Day 18/29 Days of Giving is…

What if I told you …in no, uncertain terms – that you CAN make a difference in the world?

What if i told that you can BE the difference in the world.

What if it starts right here. Right now.

There is no greater gift I can give to each of you than the gift (or reminder) of giving itself.

Let’s face it: we can all stand to be a bit kinder, a bit more generous in our lives. If you ever even get close to a point within your life where you think you have done all you can, or that you have done that proverbial  ‘just enough’ or you have met some sort of imaginary status quo on generosity – then I’m sorry to say that you are sorely mistaken. The day you allow yourself to believe that – is the day you have sadly, given up. It’s the day that you no longer make a positive significant impact in the world.

The world we allfor the recordshare. It’s not just yours. It’s not just mine. It’s ours. We share the same air. We occupy the same spaces. Our money changes hands at every turn.  Whether you are conscious of it or not – we need one another. We depend on one another. To make a living, to raise our children, to care for us as we ail. Every minuscule detail in your life is shared – in some way or another – with another living being. It’s not just some desire, or platitude to live by – it is our duty, not only to ourselves – but to others – as we strive to be gentler. kinder. more generous. There is no downside here folks. There is no ‘perfect’ time that you’ll be in a better position to do so either – that is just an excuse we all use (myself included) … to make ourselves feel better. Ask yourself what it is that you can give.

During this project I have rediscovered the hopeless optimism I once had. Problems that have been thrown at me through the course of this have seemed far more minimal than before.  I am thinking positively as a whole again, and feeling that same vibe thrown back at me. Kindness breeds kindness, and when you really, and I mean really… open your eyes to it – it’s abso-friggin-lutly-amazing. I’m glad I stopped making excuses and just started … well, doing. 

With every new dawn, I ask myself what more can I do to make an impact in our world. I’m not looking to cure cancer, but if one little smile can make a child whose crying stop, and the stressed out mother with her baby feels a bit lighter…perhaps she’ll open the door to the store for an elderly woman who could have been injured trying to, and maybe she in turn gives a coupon she can’t use to a single father who was recently laid off from work and couldn’t afford the meal otherwise, perhaps he may now offer some of his time or skills to a neighbor who needed a repair to their steps done, not only saving them from a lawsuit of an injured guest but sparking them to give of their time to yet someone else… who knows JUST how far that one, tiny smile could reach.

I’m not asking you to give up your house, starve yourself, or strive to be perfect. I’m asking you merely to think a bit outside of the box. Redefine your definition of generosity. Give with intent – not just in passing.Each day, give a bit more. Nurture yourself, your loved ones – and yes, even strangers. I’m not saying anything here – you haven’t heard before. I’m just like you. I get stressed. I am selfish some days. Often I have very little free time, and am usually more than overwhelmed and committed.

:: beside me ::

I suppose – my point is simply this: We are not that different you & I. Some have told me how lucky, or fortunate I am to be in a position to do this project. I find myself feeling sorry, and a bit annoyed for whomever states it – as I am not lucky, I am not in some financial position to do this project, I don’t have heaps of free time to offer either. I MADE this happen for myself. I hold myself accountable for it. I create it every day. Luck doesn’t have a damn thing to do with it. I chose a way, to fit this back into my life.  Every way I carried this out, was for a specific reason, that suits my life and would essentially wake me up again, and force me to go back to the basics.

There is no magic formula here, none of this is probably news to you and you will probably have a different way that works for you. And ya know what? That’s a-ok.

Journal some ideas for giving, and kindness out. Make up little pay-it-forward stories in your head to start accepting the real value in giving. Skip your Starbucks or some other non-essential for a day, use that money to do something nice for someone else. Find the things in your life you are grateful for. The little things – the crisp air you breathe. The raindrops that look like diamonds on a bare branch. Learn to look at those small facets of life with gratitude, and you’ll find everything else will all slowly, come into place. Forgive yourself, for the days when you’re not as kind or generous as you could have been – they are inevitable. Just…try. Give, with intent.

I know, there are several of you… who dismiss this stuff as a crock of poo. I can honestly promise you – it’s not.  Can’t motivate yourself to do it for the right reasons? Then do it, because more good will come to you as a result. Since life is alllllllll about perspective – surrounding yourself with positivity in the best ways you can – makes life, well … far easier. Yes, easier. Anger, resentment, selfishness etc.. all fuel misery, trample hope, and destroy lives. Let kindness, gratitude, and generosity steer your life. Make it rich with substance, and joy – and if it is already, create more. Create the life you want. The life, you deserve.

Today’s Giveaway? Is the book:  Acts of Kindness: How to Create a Kindness Revolution . The recipient of today’s giveaway can use this to jumpstart, or further along their own kindness journey. It’s my hope, they will then pass it on to someone else as well.

To enter today simply…

  • On this post; in the comments – answer one or more of these questions: Tell me some of your favorite kindness and giving gestures and/or let me know what stops you from doing even more?
  • Do this by: Sunday, January 18th, 2009
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
  •  Enter Day 0 & Day 16 & Day 17 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Go do a lil’ sumthin’ generous now, for someone else.
  • The now-finally-off-my-soapbox ….  Chrysti

    Day 16/29 Days of Giving is…

    isn’t it exciting to have the giveaways back?

    i went through a touch of blog withdrawal while i was travelling

    i didn’t quite realize JUST  how much i’d miss doing these

    absence makes the heart grow fonder

    or some crap thing like that anyhow

    i’m so out of practice on this part

    hope it’s not horridly boring now

    i could just tell you about the giveaway

    well, perhaps in just one moment

    see, lil ol’ moi  tore myself from my studio

    despite my muse dancing and creating with pure delight !

    to bring you this giveaway today as promised

    yup. just for YOU i stopped creating

    who luvs ya? that’s right… obviously i must

    i mean, i stopped creating when most inspired

    helllll-loooo! i don’t just do that for anyone

    you don’t really care eh? on with it? FINE!

    obviously, it has to be an ultra-special giveaway

    Oh, it is… it really, really is …

    well i suppose 2 weeks of suspense was enough

    this was WELL worth waiting for folks

    *cough* lemme get that ring announcer voice back i mentioned a few weeks ago

    ladies and probably no more than handful of gentleman …

    hmm… that intro just isnt working for today

    and i simply cannot think of another clever thing

    let’s just dive right into it, shall we?

     “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” – Mitch Albom

    Prior to making this project public, I grabbed my handy lists journal, and began jotting down ideas of things to giveaway. I realized, it’d be far more fun to include people I admire, respect and care for. So I then began doodling names, companies, products … that I believed would make fan-tab-ulous gifts. One of the first names that sprung to mind was the talented Michele Beschen. I kinda thought she may be interested, but wondered if her schedule would allow it.. so when she agreed? I was not only elated, but extremely touched. All my joking aside – daily I am reminded of how generous our community is. Of things. Of themselves. Of their hearts.

    Michele in my Baby Got Backgrounds Workshop

    If you aren’t familar with Michele, then obviously you do live under that proverbial rock we’ve discussed in the past. Or don’t have cable tv. Or some other lame excuse. (Get out from under that rock already! though if you have cool rock drawings, let us see first). … See one day last year, Chel & I were talking … and discussing some folks who could be potential keynote speakers for the convenzione. She was in sheer panic, and it was up to me to *sigh*  once again save the day. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t quite that extreme. But still,  I obviously *cough* singlehandedly saved ZNE by suggesting Michele. Or maybe it’s just  the lil’ voices in my head say I saved it … I did however suggest Michele.  She accepted. Michele took MY workshop, yep… mine !!! (god, i’m horridly shameless aren’t i?)

     There I go – sidetracked again.

    Anyhow … Michele was actually even better than I imagined. I have met other TV personalities before, and been disappointed. Ya know how it is, some have ego’s, some are just not at all what they seem … But Michele? She’s the real deal. A what-you-see-is-what-you-get kinda gal. A gal after my own heart. My respect for her tripled after spending in-person time with her, and I honestly can’t praise her enough. The girl is fearless – and I abso-friggin-lutely love that. She can create just about anything, quite possibly she’s creativity’s biggest cheerleader, isn’t afraid to laugh at herself .. and the passion for what she does is evident at every turn. What more could you want?

    I’ll let you see for yourself in the interview I did with her! Don’t worry, we’ll reveal the giveaway package later.. yes, package!

    Baby Got Back(grounds) Workshop

    Michele Beschen & Chad Adams

    (as always, the bold black questions are from me… the colored answers, are her answers… does anyone not know this by now? ha!)

    Many of us, find you to be an amazing source of creative influence. What do you draw your inspiration/vision from? Who do you admire? Since it goes without saying that I was obviously the greatest teacher you have ever had *cough* and because humility is one of my greatest traits *cough*, you shouldn’t feel at all pressured to say me, Chrysti Hydeck.

    I draw my inspiration from absolutely everything around me.  People, Places, Nature, Trash, Books….I see ideas in the most unexpected places and I think that really stems from training our eyes and our minds to open to their absolute fullest.  I admire everyday people who are resourceful and innovative; authentic, interesting people who love to learn and love to share.  And, yes that includes you, my friend.  I loved the anything goes approach with your class because that’s what encourages people to let loose of their ideas and their expression of them.   You were so generous with your time and your ideas and that is something I greatly admire in people.

    talent is always conscious of its own abundance and does not object to sharing“…

    Your talent, originality and enthusiasm aside – I am also remarkably impressed by your business sense. It’s a tough job, carving out an original, creative career path – could you give my readers any tips on taking that journey?

    It’s extremely tough, and some days I have questioned “if this is what I’m really supposed to be doing, should it be this hard and this much of a challenge?!” — but at the end of the day, I know in my heart this is what I’m meant to do and I truly believe that when you embrace what you are truly passionate about and combine that with determination, resourcefulness and resilience, the path will keep getting longer and longer and wider and wider – (with of course, a few unexpected turns and roadblocks to work around here and there along the way) – and it’s at those junctures that the resourcefulness, the determination and the resilience need to be at their strongest.  It’s also important to surround yourself with positive, like-minded people that you can honestly share ideas, concerns and challenges with. It’s ok to ask for help now and then.  If you’re fortunate enough to have a direct line to an inspiring mentor, draw and learn as much as you can from them.

    Here are a few of the quotes I have written on the wall behind my desk (yes, I write and scribble on the walls in my office):  “in a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failure” & “a person who walks in another’s tracks leaves no footprints“– these remind me that it’s ok to be different, and that we should always be challenging ourselves to explore new ways of doing things.    This one reinforces the whole belief that one thing always leads to the next and everything happens for a reason —  “Love the moment. Flowers grow out of dark moments.  Therefore, each moment is vital.  It affects the whole.  Life is a succession of such moments and to live each, is to succeed“…corita kent.  Everyone always needs to remember…… ‘It’s what YOU make of it’.

    I am a big believer in creative fearlessness and one of the things I adore about you is that you are undoubtedly a jill-of-all-trades! What advice can you give to those folks who are intimidated to try a new skill, use a power tool, or make something that seems a bit off the wall? Have you/are you ever been intimidated to try something?

    I’m with you on that one, sister!  Everything I do is designed to remove the fear from trying new creative things and experimenting.  That’s how great things happen and exciting discoveries are made.  One thing that I never think or say is “I Can’t Do That” — instead I think “I could learn to do that!”  I was fortunate to have a family that nurtured my can-do spirit and I have always believed that I can do whatever I set my mind to and I’m not afraid to try.  Granted, it doesn’t always pan out as planned, but I love the whole process of learning and researching.  I am always trying to instill that can-do spirit in everyone, because it’s the self-doubt, the fear and the inner-critic that usually gets in the way for people.  It is so important to ignore those negative thoughts because they will cheat you out of the whole invigorating creative experience.  Do it for you! If you like it, that’s all that matters.  My house is filled with off the wall stuff, because that’s what I like!  Isn’t that the beauty of creative expression? You’re able to create things however, whenever, wherever, you want! 

    To be honest, I’ve always been more fearful of the criticism and judgment than I ever have been of actually trying something.  It’s in those moments that I look at these quotes on my wall  “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure: which is: try to please everybody“…herber b. swope. “Some look at things that are, and ask why.  I dream of things that never were and ask why not?”…george bernard shaw

     It’s no secret that I love power tools.  And, I don’t understand the hesitation and fear so many people have over using them.  In my mind, they are no different than the electric mixer or the sewing machine.  They can open up an expansive new world of creative opportunity. I didn’t have all those tools when I started, nor did I know how to run all of them, but I slowly started adding to the workshop.   I started small and I started cheap. I would buy the most economical, space saving version of a tool, be it a sander, a saw, etc. to get familiar with how it worked, what I could do with it and then would upgrade as needed or could afford.    I am all about personal responsibility and I think that each and every one of us is capable of operating tools and being smart and safe about how we go about using them. They can really enable you to take your creative projects to a whole new level!

    What’s the oddest object within your reach right now?

    a jar filled with ‘lucky stones’ — my dad is a commercial fisherman and they are found inside the head of a perch.  (May sound gross to some I know, but it’s really not!) They are these beautiful pearly white ‘stones’ that I’m trying to work into some jewelry. People used to carry them in their pockets in belief they brought them luck.

    I spoke last year about just a few of the art mishaps I have had. Could you share some of yours? The more embarrassing the better!  

    I had somehow smeared black paint/ink across my face without realizing and made a trip to Lowe’s of course chatting up loud and proud to everyone I know.  Got a glimpse of myself in the car mirror.  Face went from black to that really hot red color that I’m sure you’re aware of, in a hurry.  Why do people not tell you about that stuff?

    I’m not exactly graceful, myself, so I am usually spilling this or that in the shop, and when it spills over something I’m actually working on, It doesn’t even phase me anymore, because I’ve gotten very good at just making it part of the piece.  It gives me some looks that I wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.
     
    I was hauling some used gallons of house paint from the town studio over to the studio behind the house and was in a hurry, so I just set them on the floor of the back seat (and, maybe I had piled one on top of another)…of my husband’s truck (I also might want to mention I’m not always diligent about making sure the lids are tightly back on things).  I got to the studio and went about working on something, not unloading the paint right away, and a few hours later, as my husband went to use his truck, I saw a paint can go flying across the yard along with some very colorful words, and quickly realized that this amazing shade of golden ochre (almost a full gallon of it, mind you) had covered the car floor — and had been sitting there for a few hours.  Have you ever tried to get paint out of carpet?  My tip on that is to keep it wet and get out the wet/dry shop vac!   Luckily it was summer and I could make good use of the garden hose.  I can proudly say that I was able to clean up every drop. 

    There are many, many more but I better keep moving along here….

    With the economy crunched right now, many people are reverting back to a handmade holiday. (yay!) What are some your handmade holiday traditions?

    Handmade holidays are all the more special, aren’t they?!  For this Christmas, we as a family made every ornament for the tree.  We strung cranberries, we baked dough ornaments, we rummaged around the yard for materials to use. Our tree is the quirkiest looking thing you’ve ever seen and we all love it!  It was two weekends of doing things as a family and we smile big every time we walk by it.  We also make a point to exchange handmade gifts and it’s so exciting to see what everyone comes up with.  A handmade gift gives everyone the opportunity to inject extra thought into the gift and really personalize it for the person you’re making it for.  It doesn’t take money or commercial things to make the holidays merry!  Another fun holiday tradition that’s not tied in with christmas, but rather my wedding anniversary.  My husband and I exchange new handmade rings each year.  We alternate who’s responsible for it each year and sometimes we make them ourselves or we search out unique rings from area artists. It’s a fun way to change things up and celebrate growth and it makes for an interesting collection. 

    And kind of on a side note….Handmade doesn’t always mean it has to be made with your hands, either.  There are amazing artisans all around us offering up some of the most original works.  I think it’s important for everyone to support local artisans by making a point to search them out when looking for that unique, one of a kind gift or even when your shopping efforts are focused on yourself.  I love to buy clothes and jewelry from independent designers.  You won’t catch me at the mall very often!

    Let’s talk toilet paper – Pull from the top, or the bottom?

    Do not care, as long as it’s there! :)

    How do you work out new ideas and get past being in a creative block? We’d love a lil’ glimpse into your creative process.

    I wander around my shop.  I open bins, I flip through sketch books, I stare at my shelves.  I find all my supplies very inspiring, and sometimes all it takes is to just look, feel and play with my creative things that don’t have anything to do with the project  I’m working on. If that doesn’t get things into gear, I take a break from it.  I take a walk or go for a drive.  It frees the mind so that it’s not feeling forced and as a result, the ideas start flowing again.

    Yoga is also a big thing for me. My mind is always racing from one thought to another, so practicing yoga every morning has really made a difference in what I like to call my ‘creative endurance’!  

    Personally, I’m a quote whore. Do you have a favorite quote or two?

    I love quotes too!  I find them thought provoking, empowering and inspiring. I’ve given you quite a few throughout my answers, but here are a couple that were my ‘drivers’ when I first started this business: 

    “Creativity is the greatest gift one can possess”

    Without creativity, there would be no progress“…edward de bono”
     
    Creativity can solve almost any problem.  The creative act, the defeat of habit by originality overcomes everything“….george lois

    and my own personal mantra…”a curious mind and a courageous soul make for a creative spirit
     
    When you are not creating, what can we find you doing? Aside from taking one of my amazing workshops that is. (shameless, aren’t I?)

    I hate to say it, but I’m always creating.  Even when I’m reading, I have my sketchbook nearby to sketch things as they come.  If I go for a walk, I’m looking for things to play with.  When I play with my daughter, we’re always coming up with new ways to do this or that.  When my husband and I go out, there are always conversations about ideas of things we’re wanting to build or try, or things we’re ‘dreaming’ of doing or trying!  When I’m on a road trip back to my parents, (and not the one driving) I’ll have the woodburner plugged into the adaptor so I can make good use of my road time!  What can I say, it’s a way of life for me!  (And, yes, if you were closer I would be taking your amazing workshops…only that would still count as creating, right?!):)

    Don’t you think Simply Michele Inc. would sound just a bit better as Simply Michele & Chrysti Inc? Ok, Ok, I won’t put you on the spot — why don’t you just give us a sneak peek of some of the wonderful things you have in store for us!

    That does have a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?!  I think 2009 is going to be a fabulous year for sharing ideas, so I encourage everyone to stay tuned.

    Today’s giveaway is outstanding! (y’all are lucky I didn’t steal it for myself) Make my readers work for it and have them answer a question to be entered – what would you like to know about them? 

    What’s one creative thing (product, technique, tool, etc) you want to learn more about?

    So what is the outstanding prize package you ask? It’s seriously an amazing bundle of creative goodness that one lucky reader will soon call their own! (and you’ll totally dig the packaging too!) .. Check it out..

    Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Paint DVD

    Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Paint DVD

     that’s just for starters…

    Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Jewelry DVD

    Michele Beschen's Courage to Create with Jewelry DVD

     

     

    nope, not done yet …

    YBNRML Leather Cuff Bracelet SIGNED by Michele!

    YBNRML Leather Cuff Bracelet SIGNED by Michele!

    and wait… there’s more!

    New Brunswick retro license plate belt buckle- SIGNED by Michele!

    New Brunswick retro license plate belt buckle- SIGNED by Michele!

    Yup – over $85.00 worth of amazing creative goodness !!!!!!!!!!!  Man, I am SOOOO wishing I could enter my own giveaways. Is there any reason i can’t? I’ll just have to hop on over to her shop and get my own goods … her newsletter had a killer coupon I need to take advantage of tonight! I’m dying for a quiltless scarf.

    So … want to have your crack at this abundance of inspirational goodies?

  • On this post in the comments answer Michele’s question: What’s one creative thing (product, technique, tool, etc) you want to learn more about?and/or my silly question toilet paper – Pull from the top, or the bottom”  – Extra Credit if you plead with Michele to make it Simply Michele & Chrysti Inc. The whole MC thing makes for great puns…
  • Do this by: Sunday, January 18th, 2009
  • PLEASE keep Spreading  the word! Blog it, Tell your friends — the works! I’m amazed daily at the impact this project is having on people. I want it to be contagious, plus it fuels me to make it bigger & better! 
  •  Enter Day 0 still!
  • Check out the first batch of winners, the second batch of winners and the third batch of winners!
  • Visit Michele’s Blog  for even MORE inspiration, her site & her store (great prices, even better items!)
  • Glad to be back – Missed you all! – Chrysti

    Day 9/29 Days of Giving is…

    … my friends, have you nurtured yourself today?

    have you taken just a moment, or perhaps two….

    ….to merely breathe in the world around you

    have you taken a time-out to restore yourself….

    …even for just a moment

    yes, one little moment….

    … of the stress, and responsibilities

    that our lives hold…

    ….have you found a way to pamper yourself

    a nice cup of tea perhaps…

    …. maybe a luxuriously warm bath with a fresh-from-the-dryer towel

    whatever indulgence it is that you feel drawn to…

    go, now. make it happen …..

    …it’s crucial to our happiness and to our health

    give not only to others….

    …but to yourself

    that is how you offer the world and people in your life …

    ….the best version of ‘you’

    i truly believe it’s life’s most vital, and most often overlooked skill.

     “The ordinary arts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”
    -Thomas More

    When I began this journey, I mentioned to you my desire of finding a way to work giving into my life again. To MAKE the time for it. Regardless of circumstances, finances, or my mood — it is becoming a daily part of my world again. I’m not always feeling generous.  It isn’t always easy. However, nothing rewarding or insightful… ever is.

    One of the reasons I began this adventure through my blog, was the accountability – as I knew that no matter what the day had in store for me, I needed to find a way to give. To give with intent.  Challenging, at the least.

    I have found that by the time each post is complete – I am somehow lighter. Happier. My heart becomes just a bit more open. Open to relationships with people, open to receiving, open to possibilities. Open to acceptance. Open to trust. To trust that with the bad, comes the good. Disappointments are inevitable, I don’t know why we are always so taken aback when they occur.

    “But you now, you wear your soul on your sleeve, exhausting your energy, propping yourself up on a tree, mumbling, or bent over your desk, asleep. Heaven gives you a form and you wear it out by pointless argument. ” -Chuang Tzu

    So today – I am not only choosing to give to you; but to myself.

    I am making this post shorter. Simpler. I am eliminating the formatting woes. The lengthy descriptions. The hassles of photos. The all too time consuming aspects of it. I am going to devour that extra bit of time, and somehow indulge myself. Nurture my soul just a bit. So that tomorrow, I can once again offer you, my friends, my family, my beloved furbabies… the world – the very best me that I can give.

    In that spirit – today’s giveaway invloves a bit of trust on your part as well. I want your hearts as open as mine is becoming. Open to the possibility, that it may be magic. Open to the possibility you may be disappointed. Open, that no matter which way it goes – your life may become just a bit better as a result.

    I will tell you, it is comprised of multiple gifts that will be somewhat customized to the recipient. It’s my wish, that it shall provide you with moments of small indulgences, and perhaps help renew that sparkle you have inside of you too.

    So, to those of you who are open to whatever i have in store:  

  • Leave a comment on this post & share with us some of your favorite, simple indulgences
  • Do this by: Monday, December 15th
  • Don’t forget to spread the word.
  •  Enter Day 0 & Day 6 & Day 7 & Day 8
  • Check out the first batch of winners!
  • Go, Indulge yourself. Now!
  • What are you still doing here?
  • Chrysti

    29 Days of Giveaways for you!

    Yep.

    You heard me correctly – I’m giving away some amazing things for the next 29 days & YOU could be a winner! Books, Classes, Magazines, Art, and oh-so-much-more.

    Read on….

    A few months ago my friend Lia turned me onto the 29 Days of Giving  project and almost instantly I knew it was a perfect fit for me. Though I’ve never been what one would call wealthy or rich with material things I’m always eager to share what I have. As a child, I used to drive my mother nuts by giving away my beloved toys and books to friends, schools, neighbors or anyone else my little mind thought could benefit from said object. Each of my belongings all had their own voices to me, and if i felt someone else could provide them with a better home, or appreciate them – well I gave it away, and often without permission.

    As I grew older, I loved surprising people with an unexpected care package, spoiling them on holidays and other occasions, sending a card with an appreciative note out of the blue.. the list goes on and on and on. I suppose at heart, I’m a sap. (Though I won’t often admit it).

    “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” -Winston Churchill

    It wasn’t until I was an adult, that the real value of giving started sinking into my brain. What others called generous, I saw as selfish – because at the end of the day, I loved making people happy. Why? Because It made me feel good. I liked the optimism I’d attain, I relished the satisfaction that someone else’s day may just be a brighter, and in turn maybe they’d pass that kindness on. One by one, step by step.. the world becomes just a tad bit nicer as a result of that small, single action. I dunno, I kinda love that the universe is so much bigger than all of us and yet we are all a part of it. No deed is too small. No life is worthless. All that we touch, becomes a part of us. Kind of amazing when you really think about it.

    “There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else.”
    – Peyton Conway March

    I’ll spare you a long, thought out analysis of it — and get to my point. The last few years have been amazing, but I have become SO very overwhelmed creating my business, I began cutting out all the lil things that took away from that time – and somehow, giving (though always present in my head to do).. got pushed down to the bottom of the list. That proverbial ‘tomorrow’ I’d do it on, never came. The thing is… I had no idea how that would also rob me of small joys, human connections, and even how it’d take away a bit of my hopeless optimism. Gotta wonder what all I’ve missed as a result of letting that slip.

    So, upon discovering the 29 days of giving site – I decided to make giving ( of myself, and of things ) a priority again. I promised myself, I’d find ways to make it work within my world again vs. convincing myself that I didn’t have time. Really, we always have room for goodness in our lives, if we let it in.

    So here we are.

    For the first 29 days — I recruited some friends along with myself to bring you some amazing giveaways; right here, through my lil’ blog. You simply have to check in daily, and leave a comment — or whatever instructions await you that day. Winners will be drawn using a handy generator online, and announced here. It starts tomorrow (or tonight if I am impatient).. and I hope you are as excited about it as I am.

    It won’t end there either… but you’ll have to stay tuned to see what all is in store. True to form, I’ve altered the challenge a bit, and am doing my take on it.. as a permanent part of my life.

    These Hands - 22

    Will you spread the word about my giveaways? There’s plenty to go around, and the more people we can touch – the better.

    • If you promote this online – leave me a comment, on THIS post with a link to where you announced it; and you’ll be entered into a special contest that will run throughout the duration of this project. The winner will receive a whopping $100.00 gift certificate at my new site!  
    • Everyone who particpates in this will be receiving a small, surprise something from me in the new year too.

    If you’d like to be a part of this, and have something to giveaway – leave a comment, and I will get back to you – Even if it won’t fit this first part, it may fit into the next installment!

    While you’re at it – let me know what you wish for on the comments. Who knows, it just may come true :-)

    Adding on the links to each day, so those who come to this post directly don’t miss it!

    Closed, But some awesome conversations to peruse:
    Day 1/29   Day 2/29  Day 3/29  Day4/29  Day 5/29 Day 6/29   Day 7/29  Day 8/29  Day 9/29 Day 10/29  Day 11/29  Day 12/29  Day 13/29  Day 14/29  Day 15/29 

    Giveaways Still Open: This one (Day o), & Day 16 & Day 17  & Day 18 & Day 19 !

    Are you a Winner?  Batch 1 Winners  Batch 2 Winners  Batch 3 Winners

    Warmly, Chrysti

    (practically) FREE fabric here!

    Ah, yes… it’s that time of year! Spring Cleaning!

    I am in a mad rush, to clean out my back room which is piled high with supplies… since my mother is giving me the dining room set I grew up with! Yippee!  I am ab-so-lutley thrilled,  just need to make room for it.

    Started tackling all the fabric I had stashed back there today. All I’m asking is the cost of shipping & $5.00 per box (to slightly ease my conscience for not listing & selling these myself by now, and to recoup a very small fraction of the cost i invested in these items).

    So, the fee is just a mere $15.00 per box. US Folks only..sorry!

    Why am I offering these practically free?

    Firstly, to save me the headache & time consuming process of measuring, photographing, ironing, cleaning, and describing each item. There is days worth of work within these boxes … and I just can’t find the time or motivation right now.

    Offering them like this, saves me from doing that workload — I’d charge more, but I know I’d hate spending alot on supplies sight unseen. Trust me though, these are all quality supplies that I either purchased to use myself, or sell in the store. Any flaws, or risks are noted below.

    Secondly, I’m in a rush to clean out the house. My studio is already overrun with supplies and I’d rather share these with folks who can appreciate it, then toss them away! Besides, I got my start thanks to some incredibly kind individuals who cut me a break, this is partially my way of giving that gift back. The value of each box is over what you are paying.

    That being said – I have up for grabs so far:

    ************************************************************** 

    8  now just 0 Flat Rate Priority Mail Box STUFFED with fabric

    (sorry, all gone — check back soon for other offers)

    ************************************************************** 

    Yards & yards and pounds and pounds of fabric for you. All assorted styles, cuts & types. Mix of modern, vintage and even a touch of retro. Prints, solids and lots of calico’s. An assortment of scraps and larger cuts. Each box is different!

    I highly recommend washing the fabric, as some may have odors… they have been stored in homes other then mine and I don’t know what they were around etc. If you are sensitive to odors, or have allergies to pets, smoke, etc… then this may not be the lot for you. My allergies are horrible right now, and my sense of smell is about nil. There are some bounce dryer sheets in each box as well to help absorb any odors they may have. There are some realllly nice fabrics here, i think you’ll love it if you’re ok with the above. Odors aside, they all are in excellent condition.

    Misc Notes:

    I can’t combine shipping on these, since they are already packed & ready to go in the flat rate boxes. I’ll update the blog as I can, when the boxes have been claimed.

    If they aren’t claimed within 1 week, then I’ll give them away locally instead.

    Want one or more of these boxes? Leave me a comment with how many you want, and I’ll email you back with my paypal instructions, and to verify if you got one or not :-) First come, first served.

    Thank a bunch y’all — spread the word! More supplies to be offered soon!
    Chrysti

    The Fat Free, Calorie Free, Guilt Free Sugar Cookie Discovery!

    “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel. “
    Maya Angelou

    The Perfect Cookies (Felt) -4

    Have you ever noticed how wonderfully supportive our not-so-lil art community is? Really, think about it…it’s not often a large diverse group – made up mostly of women – can get together and selflessly support one another. Yet, somehow we do this, and do it well….day in & day out.

    We rally around those in need, those who are sick, those who are grieving, those who are just struggling to make it day to day.

    We laugh at one another’s mishaps, airhead moments, and stories. We are human, and find the humor in it.

    We share who we are, not just as artists but as people.

    Despite our personal taste, we have a way of recognizing and appreciating any art form, finding the beauty in anything.

    We share our knowledge, our talents, our gifts — we share ourselves… and we give. We give to one another, to those in need, we give what we can, when we can.

    The Perfect Cookies (Felt) -7

    It never ceases to amaze me, how we connect through our art, through our blogs, through our groups.. it is a never ending cycle, that I am grateful for daily. I don’t think y’all realize, just how much you have changed my life, or the power one small supportive comment or note has to me. I dont’ take the time to thank you all nearly as often as i should, but I am eternally grateful.

    What’s all that got to do with anything?

    The Perfect Cookies (Felt) -5

    It has been a very frustrating few weeks for me recently, the surgery I had in February, was not successful…. basically, making it all for nothing …and leaving me pretty discouraged. Fortunately, I my to-do-book is so large, I have been able to keep my mind off of it & the never ending kindness that is shown to me through all of you, has helped me muster through as well.

    Last year, I was horrid at blogging all i wanted to … this year, I intend to change that. I want to show off the gifts I receive, the RAK’s (Random Acts of Kindness), and truly acknowledge the generosity others have shown to me.

    Guilt Free Sugar Cookies anyone?

    The Perfect Cookies (Felt)

    “A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand”

    At the ZNE Tea Party, I had shown these adorable felt sugar cookies that I instantly adored, and when Sue Wickham (Please visit her!) offered to make me a few, I was brimming with excitement! Little did I know, she would send me a whopping dozen, and they would be better then I could ever imagine! — here, look for yourself! Yummy eh?

    Jealous? You should be, these are divine!

    The Perfect Cookies (Felt) -3

    I’m looking for the perfect way to display these, your ideas?

    –Chrysti

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    Acts of Kindness & All That Follows

    “I endeavor to be wise when I cannot be merry, easy when I cannot be glad, content with what cannot be mended and patient when there is no redress.”
    ~
    Elizabeth Montagu

    I may have begun the day muttering not so kind words under my breath as I roamed the house taking note of all that needed done….that is, until I ran across this:

     Nancy Made me art!

    Isn’t it absolutly gorgeous? The oh so talented Nancy created and sent me that amazing piece around my birthday (plus a bunch of goodies as well.. these collage sheets rock, go get yourself some!).. for me, lil ol me! Can you begin to imagine just how special I feel? It includes all the things that I love, and even a photo of my puppy! I had been meaning to share it here, but somehow time just escaped me. It struck me as wonderfully odd, how just in the moment I needed a smile the most, I was given one. A heartfelt gift never stops to continue giving. Much like the day it arrived, it delivered a desperate pick me up, and set the tone for the remainder of my day.

    “Kindness in words creates confidence, kindness in thinking creates profoundness, kindness in feeling creates love.”
    ~Lao Tzu

    Her one act of kindness, started a small chain of events in my little world today, and in retrospect it really is beyond amazing, how one little act of generosity can spark so many more. The good things in life really do pay themselves forward don’t they?

    “Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.”
    ~ Scott Adams

    I’ve been wanting to clean my studio room for some time now, so that I could hang the works of art I’ve been given, or have bought to inspire me.. the special piece Nancy created for me, inspired me to begin that oh so tedious process. ( I can’t wait to hang it!). I created a bunch of goodie bags & kits to send to those in this fabulous art community who continually support, and touch my life.. I filled a huge box with supplies, and treasures for friends who are starting on an art business venture here in NC. (Check out their fab list of classes!) I made a stack of art I will be giving away, and a ton of other small, yet significant things I won’t bore you with as the right words just escape me today.

    I reluctantly left that room to pursue other tasks.. but the feeling I parted with, is one of peace, and content. That feeling one gets that words alone just can’t seem to portray.

    “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly
    endless.”

    ~
    Mother Theresa

    It will take some serious time to get my studio in order – but it no longer seems so daunting. In fact, it kind of excites me…who know what will occur as a result! So Nancy, If you’re reading this.. Thank You, so very much… for thinking of me, taking the time, and expense to create such a beautiful piece to me… I don’t think I can ever feel alone, or unappreciated now.. all as a result of your thoughtfulness — it truly is a gift that continues to give, and for that I’m forever grateful. You are an amazing soul, and I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to get to know you. Not to mention lucky to own such a fantastic mixed media painting!

    “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.”
    ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Now go, do something kind for someone that doesn’t expect it. You never know just what it will inspire.

    -Chrysti