Salem-Inspired Spooky Tablescape

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Every fall, like many New Englanders, my family and I make a day trip to Salem, Massachusetts. With its haunting history and one-of-a-kind characters roaming the streets (hey, Laurie Cabot!), Salem is a place like no other. So when it came time for me to plan a bewitching tablescape for an upcoming Halloween party, I thought about those cobbled streets and crumbling tombstones and channeled that mood into a dining table display.

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My first thoughts were that I wanted something just a little bit grim, but also very natural. As we all know, squash and pumpkins are obvious decor for the Halloween season so I was keen to find a faux pumpkin I could fix up to fit my somber setting. This cute little ceramic pumpkin perfectly fit the bill. There were actually several options at Goodwill that day that would have worked, but I went with this one because I liked its shape the best. Plus, the little lid lifts off so you can stash candy inside!

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The other thing I knew I wanted was a moon phase table runner. Maybe more than anything else, this really highlights the witchy vibe I get when visiting Salem. So the next stop on my Goodwill trip was, of course, the fabric section. The muslin fabric I found was only $2 for several yards! The simplicity of the cloth seemed ideal for the look I wanted and I couldn’t be happier with the way it took the fabric paint. Both of these projects are some of the easiest I’ve ever done, but they still make quite a statement! Here’s how you can make your own:

– TO MAKE THE PUMPKIN –

Materials:

  • Thrifted faux pumpkin
  • Spray paint in your color of choice
  • Adhesive letters
  • Washi tape
  • Drop cloth or similar
  • Soft tape measure (used for sewing)
  • Paint pen (optional)

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Step 1: Clean. Paint won’t stick well to a dirty surface, so wash your pumpkin with the correct method for the material it is made of. Mine was marked “dishwasher safe” on the bottom so I got to take the easy way out. For plastic pumpkins or something more delicate, you may need to wash it by hand or even just wipe it clean with alcohol wipes.

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Step 2: Paint! Take your pumpkin outside or to a well-ventilated area. With a drop cloth or newspaper beneath it to protect the surrounding space, paint the pumpkin according to the instructions on your paint. Lids can be a little difficult since you’ll probably want to paint the bottom edge if it’s still visible when the lid is on. I found that this trick with the empty water bottle (I cut off the top) worked really well. You could also paint the lid then flip it over and paint underneath. Just keep in mind that you don’t want to eat treats that have touched spray paint, so if you do paint any part of the inside you’ll probably want to use the jar only for wrapped candy.

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Step 3: Add text. After the paint has fully dried, choose your phrase and find the right layout. Use washi tape and your soft tape measure to plan where each letter will go. I cut my washi tape to the width of the text lines so I could justify the lettering then, starting at the top, pressed it lightly onto the pumpkin in a straight line to make sure my words didn’t get stuck on unevenly. Once the first line of text was in place, I peeled up the tape and moved it down for the next line. Since there’s no punctuation in the sticker pack I got, I used a paint pen to add the period.

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And that’s it for the pumpkin! Now, let’s figure out this table runner, shall we?

 

– TO MAKE THE RUNNER –

Materials

– Thrifted fabric

– Fabric paint

– Poster board, cardstock, or contact paper

– Yard stick or tape measure

– Marking tool

– Exacto knife

– Coarse paintbrush

– Scissors

– Painter’s tape (if using poster board or card stock)

– Something round to trace like a plate or lid

– Scrap cardboard

 

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Step 1: Wash your fabric. If it’s safe for the dryer, you’ll want to do that first, too, to get any shrinking out of the way.

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Step 2: Measure, mark, and cut the fabric. Lay it flat and choose the size and shape you want for your runner. Before you do this, decide whether you’d like to add any seam allowance. I left my edges raw because I wanted an aged and almost primitive look to my design. But, to make it last longer and look more crisp, you might choose to finish the edges.

 

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Step 3: Cut the fabric. I cut out notches on each end of the runner just for fun. To do this, I measured up a few inches from the end and found the center of the runner at that point. I made a little mark then used my straight edge to draw a line connecting each corner to that center mark, thus creating a triangle. Snip away the triangle from there and you’re good!

 

Step 4: Finish the edges (optional). If you’re planning to sew your edges, now’s the time. You could also finish them with Fray Check if you want to prevent fraying and still skip the sewing.

 

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Step 5: Create your stencils. If you’re using cardstock, plan for one moon on each page. If you’re using poster board or contact paper, you might want to create a little grid with evenly-spaced moons so you can move the phases around to play with the spacing between each once it’s laid out on the runner.

 

Step 6: Trace the full moon and two other phases onto the paper. The full moon is obviously just tracing once all the way around your circle. For the other two, trace most of the way around the moon then slide the plate/lid over slightly to one side and trace again on the same edge of the lid to connect the moon’s two points.

 

Step 7: Cut out the first three phases. With cardboard behind each phase, use the exacto knife to cut and extract the centers of each stencil.

 

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Step 8: Flip the two crescent phases and trace them on paper to create the last two stencil pieces. Cut these out.

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Step 9: Find the right placement of each phase on your runner and tape or pin them down. Place scrap cardboard behind each phase so the paint doesn’t bleed through to the work surface below.

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Step 10: Paint each phase! Use your paintbrush to dab paint onto the runner within each phase’s stencil. Make sure you’re dabbing straight down not brushing the paint on so it doesn’t leak under the paper. After you’re done, carefully remove the stencils and wait the appropriate dry time before using.

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Now your crafting is complete! If you shopped for Halloween supplies in our stores, then you have already joined Goodwill in giving back to your community. Of all the things on this table (besides the food, napkins, and paper plates), there are only three items on that aren’t thrifted. The silver serving tray was purchased during my most recent trip, specifically for this tablescape, alongside the fabric and pumpkin. The rest of the items have been collected in my visits over the last decade. That’s a whole lot of assistance I’ve contributed to my local community!

 

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While you’re out thrifting don’t forget candles! I always grab candles when I see them at Goodwill. They’re smart to have on hand for power outages plus they make the spookiest lighting you can imagine for a Halloween party. Oh, and they’re lovely during the holiday season as well. Am I getting a little ahead of myself? Sorry! I can’t help it. After all, you know what comes after Halloween… Until then, happy crafting, my thrifty friends!

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Bring Good Home

By Liz Witzler, Marketing Director

Last Thursday, Goodwill Industries and the Ad Council launched an exciting new national campaign, “Bring Good Home,” to inspire more people to shop at Goodwill. Using humor, the cleverly crafted public service announcements illustrate how shopping at a Goodwill directly affects YOUR community by supporting our local job training and employment programs.

A lot of people don’t realize that Goodwill is made up of 161 independent local organizations across North America (with a presence in 13 other countries as well) that are all members of Goodwill Industries International. There are ten separate Goodwill organizations in Michigan alone. We are divided up geographically into designated territories … ours being West Michigan with 16 stores along the lakeshore from Manistee down to Holland. We have our own separate finances, board of directors, etc. and our programs and services vary depending on the needs of our respective communities. Bottom line is, that when you spend your dollars at your local Goodwill store those funds STAY local.

We are a charitable organization that largely funds its own mission through the sale of items that are generously donated from the community. The PSAs, created pro bono by global advertising and marketing agency Digitas, showcase the variety of unique finds available at Goodwill stores and celebrate YOU the shopper.

The campaign’s TV spot depicts Goodwill shoppers as “local heroes” by showing an entire town rallying around one indecisive shopper, encouraging her to make the purchase and erupting in celebration once she does.

The spot ends with, “When you bring home a Goodwill find, you give your whole town a reason to celebrate … because you’re also funding local job training and placement programs in tech, healthcare, and more.”

The new PSA video can be viewed here.

For more information about the programs and services Goodwill Industries of West Michigan offers, visit www.goodwillwm.org

#BringGoodHome

DIY Hanging Planters

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I love making one-of-a-kind gifts for my friends and family every holiday season, but if you’re like me, it’s hard to find the time to craft something completely from scratch. That’s why I love being able to repurpose thrifted goods into something that is useful and beautiful without it taking weeks to make. The hanging planters we’ll be putting together today, for example, take only a couple of hours to complete! At this rate, you’ll have everyone crossed off of your to-gift list before the first candle of Hanukkah is lit!

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Here’s what you’ll need to craft your own hanging planters:

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Supplies

  • Thrifted ceramic jars (or adjust the project for tins or glassware)
  • Thrifted belt
  • Drill
  • Ceramic tile drill bit
  • Painter’s tape
  • 4 screws that fit properly into the drilled hole
  • 4 coordinating washers
  • 4 coordinating nuts
  • 1 nail
  • Small hammer
  • Scissors
  • Pen or pencil
  • Measuring tool (a sewing tape measure works perfectly)
  • 2 plants
  • Hooks/hardware to hang the planters (if the planters won’t be hung in a stud, make sure you include wall anchors)
  • Safety mask
  • Safety goggles
  • Small piece of scrap wood

 

Step 1: After washing your thrifted ceramics, plan the placement of the holes. You’ll need two on each planter. Put a bit of painter’s tape over those areas and mark where you want the holes to be. The tape keeps the drill bit from skidding across the glaze as well as protecting the surface from small cracks the drilling could cause.

Step 2: Gently set a nail on each mark and tap it a tiny bit (so carefully) just to dent the glaze. This creates a starting point for the drill bit to bite into.

Step 3: You may want to take this one outside as there will be some dust. With your safety equipment on, carefully drill all four of your holes. If the dust is clogging up the hole, try sucking it out with a vacuum or wiping it with a damp cloth or Q-tip.

Step 4: Remove the tape and wipe the planters down. You may even want to rinse and dry them if there’s a lot of dust inside.

Step 5: Measure and cut the length you’ll need for your belt straps. Mine are each 13” long. After cutting them to size, I rounded all four ends of the straps.

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Step 6: Decide where the holes in your straps should be then mark all four of those. Place the straps, one end at a time, on the scrap wood and hammer the nail through to punch a hole. You may need to wiggle this around quite a bit to stretch it so the screw will fit through.

Step 7: Thread the screws through the straps and planters one at a time, securing them from the inside with the washer then nut. Tighten as best you can then all you need to do is add greenery!

Dangling plants like burro’s tail or ivy would look amazing in here, but to keep things festive I decided to start with clippings from my Christmas tree. This way plants can be swapped out seasonally, by style preference, or to best suit the light wherever my pal decides to install her planters. You may want to include hanging hardware with your gift to make it even easier to put up.

Photo12.jpgIf you wanted to, you could also include a note which shares the source of your supplies along with Goodwill’s mission: to generate opportunities for people to build brighter futures for themselves and their families. This way, the person who receives your gift knows that these are so much more than just planters. When you holiday shop at Goodwill stores, your gifts just keep on giving, and I can’t think of anything merrier than that.

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Recycle with Goodwill

By James Cherney, Retail Operations Director

November 15 is America Recycles Day, a nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States. It’s a great day to reflect on what more you can do to reduce your environmental impact and practice the principles of “reduce, reuse, and recycle.”

Beyond recycling plastic bottles, aluminum cans, glass, paper — and all the other personal waste produced from our daily lives — Goodwill can help you recycle a lot of other things! Founded on the business model of selling donated items, these goods are diverted from the waste stream. It’s a cycle that extends the life of usable items, while generating revenue and jobs for Goodwill’s mission-based programs.

Last year, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan reused or recycled over 9½ million pounds of donated material!

Computers/Electronics: Goodwill offers a free, easy, and environmentally responsible way to get rid of your unwanted computers, printers, flat screen monitors, TVs and more. Simply donate at any of our 16 Goodwill store and drive-thru donation centers. These items are either sold, or broken down into parts and recycled. We partner with reputable recyclers to maximize the commodity value of donated items while diverting toxic waste from our landfills. We no longer accept CRT TV or computer monitors (flatscreens are fine!). For a complete list of items we accept visit: www.goodwillwm.org/donate/what-to-donate/

Clothes/Textiles: Clothes that no longer fit, are out of style, or you simply don’t wear any more, are gratefully accepted. Items are priced, resold, and reused by someone else. And don’t throw your ripped jeans into the trash; we accept them too. Damaged, torn, or unsaleable clothing items are sorted and sold to various recyclers or salvage brokers for the greatest value.

Furniture: Downsizing, moving, remodeling can all result in unwanted furniture. Donating to Goodwill could be the perfect solution. With the advent of DIY-ing and the popularity of upcycling due to Pinterest, your shabby dresser might be reborn as shabby chic! Goodwill does offer a limited pick-up service in the Muskegon area for large items if you are unable to bring to Goodwill yourself. Please call 722-7871 to schedule.

And don’t forget, your generous donations fund our job training and employment services for people in West Michigan. We sincerely thank you!

For lots more ideas and information about recycling in your area, visit the America Recycles Day website at http://www.americarecyclesday.org

Visit donate.goodwill.org to calculate the human impact of your Goodwill® donations.

Your change changes lives

By Kim Harsch, Resource Development Coordinator

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I love my job at Goodwill because of you – Goodwill donors and shoppers. Because of you, I get to meet people whose lives are forever changed by Goodwill’s mission – to provide work opportunities, skill development, and family strengthening resources in all communities we serve.

This mission is funded in large part by your purchases and donated goods. Another way you help fund programs for people in our community, is through our “RoundUp” program. “RoundUp” means if your Goodwill store purchase is $10.50, you can opt to “round up” to an even $11.00 and that extra 50 cents goes directly to support Goodwill’s services, listed here. If you choose not to, that’s okay too and we sincerely thank you for your business!

So why do we do this? Not all of our programs and services are self-supported through our business enterprises and need a little extra help.

Your spare change adds up to thousands of dollars each year, and 100% of these funds go to help someone in your community get back on their feet. Last month your RoundUp change helped Adam move his family from dire living conditions to safety. He was able to receive the financial coaching he needed free at Goodwill so that he could afford a home for his young family. Your change changed Adam’s life. Read Adam’s story here.

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If you always RoundUp – thank you! If you haven’t, please consider it next time you shop at Goodwill. Thank you again for positively “changing” lives!

 

Providing quality services to enhance lives

By Richard Carlson, President and CEO

Iam pleased to report that Goodwill Industries of West Michigan was recently awarded its 14th consecutive, three-year accreditation from CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) International.

The accreditation award for our Goodwill includes these internationally recognized categories: Community Employment Services-Employment Supports, Community Employment Services-Job Development, Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation Services, Employee Development Services, Organizational Employment Services, and Governance Standards.

The goal of CARF is to ensure that persons served remain at the center of the service delivery process. By pursuing and achieving accreditation, Goodwill Industries of West Michigan has demonstrated that it meets international standards and is committed to pursuing excellence. This accreditation decision also represents the highest level of accreditation that can be awarded to an organization and recognizes that Goodwill Industries has put itself through a rigorous peer review process and has demonstrated to a team of surveyors during an on-site visit that its programs and services are of the highest quality, measurable, and accountable.

The CARF Survey Report contains comments on numerous areas of our organization strengths.

Here are a few excerpts from their findings:

  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan is a mission-driven organization that provides person-centered services and demonstrates a remarkable commitment to continuous quality improvement of its business functions and service delivery practices. Particularly noteworthy are the organizations community engagement efforts and dedication to providing a safe work environment for persons served and staff members.
  • The organization maintains meticulous records and documentation that support compliance with Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Its attention to detail in this area demonstrates a commitment and unwavering promise to offer an array of employment choices to persons served. Parents and persons served express deep satisfaction with services they receive from Goodwill Industries of West Michigan. A common theme in their comments is the professionalism, dedication, and enthusiasm of staff members and how often they “exceed expectations.”
  • There appears to be excellent rapport and mutual respect among the management team, staff members and persons served.  The high level of professionalism among staff members and the organization’s collaborative and respectful working conditions are evident. Local funders describe Goodwill Industries of West Michigan as a strong collaborator with the flexibility to successfully navigate the changing landscape of employment for persons with significant disabilities.
  • Goodwill Industries of West Michigan invested resources in a significant event and professionally created video that highlight and celebrate successful employment outcomes of persons served. The event includes multiple persons served and broadens the organization’s reputation as a premier provider of employment support services in the community.

Attaining and maintaining our CARF-accredited status requires a significant effort, strong teamwork, and a commitment at all levels of the organization to providing quality services and enhancing the lives of the people we serve. My appreciation is extended to our Goodwill board of directors, leadership teams, and all staff members for their dedication and commitment to the never-ending story of Goodwill’s mission to enhance people’s lives through the power of work.

Your change changes lives

By Drew Robinson, Resource Development Coordinator

T

hey say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. As with much of life, this could also apply to the challenges many of Goodwill’s program participants face every day. This is especially true in our MoneyWorks program, which helps people with financial problems find a way to succeed – one dollar at a time. Some have faced crippling debts for years, struggling to get on top of it but never quite paying it all off. Others are nearing a retirement age, and are worried about how they will afford the next stage of their life. There are others who are trying to manage their finances in order to purchase a home or car. Regardless of the situation, the MoneyWorks team is dedicated to helping people make their goals a reality – no matter how long it takes.

And starting this month, you can be a part of their success. From March 23 to July 2, when you shop at your local Goodwill, you will have the opportunity to “round up” your purchase to the next even dollar. These donations will be used to provide MoneyWorks clients with the financial counseling they need to succeed. Financial discipline is hard. By working one-on-one with a MoneyWorks financial specialist, clients receive the support they need to stay focused and achieve their goals.

Please consider rounding up your purchase the next time you shop with us. The few cents you give will be combined with those of other shoppers who want to help, and can make a huge difference in the life of someone in your community. The journey to financial freedom can be long and lonely. Let’s help people who are struggling to take the next step to success together.

We also welcome your financial gifts at anytime. Donate online, by mail, or through your financial advisor. For more information: http://www.goodwillwm.org/donate/financial-gifts/