Published on July 10th, 2009 | by Wenona Napolitano5
Crafting Memories with Shadow Boxes
I inherited my grandmother’s house many years ago. I still have not went through everything that came with the house. Boxes remain that have not been sorted and organized. My grandmother was a pack rat but the awesome thing is that she left behind memories of her life like pieces to a puzzle for me to put together.
I have found newspapers and photographs from the 1800s, old magazines, some cool handbags and hats and tons of letters, cards, and little mementos of a long life.
I found love letters written between my grandparents in the 1930s when they were “courting”. I read some of them but there are so many and they are so personal, perhaps some day I will go back and read them all. I packed them all, tied them with a ribbon and created a beautiful treasure box to put them in, then gave them to my mother for Christmas. She was amazed and very touched.
After that I wondered what to do with other family treasures that I uncovered, like Valentine cards to my mom when she was little, cards that she gave to my grandmother, photos, broken bits of jewelry, old watches, spectacles, and even a baby bonnet and baby gown that was my mother’s (she was born in the 1930s by the way).
I decided to make a memory collage in a shadow box with a few things that I found. There was so much that I had to sort through it all and choose a theme. I picked the simplest choice, Mom.
I found a great photo of my mom and grandmother, an old card my mom had given to my grandmother, some handmade lace and a doily that my grandmother made, an old watch, a cameo and a few tins and some beads and even my mother’s own baby bonnet. Then I put everything together in a way that was simple yet visually appealing. I gave it to my mom and she loves it, of course. It now hangs on her wall where everyone can see it.
Now I still have one shadowbox left since they came in a pack of two. I think my next theme will be a “remember when” or “this is your life” kind of deal because I have cards, letters, drawings even old school stuff of mom’s when she was little. If I can get it arranged to look good I think it would be a great companion memory box to the first one I made.
I’m also working on a vintage firefighter theme box for my husband that combines all his mini firefighter collectibles, like his old fireman badges and pins. He’s going to love it when I’m done. (If I ever get it done, I need more vintage firefighter memorabilia small enough to fit).
I like this concept of putting memories together in a shadow box because it gives you a way to create something beautiful out of pieces from the past, little things that normally just get stuffed in a box and pulled out maybe once every decade or so, and turned into a type of art. Something to display that connects you concretely to your history everyday.
And you can do it with anything, any theme. I love creating Shadow Memory Boxes more than scrap-booking because I can work with larger treasures, trinkets and memories that currently are wasting away unappreciated in boxes and trunks. This is a great way to “remember when” while crafting.