Cute & Simple: Functional Keepsakes


I don’t know about you, but since the girls started back to school this fall, I seem to have a whole lot more “paperwork” to sift through at the end of the day.  I am undoubtably sure you do, too.

Don’t get me wrong; I love school projects and creativity–but sometimes it just gets to be too much.  Aside from the Kindergarten binder that I created to house all of Kate’s core cirriculum worksheets, and hanging art work on the laundry room door with magnets, I really haven’t come up with anything more sophisticated. 

Until, ta-da!  The Back-to-school placemat.  I took all of the things that Kate had been collecting from the 1st Day of School (postcard from the teacher, drawings, photos, etc), glued them onto a large 12×18 white sheet of paper (look for tablets of these at Wal*Mart or Micheals) and make a placemat collage.  I even have a photos of her creating some of the art work that ultimatley went into the collage.  My only regret is that I failed to add in a photo of Kate on the very first day.  I guess I can always add that later.  Kate added her own decorations, too–her name, some numbers, and other doodles.  We did this all at Staples in their customer work area and then had it laminated.  For a little less than $3, we got a functional keepsake.  Can’t beat that! 

Other things I am considering doing:

  • After collecting similarly themed art projects from the girls, I plan to make shadow boxes containing that theme….for example, Kate was really into butterflies for awhile and Kelly into sunshine…
  • More themed art from summer camp will soon get snipped into the “very best” and turned into a Deco-Podge collage.  Perhaps we’ll decopage (?how do you spell that?) a box or pencil cup with cute little bees, flowers, and dragonflies.  The girls made thumbprint art over the summer, too…I’ll cut them apart and turn it into something functional, too.
  • I may even turn some of their art into personalized notecards for friends and family.   Simple enough, I’ll trim the art work down–make color copies of my favorites, cut, glue, stick on the front of a plain notecard and done!  Maybe even tie them up with a sweet ribbon and present them as gifts. 
  • Make cheap frames for showcasing photos.  Grab a handful of acrylic or wood frames from a craft or hobby store and decorate with left-over bits of school/camp projects. 

Amazing what you can do with a little time and creativity.  Add your kid in the mix for a little “me and you” bonding time and viola–you’ve got yourself a functional keepsake! 

Happy Creating–and Happy Weekend! 

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