Let Go & Grow

Today’s post is a bit of a confession. I was recently working on a creative project and was so focused on having it look and sound amazing, that it became harder than it needed to be. I stressed about it, procrastinated as long as I could, and eventually felt guilty – for all of it. Have you ever done that? Put unnecessary pressure on yourself?

I finally (and thankfully) realized I was making myself crazy. No one else had such high expectations of me than, well, me. I took a deep breath and put on my favorite jams (as in music, not my jammies. Although, those would have been good, too.) Then I sat at the computer and started putting one word in front of the other. The next thing I knew, I was enjoying myself and the project was coming together.

The moment I let go of the outcome, I was able to experience more joy and creative freedom than I had felt in quite some time.

As I reflected on this experience, I came to the conclusion that I should apply this lesson to more things in life – not just in my creative projects, but in the way I raise my kids, love my husband, serve as a friend, look at my body, or organize the house. The moment I white-knuckle the steering wheel and drive in the direction I think we all need to go is when stress kicks in. When I allow room for things to unfold, get messy, or feel uncertain, I can be certain I will learn from the experience. It will be a gift – even if I don’t recognize it at first.

This past week I watched Chef’s Table, which is an amazing documentary-style show on Netflix. Massimo, who is the Italian chef featured in the first episode, was presented with a challenge. A member of his staff dropped the last lemon tart, and it shattered all over the plate. Instead of feeling frustrated or defeated, Massimo embraced the mess. He splattered more lemon sauce around the plate and called it “Oops! I dropped the lemon tart.” It became one of the most famous dishes on his menu. This was such a beautiful example of how a “mistake” can turn into a blessing if we have gentle and accepting eyes to see them for what they really are.

If we surrender to the universe with abundant faith, all will be well.

No matter what each of us is going through, and I know everyone has something crappy going on, let’s have the courage to lean back and let go. Know that all will be well.

Kate

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A Sunny Monday

weather report

That’s a lot of rain!

Hello, friends. I just saw the forecast for the week, and it looks like I’ll be spending some time indoors starting tomorrow. Geez. Luckily I spent the weekend cleaning and catching up on laundry, so I’m done with that for at least another month. #wishing Now I can have some crafty Kate-time this week.

My big project at the moment is my niece’s wedding scrapbook. She’s getting married this summer, so I’m archiving as many special moments leading up to the big date as I can (with the help of my sister, who is sending me all of the elements to include.) I’ll have to take some pictures of a few pages this week so you can see my progress.

wedding-color-schemes-yellow-and-grey

Her color scheme is yellow and grey, which is gorgeous! Don’t you think? {via}

book

I went with a gray cloth post bound book. {via}

As you can imagine, Pinterest is chock-full of inspiration for page layouts and designs. My problem is narrowing down the ideas, but I’m up for the challenge. I love projects like this, and doing it for my sweet niece is definitely icing on the cake.

If you’re looking for me today, though, I’ll be the one outside soaking in the sunny, dry skies while I can!

-Kate

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10 New Uses for Loom Bands

Loom Bands

If your kids jumped on the Rainbow Loom craze at any point in their young lives, there are bound to be millions (not even exaggerating) of baby rubber bands hiding around your house. Even if you put the loom away months ago, you will still find bands lurking in the carpet, on your tables, between couch cushions, and even at the bottom of your purse. They must self-multiply. How else is this even possible?

While I do love my collection of loom band bracelets, I’ve discovered that these baby rubber bands can do so much more than decorate my arms – and clog up my vacuum. They can actually be quite useful.

I’ve compiled a list of 10 creative ways to use loom bands.

{1} Hair Ties

Sometimes you just want to pull back a small section of hair or wear a single braid. Loom bands are perfect because they’re not as bulky as regular pony holders.

Loom bands as hair ties

I used a white loom band so it was easier to see. You could choose a color closer to your hair color if you’d rather have it blend in.

{2} Bouquet Holder

When you’re arranging flowers, it helps to have them secured toward the bottom of the stems so they stand upright (and exactly how you like them) in the vase. I wrapped a loom band around these stems twice for the perfect fit.

Loom bands as bouquet holder

Green loom bands would blend into the stems really well.

{3} Bottle Opener

Don’t you hate it when a bottle of nail polish has been painted shut? It can be nearly impossible to open because the handle is small and slippery. Wrap a loom band or two around the top and you can actually get a grip.

Loom bands as bottle opener

The easiest way to open nail polish, IMO. Love this color, too. It’s Ballet Slippers by Essie!

{4} Waistband Extender

If you’re feeling bloated after over indulging on salty popcorn – or if you’re expecting and aren’t ready to jump into maternity pants, this tip is for you. Thread a loom band through the button hole of your jeans or pants, then loop the end over the button. This gives you the perfect smidge of extra room around the waist without anyone ever knowing. Your secret is safe with me.

Loom bands as pants extender

The top shows you how to loop through the buttonhole. The bottom shows how it secures to the button.

{5} Spoon Saver

This isn’t a daily occurrence for me, because I don’t always cook, but sometimes my spoon slips down into my mixing bowl and the handle gets all messy. Such a bummer. Wrap a loom band around the upper part of the spoon’s handle, right above the point where the spoon touches the rim of the bowl. No more slipping and sliding. Yay!

Loom band as spoon saver

See how I wrapped the band around the end of the spoon?

{6} Drink Markers

Of course you could buy fancy wine glass markers, but why? Especially when you have those millions of loom bands looming around the house. Have each person pick their favorite color and slip the band over the stem of a wine glass.

This works for bottled water, too. Marking bottles helps keep track of whose is whose, and you don’t waste as much water!

Loom bands as drink markers

I call purple! Now, where’s that wine?

{7} Ribbon Holder

Ribbon can get out of hand if left to its own unfurling devices. And when you’re obsessed with ribbon, as I am, you have to have a plan of action for storage. I use loom bands to secure spools of ribbon and even little ribbon scraps. Then I store all of it in clear containers so I can easily see what’s inside. Another post, another day for that part.

Loom bands as ribbon holders

Totally tidy!

{8} Pencil Gripper

If you want a legitimate loom pencil gripper, this video shows you how to weave it together. If you want the 2-second version, just slip a few bands around your pencil and you have a no-slip grip in no time!

Loom band as pencil grip

Hmm, what shall I write with this comfortable pencil?

{9} Little Reminders

As long as the band isn’t too tight, you can slip one on your finger to remind you of something important.

Loom bands as reminders

Now I’ll remember to drink more water today!

Bonus idea: Use loom bands like a rubber thimble. Put a few on your finger tips, and it’s easier to shuffle through papers. I’m thinking teachers might like this trick?

{10} Cord Corral

I like to carry a phone charger in my purse so I can recharge at a moment’s notice. The trouble with those things is that they never stay wrapped. They go sprawling all over my purse – kinda like how that one zucchini plant took over my garden last summer. Out. of. control. Okay, so I wrapped a loom band around my charger to keep it pulled together.

Loom bands as cord corral

It’s nice and neat and ready to stash in my purse! Regular rubber bands have to be wrapped several times. I just slipped one loom band over the cord and called it good in the ‘hood.

What was your favorite idea? Be sure to pin it to your Pinterest board so you can remember it later!

-Kate

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When You Want Fresh Ideas, Think Laterally

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted a creative tip, so today’s post is all about lateral thinking.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You can’t dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper?” There are several variations of this line that all mean essentially the same thing: to get new ideas, you have to look in new (and sometimes illogical) directions.

It might feel comfortable to use the same solutions to a problem (which is considered vertical thinking, btw) but that doesn’t always lead you to good answers or ideas.

When we talk to new people, read interesting magazines, listen to different music, and take new routes, we allow for inspiring ideas and new perspectives to soak in.

All of that is good material for solving problems – especially if you want to try your hand at lateral thinking.

What is lateral thinking?

The father of lateral thinking is Dr. Edward de Bono. Some people claim he is one of the very few people in history to have had a major impact on the way we think. He defines lateral thinking as “disrupting an apparent sequence and arriving at the solution from another angle.”

Yah, yah. What are some examples?

Have you seen the New Uses for Old Things section in each issue of Real Simple? This is lateral thinking!

life saver candle holder

A candy Life Saver can also be the perfect candle holder! {via}

books as shelves

Books can make great shelves. {via}

rubber band

If you have a stripped screw, a rubber band can get you out of a jam. {via}

Another example can be found in a lateral thinking puzzle, like this one…

puzzle1

A: Pour juice from second glass into the fifth. {via}

How to put lateral thinking to use?

For one, I have an entire Pinterest board dedicated to New Uses for Old Things. There are countless ways to think laterally about organizing and decorating your home, wrapping unexpected gifts, cooking, etc. So lateral thinking has some practical uses.

You can also apply this to your job. I read a great article that gave some solid examples.

  • Lawyers and detectives use lateral thinking when attempting to solve crimes, because the sequence of events is often not as straightforward it first appears. (Um, and having some detective skillz can come in handy as a parent, too.)
  • If you’re in the creative arts, lateral thinking is an especially useful technique for developing ideas.
    • As a writer, this approach could help you come up with unexpected twists and turns in a plot.
    • For comedians, it can help you set up the perfect joke.
    • If you work in communications, like I do, it could help you develop an unexpected headline or approach to selling a product.

Keep up the good work!

You’ve probably been using lateral thinking all along, but didn’t realize what it was called. Now that you do know, be sure to keep up your skills. It’s like anything in life. The more you practice, the easier it will become. Here are a few links to some fun lateral thinking puzzles and resources:

Have fun thinking laterally. How do you think you’ll use this in your daily life? I’d love to know!

-Kate

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A 28-Day Writing Plan

pencilHere’s a post for my writer friends out there. Yes, that’s you. I recently stumbled upon this 28-day writing plan by Paul Furiga and decided to give it a whirl. I was lured by the encouraging intro which stated:

“Writing doesn’t have to be hard – not for you, and not for the people who will read what you write.”

Amen. I’m in the choir this guy is preaching to. Writing doesn’t have to be hard, but sometimes it is. Especially when the inner critic rears its ugly head or the right words go hiding in the dark alleys of your mind. There have been times I’d rather clean my bathroom than sit and write an assignment. Yet, I still love writing. I’m a walking contradiction. So I decided to partake in this writing exercise to see what will happen. It’s free. In fact, the investment is only a few minutes a day for 28 days – a mere blip on the radar of my existence. It might even be half a blip if all goes well.

I’m not very far into the plan (week one), but it’s been enlightening. I’ve tossed the critics to the side and delved into the reasons I need to write. Other than the obvious motives of needing to write for work and the income, I’m discovering that writing is a powerful release for me. It’s something that has to happen – like a sneeze.

It’s not always good writing, but it always feels good to write.

I wonder if it’s how bees feel about flying? They’re not exactly the most graceful beings in the air, and I imagine it’s pretty hard work carrying their weight with such small wings. But they have wings, and so they fly. I have ideas, and so I write.

I imagine you have ideas, too? Let’s get them out of our hearts and heads and onto paper. Let’s take someone on an adventure, share a helpful tip, or leave a quiet legacy.

Week two of the writing plan is about “get in shape” exercises. The author says, “Success in any physical endeavor requires consistent discipline in executing the training plan. The same is true for writing.” Perhaps you’ll slip into your writing gear (whatever that looks like?) and join me!

Be sure to share some of your experiences. Join the conversation on Twitter and Instagram by tagging me @Katejandersen or using #CreativeTipTues.

Have a creative day and write on!

-Kate

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Beautiful Bulletin Boards

We all love pinning things on Pinterest, right? Well, pinning things in real life can be fun, too. And it’s the perfect way to keep an organized, inspiring and beautiful home.

With the help of fabrics, ribbon, paint and ingenuity, bulletin boards can be works of art. I gathered a few of my favorite samples to inspire you.

Go Industrial

sheet metal magnet board

I love the use of sheet metal for this office-nook bulletin board. And options for cool magnets are unlimited. {via}

Multi-Task

mail organizer board

You can organize your entire life with a board like this. It not only has a cork backdrop for pinning papers and schedules, but also a sweet little curtain rod for organizing your mail. Oh, and look at the hooks for your keys! I am practically speechless. {via}

Dress Pretty

pretty fabrics

There are so many pretty (and affordable) fabrics available these days, and a bulletin board is a terrific place to show them off. I also love the beaded edging on this sample. So fancy pants. {via}

Think BIG!

Oversized bulletin board

This oversized number is perfect for pinning your favorite postcards, posters, pics and anything else starting with the letter “p”. {via}

Chalk it Up

chalkboard organizer

Upcycle an old door or window to create something this smart. With a little chalk paint, you can turn anything into an organized spot! {via}

Fun-Sized Frames

bulletin picture frames

These are mini bulletin boards! Inside each frame is a metal sheet (covered in burlap) so they’re magnetic. You could easily frame cork tiles if you’d rather use push pins. The thing I love most is the ability to easily swap out your favorite photos or art! {via}

Dress Up Your Drawers

drawer bulletin board

This highly creative bulletin board is made out of an old dresser drawer. I love how the edges of the drawer create a built-in shelf for odds and ends. You’ll want to adhere a layer of cork in the bottom of the drawer before covering with decorative paper so your cute pushpins will hold. {via}

Bejewel Your Walls

jewlery organizer

Isn’t this such a stylish and practical way to organize your jewelry? You could go as large or small as needed with your beautifully framed cork board. {via}

Smile for the Canvas

instagram photo bulletin board

A bulletin board is a great place to pin up all your favorite Instagram pics. It looks like a work of art, and it can easily be updated. {via}

If you’re feeling up to a DIY challenge, here’s the simple formula for creating a bulletin board that’s worthy of your living room wall.

The three key ingredients (with links to helpful resources):

  1. Base: Think about how you want to use your board. This will determine the proper base. Corkboard works best for pushpins. A piece of plywood with a layer of quilt batting also works. Go with a metal base, such as a cookie sheet or piece of sheet metal, if you’d rather use magnets. A chalkboard is good for organizing schedules in chalk. You get the picture.
  1. Covering: Next you’ll want to determine how to cover your base. Fabric is an obvious choice, but you can also consider a pretty roll of contact paper, fun wallpaper scraps, scrapbook papers or even a fresh coat of paint. If you want to DIY a chalkboard, paint a piece of wood with chalkboard paint!
  1. Edging: A sure way to make your board look like it’s straight from a designer’s studio is to finish off the edges. Ribbon, thumbtacks or a picture frame all make great choices for this final step.

I gathered more great photos on Pinterest on a board called “Bulletin Boards“. Be sure to stop by for some inspiration. I hope to see you there sometime.

-Kate

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Tips for Aspiring Writers

I’ve recently had a couple of people ask about advice for aspiring writers. I was honored they asked for my thoughts, and I decided to dedicate a post to the response. This is such a broad topic, so I’ll focus on the writing process for now.

Kurt Vonnegut

via

This might sound crazy, but I love everything about the writing process: the creativity, the solitude, the right word, the research, the procrastination, the blocks, the breakthroughs, the editing…all of it. It’s a constant journey, and one I am proud to travel. I’ve been writing since the day I could hold a pencil and form letters, but I’m not the most well-known or perfect writer. I’ve come to realize that isn’t always the point.

Sometimes you do things because they make you feel alive. Writing isn’t always glamorous or joyful. Notice “procrastination” and “writing blocks” included in my description of writing? If we didn’t have these frustrating moments, the breakthroughs wouldn’t feel as important. Each part of the process has a role, and it should make you feel something deep inside. It should remind you you’re human and blessed to even be breathing.

Whatever you choose to do as a hobby or profession, it should make you feel alive. That’s when you know you’re on to something.

If you’ve chosen the path of writing, here are a few thoughts to help inspire the writer within:

Sit and write.

Writing quote

via

One of my favorite quotes from Steven Pressfield is “put your ass where your heart wants to be.” If you’re a painter, then paint. If you’re a chef, then cook. If you have a passion for words and connecting with people, writing is the perfect conduit for you. So stop organizing your sock drawer or scrolling through Pinterest for more recipes you’ll never bake and get to writing. Put yourself in front of the computer, because the page is waiting for you to show up.

Believe in your voice.

Writing Quote

via

I’ve heard countless people say they’re not enough. They don’t feel creative enough, original enough or good enough with grammar. My response to that is you are always enough. If you feel inexperienced at writing, remember you are experienced in life. Write about things important to you. Tell stories that only you have lived. There are people who can help you edit when it’s time. Until then, be gentle and true to yourself. Speak up and be heard. You are important, and we need to hear what you have to say.

Edit when it’s time.

Once you’ve developed a habit of showing up and writing daily, there comes a time when you need to edit your work and share it with others – perhaps even a publisher. If this is an area where you feel insecure, reach out to that friend or co-worker who is meticulous about grammar and ask for help. If you have kids, get to know his/her English teacher and trade baked goodies for a proofreading session. Get creative about the areas where you don’t feel confident. If you want to brush up on your skills, take an English class at the local community college or subscribe to the Associated Press Stylebook. What you don’t want to happen is let the process of editing keep you from introducing your beautiful work to the world.

Listen to feedback with an open mind.

Editing quote

via

If you’ve shared your work and the feedback includes pages of red ink, don’t get discouraged. If you’ve been turned down by countless publishers, don’t stop writing. Try to find common themes from the feedback and make adjustments. While the writing feels incredibly personal, remember that it’s the story being reviewed – not you. Separate your emotions from the work. When you can do this, and be objective about the mechanics of your writing, you give your work a chance to become stronger.

Read.

Reading

via

One of the best ways to become a good writer is to read good writing. Pick up a novel and immerse yourself in the storyline. Once you’ve read the book, conduct a mini review. What worked and what didn’t? How would you have changed the ending? Did you like the dialogue or was it forced? What emotions did you have, and how did the author engage you? Dissecting a book is a sure fire way to inspire a story of your own. If all else fails, read Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg or Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott. They’re two of my favorite resources for writing.

Let me know if this was helpful! I’d be happy to share writing tips specifically for bloggers if there’s interest. Just let me know in the comments, on Twitter, through email – however you like to communicate. All of my info is listed on the Contact page.

Have a creative day, my friends, and go write something awesome! #CreativeTipTues

-Kate

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Friday Wrap: Five Faves of the Week

Hello, friends! We’ve had a happy and memorable week at the Andersen house filled with birthday parties, Valentine’s treats and jewelry-making projects. The fun keeps truckin’ this weekend with a date night, basketball game and possible visit to my brother’s farm. So what do you say we ring in this weekend already? Here are our favorite highlights of the week – so far!

{ONE} Neon Ninth Birthday

Avery and Clara turned nine this week and we had a glow-in-the-dark, neon party to celebrate. We used black lights and tons of neon decorations to create a glowing good time.

Neon Birthday

Top left: Avery and Clara getting their dance poses ready; top right: dance party U.S.A.; bottom left: That would be Brandon getting the DJ booth ready; bottom right: My son and his best friend getting into the spirit of the night. They were brave to hang out with screaming and dancing third grade girls all night.

Glow Stick Chandelier

I had to show you the glow-stick chandelier I made! Look at the center of the pic. I took a garden hanging basket and hung it from the ceiling. Then I hung glow sticks from the rim. It turned out to be one of my favorite decorations of the night (other than the neon paper chains made with poster board! That took the prize for the least-expensive-highest-impact decor.)

{TWO} Monogrammed Sweatshirts from Initial Twist

Okay, y’all. My friend Karrie has a business called Initial Twist where she does applique’, embroidery and vinyl designs on the most comfortable shirts in the world. She can pretty much do anything, so message her through her Facebook page and she’ll hook you up. Tell her The Neat Nook sent you!

Monogrammed shirts

I ordered these cute, monogrammed shirts as birthday gifts for the girls. So cute!!

{THREE} Kate Spade Inspired Earrings

If you’re looking for the easiest and prettiest DIY project this weekend, you HAVE to do this. A sweet and super creative friend of mine showed me how to do this one. The best part, they look just like Kate Spade earrings, but will only cost you about $5 total. Not. Even. Kidding.

Glitter Earrings

This is all I did…took these fun earrings from Walmart and painted a layer of clear polish on top. I sprinkled glitter on top, let it dry and did a few more layers (paint then glitter) until my desired look!

{FOUR} Mother & Daughter Necklace

I received an early Valentine surprise from my darling husband. I showed him a picture of this beautiful necklace by Erin Pelicano on Pinterest (because I was so touched by how sweet it was) and he ended up ordering it for his special girls – that would be the twinsies and I. I’m in love all over again. That guy. I tell ya. <3

Mother Daughter Necklace

The smaller hearts have an A and C stamped on them for Avery and Clara. My own heart is the one melting.

{FIVE} Strawberry Heart Kabobs

The kids had their Valentine’s Day parties at school yesterday. I volunteered to make sweet treats, and ended up making this easy-peasy strawberry number. It was a hit – and didn’t send the kids spiraling into too much of a sugar craze. Win-win.

Strawberry kabobs

I found short bamboo sticks in the Martha Stewart party section at Walmart. The trick for the strawberries is to scoop out the tops. Then when you slice them in half (which is all you do), they look like little hearts. I slid them onto the skewers and served with fresh whipped cream. Yes, please!

I hope you have a fun weekend planned and have an extra sweet Valentine’s day!! If you want more details about ANY of the things mentioned above, let me know and I’ll either email you the deets or post more details next week.

Be sure to check out the rest of the ladies on Five on Friday. I know they’ll have fun things to share, as well!

FiveonfridayXOXO

-Kate

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Random Acts of Kindness

I’m a fan of “national” days, and there’s pretty much one every day. For instance, yesterday was National Pizza Day and last week contained Doodle Day and Bubblegum Day. Not even kidding.

When I heard about this week’s national celebration, I was compelled to write a post because it falls near and dear to my heart – it’s Random Acts of Kindness Week. Not just a day, but an entire week!

Act of Kindness Art

This darling art project can be found at Lil Blue Boo.

Have you ever had someone do something nice for you totally out of the blue? Maybe they let you merge during rush hour, stood and held a door a little longer to let you through, or let you step ahead in the checkout lane because you only had a few items? This is the week to celebrate and share more of these acts of kindness.

You can make an important impact on someone’s day – and ultimately their heart.

If you haven’t seen this ad about Random Acts of Kindness, you need to. And grab your tissues.

I’ll never forget the time a lady paid for my lunch in the Chick-fil-a drive thru. Her message to me (via the window clerk) was “she just wanted you to have a good day.” What?! I was shocked, and happy, and wanted to cry all at the same time. How nice was that?

Here’s a printable list of 40 random acts of kindness you could do this week.

I created this list when I was turning 40-years old and feeling unusually reflective. I decided to spend my birthday helping others. So I wrote down 40 ideas, mapped out my plan, gathered supplies and money, and spent the day spreading joy.

One item on my list was sharing the idea of “giving” with my kids, so I checked out my son from school and had him join my journey. We had the most memorable day surprising strangers, seeing new parts of town, and learning about the needs in our community. Here are a few snaps from our top 40 list…

Coupons

Evan and I left coupons and happy notes in the diaper aisle to help out a family.

Kind notes

We typed kind messages and put them on random cars in parking lots!

Free stamps

We gave away free stamps to someone standing in line at the post office. 🙂

Free toy

We left coins on top of a toy machine in the grocery store to brighten a little one’s day!

Laundry Machine

We filled a few machines with coins at the local laundromat.

Ducks!

We shared our “good” bread with the neighborhood ducks. They quacked with joy.

Evan and I also had a lot of fun. At one point, he rode around the block in a fire truck – after we dropped off fresh brownies and lottery tickets at our local fire department. Apparently they love homemade treats.

I highly recommend trying a few (or all) of these ideas. Wouldn’t it be cool to see what would happen if each of us took a minute to be intentional about helping others? I honestly think we could change the world.

Here’s an added bonus for today’s post. The first five people to comment will receive a random act of kindness directly from me!

It could be a book, pretty stationery, a gift card…any surprise. It will happen sometime over the next few months – when the mood strikes (hence the “random” part). My only request is that you pay it forward and do the same for your friends. Here’s a blurb for you to post on your Facebook page:

  • I’m participating in a ‘Pay it Forward’ initiative. The first five people who comment on this status with “I’m in” will receive a surprise from me at some point during this next year (2015) – anything like a book, homemade treats, a postcard…absolutely any surprise! There will be no warning. It will happen when the mood comes over me and I find something I believe would suit you and make you happy. These five people must make the same offer on their Facebook status. Once my first five have commented with “I’m in”, I will forward this message to you privately, so you can copy and paste it, and put it on your status. That way we can form a web of connection of kindness. Let’s do more nice and loving things in 2015, without any reason other than to make each other smile and show that we think of each other. Here’s to a more enjoyable and friendly, and love filled year!

Here’s to an awesome day of kindness! Be sure to tag #RAKweek2015 to join the conversation online.

Much love,

-Kate

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Friday Wrap + Five DIY Valentine’s

Happy Friday! It’s been an inspiring week visiting my dear sister in Atlanta. She’s been having some health issues, so I went to help out around the house and just catch up on life. It’s been awhile since we’ve done that. We live many miles away from each other and both carry a lot of responsibilities – so it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day. Do you ever get that way? Before you know it, weeks and sometimes months have passed before you’ve talked to the people you probably need the most – like a sister? Well, that was us. We were overdue for some serious sister time, so I was beyond excited to jump on a plane to fly further south to see her.

sisterDuring my visit we caught up on great stories, and I gathered some of the best advice on raising healthy girls, creating strong friendships, and being honest about your own limitations. I can sincerely say my sister has all of these things figured out. How blessed am I to have her in my life as a role model and friend? Beyond.

Between chats, loads of laundry and meeting her friends, we found time to flip through a few magazines. You know how much I adore magazines. So now I have some fun ideas and projects I want to do around the house.

conversation heartsI’m also excited to get my Valentine’s cards started this weekend. I’m a sucker for Valentine’s Day. It’s such a sweet holiday to reach out to friends – and of course your special love – to let them know how much they’re appreciated. No big fancy gifts are needed.

I think a handmade card with a thoughtful note is the best kind of gift you could give – or receive.

I’ve always enjoyed making cards, and I have a few simple and cute ideas to share with you!

{ONE} “I Love You” Sign

I Love You ValentineThis card uses the “I love you” sign in American Sign Language, which is to tuck your middle and ring finger down while leaving all other fingers up. What better way to show your love on Valentine’s than with this sweet card? My daughter Clara made this by tracing her hand on a piece of construction paper, then we cut it out and taped a roll of Smarties under the two “down” fingers. Any round candy would work great. <3

{TWO} Cupid’s Arrow

Finished Arrow

This is the finished Valentine. Once I assembled the arrow, I tied a message onto the Pixie stick with a little piece of tulle.

Cupid’s arrow is a classic Valentine design. This is a sweeter version that uses a shot of sugar. I used a Pixie stick as the base and taped the arrow designs right onto the stick.

Cupid's Arrow

I drew triangles on a piece of construction paper (left) then cut them out to make an arrow tip and end (right)

Cupid's Arrow

Next, I made fringe by cutting diagonally on the end (top left) and then I simply taped the arrow pattern to the Pixie stick.

{THREE} Highlight of My Day

Highlighter Valentine

This is probably the simplest idea. Tie a bright-colored ribbon around a highlighter and attach a cute message. Voila, Valentine!

If you’re looking for a non-candy Valentine option, this is a fun (and kind of practical) idea that uses a highlighter. Isn’t it a darling way to brighten someone’s day?

{FOUR} Coo Coo for You!

Cocoa Puffs

I layered white copy paper that had the Valentine message over a piece of pink construction paper (left) then I tied a plastic spoon to the side of the box (right)

I’ve always loved those little individual boxes of cereal – the kind that come in an 8-pack of different flavors. Here’s a cute idea that turns them into a Valentine gift. Write a quirky message that ties in the cereal to include on the box, then tie a plastic spoon to the side. Super easy. Here are some quotes to try (with a typical breakfast pack):

  • Lucky Charms: You’re my luckiest charm.
  • Cinnamon Toast Crunch: You’re cereal-esly cool.
  • Cocoa Puffs: I’m coo coo for you.
  • Cheerios: You bring cheer to my day.
  • Honey Nut Cheerios: Nuttin’ is better than your friendship.
  • Golden Grahams: Your heart is good as gold.
  • Frosted Cheerios: You’re the frosting on my day.
  • Trix: No trix, you’re a great friend!

{FIVE} Award-winning Friend

Award Winning Friend

To finish this design, I stapled a Valentine message on the back and then covered the staple on the front with a heart-shaped foam sticker.

Every award-winning friends deserves this kind of Valentine. It’s also a basic Valentine that doesn’t require candy – unless you want to attach this to a beautiful box of chocolates. That would be perfectly okay! The only things this project needs are baking cups (various designs and sizes so you can stack them), ribbon and a stapler.

Award winning Friend

I cut “fringe” on the baking cups (top left) then folded a piece of ribbon (top right) before stapling it to the back of the stacked cups (bottom left). You can see the front view of the assembled ribbon (bottom right)

I hope these ideas inspired you to pull out your glue sticks, scissors and markers and spread a little love in your world. Here’s a free downloadable PDF of the Valentine’s messages shown in all of the pictures above.

Have a wonderful weekend and be sure to hug your sister if you have one!

-KateFiveonfriday

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