Mar 27, 2015

RAK - Playground Survival Kit

The big day is tomorrow!  I've been talking about for a week now.  So here's one more idea for you that might help you as you are thinking of things to do for "Do A Liz Thing" day.  (March 28th = a day to show kindness & do nice things all on behave of Liz Miller - it's what she would do)

The Spring weather in Colorado is going to be beautiful tomorrow.  That means that lots of families will be hitting playgrounds all over the community.  My kids are teens now and the appeal of swings and a twisty slide are just not all that exciting anymore.  However, it wasn't long ago that I remember being the mom on the playground perimeter.  I remember the warm sun and happy kids running from one thing to the next.  But, even though the kids were having fun, they always wanted a drink or a treat or to do something else. And, there were a few times that I wanted something too.

So, tomorrow me and my girls will be hitting a few playgrounds and passing out some Playground Survival Kits" to parents.  

This was easy to pull together.  It required a quick trip to the Dollar store and a few minutes to put everything together.  The holder is a recycled cardboard drink holder.

In the Front:  Cold water, Oreo bites, Pop Rocks, and Mike & Ike's (Rootbeer float flavor - yum!)

In the Back:  Paddle catch game for two, bubbles, small frisbees, bouncy ball and more cold water

Attach a few balloons to the handle and there you have it - a quick simple gift.  It's not likely to change the world but that was never the point.  It's just meant to show kindness and make someone's day a little brighter.

If you are going to join in and do your own act of kindness tomorrow please be sure to go and share what you did either on Facebook or on Instagram or Here in the comments - or even better, in all three places. (Is that asking too much?)

Instagram:  Use the #doalizthing

Be sure to mention where you are posting from.  This all started in Colorado but how fun to see if we can get acts of kindness being shared every where.

And, if you are interested in printing some pre-made tags, the links are below:

Tag set:  Lizthing1
Tag set:  Lizthing2

Kindness matters - pass it on!

Mar 26, 2015

Planned RAK's

"Do A Liz Thing Day" is just two days away.  It's a day that I'm hoping others will go outside of their normal routine and show kindness to someone else.  We are doing this on behalf of Liz.  She was 25 when she unexpectedly passed away from a seizure that stopped her heart.

I didn't know her so it might seem strange that I'm blogging about her.  However, last year I was a recipient of an RAK done in her honor and it filled me with warm fuzzies.  It seriously made my day and I've been on board with supporting this cause ever since.  And, not only will I be out doing some goodness, I really hope my readers will too.  You can do one act of kindness or 20, no limits there, I just want to help promote this day as a day to do good and share happiness.

So, let's talk RAK's - Random Acts of Kindess are indeed, spur of the moment and Random.  Like when someone doesn't have enough money to pay their grocery bill and then someone else steps in to cover the cost. That is a random act of kindness because it wasn't planned or expected.  The moment just presented itself and that's what you do, you act on it. 

See a need, Fill a need - that's a RAK.

However, there is another type of RAK - The Planned RAK!  It's exactly what it sounds like.  You have something in mind that you want to do and you plan to do it.  The random parts come into play because you don't know who the recipient will be.  Not knowing who will be the recipient makes it kinda fun.

If you plan to join in, I've compiled a quick list of projects and tutorials of things you can make and hand out on Saturday.  How fun would it be to pick a project, call some friends or gather your kids and tomorrow night, Friday, have a craft night.

Trinket Boxes:  You can buy the boxes pre-made and then paint them and add the design on the top.  Then fill the box with a treat, some money or a gift card of some sort

Bar Necklace:  I don't know too many people who don't love jewelry.  This tutorial is pretty simple, requires few supplies and you can make a lot of them.  After making the necklace, attach it to a sweet note and give away.

Warm Fuzzies:  Silly little things really, but how fun to write out a nice compliment and then leave it on someone's car or in their shopping cart or.... anywhere really.  You could even make them with generic statements like  "you are amazing!" or  "you matter!" and then leave them at a playground or park bench.  This one is a good thing to get the kiddos to help make.

Fill Up a Fry box:  This post was for a Valentine craft however, you could take the idea, change up the theme and use it as a RAK.

Hershey Kiss Rosses:  Give out flowers - These were also a Valentine craft BUT you could change out the red cellophane and use spring colors instead

Paper Baskets:  Need something to put your RAK in, how about making a quick paper basket?  It only takes one 12x12 piece of paper and some ribbon.

If you are looking for RAK ideas, here's a list to get the ideas flowing.  And, remember check out the "Do A Liz Thing" facebook page.  It would be cool to blow it up on Saturday with all our RAK's.

- Buy a dessert for someone
- Treat someone to a movie
- Pay for something for the person behind you in line
- Go to the gas station and buy someone a tank of gas, or give them your car wash code
- Donate your hair
- Write thank you notes
- Pass out cold water to people playing at the park
- Leave notes of praise for co-workers or neighbors
- Ask if you can help
- Offer free babysitting
- Email compliments to your friends or acquaintances
- Hold the door for someone
- Hold eye contact and give genuine smiles
- Give a big tip
- Tape coins to a playground so little kids can find them
- Pass out free happy face balloons 
- Be courteous and on time, this might not seem like much, but it counts as showing kindess
- Give the benefit of the doubt and forgive
- Let someone go in front of you in line
- Pay for parking
- Leave a coupon on a store shelf
- Be a courteous driver, let people merge
- Leave coins taped to a vending machine
- Pass out lunches to the homeless
- Pay a car toll for the car behind you
- Surprise someone with dinner (I'd love this, having a night off of cooking - sweet!)
- Mow a neighbors lawn or do yard work for them
- If you get good service tell a manager that you appreciate the service you received.

So, what are you going to do?

Mar 24, 2015

Kindness Gift Idea

Ok - we have 4 days until "Do A Liz Thing Day", if this is the first you've heard about this, check out my previous post.  And, as mentioned I wanted to share some fun ways to share kindness.  One of which is the Cookie bouquet.

Cookie Bouquets are not a new thing.  I first posted about them back in September of 2010, it was one of my first few posts on this here blog, but I still love them and love to make them.  They are a crafters triple threat. They are easy to make, they are cute, and they make people smile!

So, if you've never made one, here's how you do it:

First gather your supplies - the cool thing about these flowers is that you can buy the cookies and treats all pre-made and because of the quantity of cookies in each package, you can make 4- 6 bouquets.  So, they are pretty economical to make.

I purchased the two kinds above plus Keebler Fudge Stripes (not shown above)  Pretty much you just want cookies that are pretty thick so they don't break easy and they need to have a hole in the center.

I also grabbed some little cupcake bites and since it is spring, some Peeps.  (see the bottom of the post for a tip about the cupcakes)

You also need Gumdrops, food skewers sticks, a flower pot and flower foam.  Also, not shown, but you will want to have some floral moss and ribbon on hand to add the finishing touches.

Step 1:  Prepare your sticks.  Keep one long and then cut several others down to various, shorter, lengths.  I did the following:  1- long and then 5 to 6 of each of the other sizes.  You want them in different lengths because you start in the middle - the middle being the highest point, and then build down from there.  The center is high, the edges are low.

Step 2:  Gumdrops are your friends!  Take a gumdrop and push it a little ways down on the pointy end of your LONGEST skewer.  Then add your treat.  I started with cupcake for my center.  The gumdrops act as a stopper for the cookie or cupcake to rest on.

Step 3: Place the cupcake in the center of your pot, make sure the floral foam is sturdy and holds it in place well.

Step 4:  Once your center treat is in place, take your next longest set of skewers and start making flowers.  Again, you will put a gumdrop on the stick first, then the cookie.  To finish it off, add another gumdrop to the top of the stick to cover the point.  This holds the cookie in place and also acts as the center of the flower.

Step 5:  Next, continue the process of making and adding treat flowers to the pot.  As you reach the outer area, just use shorter skewers.  And, just a tip, make sure you are adding the flowers evenly all the way around the pot or it may get lopsided and tip over - that would be bad!  (This may have happened to me a time or two) 

Also, add in anything else you'd like - I added in the Peep bunnies and also made some green stems by just stacking green gumdrops. 

Step 6:  Carefully tuck in some floral moss to cover the floral foam and add a cute bow around the pot.  Word to the wise, make sure you actually have floral moss before you start making your bouquet - I did not.  So while my bouquet is still cute, I can't actually finish it or give it away yet!  Oops! 

And finally, your last step.  GIVE IT A WAY!  I know, I know, it's not healthy but I promise whoever you give it to will love it!

Ohh!  And about the cupcakes...

Quick Tip!  I like adding in the cupcakes, however, every time I've added them before it has been winter.  Which means cooler weather.  Today, the temps where in the 70's and guess what?  Cupcake frosting melts.  I was taking photos - you can see the before on the left and all the sudden - Splat!!! - the frosting slid right off.  So, depending on your location, and the temps, you may want to just stick with the cookies.

If you plan to make one of these and give it away for Do A Liz Thing day.  Remember you can print tags from my previous post:  A Quest For Kindness.  

And, while I asked anyone participating to come to my post and leave me a comment letting me know how you showed kindness and where, which I'd still love for you to do, it would be great for you to go to the facebook page for Do A Liz Thing and share it there, too.  Plus, that will give you a chance to read more about Liz's story.  Here's the link: 

Kindness Matters!  Share it.

Mar 20, 2015

A Quest for Sharing Kindness


So here's the deal.  Some events this past week have put me in a bit of a mood.  A reflective one mostly.  Which is good.  I think it's always wise to stop and reflect occasionally.  You know, to make sure you are headed in the direction you want to be headed.

Here's what happened.  One of my favorite bands put out a request for people to share with them their stories that need to be told.  Stories that need to be shared.  I was thinking about it and I don't really have a very interesting story of my own.  Yes, I've had things happen to me.  But, over all, I've lived a rather ordinary life.  I don't really have a grand story to tell.

Do you?

I'm pretty ordinary and I'm ok with that!

So after much thinking, I changed the question from "what is my story" to "what will the story be that people will tell about me?"  Kind of a scary question as I can think of some people who might not remember good things.  (luckily people can change, right?!)  But, on the other hand, I think - at least I hope - some people will be able to tell the story about me being kind to them.  Kindness matters! I really believe that, no matter how small the act.  However, sometimes though I just go through the motions of my everyday routine, kinda lost in my own schedule, and I forget to reach out and do nice things. Because of this, it always helps to have little reminders or prompts, to inspire me to be a little kinder.

I know, I know.  Kindness shouldn't require a reminder but having one can't hurt.

For me, March 28th will always be a reminder day - a day to remember to share kindness.  It all started last year when I was incredibly touched by an act of kindness from a stranger .  On March 28th she bought me and Mr. K a smoothie. Such a simple act yet the story behind the act it is one I will always remember.  It is one of those stories that is worth sharing.  (maybe Imagine Dragons should hear about her story).  This woman, who I had never met, was out in our community doing random acts of kindness in honor of her sweet daughter, Liz, who lost her life unexpectedly at a young age - her daughter was only 24.  In order to help heal a broken heart and share her daughter's legacy, this mom, on the anniversary of her daughter's passing, was out sharing kindness.

And so, going forward every March 28th - which is now knows as "Do A Liz Thing Day" - I will do something kind to pass on the goodness that this sweet women started.   (You can read the full story HERE)

Last year, I drank my smoothie and then tried quickly to pull something together to turn around and share kindness with a few others.  I didn't have much time, just an afternoon, but we made it work. This year though, I have more time to think ahead and plan.

This is where you come in.

I would love, love, LOVE it if my readers joined in with me and next week, on Saturday - March 28th, and did something nice for someone else.  It can be simple like, well, buying someone a smoothie. Or maybe passing out little gifts in a parking lot.  Maybe you can paste coffee gift cards on the bathroom stall doors at your work.  Or maybe there is a neighbor that needs help doing yard work. The possibilities are endless!

So who's in?

My only request is that you come back and tell me what you did and the city you live in. Just leave me a quick comment.  I'd love to plot the locations on a little map and share with this sweet mom all the places that kindness was shared in her daughters behalf.  I can only hope that that would help fill her heart with a lot of love on a day that would normally be a difficult one.

Last year, we made little gifts of Sunshine and gave them out in parking lots.  We bought a few yellow and orange things and I made a quick tag to match - I put the tag up on Google drive so anybody could down load it and use it if they wanted.  I have updated that tag and also made a few others.  You can find them here  Lizthing1 and Lizthing2.  If you are going to pass on a gift, add a tag so the person receiving it will know about Liz and can look up her story on Facebook.  

And, to get the juices flowing, this coming week I will be posting little DIY ideas that you can make as little gifts for people.  Like the cookie bouquets above - really, who doesn't smile when they are given a cookie bouquet?!  So stay tuned for those posts and be thinking about what you can do to share kindness!  

I'm excited.  Might even just start early!

Mar 8, 2015

$3 DIY Earring Holder

Two weeks ago I did a really hard thing - I arranged and paid for my daughters college housing.  I know, I just need to get over it and accept the fact that she is at that point in her life and is ready to leave the nest.  It's hard though.  And, every time I think about I hear the voice of the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding saying "Why do you want to leave me?"

It's comical, really.  Truth is, she's ready and I even though I resist it, I am too.  It's ok.

We've found her a great place but like most college apartments, it's going to be small and she isn't going to be able to take a lot of stuff with her.  This being the case, we've been on the look out for organization things that she can take that won't take up much room.

So, jump forward a bit to one day when I was roaming the aisles at Hobby Lobby and found this stuff.  It's chicken wire ribbon -  I guess that's what it is called.  It looks like chicken wire but at the same time it's rolled up and usable just like ribbon.  Cool, right?!

I fell in love - it has so much potential!  The first thing I made with it is a little earring holder for Miss M's college bedroom.

I haven't painted it yet mostly because we haven't gotten anything else yet and we want to paint it to match. 

When you break down the cost, the whole thing only cost me $3.06.  And, because you have to buy some of the items in packages, and can't just buy one thing, I had enough supplies (everything but the frames) to make 6 of these holders.  Having extra supplies means I can make them, add in a cute pair of earrings, and give them as gifts - it's a great, low cost gift idea! 

Here's what you need:
chicken wire ribbon - it comes on a 9ft roll and is 4 inches wide
Wooden Candle sticks - comes 6 to a package
Wooden Nickles - comes 9 to a package
Wooden 4 x 6 frame
Wood glue
Wire cutters
eventually - paint

To start, grab your wooden nickel and your candlestick.

Step 1:  Take your wood glue and put a good amount of glue on the rim of the candle stick.

Step 2:  Add the wooden nickle to the glued rim and hold in place until secure.  Let dry.

Step 3:  While the glue is drying, prepare your frame.  Remove the back and glass.  You can discard these items or save them to be used on another craft.

Step 4:  Take the frame and center it on top of the candle stick.  Add a small amount of glue and hold in place until secure.

Step 5:  Let glue dry completely - but when it is dry, you should have something like above.

Step 6:  And, I'm very sorry but I forgot to take a picture of this - add your wire to the back side of your frame.  You can do this a couple of different ways:  1- you can cut it down and tuck it right into the opening.  Or, 2- you can secure it in place with little finishing nails or 3 - use decorative tape to tape it down.  I taped mine.

I taped it because if I ever wanted to remove the wire and use it as an actual frame, it would be very easy to just remove the tape and wire and add in a photo instead.

But there you have it!  A cute little framed pedestal earring holder that can sit on a dresser, window sill, bathroom counter or other small space.

Now, to figure out what color to paint it?  Hmmm... I guess Miss M is going to need to make that decision.


Also, just a reminder - my Etsy shop is still open.  I've had several request to restock my Hope necklace and have 5 currently listed.  

Any purchase over $16 qualifies for a discount - use the code MISSM at check out and save 15%!