Creative Crafts: Timeless Treasures
These unique and special projects help parents get mementos out of the storage closet and turn favorite moments into cherished keepsakes.
Art Prints: One of the easiest ways to display a memory is with the classic handprint. A single print of five fingers splashed onto a crisp white sheet speaks volumes years later and eloquently denotes a child’s presence. Using finger paints, stamp your child’s hands and footprints onto heavy cardstock or parchment. Pour several different colors onto a paper plate for a marbled look when stamped out. Not only can these prints be framed, they also make lovely greeting cards and wrapping paper when done on thinner paper.
Shadow Box Memories: A shadowbox’s extra-deep frame nicely displays larger items that won’t fit in a standard frame. Consider focusing on one theme or event when creating a keepsake shadowbox. For a new baby, you might frame a piece of silver giftware, a pair of first shoes, some text printed in a formal font on a fine piece of stationery detailing the baby’s stats, a black and white close-up photo, and a lock of hair.
You could also create displays for just about any other family memory. For instance, a collage of beach vacation memories full of postcards, photos, and of course, sand and seashells or a collection of sports or hobby items such as a little league hat, lineup schedule, and photo trading card. We made an Asian-inspired shadowbox that can tie into an oriental-style décor. All the pieces are special childhood items, creating both a keepsake and a wonderful piece of wall art.
Baby Bracelets: Those chunky little black and white letter beads symbolize infancy almost as much as talcum powder and diapers. Instead of just stringing on a baby’s name to some elastic, personalize it with other special pieces. The whole family can get involved, each contributing a special piece to create a welcome bracelet for the new family member. Add especially nice stones and painted beads for a more sophisticated bracelet that will stay in style for years to come. Create extra-large bracelets that can be strung around the neck of a lamp or used as a bookmark—just make sure they are out of baby’s reach.
Wonderful everyday items will become treasured artifacts in a personalized time capsule. Use something simple like an airtight plastic container or get elaborate and try a hand-painted hatbox, antique chest, or keepsake tin—the choice is yours. Remember to include all the ordinary pieces you can think of, from favorite magazines, the best take-out menus, photos of your home (inside and out), newspapers, cards, anything that will speak of the era. These things may seem ordinary now, but think how wonderful it would be to have a collection of organized pieces from twenty or thirty years ago.
Memory Baskets: Create a personal springtime keepsake to welcome the new arrivals or just reconnect with family. Look for mementos of springtime treasures, such as an old bonnet, painted eggs, or greeting cards. Add copies of spring-themed photos, notes on favorite spring activities, a copy of a current newspaper or magazine, and seasonal recipes. Don’t forget to include ticket stubs and menus from the spring events you attended. Collect all these items, place in a special spring basket, and start a family tradition that you can add on to over the years.
Stocking Dress: Turn a little girl’s velvet holiday dress into a stocking that your daughter can treasure for years to come. First remove any trim from around the collar or wrists and set it aside. Next use a stocking pattern (many can be found online) fit to the size of the dress. Lay the dress flat with the pattern on top. Cut out the shape of the stocking onto the dress. Sew together the two pieces and reattach the trim. This could be done to a boy’s holiday sweater in much the same way.
Notebook Memories: An extra easy way to keep track of memories is with a nicely bound blank notebook. Include hand tracings, Halloween costume sketches, daily “firsts,” locks of hair, and lists of baby favorite things. This is something that you can keep handy and grab to jot something down without spending a lot of time at the crafter’s table.
Keepsake Tin: Take a standard tin that once stored cookies or stationery and turn it into a lovely storage piece for extra-special items. We used a biscotti tin and upholstered the top with a cheerful plaid. Simply cut a piece of fabric about an inch or two bigger than the lid. Take a small amount of stuffing and flatten it against the lid, topping it with fabric. Next, flip the lid over and hot glue down the fabric neatly onto the underside so the lid will still be able to close.
Favorite Things Box: For young children who love to save special items they’ve acquired, a special box can make them feel extra-special and keep their collections under control. Buy a wooden hinged box at a craft store (many now come with a glass top which works as a picture frame) and some small adornments. You can decide on a style, such as a nature, princess, or sports theme. We used outdoor cutouts to add to the child’s collection of nature artifacts.
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