Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to Say "Thank You"

Every Thursday morning for the past 8 or 9 months, I have taken Kevin to the library for a Preschool program. It's not a drop off service, but it's more than just a story hour. Being at home makes us both stir crazy, and it's great for him to be around kids his own age in a school-like environment. It's such a wonderful program, ran by the East Hickman Family Resource Center. We started the year out with Mrs. Jill, a very sweet woman who had a great knack for entertaining the kids and keeping them engaged. Shortly after the Christmas break, Mrs. Becky began to coordinate the Thursday meetings and it has been a wonderful "semester" with her as well.

I had already planned to make this for her end-of-year gift, but I realized Sunday that our last meeting for the year is...tomorrow! So, no time to craft something amazing, my fault. We did receive calendars with all these important dates back in September. But I would be amazed if someone could find that paper NOW, in MY house. Ha! So then I thought maybe I could contact my two favorite jewelry ladies with Premier Designs and purchase the "Love Cuff" bracelet from their stock since I didn't have time to order it. Neither of them had one to sell immediately, and I reluctantly settled in on a gift card. But oh how I hate giving gift cards. For anyone. So I set out to spruce it up a little bit.

I headed over to Skip to My Lou, a blog I adore, because I know there is a very creative teacher appreciation section, with all sorts of ideas. That's where I saw a tutorial for making a quick vase out of a mason jar (something *every* southern lady already knows how to do) and adding a bobby pin to the front to hold a tag or picture. Bingo, there it was!

So I went to my hoard stash of empty jars in the cabinet above my fridge to see what I could find. I'm reluctant to gift my actual mason jars...judging by the size of the "community" garden at my grandfather's house, I am going to need all those and more in the next few months. But I did find a really nicely shaped spaghetti sauce jar (Bertolli, maybe?). So that sealed the deal. While rummaging for pretty ribbon and cardstock to make a card, I ran across some actual cards and envelopes that would be perfect for this little project. Even better!

I took some pictures along the way and thought I'd share this idea with all my friends. Because it really is THIS easy...probably took about 20 minutes total and requires only the very basic stitches of sewing. Promise!

So, first, gather your materials and tools:

You'll need a clean, empty jar, some pretty stationery, a bobby pin, some fabric, and a button. Tools? You'll need a glue gun, a pen, scissors, a chop stick or other skinny utensil, and a needle and thread.

Okay, so now possibly the hardest part of the entire project: finding a circle for your yo-yo. If you have yo-yo templates, go ahead, use that. It's probably perfect. But since I don't have any, I just look around to find some circles around the house for my templates. Look at the size of the circle and figure on your finished yo-yo being about half that size. Eyeball it according to how large your jar is.
Both cups would be too small, the bright green bowl maybe slightly too big, the clear green bowl just perfect. So trace your template and cut it out.
Thread your needle and sew a quick running stitch around the entire perimeter.

At the end, pull the thread tight, and you'll get a little sack. (special note...this is how you make a felt strawberry!)
Squish the sack flat, keeping your stitches tight and in the center. If you have an iron handy, press it for better results. I do not, ever, have my iron handy, and would not dare bust it out for this one little yo-yo.
Break out the hot glue gun. Hopefully, you are mindful enough to have plugged it in already. If you are more like me, take advantage of this awkward moment and switch the laundry over. Don't just stand there...watched pots never boil, you know? It's true. Glue your button to the center of the yo-yo. You could also sew the button on, but this is all about ease, and finding brown thread in the middle of this project would not have been easy at all.
Next, slide your skinny utensil (I used a chopstick..could easily use a pen or pencil or paintbrush) into your bobby pin. Trust me, without the utensil in there, you will hot glue your bobby pin to itself...which is not ideal when you need it to hold something, you know?
Apply hot glue to the curvy side of your pin and adhere it to the yo-yo.
Once that glue has dried, flip it over and apply hot glue to the straight side of the pin and adhere (open side down) to your jar.

If you are fortunate enough to be doing this project in the spring time, just run outside and cut something pretty to fill your jar, write a heartfelt thank you note, tuck your gift card inside and slide it into your pin.

When the card has been read and tucked away, the jar can still be used as a pretty bud vase.
Or a pretty picture holder too!

Just an extra note, I'll be replacing these flowers before gifting this tomorrow morning. We've had an early blackberry winter and my roses weren't too fond of it. But, the peonies weren't blooming quite through last week's cold spell, so they are especially vibrant now and will look beautiful in this vase tomorrow!