Keepsakes & Heirlooms
Art Journaling, Writing, & Crafts
It all started when I had my first daughter. She was very special because I always thought I was only built to carry males. How presumptuous of me, right? I had already had 2 sons at that time and I said to myself "that this would be my last child." So she was my princess. She was healthy and beautiful.
In 2006 when my daughter was three. I'd seen an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. The episode was about a mother who was diagnosed with cancer. She knew she didn't have much time to live. So instead of locking herself away she was brave enough to document everything about herself and family for her daughter. She videotaped and voice recorded messages full of life lessons. She instructed her husband to give the messages to their daughter when she could understand them.
I thought that was a selfless act and a great idea. So I decided to do something similar. I didn't have a video camera at the time I began so I created an art journal for my daughter.
I'd write messages about who I am and what our family is all about. I am an OK artist so I added a lot of art in her books. Later I'd also added videos and mini photo albums for her (that idea brought about the beginning of a photo cd catalog of all our photos.) So I scanned all of our earlier pics (pre photoshop age) and added them. She hasn't reached the age of understanding alot of the lessons so I continue to write. So far completed are 2 journals and 2 mini photo albums for my oldest. Since I'd begun I've had to add the same for my youngest daughter. Yeah, I know that is a "double wammy" it shoots my earlier theory (about me just carrying males) right out the water.
As an added bonus, (because I love to write) I'd begun to write a letter about once a year to my husband and sons beginning in 2007. My collection also includes scrapbooks for all my children. The scrapbooks include their art, papers, writings, poems, brochures they've modeled in, certificates, teacher notes, report cards, and even detention slips. I have every birthday/holiday card that has ever been given to my children (you'd think my house is a mess, but I'm a very good organizer.)
Speaking of organization, I have this categorized down to a science. With so many items to choose from I have to stay on top of things. Otherwise, I'd be a prime candidate for the show "Hoarders." We choose about three items from each class per year. OK, occasionally we may add a few more and call them "specials" and from there they are tucked away in a basement file cabinet. The holiday cards are kept in a huge sweater box, separated accordingly. As for the journals, letters, and photo albums, they are kept in a fire/waterproof safe.
I am very frugal so many of these item I use are very inexpensive. Hallmark (www.hallmark.com) has a clearance section where you can find scrapbooks, pages, tags & stickers. I've purchased journals for $4 and stickers for about $3-$4. The same can be found at the dollar store, which I like, of course, and they have a great selection of mini-photo albums that you can decorate using your own theme. Any other arts & craft store will have what you need to make great themes for your work. I often visit www.familyfun.go.com, to get great summer craft activity ideas.
What started off as a rememberence of our everyday life journeys has become a family tradition. I am grateful that I'd seen that Oprah episode 6 years ago. What was a mother's wish for her daughter turned into something that has touched my life. These activities help me cope with everyday stress, it calms me and puts me in a better mood. I believe this to be part of my therapy without meds : )