Christmas From A to Z: book

When I made the Christmas from A to Z candy sculpture two years ago, the idea I had was to use it as illustrations for a children’s book. This year the tree is being donated to Festival of Trees to be sold to raise money for Primary Children’s Hospital. I want to have a copy of the book to go with the tree so pushed this week to get it finished and yeah, I finally got it done! Clink the link below to see a preview. For some reason I can’t get the preview to embed properly.


50 Jar Gifts: idea #7 – Candle Jars

Jar of Candles from Prepared Not Scared

Let’s start with this practical idea for combining candles and jars. It is an ingenious idea, a way to store and use emergency candles all in one place. Is there a family story about loosing power and being prepared that you could share. Or even a story about a pioneer ancestor and how they didn’t have electricity and used candles and lanterns to see at night. Prepared Not Scared has a great step by step tutorial on how to make this Jar of Candles. She even has a label ready to print to make a beautiful gift.

label for Jar of Candles as a gift from Prepared Not Scared

Here are some more jar and candle ideas. Some are more practical and some are just pretty. Pick the one that appeals to you and gives you an opportunity to share a story from your family. Then every time they use your gift they will remember that story.


image from

image from

mason jar candles from

DIY Chalkboard Mason Jar Candle Centerpiece by Katherin González Romero

matches in mason jar with strikeable lid image from The Burlap Bag

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos8

Want some more ideas? Visit my Pinterest board dedicated to jar gift ideas.

50 Jar Gifts: idea #6 – Money Jars

image from Lisa Room by Room

For another gift idea with a more practical flavor, how about jars for saving money. Think of a family story where money played a key role and share that along with the jar idea that best fits that story.

image from RoamerApp for travelers

For example, Mary Taylor and her family saved for many years to have enough money to emigrate to the United States. Maybe your family dreams of taking a trip together. Giving each family member a trip saving jar would be a great way to encourage saving plus build up excitement for the trip.

image from Cowie’s Craft and Cooking Corner

Another story is how my grandmother used eggs to pay for a family portrait. It ended up being the only professional picture of their family because Carol Joy died a short time later. Money was tight be Irene found a way to get the photograph taken. We still have the receipt for the last payment of eggs. Does your family or a family member have a special purchase they want to make? How about a special savings jar to encourage them in that endeavor.

image from Bits of Everything

Maybe you would just like to teach wise money management skill. Share a story from your family about how they were blessed by having good money habits. Then give a set of jars to help with saving and spending money wisely. Here are a few more examples. I hope they will inspire you.

image from Will Work for Decor

Personalized Savings Jar from

image from Erin Sutton

image from By Stephanie Lynn

image from a Little Glass Box

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.

Want some more ideas? Visit my Pinterest board dedicated to jar gift ideas.jar gift logos7

Streched Too Thin

Life has tried to tell me something for while now and I think I’m starting to get the message. I’ve got too many things on my plate and I’m not doing any of them as well as I would like to. One of the things that ironically I have totally neglected is doing family histories for my mom. She is almost 91 and she is aging more rapidly the last year or so. She takes great joy and satisfaction in these histories and I don’t want to regret that I got sidetracked and didn’t get as many done for her as a could have or should have.

That being said I have a great desire, even passion to help others do meaningful family history projects too. That wish is why I do this blog and why it has taken me so long to come to this decision. In the last day or two it finally sunk in, I’ve gotten things out-of-order. While this blog is an important part of my long-term goals, it isn’t more important than getting histories done for my mom.

So I’m shifting my priorities and backing way off on the number of posts I’ll be doing for the foreseeable future. After I finish the 50 Jar Gifts Challenge, I’m going to be posting once a week with an occasional pupdate thrown in. I’m also going to let go of trying to get all 50 Jar Gifts posted before Christmas. If it happens great. But if not, I’m not going to stress about it.

To make those weekly post of the most benefit to my loyal followers, please let me know what kind of topics you would most like to see. If you would rather send your suggestions in a private email ( that would be great too. Hopefully this change of focus will help you too, by making the time you spend reading my posts more productive. Thanks so much for your input.

50 Jar Gifts: idea #5 – Mason Jar Sewing Kit

image from It All Started with Paint

This is a fun and practical idea. If you love to sew or if you have an ancestor who loved to sew this gift would be a great opportunity to share that love along with your family’s stories. Do you have a stash of buttons? The pincushion jar would be a good way to share buttons. You could also share any stories connected with those buttons. Did they come from a favorite piece of clothing or a certain family member? I inherited a bunch of spools of thread from my grandmother. The would be great in a jar like this. Hopefully the image below get your creative juices going.

image from It All Started With Paint

image by Frugalcious Me

craft Jar of Whimsies by Phizzychick! on Flickr

image from

image from My Lovely Inspirations

image from click for tutorial

image from

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos6

50 Jar Gifts: idea #4 – Decoupage

image from

I did lots of decoupage when I was growing up on boards but I never thought of doing it on a jar. You can find step by step directions here.

Plaid also has another tutorial on decoupaging jars here. This example doesn’t include a photograph. You can decoupage all kinds of things including leaves and fabric. Enjoy the examples below. I hope they inspire you.

another decoupage idea from

Garden Decoupaged Quart Mason Jar Girls In Pink Solar Light by CarlaRaeVintage on Etsy

image from

image from Julia Hull Library

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click image for tutorial

image from
tutorial on decoupaging jar lids

One advantage of decoupage is that copies work great. You don’t need to use the originals. I can image making copies of love letters between my grandparents along with their photos and mixing them together to make a lovely keepsake of them. Maybe tuck a story inside about their courtship and a treat to eat while reading the story.

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos5

50 Jar Gifts: idea #3 – Sands of Time

image from

I think this idea is awesome. It is a beautiful way to remember your travels The different colors of sand are so beautiful and varied. You can also collect pebbles and rocks. I also like the idea of writing on the rocks. Here are a bunch of examples.

jars with sand and pebbles, etc. from different places from

image from

image from

image from

What I’d really like to do is collect rocks and/or dirt from different places in my family’s history. Wouldn’t it be cool to go back to England where my great-great grandma, Mary Taylor was born and collect some soil. Then trace her journey to the west, stopping at key points along the way to collect more sample. Layered in a jar with labels of some kind and maybe a mini book to explain the importance of each place. With the power of the internet it would probably be possible to find people who live in each of those areas to gather what I’d need and ship them to me. The trip would be more fun but it isn’t in my budget in the near future.

dirt from places around the country
image from Sarah Wiley Joyce

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos4

50 Jar Gifts: idea #2 – Year in a Jar

Year in a Jar By Kid’s Crafts Contributor Stephanie, from the blog A Geek In Glasses via

Here is a fun and simple way to help someone collect their memories for the coming year. All you need is a jar, a photo and vinyl numbers or another way to add the year to the jar. Then as they year goes by they drop those little things they collect from their days into the jar. At the end of the year it is like a little time-capsule. has detailed instructions on how to make this jar gift.jar gift logos3

image from

image from

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos3

50 Jar Gifts: idea #1 – Memories in a Jar

by Kendra Steel

I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it was the perfect way to kick off my 50 Doable Jar Gift Ideas for 2013. Uploaded by Kendra Steel, I love the idejar gift logos2a of capturing the memories of a trip to the beach in a bottle with a photo, sand and a few shells. It is easy to imagine other trips or memories that this idea could be applied to. A camping trip with some dirt, rocks, sticks and pine cones would work. A memorable walk on a beautiful autumn day with acorns and colorful leaves. A ski trip with fake snow, ski passes and other memorabilia. Think of a memory you would like to share and see what you can come up with. Here are some more ideas to get you started.

image via Yasmine Kaissi

image via Karin

image via jonni kilgore

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos2

Joy Jar

P1040284The big events of the past two weeks have to do with Yakira. It was great having time with her and getting Yakira to her new home in Florida.

  • getting life in order again
  • Reid’s help with the water heater
  • Dale’s help with the water heater
  • new water heater
  • new week
  • health certificate for Yakira to Florida
  • cuddling with Yakira
  • apple squares
  • Yakira coming
  • Karen’s photos of Yakira
  • Monday with Yakira
  • safe travels
  • dogs in costumes
  • Yakira safe in Florida
  • Dune’s eval
  • getting Christmas tree permit
  • the grey truck
  • Dune back home
  • new cell phone plan
  • cleaning out garden for the winter
  • autumn colors
  • sunshine
  • happy pups
  • naps
  • our three girls – Yakira, Dune & Emma
  • Martha’s help with Yakira
  • getting plans in place with Yakira
  • GDB’s help with getting Yakira to Florida
  • the sun
  • seeing Yakira
  • Yakira happily in Florida
  • finishing my Wood Badge goals