365 Days of Inspiration

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Making Differences Disappear

Patti Simmons was inspired to create her 365-day project when her son Tate, who was born missing his right hand, started elementary school. She was searching for a way to let his classmates, teachers, and friends know that Tate is able to do everything a "normal" kid can, and the idea for her project was born: She'd take a photo of Tate doing kid stuff in his daily life, like scoring a soccer goal or climbing a tree, and then post one online every day on her new blog, Tate Can Too. "It takes a little bit of the burden off us, and especially off Tate, to educate everyone he meets. They see daily proof that missing a hand doesn't hold him back at all," says Simmons. "People are really surprised to see all the things Tate can do that they thought would be impossible. Are some things harder? Sure. But for the most part, kids like Tate live completely normal, happy lives." See Simmons' inspiring images at http://www.tatecantoo.com/.

Turning Pet Pics Into Art

Anja Zaharanski didn't realize that her habit of illustrating dogs would turn into an Internet sensation. When she posted the art on her site, dogscanbark.com, readers quickly asked if she could illustrate their pets. So when she announced that they could send snaps and she'd draw their dogs for free, the requests poured in. At first she thought it would be easy (she had plenty of material, after all). But she underestimated the time and energy it would take. Small, fluffy dogs proved particularly challenging. Still, she says it's been worth the effort. "It makes me so happy to send someone the illustration and then hear that I perfectly captured their dog's personality," says Zaharanski. "It makes my day -- I can't stop smiling."

Writing Notes to the Future

Erin Loechner has been writing her successful blog, Design for Mankind, and sharing amazing finds since 2006. But becoming a mother inspired a whole new project last summer. People kept telling her to soak it all in, because each stage of her daughter Bee's growth would move so quickly. "So to capture those moments, I write about my favorite little things that Bee does every day on a stack of sticky notes," says Loechner. "Then I compile them into a letter that I share each Friday on my blog, along with a photo of her from that week. It's amazing to see how fast she's growing, and I'm growing along with her." Starting out with sticky notes made the project feel more doable. And Loechner never imagined how rewarding it would be to turn mundane moments into something more lasting. "To be honest, I thought I was writing these letters for my daughter. But looking back at the entries so far, I see that they're also for me," she says. Loechner is looking forward to sharing them with her daughter one day as well. "It's a daily project," she says, "but it's also a future heirloom." Read Loechner's letters to Bee at http://designforminikind.com/tag/dear-bee/.


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