Elijah’s Basket | Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Balloon Release, 2008 Walk to Remember, Banner Desert Arizona, photo by CACTUSmango

In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”


When we lost our first child, baby boy Elijah at 18 weeks gestation due to ‪#‎incompetentcervix‬ in November 2005, we were greatly comforted by the thoughtfully handmade & donated items of miniature clothing, blankets, rosaries & stuffed toys meant for babies born too soon. It was comforting in the sense that someone whom we never met cared enough to take the time for our little baby, during a time when no parent could ever possibly be prepared for.

The program gave us the opportunity to have precious photos of our Elijah with a blanket, mini rosary and mini stuffed bear which my husband carefully chose from the various donated items.

One of the donated items, that we have cherished over the years is the basket the nurses placed our tiny baby nestled in soft blankets, so that we could have time to be close to our baby.


Now almost 8 years later, on our 5th pregnancy, 2nd cervical cerclage & expecting our 2nd “Rainbow Baby”, it is our sincere hope that we can return our son’s basket to Banner Desert, on the day our baby Lucy is born, filled with items donated with love for families like us who have angel babies.


I received these teeny sweet ‪#‎handmade‬ ‪#‎knitted‬ ‪#‎bows‬ ‪#‎bowties‬ in the mail from my dear friend & fellow crafting enthusiast AdieElaine, all the way from Virginia! They come with the message: “These teeny bows made of yarn are tied together & bonded with a knot as you are with your baby’s soul.” Adie, your kindness, faith and love really shine through in your creations and will touch & comfort many families. Thank you so much for being there throughout all the years & distance.


I received a package from another east coast crafting buddy Anna of Anna Sganga Photography, who made These teeny crotchet hearts. They are so precious & have a special place in ‪#‎elijahsbasket‬. She also included a copy of a beautiful poem by E.E. Cummings “I Carry Your Heart with Me”. Thank you so much Anna!


Our dear friends Todd & Erica put together these precious items to add to ‪#‎ElijahsBasket‬ Todd chose these cute blue nosed stuffed animals & Erica found these sweet little footprint pins on etsy with a bible verse on the cards. I love them – the items & my friends. Thank you so much Williams5!


If you would like to add donations to Elijah’s Basket – you can message me via facebook.com/cactusmango

If you are in Arizona & would like to make a donation or need information/support on coping with the loss of a little one, below is the contact information for the Bereavement Services/RTS at Banner Desert:

Bereavement Services/RTS, Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group
7 p.m. | 1st Monday of each month

Banner Desert Medical Center
1400 S. Dobson Road
Mesa, AZ 85202
(480) 412-3595


Sprouts4Sprouts October Winner

After the ASU track workout last Wednesday I happened to walk in on a meal worm feeding session at the Pets, Inc.  I was passing out fliers for our Care2Dance fundraiser at the time. I was told the worms were for a Sugar Glider. Curious, I followed the manager to see if I could meet one.  After getting over the sound of their freaky squeals, I cautiously pet one of the four babies tucked in a little pouch.  These flying squirrels have fur that feels like felt.  So adorable I’m thinking of getting one for Ava’s first pet.  But, I digress.  Don’t be fooled by this cuddly encounter.  Fundraising is even more challenging than running.    

Flashing the cash from two happy donors.  I was hoping
the morning’s fundraising success would flow into the evening.  
Exhausted, I grabbed a cup o’ Joe and even snagged an awesome giveaway prize on the way to our fundraiser Care2Dance (from Donny at the Starbucks on Ray + the 101…two bags of coffee and a mug!)
After my not so glamorous yard sale fundraising in the morning…we danced the night away at Care2Dance, our team’s first attempt at a big fundraiser.  We only had a short amount of time to plan for it because our dancers were already booked far in advance.  We had one night to do it, Oct 1st, so we took a chance.  We definitely had all the mechanics in place.  We had the fluff and the meat.  The turn out unfortunately was not what we were hoping for.  Regardless, we still had a great time and met some very cool people.  Here’s just a few of the pictures from that night.  You can view the Care2Dance album on our team’s facebook page here   We’re also fortunate to have had a professional photographer shoot our event -Warren of 
OD Imagez  (I’ll update this when his photos are released.) 

Amber Barnes + John Holzworth our Care2Dance instructors. They graciously volunteered their time + enthusiasm for us and made the event so much fun! Look for them at Fred Astaire!

Team Sunshine all loosened up + we’re just dying for some cash!?!
Our friends from Boxer Luv Rescue
Captain Tanya, Daniel and Ava
CamillaCentral on the dancefloor!
And lastly, I wasn’t going to pick the Sprouts4Sprouts $25 Sprouts gift card winners until Jan 14th at the pre-race pasta party…but, since I’ve had such wonderful support from everyone, I’d like to start picking out one winner each month, starting now!  Watch the video prize drawing below to find out who won this month!

Project: Sprouts for Sprouts

Planted sixteen “baby” jades tonight for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.  
They’re so cute. I’m thinking about naming each one.        
But, I don’t want to get too attached to these guys, because I’ll be sending them home 
with the kind folks who happen to fill up my collection jar with their generous donations.
You see, a long time ago, my aunt and my father in law gave me clippings of jade stems from their plants.  Using what little gardening experience I had, I’ve managed to keep them alive.  Maybe it’s because I may have inherited some of my dad’s and mom’s green thumbs…but, I think it’s due to how strong and hardy these little guys are.  
Even when I’ve forgotten to water them and they’re all shriveled and dehydrated.  They still spring back to life after a good watering. Now those little stems have grown into several large pot fulls in my back yard.  
Now, I want to share them with those kind enough to share something for the children and their families at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 
I’ve enjoyed designing the poster and the thank you labels, (which I still have to adhere to the rest of the jars!)  But, What will be even more rewarding, is seeing these little pots of dirt & plant, going to a new home.  They are easy to care for and can be snipped and multiplied into even more plants.  I can imagine how they’ll brighten up a desk space, kitchen window or even the bedside of someone you love.  
If you prefer to make an online donation, please visit my fundraising home page @
It’s late and I still am insanely thinking I can crawl out of bed for the group run at 6am.  I know what song I’ll be singing in my head during the run tomorrow…This one’s for my fellow dirt girls + boys.  This is my shout out to my mom + dad.  Thank you for growing me right.  Here’s a song for you.  
Well I’ve done a lot of digging
And I’m still nowhere near pooped
So here’s a song I like to sing
And you can sing it tooped
Make a little hole,
Put a seed in it
Cover it up with dirt
It only takes a minute
And before you know it
You can help to grow it
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow
Take a water can
Put some water in it
Sprinkle it on the ground
It only takes a minute
And before you know it
You can help to grow it
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow
Make a little hole
Put a seed in it
Cover it up with dirt
It only takes a minute
And before you know it
You can help to grow it
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow
Help the garden grow
Helping the garden grow

New Candy + Stitch-less-ness

The other day I was craving M&Ms and learned that you can now personalize them with your own photos and messages! They’re having a buy 2 bags, get 1 bag free deal right now. So, I uploaded a few of my Bizarre graphics and this is the sample of what it would look like: How cool is that?! But, I shouldn’t be gorging myself on sweets (since I have gestational diabetes). I figured the next best thing for me to do, is to make my own sugar-free candy-coated treats…”digitally” of course! With Halloween just around the corner, you’ll enjoy sprinkling your newest Halloween scrapbook pages with these yummy goodies.

Not only is Halloween a week away…so is a major milestone for my pregnancy…I’ll be 37 weeks prego on Halloween Eve! Therefore, from now up to the day after Halloween I’m offering these new Bizarre Candy Packs for 37% off when you use this special blog coupon code:

Get the Bizarre Candy 4pack instead of the individual packs and save another $1 😉
Now for me to brag a little. I won a prize from DueMaternity! I never win anything! It arrived Thursday, and I was thinking it was from my friend Adie, but nope. I actually won a gDiaper starter kit (which is perfect because we’re going to gDiaper our baby and needed 2 more diapers! Awesome!) That’s not all, we also received the newest What to Expect book! Even though we’re heading into the home stretch of this pregnancy, this book also has breastfeeding and postpartum info. (layout credit: Desert Botanicals v2 and ck ali’s hand font.
layout credit: Desert Botanicals v2 and ck ali’s hand font.
So, I want to share with you the 10% savings code they also gave me for being their winner! Here’s the code:


This code is valid for a year only on purchases of $25 or more at duematernity.com only.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention, my friends’ package finally arrived yesterday from Virginia! What a sweet way to spend my 1st day as a “stitch-less” prego while simultaneously celebrating our 36th week milestone! What a strange feeling to have come this far and to know that there is no longer that tiny stitch holding baby snug inside! Now, we have to let nature take it’s course. layout credit: Desert Botanicals v2 and ck ali’s hand font.

Well, I’ve got a couple K-joi Studio Collaboration kits I’m working on, almost time to wrap up the Crop Dreams fundraiser and I have a handful of my own products that I’m scrambling to get up into the store before baby arrives. I have a sneaking suspicion that when baby arrives – I won’t have the time of day to do any designing! So, that’s all for now folks! Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend!

LAST CHANCE!!! for Crop Dreams Charity Kit

Hello Scrappers!

So far, we’ve raised just $36 USD for Opportunity House. Thank you so much for supporting Mabuhay Project since October ‘08. We’d love, however, to get the donation higher. We have a goal of $200.

So, if you can, we would love it if you could tell everyone about our Crop Dreams Charity kit. If we get the word out to the entire scrapbooking community, we believe we can raise a lot more this last month. This October 2009 is our last chance to make an impact!

Please remember, with your purchase of the full collaboration, you will recieve the Crop Dreams Alpha Set for FREE!

Crop Dreams Charity Collaboration Kit is packed full of all the essentials you need to scrap a whole bunch of beautiful pages. There is so much in here you will love it!

Crop Dreams includes: 18 gorgeous papers, six awesome 12×12 quick pages, 10 beautiful bracket pages, 7 unique word arts (“flourish”, “flourish.thrive.grow”, “hip!hip!hurray!”, “mabuhay!”, “proud of you”, “sumisibol”, “U Crack Me Up”)

and 53 tropical fun elements, including: 1 decorated tri-bamboo frame, 1 tied-branch frame, 1 heliconia flower, 1 plant stem, 1 glittered nipa hut, 1 rice stalk (green, yellow, tan), 1 brown vase, 1 watermelon (as a stamp + sticker), 1 watermelon slice (as a stamp + sticker), 1 multi-colored border, 1 pink flower, 3 different leaves, 1 branch with leaves, 1 nut, 1 stone, 1 knotted string, 1 twisted ribbon (in green + in olive), 1 cluster of water drops, 3 glass bead buttons (flower, leaf, wood), 1 green bullnose clip, 1 tropical clipped cluster, 1 brown leather flower, 1 ripe mango, 1 cluster of painted wooden flowers, 1 stapled olive ribbon, 1 pink sash, 1 string of shells, 1 sash with clustered elements, 1 plain wooden flower, 2 wooden “tsinelas” slipper key-chains, 1 lightwash border 12×12 overlay, 1 mango morning 12×12 overlay, 1 mango traffic jam 12×12 overlay, 1 sticker of a string of sampaguita flowers, 1 sticker of a sampaguita flower cut-out, 1 plumeria sticker, 1 plain brown hut, 4 “gumamela” hibiscus flowers, 1 brown with green striped ribbon, 1 “go mango” tropical cluster, 1 multi-colored “community” of huts, 1 cut-open coconut, 1 “coco flora” tropical cluster (2 styles), 1 fiesta “carabao” water-buffalo head, and 1 leather+wooden flower cluster.

Plus, with your purchase of Crop Dreams Charity Collab, you will also recieve the Crop Dreams Alpha Set for free. Crop Dreams Alpha set includes a natural weave texture and a subtly painted version. It consists of a lowercase alphabet, numbers 0-9 and the following punction { } , ! . ? *You may also purchase just the Crop Dreams Alpha Set here > http://kjoistudios.net/shop/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=66_75&products_id=2238

More about Crop Dreams: This is a beautiful, fresh collaboration kit originally released in October 2008 in celebration of Filipino American History Month – and will retire at the end of October 2009.  Inspired by the agriculture, nature and island culture of The Philippines, Crop Dreams was lovingly made by several Filipina digital designers from around the globe under MabuhayProject.blogspot.com, to benefit Opportunity House – a Pearl S. Buck Foundation International (www.psbl.org) program that helps children in Asian countries, like The Philippines.

To learn about the designers who collaborated on this charity kit and for more layout ideas please visit http://www.mabuhayproject.blogspot.com/

Crop Dreams Collaborators: 
CACTUSmango Designs – Mars Carranza, Aimee Designs – Ma.Aimee Suarez, Lorie M. Designs – Lorie Manlapaz, Bev O’Loughlin Designs, teysT – Tes P. Tirol and Dianeskie – Diane Mirabeles.

All Proceeds of Crop Dreams and Crop Dreams Alpha set (minus PayPal fees) will be donated online to Opportunity House of the Pearl S. Buck Foundation

International in celebration of Filipino American Heritage Month. Crop Dreams and Crop Dreams Alpha set are for Personal Use Only.

If you would like to donate directly to Opportunity House, please visit http://www.psbl.org/.

Show & Tell

Lorie recently peaked my interest in Altered Aura’s blog. She writes very well and I am really enjoying her travel pictures of her visit to Nayong Pilipino-Clark – which has “a theme park environment that showcases Philippine heritage with scale-replicas of various Philippine historic and cultural locations.

“They have a replica of the Banaue Rice Terraces; The Kalinga Houses; a replica of a Barasoain Church; A Kapampangan village; and The Philippine myth and stories of how the world was first populated by humans is also depicted within the walls of these informative exhibits.”

“The Nayong Pilipino Park has an outdoor amphitheater, indoor theater, museum, lodging cottages, meditation garden and function room, eventually Nayong Pilipino will become a full-scale cultural center for the arts, both performing and non-performing.”
Here are Altered Aura’s fun and unique digiscrapbook pages using Crop Dreams
Daydreaming, Sumisibol, and Proud Momma:                    

Crop DreamsCrop Dreams
Crop DreamsPlease visit her blog WaRpEd & TwIsTeD
to read about her inspiration behind each page
and to leave her your warm feedback.

Lorie’s new CT members have been busy creating some fresh new pages too!
“U Crack Me Up”  showing how Crop Dreams works for boys pages and  a wedding themed page called “Mabuhay” by Miranda
Miranda,CACTUSmango,Crop DreamsMiranda,CACTUSmango,Designs by Lorie

We’ve got two gals “Leona+Lena” and “Jojola” over at kjoi who’ve made some special pages too!

“Leona+Lena” another Crop Dreams great “boy” page, with her “Two Brothers” layout.

Crop Dreams

And another page by Leona+Lena called “Smile” a very cute girly page using a QP designed by Tes P. Tirol using Crop Dreams. I think this is the first one I’ve seen from other scrappers using the QP set. Super cute!

Crop Dreams
Also we have Jojola who was able to make Crop Dreams work for a winter looking page! It’s called Unbenannt:
 Crop Dreams
Her 2nd page is brown and lovely…called “Sweet Memories”
Crop Dreams

I also have a new page to share. You know how convienent it is to snap photos with your cell phone, right? But, how often do you scrapbook those photos?  This weekend I scrapbooked an iphone photo from my friend Kathy.  It’s sized 8×8 so she can print it from home.
Princess Slippers
Crop Dreams
And last but not least, here’s one more, that I did a week ago or so…of my little god daughter, called
Sweet Girl.
Sweet Girl
Thanks for looking and for your continued support of Opportunity House with your purchase of Crop Dreams.
Happy Filipino American History Month + Mabuhay!
mars heart sigie black
Marissa Carranza | CACTUSmango Designs

Crop Dreams

just got lovelier with the addition of Bev O’Loughlin‘s alpha set! This alpha’s natural weave texture and neutral color go perfectly with Crop Dreams and any scrapbook page. Also, included is the same alpha with a soft painted look, using designs by CACTUSmango.

Crop Dreams - Alpha, Number, etc.

I made a little thank you/intro page for the gorgeous gals of Crop Dreams, with Bev’s new alpha and elements from each designers’ contribution…

These lovely pages are by Lorie’s new CT members, Miranda and Natalie.