#21 Give Some a Homemade Gift

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.

#21

Give Some a Homemade Gift

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s one of the best times to give someone a homemade gift… in this case, a homemade card depicting your affection – is perfect. Who wouldn’t prefer a few well thought out sentiments that come directly from the heart?

A handmade card is lovely and a handmade gift is often just as appreciated, especially when it is made with the recipient in mind. How about someone’s favorite cookie, pie, or cake? A member of my family prefers to receive baggies of my well known shredded pork barbecue (nothing special really) anytime it’s his birthday or if I draw his name for our Christmas exchange. Knowing that you have a home cooked option in the freezer after a long day of working really is a ‘gift’ at times.

Personal Thought

When we offer something we made, it frequently symbolizes that we spent time and energy thinking of the individual; crafting something specifically designed for the person receiving the gift. A friend of mine is involved in a community gift exchange every year and they make something that is reminiscent of the community in which they reside. It might be a collection of leaves from the trees specific to their street, another year it was made out of driftwood that washed up on the shore of their community. Later yet it was something crafted with the motto of the neighborhood. All of the gift were specific to the broader connection between the giver and the recipient.

Ideas

There are tens of thousands of ideas on the internet or in the aisles of big box stores catering to crafter’s such as Michael’s, AC Moore, and Joanne’s. It can be cooked, baked, knitted, crocheted, stitched, sewn, painted, drawn, stamped, burnt, carved, glued, built, burnished, adorned, or woven – just to cover the basics. There are classes upon classes if you need ideas or support. There are how to videos all over YouTube not to mention basic instructions on almost anything you can imagine in blog posts and articles in the Do-It-Yourself genre.

Really, there isn’t any excuse or reason one may offer to avoid the sentiment of offering something homemade the next time there is a gift-giving occasion. Now may be the best time to put on your thinking cap and start a list of ideas so that when it’s needed, you can…

Give some a homemade gift.

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

TTAH

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#26 Rent a Sports or Luxury Car

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.

#26

Rent a Sports or Luxury Car

In the spirit of treating yourself as mentioned in yesterday’s post by making opportunities to enjoy some of the ‘finer’ things in life, why not drive something a little different? Remember when you rented a limo for prom or a wedding? It was a special occasion that called for a special vehicle. Your birthday, anniversary or the third Tuesday of May can also be considered a special day if you want it to be. Allow yourself to consider for a moment, would it be a sporty convertible or a luxurious sedan?

Go Sporty

If you live in a cool damp environment, perhaps sporty is the way to go. You might consider a weekend in a warm and dry region where you can rent a convertible coupe and spend the weekend exploring the region with the top down and the wind in your face. If you normally drive a SUV or truck and rarely get the opportunity to sit close to the road – consider something small that can take a turn tightly.

In the few markets that I investigated, you can rent a Porsche or a Maserati for under $300 a day. While that may seem like a lot of money, it’s about the same many spend on a fancy dinner with a great bottle of wine. I know a few men who would be downright giddy to get on the road behind the wheel of that dream car. What a great gift idea for a big birthday!

Go Luxury

Likewise, if you’ve been fiscally conservative in your vehicle choices through the years, it may be nice to go luxury. There’s a certain kind of pleasure when your body sinks into temperature controlled leather seats that conform to you body shape in a car offering more than necessary legroom as you absorb sunshine through the edge to edge sunroof over your head.

A Cadillac Escalade ESV or a Mercedes S450 may be the perfect ride if you’re in the mountains or exploring a cold city; especially if you need those great features of four wheel drive and traction control. There’s something comforting about having the girth of a large vehicle protecting you when the road conditions are less than supreme. What’s more luxurious than driving to the slopes in the comfort of a roomy, temperature controlled ride filled with all the mind comforting safety features one can wish for?

If you’re scheduled to take a vacation or if you have a special occasion coming up, why not treat yourself and …

Rent a sports or luxury car.

TTAH

Listen to me on Try This at Home – a series of conversations about making life better.

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

#62 Make a Collage

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.

#62

Make a Collage

As I organized the last of the holiday ‘piles’ I noticed that I have quite the collection of Christmas cards – some of which are quite beautiful. Normally, I cut them up to make gift tags but either I am getting a lot of cards lately or I am giving less gifts because they are starting to pile up.

It made me think of a craft project that I had my girls do one year – in an effort to keep them busy while I was sidetracked with executor responsibilities after the death of my grandparents. I gave them a pile of  condolence cards and asked them each to make a collage from the cards. They turned out to be a beautiful collection and ultimately, a keepsake of the sentiments from people who had once known them.

Style

A collage is cleaner and less complicated than a scrapbook as it is usually just one page or piece – as big or as small as you choose. It can be neatly organized into squares, rectangles, or circles or it can be haphazard and random.

It can be a kind of word cloud – cut outs of sentiments or words grouped together in a way that has meaning or conveys a meaning.

Mixed Media

A collage can be made from most anything or a combination of several things. I’ve seen beautiful picture collages that have included brooches and hatpins as well as a more simple design using only white paper with black text in a variety of fonts and sizes. It can be decoupaged, glued, or epoxied. It can be under or on top of glass; in a frame or not.

Gift Giving

Along the lines of memory boxes; those deep frames that contain a collection of mementos from a specific year or occasion, a collage makes a wonderful gift. It can be comprised of all the little yellow sticky notes that helped you reach a goal. Or, perhaps it is a collection of the poetry that your father wrote your mother while you were dating – a phenomenal gift for a significant wedding anniversary or commemorating a life well lived.

Yes, a collage with take a little time and perhaps a lot of thought as you move through the memories and decide what goes where… remember there are no rules and creativity is not that important. It’s more about composing something meaningful in the way that you give it value. Others opinions are unimportant.

As you move through your year cleaning out drawers, purses, and pockets – consider items that may be memorable in some way and put them in a jar for that rainy day when you can finally sit down and…

Make a collage.

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

#184 Carve Something

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.

#184

Carve something

This suggestion is entirely recommended for the creative side of you. It’s something that is probably off your radar and yet it’s fun, challenging, and possible for even the most basic beginner.

To start you need a small knife; preferably a handy-dandy pocket knife with a selection of blades but a small paring knife will also suffice in these early stages. The only other requirement is a bar of Ivory soap or a piece of Balsa wood; either choice is soft and easy to carve with little pressure.

This creative option is often taught to children in scouting programs which, may be the last time any of us made an effort to try this activity. Yet, today your dexterity is far more developed and with a little patience your imagination can transform the soap or wood into an entirely different shape and/or a functional item.

I can imagine a few of you wondering “why?” – thinking that I am stretching this ‘creativity’ piece a little far and yet I’ll reiterate that just ‘trying’ new things is good for your soul. It’s great for building your imagination, your confidence, and your curiosity. It’s a wonderful way to foster creativity and wonder.

Soap carvings make great gifts! Even if you carve small hearts and put them in a box with a little essential oil… what a nice gift for a guest bathroom! Carving little figurines, small toys, or an ink stamps from balsa wood can also make great gifts. This is also one of those little thought of talents that can come in really handy when you need something unique and custom – as in an ink stamp or a unique name.

Try a Google search of ‘beginner wood carver’. Hop on YouTube to watch a demo. Both will get you the basics and begin to satisfy, challenge, or develop a number of little personality characteristics that get stimulated with creative energy! Find an easy project and challenge yourself to …

Carve something.

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