#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

 

#172 Review Your Will

It’s important to understand what happens if you do NOT designate your wishes.

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.

#172

Review your will

We hear this legal advice all the time and yet I am amazed how few heed the recommendation. When did you originally write you will? [Stop reading right now if you don’t have one and make THAT your priority today.]

While I am not an attorney and no one should take my advice as officially ‘legal’ – I spent half my adult life as a financial advisor and would often review this element with clients as we were addressing the complete ‘financial’ picture. I served as Executrix for my Grandparents’ estate and learned more about what ‘not’ to do as we plan for the time when our assets get distributed to people we love.

Times Change

Many of us design our first will using very basic structures because we’re young and have little to distribute. As we grow older, accumulate material items and wealth, have children, and lose older relatives, the way we think about ‘who gets what’, will change. The people we want to carry out our wishes may also change as relationships morph over that time. This is all in addition to and separate from what needs to be addressed when there are dependant children who need to be considered.

Digital Information

Today, in conjunction with the traditional considerations, we need to think about some things that have never been issues such as your digital legacy. Many of us have photographs in online accounts… Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social identities. What do you want to have happen to that data? Your Executor needs to have a list of your electronic passwords and some direction of what to do with that information. Facebook offers a “Legacy” account; Read THIS. Do you want that information deleted or protected as historical data?

Disbursement

Experts agree that our wills need to be revisited every five years; more if our circumstances change (buying house, having children, etc.). It’s important to understand what happens if you do NOT designate your wishes. Dying Intestate (without a will) will activate a line of distribution that is automatic when someone fails to make their preference; spouse first, then children. Without a spouse (married partner) or a child, the line of disbursement moves to parents, legal siblings, and eventually – if none of those relationships exist – aunts and uncles. There may be a friend or charity that would benefit from your estate more than great Aunt Mary and so a will is a necessity.

If you haven’t recently considered your afterlife wishes, take some time to think about what is important to you and then…

Review you will.

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

#173 Refresh the Photos in Your Frames

Additionally, your brain has become accustomed to the photos currently in place – after awhile they become almost invisible to your senses.

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.

#173

Refresh the photos in your frames

We frame favorite photographs of people we love or of great memories so that we can keep the moment alive and in front of us. While the snapshots of the kids in preschool are adorable, there’s a good chance that they have had a number of memorable moments since.

Digital Age

I am personally guilty of and have heard consensus that since the onset of the digital age, fewer and fewer photographs actually get printed. This may be one of the reasons that we aren’t updating the photos in our household frames even though many photo printing services make it exceptionally easy.

Get Organized

Grab a piece of paper and make a list of the frame sizes around your home. Many of them are typically 4×6 (the standard print size) or 5×7. Some of us may have special occasion photos that are the larger 8×10. Once you have a list, spend some time going through your phone or your online photo storage app (Google photos, Facebook, Shutterfly, etc…) and pick out a few to print. Most of the time, all you have to do is copy the photo so that they are all on the device you intend to transfer from.

Print

Once you know which photos you want, use a printing service such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. Of course, most box stores (Target, Walmart) and drug store chains also offer printing services. Simply download the photo to their online app, select the size and finish, and then pick them up when you are ready! It’s that easy.

Memory

Changing photographs is another activity that can help keep your memory strong. By stimulating our recall abilities, we engage memory in a way that keeps it moving… kinda like greasing a cog. Additionally, your brain has become accustomed to the photos currently in place – after awhile they become almost invisible to your senses. Changing the pictures will stimulate your brain as it notices something new as you move from room to room.

New Look

Replacing the photos in existing frames also protects against excess clutter as the years go by. Obviously, the longer we live, the more moments we capture and want to remember. Yet, continuing to add frames and photos can become overwhelming as time passes. As you go about this project, you may wish to update your frames as well but it’s not necessary to replace them. A fresh coat of paint, some embellishments or simply moving them into a different room may be all you need for the overall look to be updated.

Add this task to your master to-do list to keep it on your mind and the next time you need a ‘rainy day’ activity – consider the novelty and pleasure you’ll experience by taking an afternoon and …

Refreshing the photos in your frames.

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

#196 Learn a Card Trick

A deck of cards is easy to carry around and you’ll be the best aunt, uncle, grandma, or Pop in the family if you can perform and ultimately… share the skill

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.

#196

Learn a Card Trick

Think back to your childhood for just a moment and recall the delight you felt when someone demonstrated something unbelievable. When our mind are ‘tricked’ into thinking one thing when another actually happened via magic or fancy… it is fun. We are often in awe of magic performers and a simple card trick can induce that same kind of feeling.

Wonder

There is a certain amount of wonder that happens when we can’t figure out the ‘how’ behind something. How does someone know what card we picked? Or what the next card in a pile will be? We are captivated and charmed as these illusions confuse us even though they generally amount to basic mathematics. We are entertained by things we can’t explain and during adulthood, when most things make sense… it’s a break to experience the fun side of ‘not knowing’.

Teach Yourself

Card tricks are great because there are some very simple ones anyone can learn and no matter how silly or cheesy they are, the children in your life will be filled with delight by your ability to ‘trick’ them. Once again I direct you to YouTube where in this video, you will learn five simple tricks sure to tickle the fancy of your youngest fans.

Have Fun

Who doesn’t love a little suspense and fun once in a while? A deck of cards is easy to carry around and you’ll be the best aunt, uncle, grandma, or Pop in the family if you can perform and ultimately… share the skill after you’ve taken some time to…

Learn a card trick.

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

#200 Spend a Day in Service (a spin)

Quite simply… when you give your time and talent, you receive satisfaction, gratification, and appreciation ten-fold.

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.

#200

Spend a day in Service (a spin)

What does it mean to you to ‘spend a day in service’? Martin Luther King called for Americans to spend a day in service by “providing solutions to our nation’s most pressing solutions” and for most of us that means volunteering. But what if we spent a ‘day in service’ to our significant other, to our parents, or to our best friend or a neighbor?

How might our relationships benefit if we spent a day in service to them?

What would that look like?

It’s as simple as one thought… “what can I do to make your day better?” It’s a question that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘waiting on someone’ or ‘spoiling’. It’s more focused on the literal definition of “performing duties or services”. It may mean completing that project that’s been on the back burner forever. It may mean practicing batting or pitching for hours on end. Or going through years of photo albums to help organize them. It might be cleaning your Mom’s carpets or repainting Dad’s office. It may mean spending the day taking your home bound great aunt to the lake for the day or teaching your grandmother the intricacies of her new iPhone.  You might consider a small remodel job or simply doing the chores that no one likes to do. It’s essentially making an effort to engage in any and all activities that helps the person you are serving. It’s complete focus on a to-do list – improving the environment of the person you’re serving.

Benefits

Quite simply… when you give your time and talent, you receive satisfaction, gratification, and appreciation ten-fold. It improves your self-esteem, your confidence, and your overall life satisfaction. Depression rates fall when people spend time giving of themselves. One common characteristic of people who have lived long lives is that they volunteered regularly.

Different perspective

I’ve written about volunteering and community service. I’m aware of the countless loving hours many of us spend in service to organizations, religious communities, and social causes that are meaningful and yet this suggestion takes a different spin on those activities. Pick a day – any day that would otherwise be ordinary (i.e., not a birthday or anniversary) and commit to helping someone you have a relationship with in any way that they might find helpful. I’m sure the relationship will be enhanced significantly because you took the time to …

Spend a day in service.

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

 

#272 of 365 Ways to live Easier, Happier, & More Productive

In our fast paced world, too many of us are ‘doing’ instead of ‘teaching’ the things we know. Yes, it’s easier…

Sharing a daily life lesson, tip, or hack; the things that make life easier, happier, and more productive. I hope you’ll follow along and find them helpful too.

#272

Share knowledge with a child

There’s a special kind of feeling when we teach someone and they ‘get it’. No matter who you are, you have knowledge about something that you can impart to a child. Extra points for that knowledge that isn’t offered in a ‘book’; real life experience.

When I think of this suggestions, I think about a Grandpa standing with a fishing pole, teaching his grandson how to load the hook. I think about the scout leader who teaches a youngster how to build a campfire. I think about a neighbor who points out different bugs in the warm summer dirt to a curious next door friend wanting to dig there.

As any teacher can tell us, many children are simply sponges for information and learn best by getting their hands wrapped around the essence of an experience. When we share ourselves and the things we know how to do, no matter what they are, learning ensues.

In our fast paced world, too many of us are ‘doing’ instead of ‘teaching’ the things we know. Yes, it’s easier. If I bake the cookies myself I know that the ingredients have been measured correctly, the kitchen is cleaned up as I go along, and I’ve turned my head to sneeze. And yet, the technique or recipe that my mom shared with me cannot possibly be handed down unless I am patient enough to make messes and tolerate a few potential germs.

Each one of us has something we can share even if it is how to think positively or embrace the joy of life. Perhaps those are the dogmas more important than anything one may be able to learn via a book or the internet. Be an example of something and watch understanding wash over an innocent face as you…

Share knowledge with a child.

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

Photo by Alexandr Podvalny on Unsplash