month in minutes: march

Hey hey!  Happy Monday.

Most of you in the states are probably off today, right?  Hard to believe how easy it is to get out of touch with holiday schedules.  I don’t even know if today is a holiday here in Curacao.

Oblivious much.  :/

Anyway, it seems like a good day to review all that was the month of March, with some new stuff mixed in for fun.  For me, it was one of those months where I feel like I didn’t actually finish much.  I worked on a lot, was a bit all over the board…but let’s see what was actually done, shall we?

We started off with a fun journey to determine …

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I shared some of my thoughts on it here and then we asked you all to share your thoughts here.  I will share a BRAND NEW blog goal at the end of this post, too.  (Like I said, new stuff mixed in for fun.)  🙂
I actually spent a few posts talking about some of our spaces.  And since then I’ve played around with updating the our space page on this here blog.  You know, for those times you just want to sit and point and laugh at my expense.  😉
And, so I can reminisce a bit about some spaces that I love, here are a couple shots of some of the spaces I haven’t yet shared.
Some land in Cali on a wintery day.
And a three tier deck with built in fire pit and seating in Indy.
Then we had the big Mission: Possible launch.  You remember the one.  The one where we introduced our new themed link party schedule for the Last Tuesday of every other month.  I’m sporting the button in my sidebar, but if you still need to grab one for your site to post as a friendly reminder, here you go.  The Great Outdoors is next … I’m already working on a little somethin’, somethin’ to spruce up part of our outdoor living space.  And I’m not working on it quite fast enough according to the other resident of this household.  He better be careful or I’ll stencil numbers all over it.  😉
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Then I participated in a fun little game of blog tag.  Not too many who I tagged chose to participate…ummmm, well actually only one who I know about did.  I always new Amy from Buffalo Roam was my favorite.  😉

But I can’t blame anyone, because in March the very sweet Marilyn from 4 You With Love kindly bestowed upon this little space the Versatile Blogger Award and the always inspiring Heidi Milton said some of the kindest words about me and this here blog that I ever did hear when she gave us the Liebster Award.  I’m still smiling…at the realization I’m not nearly as cute in person as I can make myself appear from a far off photograph.  🙂

And I didn’t really do anything with these lovely awards other than have a celebratory cocktail every day.  But I sure do appreciate the recognition.  Thanks so much ladies!!

Then I posted about a few It’s a Cinch projects I did to go along with our theme for the March Last Tuesday party…and I posted some cinchy inspiration ideas from a couple of blogs I love.

For all kinds of easy peasy project ideas you can always refer to the links at our It’s a Cinch party, which happened to be the same day I shared a super simple spring wreath I made.

One of my all time favorite projects was announced when I was on a little family vacation, the Pass It On Project.  An idea to pass along some kindness just for the sake of it.

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I’ve been linking up to everyone I know who is participating so you all can follow all of the kindness.  Just refer back to my post and you can see what everybody has been making and sending.  And if you know of anyone I haven’t linked up please just let me know.  I definitely don’t want to leave anyone out.  🙂

Oh, and you may have noticed this fun little button in my sidebar, but my canvas dog silhouettes (the post that keeps on posting) were selected as a finalist for consideration for a feature in Cottages and Bungalows magazine!  Squeal!  Sorry for all of the yelling but that is Crazy Exciting!

No, we didn’t win, but my new blog goal is to be some-way-or-another featured in some sort of magazine.  I mean seriously, how frickin’ cool would that be?!?  Well, as of yet I wouldn’t know how cool, but I sure hope to find out.  🙂

In the meantime I’m off to have more celebratory cocktails … it is after all a holiday … isn’t it?  🙂

And … just a friendly reminder that these months in minutes can be easily accessed from the stamp like buttons appropriately named by month right. over. there. ———————————–>

The Pass It On Project

Wow!  I have been waiting for this day for. like. ever!

Remember when the idea of 12 Days of Kindness literally woke me up one night?

Well, I’ve been tossing around ideas for carrying on the kindness since then.  And I came up with something I am in love with!

Update:  As everyone is posting about their projects I am adding links at the end of this post so you can all follow the journey.


the month in minutes – january 2012

Hello, hello!

A little reminder, if you haven’t already linked up your blog goals, we’re keeping the party open until Thursday night for anyone getting a late start…we’d love to hear yours.  And you can find mine here.

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Now, I’m going to start a little something new here today.

Can you believe this little blog had more page views in February than in its 3 previous months combined?  Serious!  That’s incredible to me.

So, I shout out a Welcome! to everyone who is relatively new around here.  Thank you so much for coming by, please make yourself at home…and let me know you’re here.  🙂

And, to everyone who has been around from the beginning…don’t think I don’t know who you are…even if you’ve never left a comment.  I sure do appreciate you all sticking around…and would love to hear what you have to say about every single post things every now and then.  🙂

In light of all of our fun new traffic I thought it makes sense to do a little month in review, if you will.  But,…I’m going to start with January…total rule breaker here.  Seems like a nice, clean, appropriate place to start, don’t you think?  And, I’ll be sure to mix in a few new things too…just to keep it fresh for ya.

So, I guess I should start by saying HAPPY New Year!  I’m sporting my party outfit and blowing my noise maker right now.  🙂  But, the girls rang in the new year looking a little more like this.


Pallet Wood Word Wall Art

Now that’s a mouth full. 😉

Hey hey! How are you? Are you superstitious? Does this Friday the 13th thing mean anything to you? My husband and I actually moved in together on a Friday the 13th so I tend to be pretty fond of them. But a new piece of homemade decor with a few positive thoughts can’t hurt, right?!

I was actually lucky enough to guest post over at Between U & Me twice this week!  I gave a tutorial on how to make a Faux Anthro Zinc Letter here.  And, I made it all from scratch, letter out of cardboard box and all!

And this, my friends, is the second project.  It’s so great to have Courtney’s readers visiting again.  Please make yourself at home.  Did you happen to come by on Wednesday to see my little B post and let me know you were here?  It would be great if you did.

And, have you all checked out the announcement I made on Monday?  We have had an AWESOME response to the Impossibilities Challenge.  What is your impossible?

Did anyone notice that Sherry from Young House Love even took the time to comment on my intro post?  I officially have a YHL crush, and it’s not on John.  😉  Weekly challenge updates are coming starting Monday so please come back to check them out.

That has me thinking, this pallet piece is 7 different pieces of wood, all hanging from one screw…does it qualify as a gallery wall?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  If this doesn’t make sense, check out my impossible challenge here.  🙂

Anyway, I took her from this:

To this:

Find out all of the nitty gritty details over at Courtney’s blog Between U & Me.

She came out beautifully rustic, I think. I like the addition of the wire, albeit, not too much wire. I like the grey of the wood and the cream color of the paint. I just mixed a few paint colors I had together. It’s very similar to the color I used to paint the words on my Mapped Dresser.

Not bad, a pretty good sized art piece for about $2, and if you already have stencils or are crafty enough to freehand the wording, this baby is totally FREE. 🙂

I’m in love. You?

And, of course, don’t forget about the Imagine the Impossibilities Challenge.  Have you signed up yet?

Update:  I posted my first challenge update post here.

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I am sharing this project here, here, here and here. Check ‘em out!

12 Days of Kindness – Part II

Hello again!  How was your first week of 2012?  Hopefully it’s off to a bangin’ start.  In a good bangin’ way of course.  🙂

I am so happy to be continuing my little Kindness Project.  In the last post I shared how I got started on this little journey and what I ended up doing for days 1 – 6 of the 12 Days of Kindness.

Now, let’s get right into days 7 – 12…

Day 7 – I don’t know if it’s the same on every island, but one of the things you have to get used to here in Curacao is grocery shopping.  There are quite a variety of grocery stores, and they’re all different, and they all sell different types of stuff, and they NEVER have the same stuff all the time or even on the same shelves.  So, in the course of a couple weeks I could end up at 4 different grocery stores just to get my usuals.

At one particular store there is a guy who loiters outside.  He’s there all the time, he sometimes offers to help unload your groceries in your car, he collects carts from the parking lot, stuff like that.  But, he’s definitely not employed by the store.  He is just always there, but I don’t believe that he is all there, if you know what I mean.  I’m actually quite curious what his story is, but we don’t speak the same language.

I saw him on my way into the store and decided to buy him a cold drink with my groceries.  (We average a temperature of about 90 degrees daily).  Turns out he was at the car next to mine when I came out (maybe just a little odd…) but I gave him the cold drink and said Bon Pasku (Merry Christmas in the local language, Papiamentu).  He stared me down, looked at the drink like he had never seen it before (it was an Arizona Iced Tea), opened it, took a sip and then drank about the whole thing in one sip and walked away without saying a word.  Who knows, could have been the only thing he had to eat or drink all day…or maybe he lives in a mansion by the water.

Day 8 – I paid for the groceries of the women behind me in line at the grocery store. Since I was just getting a few bottles of wine  holiday essentials, I was in the express lane so I knew I wasn’t going to be gifting hundreds of dollars.  But, when she came behind me in line she actually laid her basket down almost in front of me, kind of like she was trying to cut.  And since it was just a few days before Christmas the store was a mad house. Literally, I had to park down the street because there weren’t any spots even on the curb, my usual go to parking spot.

As lady behind me was bullying her way through the express lane I was totally enamored by cute old man in front of me.  He had a perma-grin and seemed to know everyone. That’s when the idea to pay for someone’s groceries hit me.  My instinct was cute old man in front of me, but then I thought lady behind me might just need a little kindness to put a smile on her face.  So I perused her items, to make sure she wasn’t just getting bourbon and cigarettes.

Seriously, I did this and all I was buying was wine.  Hey judgmental, what up?!?  :/

But, she had a random selection of things that made me think she was getting some last minute essentials for Christmas dinner so after my items had been all rung up I offered to pay for her groceries.  Turns out she didn’t understand English so the cashier worked as our translator.  Lady behind me seemed initially a little skeptical but then this cute little grin came on her face and we exchanged a few holiday pleasantries in Papiamentu, the local language here in Curacao.  She was very appreciative and I felt like a million bucks, a win-win I say.

Day 9 – I emailed a friend of mine who’s husband is in the military and asked for her help.  I wanted to send a care package to someone serving our nation and protecting our freedom.  She sent me a name and address and I wrote a little thank you note and plan to put it in the package.  As I write, I have not yet done my care package shopping.  I knew I would be traveling to the US in January and that my money would go farther if I waited to do my care package shopping and mailing.  (I am kind, but definitely not frivolous. Give me an opportunity to save a buck and I will)  Since the idea was intended as part of the Kindness Project I stand strong on it’s inclusion.  And since the project is my idea, and I don’t really have any rules, it’s inclusion is affirmed.  🙂

I hate to say that this is something I think of doing every year but just don’t.  I don’t know why.  But it took this little Kindness Project to push me over the care package edge. Sometimes I just need a swift kick in the right direction.

Update:  I am in Maine and did the shopping, included the letter and mailed the package yesterday.  Pics to come.

Day 10 – I made a driftwood Christmas ornament for a friend of mine.  She is actually another American who used to be my neighbor and was part of the same Spanish class I was in.  We aren’t at all the kind of “friends” who would exchange gifts.  But she just had a baby in November and doesn’t have any family here and made a comment that she couldn’t find any good 1st Christmas ornaments.  So I thought it would be a nice gesture to make her one.  And, I knew she liked the driftwood stuff because she not only had bought one of my trees but showed it off to her friend who then also bought one.   (more on the trees here, here and here) Thanks Sarah!

Now she’s definitely not a stranger but unsuspecting all the same so it counts in my book.
Day 11 – I cleared out a hiking trail I frequent regularly with the dogs.  We are getting toward the end of rainy season here and last year around this time I remember hiking down the trail and seeing that it had been widened (after getting VERY overgrown) and thinking that was so nice of whoever did it.  So this year I figured I could do the clearing and hopefully 1) give the person who did it last year a break and 2) inspire someone else who hikes the same trail to think “man, that was really kind of someone to clear the trail for us all”.
Hmmm, who played around with editing and made the photos look totally different colors?  Sorry!

And, am I the only one who thinks it looks like I didn’t really do anything but put my dogs in the way to make the trail look crowded?  Honestly, I did some trimming.  The loose ends that were hanging into the trail, basically anything that I would have had to walk through I cut.  I don’t know why it looks the same in the before an after, I trimmed, I swear.  I’m tempted to go back and take pics of the clippings…but I won’t.

At the end, the four of us ended up here.

Yes, I counted the clippers in our head count.  I wonder if anyone has noticed a difference on the trail since?  Like, more of a difference than you see in the pic.  Let’s hope.  🙂

Day 12 – A resolution of kindness everyday.  Now, I had other ideas that I had thought I would accomplish as part of this project and for one reason or another I didn’t.  (More on that in a minute.)  But, I also wasn’t counting a lot of the things I make a habit of doing, that through this little process I realized weren’t necessarily habitual to the general public. Not only did this kindness project make me consistently focus on how my reactions to every single situation would first come from kindness, but it made me realize how much  I enjoy that mind set.  So, on the final day of this project, in celebration of a resolution of kindness everyday, here are a few things I resolve to continue to practice on a habitual basis:

  • open the door for people and let them go first
  • let someone with only a few items go ahead of me in line at a store
  • be a patient and courteous driver
  • make eye contact, wave, smile and say hi to strangers
  • offer to help someone who is in obvious need (can’t reach something from a shelf, carrying too many things at once, tourists wanting a group picture together)

Now, I am so happy with this little project.  Some of you might be thinking I didn’t do anything monumental, and I agree.  Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from myself. But, the bigger picture is that I accomplished what I set out to do and felt great about it. And, I definitely can carry this forward and take it to greater lengths.

Here are a few of my ideas that didn’t come to fruition for some reason:

  • I emailed a friend who lives on this island but was visiting her family in England for 3 weeks to find out at which kennel her dogs were.  I wanted to visit them and walk them while she was gone.  This is something that would mean a lot to me and thought it would have to her as well.  But she never emailed me back so her loss.  😉 I’ll do it for you next time you go Carol.
  • Contribute to someone’s gas tank fill up
  • Pay for someone’s movie ticket
  • Buy someone coffee or in general pay someone’s tab at a restaurant
  • Buy a family a Christmas tree or donate one of my handmade driftwood trees
  • Give someone waiting for the bus a ride.  I’m not convinced this is a safe idea to do with strangers and don’t recommend it.  But, I know a fair amount of people who take public transportation and I thought if I had seen any of them during this project I would stop and offer a ride.  The bus system here is terribly inconsistent and always behind whatever schedule they pretend to keep.

I had pictured this project to be a more spontaneous act of kindness so I was happy with the challenge of doing something kind every time I was out instead of going out specifically to do something kind.  Make sense?  Not that there’s anything wrong with going out specifically to do something kind.  Obviously.  🙂

According to the end all and be all of information…Wikipedia, the definition of a Random act of Kindness is:

a selfless act performed by a person or people wishing to either assist or cheer up an individual person or people.

In this respect I feel ultimately successful in my 12 Days of Kindness journey.

So, tell me, do you practice random acts of kindness?  Are you a pay it forward kind of person?  Do you have specific go-to kindness moves I need to know about?  Are you a “smile, wave and say hi” or a “get out of my way, I’m just going through my day” kind of gal?

Here’s to a Kind 2012 for us all.

I am sharing this project here, here, here and here. Check ‘em out!

12 Days of Kindness

Hope the first few days of the new year have been good to you!

Don’t you just love the new year?  I do.  Fresh starts, new beginnings, it’s like a clean slate of opportunity that I always hope to make the most of.  I don’t make any resolutions or anything like that.  I just like the feeling of starting with a whole year ahead of me and endless possibilities to live a wonderful life. Like turning to a fresh, empty sheet of paper that I can fill with whatever my little heart desires.  Or laying in bed with crisp clean sheets, I heart clean sheets.  Bliss!

Before the clock turned to 2012 I literally woke up in the middle of the night with this idea.  And it just made me smile.  🙂

Not the idea for the sign, the idea for a 12 Days of Kindness project.

I had seen all of the great advent calendars people were making in the beginning of December. But, with just Joel and I in the house with the dogs, a Christmas countdown felt kind of … silly.  I mean, we already know how to count, and read a calendar, and eat holiday treats whenever we want, so the whole advent countdown just wasn’t suited for us.

But a countdown of kindness?  Heck yeah!  And sometimes genuine kindness really can’t be planned.  So I skipped the whole calendar with itemized acts of kindness on each day. My goal was to do something kind for some unexpected victim person at least once a day until Christmas.  Is there really any better way to celebrate the spirit of the season?

And it just so happened to be the night of December 11th so I had about 12 days until Christmas.  What fun!

Seriously, I tell ya, this little idea had me smiling for the rest of the month.  Every time I was out and about I was plotting kindness, I was scoping out unsuspecting souls who might become a beneficiary of the daily act.  What a great way to interact with the world everyday.  I am definitely keeping this outlook going, it just makes my time in the world happy, and focused on kindness All. The. Time.  Smile.

It seemed so appropriate to post about it at the first of the year.  I’m getting out of my bed of clean sheets, flipping my page in my book to the next which is empty with possibility and starting with the ultimate of positive messages.  Smile (again)!

Now, I am notoriously frugal so I didn’t want everything to involve money.  But, given said frugality, I knew kind financial gestures would be extra painful meaningful.  😉

Also, I practice kindness regularly, I mean, we have this sign in our living room.  I made it out of driftwood, shells and coral over a year ago.

So, I really wasn’t sure how my 12 Days of Kindness would turn out, but here is what I came up with.

Day 1 – On this little island the baggers (not beggers) at the grocery store are abundant.  They aren’t actually paid employees of the store, they are working for tips and trying to make a living. I don’t normally need any help (unless I’m stocking up on wine) since I only shop for two people and will save a few guilders (currency in Curacao) whenever I can.  But on this day I took the help, had a pleasant conversation with the nice young man and gave him 5 times the amount he would have expected.

Now, he quickly turned to hustle back into the store with his money.  I’m sure he was thinking “silly tourist, probably doesn’t know how much she gave me”.  And I was left thinking, what a waste of kindness.  Uhhh, really…is kindness ever a waste?

This little idea might just teach me a few lessons I need to learn.

Day 1 of Project Kindness off to a bit of a rocky start.  But I’m not easily deterred.

Day 2 – I was at the gym in the morning (I workout, as LMFAO says) doing calf raises and I thought of a good friend of mine from college who had been quick to point out our sophomore year when I had lost all calf muscle definition.  We were close enough that I could know he was right without wanting to suffocate him in any inhumane way.  But, that little exchange has led me to think of him every. single. time. I’ve work out my calves since then.  At the time, we were living in Switzerland for an exchange program and I didn’t really do anything but drink beer and eat Swiss chocolate athletic.  Jay was a very close friend of mine for exactly one year and for some reason we just didn’t keep it going.

Through the magic of Facebook we are in touch today.  For as much as commenting on one’s status constitutes being in touch.  🙂

Without necessarily thinking “this is an act of kindness” I posted on Jay’s wall that day just to tell him what had happened that morning at the gym.  And he just so happened to comment back.
Sometimes telling someone the thought of them makes you smile is the kindest thing you can do.

Day 3 – I called someone who I knew was going through a very difficult time, whom I had been thinking about a lot and just hadn’t reached out to be of support.  I believe that showing someone genuine, unconditional love and support in times of challenge is a gift. Sometimes our own thoughts or feelings can get in the way, our opinions or beliefs can prevent us from giving the support we may want if we were in such a situation.  We make excuses and time passes and we miss our chance to make a difference.  I am of the opinion that we all get a finite number of opportunities in our life to make a grand gesture of unconditional love to those important in our lives.  I am glad that I didn’t miss this one.

Day 4 – I didn’t punch my neighbor.  Now you’re probably thinking, this is just normal adult behavior and shouldn’t really be considered an act of kindness. Well, here’s the deal. Our new neighbor, who moved into the house across the street about 3 months ago has 5 dogs.  Now, if you have been following along, you know I am a dog lover.  Like crazy.  I tear up at the Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercials, I have had dogs all of my life, I feel more connected to my dogs than most humans I know.  I. AM. DOG. LOVER!  (Picture me swinging from trees, pounding me chest, talking like Tarzan.)

But, new neighbor’s dogs can jump her fence and get out of her yard.  That in itself is bearable.  They even often instigate our dogs by lunging out our fence while barking.  Also for the most part bearable, my girls are too old for such puppy games most of the time. BUT, the week before Project Kindness began, as the girls and I were leaving our yard for our evening (leash bound) walk around the hood 2 of new neighbor’s dogs jumped her fence and attacked my dogs.  Now, now, settle down.  There was no blood.  It was more of an “I’m in charge of this street” attack than an “I am going to kill you” attack.  But, (Really, does every sentence need to start with but?) facts are facts, there was biting by new neighbor’s dogs and submission by my dogs, and you, new neighbor, need to find a way to keep those beasts in your yard.

She wasn’t home at the time so I couldn’t address it with her.  It festered for a week while I talked myself on and off the ledge of punching giving new neighbor a piece of my mind. But, the truth is, I am a believer in second chances.  I like to think that when people are educated on a situation they can make a positive impact on, if given the opportunity, they will make said impact.  Sooooo, when the girls and I were leaving for our evening walk on Day 3 and new neighbor’s dogs jumped the fenced and tried to play King of the Street while I yelled “NO” as loud as I could over and over while trying to prevent my dogs from strangling themselves as they were trying to hide behind our Jeep while still on their leashes and new neighbor scrambled frantically to get a grip of herself and her pets I approached the situation with kindness.  We discussed her covering this one spot that they can escape the yard.  I mentioned the previous attack and explained that I was worried about the well being of all dogs involved, it’s never safe to have dogs running unattended near streets, especially in areas where there are a lot of unfamiliar dogs.  I hoped thought we were on the same page.

So, when day 4 came around and we had a repeat of day 3 and all I wanted to do was deck the old hag in the kisser and instead I said “Did you have any luck getting the new piece of fencing to cover that spot where they jump out?” I was feeling very kind! With a side of anxiety and high blood pressure.

I mean who wants an adversarial relationship with their neighbors?

To my delight when I was heading out in the morning of day 5 new neighbor was attaching new, higher fencing around her trouble spots and apologized profusely and offered to give me a free massage for all of my trouble (she is a masseuse).  Now, there won’t be any massaging going on, but I am happy that we will be able to move past this awkward situation without any ill will.

Big score for Kindness!!!

Day 5 – I baked cupcakes and, along with some store bought holiday cookies, brought them to some great people.  They are staff at a place I frequent A LOT and they are always smiling, hospitable and just down right awesome!  It felt great to do something so simple and unexpected and give them all a smile.  Honestly, I smiled the whole time I was baking and frosting just knowing how much these guys would enjoy them.

These kindness smiles are contagious.  🙂

Day 6 – I put this note in my neighbor’s mailbox.  No, not the new neighbor, we’re not exactly there yet.  😉

Yes, I asked for good penmanship and the ability to spell neighbor right on the first try for Christmas, no luck.  :/

This is a neighbor that I have never really met.  We wave from a distance and smile as we pass, he is an adorable man probably old enough to be my grandfather.  I don’t know if he lives with anyone, or has any other family close by.  I just loved the idea of giving an anonymous card thanking him for being so pleasant.  I hope it made him smile and believe the world would be a nicer place if we all just waved and smiled when we don’t have to.

So, the first half of Project Kindness is complete and I am just down right In. Love. with this process.  It is so enlightening to be constantly thinking of how I can be kind to people that won’t necessarily expect it.  Now, clearly, I’m not pulling off any Oprah’s Favorite Things type of kindness, but is there really any limit to what amount of kindness is enough?

How would our daily interactions with strangers differ if we always approached them with kindness?  How happier would we all be if we were always focused on creating happiness? I don’t know, but it sure seems worth a try.

Project Kindness days 7-12 coming soon to a theater blog post near you.

I am sharing this project here, here, here and here. Check ém out!

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