Thankful Thursday #4: Volunteer Match

What I did to help others this week:volunteer match

I discovered the organization, Volunteer Match, which connects volunteers with organizations that need help. Using Volunteer Match is super easy. You simply sign up (which is free) then filter the thousands of opportunities by either zip code if you want to volunteer locally or by category.

My first project was to make cheerful pillowcases for Hospice patients with CareCHOICES.

For this opportunity, I used the keyword “sewing” to find this need in California. The organization displays a short paragraph outlining their need and you click the “I want to volunteer button”. Volunteer Match then sends the organization a message confirming there is an interested volunteer and the organization will contact you via email.

The lady I corresponded with at CareCHOICES was lovely and I was able to whip up 8 pillowcases in no time!

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This week I am most thankful for:

Living in the south where the weather is somewhat warmer! Much of the US is under blizzard conditions and while it isn’t summer weather, we do have 50+ degree weather right now. I think that is a heat wave compared to the northeast!

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Transformation Tuesday: Breakfast Room Before

I know you were probably expecting to see my laundry room reveal but there a few finishing touches I must see to first. In the meantime, I thought I would share my February project, the Breakfast Room.

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The good: Paint color! This room along with the kitchen AND my sewing room are painted this lovely yellow, Jersey Cream, from Sherwin Williams. After a LOT of painting in the laundry room, I’m happy to note there won’t be much, if any, required for this room.

SW 6379 Jersey Cream

The bad: My storage cabinets. The cabinets themselves are in great shape and include very deep shelves but the organization is seriously lacking. I never can find what I need without standing on a chair or pulling everything out.

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The ugly: My desk. When I gutted the kitchen and breakfast room five years ago, I thought it would be a great idea to include a desk in this area so I could do all my bill paying, recipe planning, and grocery list making in one spot. As you can see, this area is a catch all for stuff instead!

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The plan: Organize the storage cabinets, reduce the clutter and make the desk a usable space by upgrading the internet connection.

The budget: $100

The timetable: February 1-28

Thankful Thursday #3: Project Pouch

What I did to help others this week:

ifaw pouch

The International Fund for Animal Welfare got such an outpouring of support from the recent request for koala mittens that they also requested pouch liners for animal babies orphaned from the same wildfires that affected the koalas.  The Australian division of IFAW works with care givers to treat all sorts of animals so this week I made and sent 12 liners to help with the recovery effort.

This week I am most thankful for:

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The PBS show Downton Abbey. I know it may seem strange to be thankful for a television show but with so much trashy reality shows on these days, it is nice to look forward to an interesting show that is still tasteful. The costumes are wonderful and the writing is excellent. If only more shows were like Downton Abbey, I might actually watch more tv!

Transformation Tuesday: Laundry Room Progress

I won’t lie. This is a LOT of work.

What started out as, “Oh, I think I want to clean up the laundry room” ended up more like, “Let’s remodel Mt. Rushmore!”

The room is small and my initial plan was to simply pretty it up and reduce the clutter by organizing the space better. I do feel my plan was accomplished and now I don’t mind having the laundry room out in the open for all my guests to see.

As a reminder, here is how my laundry room looked before:

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Laundry Room Makeover in Progress:

The first order of business was removing the yucky popcorn ceiling and stripping the wallpaper. The popcorn ceiling removal was messy but not too hard to do. I poured some hot water into a paint tray and rolled a heavy layer onto the ceiling. After about 10 minutes, I simply took a putty knife and scraped the gunk off. The ceiling is not completely smooth but the texture is gone. I added a layer of Kilz white primer and called it a day.

The wallpaper, however, was another story. Even after scoring it and wiping the walls down with a TON of water and wallpaper stripper, the paper would not come off. I ended up having to peel the color layer off first and repeat the whole process for the backing layer. What should have been a 2 hour job ended up closer to 6! My sweet daddy ended up helping with the final layer as I was fed up with it.

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Once we finally removed all the wallpaper and wiped down the walls, it was time for patching. Remember the hole behind my washer from the plumbing repairs? Well that is gone along will all the myriad of holes from various hooks and dings. Instead of having a dated red check and cloud blue wallpaper, I brought in a fresh new color.

 

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I used Valspar paint from the Lowe’s clearance bin. It was originally a rose color that I thought would be close but after my dad did an entire day of painting, I realized it was just too pink so I fiddled with it by adding a bit of white and yellow I had leftover from other projects to make it more coral. The second coat ended up exactly what I wanted.

As is typical for me, I then decided the paint was just too much coral so I found some mdf bead board at Home Depot and ordered enough to wrap the bottom half of the walls. Eric cut it to length then we installed it using a nail gun. This type of bead board comes pre-primed so a single coat of white paint was all I needed.

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I’m hoping to finish up some shelving, the lighting, and decorating by next week so I can move on to my next project!

Thankful Thursday #2: Koala Mittens

What I did to help others this week:

100px-IFAW_svgkoala mittens

The International Fund for Animal Welfare sent out a plea for mittens to assist in the koala’s recovery from recent wildfires in Australia.  The IFAW works to protect animals around the world and is specifically working with doctors and care givers to provide cotton mittens that will be used over the dressings on koala’s injured paws. Since one of my hobbies is sewing, I had lots of scraps from previous projects available to use. I made and sent 22 mittens to help with their healing effort and to honor my daughter, Caitlin, who turned 22 on Tuesday. If you would like to help, check out this article for details and a pattern.

This week I am most thankful for:

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My sweet daughter Caitlin. I’m so grateful to see what a beautiful person she turned into. Caitlin was a preemie and only weighed 2.1lbs at birth. After 73 days in the NICU she was able to come home and has been a ball of energy ever since!

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Transformation Tuesday: Fitbit & Fitness

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As part of my plan to transform myself, I got a Fitbit Flex during the Black Friday sales back in November. I wear it everyday and managed to increase my daily steps to 5000+ steps per day. My January goal is to reach 7500+ steps per day by the end of the month. Half way in and I’m happy to report this week’s average was 6500!

If you don’t have a Fitbit or some other tracking device, I highly recommend them. I primarily work at a computer all day so the Fitbit is an easy way to keep me motivated. There are a couple of sites I also use to score points good for discounts and free items.

Walgreens has a program called Balance Rewards that you can link your Fitbit to and earn points for walking and weigh in. If you have an AARP card that is linked to your Walgreens account you earn double points too!

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Sears also has a program called Fit Studio that gives you points for working out, walking, completing challenges and being active and having a your Shop Your Way card. The points are good for use at Kmart, Lands End, and Sears.

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I have to admit that though I really want to get healthier, it is super hard for me to stay motivated. Having these little incentives along the way definitely help. Below are the things I’ve gotten either free or mostly free since I started using my Fitbit and having it connected to the these programs. Not too shabby!

  1. Panini maker from Walgreens
  2. Easter dress from Lands End
  3. Paint rollers from Kmart
  4. Fabric storage bins from Kmart
  5. Wireless mouse from Sears

Thankful Thursday #1: St Jude’s Ranch

As part of my 2015 goal of transforming my life, I intend to find ways to help others and make a concerted effort to be thankful for what I have.

What I did to help others this week:

St Judes

St. Jude’s Ranch has a recycled card program that uses the fronts of old cards to create new cards for sale. I found out about this program a few years ago and have been sending in my old holiday cards ever since. This year I sent 14 card fronts that would have been tossed in the trash otherwise. The program accepts all types of cards (not just holiday) and currently has a need for Birthday and Thank You. If you would like to help too, that would be excellent!

This week I am most thankful for:

Cooper

My dog Cooper being found alive and well. He went out New Year’s Eve and bolted when all the fireworks started going off. I called him for 2 hours with help from my neighbor to no avail. After a sleepless night (for him and me), I found him cold and wet by the front porch. It’s crazy how much I love this little stinker!

Please share what you are thankful for and any ideas for giving back. I would love to hear from you!