Beyond Scrapbooking: 5 Creative Ways to Preserve Your Family’s Memories

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JLP Staff

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In the novel The Sea, John Banville wrote “The past beats inside me like a second heart.” In many ways, this quote holds true for all of us.

Memories are important. They tell the story of who we are and where we came from. Oftentimes, we learn our own life lesson’s through the stories of our loved ones

While there’s no feeling quite like going through a photo album to revisit the memories that you and your family have made, photos don’t always cover all the bases. 

Have you ever wanted to hear your grandpa tell that bedtime story one more time, or remember what your child-self wanted to be when you grew up?

While photo albums and scrapbooks are a great way to honor the family legacy, there are many other ways to remember and share the happenings that went on “behind the scenes.”

Try out these 5 creative ways to preserve your family legacy, and enjoy creating new memories while you’re at it. 

Record Family Interviews

A picture may say 1,000 words, but it can’t tell the whole story.

To keep your family stories going forever, record some family interviews. This is a fun family activity that you can do during holidays, celebrations or regular family hangouts. 

Have each family member pick someone else in the family to interview. Have the interviewer pick a few questions either on their own or from the handy 52 stories list

This list is a dynamic list of questions specially designed for family interviews. Each week they come up with 3 new questions to ask. 

Once the interview is over, you can either use your smart phone to upload the audio files to your computer, or you can try an easy to use digital recorder

Once your files are uploaded, save them to a shared drive live Google Drive or Dropbox. 

These handy sites make it so that family members around the world can both listen and contribute to the files. And you don’t have to worry about the files disappearing if your computer crashes. 

Create a Family Time Capsule

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, and to forget the collection of wonderful moments that are shared by your family.

A time capsule is a great way to revisit the laughs, challenges and milestones your family has been through.

Everyone in your family can contribute something meaningful to the capsule. A fewthings you can include are:

  • Current pictures of your family, home, and pets
  • A questionnaire featuring questions you can revisit each time capsule and see how things have changed
    • For example, asking the kids what they want to be when they grow up or your husband a goal he wants to achieve before the time capsule is uncovered.
  • Kid’s measurements: this is a great opportunity to do hand and footprints for the little ones
  • A message to your future selves

Bury the capsule somewhere in your yard, and promise not to dig it up for 5-10 years. Be sure to store it in a weather-proof container, like an old suitcase or a soda bottle.

Make an Upcycled Heirloom Quilt

What’s better than getting the warm-and-fuzzies from old photographs? Taking those warm fuzzy feelings and turning them into something – well – warm and fuzzy!

With a family heirloom quilt, you can do just that.

Gather the following items to create an upcycled quilt for your family: 

  • Old clothes and fabrics that hold important memories: It could be your son’s letterman jacket, a bridesmaid dress from a loved ones wedding, or your grandpa’s old work pants that you just can’t seem to get rid of
  • quilting pattern to use as a guide as you design and sew your quilt
  • quilting frame to use to lay out and sew your piece
  • Safety pins
  • Needles or a sewing machine
  • A quilt “block,” or one square of the quilt to use as a guide to be sure all the pieces match in size
  • Backing, or a sized piece of fabric to sew on the back of your pieces and cover the stitching
  • Batting to stuff your quilt with to keep it warm and cozy

Once you’ve gathered the memories you want to preserve and the right materials, it’s time toget quilting! 

  1. One you’ve gathered the memories you’d like to turn into a quilt, cut them into pieces sized according to the quilting pattern you choose. 
  2. Arrange the pieces on a table in a way you find eye-catching
  3. Pin the pieces in one row together, then begin sewing
  4. Begin pinning the rows together, leaving 1/4 inch for a seam in between
  5. Sew the rows together
  6. Iron seams flat
  7. Lay the patchwork on the batting with 3 inches of batting hanging out of each side, and safety pin each square to it to avoid slipping
  8. Sew the patchwork to the batting by following each seam before trimming the extra batting and removing the clips.
  9. Cut backing to the same size as the quilt, leaving 1/4 inch for the seams
  10. Pin the perimeter and sew the layers together, leaving 1 foot open
  11. Using yarn or embroidery cloth, do a 1/4 inch tufting stitch across where each square intersects. 
  12. Tie a square knot and trim to size

Pro-Tip: To make it a family activity, assign each family member a row or square of the quilt to design and create on their own!

Set Up a Family Quote Jar

Whether it’s one of your grandma’s wise anecdotes or a silly joke your preschooler brought back from class, many family moments leave behind lasting quotes.

Hold onto these by creating a family quote jar. These handy jars are guaranteed to bring you and your family fond memories and a quick mood boost when you need it.

Keep a jar, pen, and scraps of paper handy. Whenever your family member says something that delights you, makes you laugh, or leaves an impact, jot it down and put it in the jar. Encourage your family members to do the same.

Next time you have a bad day, dig in and grab a smile!

Start a Family Blog

Journaling can provide tons of benefits like clearer goal setting, giving yourself credit for the things you overlooked, and of course, preserving memories. 

Why not let your whole family reap the benefits by starting a family blog? 

With a family blog, you can share anything from journal entries to school plays. To create a blog:

  1. Choose a platform. Wordpress is a good go-to for simple blogs that provides plenty of layouts so you don’t have to be a web designer to have an attractive site
  2. Choose a name for the blog
  3. Make sure your privacy settings are set how you’d like them. If you set it to public, anyone can view your blog. Hidden means it can be viewed by the public but not searched for by outside parties, and private means only the people you choose can view it
  4. Start posting!

With these 5 methods of preserving family memories, you’re guaranteed to feel closer to your loved ones and the beautiful lives you lead. Congratulate yourself for taking the time to focus on what truly matters. 

Now that your old memories are tucked away safely, it’s time to create new ones with our summer bucket list of 10 warm-weather activities >


Categories: Aging Well, Family
About The Author
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Joan Lunden’s in-house research and writing team works with Joan to create content that complements her focuses and the interests of her fans. The team is dedicated to creating a thriving community through content and conversations, and hopes their work, like Joan’s, can make a difference in the lives of her readers everywhere.

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