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Posts Tagged ‘upcycling’

March 6, 2015 Edition Model Tyra Banks coined the word “smize.” According to one of her websites, the word means: a fierce, sizzling eye expression, typically with the eyes squinting with maximum focus and intensity; the art of smiling with one’s eyes. So what’s a girl to do when she has a camera-toting grandmother? Why, she poses, of course! As I propped up six-month-old Charlotte on a chair for a 30-second photo shoot, she “smized” into the camera. I told her, “Tyra Banks would be so proud of you!” Life flies by and babies grow up fast. Don’t forget to smile through your eyes and take photos of your journey!

#1 – Photographing Kids
13 Tips for Better Pictures of Babies, Toddlers and Teenagers Photographing kids takes skill and a little bit of luck. For those of you who take photos of your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews read professional photographer Brett Harkness’s 13 Tips For Better Pictures of Babies, Toddlers and Teenagers.

#2 – Easter Crafts
Upcycling Empty Egg Cartons Easter is a month away. As you think ahead to dying Easter eggs, also think ahead to what you will do with the empty egg cartons. Discard them? Never! Here are a few cute ideas for upcycling those cartons.

#3 – Those Downtime Thoughts
Bizarrely Odd Shower Thoughts Some of my best blog ideas come to me while I blow-dry my hair. It’s a mindless task, so my mind wanders freely. Bizarrely Odd Shower Thoughts is a compilation of those types of wandering thoughts. Where do you do your best and most creative thinking?

#4 – Flowers, Flowers Everywhere
Flowers Surviving Daffodils in full-bloom sprinkle the slope of my front yard with cheerful color and Daphne blossoms near my front door provide a heavenly fragrance to those who come visit. Plants bring so much joy to our world, especially those that manage to thrive in unusual conditions. Check out Life Finds A Way: 25 Plants That Just Won’t Give Up.

#5 – Smile
“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”
Thich Nhat Hanh

Now go and spread joy!

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Flower with Bee During the time it took my camera lens to focus on a vermilion-colored blossom, a bee landed on it, dove into the center headfirst, and then flew off. Hurriedly, I pressed the shutter button. “Did I get the shot or not,” I wondered. On playback, I was pretty happy about getting a decent photo of the flower, but capturing the image of the bee made me even happier. Happiness comes into our lives in different degrees. Grab and appreciate every bit you can get.

#1 – The Science of Happiness
Called “An Experiment in Gratitude,” this video of a project from SoulPancake depicts the relationship between expressing gratitude and feeling happy.

#2 – Genius Ideas
Genius Decorating Ideas Discovering clever new ideas, especially those that involve upcycling, makes me happy. Check out these “31 Genius Ideas For Reimagining Home Decor.” It may be too late for me to build a Lego wall for my kids, but there’s still time to do so for my grandkids!

#3 – Just Peachy
Crab Salad With Peaches and AvocadosMaking homemade peach ice cream is a fun summertime tradition for my family. But after drooling over 62 Fresh Summer Peach Recipes, I’m going to make my family even happier. I’m shaking up my peach recipe repertoire. How does a Crab Salad with Peaches and Avocados sound to you?

#4 – Quiet, Please!
10 Most Beautiful Places to Read Books If you love to find quiet places to read, you’ll appreciate the Top 10 Most Beautiful Places to Read Books. They include both quaint and impressive libraries from around the world.

#5 – Your Choice
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Go now and spread joy!

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Goldfinch acrobatics “And for my next trick, I will perform a double rotation with a half-twist . . . ” That’s what I imagine a Goldfinch hanging on a nearby wire is saying. As other birds wait patiently for spots on the bird feeder, this particular bird preens and performs acrobatics. He (I believe it is a male, because of its brilliant color) sports a showmanship flair and a touch of attitude. My creative juices recharge and I feel inspired as I stroll through my yard. My garden hums with vibrant energy as baby squirrels scamper from branch to branch, as blossoms flutter in the breeze, and as birds fly about and fill the air with song. Where do you go to recharge and gain inspiration? (Click on the photo if you want to see this little bird up close).

#1 – Random Acts of Kindness
Random Acts of Kindness Kindness lives in all of us. For some of us it’s always on the surface of our hearts. For others, it may require a direct tug of a heart string. Acts of kindness rarely make the news, unless they are on a grand scale. But in my opinion, every act of kindness is significant, because small ripples of kindness create big waves of good. Check out Moments of Human Kindness and you’ll instantly feel better.

#2 – A World of Hope
A World of Hope March 8th is International Women’s Day. CNN asked women to complete this sentence: “Build a world where I can . . . ” Click here to read answers from men and women around the world and see what kind of world they want to build.

#3 – Repurpose! Repurpose! Repurpose!
28 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Old Items My husband will confirm that one of the most frequent phrases he hears me utter is, “You’re not going to throw that away are you?” Being big on repurposing and upcycling, I always like to share any repurposing inspiration that I come across. Here are 28 Creative Ideas for Repurposing Old Items that just might save a few things from being discarded.

#4 – Inspirational Quotes
Miles Davis Quote If a walk outdoors doesn’t inspire creativity in you, maybe reading 10 Quotes To Inspire Your Inner Creative will help.

#5 – What Do You See?
“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity . . . and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself.“
William Blake

Now go and spread joy!

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Double JoyA thoughtful gift of a plant with two garden stakes multiplies my joy every morning. As someone who enjoys nature and who has an affection for birds, I clearly appreciate the plant and the whimsical hummingbird. But knowing that my personal mantra is “Spread Joy,” my friend also gave me a garden stake with the word “joy” on it. What she doesn’t know is that every morning, when the bright eastern sun shines on my backyard, my joy doubles!

#1 – Napkin Notes
Napkin Notes A man named Garth writes words of encouragement on napkins before placing them in his daughter Emma’s lunch box. As a dedicated dad, he has been giving her these napkin notes, since she was in the second grade. But now, after being diagnosed with a cancer that gives him only an 8% chance of living beyond 5 years, Garth is accelerating his note-writing. He plans to write an additional 826 napkin notes, so that Emma will continue to receive notes in her lunch box after he is gone until she graduates from high school. Read about Garth and Emma’s inspirational story and check out their Facebook page.

#2 – Mother, Art, and Climate Change
Zaria Forman: Art and Climate Change Rena Bass Forman, an artist and photographer, conceived an idea to retrace the 1869 Arctic trip of American painter William Bradford, but unfortunately she did not live long enough to realize her dream. Her daughter Zaria Forman, a Brooklyn-based artist, fulfilled a promise she made to her late mother by leading an expedition called Chasing the Light up the northwest coast of Greenland. This trip inspired many realistic pastel drawings of icebergs. In an interview posted on My Modern Met, Ms. Forman says, “My hope is that these drawings bring awareness, and invite viewers to share the urgency in a hopeful and meaningful way. Art can facilitate a deeper understanding of any crisis, helping us find meaning and optimism in shifting landscapes.” Ms. Forman also traveled to the Maldives, the lowest-lying country in the world, to continue her focus on climate change. Below are links to see more of her incredible artwork:

Exploring Climate Change Through Art: Giant Pastel Oceanscapes and Icebergs Drawn By Zaria Forman

Zaria Forman Website.

#3 – A Hum a Day Keeps Stress Away
"Flying" Hum Want to begin the day in peaceful calm or end your day completely relaxed? Or do mid-afternoons present the most stressful moments? In any case, all you need to do is hum. Check out Osmosis, a “Frequency-shaped Meditation Drone Generator. The site reads, “Humming enhances breath control and extends exhalation. It also creates deep vibrations inside your chest, helping you to relax, ease stress, and balance your mind and body.” Locate the steady hum behind the soothing tinkling of bells and hum along. Feel better?

#4 – Valentine’s Day Upcycled
Upcycled Gift Boxes Not wanting to rush the year along, but Valentine’s Day is only two weeks away! Instead of buying heart-related stuff at your local craft store, how about upcycling something you already have around your house? Start by making these lace-inspired gift containers, made with plastic containers that previously held powdered drink pouches.

#5 – Joy Follows
“We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.”
Guatama Buddha

Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Buster and Ruca With his Santa’s hat askew, Buster, a black Lab, looks warily over at Ruca, his playful Corgi cousin from New York. “Is she still there?” one could only imagine him thinking as he tries to avoid eye contact with her. Despite their size difference, Ruca herds Buster over to the sofa and makes sure he remains there. Watching the two interact with each other, I am reminded of how looks can be deceiving.

#1 – Not All Things Are What They Seem
25 Things That Are Not What They Seem While thinking about how looks can be deceiving, I came across this list of 25 Things That Are Not What They Seem. It’s an interesting read, especially for trivia buffs!

#2 – The Science of Happiness
Many people fall prey to the deception of what will make them happy. Why are some people happier than others? What do happy people possess that others don’t? Check out this infographic to learn about the science of happiness.

How to Be Happy

#3 – What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

He’s young, but he’s wise. When 13-year-old Logan LaPlante is asked what he wants to be when he grows up, he answers, “happy and healthy.” In this TEDx Talk, he discusses Hackschooling and how it differs from traditional schooling. Traditionally “school is geared toward making a better living, rather than a better life.” Watch his thought-provoking presentation and see if it doesn’t get you thinking about your own education or your children’s education.

#4 – Trash or Treasure?
Do It Yourself Craft Ideas Upcycling is the art of taking something no longer used and converting it into something useful. We deceive ourselves every day by trashing objects that can be transformed and given a new life. Make this the year you begin upcycling and for ideas, check out these Do It Yourself Craft Ideas.

#5 – Self-Deception
“Human potential is the same for all. Your feeling, ‘I am of no value,’ is wrong. Absolutely wrong. You are deceiving yourself. We all have the power of thought – so what are you lacking? If you have willpower, then you can change anything. It is usually said that you are your own master.”
Dalai Lama

Now 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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Acorns and Potato Flowers Acorns dangle from oak trees to kiss summer flowers goodbye. With the weather still summery warm, it’s hard to believe that in nine days, fall officially begins. My backyard reflects the coming change. Summer vegetable plants look forlorn and have slowed down their production. Bird feeders require almost daily refills. Squirrels scamper back and forth on the branches of my Japanese maple tree, looking for food and breaking branches as they go. The seasons of my life seem to pass by faster and faster. I’m reluctant to let another season in my life go by, but fall approaches and it deserves to be fully appreciated.

#1 – Foiling Squirrels
Snack Bag Squirrel Deterrent If you look closely at this picture you’ll notice two shiny decorations. As mentioned above, the squirrels have been wreaking havoc in my Japanese maple tree. One night while watching television and eating Skinny Pop with my husband, I came up with an idea. Many snacks, like potato chips and popcorn, come in Mylar bags. Instead of throwing the empty bags away, I rinsed them out and cut them open along the sides. Using clothes pins, I fastened the bags in strategic places to my tree. Every couple of days, I try to outwit the squirrels and move the bags around. So far, so good – no new piles of broken branches on the ground. The only downside to this is trying to explain the “decorations” to visitors.

#2 – Ten on One Page
Infographics Infographics make complex or large amounts of information more understandable. Lifehacker’s Top 10 Infographics and Cheat Sheets That Make Life Easier provides information ranging from how to remove stains to what to do when you get pulled over!

#3 – Print Ads
Clever Ads Maybe I like these 24 Clever Print Ads because I know people in the advertising business or maybe it’s because I’m intrigued with the idea of communicating messages via images. Using the power of a single image, see if these ads grab your attention.

#4 – Do You Eat Store-Bought Cereal Every Morning?
enhanced-buzz-16162-1375889707-9 Well, if you do, you may want to think twice before you discard empty cereal boxes. As seen in this BuzzFeed article 31 Things You Can Make Out of Cereal Boxes, a little bit of cardboard goes a long way!

#5 – Take Charge
“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”
Jim Rohn

Enjoy these last days of summer!

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