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Gina Quarles : Treasures of Memories

Healing Through Creativity

Treasures of Memories

By Gina Quarles

Photo CollageMemories of precious moments remain in us forever. Memories can come as fresh as day or be clouded as times goes by. How do we keep these most memorable memories alive and with us? Of course photographs are the most common. But, where do you store them all? When I was much younger and had only one child, I used to scrap book. I loved it. I made each page so pretty. It was time consuming, but I had the time and wanted to do it. Life got busier and time went by. I stopped scrap booking.

So, I kept taking my photos with me to every event or vacation we would go on. Then, welcome digital cameras. Now I was not getting film developed anymore and the images remained on my computer and lived in folders. I would look at them when I wanted to. But, often I did not. So, having three girls now, and many years later, I was thinking of ways I could keep those memories for each child and our family alive. Each child has a memory box I created. I would store things like awards, certificates of achievements, special cards, pieces of artwork, report cards etc. The boxes are now overflowing. How do you possibly save everything?

One day, an idea entered my mind. I would like to share it with you whether you have children or not. We all have achievements and memories that are dear to us. My thoughts were, "Okay, I am not a quilter, that wont work. I am not a pack rat and this is getting ridiculous saving everyone's stuff." What can I do? It occurred to me that I could make a memory collage or shadow box.

For photos, go get them on a disc and print them out. Then begin collaging on a a piece of canvas that can be framed if you chose to. But, what to do with other things? I save all sorts of things that are special and sentimental for me, for example, my grandfathers American Flag that was on a ship in World War II. Pictures of the ship he's on, postcards, etc.— what do I do with it? The flag lives in a box and is very thin and tethered from being at sea. But, my grandfather was and is my hero, even though he is no longer with us. I am gong to put it in a flag shadow box. I want it hanging in my family room with all of the items I mentioned.

Okay, so that covers "gramps", as I used to call him. The other items that come to mind are like quilting, but not. What about that pretty first Christmas dress each girl wore or their pics with Santa or both? Why not incorporate both items on that special canvas. The more texture the better. Putting a piece of the prettiest part of each girls dresses in there, as in the beaded collars or the ruffly trims — they can be added to my piece. What about the family portrait right smack in the middle and add some memorabilia for each family member? Great Gina! Now we're talking. The creative juices are coming through. How about movie or concert ticket stubs? That is easy. Oh, my first poem that was published as well could be added! My husband's triathlon photos when he was in the best shape ever — added! Let's put in the cast list and the star of, "Annie" the musical, which happens to be my oldest child's glory. Ribbons from the honor roll, gosh, this could get a little crazy. But, do you see where I am going with this idea?

If you can make a piece of the whole family or whatever or whomever is important to you, those memories can be preserved and beautifully displayed in your home. I personally love this idea. Not because I thought of it, but because I am sentimental at heart. As my family is growing and changing I want to keep every precious moment alive. Time goes by too quickly!

Sometimes, we forget how much we have accomplished. If you start digging through your photos, items you have saved from events in your life that are of special meaning for you, add them to it. Display your piece proudly. Not only is this something to appreciate and view, it is a reminder of all that you have accomplished in your life. It builds your self-esteem. Sometimes we forget just how talented we are with all of our individual talents and gifts.

This may just inspire you to go back to something you unknowingly let go dormant in your life as it changes and gets busy. You can go back and do those things that brought you joy. Allow your self time for hobbies, to try new things, explore new things that you did not do, but maybe someone has. You may just find some untapped gifts you never new you had! Have the mindset of a curious child. Let yourself explore. It is fun! We a have to allow outlets for ourselves in this busy world we live in. We need something more than our daily "to do lists." This is what can calm and fulfill us. As you begin to discover some unknown abilities you many have, (I feel confident you will) you have something new and fun to look forward to.

I think of it as a way to learn more about ourselves. Not only are we preserving memories, we just may discover hidden gifts we never even knew we possessed! That is exciting. We are capable of so much-much more than we realize. So, go get your memory box or old scrapbooks out. Create away. Use any medium you like. You can find shadow boxes at most art supply stores. You are the master of your piece. Search this site for more creativity ideas. You may find a way to keep your memories alive in a new way here as well. Creativity is here and for the taking. It is available to all of us. You just need to look around.

Oh, one more thing... have fun while doing it. •

© 2013 Gina Quarles. All rights reserved.

Gina QuarlesGina Quarles is a mom, wife and a creative soul who is passionate about the art of writing. She's currently recovering from a near-death auto accident and working on a book, which is an outlet for her healing. She encourages others along the way through kindness and hope. More »

4/20/13