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I haven't felt inspired lately...
and when that happens I just need to step back. During my month or so of stepping back and just figuring things out; I found what I was looking for.
As many of you know, I'm very active in my local Relay for Life which is a huge fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. I spent quite a bit of my time organizing the event, fundraising & then some!
So back in July, I made the decision that I was going to go big for a 2018 fundraiser. I am setting the bar high for myself- higher than I ever have. I'm putting everything I have into this fundraiser with hopes of it working out. Because if it does work out, we could raise potentially up to $20,000 just in one night!
In order to achieve what I am hoping (details are currently under wraps with the nature of the event), I knew that I had to do something big just to get to the next step & secure a meeting. But I had no idea what that something big was. It wasn't until a few weeks ago, something just struck me while I was sitting at my desk & it all clicked. I knew I stumbled on what I needed to do to make the impact I am hoping for.
And thus; the 1,000 stories campaign was born.
The thought behind the campaign is for people, especially in my local community & the communities surrounding us, is to show how cancer has effected our lives. I have been participating in Relay for 5 years now, and I have met SO many people who have either battled cancer or have been caregivers, or who have simply known far too many people who have battled this disease.
While I was thinking about all those people & all those stories, I knew that I wanted their faces to be seen & their stories to be heard. I knew that I wanted to show even just a small percentage of how cancer is actively making its way through our community.
And that's what this campaign is all about. It's bringing us back to our roots, back to our experiences, our losses, our celebrations of life.
For the next six weeks, until September 25, 2017, I'm collecting the faces & stories of cancer in our community. I'm asking everybody to do these few things to help us make the impact.
First- make a list of all the people in your life who have battled cancer. Second, print out your favorite picture of each person. Third, directly on the back of each picture, handwrite their story- in any amount of detail you'd like. Fourth, take all your stories- there's no limit per person- and mail them in. From there, I'm compiling all 1,000 (and hopefully more) stories and sending them out to the people I need to meet with!
Just imagine- opening up a box filled with the faces & the stories of people who have all gone through similar experiences. Who have lost so many people to a horrible disease. Imagine reading about the hopeful stories of those who are in remission. Or the inspirational families & friends who have stepped up to be caregivers. Just picture reading story after story, looking at the faces of each person who has in one way or another- been touched by this disease.
This box of 1,000 stories is going to be filled with every emotion out there. There's going to be hope, inspiration, sadness, anguish, anger, happiness, fear, love & everything else you can think of. This box will be proof that cancer is everywhere & that cancer effects so many. This box though, is going to show that even in the darkest of times, there is hope, there is love and there are fighters in all of us.
The goal of this box of 1,000 stories is to make the people opening it feel all of those things. And to then take all of those emotions & not only connect it back to their lives, but to make the choice to fight back with us. To continue to help us spread awareness & to help us continue to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Because not all we do is fundraise, but all we do depends on it.
So how can you help?
It's easy! Choose to be a part of this movement by making your list (you can check it twice too), printing your pictures, sharing your stories & mailing them to use. Even better- once you do all that (it doesn't take too long either, I promise), share this campaign. I bet you can name 5 other people in your life who have also been impacted by cancer and who could help us.
If you're able to share your stories- we're looking to have them by September 25, 2017! You can mail them all - remember, there is no limit- to:
1,000 Stories Campaign
PO Box 598
Yorktown Heights, NY 10598
I am looking forward to personally reading each story- no matter how happy or sad. These stories will remind me of why I choose year after year to fight against cancer through Relay. These stories will reignite that fire & my passion. These stories are going to make a difference, they're going to make an impact.
Back in the beginning of this year, I wanted to learn how to do calligraphy. I learn well by teaching myself, by playing around & seeing what works best for my brain. I really wanted to learn calligraphy because I knew it would be something that I could do to relax & decompress. I have found that I haven't quite caught onto this as fast as I had anticipated- not to say that I'm the most awesome human or that calligraphy is simple!
I had started off with using a nib & ink and loved it. I struggled with keeping things consistent with the ink but found that when I was getting it right, it was looking good. My biggest thing though, was because I'm a disaster in general, I was getting ink everywhere. When I was doing this at my home, it was fine because I prepared for it. But I do a lot of house & animal sitting, and I knew I couldn't just bring my ink to other peoples homes in fear that I would accidentally destroy things that weren't mine.
So, I had looked into trying out brush pens so that I could travel with them. I didn't realize how different they would be from the ink- although in hindsight, of course they would be totally different!
To see my recap on using ink, click here!
I did quite a bit of research before I settled on the brand of pens I would purchase. I settled on Tombow pens which I got for a good price on Amazon and I also use practice pages & cardstock to write. I love these pens because all the ones I ordered are dual tip so I'm able to play around with 2 different styles of tips which produce different styles of lines.
The biggest thing for me was I had to start learning completely over. When you use the ink & the nib, it's much easier to naturally make the lines thicker & thinner based on how your pulling the nib. With the brush pens, I struggle with creating those lines in a simpler way. I'm definitely still getting the hang of it!
What I find too especially is that when I work with the ink, the lines are made & that's that (at least for me). Whereas with the brush pens, I can fake those lines. So what you can do, is write out a word and essentially fill in the thickness of lines to create the style of calligraphy. And while I do this with the pens as I'm getting used to this- I feel like I'm cheating. But in my head I do know that brush lettering & calligraphy have their differences too so that makes me feel better.
I do like brush lettering because it's easier to fix my mistakes- because I'm without a double still making lots of mistakes. You're able to make a tweaks much easier than when using ink. It's also much more predictable than the ink. With the ink, there might be an air bubble in the nib & it might explode a little over your paper. Or if you run out of ink in the middle of a line, it can be tricky to recover especially for a super beginner like me!
What I also like about the dual tip pens is you can play with colors a little! I was nervous to try this and while my first attempt isn't perfect, it still came out cool! I like that with the brush pens for me, I'm able to create more diversity in a single piece. I have fun mixing & matching colors very simply and it makes creating something a lot more fun in the moment!
I'm sure that somehow this technique could be done with ink, but I am nowhere near that type of skill with the ink considering I splatter everywhere still. Whoops.
What I am enjoying also, is with the pens, I'm having an easier time playing around with different types of fonts. I still have a lot of playing around & practicing to do, that's obvious, but I've come a long way. I have a good time mixing & matching different styles. I enjoy playing around a lot & I tend to go from one thing to another quickly then back again. With the brush pens it's easier for me to do that!
Overall, I enjoy the brush pens and the nib & ink in such different ways. I think had I learned on brush pens first, it might have helped me a little more with learning how to use the nib & ink. I do feel that I'm more comfortable with the brush pens currently in regards to being able to take chances & playing around. I love working with colors really easily with the pens, although I haven't tried experimenting with colored ink quite yet. The way the black ink comes out does look a little sleeker than the pens do but the pens give me a better opportunity to do more right now. I greatly enjoy both of these techniques & am really enjoying learning! I would suggest if you're interested in trying either of these options- start with the brush pens! Happy crafting!
If you're like me, then you're obsessed with Snapchat- and let's be real, the filters that come with it. I have loved the flower crown filter- I just enjoy the little extra fun. So I decided I finally would learn how to make them!
What I love about this craft is it's easy- it can be time consuming depending on how many flowers you're using. But it's also inexpensive. The wire & tape you use- you can use it for so many other projects & it's going to last you. The flowers- if you're like me & love coupons, then you can get these inexpensive at the craft store! You can also decide how big, small, simple or extravagant you want these to be! It's a fun project to do with your girlfriends with some wine & snacks!
Here is how I created mine (and trust me, I learned the hard way of not doing my research ahead of time):
I like to also sort everything out as I'm cutting. It just makes the thought process of the kind of crown your creating & the actual creating of the crown a little easier. I sort out the flowers based on size & color if necessary too.
Once I do this, I start thinking about how it's going to look. Am I going to create a pattern? Is it going to be totally random? Do I want it to have a ton of flowers? Do I want it on the lighter side? You can make this however you have envisioned it!
If you need more tape- get more tape or you can trim the stem right from here too. You're going to keep repeating this until your crown is complete!
I tend to do repeating patterns on my crowns. So if you're doing this- to make sure it's even, I do one set of pattern on one side, then one set on the other side & continue to alternate until I hit the middle.
If you're using the thin headband, decide what you want to be the focal point on the top of your crown which will be on the top of your head. I'd start here at the middle point & work your way down the sides!
Ever since I could remember & to this day, I have extremely vivid dreams. They're detailed, and sometimes crazy! Because of that, I've always had a thing for dream catchers. I have numerous up above my bed & I even got this gorgeous (well, I think it's gorgeous) dream catcher tattoo a few years ago!
I wanted to bring you a fun tutorial to learn to make dream catchers! I figured this is such a fun craft to do with girlfriends or even kids! The trickiest part is the weave, but I found a really easy way to do it thanks to my friend Pinterest! I hope you enjoy this & don't forget to send us your pictures of your final craft!
What you need
I liked this craft a lot first off because it doesn't break the bank! You could probably make 2 of these for under $10 easily! Not all craft projects have to be expensive, and this one is proof of that! Obviously the more you like to embellish, the more this might add up to be. But this is a great craft to do if you're hosting a kids birthday party too and it won't cost too much!
This was also one craft that didn't take a ton of time. I spent most of the time figuring out the middle pattern so I wish I had searched for help prior to starting, but I am stubborn by nature! I go either way- sometimes I really enjoy time consuming projects where I can really create something elaborate. But sometimes, I just need a quick crafting fix! I especially love a good quick craft when I'm learning something brand new that I can build on!
Making the dream catcher really showed me how must room there is for creativity! You can go in so many different directions between colors, weaves & final decorations. I bet no 2 final products will look the same! It's such a fun craft to express yourself with!
I hope you have fun with this craft & I'd love to see pictures! So send them my way at firstname.lastname@example.org and maybe you'll be featured on our social media pages!
Relay for Life!
I realized a few months ago, that 2017 is my fifth year of fundraising & participating in Relay for Life of Yorktown. I've learned so much about the organization, the fight & myself over this time & I wanted to share some of those bits with you.
I originally began to Relay after my Aunt Carol was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer; it was the only way I could figure out to fight for her at the time. So that year, myself, some family & some friends all signed up & we began to fundraise! Each of us had somebody unique they were fighting for; friends, family or themselves. It was the first time I really realized that cancer really does touch everybody's life somehow, someway.
It's this weird feeling knowing that you're not alone in what you're going through but at the same time wishing that you didn't want anybody else feeling that way. Because you don't want anybody else going through a cancer journey of any kind.
That first year for me was a big one for learning. I knew we were raising money for Relay for Life which benefit ted the American Cancer Society, but I didn't know how important those fundraising dollars were. I didn't make the personal connection until 2 years later.
My Aunt didn't lose her hair from treatment the way that so many other cancer patients do even with chemo & radiation. It wasn't until her colon cancer spread to her brain & the type of treatment she went through, that she lost her hair. It was the first time I began to really realize how much your hair effects your confidence & how you feel. I don't think she wanted to necessarily have her physical appearance scream "I have cancer". It wasn't that she felt ashamed, or weak; rather hair provides that extra level of privacy.
When her hair really began to come out, I was asked how to find a wig. I had heard of the program "Look Good, Feel Better" run by the American Cancer Society, but I didn't know too much more. So one afternoon, I gave the ACS free 24/7 hotline a call to learn more. Not only did I speak to the nicest people ever, but I was able right then & there setup a free appointment for my aunt to go get her free wig. Not only was she going to get access to a free wig, but she was also going to get her makeup done too!
When the day arrived, myself, my mom & my cousin all went with my aunt to pick out her wig. I will always remember how I felt when I saw her that afternoon. It was the first time I saw her since her hair began to fall out & I just remember having to force myself to smile. I left the room & ran to the bathroom to cry just for a minute. It wasn't because she didn't look beautiful; because she always radiated beauty, it was just the first time in all the years that I felt like her outer appearance reflected her fight. It made me so angry all over again that she had to go through this. That we were spending the day picking out wigs, that she had already had countless rounds of chemo, numerous surgeries & then some. I was just mad that anybody had to go through this.
The thing that changed though, was at the end of the afternoon, I looked back at the past few hours & how much fun we had. We were having her try on all sorts of wigs- even the ones we knew she'd hate. We laughed, we enjoyed ourselves, we met other families in the session who were going through the same thing. It was one of the last afternoons I spent with my Aunt before she passed. Despite my anger that day over the situation as a whole, I am forever grateful that the Look Good, Feel Program exists. I am thankful I had that afternoon of laughs & memories with my family.
Funds that we raised at Relay, go back into that program & countless others that help give families peace of mind. It was that afternoon that I knew I had to keep Relaying. I had to keep helping fund the programs ACS runs so that other cancer patients can utilize them. I knew then that I was in this fight for the long haul.
After my aunts passing, I realized how my fellow Relayers were this beautiful support system & more importantly; my family. They are this group of humans who all have their own cancer stories & reasons as to why they have chosen to fight. They were there for me after my aunt passed to offer more than just kind words; they offered genuine compassion & understanding.
Five years ago, I would have never imagined that I would have taken on the great responsibility as the event lead volunteer for my Relay. But here I am! I spend countless hours year round with my Relay family not just planning our main event & fundraising, but also educating. Five years ago I really didn't know what my donations to Relay did, but now I do & it makes fundraising so much more valuable. I know that funds go not only toward cancer research or for free wigs, but cancer patients can access free rides to treatment, free lodging when travel is required to treatment, support groups, the 24/7 hotline & SO much more. What the American Cancer Society provides for cancer is immeasurable in the world of cancer.
While I'm celebrating my 5th year anniversary, I am hoping to really succeed with my fundraising goals. I want to continue the fight against cancer! If you are feeling generous today & want to help me reach my goals while providing hope in the world of cancer, please visit my individual fundraising link here:
I also encourage you to learn more about what the American Cancer Society does & joining your own Relay for Life event!
To read other posts about my families cancer journey, visit:
I love how mason jars are a great blank canvas to experiment on! This next DIY is a craft we used to do as kids all the time but with plastic soda bottles. I decided to try it out for this series to see how I liked it!
I hope you enjoy this last craft! It's really something fun for adults & kids to do together! Experiment with all your creativity and see what happens!
What you need:
-Once you have added paper to your entire jar- you're done! Just let it dry completely before using it!
-A fun part about this craft is you can go back once it's dry to add more layers if you're not totally satisfied.
I'd love to see your pictures of this fun craft!!
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The first step is to figure out what type of trim you want your bottle to have to make it special! I chose to do a scalloped type trim. So what I did was I took my paper, drew out my design & cut it out.
From there, I removed the label from the bottle. You're going to want to get as much of the sticky stuff off as possible but having a little there is ok!
Then, I taped it around my bottle about halfway high. You can choose how tall you want your finished product to be! Then I traced the my design with the marker & untapped it.
What I did next, was I cut my bottle about an inch higher than my design. This will make cutting your design out a lot easier. Best way to start cutting the bottle- pinch the plastic with one hand & cut a little bit where your pinch is to start it off. Then simply, cut around!
Then you can start cutting your design! Don't worry about cutting your marker lines off because the spray paint will hide them. Follow the lines as best as you can- cutting plastic can be tricky!
This is the step I very highly recommend kids do not do. Take your spray paint & your bottle outside. Be sure to be wearing clothes you're ok with getting ruined in case wind sends spray-paint your way. Please be sure to not breath in any spray paint!
Follow the directions on your spray paint to make sure you are doing it correctly. I did 2 layers of spray on the outside of my bottle. I let it sit outside for a while for it to dry & take away some of that spray paint smell. When it's dry, you can bring it on in!
This is the fun part! Now that your bottle is spray painted- it's a whole new blank canvas! I chose to go simple with just a strip of glitter because I'm obsessed!
But you can go crazy with all sorts of different materials. Add color, add shine, add glitz, add fun!! Use your creative mind to make this awesome!
I ended up using this as my go to spot for my paint brushes since I use them so often! You can even punch a few small holes on the bottom & turn this into a plant holder! That can make an awesome Mothers Day gift, don't you think?
My name is Kristina and I'm the founder of Love Struck. Read about how Love Struck came to be, see how I make it happen or just read a random thought I just might have! Anything can happen at our blog & I wouldn't have it any other way! It's time to get Love Struck, and what better way to start than right here!