Better Budgeting: Journal Jars

Journal Jars

Frugal Crafts and Homemade Gifts (featured column)
Submitted by Karen Zabel

Journal jars are fun, inexpensive gifts for family members or friends, and a great way to have a written record of treasured memories.

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For this craft you will need:

1 quart canning jar, preferably wide-mouth with lid (or use a clean spaghetti sauce jar)
52 slips of paper, about 1" X 4"
Blank journal (optional)
Pen (optional)

The idea is very simple: each of the 52 slips has a writing "prompt" written on it, for instance, "Describe your first date," or "What were your favorite games to play as a child?" I also usually include some "free" slips, instructing the recipient  to write out a memory of their choosing.

Once each slip has a prompt written on it, the slips are placed into the jar. The idea is for the recipient to draw a slip of paper from the jar once each week, and to write their memory in the  journal. At the end of one year, each recipient has a journal of priceless memories to share with others.

In my case, I requested the completed journals for my next years' Christmas gift, saving the recipients the cost of a gift and providing me with an incredibly wonderful keepsake. The recipients enjoyed reliving past memories and appreciated knowing someone else was going to be able to share them.

The next year, I made copies of the journals and used those as gifts to other members of the family. You can decorate the jar using puffy paints or other decorations and add a homemade label.

Here's an example for how the label should read:

Recipe for My Life History

or...

Recipe for Our Family History

or...

Life Preserves

Take a generous cupful of your life (or family) history and combine with a heaping tablespoon of nostalgia. Fold in a cup of memories and sprinkle with 52 deliciously interesting questions.

To prepare:

Draw a slip of a paper from the jar. Take a few moments to recall and enjoy your memories. Write or paste the question at the top of a page in your journal and fill in your answer. Don't worry about spelling or neatness!

Repeat once a week for 52 weeks. When the jar is empty, you will have preserved those homemade  memories that make you, YOU!  Don't forget to share!

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Copyright © 2005 by Karen Zabel. All rights reserved.

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