to celebrate this Moroccan tradition at a store near you. On May 10th, over 50 Tea retailers across the nation will each host their own Rose Festival and we can’t wait to see your #TeaRoseFestival photos! Stay tuned for details.