A New Holiday Tradition: The Giving Jar + Free Printable

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Christmas brings out the giving spirit in everyone. It’s that time of year when people think beyond their own needs, and consider how they can help loved ones and strangers in need. Whether it’s giving a special gift, or donating time, money or food, it all counts…and it changes lives for the better.

Our kids are young, but this year we tried to teach them about the joy of giving, and helping others. They don’t fully understand what a text donation to Red Cross means, and they don’t quite know the impact of go fund me donations. All that is good, but it has to be tactical for our kids – something they can see, touch and feel. They participated in bake and craft sales to raise money for kids affected by the hurricane in Houston, and made blankets for others in need. But, we wanted something extra at home to keep that giving spirit alive; not just during the holidays, but year-round.

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Let us introduce you to The Giving Jar. It’s a small, but mighty, jar with a small sisal tree in the center to remind us of the spirit of giving at Christmas time, but with enough space around it for money. We retrofitted the traditional glass milk jar from Oriental Trading Company to be more like a DIY piggy bank.

This bank is for sharing only because once it’s full the kids are going to give it to someone in need. In this day and age, it may only be enough money to buy a fancy cup of coffee, or perhaps a new pair of socks. But, the point is not what or how much it can buy, but the way it can make someone feel. The recipient, perhaps in a rut or time of sorrow or struggle, will hopefully feel a bit of hope. A little love can go a long way to lift one’s spirit, and that’s what we hope our Giving Jar will do.

We hope you make one with your kids this holiday season, or anytime throughout the year. Yay, we have a free printable for you to use, too, from Jenna at Fleur de Lis, a paperie. This is a thoughtful and affordable gift to give other families this holiday, so they can have a giving project of their own.

Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Add a glue dot to the bottom of the sisal tree, and glue it to the bottom of the jar.

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Step 2: Add vinyl stickers to the outside so text on the jar reads, The Giving Jar. You can also use a paint pen to write the words.

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Step 3: Cut a small slit on plastic lid that fits on the glass jar. Make sure it’s large enough to fit money.

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Step 4: Fill it with money.

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Step 5: Attach our free poem to the jar (it explains the gist of the jar to those who participate, and those you give it too). Get the free printable poem here. It reads:

At Christmas time we share joy in the spirit of giving to others in need, 
But why just on Christmas do we do a good deed? 

It’s best to give all year long,
and make kindness part of our daily heartsong.

This is the giving jar to bring year-round joy,
for any man, woman, girl or boy.

Fill this jar with spare change as best you can,
give it to someone who needs a helping hand.

Try it once and you will see,
your heart will be filled with love and glee.

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merry-christmas-the-giving-jar-label

Step 6: Give. Then, give again.

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the-giving-jar-plaid-scarf-holiday-gift-that-gives-back-mini-sisal-tree

Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post. 

DIY Winter Snowflake Ornaments


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This week my children’s school held bake sales and homemade ornament sales to raise money for a school in Houston whose families have suffered tremendous loss from the hurricane. My kids were thrilled to participate, and wanted to make as many ornaments as they could to raise as they said, “a ton of money.” While they made DIY marbled clay snowflake ornaments of their own, I made a couple, too. It’s a super simple craft for kids and adults of all ages, which is why I’m sharing it with you today. Plus, this is a wonderful gift to encourage the kids to give their family and friends.

Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Lay down parchment paper, and roll balls of clay with the various colors.

Step 2: Combine colors, and then twist and turn to blend the colors together for that marbled effect. With a rolling-pin, roll it out so it’s about 1/4 inch thick.

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Step 3: Press the cookie cutters into the clay, both the large snowflake and the small one. Remove excess clay around the cutter.

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Step 5: With a small straw (like the ones used in coffee shops), punch a small hole through the top of the ornament.

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Step 6: Bake on parchment paper according to clay package directions.

Step 7: Add a wallet size photo with glue dots on the back of the ornament, string and hang it.

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diy-marbled-clay-ornaments-with-photos-for-kids

Cheers To A DIY Christmas Stocking With A Wine Spout

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‘Tis the season for holiday parties, gift-giving and all things merry and jolly! We pour more wine around the holidays with all the parties, dinners and let’s face it, stress. So, wine was on our minds when we crafted our next DIY Christmas gift idea.

For this DIY, we’re changing the classic line from the Twas the Night Before Christmas poem that reads, “…the stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there,” to instead say, “…the stocking were hung by the bar with care, in hopes that friends and family soon would be there.” Yes, we’re hanging our families stockings in the living room like we always do for Santa, but we’re hanging a few extra in the bar this Christmas, and giving them to friends to spread good cheer. Christmas is all about making spirits bright, right?

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This DIY wine stocking makes for the perfect gift for friends, neighbors and family. Plus, it’s a really fun topic of conversation whether you’re at a party, or having a quiet night in with the girls.

Anyone and everyone can (and should) make these DIY Christmas stockings. Here’s how we made the ultimate stocking stuffer.

Materials:

  • Stockings, .98 cents at Wal-Mart, or other great options at big name retailers
  • Felt
  • Scissors
  • Boxed wine (we used Bota Box)
  • Hot glue and hot glue gun

Directions:

Step 1: First, we upgraded the stockings with about a $3 plaid fabric investment. We didn’t use a needle and thread – just scissors and a hot glue gun. Before the plaid, there was a thick strip of white felt.

red-and-plaid-stockings-with-funny-lines-diy-boxed-wine-stocking-holder

Step 2: Cut out letters for the fun quotes. We went with, Drink Up Grinches, Santa’s Helper, He Sees You When Your Drinking and Dreaming of a White Christmas. We had black letter stickers and just traced as we cut with the scissors. You can freehand the letters though, maybe even using good vinyl stickers to save yourself cutting time all together.

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Step 3: With a hot glue gun, glue the letters to the stocking.

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Step 4: Cut out a small hole in the front toe part of the stocking. If it’s too big, you can always hot glue the fabric tight around the wine pull tab.

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Step 5: Insert the wine bag in the stocking and pull the wine tab through the hole in the toe.

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Step 6: Hang and pour. Cheers!

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diy-red-christmas-stockings-with-a-wine-spout-making-spirits-bright-holiday-bar

 

DIY Halloween Lanterns with Spooky Silhouettes

diy-lanterns-for-halloween-with-black-spider-and-bat-silhouettes

For us, Halloween is all about fun costumes (we spent our entire childhood dressed alike on Halloween night, and now we do the same with our kids), our mom’s homemade carmel popcorn, carving pumpkins, trick-or-treating and celebrating the holiday with our large Italian family. We don’t get into the scary stuff, horror movies or anything remotely gory. So, our Halloween decor can be a bit of a snooze for those who go all out for the Oct. 31st holiday. Pumpkins, Happy Halloween signs and a few spiders is just about all we have in our Halloween decor collection. It lacks a scare factor, which is ok with us (and our kids), but we stepped up our decor game a bit this year thanks to Oriental Trading Company.

We’re lighting up the night with DIY Halloween silhouette lanterns. We stuck with Jenna’s favorite colors, classic black and white. All the other Halloween”classics” are there, too, including bats, skeletons and crows. We never have, and never will like spiders. But, we love their silhouette in our DIY lanterns.

diy-lanterns-and-halloween-silhouettes

This DIY lantern is so easy. Halloween will be here before you know it, but everything we made and set-up can be bought in one place, Oriental Trading, and crafted in less than half a day. Plus, you can re-use it year after year. Silhouettes never go out of style. We love, love the black and white table runner. It can be out year-round, and we were impressed with its thick, durable and quality fabric.

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Here’s how you can light up the night, too.

Materials:

Directions:

Step 1: Paint the frames black.

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black-frames

Step 2: While the paint is drying, trace the glass or the wood backing of the frame onto the vellum. Cut the vellum rectangles.

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Step 3: Cut the silhouettes. They have a thin border, so it’s best they are cut for a clean silhouette. Some of them are too large for the frames, so they need to be trimmed, or pieces of the silhouettes need to be used. For example, instead of using the entire candelabra, we just cut each individual candle. For extra stick, add glue to the back of the stickers before pressing them into the center of the vellum rectangles.

silhouette-black-halloween-stickers-and-scissors

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Step 4: Once the frames are dry, flip them over and use a hot glue gun (or Elmer’s glue) to glue the vellum along the inner frame.

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Step 5: Now it’s time to glue the frames together to make lanterns. We made some 3-sided lanterns, and one 4-sided lantern. To do this, patiently hold it up to have an idea of where the glue will need to go, and begin to glue side by side. You will need to hold the frames in place for a couple of minutes, then the glue holds it until it fully dries. If you don’t have patience for this, hot glue will work just fine. After the glue has dried, touch up the sides with black paint to cover up any glue.

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black-silhouette-spider-frame

Step 6: Once the lanterns are dry, set them up with lights in the middle. Once the sun goes down, light them up. For a complete “look”, don’t forget the black and white runner, pumpkins, skeletons, spider web fans and crows.

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black-and-white-halloween-decor-with-spider-and-bat-silhouette-lanters

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diy-halloween-lanterns-bat-and-candle-silhouette

diy-halloween-lanterns-bat-and-candle-silhouette

diy-halloween-lanterns-bat-and-candle-silhouette

Oriental Trading sent us some items of our choosing for this post, free of charge. We’re so happy they did! All opinions are honest, and our own. No other type of compensation was received. Thanks for supporting the companies that support j. sorelle. We love Oriental Trading, even before this post. 

DIY Modern Fall Wreath

diy-fall-wreath-with-copper-ring-and-peony

As much as we tried to keep summer around as long as we could, it came and went. There’s no denying it’s fall. With some recent snowfall, it feels a lot like winter. When the air gets cold, and the leaves change color, we throw on the scarves, bust out the pumpkins and drink a lot more tea.

After a recent trip to Michael’s, Jessica was inspired to make a DIY fall wreath for her front door. It’s outside the traditional “orange fall” box for her. Though we love orange, there is no orange color on this wreath. It’s modern, and pretty. Here’s how she did it in less than 30 minutes (once the paint on the ring dried).

Materials:

  • Wire ring, 18″
  • Copper spray paint
  • Faux greenery, including lamb’s ear, eucalyptus, a fall-tone peony and burgundy leaves
  • Mini pumpkins, Pier 1
  • Copper floral wire
  • Hot glue gun and hot glue

Directions:

Step 1: Spray paint the ring copper.

Step 2: Cut stems from the faux greenery, and once the ring is dry begin to lay out the greenery along the ring. I wanted everything slightly off-center on the lower right corner.

faux-greenery-and-copper-wire-with-burgundy-leaves

Step 3: Hold stems on the ring and wrap with a 3-4 inch long piece of copper wire. Wrap it until it’s tight on the ring wreath. As you add stems, try to cover the copper wire.

copper-wire-for-a-faux-greenery-wreath

Step 4: Leave a small space in the center for the flower and pumpkin. Use hot glue to glue the flower.

faux-greenery-and-blush-peony

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Step 5: Drill two small holes on the bottom of the pumpkin at an angle where you can insert the copper wire through one hole, and push it out through the other hole. Once the wire is in, set on the copper wreath and wrap the wire around the wreath.

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Step 6: If you need to hide the copper wire, glue leaves and stems here and there. Then, just hang.

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diy-modern-fall-wreath-with-copper-ring-and-peony

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