Make Magic this Holiday

This July 4th , put on a very special “pre-show” in that beautiful little slice of time just as dusk is settling in. It’s not quite dark enough for the “Big Show” to start, but dark enough that the crowd is getting antsy with expectation.
sky lanterns 2
This is the perfect time to break out the Sky Lanterns.

Sky Lanterns are miniature hot air balloons made out of fire-retardant tissue paper attached to a ring, string and a wax fuel pad. Everything is completely biodegradable.

Once lit, sky lanterns will continuously rise and fly for miles. They will go higher and higher until the fuel pad burns out. At this point, they begin a slow, gentle descent down to earth.

They are very simple to use. First, you gently open one up, shaking the paper gently as you do. Then you light the waxed cardboard fuel pad. The paper balloon will fill with hot air. When it’s ready to go, you just release it, and off it goes.

Sky lanterns are safe, graceful and quietly beautiful. Best of all, most folks have never seen live sky lanterns before. So, it will be a completely unique experience for most of them, which I guarantee they will appreciate you for.
PS: Whenever you use Sky Lanterns, please take the following precautions:

Only use Sky Lanterns in areas that are not a fire hazard–away from dry tinder, and brush. Be sure you only use fire-retardant-treated lanterns, like the ones you get from SkyLanterns.us.

Be sure you have a clear, wide path overhead for them to rise into. Remember that they will often move sideways as the winds aloft start to push them. Lit sky lanterns will rise until they burn out. But you have give ’em the clear path they need to do that.

Be sure there is little or no wind when you launch them. Windy conditions can prevent Sky Lanterns from completely filling up with hot air. If they don’t fill completely, they will not rise, and will be blown sideways and can start a fire. If you have too much wind to use your Sky Lanterns, just wait for another time.

While ideal for 4th of July gatherings, you’ll love to launch them anytime you have a gathering of two (how romantic!) or more. Also note that Sky Lanterns are equally beautiful day or night. People love to just see how long they can watch the lanterns and how far they go.

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3 Tips for a Magical, Memorable Holiday

Books, movies and songs about the magic of Christmas abound.  And why not?  It is a time of year when families gather, gifts are exchanged and way too much food is prepared and consumed– what’s not to like?  But magic can use a little help now and then.  Here are my top 3 tips to “making a little magic’ this holiday.

~ Add a surprise.  While Christmas is all about tradition, don’t forget the power of the unexpected.  For example, stockings are often a huge part of Christmas morning (they certainly are of ours).  But maybe this year, consider holding out a stuffer or two and hiding them instead.  Perhaps put a clue in the stocking, creating a mini scavenger hunt.  One of my favorite Christmas memories, on a year when a lot of our family couldn’t be together,  I bought a set of our message cards and had  family members write  notes to my Mom on them.  Then I hid them around the house where she would find them unexpectedly throughout the day.   These brief notes were special gifts in themselves, sentiments she treasured; the unexpected discovery of them added a bit of magic to her holiday (and watching her, mine).

~ Start a new family Tradition.  What is one of the things you enjoy most about Christmas?  Think about it and then find a way to add to it.  Perhaps family members relaxing together, sharing bits of themselves and their lives is a highlight for you.  So start a new tradition:  find a time, during dinner or afterwards over dessert, when each family member in turn takes a moment to share what Christmas and family mean to them.  Too hokey for you?  Pick a lighter topic, or a question that everyone answers.  Stumped?  That’s where something like Chat Pack comes in.  Lots of quirky questions that spark unexpected conversations and insight into people you thought you knew.

~ Get up and get active.  With sports such a big part of holidays and the lure of video games, internet and facebook, too often gatherings splinter into pockets of solitary and sedentary “activities”.  Counter that by bringing out a family game (“Spot It” or “Suspend” come to mind, or even “Jacks” can work) and get people interacting,  laughing and loud.  To get even more active (anyone who’s physically capable that is) resurrect something like Twister or our ever popular Human Baffle Puzzle.  Or maybe locate some old disco CD’s and pair people up to “cut a rug”.  After all, everyone’s a kid at Christmas…  that’s part of its Magic!

So there’s 3 of my tips for making Magic this Christmas.  What’s yours?  Your favorite family tradition or activity?  What you love most or remember best from past holiday celebrations?  Won’t you please share it with me?  Better yet, post it on Circare’s facebook page and share it with everyone so we can all make this year’s celebration both Magical and Memorable!

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Say “Hi!” to 5!

I am forever grateful for each and everyone of you who come in to Circare regularly.  You make it possible for me to make a living doing something I love AND make it so much fun!  But  how many of my neighboring businesses here in downtown St Clair Shores do you also know?  Have you wondered into Comfortably Yours and discovered their feel good garments and gifts?  Relied on Sam’s expertise at Vitamin Village to find the best quality supplements?  Had a delicious (and friendly) lunch with Karen and Jack at Caffe Far Bella?  We have a wonderful rich variety of great businesses here in our one small block!  And now is the absolutely perfect time to stop by a few of them, say “Hi!”, see what they’re all about and– just possibly— WIN $100!

That’s right- we 9 Mack Merchants are asking you to come down sometime between Thursday, October 17th and Saturday, October 26th.  Pick up a “Hi! 5” sheet at any of the businesses sporting a “hand” sign in their window (or look for the ‘Hi! 5″ page in the SCS Sentinel, GP Times, or Eastsider 10/17/13 newspapers).  Then stop by at least 5 of the participating businesses, getting a sticker at each one.  Collect 5 stickers and you will be entered into a drawing for 1 of 5 separate $100 cash prizes!  If you enjoy exploring our little downtown and discovering new favorite shops, by all means don’t stop.  Collect 10 stickers and we’ll give you not 2 but 3 chances to Win!

Circare just celebrated our 26th anniversary and we’re really proud about that.   But we’re still actually one of the younger shops here at 9 & Mack.  Roy O’Brien Ford opened in 1946!  Connie’s Children’s Shop is 2nd generation.  Party Adventure, Jan & Jim’s Hallmark, Gilboe & Associates, all of them were here before us.  To have survived-and thrived- through all these years, they must be doing something (lots of somethings) really right.  Come check them out.  And who knows?  It could be the easiest $100 you’ll ever win!

If you have questions, or would like to learn more about our “Hi! 5” event, give us a call @ 586 771-8510.  Better yet, stop by and say “Hi!”

Please share this blog post with your friends and family.  They could win $100, too!

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Your Charities of Choice for Circare’s Community Giving Spree

Here they are, the 8 local charities and community groups that YOU VOTED FOR.  These are the organizations you will have the opportunity to have Circare donate 10% of your purchase to when you shop during Circare’s Community Giving Spree ART FOR PEOPLE, PEOPLE FOR ART,  October 7-12, 2013!

4 Paws 1 Heart    www.4paws1heart.org

4 Paws 1 Heart’s mission is to reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs by paying for needed medical treatment and assisting with the permanent placement of these animals through our partnerships with local rescues. Whether the animal comes in through an emergency hospital or through a rescue, we will work together to meet the medical needs of that animal.

Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning    www.thefowlercenter.org

We have been providing year-round camping experiences for children and adults with developmental disabilities and special needs since 1957. This includes individuals with mental and physical challenges, autism, traumatic brain injuries, and sensory and communication challenges. We focus on the ability of our campers to participate in outdoor learning experiences, evaluating their physical, mental and psychological abilities and removing barriers where possible.

Handbags of Hope    (see them on facebook)

Our goal is to change the perception and views of society as a whole to understand Domestic Violence does not limit itself to physical abuse. We ask women to donate new or gently handled purses.  Each is then filled with 10 items of necessity, creating a functional purse.  Our bags are gifted locally and across the state to domestic-abuse-transitional housing and teen empowerment programs.

Kids on the Go    www.kidsonthegocamp.com

We are an organization that provides special needs children with much-needed therapy during the summer months to families who would otherwise not be able to afford these services. The mission of Kids on the Go is to address IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals of children with special needs that were established at the end of the school year and to maintain their current skills during the summer.

 Kids Without Cancer   www.kidswithoutcancer.org

Since 1981, our mission has been to eradicate childhood cancer by funding pediatric cancer research being done collaboratively by Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the Karmanos Cancer Institute and/or Wayne State University. In our 32 years, we have raised nearly four million dollars toward our goal.

 Optimists Club of St. Clair Shores    (see them on facebook)

We are an organization that Brings Out the Best in Kids in your community!  The Optimist Club of St Clair Shores awarded $16,000 in scholarships to students throughout our city who have risen above the odds and graduated with plans to pursue their education at a college, university or trade school.

 The Lake House    www.milakehouse.org

We invites anyone who joins to benefit from our support groups, health and wellness programs, stress management activities, and social events that can enrich lives and inspire those touched by cancer to live well in spite of this disease. It’s a welcoming place to drop by to connect with folks who can accept and understand what you are going through. It’s also a place to smile, laugh, and make new friends.

Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe (SIGP)    www.grossepointesoroptimist.org

We are an international, volunteer organization for women who work to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment in local communities and throughout the world.

COME HELP CIRCARE GIVE MONEY AWAY!!!

 

 

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Votes are in. Now it’s time to shop!

Wow!  Thank you so very very much to all who voted last week, telling us which local charities and community groups you would like to support through Circare’s Art for People, People for Art Community Giving Spree, which is coming up October 7-12, 2013.

We counted 853Votes!!!

Here are your favorite local charities:

  • 4 Paws 1 Heart
  • The Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning
  • Handbags of Hope
  • Kids on the Go
  • Kids Without Cancer
  • Optimists of St Clair Shores
  • The Lake House
  • Soroptimists Intl. of Grosse Pointe

Now when you come shop at Circare between October 7-12, not only will you save 10% off your total purchase, you will also be able to choose any 1 of these great organizations and Circare will donate another 10% of your purchase value to them in your name!  I can’t tell you how excited I am about this event.  It has been in my head for a long time and it is finally all coming together!

There will be other fun things going on that week, too.   There will be a daily 50/50 raffle, with half the proceeds each day going to the winner and half to the charity of their choice.  And as our heartfelt thank you to those who support the event, we will be giving a small free gift to the first 25 people each day who make a purchase of $20 more.

I’ve chosen to host our Community Giving Spree the week of October 7-12 in part because that is also American Craft Week, a celebration of another type of community that’s very dear to my heart.  We will be featuring some of the wonderful American Craftspeople Circare represents on our facebook page through the week as well as in the store.  The talent and imagination of these individuals is awesome and the strength and dedication required to live their dreams, making a living through sharing their art and vision with us, inspires me.   I hope it helps to inspire us all.

So how many great reasons are there to visit Circare  October 7th-12th?  You can save a little.  You can give a little.  You can shop local.  Buy American.  Support the dream of a talented craftsman.  Own- and give- a one-of-a-kind treasure.  And you can absolutely feel great about all of the above!!!

See you there!

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It’s Time to VOTE!

Which local charity do YOU want Circare to give money to?

Below is a list of 12 incredibly worthwhile causes.  8 of them will be a part of Circare’s 1st annual “Art for People, People for Art” Community Giving Spree and receive a portion of an entire week’s sales from Circare- October 7-12, 2013.

But which 8?

Check them out, then go to the “Voting Form”  and vote for your favorite!

(You can fine the voting form under “Recent Posts” on the sidebar to the right or all the way at the bottom of this post)

Here they are:

4 Paws 1 Heart

4 Paws 1 Heart’s mission is to reduce the number of homeless cats and dogs by paying for needed medical treatment and assisting with the permanent placement of these animals through our partnerships with local rescues. Whether the animal comes in through an emergency hospital or through a rescue, we will work together to meet the medical needs of that animal.

 Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning

We have been providing year-round camping experiences for children and adults with developmental disabilities and special needs since 1957. This includes individuals with mental and physical challenges, autism, traumatic brain injuries, and sensory and communication challenges. We focus on the ability of our campers to participate in outdoor learning experiences, evaluating their physical, mental and psychological abilities and removing barriers where possible.

Friends of Vision 

(The volunteer arm of The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, A Division of the Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology) Our mission is to assist the visually impaired in maintaining their independence and dignity through education, support and socialization so that they may live a satisfying and productive life in a sighted world.

Handbags of Hope

Our goal is to change the perception and views of society as a whole to understand Domestic Violence does not limit itself to physical abuse. We ask women to donate new or gently handled purses.  Each is then filled with 10 items of necessity, creating a functional purse.  Our bags are gifted locally and across the state to domestic-abuse-transitional housing and teen empowerment programs.

Kids on the Go

We are an organization that provides special needs children with much-needed therapy during the summer months to families who would otherwise not be able to afford these services. The mission of Kids on the Go is to address IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals of children with special needs that were established at the end of the school year and to maintain their current skills during the summer.

 Kids Without Cancer

Since 1981, our mission has been to eradicate childhood cancer by funding pediatric cancer research being done collaboratively by Children’s Hospital of Michigan, the Karmanos Cancer Institute and/or Wayne State University. In our 32 years, we have raised nearly four million dollars toward our goal.

Macomb County Children’s Hands On Museum

In 2010, a group of business leaders formed an organizing committee for the purpose of creating a children’s museum in Macomb County. The committee is looking primarily at downtown Mount Clemens as a central location to educate our children, attract and retain an educated workforce, and promote travel and tourism. Organizers of the Macomb Children’s Hands-On Museum are now moving their focus to our “Corner Stone” campaign as we work to raise the necessary funds to acquire and renovate a building in Downtown Mount Clemens.

 Miss St. Clair Shores Scholarship Program

As the longest consecutive running local Miss America preliminary in the state of Michigan, the Miss St. Clair Shores Scholarship Program provides scholarships to young women in the city of St. Clair Shores and Macomb County.  Annually, the program awards thousands in scholarships and prizes.  The scholarship program celebrated its 59th anniversary this year.

 Optimists Club of St. Clair Shores

We are an organization that Brings Out the Best in Kids in your community!  The Optimist Club of St Clair Shores awarded $16,000 in scholarships to students throughout our city who have risen above the odds and graduated with plans to pursue their education at a college, university or trade school.

 The Lake House

We invites anyone who joins to benefit from our support groups, health and wellness programs, stress management activities, and social events that can enrich lives and inspire those touched by cancer to live well in spite of this disease. It’s a welcoming place to drop by to connect with folks who can accept and understand what you are going through. It’s also a place to smile, laugh, and make new friends.

 The Tree of Hope Foundation

We are an organization founded in 2005 to promote research, education, and awareness of postpartum-related mood disorders. We offer five weekly postpartum depression support groups — St. Clair Shores, Sterling Heights, Troy, West Bloomfield, and Commerce Township.

Soroptimist International of Grosse Pointe (SIGP)

We are an international, volunteer organization for women who work to improve the lives of women and girls through programs leading to social and economic empowerment in local communities and throughout the world.

 

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Art for People, People for Art

artforpeople_logo_FINAL-01It’s ART about People!
A Community Giving Spree in honor of American Craft Week

What does American Craft have to do with charitable giving? Both are all about people, community and connections.

When we buy and display a piece of American craft in our home or give it as a gift, in some way we like to think of the person who created it. The imagination it took to envision it, the talent to bring it to life, the passion and drive to make a living doing what they love. We feel a connection to that (largely unseen and unknown) craftsperson or artist and we enjoy having that piece, which is very much a part of them, in our lives.

It’s the same way when we give to a charity or community group. We like to know that we are helping individuals that we have some connection to, even if only in a small way.

We at Circare want to celebrate both of our communities: the American artists and craftspeople whose work we represent and the people (and pets) in our neighborhoods who benefit from the assistance of local organizations.

This is how we’re doing it– and how you can help us!

We want to support the groups and organizations you care about, so we need you to tell us. Below is a list of 12 local charitable or philanthropic organizations. Next week (Sept 16-21) we will be asking you to “vote” for your favorite. You will be able to do so 3 ways: on our website, our facebook page or in-store. Watch for an e-mail from us Monday morning. It will contain links to both a special blog here on our website and to a photo gallery of organization logos on our facebook page. You will be able to vote either place by following very simple instructions or, of course, you can come in to Circare and fill out an old-fashioned paper ballot. Please, only one vote per person, though we sincerely hope you will share this information with your friends and family– and get them to vote, too.

On Sept 26th we will publish a final list of organizations that will be a part of Circare’s 1st annual “Art for People, People for Art” Community Giving Spree. Then the fun starts.

The week of October 7-12 is American Craft Week. All week long Circare will be spotlighting our large selection of handmade-in-America products and artists. We want you to come in and celebrate this wonderful week with us. You will SAVE 10% on every purchase you make during that week! Yes, that’s off everything in the store, no exceptions! But even more exciting, you will be able to designate a local charity or community group of your choice from our final list and Circare will GIVE them 10% of your total purchase value in your name!
What could be better? You shop wonderful handmade products. You Save 10%. You Give 10%.

It is all about community. About connections. It’s Art about People!

Watch your e-mail inbox and CAST YOUR VOTE next week to determine which of these awesome local groups will benefit from Circare’s 1st annual “Art for People, People for Art” Community Giving Spree:

4 Paws, 1 Heart
Fowler Center for Outdoor Learning
Friends of Vision
Handbags of Hope
Kids on the Go
Kids without Cancer
Macomb County Children’s Hands-On Museum
Miss St Clair Shores Scholarship Program
Soroptimists International of Grosse Pointe
The Lake House
The St Clair Shores Optimists Club
Tree of Hope Foundation

Can’t decide? In the coming days we will be sharing lots of information about these great organizations and the countless ways they make a difference in people’s lives!

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Solving your love/hate relationship with scarves!

Do you love the look and feel of scarves? Envy the way so many women look while wearing scarves? Polished, sophisticated, confident, put together and in control? Hate that you feel confused and three-thumbed when faced with tying your own and frustrated that you can just never seem to create that look for yourself? You really can, you know, you just need to know how. There are lots and lots of ways of wearing scarves and many are actually quite simple. I’ve found a couple how-to videos I’d like to share with you. My favorite was put together by clothing designer Eileen Fisher and demonstrates, in a classy, elegant and simple way, how to look, well, classy and elegant in scarves. The other is one I would recommend to my nieces, who are less into elegant and more into cool and fun and hip. Whichever you prefer, enjoy. Then stop by Circare and fall in love with the look and feel of our (soon to be your) scarves!
Here are the links:
Elegant and Classy:

Cool and Hip:

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Back to School Already?!?!

Are you dreading September and the start of school or ready to jump for joy? Maybe a little of both? Here at Circare, we’ve never really thought of ourselves as a “back to school” supplies kind of store. We don’t carry backpacks or notebooks or calculators. But tonight I came across an article by a toy company called “Putting the WOOHOO! in Back to School: 5 Ways to Make it Fun for Kids”. Reading it, it not only made sense to me, but it also occurred to me that Circare does indeed have some wonderful products that answer these needs. See what you think, here’s their list (abbreviated and adapted, but if you’re interested in the complete article, watch for the link at the end.)
worry woo1) “Quell your child’s apprehension. Talk to your kids, find out if they have any fears or apprehension about starting the school year, especially if this is their first year.” The “Worry Woo” books at Circare are perfect if you have a little worrier at home: it’s lesson? DON’T FEED THE WORRY BUG!
2) “Familiarize your child with their new school. Take your child for a visit to the school, walk around, arrange a play date with other students or neighbor friends” Sorry, can’t help you with this one but it’s a great idea.
3) “Outfit your child with school supplies that makes them feel prepared and excited. Have your child involved in picking out their school supplies. Allow them to pick out something special and that they are excited about – but don’t allow them to use it before schools starts.” One “special” supply to really make a kid feel prepared (especially the little older ones) are Circare’s 7 year pens. With their jumbo ink cartridges that will literally write for miles, they’ll always be ready to take notes! And they’re cool designs, too.

Lunch Mail

Lunch Mail

4) “DON’T FORGET to add a couple notes from mom and dad occasionally in the backpack, just to let them know that you are thinking about them.” This is my favorite and do I have the perfect tool for this. Lunchbox Mail are boxes of 30 different messages of encouragement, each in a pop open card with space to write a quick note of your own as well. And finally,
5) “Don’t forget about family time. Life becomes hectic as soon as fall hits. Through the busy schedules of activities, music lessons and sleepovers, set aside one night a week JUST FOR YOUR FAMILY for game night.” Try Spot It. or Suspend. Or our newest games Flash or Nada. Family game nights rock!

Oh, and I remember I promised: if you want to read the full article I plagiarized, here’s the link: http://www.yourneighborhoodtoystore.org/play-grow.asp?i=139

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Summertime Fun Adds Solar Beads

We’ve been doing this Summertime Fun Campaign for most of the summer now and I love the response you’ve been giving us! Every week we get people coming into the store for our ‘Weekly Wow’s”, replying to our e-mails, posting on Facebook and entering our drawings for goody bags of summertime fun. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH! You are definitely making our summer more fun!

Here’s something new. In cleaning off my worktable recently, I cam across a bag of “solar beads”. These are rather plain looking white plastic beads, nothing too special– until you expose them to sunlight! Instantaneously, they change color before your very eyes, turning pinks and purples and blues. Go indoors or into the shade and they fade back to white. So here’s the deal. We’re stringing a couple of these beads on ribbons and giving them away to kids in the store (while supplies last, but we have quite a few). Or if you have kids at home, grandkids, etc., ask us about them. Kid’s love them- they’re magic!

Just one more way Circare can help make your Summertime Fun!summerfun logo

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