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Archive for January, 2017

Unusual Crafts

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 posted by Joan
Engraved Motivational Stones

Engraved Inspirational Stones

Commonly, some folks enjoy making paintings and sculptures to enjoy their free time.  You can use them as displays or give them as gifts.  Still others prefer knitting sewing and other needlework.  Have you ever considered woodworking, personalized stone etching or jewelry making?  Here is a list of other uncommon craft activities that you might enjoy:

  •     Glass & Mirror candles
  •     Jewelry made from recycled products
  •     Jigsaw puzzles
  •     T-shirt transfers
  •     Fancy pumpkin carvings
  •     Animal balloons
  •     Towel animals
  •     Pillow making
  •     Video imaging
  •     Hand-made light fixtures.

There are books and articles on just about everything.  Rather than spend your spare time surfing the net, consider something more productive.  Get your kids involved and realize what you accomplished all by yourself.  Your friends and family will be amazed.  Sometimes, part-time crafts lead to a part-time business or even a full-time business.  Enjoy yourself and be sure to pass along this blog.  Have fun.

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Conflict of Interest

Monday, January 30, 2017 posted by Joan
Leave No Stone Unturned Business Gifts

Leave No Stone Unturned Business Gifts

Business gifts can be tricky. You might want to thank someone for an order or a referral, but if the organization has a policy against gifts over a said amount, you can do more harm than good. Before giving things like engraved business gifts, be sure that you are not putting the recipient in a difficult position. As an example, a business acquaintance I knew discussed a personal problem he encountered with my company. He asked for my help.

I was able to help and his problem went away. However, my employer had a policy requiring that all gifts over $25.00 must be disclosed to management. I was sent a gift certificate of $100. to be used at any of the other company’s restaurants. Further, my position required me to investigate situations where company policies were not followed. I dictated a letter to the person who sent the certificate explaining that I appreciated the gift, however in my position, it would be inappropriate for me to accept it. By dictating the letter, I was also able to quietly notify my department associates that I practice what I preach.

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How to Feel Good this Winter

Sunday, January 29, 2017 posted by Joan
feel good engraved stones

Inspirational River Stones

It is not unusual for many to face seasonal affective disorder during the long, cold winter.  There are positive coping strategies which will help you feel better this winter:

  1. Get involved in activities which you enjoy.  Commit to reading books, watching shows and engaging in activities that will peak your interest.  Keep an open mind to participating in new activities and challenges.  Find something that you enjoy and stay with it.
  2. Each day, spend a few minutes thinking about the good things in your life. Some things which I am grateful for are good health, family, friends.  Keep an inspirational paperweight in view which will remind you to focus on your own positive personality traits.  Too much time can be spent thinking about your problems instead of the positive things in your life.
  3. Engage in physical activity.  Plan to go for a walk or go to the gym even if you don’t want to. Exercise stimulates the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain which will keep you happy. Not only will you feel better after exercising, but you will also be happier with yourself for doing something.
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Communication Methods

Tuesday, January 24, 2017 posted by Martin
Happy Valentine's Day Stone

Happy Valentine’s Day Engraved Stones

During the 21st century, we communicate by telephone, email, tweets and other high tech methods.  In prior years, people used everything from smoke signals to message stones to telegraph.  We were limited in communication speed and distance in the early days when we relied on messengers and Pony Express.  These were some of the primitive transmitted communication methods during the 19th and early 20th century:

Morse Code

smoke signals

semaphore flags


signal lamps

Telegraph was certainly an improvement over the Pony Express because you could transmit a message in minutes, rather than days.  However, only a few could translate dits and dahs into words.  Also, telegraphs could only transmit to stations along the telegraph lines.  Today, we look back and laugh.  Well, what will be 100 years from now?  Will cell phones be a primitive tool?  If you want to have some real fun with the youngsters, play Morse Code messages together.  Try saying something like I love you.  It will take some time to learn the code, but you can send secret messages that way.


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Good Small Gifts

Sunday, January 22, 2017 posted by Joan
Happy Birthday Greeting Stone

Happy Birthday Engraved Stones

Recently, we were invited to go to dinner with a group of friends to help one of them celebrate their birthday.  There was no need to bring a gift, but we wanted to offer clever birthday greetings; and after much thought, decided what to bring that would be cute, inexpensive and worthwhile.  We finally decided on his and her matching coffee mugs.

These mugs are special because they are each personalized with their names and something that describes them well.  We also found a perfect greeting card and included a special Greeting Stone to commemorate the occasion.  On one side of the mug is a large capital letter and underneath is their first name.  On the reverse of the mug, there is a description of the things they like to do.  His is in aqua and hers is in pink.  We found them on  It took about a week from the time I ordered it until we received it.

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New Year Resolutions

Friday, January 20, 2017 posted by Joan
Happy New Year Engraved Stones

Happy New Year Engraved Stones

The time for Christmas and Hanukkah greetings has passed and we look forward to what the new year brings us.  Have you made your new year resolutions yet?  What things can you do to improve yourself and make things better for others?  Here are some ideas to consider.

Many folks made a resolution to lose weight. The problem is that after a week or two, the motivation is overcome by temptation. If you make a resolution, also make a plan and stick to it. If you get off the wagon, make the adjustments and get back on it. Another good resolution is to save more money. If you are not saving a minimum of 5% of your net income, change your spending habits. The first payment you make each payday should be to your savings account. Saving more is even better.  If your employer offers a 401K matching plan, and you are not in it, you are making a big mistake.  At the end of a 30-year period, your 401K could be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

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All That Glitters is Not Gold

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 posted by Joan
Be Happy Greeting Stones

Be Happy Engraved Stones

Most folks want something more.  It could be money, health, friends or jewelry.  There is the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.  Then, there is a saying that things are not always what they appear.  Why is it that wealthy people are not always happy?  Why is it that happy people are often not wealthy?  Why is it that some people have more money than they could ever spend in a lifetime but still want more?  Some people carry pocket stones and couldn’t care less about the folks with expensive rocks on their fingers.

Happiness is not only about material things.  Yes, when you are poor, adequate medical attention can be out of your reach.  But if you have enough to keep a roof over your head, live in a safe community and have decent clothes to wear, things can’t be all bad.  Happiness comes from managing yourselves and not trying to spend your way into happiness.  When I was much younger, I felt that if I could ever earn a salary of $XXX, I would be much happier.  One day that happened, and I found that things were as before.  My good fortune came not from money, but from having a wonderful loving family.

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Replacing Obamacare

Sunday, January 15, 2017 posted by Martin
Hope Inspirational Stone

Hope Inspirational Stone

With the recent election of Donald Trump as President and a Republican Congress, it is clear that Obamacare will be replaced with something else.  These are my recommendation to our elected officials as they move forward with their plan.  First, begin by giving out engraved rocks with the words, Help the people.  Next, start by making the replacement plan a bi-partisan effort, and be sure to listen to everyone at town hall meetings and elsewhere before you pass the new laws.

Next, let us understand the difference between ordinary health care and major medical.  Not everyone can have a private physician, but no one should die because they are not rich enough to pay the fees.  Why not establish clinics with diagnostic facilities which would be staffed by paid support staff and physician volunteers about two days per month.  By rotating the volunteers, clinics could be open seven days per week.  During night hours, the poor could go to emergency rooms. Clinic fees would be minimal. Next, stay with the important requirements such as eliminating the pre-existing conditions clause.  Take your time and make it beneficial for all, including the Congress.

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American Politics

Friday, January 13, 2017 posted by Joan
I Have a Dream Inspirational Stone

Inspirational Greeting Stones

During the last 20 years, the United States has become more divided than ever before.  Partisan views have become more dominant than ever, and power seems to have become more important than the people.  I do not judge which party is right.  I only question if our elected officials place the people first and their party second.  I listen to the arguments and sometimes feel that throwing engraved stones at each other is more important than a bi-partisan strategy.

When I was a kid, my dad showed me that two wrongs don’t make a right.  Just because someone does something dumb it doesn’t mean that I should also do something dumb to get even.  Compromise is not a dirty word.  Sometimes you have to give up something to get something.  That is the way it used to be in politics.  You can’t always have it your way or the highway.  To our elected officials, I say think beyond your political base.  Help the folks, before you help yourselves.

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The Good and Bad About Rivers

Tuesday, January 10, 2017 posted by Joan
Engraved River Stones

Engraved River Stones

Rivers are great, but sometimes can be deadly.  There are few things as serene as watching water flow downstream from a brook, stream or river.  The water gurgles as it erodes the small stones and rocks from which engraved river stones are made.  Usually, it is crystal clear and the ecosystem supports wildlife for fishermen and bird hunters.  But sometimes, the rivers can become just too much.

Some rivers like the Red River, the Colorado, the Mississippi and the Missouri cause extensive and repeat damage to overflow prone areas.  During the 21st century which is less than 20 years, we already experienced the Mid-Atlantic during 2006.  These were the worst floods for this area since the 1970s.  Water is controlled by a series of dams and levees to prevent disaster but when there is too much water, one never knows.  While hurricanes cause massive flooding, they are less frequent than melting snow combined with heavy downpours.  To experience what it is like, watch the movie “The River”.

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