For Christmas presents this year to both my parents and the in-laws I made journal jars and notebooks for them to record their past and present memories and thoughts. Thankfully the gifts were very well received!
To explain exactly what these are I think its easier for me to copy the write-up that I put on the inside cover of each of the four notebooks. I needed to make the recipient know exactly what they were receiving and the whole aim and thought behind it. This is a pic of the inside cover of one of the books and it says:
*RECIPE FOR YOUR LIFE HISTORY*
Combine a generous slice of your life
history, a dash of nostalgia, several
cups of facts and feelings and loads of
deliciously interesting questions.
Take one slip of paper from the Journal Jar.
Take a few minutes to enjoy the memories.
Glue or write the question at the top of a
blank page. Fill in your answer.
Don't worry about your handwriting or
spelling - just tell your story.
This Journal was prepared to preserve
your life as a message for now and for
When you have answered all the questions
– or as many as you want to – give the
completed Journal back to me as a gift.
I will ensure the Journal and all the
information contained therein is carefully
looked after and treasured.
Enjoy the scrumptious, home-made
memories that celebrate something
very important - YOU!
I found some info on journal jars online and altered and changed the info to suit the recipients. Same goes for the journal questions that go in the jar. There are some lists of questions that you can find online, but you will need to alter them to suit whoever you are giving the gift too.
So basically you are decorating a notebook and a jar. The jar is filled with questions which the recipient sticks to a page in the notebook and then they carry on doing this until all questions are answered, or the book is full, or until they have simply told you all they want you to know. The book is then given back to you as a gift for you to treasure and pass down to future generations. I can think of no better gift to be honest – to give or to receive.
*Where to start...*
What I used:
- Kiln Jar
- Paper - Heidi Grace flocked paper
- Embellishments - Heidi Grace Stickers and die-cuts
- Fiskars Brayer
- Acrylic paint
- Queen & Co felt fusion
- K&Co Butterfly die-cuts
- Lil Davis Tinseltown Chipboard glittery letters
- Plenty of glue and DST!
- Sewing machine
*Journal given to my MIL*
*Journal given to my MIL*
I started by buying a very thick and sturdy notebook – I got mine from The Works and they were £4.99 each. You need a sturdy notebook as it will be opened and closed and used a lot over time (I hope!). The journal jars are kiln jars which you can get from any good cookware store for about £3.
I then covered the notebook covers front and back. I tried not to make the front cover too bulky and tried to avoid using embellishments that may break or fall off – so everything was certainly well glued into place, at least those bits that I hadn’t put through the sewing machine!
For the two ‘male’ books I used my Fiskars brayer with acrylic paint to create a fab paint effect. I just couldn’t find the right sort of paper to use and wanted them to look masculine to suit the Dads, so made full use of my brayer - which I love by the way, and I think they are being discontinued so grab one when you see it as they are a great investment. You can buy the handle and interchangeable patterned rollers as well as a plain roller.
*Journal given to my Dad*
*Journal given to my Dad*
I used rubber stamps to create the images on the Dads books and plenty of embellishments from Heidi Grace to build up the cover. I love lots of layering and placing embellishments so you just see a bit of it. I am getting into stickers too – for ages I didn’t use any and thought they were a bit ‘old hat’ but I love them again! They are ideal for peeking and layering. The Heidi Grace stickers I used were ideal to add a little sentiment or add an initial.
For the Mums books I used some gorgeous Heidi Grace flocked paper and die-cuts to embellish the covers and built up the layers to create a hardy, sturdy book. Lots of machine sewing went into these covers – I am determined that they don’t ruin or fall apart!
*Journal given to my Mum*
The journal jars I kept very simple. I attached a glittery chipboard initial onto a bead chain and then hung this from the metal hinge. The initial indicates whose jar is whose as they randomly pick questions from the jar and don’t want to get them mixed up.
*Journal given to my FIL*
There are some websites that have a list of questions specifically for journal jars and I was able to take a few hints and tips from these to create my own questions suitable for my parents and in-laws. Most of these sites are American, so you will need to check spelling and ensure they make sense for whom you are giving it to! These were my questions – enough to keep them busy for some time I think!
Describe your first home as a young couple.
Describe your first crush – what was he/she like.
Write about your wedding. (i.e. when, where, parties given, receptions, bridesmaid/best man, colours, flowers, cake, what you wore, etc).
Do you remember any of your grandparents? What were their names and do you have any memories of them?
Describe the most serious illness you have had.
What’s the most wonderful thing that ever happened to you?
What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you?
As a child did you have any household chores? What were they? Which did you enjoy most/least?
Where did you live as a child? Tell about the house(s) you lived in during your childhood.
What is your favourite: colour, flower, food, activity, hobby?
What would you like to be remembered for?
What were your fears, expectations, and anticipations about getting married?
Do you recall any outstanding family trips or summer holidays you experienced as a child?
What is the most trying experience that ever happened to you?
How many brothers/sisters do you have? Describe them. Tell a story about you and each of them.
What are your favourite books and/or movies? Why are they your favourite?
Do you have a favourite author? Who? Any favourite books as a child?
did you play in your house or neighbourhood?
Tell about some of your neighbours as a child.
What things do you enjoy doing today that you also enjoyed as a child?
Tell about your favourite aunt and/or uncle.
What is your greatest joy? What is your greatest sorrow?
What is the most important lesson or advice you’ve learned?
Have you met or worked with any famous people? Where, Who, When...
Write about your parent’s courtship. (How they met, where, how long they dated, etc.)
What do you know about your parents wedding?
Write about your courtship.
What was your most embarrassing moment? (Be truthful)
Describe getting a Christmas tree as a child. (How it was decorated, when did you put it up?)
Where did you go to school? Describe a typical day during your school years.
Describe your garden as a child. Did you help in the garden? Draw a picture of what it looked like.
Thinking back, was there a teacher or a class that had a great influence on you?
How did you become engaged? What can you remember about that time?
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
If you could choose your occupation again, would you choose differently? Why?
Are you the oldest, youngest, or middle child? How did you like being the oldest/youngest/middle child? Did it have any particular advantages or disadvantages?
What were your mother’s best traits? Her worst? The ones you share?
What were your father’s best traits? His worst? Ones you share?
Describe your Sundays as a child and now.
Write about any conditions surrounding your birth that you are aware of and tell any interesting stories about your beginnings (how your name was chosen, any close calls, etc.).
Write about your mother; her personality, characteristics, stature, talents, temperament, familiar stories about her, her role in your home, etc.
Tell about your father; his personality, characteristics, stature, talents, temperament, familiar stories about him, his role in your home, etc.
Tell about your parent’s philosophy of raising kids, discipline and rules.
Write about any schools you attended. (Special teachers, funny situations, achievements, etc).
Tell about all the places you’ve worked.
When you were a child, what got you into the most trouble with your parents? How well did they handle it?
List each of your uncles and aunts and tell one thing about each of them.
What are some of your hobbies right now?
Describe the perfect Autumn day.
How old were you and your spouse when you were married? How old were your parents when they married?
What is your advice to those younger than you?
Describe the perfect Summer day.
What did your father do for a living? (How did he get to work, what time did he go and get home, who did he work with, etc?)
How did your mother spend her time? What did she do for a living?
What special things did you do with your mother? Tell about your relationship.
What special things did you do with your father? Tell about your relationship.
Tell about the birth of each of your children.
Do you remember any special feelings you had as a child regarding fears, fantasies, etc.?
Between the ages of 5-12 what was your favourite activity?
Do you recall any special events which took place in your neighbourhood while you were growing up? (i.e. deaths, fires, accidents or illnesses).
What do you feel has been the most significant world event that has taken place during your lifetime and why?
Describe a favourite holiday in your married years.
What were your grandparents like? Where did your grandparents live? What did they do for a living? What was their home like? Etc.
Tell about any pets you had as a child.
Tell about any religion practiced in your home.
Were there any events, world or local that changed your life?
Write about your early romances.
How did you first meet your in-laws?
What do you remember about yourself as a teenager? What was important? What were your dreams?
What convinced you most in your choice of a spouse? What was it about your spouse that made you fall in love?
Tell about your teenage social life. Tell about your friends, dances, movies, dating and outings.
What are some of your favourite smells now? Can you remember any childhood smells that take you back?
Describe your cooking skills as a young spouse and now.
How did your mother or father wake you up in the mornings?
Describe the home you live in now.
What is your favourite dessert?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What is your favourite time of day?
Where did your parents live when they first married? Tell about other places they lived as well.
What instrument do you play or you wish you could play?
What was your favourite Saturday activity as a child?
If you could be a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
Tell about each of your children - names, birth dates and circumstances surrounding their birth, (characteristics and differences, growing up in your home, problems, joys, sorrows, accomplishments, etc.)
What is your child rearing philosophy?
Tell about your grandchildren. (How many, names, how you feel about being a grandparent, etc.)
Write about your life as the children left home – how did the home feel and what did you do with your time?
What are your food preferences? How did they come about?
What do you think brings good or bad luck?
Tell about any ancestors you know, give dates, names, etc. and any stories about them.
Tell about the changes you’ve seen during your lifetime: society, technology, fashions, fads, politics, etc.
Tell about your philosophy for handling money.
What are your most precious and deeply embedded values?
What personality traits do you admire the most about yourself?
If you had your life to live over again, what would you change?
What kind of music do you like?
Describe a sound and smell that you remember from your childhood.
Do you remember a special birthday party you’ve had, given or been to?
Describe your first paying job. What was the salary?
What are you frightened of?
Share a principle you have learned, or one you have taught.
Describe the perfect Spring day.
Describe a childhood Christmas.
Describe a childhood birthday.
What special things did you do with your mother?
What is the most adventuresome thing you have ever done?
Describe the perfect Winter day.
Are there any family heirlooms in your possession? Tell about them and how you acquired them.
Where are some of the most interesting places you’ve travelled?
What are your hopes for your children and grandchildren?
If you had a million pounds, what would you do with it?
If you could re-do an event in your life, which event would it be and how would you re-do it?
Do you believe in life after death?
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you travel?
What kinds of things do you collect?
List the compliments you receive on a regular basis.
List your favourite talents.
What always makes you laugh?
What do you worry about?
List the components of your perfect day.
List the brand names you buy and swear by.
List all the modes of transportation you’ve taken.
List the best gifts you’ve ever been given.
List the things you think you can’t live without.
List the ways you have changed for the better.
List the things you’d like to do before you die.
List the places you’ve visited that have altered your view of the world.
List the menu for your favourite meal.
List the celebrities you’d like to meet.
List the songs you know by heart.
List the nicest things anyone ever did for you.
List your answered prayers.
List your favourite
snacks and sweets.
© Caroline for Bubbly Funk