Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Love Notes Jar - "The Many Reasons Why I Love You"

A couple (or three) years ago, I stumbled across a Valentine's Day craft by Nicole of Visual Heart for "52 Things I Love About You" made from a deck of cards. It was clever and fun and since Valentine's Day was months away, I pinned it for later and promptly forgot about it.

Fast forward to the present. Mr. LH had been feeling down in the dumps. He began questioning himself at work and home and his self-confidence needed a bit of a pick-me-up. He tends to be a pretty sentimental guy and I knew the "52 Things I Love About You" craft would be something he would appreciate. Except I couldn't stop at 52. The more reasons I wrote down, the more reasons I thought of to add.

Sappy reasons.
Serious reasons.
Funny reasons.
For-His-Eyes-Only reasons.

It was too many to make into a deck (or three) of cards. I wound up with over 300 before I started actually thinking of how to incorporate all these "Love Notes" into something both attractive to look at as well as convenient and easy to read.

Someone had suggested putting their reasons into a jar on slips of folded paper. I liked that idea but instead of paper, I decided to use wooden nickels.

A couple years ago I started a "Date Reminder" project using wooden nickels (I'll get around to posting about this some time. I actually finally finished the project only a few months ago). The nickels each had a name and an important date (birthday, anniversary, etc) printed on colorful paper and decoupaged to each side. That same idea would work well here. I could write "I Love You Because..." on one side and have my reason on the other.

I had several other prompts as well:

"I Love You Because..."
"I Love..."
"You Are..."
"You Make Me Feel..."
"I Thank You For..."

Those prompts made it easier to come up with so many reasons. I also added some quotes as well as short happy memories from our past. Those just had a heart on one side with the quote or memory on the back.

I purchased Wooden Nickels on Amazon. I found bags of 200 wooden nickels and bought 2 bags of them. You can also purchase bags of 100 nickels.

I made a template on PowerPoint for 1-1/2 inch circles, the diameter of the wooden nickels, and began typing in all my prompts and reasons.

Everything was printed out onto scrapbook paper (make sure your fronts and backs match) and then cut them out. I would highly recommend you invest in a 1.5" circle punch if you do not already have one. This tool made quick work of all those circles. I can't even imagine having to cut all those out by hand!!!

The next step was to get all those wooden nickels ready. The edges were painted with white acrylic paint. Spray paint would have been much faster but I already had the acrylic paint available and I was impatient to get started (and not having to buy something else is a "win" in my book). A sponge brush worked much better that a paint brush for this.

I would paint about 50 circles at a time (over long sheets of wax paper). By the time I finished painting the batch, the first ones were dry enough to Mod Podge all those little circle cutouts to the wooden nickels.

  1. Brush a light coating of Mod Podge onto the wood surface.
  2. Place the paper circle on the wooden nickel and adjust it so it is even all the way around.
  3. Press a bit on the paper then Mod Podge over the paper being sure to cover the sides and the entire top.

I did a couple coats of Mod Podge per side. 2 or 3 light coats are better than one thick coat.

The paper circles were just a smidgen larger than the wooden circles so I trimmed them down with an exacto knife. This took a while with so many circles, but it was a nice semi-mindless activity to do while watching TV (but you are still wielding a sharp object so pay attention!).

Once trimmed, I did another coat of Mod Podge on both sides and let it sit and cure/dry for several hours. Mod Podge can tend to be a bit tacky to the touch even after drying. This causes them to stick together which can ruin your project. To prevent this, I placed all the circles in my food dehydrator for a day. They came out very dry and I have had no issues with them sticking together since then.

Colorado is a very arid region. If you live in a more humid area, or if you don't have access to a food dehydrator, you can them give your circles a top coat with clear acrylic polyurethane sealer.

Another critical part of this project was finding the right jar. It had to be big enough to hold all the wooden nickels, wide enough to easily reach into without worrying about tipping the jar and attractive enough to have out all the time. I originally thought I'd use a large half-gallon mason jar, but it seemed more rustic than what I was going for (I'm country/traditional and Mr. LH has more modern/contemporary taste) and I wasn't sure the opening would be wide enough for Mr. LH's arm.

I wound up finding a glass vase at Joann Fabric and Crafts for $19.99 (only $10 with a coupon!). It had a wide opening and thick sides. The top was also angled so it seemed to invite you to reach into it. And all 340-something wooden nickels fit into it (with a little room to spare)!

My sentimental guy loved it!

And you know what? It's not just for him. If I ever get mad at him for whatever reason, I can reach into the jar and remind myself of all those reasons I fell in love with him and why he's still the one.

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