For most of us, too much summer is like too much ice cream: impossible to conceive! Days at the beach, amusement parks, picnicking with family and friends, fishing and maybe sailing at the lake or vacationing in the mountains, and nights listening to music in outdoor cafes or in front of the campfire with those we love fill our dance cards and feel like they’re never going to end. But unfortunately they do.
To extend the feeling of those sun-and fun-filled summer occasions, and even find a way to incorporate them into the upcoming holidays, why not capture the season in creative projects the whole family will enjoy. There’s no better way to preserve the best of summer than to use mementos in homemade gifts and cards friends and relatives will truly appreciate, or which may just find their way onto your own mantle beside the Christmas stockings for all to see.
Dried flowers from the garden, sea shells, beach glass, brochures, ticket stubs from boat rides or amusement parks, postcards, a cut-out from a summer fashion magazine, a simple toy from a box of Crackerjacks, maps, luggage tags, and receipts from ballgames or your favorite outdoor café may seem disjointed at best. When hot-glued to a simple wooden picture frame from the dollar store–and maybe even lightly spray painted silver or gold–these items become a festive and personal kind of decoupage.
And while putting together photo albums and scrapbooking are always fun activities, take these ideas to the next level by creating special cards and messages that will carry summer joys well into December. Dress up family beach, boating, or camping photos by gluing them onto the fronts of plain notecards (a heftier weight is recommended) and applying simple cotton balls with glitter around them to simulate snow. Craft stores sell tiny plastic shovels, wreaths, and other holiday elements that can also be added to make each card unique.
To make an exciting summer treasure chest for leftover mementos, upcoming holiday gifts, or any kind of storage, recycle an unadorned wooden toy chest from the baby’s room or purchase a large wooden box from a home and garden supply store. Get totally creative and hot-glue lots of photographs, shells, strands of dried seaweed, pieces of old beach towels, old summer clothing and caps (that may have been headed for the rag pile), newspapers and brochures that advertise vacation rentals and sightseeing trips, postcards, maybe a plastic plate or utensils from a family bar-b-cue, and anything else that reminds you of summer pleasures and time spent together. Applying a few coats of varnish will help ensure that everything stays in place for a long time to come.
When seemingly endless cold, dark days of winter are upon us, this special summer treasure chest will serve as a reminder that seasons do change, the sun will shine again, and the beach or mountains will welcome us as we create new memories worth preserving once again.