A Guide to Making Your Own Birthday Presents

Have a think about this scenario: a member of your family’s birthday is coming up and you have no idea what to buy. They don’t have any requests and you could could even go so far as to say they’re ‘the person who has everything’. Needless to say you leave it too late and end up buying another mindless, bog standard gift just because you have to. Sound familiar? Now’s the time to put an end to sub standard gift giving and go that extra mile; not by spending more but by making your gift from scratch.

Whether you’re an experienced crafter or not, making a birthday present is suitable for all ages, budgets and time constraints. Paper mache bowls filled with scented pot pourri is a thoughtful present for women. Easy to make and cheap to do, paper mache is created by diluting a PVA glue mix and applying it to newspaper strips over a mould. In this case, apply the strips to a bowl of your choosing; not forgetting to wrap the ‘mould’ bowl in a thin layer of cling film so the mould and the paper mache can be separated when dry. After the paper mache has set, your bowl is now ready to paint with a design of your choosing; perhaps something that is in keeping with the person you’re gifting to.

If it’s a birthday boy you’re buying for why not opt for another simple and affordable gift such as a bespoke ceramic mug? Plain white mugs can be picked up cheaply from a home store such as Ikea for next to nothing and can then be decorated with a wash-resistant enamel paint. To get your creative juices following it’s a good starting place to think about what your recipient likes and try and translate this onto your mug. You could also look into applying a photograph onto the mug which is another personal touch. Kits to do this can be bought from most art stores and don’t cost the earth.

Finally, if you’re looking for a present that’s great at any age why not opt for a hamper filled with edible goodies? Hampers come in a range of sizes and styles and allow you to get creative in selecting which items you fill them with. Birthday hampers are the perfect surprise at any age; especially if you include a bottle of alcoholic or non alcoholic fizz, a birthday cake, some sweet treats like chocolates and even a helium balloon! If your recipients birthday lands in the summer months you could even go so far as to create a birthday picnic hamper and enjoy a celebration out in the sun.

Don’t get stuck in the cycle of giving boring gifts. Turn gift giving into a fun and creative experience by making your own presents from scratch; they’re guaranteed to be completely unforgettable.

You Have to Know an Opportunity When it is Presented to You

My misplaced opportunity as a Property Manager

Sometimes in Life you have to know an opportunity when it is presented to you. We sometimes crave for things, and when they are presented to us we coil up like a slinky and resort back into the fetal position. You must be wondering what the hell I am talking about? Ok, let me stop babbling and explain in greater detail. A few years back after I had gotten my feet wet being a Landlord for a while, I decided I could make a full time career out of it. After all I was good at this land lording game and figured I could transition into a professional property manager at some point. I fumbled with the idea for a while, talked to folks in the business to get their insight and advice. Yea, I could like doing this gig for a living. The only challenge was, who would give a rookie property manager a chance at running their portfolio of properties? I figured the sweat equity spent over the past few years taking care of my properties and the properties of others had to mean something. With the right company, and the proper guidance I think I could have succeeded.

A few years back my young nephew told me that he had gotten his first job out of college. Great! He was about to venture into the real work environment. I asked him what company he would be working for, and what would he be doing. He said he would be doing some basic accounting work for a few guys in the office that were property managers. Really? I said to him. He then mentioned the name of the company he would be working for. What? You are working for that company? Why he asked. I told him that they were one of the bigger property management companies in town. I casually mentioned that I would cut off my right foot to work for those guys. My nephew mentioned that he had seen a few postings for property managers. Wow!! He said if I was seriously interested he would put in a word for me to one of his bosses. Sure, I said. That would be nice. Honestly, I expected nothing to come out of this conversation. I figured my young nephew was just trying to be nice and polite to me.

Well, to my surprise my nephew called me at home a few weeks later and told me that his boss would like to talk to me. What? Who? Me? He said yes, he would like to chat with me over the phone. OK, I thought to myself. What do I have to lose?

The phone conversation went very well. It went better that I would have expected. He then asked me if I would like to come into the office and talk more, and to bring along my resume. Great!! I was now getting excited as a schoolboy looking forward to his first kiss. I would have had a mentor. They would have helped me with the certifications I would need in order to be certified. This sounded like a great deal.

At the time I was already gainfully employed with my full time job, and I had nothing to lose. But I would have to make a career change, which at the time was no big deal. I would have gladly made a career change to get paid to do something that I truly enjoyed. My full time job at the time was not as enjoyable as it once was. Plus, I had a boss at the time that was a pain in my behind.

Anyhow, I was met by three gentlemen on the day of the interview. They drilled me. They gave me personality assessment tests. They even had their secretary talk to me to try and get a better feel to make sure my profile matched what they were looking for. It was a long interview. They had dined me, so it wasn’t that bad. They said they would get back to me. I thanked them for meeting with me, and went our separate ways. I had done the best I could and had no regrets so I left the interview with a good feeling.

Two days later I got a phone call on my cell. They offered me a job on the phone! The only caveat was they could not meet my present salary at the time that I was making from my full time job. He did say however, I could make up the difference with bonuses and other compensation. I wanted this job badly. I played hard ball, and was able to squeak a little more for the base salary. Once the salary agreement was met, he gave me two days to get back to him. I spoke to my wife about the opportunity. She had reservations about me making a career change at that point in time in my career. Her concerns gave me cold feet. I was so very nervous. I did not know what to do. Too many unknowns I thought. What a risk. After all, I am not being laid off at my present job, why should I do this?

It turns out I wimped out. I did not take the job. The job I thought I wanted was offered to me, and I wimped out. I recoiled into the comfortable fetal position. Deep down, I knew I was making a mistake. Heck, I figured if these guys were able to take a chance at me, so would someone else. Wrong! A few months later I was more convinced that the timing was right to take that career jump and make a career change. I called the guys back at the property management company. No vacancies. The positions were filled. No big deal. I will try another company. Nobody else gave me the chance that those guys did, and it turned out to be one of the biggest regrets of my life. So sometimes we have to be careful what we wish for because when you are granted your wish you better be prepared to sign on the dotted line.

Give Yourself the Present of Being Present

Have you noticed how GOOD you have it? How ABUNDANT your life really is?

Or are you stressing about holiday hutsle and bustle? I remember plenty of years where I MISSED the holiday, the season and everything that was really great and precious because I was focused on everything I thought I didn’t have like:

1. Not having enough money to buy the holiday presents I wanted to buy.

2. Not having friends to celebrate the holidays with.

3. Not having my family members treat me the way I’d like.

4. Not having the funds to take a fabulous vacation.

5. Not having a passionate romance in my life.

This year my focus is much different. And I’ve seen the amazing difference even a year can make. This year I choose to focus on what I DO have:

1. A healthy body that lovingly moves me through every hour of each day.

2. A love relationship with God that that continues to amaze and dazzle me.

3. An opportunity to create all things new in this glorious New Year.

4. A sweet and smokey smell filling my glowing fireplace.

5. The luxury of taking time to reflect on what is most meaningful to me.

6. The ability to let go of all people, thoughts and things that are meant to move on.

As a result of focusing on what I do have, everything that I haven’t had in the past has either been brought to me or I have been brought to peace with it.

It’s a beautiful place to be.

I hope and pray you give yourself the gift of being present with what is. Enjoy ALL that you do have and remember you have what it takes to live a legendary life!

© 2007 Gina Ratliffe