Saturday, December 16, 2017

Most 3G2S posts contain commission-yielding affiliate links. When you make a purchase after clicking a link, our family earns a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog.

Celebrate the New Year or Any Special Day with a DIY 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Craft

DIY 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Gift Idea  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
This 'A Year of Smiles' mason jar craft post has been sponsored by Oriental Trading Company.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Years ago, I created another 'Year of Smiles' craft for my own family's use.  It was a makeshift craft, using an empty potato chip can.  Eventually, it was retired.  This year, I feel like many families around me have been struggling with gratitude, including my own.  This motivated me to rethink this craft, and to turn it into something gift-worthy.

You could gift these A Year of Smiles Jars for New Years, birthdays, graduations, or any other special day.  Recipients just need to write down all the things that made them smile, big or small, along with the date, using the included pen and paper.  If participating as a family or group, be sure to have everyone write their name or initial on the paper as well.  Then just fold the paper up and drop it in the jar. When that date rolls around again the following year, take all the smiles out of the jar and read them to relive those wonderful memories.

How to make 'A Year of Smiles' Jars . . . 
How to make 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Gift  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

mason jars with lids (30oz size or larger)
foam paint brush
baker's twine
confetti, sequins, or seed beads
4 x small notepads (approx. 4") per jar
personalized round stickers (approx. 2" diameter)
personalized ballpoint pens (approx. 5" to 6" tall)
scissors

How to make 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Gift with confetti and sequins  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
TIP #1:  Since the mason jars are rounded, choosing smaller confetti to decorate the outside of the jars helps to ensure that each piece will lay flat against the glass.
How to make 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Gift with personalized pens and jar labels  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 1.  Using the foam brush, apply an even layer of acrylic sealant to a small section of the outside of the jar. Then place the confetti, sequins, or beads as desired.  (For example, I made it so that these leaf confetti pieces were touching and overlapping towards the bottom of the jar, but placed them less densely as I went upward on the jar.)
TIP #2:  Avoid applying sealant to the bottom of the jar and to the threaded neck of the jar to ensure the jar does not stick to surfaces while drying and that the lid will sit correctly on the jar when closing it.
How to make 'A Year of Smiles' mod podge Mason Jar Gift  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 2.  After the first layer of sealant has dried, inspect your decorated jar to see if you would like to add additional confetti, sequins, or beads.  If yes, then apply sealant to those spots and add additional pieces as desired. Drying time of the sealant will depend on your climate.

Step 3.  After the sealant has dried, apply a thick even coat of sealant, covering the entire outside wall of the jar from the base of the neck to the base of the jar.  Allow to dry completely overnight.

Step 4.  Starting at the binding, roll up the small notepads and secure with baker's twine by wrapping the twine around the roll several times, and tying into a bow.  Double-knot the bow for added security.  I chose to use silver and gold baker's twine because they work with all color themes.
How to make 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Gift with metallic twine  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 5.  When the sealant has dried completely, screw on the lid of the jar until it is closed completely, but not so tightly that the recipient will have trouble opening the jar.  Next, choose which side will be the front of your jar.  Then apply the round sticker to the lid so that the words face the front of the jar.
TIP #3:  Avoid applying the stickers to the jar lids prior to putting the lids on the jars.  This will cause the sticker to face a random direction when the lid is twisted onto the jar.
How to make 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Gift with personalized jar labels  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 6.  Open the jar. Place 4 rolled notepads and at least one pen into the jar.  Then close the lid again.

Step 7.  (Optional) Wrap baker's twine around the circumference of the lid 8 to 10 times.  Then tie a bow with the two ends on the side that is the front of your jar.  Double-knot for added security.  For a special touch, tie knots on the two tails of the bow.  (You may need to knot the baker's twine in the same spot 2 or 3 times to create a visible knot.) Then trim the tales below the knots with scissors.

A post shared by Karen Coutu (@karen3g2s) on

You're done!  I made the fall-themed jar below for my sister's November birthday.  The colors also match her living room.  She just loved it, and thought it would be a wonderful activity to do weekly with her husband and grade-school aged son.
DIY 'A Year of Smiles' Mason Jar Gift Tutorial  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

I made this ombre beaded jar for my own home.  The winter colored beads match my kitchen and dining area.  If you have blue in your home, there are all kinds of winter craft ideas that include pretty shades of blue.
TIP #4:  When making a beaded jar, be sure your final coat of sealant is a thick one.  I generously dabbed on acrylic sealant over the beads to be sure the sealant filled the spaces between the beads.  Do not brush the sealant over the beads because it may cause beads to fall of the jar.
DIY 'A Year of Smiles' Beaded Mason Jar Gift Tutorial  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

I made the jar with the confetti stars for friends of ours who like to celebrate New Year's.  My daughter is planning on making one just like it for her favorite 5th grade teacher.  'A Year of Smiles' Jars would make a great gift for almost anyone who would like to be (or needs to be) more positive.

Like this easy craft? Pin it for later . . . 
DIY 'A Year of Smiles' Beaded Mason Jar Gift How-To  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Who do you know who could use A Year of Smiles?
Tell us in a comment here.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Most 3G2S posts contain commission-yielding affiliate links. When you make a purchase after clicking a link, our family earns a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog.

Easy DIY Wall-Mounted Shoe Organizer

Easy DIY Wall-Mounted Shoe Organizer |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
This post was sponsored by Oriental Trading Company, where the possibilities for DIY and home decor projects are infinite.

We live in a small townhouse, and are often challenged by the lack of space we have for five people (and all their belongings) to live comfortably.  One of the first rules of living in a small space is to maximize usage of the walls.  I was pretty happy when we put up two rows of hooks on the wall by our backdoor.  Then after awhile, I started to think about how we could make this wall even better . . .

Before Photos:
Coat and Shoe Area Before Photo |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Two rows of coat hooks plus a shoe bench.

Messy Shoe Bench Before Photo |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
A bench stuffed with the shoes belonging to two tweens and one teen.
There were three main things that were not ideal about our setup.  1)  The coats were spread out between two rows of hooks, and not every hook was being used. 2) Depending on how many pairs of shoes or boots our children owned at the time, there were times when the shoe bench was too full to close the lid properly.  (Also, the shoes were getting dirty from being thrown on top of each other. I think that bothered me more than the children though.) 3) There was no room for my husband's shoes, so he would leave his shoes strewn about the first floor of our house.

PROJECT:  Wall-Mounted Shoe Organizer

SUPPLIES NEEDED:

Semi-Glossy Latex Paint
Paint Brush
2-inch Drywall Screws (3 per Flower Box)
Cordless Screwdriver
Level
Measuring Tape
Pencil

Unfinished Planters and Crates for Shoe Organizer Project  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 1. Decide how many flower boxes you need for your space. The ones we used measure 24" x 6" x 6". You can configure them in multiple rows to fit your space. We used one row of three across.  You can make this project fit almost anywhere, from a mudroom to a closet.

Step 2. Add one coat of paint on your unfinished flower boxes and crate.  Add up to two more coats of paint, making sure the previous coat is completely dry before adding the next.

Step 3. Lightly mark on the wall where you'd like your flower boxes to be positioned with a pencil. Use your measuring tape to ensure each box will be the same distance from the floor.

Step 4.  Pre-drill 3 holes in each of the flower boxes for the screws to help prevent the wood from splitting when screwing the flower boxes to the wall.  (See photos below for screw placement.)

Step 5.  With the help of your level and the marks you've made on your wall, secure the flower boxes to the wall by screwing the 2" drywall screws through the pre-drilled holes and into the wall.
DIY Wall-Mounted Shoe Organizer How-To  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 6.  Place woven table runners on the floor along the wall under the flower boxes to have a place for boots or wet shoes.

Super-Easy DIY Wall-Mounted Shoe Organizer  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Step 7.  Add a crate to hold wet hats and mittens.

Chalkboard Sign for Hats & Mittens Bin  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

You can create a sign easily using a chalkboard sign and chalk markers.  I made two! One for hats and mittens in the winter, and a second sign for flip-flops in the summer.

DIY Winter Hats & Mittens Bin  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Our whole family agreed that the new Wall-Mounted Shoe Organizer worked out great.  Our children could see all their shoes easily and never had to search for the second shoe.  My daughter could fit most of her shoes sole-to-sole, but put her high-top sneakers side-by-side.

Reorganizing Shoe Area - Easy DIY Project  |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Look!  There was enough room for my 3 children's shoes AND my husband's shoes.

After Photos:
DIY Shoe Organizer Project After Photo   |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

If we could have, we would have mounted the flower boxes a few inches lower so our children could hang their backpacks on the row of hooks right above them, but we did not want to cover the existing electrical outlet.  Instead, we are using those hooks for hats, umbrellas, and dog leashes.  All their coats fit on the top row of hooks because we are now using every hook.

Easy DIY Shoe Organizer Project - After Photo   |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Like this DIY project? Pin it for later . . .
Easy to Make DIY Wall-Mounted Shoe Organizer   |  3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

What would you want to change about your coat and shoe area?
Tell us in a comment here!

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Most 3G2S posts contain commission-yielding affiliate links. When you make a purchase after clicking a link, our family earns a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting our blog.

Handcrafted Spirit Bracelets - An Easy School Fundraiser Idea!

Spirit Bracelet Ideas for a School Fundraiser | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
This school spirit craft fundraiser post was sponsored by Oriental Trading Company.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Our twins started 5th grade this fall, which is a year filled with many field trips.  There are also yearbooks, a graduation ceremony, a graduation party, the class gift to the school, and the gifts to all the 5th grade teachers.  Since money is tight for many of the families at our school, we are trying to raise as much money as possible to minimize the cost of all of the above for the families.

My daughter and I wanted to do our part.  Since we're both pretty crafty, I had the idea to make spirit bracelets in the school colors to sell at the Fall fair at school.  I found everything I needed at Oriental Trading Company with the exception of the P, R, and S beads.
Faceted Spirit Bracelet Ideas for a School Fundraiser | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
The bracelets made of Crystal Bicone Beads and Cut Crystal Round Beads were a huge hit!  If you charged $6.00 for one or 2/$10.00, you would make approximately $4 per bracelet to support your cause.  We tried to make a variety of styles, adding Bow Charms and Star Beads here and there. You could easily charge more based on how much your community would be willing to spend.

Pony Beads Spirit Bracelet Ideas for a School Fundraiser | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
We also made lots of Pony Bead Spirit Bracelets.  You could sell these for $3.00 each or 2/$5.00, making approximately $2.30 per bracelet on behalf of your cause.  Be sure to use clear stretchy cording for added durability since some of these will be worn by children.

Easy Bracelet Tree Display for a School Fundraiser | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Presentation is everything!  I truly believe that we would not have sold as many bracelets if we had not created an eye-catching display.  All I did was add our school colors to the base of a Black and White Wishing Tree Centerpiece.  Although this inexpensive tree was made of lightweight cardboard, it was sturdy enough to hang a few bracelets on the branches, and it was easy to transport because it folds flat.

Faceted Beads & Pony Beads Spirit Bracelet Ideas for a School Fundraiser | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

Bonus Fundraising Idea . . . 

One of the easiest donations to obtain for a raffle is free classes.  It doesn't cost a martial arts, dance, or fitness studio anything to add one more person to their class for a few weeks.  Plus, they have the opportunity to impress a potential new student.

It's great when people buy one raffle ticket, but even better when they buy more than one, right?  Why not offer a small thank you gift to those buying more than one raffle ticket?  Just a little something so that they don't leave empty-handed.  These Ninja Mini Prisms, for example, cost about $0.13 each.  A parent could walk away with a happy child if you had a small toy like these to hand out, while you just sold 2 or 3 raffle tickets instead of just one.
Raffle Fundraiser Bonus Gift Idea | 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires

What tips do you have for a successful school fundraiser?
Share them with us in a comment here.