Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nuts about Generosity

Its craft time people! Do crafts go with the "Living Generously" topic this page covers? well, I think it does, or at least sometimes it does, and here is why.  Crafting can be a part of frugal living (or it can be a tremendous strain on the budget, it all depends on how you craft.). For me, I tend to be the most creative when I'm solving a problem, and for many years of my adult life, solving problems typically had something to do with finding a way to make do with what I had.  And...some of my favorite ways of doing things have come of those times, so I like to share them, because they helped me to still satisfy my generous heart even when times were the toughest.  Frugality and Generosity are not always the first two words we put together. I want to change that and prove that living frugally can lead to living more generously.  Here's an idea for gifts that I hope you'll love. You'll be able to make the packaging out of items you probably already have at home! And you'll be able to make a small, yet thoughtfully elegant gift for just a few dollars.

Let's get Nuts!

Nuts are a simple and elegant gift that is often quite costly.  Using the recipe we shared in Gg's Kitchen, you'll be able to produce 1 pound of sugar and spice and everything nice for around $8.00. Compared to the $30 or more per pound you'll pay for mail order nuts in the blandest varieties, this is the most frugal (and tasty!) way to send a very special gift.

Now lets make our packaging pretty

What you'll need:

scrapbook paper
paper crimper
hole punch
string, ribbon, or raffia

This project is fun because you can so easily change the size of your packaging by using whole or quarter sheets of paper.  The pictured package was made from a quarter sheet and holds a nice handful of nuts, a single serving type quantity. Use a whole sheet of paper for a gift containing multiple servings.

1. Place your sheet of paper upside down on your work surface, and roll the left and right edges in towards each other, overlapping a quarter inch, and press to create folds. Secure edges together with glue. (I like using a fast drying paper glue that does not wrinkle the paper, but a glue stick or elmers is fine too.)

2. Apply glue to bottom edge, let dry. 

3.  Crimp bottom edge.

4. Pinch sides of flattened paper to open the tube you have created, and continue to pinch, creating a nearly triangular shape. (think those little tubes of sour cream they serve you with a baked potato at Wendy's, or the frozen grape juice treats they serve in school lunchrooms). Flatten edge and slip under a hole punch, punch hole in center, or for added interest off to the corner. 

5. Fill your container with nuts, popcorn, candy, a small inedible gift, or any other item you would like to present in fun, unique packaging! I suggest using a plastic bag or other food grade wrapping to contain a food gift inside the tube. 

6. Attach a coordinating gift tag through the hole punch using string, ribbon, or rafia, and present your gift! 

Beautiful, inexpensive, unique, and keeps great surprises! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

World AIDS Day

World Aids Day 2012 photo by Smith Family Photography

World AIDS Day

Does it seem like you've heard a lot of information about HIV/AIDS today?  There's good reason for it.  Sunday, December 2 was World AIDS Day and so the topic is being heavily covered world wide.  

AIDS is no respecter of persons. There are no economic, race, sexual orientation, or income barriers to contracting the HIV virus, only educational and social barriers to preventing infection.  
In India, Educational and Social Barriers contribute to many aspects of disadvantaged life in the rural areas such as Tamil Nadu where our non-profit partner Gingham Project does the majority of their work, but no disadvantage is greater than that of the HIV orphan.  In a culture where social status dictates much about daily life the HIV orphan has no social status, even religion has abandoned these faultless children.  But there is good news! Organizations like Gingham Project have taken notice and found ways to help, but they can't help without YOU.  

Donations made to Gingham Project directly fund projects to feed, shelter, and clothe children effected by the HIV/AIDS virus, and to educate and create economic opportunity within the at risk community.  You can read more about Gingham Project by clicking on the Gingham Project link on this page, or any of the links within this post.  

You have many choices about how to distribute your charitable donations this year, and you can hardly make a bad choice, but I sincerely hope you'll give at least a small share to Gingham Project this year.  A simple $1000 will build an education center (locally called a tuition center, though it is free of charge to attend) and help to pay a teacher. The last center Gingham Project built has become SO popular that a safety hazard has been created by the dozens of children cramming their little bodies in to learn each day.  Will you help? 

Donations can be made directly to Gingham Project via the pay pal button on the Gingham Project link, OR you can help by making some of your gift purchases through Generous Giant and choosing Gingham Project as the beneficiary of your spending.  Thirdly, you can purchase some fantastic earrings (perfect stocking stuffers) direcly from the Gingham Project's Payvment Store on Facebook.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

I can do hard things

I can do hard things 

 I Can do Hard Things

I can! And I will! Have you ever said this to yourself? But you know you can, right? You've already done many, many difficult things in your life, no matter your age. YOU, by virtue of being a living, breathing, thinking being, have done hard things! Have you forgotten this is true? Give yourself the gift of acknowledgment. Acknowledge your past, acknowledge  your present, and acknowledge that your future is EXACTLY what you've been built for. YOU can do hard things! And so can I.
I love this inspirational piece which was designed by Gg and Jeraly  as the result of a voting contest.  Our facebook fans submitted some of their favorite inspirational phrases, and we put it to a vote. "I can do hard things" took the lead immediately and easily won the contest. Why? I wondered to myself does this phrase hold so much power for us? Well...I think its because it gives us permission to acknowledge that sometimes, life is stinkin' HARD! But...the phrase then also gives us encouragement to go on anyways, and not just endure, but endure well! Dare I say...CONQUER?  The thought makes me smile. :)

Are you currently facing difficulties?  You are not alone, you are lovable, and worthy of giving and receiving love.  Be YOU and be the BEST YOU you can be.  Be generous in patience, be generous in kindness, be generous in your opinions, and watch how those around you lift you, and carry you up that mountain. You can do hard things, and you can make the hard things easier with just a little bit of generosity, towards yourself, and those around you. Its life changing.


Want a daily reminder you can wear? Click on the photo above to order our hand stamped washer on waxed cotton chord at