Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Made It: A Happiness Jar

Hello! Saw something called a "happiness Jar" on Pinterest a few days ago, so I clicked on the pin to learn more. 

I read that writer Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love and other works) is attributed with popularizing the project, which consists of writing down on a slip of paper  every day something that made one happy. The paper is dated and then placed into a container of some sort. The examples I saw online were primarily large glass jars. 

Although I've kept a gratitude journal for years, I liked the idea of writing down one happy bit every day and watching those bits pile up in the jar. It sounded like it could be a nice visual reminder of the good that can occur every day. 

Online, I saw some pretty papers being used for the daily writings; I suspect these were scrapbook papers. Gilbert is more laid-back and suggests using whatever piece of scrap paper that's handy. 

I went the in-between route. Although tedious to do, I thought it'd be convenient to have all my paper pieces ready at the get-go. I looked around my studio to see which of the many paper possibilities I could use. My decision was made when I spied a small pile of vintage cookbook pages leftover from some now-unremembered project. Since the pages were all blank on one side, I had set these trimmings aside to use for a small notepad. Never got around to that, but these papers would only need to be cut in half before using. I ended up with papers that measure 2 1/4"x1 3/4".

I also had a glass jar on hand that I think will be the right size to fill up this year - if not, I have one that's even bigger. So I grabbed that jar and got to work cutting up those vintage cookbook pages. Old community cookbooks make me happy, so it seemed fitting to use part of one for my Happiness Jar!

According to Gilbert and others who have blogged on the subject, there's no right or wrong with this project - decorate the jar or leave it plain, use it as a family activity with kids taking part, and choose whatever you want to write about every day. 

I did come across various suggestions on what to include, such as   gifts, goal completions, nature encounters, funny moments, memories, quotes, prayers, tickets from special events and photos of loved ones. 

Here's my Happiness Jar in its infancy:

I know, it doesn't look like much, in part because the papers are mostly off-white. To jazz up the jar's contents a bit, I'm using colored pens to write, and am writing the word "happy" on the other side of each paper before folding it in half. 

To give a couple of examples of what I wrote about thus far: on the 1st, I wrote that our aging cat is using the pet steps I'd recently fashioned for her out of some thrift store finds, and on the 4th we were spared the lake effect snows that had been forecast for our return home from the Chicago area. (To me, every winter day without lake effect snow is a happy one!)

If you'd like to learn more, just search "Happiness Jar" on Google or Pinterest. And you can find Gilbert's take on the subject here.

Here's to a Happy 2016!


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