Taking the time to appreciate our surroundings and enjoy life’s simple pleasures might be an acquired skill. Still the numbers are growing for those who want the simpler life and who are actually taking the steps to achieve this dream. Learning to be satisfied with less is certainly a key factor. Many choose a simple life for different reasons: less stress, healthier lifestyle, and more time to devote to family, friends and to the things enjoyed most.
For some the choice of a cottage lifestyle is inviting. Its quaint simplicity echoes the peaceful repose that many of us desire. Though we aren’t always able to live in our perfect dwelling we can certainly bring to our own homes a piece of its unique charm.
- Keep televisions in a t.v. armoire so that they are hidden when not in use. Exposed electronics can take away from the tranquil atmosphere.
- Add fresh flower arrangements. Use faux flowers if you have allergies. Tip: Wildflowers look wonderful in old mason jars!
- Do not block natural light. Open blinds and curtains and let the sun kiss your home with its beauty.
- Use a sofa cover to get a softer look. Do not be afraid of white! White covers are actually easy to clean in the washing machine and you can usually add a little bleach. But always read the cleaning label for any fabric for proper cleaning instructions.
- Create a small flower garden that you can view from a window. Even a patio can be transformed to a little haven of its own.
- Perhaps just a corner nook is all you need: carve out space and make it yours. Perhaps a window view overlooking your flower garden?
- Most importantly dress your home with love and laughter. Spend quality time with family: read a book together, play a game, take a leisurely walk or take turns choosing the activity!
There is no set of rules when planning a scavenger hunt but to make it most enjoyable consider the interests of the child.
Here are some ideas from a birthday scavenger hunt we had for my daughter when she was young and an avid reader of Nancy Drew:
- The day began in the morning when the doorbell rang and a mysterious package was left at the footstep addressed to my daughter. Inside the package included detective business cards with her name on them, a pocket watch, a pen, and her first clue.
- The first clue led us to a special location where she was to look for something red. A red scarf was tied in a tree and she had to climb the tree (with help) to reach another hint.
- She was directed to a friends house where she had to kayak a short distance in a lake (again with help) to find a floating bottle with the next clue.
- And with assistance she climbed to the roof of the house to find a gift waiting and another clue that guided her to a secret compartment in the pocket watch.
- The clue in the pocket watch led to a surprise party at an ice cream shop where all of her friends had gathered to wish her happy birthday. Her next clue was hidden under one of the tables.
- This led to a clue in her pen, which directed her to our favorite bookstore. Inside the bookstore she was sent to the Nancy Drew section in which another hint was found in one of the books.
- She was then directed to find a mysterious person with a hat who gave her the clue to her final destination: A family birthday party where her final clue was hidden in a walnut shell that led to a treasure box.
Ideas for hiding clues:
- Freeze a clue in an ice tray.
- Carefully open a walnut, take out the nut and replace with a clue. Glue shell back together. And place in a bowl of walnuts.
- Hide a clue in a pen, pocket watch, or compass.
- Get friends involved by having them secretly waiting at different locations with funny hats.
- Get other peopled involved and ask them to wear a bright-colored smiley face that your child has to find.
- Hide clues in favorite stores at the mall (with the permission of management).
- Empty an old chap stick tube and place a clue.
- Create funny rhymes that lead to clues.
If you are looking for a great gift idea, try learning and documenting your family genealogy. What a wonderful gift idea that keeps on giving throughout the generations.
The old world’s first security system – if the seal on your letter was broken when you received it, you knew you had a spy! The perfect finishing touch to handwritten letters or gift wrapping. Stamps begin at just $6.95 and make a wonderful gift as well!
Tree Interchangeable Wax Seal Insert
Romane Wax Seal – Letter L
Today’s sealing wax is easy to use and just as romantic. No more matches and globby messes on your envelope – these keen wax sticks are used in a glue gun – how simple. You’ll want to put seals on everything!
These handmade bottle cap and acorn pincushions are unique and easy to create. A perfect craft for the entire family. Aren’t in need of a pincushion? Turn them into Christmas ornaments by adding string or ribbon or use as a name tag at a place setting. Simply glue a small name banner to the head of a pin and place in the pincushion.
- Bottle cap
- Acorn cap
- Trim, beads, embroidery thread and needle
- Cut out a circle of felt that is 1.5 – 2″ in circumference.
- Baste edges (sew large stitches loosely around the edge of the felt circle).
- Pull the thread to draw the felt together like a little purse.
- Stuff the felt with your choice of filling.
- Draw the thread tightly and secure with stitches.
- Glue the inside of an acorn cap or bottle cap and press felt piece until secure. You can use a medium or large binder clip to hold felt piece in bottle cap until dry.
- Once dry you can embellish with trim, beads or embroidery.
- Make a pincushion from a vintage baby bootie.
- Stuff a pincushion with dried herbs and spices for a scented creation.
- Sawdust, Brillo pad, pencil shavings, coarse sand and silica packets have all been used as pincushion stuffing to help sharpen needles. Wool is also very popular.
- Make a matchbook pincushion. These are great for purses when you need that emergency needle and thread or safety pin.
- Paper from a book, scrapbook, magazine
- Ribbon, string, yarn, thread
- Straw, skewer or dowel
- Acrylic paint
- Wax paper or plastic plate
- Measure your fabric (or paper) to your desired length. You will probably want to try a few different lengths to find the one you like best. I admit that I rarely measure when I make beads but I use approximately a one inch by four inch strip of fabric or paper that I taper to one end. Use a large dowel to make a napkin ring. Fabric should be about 2″ x 12″.
- Lay wax paper on the surface you are working on. A plastic plate will also work.
- Begin to wrap the fabric, wrong side down, around the straw, skewer or dowel beginning with the widest part of the fabric. Once the fabric meets the fabric start adding a light coat ModPodge and continue wrapping. It’s best to use a straw if working with paper. Add a final coat of ModPodge (or similar product).
- Add Ribbon, string, yarn or thread using ModPodge (optional). Let dry for at least 24 hours. Tip: if you are using a skewer or dowel you will want to carefully remove the bead and lay gently on wax paper to dry. If it feels stuck, gently twist until the bead begins to slide. Beads can be left on the straw but you will want to gently twist to loosen. I like to leave mine on the straw so it maintains its shape while drying.
- You may cut the bead to a desired length if it is too large.
- I like to seal the edges with acrylic paint. I simply pour a small pool of paint and dip each end of the bead. Let dry.
Finding attractive storage to hide scraps of fabric, old photographs or other large quantities of smaller items has never been easier. Tin buckets, baskets or stacked boxes are great for storage. The best part is you can usually find these items at yard sales, thrift stores or on sale.
Look for plastic or glass containers for ribbons, buttons, screws, nails, or smaller items. Store your nicest selection in areas that will be seen. An array of matching storage boxes and vintage luggage look nice in a corner and can house old magazines, winter clothing, bedding, and keepsakes.
- Keep a memory jar readily available. All you need is a cookie jar. Fill with blank paper or index cards and a pen. When those adorable moments arrive, quickly jot the date and the memory on the index card and put back in the jar. When you are ready to add the information to baby books or scrapbooks all you need to do is pull the notes out of the jar.
- Write fifty “things to do” activities and place in a jar. When the family has trouble thinking of something to do, just pull from the jar.
- Add a bowl of floating flowers to your kitchen. For guests, use small decorative glass bowls at place settings, add your guests name to a rock with a Sharpie, add water and top with a flower.
- Put individual portions of healthy snacks in Ziploc bags and leave in a basket in the pantry or on the counter. Keep washed fruit and vegetables handy as well.
- Freeze grapes for a delicious and healthy treat. Do you have a favorite yogurt? Pour dots of yogurt on a plate and freeze. Yum!
- Keep a fashion emergency kit handy: needles that have been threaded in a variety of colors, safety pins, clear nail polish, hair bands, bobby pins, fashion tape, tweezers, nail clippers, nail file and anything else you might need to handle those morning rush emergencies.
- Dryer sheets are not just for the dryer. I keep these sheets on hand to freshen clothing, remove static clean, deodorize shoes (it works!), and as a drawer freshener. When they come out of the dryer they make an excellent addition to mixed media art.
- Too many magazines? Tear out the ideas you like and keep in a notebook divided by topics. Throw out the magazines.