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Journal Jar


(2 Votes)


Keeping a a personal history doesn't have to mean writing an autobiography. It doesn't need to be chronological or overly organized. You can work on it in snippets here and there. A personal history is only what you want it to be, as long it encompasses YOU and your life. 

Journal Jar

And a good way to get started is with a Journal Jar. The jar contains slips of paper with a different topic on each one. So when you sit down to work on your history, pull out a slip, read the topic and don't over-think it. Just start writing what comes to your mind, based on that topic. You'll be surprised at how the memories and words start coming down on paper. It's a good exercise in Creative Writing.

Decorate a jar and fill it with appropriate topics for the person your giving it to. If they're someone who enjoys writing in an actual journal (vs. the computer), pair your jar with a lovely notebook/journal/book.


Journal Jar


  • Mod Podge
  • Craft brush
  • Pretty jar (I loved the simplicity of this one. From Hobby Lobby $3.60)
  • Paper/images/whatever to decorate your jar


  1. Okay, cut out the picture you want to Mod Podge on to the jar. I found this butterfly on a piece of scrapbook paper.

  2. Get some Mod Podge on your brush (I used a Matte finish. You can also do glossy).

  3. Paint it to the back of your image.

  4. Stick the image on the jar where you would like.

  5. Then paint over the top with more Mod Podge.

  6. I put tape around the outside of my jar to reduce spill over. But it's not necessary. I also decided to wipe off excess Mod Podge on the top of the jar, around the edge of the picture. Not sure you need to do this but I liked how it looked.

  7. You can wipe any excess off with a damp cloth.

  8. Let it dry for a bit and you have a jar!

  9. Time to fill 'er up. I used strips of cardstock, folded in half, each with a topic hand-written on there. You can print the topics from your computer as well but there's just something I love about a hand-written gift. Feels more personal. Topics should be catered to the person you're giving the gift to. But here's a list of ideas to get you started.....

Journal Jar TOPICS:

  • My childhood Best Friend.
  • Clothing styles when I was 16.
  • We went camping....
  • A typical Saturday for me.
  • My very first memory
  • at Grandma's House....
  • My favorite road trip
  • The first time I kissed a boy
  • Going to the county fair.
  • Christmas as a kid
  • My childhood house
  • My favorite home as an adult
  • When I got engaged..
  • Donuts
  • What we did all summer.
  • If I had a day all to myself.
  • Visiting a foreign country
  • My hairstyles.
  • The first time I sewed...
  • Christmas as a mom.
  • Reading books to my kids.
  • My wedding day.
  • Foods I love.
  • Foods I hate.
  • When I was 12....
  • Childhood pet.
  • Sports I can play.
  • I cried.
  • Grandpa.
  • 5 things I wish I'd done, but I was too scared to.
  • the first time I voted.
  • our childhood car.
  • I lied.
  • A trip to the beach.
  • I was in the school play.
  • Hidden talents.
  • songs I still have memorized.
  • the price of food from a grocery store.
  • Someone I love passed away.
  • My baby was born.

Of course, don't let this list limit you. The topics are endless. If the person you're giving to is religious, add some ideas relating to spiritual moments in their life as well.


Learn more about Dana Willard here. 

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I love this idea!

Great idea!


This is such a good idea. I try to write things because I do genealogy and this will help the memory. Old pictures also help. Thanks.

I've been saving food jars for jar projects. There are a lot of really pretty food jars where you can remove the label and paint the lid and use it instead. I found some at the dollar store and even if it's not a food you'd usually eat, the jar is $1, so you still save money.

What a great idea!! =O I am going to make this for myself!=D

I did this about 15 years ago (only I called it a Memory Jar) for my mother. I jotted down simple sentences to spark the memories on different colors of paper so it looks like confetti in the jar. When we get together, and conversation starts to fade, we grab the jar and start to reminisce over times past. It's been indispensable for sharing family memories with my son, nieces, and nephews. It's allowed them to get to know all of us better, what their parents were like as kids, and to know their grandfather whom some have never met. Make one for yourself as well!!!

I absolutely love this oh-so-helpful idea. I have tried on several occasions to write down precious memories of being raised by my grandmother, memories I don't ever want to lose, and being so frustrated when my mind goes blank. The list is such a blessing to help jog my memory of things I have probably I probably would not have remembered. Thank you so much and God bless!


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