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Posts Tagged ‘Helping Others’

Twisted Oaks

It’s the golden dappled sunlight that dances on trees.
It’s the gnarly twisting branches that beg to please.
It’s the patches of lichens that soften the hard.
It’s the music of leaves scattering in yards.
It’s the warmth of friendship and much happy talk.
It’s the many pleasures of a lovely autumn walk.

Linnell Chang

#1 – Self-Improvement
The Only Way to Improve Your Situation Is to Improve Yourself In the article The Only Way to Improve Your Situation Is to Improve Yourself, the author offers easy and helpful suggestions of ways to improve your mind, body and soul. In my opinion, a long walk works on all three areas, but it must be done briskly, with frequent acknowledgements of the miracles around, and all the while living in the moment.

#2 – There’s No Substitution for Good Health
Healthy Recipe Substitutions It can be daunting to wade through the whys and hows of healthy eating. Thanks to this list of 83 Healthy Recipe Substitutions, all of that has become a little easier. Yes, the list is long, but that’s good. That means we have options. The list is broken down into these categories: baking, stovetop, meals, snacks, seasoning, alcohol, and cooking methods. Why not try green avocado puree in lieu of butter?

#3 – Kermit the Wise
Kermit the Frog Quote Speaking of green . . . Motivation and inspiration can be found in all sorts of places and from all sorts of people. In this case, it’s coming from the Muppet’s character Kermit the Frog. Check out these 12 Kermit the Frog Quotes for Your Bad Days. It will make you smile!

#4 – Never Too Old to Finger Paint
Painting by Iris Scott If you’re not too old to learn something from Kermit the Frog, then you’re definitely not too old to finger paint. Artist Iris Scott accidentally stumbled upon her technique of painting with her fingers. Wearing surgical gloves, she applies oil paints to her fingers and paints in a post-impressionistic style. I love what she says about her method, My fingers dance rapidly across the canvas – some say it reminds them of a piano player in action. The colors collide and meld into my composition, raw oils are squeezed straight from the tubes, the texture is thick and juicy. This chaotic scene goes on well into the evening. To stay focused I dance, I sing, I stretch. Her art is incredibly rich in colors and textures.

#5 – What Life Is About
“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.”
~Gilda Radner

Go and spread joy!

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T-Shirt Scarves

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

Edward Everett Hale

This quote resonates in my heart and propels me to find ways to help others. A few weeks ago, I hit upon an idea that not only helps others, but helps planet Earth as well. I am but one person, but I am one person who can make scarves for the homeless out of clean and gently-worn t-shirts. To some people scarves are fashion accessories that lend a splash of color to stylish outfits, but for the homeless scarves are necessities to help them survive the bitter cold. My goal is to make 100 scarves from donated t-shirts that otherwise would be discarded and distribute them to the homeless via a local homeless shelter. I will continue to make scarves for the homeless as long as I keep receiving t-shirt donations.

You are but one person, but you, too, can help. Follow the easy directions below to make scarves and call your local homeless shelters to find out the best way to distribute your scarves.

HOW TO MAKE T-SHIRT SCARVES

YOU WILL NEED
T-shirts, the larger the shirt, the longer the scarf loops will be
Sharp scissors or rotary cutter
Cutting mat, if using a rotary cutter
Yardstick

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Lay the t-shirt down on a flat surface. Smooth fabric and make sure bottom and sleeve hems are even.

2. Cut the bottom hem off. T-Shirt Scarf Instructions

3. Starting at the bottom of the shirt (on the right side of the photo), cut 3/4-inch strips from side to side on the shirt (bottom to top in this photo). Do not cut through the last inch. Stop cutting rows when you get to the sleeves. T-Shirt Scarf Instructions

4. When you reach the sleeves, cut shirt completely from side to side. T-Shirt Scarf Instructions

5. At this point you should have a series of loops attached by a “spine.”T-shirt Scarf Instructions

6. Thread the spine through your arm and pull each loop to make the fabric curl. T-Shirt Scarf Instructions

7. With the remaining shirt, cut a strip out of it and pull it to make it curl. Tie a knot at each end. T-Shirt Scarf Instructions

8. Gather the spine in one hand. T-Shirt Scarf Instructions

9. Using the small knotted strip, tie a knot around the gathered spine.
T-Shirt Scarf Instructions

10. Et voilà, you have a t-shirt scarf! DIY T-Shirt Scarf

Now go and spread joy!

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Potato Flowers Purple flowers with yellow centers pose against a golden summer backdrop. These two colors sit on opposite sides of a color wheel making them complementary colors. In the world of color theory, they are a dynamic duo. Perhaps, a hopeful lesson for the world can be extrapolated from this theory: that despite being far apart (in color, beliefs, origins, etc.), entities can come together, work together, and bring out the best in each other.

#1 – Color Palettes
Color Palette Search Whether painting a piece of art, decorating your home, coordinating your wardrobe, or planning a wedding, choosing the perfect color palette can be difficult. There are many online sites that offer help. One such site is Design Seeds where you can “find the palettes you love.” Searches can be done by color value or by theme.

#2 – Make Music
Op Art Sound Matrix Click on a square on the Op Art Sound Matrix grid and you have the first note of your song. It is an entertaining and hypnotic little diversion. As far as I can tell, to create another song, you have to leave the page and come back.

#3 – Get Ready to Eat Fall Desserts
Fall Desserts Am I rushing things by sharing 35+ Fall Desserts with you? Not really. The autumnal equinox is only two days away! Stop drooling and click on the link, so that you can get to the mouth-watering recipes ASAP!

#4 – Life = Risk
If you can spare a minute, watch this motivational video. It may change your outlook on life and the way you view people.

#5 – Spread Your Wings
“I have come to accept the feeling of not knowing where I am going. And I have trained myself to love it. Because it is only when we are suspended in mid-air with no landing in sight, that we force our wings to unravel and alas begin our flight. And as we fly, we still may not know where we are going to. But the miracle is in the unfolding of the wings. You may not know where you’re going, but you know that so long as you spread your wings, the winds will carry you.”
― C. JoyBell C.

Have a lovely weekend!

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Garden Spider Image Helen, named after the main character in a children’s book, makes picking cherry tomatoes and cucumbers in my garden a challenging experience. People with arachnophobia would avoid this task, since Helen, a large garden spider, has woven a three-foot by six-foot web around the plants. As I look at her work, I recall reading Be Nice To Spiders to my children several decades ago. The storyline revolves around Helen, a spider, who provides many useful services to a zoo. My quandary is what I should do with my new pest-guest and her giant web? Should I destroy it and relocate her or should I just leave her alone and let her do her job?

#1 – Time to Move On
Left undisturbed, Helen, the spider, moved on within two days of my discovering her. Perhaps it was the constant clicking of my camera shutter that annoyed her? How do most of us know when it’s time to move on in our lives? Marc and Angel Hack Life wrote an article titled 9 Reasons It’s Time to Move On that’s filled with insightful and motivating thoughts.

#2 – Chalk It Up!
DIY Chalkboard Projects Chalkboard paint projects are popping up everywhere, from walls to furniture to wine glasses. There’s no reason not to have fun with this product. Here are a few articles to rev up your creativity:

8 Easy Chalkboard Paint DIYs to Try
20 Ways to Use Chalkboard Paint
22 DIY Chalkboard Projects

#3 -Something to Smile About
Mona Lisa image Here’s a short and fun art history lesson by art historian Kathy Galitz. Watch this 3-minute video from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she examines the meaning of smiles during different time periods. We can never learn enough about the world of art, can we?

#4 – Mom’s Recipes
Hand-Written Dutch Apple Cake Recipe I felt like I had discovered lost treasure, when I stumbled upon this flickr site. Someone named Phil scanned and shared all the recipes in his mother’s extensive recipe collection. When I look at the images of handwritten recipes on worn index cards and yellowed newspaper clippings, I appreciate the slice (pun intended) of history and nostalgia that they represent. Plus, I’ve found a few more recipes to try!

#5 – Catching Love
“The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.”
Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Enjoy your weekend!

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Night Driving Photo

The Big Y - Nightime Art If necessity is the mother of invention, then boredom is the second cousin of creativity. On a long drive home one night with my husband, I sat bored watching the dark scenery whiz by. But during one stretch of the highway, bright lights caught my attention. Taking out my camera, I started taking photos of interesting arrangements of lights. I worked quickly to capture image after image; there wasn’t even time to stop to adjust my camera’s settings. When I finally returned home and downloaded the camera’s memory card onto my computer, crazy and colorful images appeared. After fiddling with saturation and contrast levels, I found the results of my spontaneous creative burst to be unusual pieces of art. I can’t wait until my next late night car ride!

#1 – Urban Art
Urban and Street Art Art comes in many forms. Street art and urban art offer both whimsical and interesting perspectives of the world. Check out these creative examples of Cool Street Art & Inventive Urban Art.

#2 – Re-purposing On a Large Scale
Hotel Im Wassertum Who says only small items can be re-purposed? The Top 15 Converted Hotels photo series shows examples of large scale re-purposing. Wouldn’t it be fun to stay overnight in a medieval fortress or a bullring?

#3 – Use 3 Coupons, Provide a Meal
Coupons for Change If you’re a coupon clipper, you might want to check out the site Coupons For Change. This organization offers online coupons that can be printed and redeemed at stores. For every three coupons used, the site donates a meal through its partnership with Feeding America. Coupons for Change’s “current initiative is to fight domestic childhood hunger” and its website shows that at this very moment “1,365,710 meals” have been provided.

#4 – Add Calm To Your Life
Busy moments in life need to be counterbalanced by calm moments. If you’re looking for ways to calm down and to release stress, visit a site called Calm. Everyday, various calming images, such as waves on the water or sunlight streaming through clouds, appear on your computer screen and soothing music plays in the background. You have the option to choose between guided calm or self-guided calm and you can select the amount of time for your session.

#5 – Live Life Creatively
“Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been.”
Alan Alda

Create a fun weekend for yourselves!

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DIY Gift Book Life is a series of bridge-crossings. We come to points in our lives where chasms, sometimes shallow and sometimes deep, appear before us. Questions swirl in and around our souls. Do we dare cross to the other side or do we stay in place? Will we be okay if we cross over to the unfamiliar and the unknown? Do we have the resolve and strength it takes to step onto the bridge? To cross a bridge is to make a commitment. It means we’ve decided to let go of where we stand and move forward.

As I watched a friend deal with back-to-back life-chasms, I witnessed the exhausting decisions she was forced to make. She bravely crossed one bridge after another, until she came to a big one: to sell her home, to leave behind memories, and to start anew. Knowing that this was a monumental step for her and knowing the memories that the house held for her, I gave her the only thing I could think of – a “bridge” book. My concept of this book was to link her memories with inspiration for the future. I accomplished this by taking photographs of beautiful and meaningful areas surrounding her home and paired them up with inspirational quotes. After informing her real estate agent about my project, I took most of the photos during an open house. On occasion, when I knew the lighting would be perfect in her garden, I’d sneak into her yard and snap a few more! With my friend’s permission, I’d like to share a few pages of her Bridge Book with you:

The Bridge Book: A n Inspirational Book for Moving On

Introductory Page

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Greenhouse: A Husband’s Hobby

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

Liquid Amber: A Father’s Gift

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift for Someone Moving On

The Bridge

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

The Bridge Book: An Inspirational Gift For Someone Moving On

Closing Page: A New Beginning

As we cross the bridges that lie before us, may we remember to always move forward and to only look back for inspiration.

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Yellow Pilgrim Rose Through my camera lens, leaves and a stem frame a single yellow bloom. In fact, it’s the only blossom blooming on an old woody rose bush called The Pilgrim.  Mother Nature did everything she could do to make sure I didn’t miss this beauty.

#1 – Let Go, Be Happy
When I first stumbled across this article, I thought to myself, “Not another self-improvement list!” But when I actually took the time to read the 20 Things You Need To Let Go To Be Happy, I was glad I did. Some of us get set in our ways and fall into negative thought and behavioral patterns. The points in the article serve as good reminders of ways to keep life in proper perspective.

#2 – The Wheels on the Bus

Old School Bus Transformed Into Mobile Home

Justin Evidon

The wheels on this old bus still go ’round and ’round thanks to architecture student Hank Butitta’s efforts. After purchasing an old school bus on Craigslist, he renovated it into a mobile home – complete “with beds, tables, storage and social areas, and a working sink and toilet.” He’s now taking it on the ultimate road test, a 5,000-mile cross country trip!

#3 – A Bit of Whimsy

William Kass

William Kass

Combining food with miniature toys would seem to result in an odd art form, but not in the hands of photographer William Kass. In his photo series Minimize, his choice of materials inspired him to create whimsical scenes. It’s an imaginative way of viewing the world.

#4 – Villages
Whether or not you believe in the proverb “It takes a village to raise a child,” you will still enjoy taking an armchair stroll through some of the Most Beautiful Villages Around The World.

#5 – Know Your Worth
Know Your Worth

ENJOY YOUR WEEKEND!

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Carpenter Bee Bzzzzzz-bzzzzzz-bzzzzzz . . . bzzzzzz-bzzzzzz-bzzzzzz . . . ah-choo! A large black bee darted quickly in and out of squash blossoms. If a bee could sneeze, I imagine this one would, because it was covered from head to tail in pollen (click on the photo to see all the pollen). After hearing gardeners complain of low vegetable yields due to lack of pollination, I’m happy to have this bee in my garden. However, I’m not so thrilled to learn that it’s a carpenter bee, the type of bee that burrows into wood!

#1 – The Ultimate Packing List
If you are planning on doing some serious traveling, you will want to check out The Ultimate Packing List for Full-Time Travel by the Professional Hobo. She lists what she takes, why she takes them, and where you can purchase these items.

#2 – The Second Time Around
Repurposing Ideas If you have imagination, most things can have more than one life or one purpose. Some of the ideas in the article Creative Ways to Repurpose & Reuse Old Stuff I’ve seen before, but that’s probably because they are really great ideas and have been well-circulated. Thanks to creative people who continually find new ways to reuse things!

#3 – A Slice of Time
Chinatown Sunset, 2013 by Fong Qi Wei Photographer Fong Qi Wei places an emphasis on time in his collection of work called Time is a Dimension. His photographs reveal landscapes, cityscapes, and seascapes during a 2 to 4 hour period, rather than just a moment in time.

#4 – Shelf Life
This infographic reminds me of my daughter. On occasion she’ll call to ask if I think a particular item in her refrigerator or pantry is okay to eat beyond its stated date. If you, too, are confused with all the dates marked on food packaging, then make sure to read the section at the bottom titled, “What’s the Deal With Expiration Dates?”

The Shelf Life of Food

#5 – Life
Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.
Ashley Smith

Have a great weekend!

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T-shirt Gift Bag The wanna-be artist in me was delighted when one of my nieces requested manga drawing materials for her birthday. Rather than spend money on a paper gift bag to hold her art supplies, I thought it would be more fun to put them in a cute and sturdy t-shirt bag. A while back I posted the instructions on how to make a T-Shirt Bag, but since this bag was a gift, I made the finished product nicer by adding a few steps: I “boxed” the bottom and sewed bias tape around the raw openings. After transforming a black and white “History of Art” t–shirt (leftover from my art docent days) into a bag, I tied it up with a large colorful ribbon. My talented niece now has a reusable gift bag/art tote and I’m pleased that I re-purposed another item!

#1 – Art in Clothes and Clothes in Art

Art by Kaarina Kaikkonen

Kaarina Kaikkonen: The Blue Route

Finnish environmental artist Kaarina Kaikkonen re-purposes t-shirts and other second-hand clothes with a different creative goal in mind. She creates dreamlike art installations. The power of her work lies in how she ties her message to each site of installation. Ms. Kaikkonen says of her work, “My work talks about people, how people from different backgrounds are connected together, about life as a journey.” You can see more of her work here.

#2 – Clever Kitchen Ideas
Reuse broken hangers as bag clipss A hanger can be used for more than hanging clothes as seen by this photo. Check out these 10 Clever Kitchen Lifehacks.

#3 -Made You Smile
We can all come up with clever and creative ways to make our lives easier and more enjoyable, but how about coming up with ways to make each others’ lives happier, at least for a moment? It can start with a smile. Mark and Angel Hack Life have compiled a list called 88 Ways to Make a Stranger Smile and the first entry is “Smile often.”

#4 – Exploring Caves
Fingals Cave in Scotland Exploring caves around the world is not at the very top of my bucket list, but I can say that I’ve been to at least one of the caves featured in 23 of the World’s Most Insane Caves That You Can Explore. After looking through this series of photos of nature’s amazing creations, I am now adding visits to a few of them to my bucket list!

#5 – Creativity According to Rainn
“Everyone is creative in their own way and that, that creativity is a great thing. It’s a human thing and it needs to be nurtured and it can help us go down life’s path and help us to become deeper, richer, more satisfied human beings.”
Rainn Wilson

“If it’s a pure expression of yourself no matter what it is or what medium, it’s going to shine. It’s going to resonate. You could look inside of yourself and you could have a canvas and you could paint a dot in it, but if that is where your creative purpose is taking you then it needs to be that dot.”
Rainn Wilson

Let your creativity shine this weekend!

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Ruca and Friends Herd Golden Retriever What happens when a group of Corgis meet for a play date in the park? They run around, they sniff each other, and they herd. One time they herded a Golden Retriever right to the top of a picnic table. As their owners called them back, I imagine these little mighty-mites thought to themselves, “Aw, come on, we were just doing what comes naturally!”

#1 – Extremely Unnatural
Trolltunga Rock Extreme kayaking at Victoria Falls? No, I don’t think so. Jumping on the Trolltunga Rock in Norway? Maybe. Honestly, high-adventure risk-taking doesn’t comes naturally to me, but I can certainly live vicariously through these 23 Photos That Will Make Your Stomach Drop.

#2 – Fold The Page
Folded Book Art by Luciana Frigerio I hold books in high regard, so folding back their pages wouldn’t be something I’d do. As a matter of fact, I often chastise my husband for folding back pages to mark his place, instead of using bookmarks. When I saw the Folded Book Art of Luciana Frigerio, my first thought was “She’s folding pages!” and my second thought was “How does she do that amazing work?”

#3 – Thinking Outside the Box
Clever Ideas For some people, thinking outside the box just comes naturally. Here are clever ideas from people who think like that. How about turning an old TV console into a dog bed? Or what about mixing Elmer’s glue with food coloring and painting it on glass to achieve the look of sea glass?

#4 – More Than Just a Rescued Dog
We’ve all heard stories about dogs rescuing people. This story, however, is made more heartwarming by the fact that a dog that nobody wanted because of his disabilities, proved his worth and rescued his family from a devastating fire. Watch the extraordinary story of A Handicapped Rescued Dog Returns the Favor. Be patient, this page takes time to load.

#5 – Life Is A Ride
Life is truly a ride. We’re all strapped in and no one can stop it. When the doctor slaps your behind, he’s ripping your ticket and away you go. As you make each passage from youth to adulthood to maturity, sometimes you put your arms up and scream, sometimes you just hang on to that bar in front of you. But the ride is the thing. I think the most you can hope for at the end of life is that your hair is messed, you’re out of breath, and you didn’t throw up.

Jerry Seinfeld

Have a wonderful weekend!

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