23 Ways to Spend your Tax Return that can Make you Happy and the World a Better Place

23 Ways to Spend your Tax Return that can Make you Happy and the World a Better Place

My Money Cake was featured in a recent issue of Upworthy as one of the ways to spend your tax return that can make you happy and the world a better place.

Are you getting a refund?  Hope so!  And if you do, how do you plan on spending it?

Wouldn’t it be fun to make this money cake and give it to someone in need as a surprise?  So much more fun and creative than simply writing a check.

Check out Upworthy’s great list of ideas.  There are really some great ones that I plan to do.

How about:

  • Buy individual sets of flowers and visit a senior center to pass them out.
  • Find a cool and important project helping teachers and students on DonorsChoose.
  • Donate to a local nonprofit helping your own community.
  • Pay it forward in the drive-thru or grocery store line.
  • Buy new socks and feminine hygiene products to give to a homeless shelter.
  • Donate to Meals on Wheels, then grab a friend and volunteer.

It was such an honor to be featured in this great Upworthy article.  Thank you for reaching out Michael Calcagno.

If you haven’t heard about Upworthy, you should check it out.  Their mission is to change what the world pays attention to by featuring great stories about important issues to connect us and sometimes even change the world.  Because “we’re all part of the same story.”

Thanks for being part of my little story here at the creative life in between.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Child Gift-Giving: WANT, NEED, WEAR, READ

Becoming a first-time grandma recently, along with several of my besties, has caused me pause to consider child gift-giving.

It is sooooooo easy to get carried away and spoil – especially these first ones.

So I was thinking it is time to establish the “trend” for hopefully lots more grandie gifts.

I have read several places a good rule of thumb to simplify child gift-giving is to consider four categories:

  1. Want
  2. Need
  3. Wear
  4. Read

Consider gifts in the four categories – buying one of each:  One thing they want, one thing they need, one thing to wear, and one thing to read.

Well – let’s see if I can stick with this…

In the meantime, my bestie’s first grandchild turned one, so going with a fish theme (just because I thought it was fun), I made the above little T-shirt for him (to WEAR), bought him some bathtub fishing toys (I think he would WANT to play with), some socks (I’m sure his mama could say he NEEDs), and the Dr. Seuss Book “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” (to READ).

Happy Birthday Ben!  I hope the years don’t continue to go as fast as this first one did!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

A Special Happy Birthday

Watercolor Birthday Card in Prussian Blue and Burnt Sienna

A Special Happy Birthday.

Every year on this day
is a very special day to me.

27 years ago
on a Saturday at 1:57 a.m.

a perfect and chubby 10 pound
baby boy blessed my life.

That sweet little boy
grew into an even sweeter man.

Thank you for the joy and happiness and love
you bring to my life.

May this year be the best…
until the next.

When I wish that it is the best,
like I feel being your mom.

Every year was the best – until the next,
and they still continue to be.

Happy Birthday NIck!

With so much love,
Mom

My New Creation Station

My New Creation Station / Art Studio is just about done.

A few pieces of art need framed for the walls and some fabric is needed for a window treatment, but besides splashes of paint and scraps of paper on the floor, we are about done.

Hubby has been working so hard this past month transforming  a 22′ x 13′ bonus space we had in our home into a usable space for a few of my “creative life in between” hobbies.

Duct work had to be moved for the air flow of heat and air conditioning.
A cold air return had to be added.
Recessed lighting and a ceiling fan were installed.
Walls were painted.
Flooring was laid.  (And I’m so grateful to my son, Nick, for pitching in last Saturday to help Hubby with the underlayment, padding and laminate flooring.  They did it all in a day!)
Trim was stained and cut and nailed in.

And then I got to start filling it with my painting and stamping and crafting and sewing and photography supplies.  The weekend was spent cleaning out a walk-in-closet that could not be walked in anymore and an office that doubled as a craft room.

Our large garbage receptacle was filled.  The office is now streamlined and breathable.  The walk-in-closet can now be walked in.

It was cleansing and fulfilling and back-aching and tiring work, but so wonderful to accomplish.

And one of the best parts about it all is the only new things furnishing my art studio (besides lighting and fan and flooring) are the Husky Adjustable Wood Work Table and Chrome Shelving Hubby bought me for Valentine’s Day and the fabric organization boxes I bought to organize things in.

Leftover cans of paint from other home projects were used to paint the walls and ceiling.

A very old 8′ folding table that was stashed in the basement, as well as a small four-drawer wooden baby dresser, got a fresh new look with a coat of Tuscan red chalk paint.

I’m keeping one tall wall clear and open for possible photography use.  I received the reflector and Genaray light for Christmas.  Another little spot houses my light box for photographing smaller things.

Another corner is reserved for sewing.

A very special corner is set aside for grandies and other children that may visit with a small child’s art desk that holds a roll of paper (gifted to use by some very special peeps), plastic drawers filled with wooden stamps and a carousel of crayons and markers.

It’s been fun organizing paints and supplies.  I even created a long-needed paint chart for my watercolors and am trying to decide which 20 colors to add to a new palette.

Enjoy this little 30-second Hyperlapse visit of my new little Creation Station.  Can’t wait to splash it up!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

PS – If you can’t view hyperlapse video above, click here to watch video on Youtube.

She is Beautiful

scan20161220_11004501

“She was beautiful,
but not like those girls in the magazines.
She was beautiful for the way she thought.
She was beautiful for the sparkle in her eyes
when she talked about something she loved.
She was beautiful for her ability to make other people smile
even if she was sad.
No, she wasn’t beautiful for something as temporary as her looks.
She was beautiful deep down to her soul.
She is beautiful.”

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let’s teach this to our daughters
and granddaughters
and sisters
and friends.

And….
let’s teach this to
ourselves.

#BestGiftEver #LoveYourself

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Chalk Paint Shabby Chic Dresser Makeover

dresser-after-chalk-paint-and-wax-in-room-1

I am having a lot of fun creating a special room in our house for our new granddaughter.

How fun it is to be able to create a “girly” room in one of the bedrooms previously occupied by one of our sons.

I hope to show you more as we finish; but for now, I’m excited to show you what I did with this beat up old little dresser we have had hanging around forever that has served many purposes through the years.

dresser-before-1

It is a little funny that I’ve taken something beat up and transformed it into another “beat up” look.  (The guys just don’t get it at all that I PURPOSELY rubbed and chipped off the paint!!)  But I’m loving this “Shabby Chic” look achieved with White (Magnolia) Chalk Paint, sand paper, and some Clear and Antique Wax.

I had planned on painting it white, but then saw a friend show on Facebook how she transformed a piece with Chalk Paint and decided that is exactly what I wanted to do.  Considering I had this little dresser already, supplies cost about $15.  I only used half of the container of paint and just a small amount of each of the jars of wax, so plenty more for other projects.  Other than the paint and wax, all that is needed is a paint brush and some fine sand paper.

dresser-after-chalk-paint-and-wax-1
I watched this series of brief Youtube tutorials while doing this, and it only took a few hours to complete.

Looking forward to sharing more as we progress… like how I turned bumper pads from a gorgeous bedding set I acquired into window valances (because bumper pads are now a “no-no” in cribs) — but I couldn’t pass up using the gorgeous pink and green paisley luciousness!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

 

 

Thankful – Grateful – Blessed

thankful-grateful-blessed-thanksgiving-card-stampinup

Thankful thoughts,
Grateful glow,
Blessed beyond belief.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

*Thanks Stacey Ailes of Studio Designers for hosting the StampinUp card-making class where I made this Thanksgiving card.  It was so fun to create this and a few other fun projects a couple of weeks ago with friends and my daughter-in-law.  And hopefully this card made it to its intended recipients today in time to show my thankfulness, gratitude, and blessings.

Funsy Onesies

grandma-onsie

Book My Reservation – I’m Going to Grandma’s Onsie

Does any baby ever have enough onesies?

And why not make them funsies?!

For a fun little shower gift, I made these two little funsy onesies
for our soon-to-arrive baby girl.

Can you tell we are very excited to be grandparents?!

pap-pap-onsie

Pap Pap’s Perfect Princess Onsie

Just a little fabric paint, time and creativity, with a heaping scoop of love.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi

Ellie the Elephant

ellie-the-pink-stuffed-elephant

I’m not much of a seamstress,
but I have always admired those who excel at this craft.

When I learned I was to become a grandma to a sweet baby girl,
I had to make her something special….

Something soft…
Something pink…

Something to love…
Something to show my love.

So I went to Jo-Ann’s and bought a pattern,
and I gave it my best shot.

And while I pinned and cut and stitched…
I dreamed of being the Grandma my Grandma was to me.

I dreamed of our little girl falling asleep in my arms,
and I dreamed of her falling asleep with this little lovie in her arms.

and while I dreamed,
Ellie the Elephant was born.

Cheers & Hugs,
Jodi