50 Jar Gifts: idea #21 – “I Love You” Jar

gift of love in a jar from New Nostalgia

I had visions of getting a bunch of jar gift ideas done for Mother’s Day but somehow other things took priority. So now I have a chance to do some Father’s Day focused ideas. I find dad’s harder to buy for and often resort to edible gifts for my Dad. I’ll resist that at least for a bit and see what else I can come up with first. This idea works equally well for Moms, Dads, Grandparents or anyone. It is super simple in concept. Just write the things you love and appreciate about the person on slips of paper and put them into a jar. By folding or even curling them it looks fun and helps the jar look full. You can decorate the jar any way you would like. Here are a few examples of what others have done.

photo via Pinterest via Squidoo.com

I love you jar from Debbie Hanley

image from Cool Mom Picks via Pinterest

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos22

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


50 Jar Gifts: idea #19 – secret message

image from My Sisters Suitcase

This would be a great gift for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or a birthday. The basic idea is to write a message, one letter at a time one side of a group of small objects. Then number them 1 to whatever and put them all together in a bottle. When the gift is opened, they put the object in numerical order and then turn each piece over to read the message. You can use wooden game pieces like the example above or paper or even candy. I did it with a variety of hard candy for my dad’s birthday last year and not only did he enjoy it but his grandsons had a great time figuring out the message.

To tie the idea into sharing family stories, the message could be the start of a story or a favorite memory about the person. It could be the starting off point for story telling or you could record the story on an audio or in a book or even just written down on a piece of paper. Here are some more secret messages in bottles ideas.

image from Lessons Learnt Journal

image from Club Chica Circle

If this idea inspires you, let me know. I’d love to share your project here too.jar gift logos20

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

Birthday Traditions

lighting mom's 90th birthday cake

Iris’s 90th Birthday Party video

With my mind being on birthdays recently I started thinking about birthday traditions. A Google search brings up lots of hits on traditions for kids but not so many for grown-ups. As I think back in my life and can see how easy it is to let birthdays slip by without doing much to really celebrate the day. Some people are great at making sure they have fun celebrations in their life. Some families have well-developed birthday traditions. My family isn’t one of them. So this is an area I could use some work on. Maybe it comes from my family culture. My mom is very practical and recently my dad said that he didn’t know how to celebrate. It seems to me that birthday traditions don’t necessarily need to be fancy or expensive but it takes planning and effort to make sure they become traditions. I also think that sometimes birthday traditions need to evolve to meet the families changing needs.

Last year I had lots of fun celebrating by birthday 50 times during the year. I want to do more in the coming years to develop some good adult birthday traditions. With my birthday coming up in May it is time to start thinking about some new traditions. Do you have any suggestions? What birthday traditions do you have or wish to start with your family?


Photo Birthday Card Book – preview

I got the book done from my mom’s 90th birthday party today and uploaded it to blurb to order. After seeing the preview I might make a few tweaks before ordering. It came together pretty quickly. My biggest mistake was in not deciding what order to put the photos in before I started dropping them into the template. It took me a while to clean up the mess I made and start over. So I learned once again, that a little planning goes a long way.

It is kind of fun to take a project from idea to ready to print in just over a week. Not every project needs to be years or even months in process. Do you have a smaller project just waiting to become a reality? I challenge you to get started on it and see how quickly it really can come together.

Book of the Week – Birthday Boy

Since birthdays have been on my mind, I decided to look for a book this week about birthdays. When I found “Birthday Boy” by Tom and Marianne O’Connell, I couldn’t resist choosing it. Here is what the authors have to say about their book:

Marianne and Tom love celebrating all holidays and Skippy’s birthdays were always the best! Skippy partied at home in Sausalito, the “fake” house next door, at his beach house in Pajaro Dunes and Las Vegas.

Skippy biggest birthday was his 10th and he enjoyed it with 35 of his canine pals and their families. Marianne and Tom rented the Marin Humane Society dog park and Skippy worked the crowd like the champ he knew he was. The park’s life size bronze statue of Skippy only added to the festivities.

Tom and Marianne hoped and dreamed Skippy would live to be 17 but sadly that didn’t happen. But for every dog they say there is an angel and you can be sure Skippy and his angel will paint the town every October 21st for all the years to come.

Even if you aren’t into dogs this book has some great ideas that can be applies to other projects. I really like how each year lists some important events in the world and in Skippy’s life. It is amazing how a few photos and two short paragraphs for each year can tell so much about what is important. Even applied to a life history this approach would make a very doable history project.

Take a few moments and ask yourself if you have a project that this format would work well for. I bet most of us do. I’ve just thought of one. I want to put together a book for the dogs that we’ve raised when they retire. This would be a good way to do that. I know, another dog project, maybe that isn’t such a great example but I do think it would work well. Hopefully it will be many more years before any of our pups retire. But I could start each of their books now and add to them each year on either their birthdays or the anniversary of their graduation. Then they would be ready when retirement comes around.

Have you thought of a project? I’d love to hear about your ideas. Maybe your ideas will inspire someone else too.

Photo Birthday Card Book – template

lighting mom's 90th birthday cake

lighting the birthday cake

Remember last week’s book of the week, “face BOOK“? Well it inspired me to take photos at my mom’s 90th birthday with the plan to put together a birthday card in the form of a book very much like “face Book”. I set up a spot at the party to take photos of all the guests. I brought a notebook for the guest to write a short message with a marker. I’ve set up a template for the book and now I just need to drop the photos in place. It is going to be a wonderful memento of my mom’s 90th birthday party.

If you would like the InDesign template for a 7×7 blurb book you can download it from my dropbox for personal use. These are fully editable templates from InDesign CS6. You can change the colors and text as you would like.

Celebrating Nine Decades Pages Template

Celebrating Nine Decades Cover Template

I’ll post a preview of the finished book soon.

90th Birthday Slide Show – complete

Yeah! I got the slide show done for my mom’s 90th birthday. I would have like to have played around with ProShow more but I did learn a bit more with this project. We had it playing in a loop during her party. Thank goodness that the music didn’t end up being too obnoxious. It helped that it was an instrumental without any lyrics. I hadn’t thought that through before hand, but I think I’ll do that again in a similar situation.

The slide show is about 10 minutes long.

By the way she loved the Mary Taylor book “My Grandma Mary”. We have a few tweaks to do before it will be available for general distribution.


90th Birthday Slide Show – in process

I’m working on a slide show for my mom’s 90th birthday. I love the power of images and music but I forget how long it takes to sort through 90 years of photos even when they are already scanned. I’m planning to put info like who is in each photo in the metadata but I haven’t gotten that done yet. If I had a simple search would have provided me with the photos I had to work with.

I decided to show the photos in reverse order, starting with the most recent and moving back in time. For a sound track I’m planning to use “Sentimental Journey”. I hope I don’t run into any major snags. Time is running short and the power company has a planned outage tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. I sure hope that the electricity isn’t off that long. I was so focused on the photos tonight that I was an hour late for a meeting. Opps! Hopefully I’ll have it finished by this time tomorrow.

I have to find more time in the future to do projects like this. Have you done any slide shows or videos? I’d love to see them if you are willing to share them.

Two Mile Stones – Banta & Casey

Today is Banta’s 2nd birthday. I sent her a figure 8 tug toy because it was her favorite tug toy of all the ones we had and it held up pretty good. I got it sent off early and then waited a few days to send an email to Mark to let him know it was coming. Well I waited too long and the package got there before my email. Because he has no vision I didn’t send a note or anything with it. I just figure my email would take care of that. This is what he said:

Hi Raelyn and Bill

We got the box on Friday.  Thank you very much.  She loves it!  I was wondering where it was from, I have not had anyone over yet who could read the box to me to see who sent it.  Mystery solved.

Banta is doing very well.  We will be working with another trainer this Wed and Th.  I do not remember if I mentioned, I only agreed to the 2 week class if I had 1 week of at home training.  We do not have many working issues, just a few minor things that need to be worked through.

We had 12 straight days of thunder storms, some severe, and only 1 storm seemed to bother her.  We had 2 lightening strikes very close to our house.  We learned the next day there was some pool furniture hit by lightening about 50 feet outside our door.  I think that is when we both jumped.  Now we are getting very hot weather.  Since we have been back we have either had very hot weather or hot weather with high humidity.  I think this has caused Banta to be a little less energetic than when we were in training.

We had a very long day today.  I took the day off work and went to 3 Dr. apts. at 3 different hospitals.  She did really well.  We only had some difficulties for the last 20 minutes, I hope she just got tired.  I was really happy with how she worked almost all day.  I get so many comments about how well behaved she is and how beautiful she looks.

Mark and Banta 

The other mile stone was Casey went into season today. I knew it was coming so it was a relief in someways that it finally got here. She has had some behavior changes the last couple of weeks with destructive chewing and peeing on walks etc. She even started to swell up a bit the last day or two. Lisa wanted to get a chance to have her over for a couple of days before she goes back but she had to cut it short when Casey came into season. So 28 days and counting of house arrest for Casey. The bad part is she will only have a few days a freedom before she goes on the truck back to GDB. It reminds me so much of the timing that Banta had too.