Tag Archives: Do-it-yourself

Money and Fame

We’ve been conditioned to believe that ‘winner takes all’ and ‘if I have money/fame, THEN I’ll be secure, I’ll have friends/be popular, have meaning and feel accomplishment in my life’.

 

This video leaves with a question at the end.  I would add an additional question:

What do I have in abundance?

Often we don’t see our own abilities as worthwhile/abundant because they’re not reflected back as valued in society.  As we wrestle with personal values and the simple things that sustain us – quietly sharing the things we DO have in abundance – the result is joy.  Appreciating what we have begins by not judging ourselves that we aren’t rich/famous/thin/successful enough.  At first our personal abundance may look silly or useless, but sit with the tiny simplicity of it, and it may take on a life of its own, crafting a way to bring joy not just to us but to others.

Here’s an example of a simple abundance from my own life.

Our house breeds clothes.  When the kids were small  I set up a clothes and stuff swap for entertainment in our home.  We moved what we wanted to other rooms, and set up marked areas with signage so guests would know where to place their unwanted things for swapping.

It was hoot! Fun was had by all as friends and family brought over things they didn’t need and we socialized and swapped. The kids pretty much stayed in the toy room and found new toys to take home, the parents socialized and found things we needed, I was able to clear out clutter we didn’t need anymore and found things we could use.  I found a creative and socially fun use for my abundance.  It brought me joy.

My abundance (clothes and stuff that seems to breed in the attic) wasn’t money, or fame, or power.  It was ‘just’ clothes and stuff.  It was something simple. I started looking for ways to be creative with what I saw as my abundance.

To make a long story short, after years of experimenting I created Swap Positive– started with the simple abundance of extra clothes.

Sharing abundance gives joy.

What do you have extra in your life?  What do you have a lot of?  What is your abundance? Are you someone who can’t wipe the smile off your face?  Do you have way too many empty toilet paper tubes?  Do you get a thrill from constantly holding babies?  If you give away your extra, what kind of joy will you bring to yourself and to others? If you smile at people it could make a positive difference in their day.  Maybe a local preschool would love those toilet paper tubes for the ongoing projects they have, and appreciate your steady supply?  A hospital might need someone to hold premie newborns, or a church/school/clinic nursery might appreciate your skills so young mothers can get a short refreshing breather. What you see as ‘not really anything’, or maybe even feel guilty about, might be what you have in abundance.  Realizing and using your abundance creatively could make all the difference in how you see yourself and your place in this world.  Being rich, famous, and powerful doesn’t bring joy, but maybe having too many toilet paper tubes or egg cartons might be the beginning of a new chapter of joy and giving in your life?

Barb

Indoor forts just got a whole lot more fun

Indoor forts for kids (and adults) just got a whole lot easier – and more fun. Made from recycled cardboard, these lay flat for storage, but can be folded into lego-like blocks for easy stacking.  But the genius is the ‘mortar’ that holds the blocks together, and the easy-on roofs.  Take a look – and be a part of the kick starter program if you like what you see.

This is a possible step towards an outdoor building system for reusable small buildings as well.

Ikea leads the way in system to stabilize refugee families

Ikea is developing a prototype of refugee shelter that is easy to put together, is insulated, has a solar light so people can cook/sew/do homework when it gets dark, and other simple yet practical features.

Ikea is getting feedback from refugees to improve upon the concept before they roll out the final design.  They also plan to include a system of health care, education, and more so refugee families can not only get stabilized physically, but get all members of a family back on their feet in body/mind/spirit as quickly and respectfully as possible.

Start a Free Store for the Homeless

Wanna start a free pop-up store for the homeless?  Check out this video, which gives how-to information including downloadable posters!

Introducing The Street Store. The world’s first rent-free, premises-free, free ‘pop-up clothing store’ for the homeless, found entirely on the street and curated by you.

Download open-source files and host your own Street Store on www.thestreetstore.org

Follow on Twitter @TheStreetStore and on Facebook.com/thestreetstoreorg 

Accessible Adventures for those with limited mobility

Vacations are fun!  Even if  you’re in a wheelchair or have limited mobility.  Accessible Adventures is a new video series, hosted by former radio host John Williams, that SHOWS accessible vacation spots featuring wheelchair and limited mobility people having fun in the Northwest!  Also check out the blog to see Jim Martinson skiing Crystal Mountain on a mono ski. Here’s a video with John Williams telling more about this timely idea:

High School Students Work To Clean The Air

 

April2014Final(1)Be blown away by youth that demonstrate a passion for restoring the health of the environment! The April 26th Sharing Ideas event, features the Roosevelt High School Science Club, a group of students determined to counteract pollution in Portland, Oregon. These local youth are experimenting with planters that recycle polluted air into clean air and testing of air quality surrounding Roosevelt High School. They have been invited to Washington, D.C. later this year to present their findings.

Sharing Ideas events raise awareness of local grassroots efforts throughout Portland Oregon that strengthen community. Project presenters share the inspiration that launched their idea, how it moved into action, where they are today, and their hope for the future.

Everyone is invited. RSVP suggested online or by phone at 503.546.7499. Refreshments will be provided. Childcare (9 and under), transportation, and interpretation are provided upon request, with 48 hours advanced notice.

When: Saturday, April 26th, from 11 AM to 1 PM

Where: Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205.

Who: You! Bring your friends and family to this free event and discover pathways to new possibilities!

 

Free wood chips help local small business, local landfills, and homeowners

IMG_2450What do you do if you’re a small tree chipping company and you don’t want to spend your money on dumping fees? What do you do if you’re a city planner trying to keep your landfills from filling up so fast?  What do you do if you’re a homeowner who wants to do some sustainable and frugal landscaping pathways?

IMG_2441A new website in Portland Oregon solves this three way problem with chipdrop.  You open an account and give your address, and whatever local tree chipping company has a load of chips they need to dump, they drive it to your house and dump it free in whatever location you mention. It helps the tree chipping companies because otherwise they’d have to pay dump fees. It helps the homeowner because you get free wood chips delivered to your door. It helps the city because it doesn’t get it’s landfills full of woodchips. Everybody wins.

We took advantage of this new service and created front and backyard pathways!  Our load, we were told, was mostly douglas fir, so the whole yard smells wonderful, and it’s safe for our backyard free range chickens.

Kids cars turned into mobility devices

Dr. Cole Galloway is turning kids toy cars into mobility devices and physical therapy for young children. This is making a lot of people happy – especially the little kids who get to drive the cool cars.

Learn more about the University of Delaware Go Baby Go! program here.

Read more about this on Upworthy here.

Accountability -vs- Forgiveness

Accountability has gotten a bad rap.  American culture sees accountability as a punishment, and forgiveness as a sign of a good person.

I have a different take.

Here are samples of the same conversation:  one from a forgiveness perspective, one from an accountability perspective, using the random names Mike and Jim.

Forgiveness Conversation

Mike spills the milk on the table.

Jim, upset, points out Mike’s milk is soaking into Jim’s papers!

Mike denies he spilled the milk, and/or makes excuses for why he spilled the milk:  he was tired; he was distracted; he didn’t see the milk there; it was someone else’s fault for placing the milk on the table in the first place.

Jim frantically works to keep his remaining papers dry, and in exasperation calls Mike to Get A Towel!

Mike wrings his hands crying “don’t be mad at me, it wasn’t my INTENT to spill the milk, I really AM a good person, I TRY my best, EVERYONE makes mistakes, don’t hold it against me!”

Jim gets a towel himself and cleans up the mess, sad/angry/disappointed/upset/ that Mike didn’t admit to his own mess or in any way help to clean it up.

Mike pleads “Will you forgive me?”

Accountability Conversation

Mike spills the milk on the table, and immediately says “Jim – grab your papers off the table!”  Mike quickly fetches a towel to clean up the mess.

Jim quickly picks up his papers, focusing on the most important ones.

Mike cleans up the mess, dries the table, and says “Hey man, sorry if I ruined any of your papers – is there anything I can do to make it right?”

Jim answers gratefully “I really appreciate your quick action to clean up the accident. I saved most of the papers, but a few got wet.  I’ll dry them out and check to see if I need to re-write any.  Thanks for asking though.”

Accountability brings out personal characteristics such as strength, resilience, quick thinking, problem solving, caring, helpfulness, satisfaction, self-mastery and concern.  Reactions to this caring response are trust, thankfulness, appreciation, and feeling valued.  If Mike wasn’t aware he spilled the milk, as soon as Jim brought it up, Mike would have switched into accountability mode and went straight to cleaning up the mess.  There is mutual respect and trust with an interaction where a person takes personal responsibility and accountability for accidents or hurts they have caused.  Both parties feel like winners.

Forgiveness brings out personal characteristics such as the inability to take responsibility, inflexibility, lack of empathy, neediness, denial, defensiveness, excuses, blame, guilt, and pride. Reactions are exasperation, disappointment, feeling devalued, and feeling unheard. There is a mutual mistrust and imbalance of power, where Mike feels like a victim even though Mike was the one who hurt/inconvenienced Jim. Jim is left in the uncomfortable position of being the ‘bad’ guy if he doesn’t offer forgiveness, and Mike is in the position of feeling weak. No one wins: Both feel they got the raw end of the stick. Even if Jim does say “I forgive you” to keep the peace/look ‘good’, Jim won’t trust Mike in the future since Mike doesn’t take accountability/responsibility for his actions.

In Summary

My hypothesis is, if you have to ASK for forgiveness, you probably haven’t been accountable for your actions.  Instead of asking for forgiveness, ask how you can make it right, then listen.  Better yet – be accountable in the first place – it’s empowering!  You’ll be in the position to make a positive difference, and the person you wronged/hurt will feel heard.

For everyday situations with kind caring empathic people, I think accountability should be the go-to power word, and forgiveness be an un-asked for gift given AFTER the person harmed feels heard.

Article by Barb Hughes

A Cancer Therapy

photo 1Even though I don’t have cancer, many of my friends have walked that road.  So I thought reading this book would be enlightening.

In the book A Cancer Therapy, Dr. Max Gerson gives a foundation to understand how cancer can best be framed so that it can be cured.  According to Dr. Gerson, studies show that cancer is a degenerative disease that takes a long time to develop.  So when we find a lump, that is the culmination of years of degeneration, so much that the liver has finally grown too weak to fight the cancer.  This book is a summary of thirty years of clinical experimentation by Dr. Max Gerson M.D. from the 1930’s-1950’s.  He successfully took advanced cancer patients that traditional medicine had written off, and figured out how to heal the majority of them.

Dr. Gerson said that there is no magic pill that cures cancer.  Yes, if you remove a large cancerous lump, sometimes that takes enough of the toxins out of the body where the liver can resume to clean the rest itself.  But many times there is still so much sickness left in the bone, blood, and organs that’s just not showing signs yet, that the cancer ‘returns’.  Dr. Gerson’s therapy was developed to treat not just the end symptoms (the tumors etc.) but the many causes  – such as toxins from our pesticides and poor soil nutrition, using food and rest medicinally, detoxifying gently and slowly so the body doesn’t go into shock, etc.

This book was first published back in 1958.  Today, as then, this research seems to be the last resort for those with advanced stage cancer who have been told they will die.  So they get this book, find out about the Gerson Institute where they can get updated information on how to treat their disease at home, or go to a clinic where it can be treated for them.  The regime is currently a little less intensive then what was written originally in the book, but it is still a slow, steady, time-consuming walk to healing.  While the typical person prefers a faster more heroic rescue to a slow personal climb, if you’re willing (or desperate) to see results, this book is a fascinating read.

I found some healthy concepts I’d like to use/modify for use in my own life.  The suggestions list of potassium rich veggies and fruits (many I already enjoy, some I want to buy and try out) look like a delicious and easy addition to my diet.  And the detox ideas are ones I may explore in the future as well.

I’ve been using foil wrong all these years!

Here’s a simple way to dispense plastic wrap and foil.  I’ve been doing it wrong all these years.  Boy do I feel stupid glad that I know how to do this the easy way now.

My son is not going to college

Toby dressed as the 'Repair Wizard' at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

Toby dressed as the ‘Repair Wizard’ at Mac PCx on Halloween 2013

My high school senior is chomping at the bit ready to move on after 14 years of classroom education.  He’s going to high school part time and working part time at a computer store diagnosing and repairing computers.  His past resume includes volunteering at Free Geek where he learned to take apart and put together computers, then trained others to do so.   As a high school sophomore he took computer classes in C++ and other programming languages.  He’s currently studying on his own to get CompTA+ certified, and through a school class learning to write code and design his own website.  He’s been saving up his work money and when he turns 18 plans to purchase professional design software and begin his own software company on the side.

As a parent, I’m getting bombarded at all sides by society telling me my son MUST get a college degree or he’ll never get a living wage job. My son tells me “I know what I want – to work with computers and design computer software.  Why spend 4+ more years in a classroom and be thousands of dollars in debt before I do what I want?”

He’s got a point there.

He says a company should pay to train him in what else they might need because he’s a fast and motivated learner.  He also said that computer technology is growing /changing so fast that what he’d learn in a classroom would be practically obsolete by the time he got out of college, so taking courses now and building on those courses as he works makes more sense than spending his money/time on PE 101 and introduction to Lit classes.  He is studying and problem solving on his own to be on the cutting edge, and expects to be paid for his work (he feels he’s already done the internship route and proved himself).  He is calm about this.  He is focused.  I’m the one freaking out inside.  I’ve heard my whole life “Everyone needs a college education to get a good job”…yet many people in their 20’s  (as well as older adults) who have expensive university educations are looking for work that pays a living wage.

My child has his own vision.  I trust my son and support his wisdom.  And if in a few years he decides that a college education would be beneficial to him, he’ll have the money saved up, or the contacts made, to create a path where he doesn’t have debt.  That’s pretty amazing planning/thinking for a 17 year old.

Book: Choosing Easy World

photo 1You know all those books that tell you “just have a positive mental attitude?”  Well, this book is the manual on how to achieve that effortlessly.   Read this mix of practical examples, storytelling, science, and you can be in easy world as well.   If you believe there could be parallel universes or realities…why not parallel worlds of difficult and easy?  This book gives tools to actively (or at times quite passively) change your perspective to make joy your main operating source instead of fear/control/worry.

 

Julia Rogers Hamrick’s writing style makes this book a fast read.  I can see how many of the good things that have happened to me, the “wow, I can’t believe my luck!” experiences, took place when I was in what this book refers to as ‘Easy World’.  It’s the world of flow, of connection, of joy and fun and hard work that ends in satisfaction.  This Easy World perspective isn’t a striving place or a place of pushing, worry, stress, etc.    And it’s not a pill you take once and everything is peachy.  It’s a place to live.  Take a journey through Choosing Easy World by Julia Rogers Hamrick, and see if your perspective changes for the better.

Easy new way to eat oranges

photo 2It’s that time of year where oranges are plentiful, in season, and an easy and sweet vitamin C fix. But having to peel the darn things leaves pith under fingernails, as well as the possibility of getting more sticky sweet juice on your fingers then in your mouth.  Well, here’s a novel idea of how to eat oranges where you create a wonderful easy long carpet of juicy orange that you can eat right off the skin!  No pith under your fingernails!  No juice running down your hands!  Just a few cuts with a knife and you’ll be getting all that orange AND juice where it belongs – in your mouth.

Your welcome.

Make your own prosthetics for less then $10

Using free internet plans, your local 3D printer, and less than $10 for materials you can make your own hand prosthetics (what currently cost $20,000 ready-made).  Here’s what curiosity, collaboration, and a little love can do.

Can a toy help girls build our future?

GoldieBlox is a toy company that believes girls deserve more choices than dolls and princesses. They support that girls will build the future — literally.

Founder Debbie Sterling is a Stanford engineer who decided last year that girls need more choices than the pink aisle has to offer. She developed GoldieBlox, an interactive book series + construction set starring Goldie, the kid inventor who loves to build.  Find more information about Goldie Blox here – and watch this fantastic video as well.

book: Zero Waste Home

zero waste homeZero Waste Home by Bea Johnson, is a book  of  fun and practical ideas written by a frugal French mom living in America with her American husband and 2 boys. While several of her ideas I already have in practice (she details composting, de-cluttering, simplifying), I found many new ideas such as a simple multi-purpose balm, techniques for waterproofing leather, and special towel folding techniques to carry food to picnics and wrap gifts.   So far I’ve tried her cocoa powder eye shadow, where I brushed cocoa powder on my eyelids.  I then asked my 17 year old son what he thought.  He was like “Mom – it makes you look old and wrinkly!”  I put on my glasses and sure enough even though I liked the color, this is a tip for someone much younger…but it was fun and simple to try!

Bea gives a list of houseplants that clean the air, tips on travel, recipes, stories from her own family, decorating, cleaning, wardrobe, gift wrapping, simple home building/craft projects, holidays and more.   It was a fun read, a cross between homesteading and housekeeping, humor and practicality, simplicity and relaxation.  Instead of making me feel overwhelmed, she made me feel comfortable and curious to try new ideas.

Check out Zero Waste Home By Bea Johnson from your local library or bookstore.

Free fruit gleaning from all over the world!

pear tree lots of pearsFallingFruit.org is an an urban harvesting map that brings together community and city data bases from all over the internet/world.  Find, add, and edit information on the wild edibles growing in your neighborhood.  Check out  http://www.fallingfruit.org/ to find and share free urban fruit that otherwise would go to waste.

Tapping your face can change a bad childhood

This video shows the history and science of how tapping certain acupressure points can help heal painful emotions – and bring about positive change – on a cellular level.

Another thing I like about this, is you can access these videos free online – free health care!

Do-it-yourself furniture is open source

opendesk-3This do-it-yourself furniture design can be downloaded for local manufacture, and is the start of a very cool idea.  In it’s current rendition, there’s a fair amount of wood waste, but what if future furniture designed created less waste because it was square instead of round?  I like that the pieces fit together in such a way that you don’t need other tools.  I like that you can use whatever is your favorite local material, and give local business a leg up, instead of manufacturing in far away countries and then $hipping the products to you.  Maybe this software and technology could be used to create components for my Build-a-Building idea?

Thanks to Gizmag for this article.