Hoping everyone enjoyed a safe and fun 2017 July 4th celebration. Valentino made lots of new friends at the Old Mission, Santa Barbara where the annual 4th of July Art Show took place. There were so many talented artists sharing their unique creations with the community and it was one more opportunity to share Valentino The Love Bunny's beautiful message of spreading love. Valentino believes that we are all connected by being on this one planet together and the more love we can share with one another, the more joyful, healthful and beautiful a life we can ALL experience.
In May another exciting opportunity arose with the chance to be a part of the 31st annual "I MADONNARI" chalk art festival. It was a three day festival held on the grounds of the Old Mission Santa Barbara that celebrates the art of street painting with chalk. It benefits the Children's Creative Project, a non-profit enrichment initiative for the local schools. Valentino The Love Bunny sponsored an 8 X 12 foot space with the message of spreading love everywhere he goes. We must never forget that there can NEVER be too much love, ever. Margarita Fairbanks and her team of "Art Angels" headed by Suzan Duval, illustrator of the Love Bunny book series, delivered an inspiring and visually stunning original work for the occasion. Over the three days hundreds of people met Valentino for the first time and learned of his purpose in life, which is to spread his message of love, hope, and joy all around the world. Valentino isn't just for children, older people also love his softness and warmth. Meet Virginia, a beautiful 88 year old lady who was enchanted by him and because Playful Valentino the Love Bunny plush toy looks so life like, she thought he was real. When she held him, she kissed him and fell in love with him and there was no doubt he had to go home with her. There is nothing better than seeing little Valentino bring joy and comfort! Get your own Valentino The Love Bunny book and toys at http://amzn.to/1Sd6wuV and remember....SPREAD THE LOVE everywhere you go!
In April, Valentino the Love Bunny was honored to participate in the annual Arthritis Foundation's WALK TO CURE ARTHRITIS. Our friend and Executive Director of the Tri-County region, Michal Wiesbrock, invited Valentino to form a team for the walk and named it Valentino's Love Bunnies. What a special and beautiful day. Over 300 people gathered to support the essential work that the Arthritis Foundation does for the multitude of people living and coping with this painful and debilitating disease. It afflicts people of all ages and thanks to great advances in medicine many are able to lead productive, joyful lives. One such person is this beautiful girl, Lucy Holian who is 8 years old. When she was diagnosed at age 4 with this unfortunate affliction, she couldn't even move. With treatment, she is now living a full life, playing soccer and is the captain of her softball team. It really is a privilege to participate in these kind of events which highlight how people help one another. As Valentino knows, it truly is in giving that we receive, and he encourages everyone to volunteer some time to any worthy cause. It is not about money, it is about connecting with others and making a difference in someone's life, even with a smile! Lucy received a copy of "Valentino The Love Bunny and How He Came To Be" and a super soft Playful Valentino plush toy. We hope they bring her joy and comfort....and remember, spread love everywhere you go!!!
We know that Valentino warms people's hearts, but he has made a lot of furry friends as well. Meet "Bon Vie" an adorable girl who was enthralled with Valentino!!!
Well, it only took 3 years, but finally, in January of this year, Margarita Fairbanks meets the maker of the amazingly soft and beautifully lifelike Playful and Cuddly versions of Valentino The Love Bunny plush toys. Having made the rounds at this huge event (at the Jacob Javitz Center) it was abundantly clear that HANSA Toys International makes the highest quality plush toys available. Each toy is handmade and each hair of the "fur" of the animal is the actual denier (diameter) of a real rabbit's fur, making it just as soft. This is a toy that any plush toy lover would want to include in their collection and is a comfort and joy to young and old alike!
Halloween is such a fun time of year for children and adults alike! Trick or Treating and lots of SPOOKY parties...Goblins, Ghosts, Witches and Superheroes taking to the streets and weaving magic spells...Fun for everyone, including a little bunny named VALENTINO! He loves it too and is wishing everyone happy and safe celebrations....
In May, author, Margarita, and illustrator, Susan, presented to Shriners a beautiful painting of Shriner Valentino. The painting will be placed on a wall next to the door children go through on their way to surgery. Valentino can bring joy with his presence and is honored to bring smiles and comfort to these brave kids. Valentino's message of LOVE is a message for all of us, any age, anytime. In the painting, the first child in the lower right-hand corner is seen missing a limb, but still able to have fun. As images progress clockwise, the children then receive prosthetics which enhance their lives and make them "whole." The theme is to show that happiness is possible even without the limb and ultimately highlights how Shriners changes and improves lives by replacing these limbs. Shriners works with the whole child to make them feel confident and good about themselves in spite of any handicaps. Thank you Shriners Children's Hospital for the work you do!!!
Valentino is such a curious bunny and loves the tantric colors used in the illustrations of "Valentino The Love Bunny and How He Came To Be." Tantric colors are colors which create and channel energy. Chemical reactions are a part of our everyday lives and hue (color) and value (lightness or darkness) of a color can cause a chemical reaction in a human without them even realizing it. The amazingly bright and rich tones in these illustrations aim to create feelings of joy and well-being and inspire the viewer.
Volume 1, of the 10 book Valentino The Love Bunny series, "Valentino The Love Bunny and How He Came To Be," received a wonderful distinction by being chosen a FINALIST for the NextGen Independent Book Publishers Award in the category of BEST OVERALL DESIGN. This means a lot to author Margarita Fairbanks, as she had a crystal clear vision and brought it to life. The book(s) is designed as a family heirloom, to be treasured and passed down from one generation to the next. The materials chosen reflect a quality of another time and are reminiscent of the books Margarita read as a child. From the new moire end sheets to the red satin bookmark, rich red linen cover wrap with debossed artwork and gold foiled spine, to the metallic gold dust cover, this truly is a book to be treasured. The series is complemented by Valentino The Love Bunny plush toys designed by Hansa® and both are available on this website and on Amazon!
Valentino was a perfect little guest at the CALM 30th Annual Celebrity Author's luncheon. He was flanked by groups of people wanting to greet and pet him and impressed everyone with his mellow and engaging nature. CALM is an organization that offers much needed services to children who have been abused and Valentino's purpose in life is to bring love, comfort and warmth to those in need. He took his post in his beautiful red event cage from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm and loved all the attention he received throughout the day.
Author, Margarita Fairbanks, and her first installment of Valentino The Love Bunny are honored to be included in this auspicious event.
One for the Books
Move over, Beatrix Potter! Peter Rabbit, which has sold an astounding 45 million copies in 36 languages since being written in 1893, has got some major competition.
Santa Barbara author Margarita Fairbanks just launched her first book, How It Came to Be, in a planned 10-book series on Valentino, the Love Bunny, a charming three-pound Netherland Dwarf rabbit, which has a distinctive black heart around its eye and a heart on his left cheek.
The series also features a cuddly canine, Sparky, two black standard poodles, Miro and Lucca, and a horse, Pandereto.
“In a tough, fast-paced world, it is essential to teach young children universal messages about love, tolerance, patience, comfort, confidence, hope, good manners, accountability, nature, spirituality and charity,” says Margarita, whose husband, Chuck Lande, is a former player at the Santa Barbara Polo Club.
“Valentino takes us along on his magical adventures which evolves into a global journey teaching values, spreading love and good will, and protecting the Earth.”
The series includes colorful illustrations by Santa Barbara artist Suzan Duval.
“They are designed as family heirlooms to be treasured and passed down from one generation to the next,” adds Margarita, whose books are complemented by Valentino plush toys designed by Hansa, which can be purchased separately.
Future plans include books translated into multiple languages, a retail product line, special-edition characters, and an animated children’s series for TV and the web.
To launch her new book, First Republic Bank hosted a 150 guest bash for Margarita, a trained hospice volunteer and court-appointed special advocate, who has worked with children at the local Juvenile Hall, at the State Street headquarters, just a tiara’s toss from the Granada, converted into an art gallery featuring original canvases featured in the new book and books to come.
Guests, who included David Edelman, Jane Maurer, Dana Hansen, Michael Weisbrock, Jeffrey Baldwin, Roger and Keiko Dunham, Irwin and Sally Eve, and Mark Scott-Paine, were greeted by a life-size version of the bunny character.
“Valentino was years in the making and was first sparked in a conversation with my dear late mother, Bibi Fairbanks, who told me my message of love had to be shared with the world,” explains Margarita.
In November, 2014, my first book, Valentino The Love Bunny and How He Came to Be, was published!
This book is a dream come true for my mother, “Bibi” Fairbanks and me, which took over 5 years of vision, passion and hard work. During this time, I embraced my mother’s encouraging words to follow my heart and create a body of work that would be our legacy. The Valentino draft manuscript was nearing completion at the time of my mother’s passing in October of 2014. Losing her left me with a huge sadness in my heart and a loss of equilibrium in facing the future. Yet Bibi’s voice remained strong and present, guiding me toward light, love and purpose, which are central themes in Valentino.
The process of creating this book has allowed me to take a personal and professional journey. It helped me heal from the absence of my mother’s physical presence and gave me a creative outlet. I created my own company, am working with an exciting team and the future is bright. Book 1 of a 10-book series is completed and complemented by two models of plush toys modeled after "Valentino,” my own real-life bunny, a source of comfort and joy. I’m forging strategic business alliances and philanthropic partnerships, which give me a way to give back to society by helping vulnerable women, children and animals in need.
I am so thankful for my family’s support and the knowledge that Bibi’s love surrounds me every step of the way as I enter this new, exciting phase of my life!