Our Blessings Jar

You might have seen gratitude or memory jars making the rounds on Facebook or pinterest.  When I first saw them, I loved the idea and thought it was a great way to start the new year.  If you aren’t familiar with them, some families write down things they are grateful for during the year to add to their jar while others keep track of their favorite memories during the year.  Then at the end of the year you can open it and read everything and reflect on the year.

Our family decided that our happy moments together are also blessings P1010800that we are grateful for so we will be adding both to our jar.  We had a bunch of index cards so we are using those right now to write down things we are grateful for or happy moments.  Since the girls can’t write, they are drawing pictures and then we are writing for them.

P1010799Since this can easily be one of those things that you are excited about in January and forget to continue by February, we are keeping our jar out where the family can see it.  I also have put on our calendar to write cards twice a month.  Now, I know you can’t schedule memories, but we can schedule  time to reflect on our blessings and what has happened lately in our life.  We also are asking our houseguests to fill out a card when they come to visit.

To further help P1010629us remember throughout the year to add to our jar, we made ours bright and colorful.  I decoupaged one that I picked up at Michaels with tissue paper squares and Mod Podge.  Then I added the lettering using vinyl and my Cricut.  Really any container will do–jewelery box, old jar, shoebox.  For us, we wanted something that was a good size and had a lid that sealed.

I’m really looking forward to keeping our blessings jar this year.  Besides being a great way to reflect on our happy memories and all we have been blessed with, the scrapbooker in me is absolutely thrilled to have the year documented like this.

If you  have never decoupaged, or as I call it Mod Podged, before, you really should.  Fun and easy, it’s a great thing to have in your bag of tricks.  You can pretty much Mod Podge anything onto anything.  You just paint on your decoupage glue down–I obviously use Mod Podge–and then place your item that your using on it and then paint over it again with the Mod Podge.  And don’t worry, it dries clear.  For some really creative ideas check out Mod Podge Rocks! by Amy Anderson.

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Tree of Thanksgiving

Here is our Tree of Thanksgiving we made.  As a family we wrote things we are thankful for on each leaf and hung them on the tree.  It is now sitting in the middle of our kitchen table and when we say grace we read the leaves and thank God for all of our blessings.  This is a project I loved from beginning to end.  Obviously the part I love best is giving thanks, but on a crafty note, I also really like how our tree came out.

Supplies: posterboard (for the tree), paint, cardstock (for the leaves), construction paper (to make template), ribbon or raffia, hot glue, scissors, hole punch, marker

 

To make the tree you first want to draw out a stencil of the basic tree design.  You want to have a bit of a dip in the center piece. (Don’t be thrown off by all the orange paper.  The stencil and the tree really are different pieces; we just have a ton of orange paper).

Use your stencil to make two copies of the tree on posterboard or foamboard, depending on what you prefer.  I used orange posterboard since that’s what we had on hand and I thought it would work well painting it brown.  You could certainly skip the painting step and just go with brown board.  Different colors will give you different looks.

You need to make a cut in the top of one and the bottom of the other.  And you will want the cuts to match up.  I just went to the halfway point on each.  It might have worked between if I cut only down 1/3 from the top on one and up 2/3 from the bottom on the other.

I then reinforced the pieces with hot glue so the cuts weren’t quite as important.  You just need the pieces to fit together evenly so that it will stand up.

Cut additional branches as necessary.  I added four branches, one for each middle space.

Then hot glue the additional branches in.

Paint the tree.  You just need to be careful because if it gets too wet the whole thing can fall apart.  We just painted it lightly and quickly.  Just know that as you paint the branch pieces might start to curl.  I just made sure to quickly paint the other side.  Then I used a hair dryer to help it dry a little before propping it up.  You could certainly skip the painting step.  However, I kind of liked how it made the branches curl up and change shape a little.  It also kept all the branches from all being lined up straight.

For the leaves I used my cricut to cut them out of cardstock.  You could also just as easily draw your own or search a stencil online.  And then I used raffia for the ribbon hangers.

Then we just hung the leaves on the tree, reading each as we went along.  Like I said before we keep it in the middle of the table and refer to it when we say grace.

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