Pay It Forward and Spreading Smiles

>> Friday, January 28, 2011

If you're on facebook you might've seen a few statuses recently like this one:

Pay It Forward 2011: I promise to send something handmade to the first 5 people who leave a comment. In return, you must re-post this and send handmade gifts to the first 5 people to reply. All gifts will be sent in 2011.
Several of my friends had this and I commented on one. And just last week she gave me...

...this great wrap skirt she made from an old sheet she purchased at a thrift store.

I adore the skirt and love that it was made from repurposing a discarded item. So now I have to offer up the same promise on my facebook status. But I can't be unfocused in what I'll be making. I have a lot of to do creations already stacking up on my plate, my status will specifically say I'll send the first five either a felt finger puppet or felt cookie like the ones I made this summer (shown left). I want to get back to making more felt goodies, I have the stacks of felt waiting and these don't take but long, so this will work.

I'm also going to do one thing different in my post. I know many people don't deem themselves crafty or are just too busy to take on the promise. I don't want to leave them out, so for those not inclined to make something I have another way they can pledge to Pay It Forward....with free compliments.

I saw this genius Free Compliments flier last week and knew I had to share this. I explained what we were doing to the kids and they were equally excited to share smiles with strangers. The kids and I set out yesterday to find community boards and place five in our area. I'm now encouraging those not crafty to promise to print five fliers and place them wherever they can, putting 55 compliments out in to the world.

Turns out we had a hard time finding community board in our suburbs. I'm not sure if it's the technology age or the fact people in the burbs are just less connected to their neighbors than urban environments. I was saddened to realize there were no boards in my local groceries, drug stores, or post offices. We spent all afternoon but we did get five places:

First the local coffee shop; they were the one guaranteed a spot to post a bulletin. Next REI, they don't allow self-posting but were happy to grant us permission. We taped one to a pay phone outside Wal-Mart after discovering they had no message board. I didn't realize we still had pay phones around. We also taped one to the door inside the family bathroom at the grocery store. I personally know a busy mom grocery shopping and having to stop mid-store to change a diaper can use a good compliment. Our fifth compliment poster was left with the local library branch. They also don't allow self-posting but were moved when my 5yo asked if she could leave free compliments for book lovers. The branch manager said we made her day and she'd glady put it on the board with county and library announcements.

I encourage you to spread the love and print out a flier and place them in your community or workplace. And if you need it pull one off for yourself.

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