#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.


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.


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.


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#192 Sew 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.


Sew something

Can you sew on a button? Are you a dressmaker? Or perhaps your ability lies with making curtains which mostly requires sewing a straight line. Most of us have been introduced to a sewing machine at some point – at least in our school years depending how old you are. By the 1980’s children in the U.S. were exposed to wood shop and Home economics regardless of gender. Introductions to the tools in both arenas were made. Yet, for many people – that was the first and last time they held a needle and thread.


A client came in not long ago and asked if I had a stapler… when I offered it to her she bent down and promptly stabled the hem of her skirt back into place and we proceeded to speak about this very topic. She didn’t know who to fix the hem and needed a temporary solution until she could drop her skirt by the tailor shop. Truthfully, a hem stitch, a seam stitch, and a button stitch are all pretty basic and will save both time and money.

Cost Benefit

I’m not sure there’s great value these days in sewing clothing unless you are hard to fit. Fabric is expensive and clothes are cheap (relatively speaking) so it doesn’t make sense to make your own bluejeans. However, if you are tall and it’s difficult to find things long enough – knowing how to put together a skirt or a pair of slacks is really beneficial. Knowing how to hem or take a tuck in a dress is great if your shape isn’t perfectly hourglass.

For the Home

Perhaps the greatest benefit is in knowing how to create products for your home. Curtains are super expensive and crazy simple to sew. Knowing how to run a few straight seams across a length of fabric means you can have almost any kind of curtain you desire. I’ve seen people make valances and drapes from the most unusual fabric source… old bedspreads, flower sacks, and even tee shirts. Pinterest is full of creative ideas and once again, YouTube will have a video showing you how to manifest the notion.

With a few simple swipes of the sewing machine and a couple of hand stitches, you can have new throw pillows on your sofa or bed. Even pajama bottoms are quick and easy… for years everyone in the family had matching ones each Christmas.

Similar to knowing the basics with a hammer and saw… this is a basic skill that comes in handy more than you’ll realize. Dust off your sewing machine or pick up a needle and thread, grab some practice fabric, turn on YouTube and …

Sew something.

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

#243 Start Your Day with Motivation


Start your day with motivation

Your Daily Start

How do you start your day? Do you grab a cup of coffee and turn on the news? Pick up a newspaper? While it’s helpful to check traffic and weather to get your commute organized, it can be a real bummer reading or listening to the day’s headlines. When you get ready for your day do you pick through your closet and reject most of the pieces you grab? Are you frequently complaining about a bad hair day? Are you reeling with negative self talk about your weight, your wrinkles, or your schedule?

Make a Shift

If any of the above is true, is it any wonder that your day starts on a low note? Shifting that routine just a little my in fact completely turn around a dull perspective and give you a much more positive beginning each day.

Instead of listening to the news and all of its negativity, begin your day with something uplifting. Once again, we are living in a time when any information we want is at our fingertips via the internet making motivational messages only a few keystrokes away.

Watch & Listen

This is not a new concept… YouTube channels such as BeInspired and TED Talks are libraries for morning motivation. Searching motivational speakers will return inspiring lectures from Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Brene Brown, Brian Tracy, Marianne Williamson, and hundreds more. Almost any topic you find interesting is covered from finance and professional development to spirituality and personal growth. What area of your life do you want to grow? Grab your tablet, your smartphone, or tune your smart TV to a speech geared to energize your mental energy and listen to something inspiring instead of the morning news while you eat breakfast or prepare for the day.

The way we view life is greatly determined by the lens we begin our day with. Technology makes it easier than ever to make that choice for ourselves. Make your day better by making the decision to…

Start your day with motivation.

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

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

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.


Learn a new hobby

Yesterday I wrote about how learning to play an instrument – making music – can lead to more happiness because our brain is stimulated in a different manner and music, in general – makes us happier. Perhaps you already play well or learning an instrument feels overwhelming… pick up a different hobby.

I taught myself how to crochet a few years ago while recovering from surgery. It’s become a favorite pastime in winter months and now most everyone I know has an afghan, nothing fancy but they were all made with love. Once again, I learned by watching YouTube videos (really, there’s just so much to learn out there!).

Think of a hobby that you’ve always wanted to learn… what stopped you? Perhaps mountain climbing isn’t an option for you at this stage of the game but indoor climbing might be! What about card tricks or magic tricks? The Philadelphia Eagles player Jon Dorenbos taught himself magic as a hobby (and ultimately became a professional) and came in 3rd on America’s Got Talent last summer. It was a hobby – football was his career – and he became passionate about getting better.

But you don’t have to be great at your hobby. My step-daughter makes magnificent crocheted items that are sometimes artistic masterpieces. Crocheting is a hobby that she enjoyed into mastery. My crocheting hobby is not an artistic endeavor… it’s something to do in the evenings as I listen to music, chat, or watch television.

It may be photography, gardening, or painting… it doesn’t matter really. Try to put perfectionism aside and try your hand at something new; something that interests you, perhaps something that has been a secret desire. You may develop an interest in something that becomes a great little pastime (self-care) or turn it into a professional o r profitable endeavor. It’s as simple as …

Learning a new hobby.

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