#168 Create a Piece of Wall Art

These are only a few options and a really great way to decorate on a limited budget. It’s also a great way to change up your home decor without breaking the bank …

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#168

Create a piece of wall art

Just getting started in your first home? Feeling crafty? Wanting a change of decor? Creating your own piece of wall art isn’t nearly as difficult as you may think! Depending on how industrious you feel, it can as little as a few minutes with some simple supplies or you can go all out, using power tools and scrap wood.

Starting small and easy is generally a good idea. Some masking tape, a couple of canvases, and complimentary paint colors is all you need for this first abstract look.

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I used this technique for the bathroom walls in my daughter’s hall bath a number of years ago. It encompassed a pack of coordinating scrapbook paper, an inexpensive canvas, and some Modge Podge. Any shape works but this ‘leaf’ or ‘pointed oval’ makes a pretty great flower. You can make this for less than $20.

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Using circles is also a great idea. There are lots of options here…  Paper on canvas, wood on canvas, wood on wood, even plastic. You can use a variety of items here or simply spray paint wood circles and clue them to a painted board or repurposed canvas you pick up at a thrift shop.

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Getting more labor intensive, a variety of wood projects are also low cost. Scrap wood can be purchased at surplus shops for next to nothing and joined to create a panel ready to hang. A painted word purchased on Etsy or at a craft show adds a pop of color and personal interest.

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A creative use of different stains can also be interesting. While the picture below depicts inlaid wood – the same effect can be accomplished by using tape and different stains.

This last piece may be as simple as sending the kids outside to pick up a few sticks nature provided the last time it was windy! Cutting them to fit inside a shallow box you’ve built and painted creates a really interesting focal point for a room anchored in natural elements. It brings the outside, inside.

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These are only a few options and a really great way to decorate on a limited budget. It’s also a great way to change up your home decor without breaking the bank or investing so much that you feel compelled to keep something even though your tastes have changed.

This is a great family activity and a fantastic way to encourage creativity. Art is a completely subjective endeavor and so… if YOU like it – that’s all that matters!  Hopefully, this gets your wheels turning about how to fill some empty space on a wall in your home just waiting for you to …

Create a piece of wall art! 

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

 

#170 Roast Marshmallows

Some people like their marshmallows lightly roasted – the color of toasted bread and soft, almost completely melted on the inside.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#170

Roast Marshmallows

Yesterday, I wrote about Camping (or Glamping) and anyone who’s had that experience knows the pleasure of sitting around a ‘camp’ fire. Tradition, for our family at least, has been to include marshmallows so that we can roast or toast them as an evening treat. There have been many a conversation about how to do just that.

Perfection

Some people like their marshmallows lightly roasted – the color of toasted bread (perhaps where the term “toasted” originates) – and soft, almost completely melted on the inside. It’s accomplished by finding a part of the fire that is mostly molten coals with a low blue flame,  if any. A slight roterisse action will assure coverage across the entire circumference. It will bubble just slightly and color slowly. If your marshmallow meets matches this description and you wait just a few minutes after pulling it back from the fire – it will be slightly crispy on the outside as the sugar begins to crystalize again – making it absolute perfection – IMHO.

Variations

Others seem to find enjoyment by placing their marshmallow directly into the flame until it, in itself, becomes a torch. Quickly, it turns black and will consume the sugar entirely if it is not blown out. The underbelly of these are still firm and can often be toasted again if only the blistered ‘skin’ was removed. It’s a great way to extend the life of your marshmallow if – you can tolerate the ‘burned’ flavor. There are a few who are fearful of burning and lack patience to thoroughly roast so they ‘warm’ their mallow to the point of being soft enough to quickly dissolve.

Alternatives

A campfire is perhaps, the most favorited location to pass a bag of fresh marshmallows but it’s absolutely not the only way to experience the joy of the sugary treat. In recent years we’ve seen an explosion of homeowners with backyard fire pits or chimineas on patios and decks – offering year round alternatives to traditional campfires. In the absence of those options, there’s always the convenience of a gas grill or the flame of your own gas stove. In a pinch, there’s the heat produced by the electric burner on your kitchen range. Pop a marshmallow on a large meat fork, turn the burner on high and rotate. (I may have resorted to that method a time or two during my apartment living years.) As a novelty, a few companies now manufacture ‘roasting kits’ using a small sterno can as flame fuel. Hey, whatever works!

Savor the memories

No matter how you do it, the simple act of popping a perfectly roasted marshmallow into your mouth or smashing it between graham crackers with a block of chocolate (s’more) will instantly remind you of one of the most fun aspects of childhood. Take yourself back and enjoy a few minutes of pleasant memories by savoring the flavor and all that it brings with the satisfactory act of…

Roasting marshmallows.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#185 Play a Card Game

The comradery you experience will help increase endorphins that increase feelings of happiness.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#185

Play a card game

In my mother’s generation, it seemed that everyone – really, everyone – played cards. If it wasn’t Bridge or Poker, it was Spades and Canasta. People often had a deck of cards in their purse or glove compartment and it was a great way to whittle away time or get together with friends. Now we have smartphones and video games. Consequently, I’ve noticed that a lot of young people don’t know how to play even the basic card games like Rummy.

Card games are a great way to bring people together for conversation, entertainment, and a little competition. Many of them are quite strategic and like some board games, generate great worldwide contests. Yes, there’s a bit of luck involved insomuch as the draw or deal of your cards but ‘how’ you play them… that takes some finesse.

Grab a friend, family member, or grandchild and encourage them to hang out with you for the mere purpose of playing a card game. Perhaps one of you can teach the other or dust off a deck of cards and search the internet for the rules to your favorite game from childhood like Spit or Euchre. Bicycle – the dominant and market King of all card companies – even has an app that allows you to pull up the rules for almost any game you can think of!  Remember ‘I doubt it’ and ‘Hearts’? The rules are there too!

It’s one of those simple things that keeps us humble, connected, and present. The comradery you experience will help increase endorphins that increase feelings of happiness. Using strategy will help keep your mind clear and sharp. Learning and or laughter will also improve your overall mood so make an effort to step out of your routine, clear your schedule, invite some friends over, and do something fun the old-fashioned way…

Play a card game.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#186 Sleep on the Beach

No matter how you do it or when, there’s a magical element of being able to drift off to the sound of ocean currents embracing the beach.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#186

Sleep on the beach

In the spirit of Labor Day weekend, I thought it best to remind you how amazing it is to fall asleep on the beach. Maybe not on a hot sunny day when the beach is crowded as you may expose your skin too long and/or awake with each passerby kicking sand across your back. It is amazing however, to sleep on the beach overnight – allowing the thunder of consistent wave action to lull you into a deep slumber.

These days isn’t almost impossible to pitch a tent in the dunes as they are protected along almost every coastline in the USA but… there are dozens if not hundreds of public and private campgrounds that border ocean beaches. If you’re planning well enough in advance and with a little research, you can pick a spot as close to the wave action as possible. In some areas, tying a hammock between a couple of trees may even give you a sunrise view over the top of any dunes. As an avid camper, the only drawback I’ve ever noticed about beach side camping is the amount of sand that I end up bringing home.

Perhaps the best spot in the Mid-Atlantic is Assateague State Park. It’s a bit of a pain to get to and the flies can be atrocious at times but you just can’t beat the location!  California has tons of locations as well as Florida. (I guess the more coastline you have, the better the opportunities!) The Travel Channel did a piece and after seeing the options, my bucket list just got a bit longer.

Now, this suggestion is to actually get down in the sand… form it to your body and sleep there – preferably under the stars but I’m aware that might be simply too much to ask of some people. So… with a bigger budget you can go all fancied out and rent a beachside bungalow in almost any beach community. Certainly, around the globe there are thousands of options and perhaps the only reason that people go to places like the Seychelles islands where the beach and luxury go hand and hand; where almost every sleeping option is either over sand or surf.

No matter how you do it or when, there’s a magical element of being able to drift off to the sound of ocean currents embracing the beach. Treat yourself with the experience as often as you can…

Sleep on a beach.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#190 Go Fishing

It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production…

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#190

Go Fishing

I thought it a good idea to share this tip before summer ends so if you are so inclined, you can make plans to give it a try. For some, fishing is an active sport, frequently practiced. For many more of us, it has yet to be enjoyed. There may be an ‘art’ to fishing but this suggestion is more aligned for those of you who wish to have the experience versus develop a talent – but hey… you may find your passion here.

Options

It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you walk into a sporting goods store and know nothing as there are a variety of ‘types’ of fishing; freshwater, deep sea, fly, surf, shore, ice, boat, rock… each one sporting an individual technique and equipment type. But for most of us, keeping it simple and basic would be a good call.

Here’s a good guide on how to get started:

 

Catching Fish

In almost every case, a fishing license is required so that’s the first step. Many of the places that sell bait also sell licenses for those over the minimum age requirement. I was always a bit squeamish about putting  worms on a hook but soon discovered that there is a tool for that (looking very much like tweezers). If you are fortunate enough to actually catch fish there are size requirements (length) for most species. Catch and release is where my interest lies even though I do love to eat fresh fish… cleaning them is an entirely different story and I’ll leave that to the people with stronger convictions than me.

Why bother?

So if you are just going through all that effort but not eating your catch, why bother? Clearly, the challenge is enticing to some… the thrill of the chase – or catch. Strengthening a technique or skill – practice – is always good. But there’s more…. The development of patience. Fishing takes patience. It fosters stillness. It promotes tolerance. It induces calm. It improves self-reliance. It heightens Vitamin D production, cardiovascular health, and may improve overall body strength (assuming you’re catching big fish). It encourages family bonding which, boosts immune functioning. It may incorporate laughter, implant fond memories, and encourage travel… more tenets of good living.

Sound worthwhile? Certainly worth a try… grab a friend or family member, do a little research, watch the video above and …

Go fishing!

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

Photo by Dieter Kühl on Unsplash

#197 Play a Board Game

It teases our desire to be winners and keeps us coming back for a second chance and/or to defend our position as champion;

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#197

Play a Board Game

I know people who get together for the sheer purpose of playing board games on a weekly basis and what they have in common is an ability to have fun! Sure, some people are uber competitive but overall, playing an adult level board game (as opposed to Candyland or Monopoly Jr.).

Monopoly

As a kid, the neighborhood girls had a running Monopoly game going all summer long – so much so that I’m not a huge fan of the game these days but my family members get it out at any large overnight gathering and have somehow – turned it into a drinking game. There’s usually a lot of high-fiving and deep groans as property and money change hands. Fun.

Today’s Games

These days, The Settlers of Catan is a family favorite along with Ticket to Ride – both playable with just three players. They use a fair amount of strategy but luck plays into card draws and dice rolls… disrupting even the best strategic players. For two players, I know people who have a lot of fun with Code Names and the couple of times I’ve played, it was challenging in a thoughtful kind of way.

History

The first Backgammon board dates back to Persia over 5000 years ago and ever since there is a history of board games in every culture. It seems to satisfy the human need to socialize, strategize, and intellectualize. It teases our desire to be winners and keeps us coming back for a second chance and/or to defend our position as champion; apparently basic elements of the human experience.

What is your go to when you …

Play a board game??

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below

#198 Visit a Drive In Theater

Drive-ins are great for restless movie watchers, kids who can’t sit still, and those who want to eat, drink, smoke, and fart their way through the feature.

Sharing 365 life lessons, tips, or hacks; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#198

Visit a drive in theater

The drive in theater was a staple of my childhood as I know it was for almost all baby-boomers. Seemingly by the 1990’s they dwindled in number and today there are only 336 drive in movie screens in operation in the U.S. And since the summer is drawing to a close, I thought it vital to make the suggesting to bring a little of this evaporating American tradition into your family’s life. Find a theater close to you (link here), pack up some snacks, some bug spray, a few pillows and blankets, put the kids in their P.J.’s, and spend an evening enjoying the nostalgic experience watching a first fun movie.

What’s to Love

There’s so much to love about going to a Drive-in… It’s a fantastic family experience. It’s an opportunity to fill your lungs with fresh evening air, do a little star-gazing, and enjoy a movie. It’s time away from obligations and responsibilities. It’s a chance to mentally escape and be entertained. And finally, it may induce great childhood memories of a more simple era.

Fun for Everyone

Drive-ins are great for restless movie watchers, kids who can’t sit still, and those who want to eat, drink, smoke, and fart their way through the feature. Whether or not you bring lawn chairs to relax in, recline in the bed of a truck or the back of a van, or snuggle in the front seat… watching movies at the drive in is perhaps the most comfortable way for the whole family to experience an outdoor cinema.

Plan It

Be sure to check the link above to see if there is a theater is within a reasonable distance to visit and then make plans to visit before the summer evenings run out. Gather the family  – nieces and nephews if you must – and …

Visit a drive-in theater.

I love hearing your thoughts and ideas. Please share in the comments below