Keepsake Project Ideas
I’ve always been inspired by those who commit themselves to long term creative projects. I’ve watched a few neat ones unfold online, such as the “365 day photo” concept, where people take one photo a day and post it on their blog. I especially notice it around Christmas or Valentine’s Day, or during milestone moments, like Weddings or the birth of a baby. Some truly exceptional projects reveal themselves – seemingly overnight. And while for some, the creative process is easy, for others (like me), the level of thoughtfulness and detail truly become nearly OCD time consuming labours of love.
Realizing this about myself, I decided that one of my goals for “the new year” was to start one or two exceptionally long term creative project’s of my own. I wanted to come up with a preliminary list of “potentials”- ideas which would provide a meaningful way to capture memories AND could be accomplished by committing no more than one day a month. Not only can these projects become cherished keepsakes for yourself – but any of them would make a wonderful, and incredibly special, gift for a loved one. As I went through this process, I thought that this information might be helpful, and timely, for others – so I have shared it here.
To plan a long term keepsake project, first, one needs to select a theme. It can be any theme that is meaningful to you or the person receiving the final project. Assuming you also plan to commit one day a month, you will need to start your project 12 months from the date you want to have the project completed. Ready? Here are some ideas to help kick start your imagination!….
- A milestone year is any year that you want to remember – the first year of marriage, the first year of a baby’s birth, a milestone anniversary or birthday. Perhaps you want to document the first year of school for your little one, and then repeat the process for their first year of high school, and again for their first year of college. Maybe you have a an elderly person in your family and you would like to help them cherish some of their happiest “milestone” memories. These projects are not intended to be completed in a few weeks – the magic of them is really in capturing the details as the event unfolds (or in reflection), so they are perfectly suited for a long term schedule.
- Love and Friendship Imagine taking the time, once a month, to reflect on how someone has impacted your life and taking the time to capture that information in a beautiful way. Or, taking the time to collect special memories as you fall in love or as you enjoy a friendship. Depending on the project you select, you can include theatre stubs/concert tickets, newspaper clippings, achievements, photos and other important reminders of who you both were during this special and magical time. Wouldn’t this make an amazing Valentine’s Day gift?
- A Year of Gratitude This one is especially close to my heart. I’ve always wanted to keep a gratitude journal and this would give me a good reason to do it. Practice journaling your gratitude once a month (for 12 months) – or take the time to design a 12 Month Gratitude journal.
- …..And MANY, MANY more! What can I say, thanks to the online scrapbooking community, there are literally thousands of ideas out there – far too many to list here. A quick Google search of “scrapbook theme ideas” will open your mind to all the possibilities – any of which can be used for other creative project ideas. Have fun researching – something meaningful is sure to jump out as the perfect theme for you.
Second – you need to select your project. I’ve collected some project inspiration via Pinterest to help you visually see what other creative folks have come up with. And below, I’ve added some other ideas for you to read about. Again, the final project ideas are endless and can be as simple, or as complex, as you are ready to commit to.
- Time Capsule: Perfect for milestone years; collect items over the course of the year to include in a special keepsake box, bottle or other container.
- Handmade Calendar: Wouldn’t it be fun to take your time, designing one page per month, and then gift the entire custom, handmade calendar to a loved one at Christmas, in preparation for the New Year?
- Photo-a-Month: Examples include photos of a baby as they grow during their first year – or expectant mother’s belly growing over the course of her term; lots of examples shown here in my Pinterest link – they look so adorable, don’t they? I hear so many people that they wish they thought of this one in advance.
- Memory Post Cards: Every month, sit down and document some of your key activities, achievements, insights and/or lessons learned. These can be collected in a photo box, or a repurposed Rolodex, and used for future reflection. Imagine what you would learn about yourself if you had done this when you were a teenager – or in your first career job? Or, instead of doing this activity, you could instead design a special book for a loved one (with special slots/holders and handmade post cards).
- Memory Wall: Pick a wall, then commit to taking one photo of each of your closest loved ones during the course of the year; then frame them all and hang them up in a special collage. Be sure to include framed quotes and/or special memories (hang in frames or add adhesive wall decals). Then, host a “Reveal Party” – with a gathering of those very loved ones. Imagine how surprised they will be see themselves on your special wall!
- Consolidate a video of major events from the year or an event; set to music reflective of the theme or of trends that year (imagine how funny it would be 20 years from now listening to “trendy” music from today? lol).
- Card Sets – How fun would it be to create seasonal card sets for your friends – but not waiting until the last minute to make them?
- Seasonal Framed Artwork – Take a small frame that you keep on your desk at home or at work, and use whichever creative technique you like (stamping, painting, etc) to craft a new image every month. Every month pop out of old art and insert the new. Not only will you be making your space more beautiful, but you will have a way to exhibit your talent. Keep all 12 months worth of art and reuse in following years – or make duplicates with the intent to gift to someone you love.
As we transition to a new year, be sure to take some time and think about your creative goals . We often consider financial, fitness or career goals – but neglect to consider creative pursuits. These, to me, are just as important because they create balance in your life. No matter who you are, or what personal truths others would have you believe, you are creative in some way – and that creativity needs to be expressed for you to acheive balance in your life. I wish you and your families a wonderful, safe and creative 2012! ~LM