Honoring Your Loved Ones at the Holidays

Quilt & pillows made from my dad's T-shirts, flannels & pants

Pillows made out of robes

I have always been the family historian and my house is filled with old and new family photos all year long, but when my dad passed away a few months before Christmas in 2016, I wanted to find new ways of honoring and celebrating his memory, which lead me to create several special gifts and ornaments that I wanted to share here in case you are looking for ideas and inspiration.

My first project was the quilt and pillows we are all holding in the photo above.  The idea came to me as I cleaned out my dad's closets and was deciding what to hang onto as a keepsake.  Surrounded by piles of his favorite T-shirts, flannels and corduroys, all worn soft with wear, I realized there were enough to make a quilt for my brother, as well as pillows for myself and the rest of the family.  The following year I was asked to make the pretty pillows shown below for my sister-in-law's family.  They were made out of her mother's favorite cozy robes. I have made quilts and pillows in the past, but am not a professional seamstress by any stretch (and pretty much cobbled them together as I do most crafts), so there are no directions or links for these projects here... but I'm certain that you can find any number of tutorials on Pinterest or Youtube should you need more details on how-to!

Both our main Christmas tree and the one in my office are filled with photo ornaments featuring family members. I found and made the miniature tart tin ornaments the first year.  I ordered most of the supplies from amazon.com, but picked up the ribbon and embellishments at Walmart. I made these ornaments like I bake cookies... in assembly line batches. Printing several photos one page of card stock to save time and money.  These may not be worth the trouble if you are only making one or two, so so I made them for everyone in my family, as well as for special friends who had recently lost a loved one. Here's the link to the directions I used: tart tin photo ornaments

The next year I made more of the same, but also decided to mix it up a bit and found a how-to for the d├ęcoupaged ornaments shown on the left.  I've seen similar ornaments selling online for $25, but if you are even slightly crafty you can make them yourself using the tutorial below for under $2 a piece!? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y77AbcLMaw0

I made the shadow box (below) for my husband (who is still living) a few years back when I found his Sailor of the Year plaque and medals rotting in our dusty attic, but I think it is an a wonderful way of honoring the memory of any loved one who served in the armed forces. Deciding that it was basically criminal not to have his accomplishments on display, I googled "military shadow boxes" for inspiration, ordered a jersey-sized shadowbox on amazon, and pinned and/or hot-glued everything to the interior fabric.

If you are all thumbs when it comes to crafts, do not despair... you can go straight to etsy.com and have many of the items above (and so much more!) made to order.  I find that although these special  holiday mementos can make me a little emotional each time I pull them out, any sadness is quickly lifted by the wonderful memories of holidays past that follow!


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