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Posts Tagged ‘ways to help the homeless’

"Made With Love" Cookies Stamped with words, but made with love. I know this, because I made these cookies. No other day of the year combines words with love as well as Valentine’s Day. It seems tragic to me that some people can profess their love on this day, but not on other days of the year. My philosophy holds that love should be expressed everyday, in as many ways as possible. The challenge for all of us is to discover the hundreds of ways we can show love.

#1 – Show Your Love
Kris Carr On Valentine’s Day in 2003, Kris Carr was diagnosed with an incurable cancer. She then embarked on a passionate journey to enjoy her life more fully. From her blog, comes this post on How to Show Your Love.

#2 – Love Stories images Love has many faces and forms. In 1999, PBS gathered love stories from people across the country and created a series titled American Love Stories. These stories highlight diversity in relationships and tell about love in the face of prejudices involving race, religion, age, gender and more.

#3 – Heart-Shaped Envelopes
Turn a heart-shaped piece of paper into an envelope for your Valentine’s Day card or for any special occasion card, such as an anniversary card or a wedding card. If you don’t want to cut a heart out of paper, use a heart-shaped paper doily! Make an Envelope From a Heart-shaped Piece of Paper

#4 – Another Win-Win Idea
Last September, I repurposed clean and gently-worn t-shirts by making them into scarves and tote bags for the homeless. Now I have another project that again helps planet Earth and the homeless. I recently took a crochet class at my local craft store and will be putting my new skill to a test as I try crocheting plastic bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. These mats provide a moisture barrier from the damp cold ground and they offer more cushion than a piece of cardboard. To learn how to crochet these mats, watch the video below. Don’t know how to crochet? No problem, just click on You Tube video tutorials to learn how.

#5 – Joy is Love
Joy is love – a joyful heart is the normal result of a heart burning with love, for she gives most who gives with joy.
Mother Teresa

Happy Valentine’s Day! Now Go and Spread Joy!

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Entering the Creepy Room A white door at the top of the stairs rests slightly ajar and tempts a young woman to enter. The floor groans as she takes her first steps into the dusty room. As her eyes adjust to the dim light, she spies dark shapes lined up under the shuttered windows. Closer inspection reveals large bags leaning against one another for support. At the tops of the bags, scrawled in cursive handwriting, are the words: Torsos, Necks, Bottoms, and Arms. Red specks cover the carpet and a cutting blade lies nearby. It’s quite a messy scene. “Mom’s at it again,” the young woman sighs. Acknowledging her mother’s late night activities forces the woman to shiver and contemplate the approaching cold weather. As she slowly closes the door behind her, she says thoughtfully, “How nice. Mom’s making more t-shirt scarves for the homeless.”

#1 – Igniting a Strand of Firecrackers
T-shirts The power of one is like lighting the fuse on a strand of firecrackers. In September, I conceived an idea that would help both the homeless and planet Earth. In 100 Scarves: Making T-Shirt Scarves for the Homeless, I wrote about making scarves and tote bags from clean and gently used t-shirts. To help me reach my goal, I solicited t-shirt donations from friends and acquaintances. To date, I’ve made over 50 t-shirt scarves and 10 t-shirt tote bags and taken them to a local homeless shelter. When a dear friend of mine saw the scarves and bags she was inspired to help. Not only did she clean out her drawers and closets, she asked her friends to do the same. Very quickly word spread and soon friends of friends were donating t-shirts. Sitting in my dining room are close to 500 t-shirts and other pieces of clothing. Items such as jackets, vests, sweaters, and long-sleeved t-shirts will be donated to the shelter as is. People I don’t even know purchased brand new t-shirts to donate to my cause. Another friend gave me scarves she had knitted which reminded me of my own bag of knitted goods. All the scarves I’d knitted, but never given away as gifts were added to the pile. Once a strand of firecrackers ignites, each individual explosion affects the next one and the spark continues.

#2 – Monster Face Pizzas
Monster Face Pizzas Monsters are everywhere this time of the year. They can even be found hiding in our food! From Rhodes Bake-N-Serv Blog comes this monstrously easy idea. Think of how much fun kids would have creating their own Monster Face Pizzas at a Halloween party!

#3 – Art That Makes The Cut
Yulia-Brodskaya10-640x808 Using a technique called quilling, Moscow-born artist Yulia Brodskaya painstakingly cuts, curls, rolls, and glues paper to create her incredible three dimensional artwork, as seen on fubiz and on her website.

#4 – Creative Ideas
Chair and Bookshelf All In OneRecipes, design concepts, storage solutions, and re-purposing ideas can all be found in Simple Ideas That Are Borderline Genius. Some of them I’ve posted about in the past, but others are new to me. Who doesn’t appreciate a good idea?

#5 – The Power of One
“First with the head, then with the heart, you’ll be ahead from the start.”
Bryce Courtenay, The Power of One

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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It was so cold outside that the birds looked all puffed up in their little down jackets. For me, dressing up like Nanook of the North and going out in the freezing cold at midnight is not something I like to do, but the weather forecaster on T.V. said, “There’s going to be a hard freeze tonight.” Difficult as it was to leave the warmth of our home, my hubby and I got out our bin of burlap pieces and clothes pins and went outside to cover our frost-tender plants. While I was outside draping and pinning, I thought about all the homeless people trying to stay warm on that cold, cold night. Shame, guilt, and sadness struck me. Here I was protecting plants when people – men, women, and children – were freezing in the night.

#1 – Ways to Help the Homeless
If you are looking for ways to help the homeless, but don’t know where to start, check out these links:

Donate Old Gear to “Homeless Gear” & Help Keep the Homeless Warmer on Cold Days
35 Ways You Can Help the Homeless
Homeless Teens: How to Help
How YOU Can Help End Homelessness

#2 – Reduce Food Waste
Chef Alex Guarnaschelli offers six tips on how to reduce food waste. And remember that some of the food you waste also can go into compost piles. Want to start a compost pile, but don’t know how? Read Earth Easy’s article on composting.

#3- Date a Girl Who Reads
In the essay below, Rosemarie Urquico espouses the many reasons for dating a girl who reads. I loved it when I first read it – how could I not, since it’s all about reading and writing! Supposedly, it was written in response to Charles Warnke’s You Should Date an Illiterate Girl. Make sure you read both pages of Mr. Warnke’s piece.

You Should Date a Girl Who Reads by Rosemarie Urquico

Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes, who has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You’ll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She’s the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she has found the book she wants. You see that weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a secondhand book shop? That’s the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow and worn.

She’s the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she’s kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author’s making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce’s Ulysses she’s just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It’s easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas, for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry and in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she’s going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who read understand that all things must come to end, but that you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she’s sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn’t burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you’re better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes.

#4 – Repurposing
A while back, I wrote about Pinterest, the online pinboard. Many, many great ideas on numerous subjects can be found on Pinterest boards, but I especially like the ones that display truly creative ways to reuse things.

#5 – Do Something For Someone
“You have not lived until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” ~John Bunyan

Stay warm!

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