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Summer is in full swing in the Blum household...it seems we're running to swim team practices, lacrosse practices, meets, tournaments, birthday parties and playdates constantly! I am so grateful to have my boys home more and to have quality time with them. However, with that comes the challenge of keeping my business running while doing it! I have to admit, it's only the second week of summer vacation and I'm exhausted! I find myself doing the billing and filling orders at midnight. I literally need a vacation from my vacation!
I'm looking forward to a much needed family vacation we have planned in July. No phones, no faxes, no internet and no TV! It will be culture shock...but will be relaxing! So I found it appropriate to share this little article with you. I wrote this last year for another publication and thought I'd post it here to help get all of you through your summer vacation craziness! Enjoy!
Decorate With Vacation Souvenirs
Along with the end of the school year and the lazy days of summer, comes the much anticipated fun family activities and vacations. While on these outings, we often purchase many little souvenirs in the hopes that they will be a constant reminder of what a great time we had on those unforgettable vacations. In reality, those souvenirs often end up tossed in a closet or drawer and eventually thrown away. Rather than randomly purchasing some useless trinkets while on your vacations, with a little planning you can bring home souvenirs that will truly be treasured.
By choosing your treasures wisely, you can not only use the souvenirs to decorate your child’s room, but you will also be providing your child with a much needed summer craft project and educational activity as well.
No matter where you plan to venture, sit down with your child before each vacation to discuss where you are going, the types of activities you might be participating in, the environment and local cultural flavor of the area you will be visiting. A little research on the location should be very educational for your child and will help him or her to set some fun goals for his/her trip activities and should help to build the enthusiasm and anticipation for the vacation. To further this enthusiasm, select a craft project from some of those listed below so that you might plan a bit of a scavenger hunt for while on your vacation. Then when the vacation is over and your project is completed, you will have a souvenir that will stand the test of time and be a constant reminder of the location you visited, family vacation memories, and the quality time spent together creating this lasting treasure. What more could one ask for?!
Going to the beach? I don’t know a family who doesn’t spend much of their beach time collecting shells, sand dollars, pebbles, and drift wood. Use those natural treasures in any of the following ways:
1.Arrange the shells, sand dollars, driftwood and pebbles around a postcard depicting the vacation location and mount them in a framed shadowbox to hang on your child’s bedroom wall. This can be the beginning of an ongoing gallery of vacation memories over the years.
2. This same shadowbox can also be converted into a fun tabletop for a bedside table.
3. Those same beach items can be used, along with some collected sand, to fill a decorative clear jar which can merely be capped off or turned into a unique lamp base.
4. Make a beach treasure wreath by gluing the items on a large cardboard circle or foam wreath form, or use craft wire to attach the items to a grapevine wreath.
5. For an older child, you can make tea candles of the small clam like seashells. Remove the candle and wick from tea candles and place them into your shells and melt them so that they fill the shell evenly. Arrange these on a plate to make a candle garden for your dresser top.
6. Use clam shells as a change holder or for scented potpourri.
7. Create a seashell mobile to hang from the ceiling in your child’s room.
If you have several vacations and various locations planned for your summer, the following ideas will be useful in creating a nice décor item that will tie all of those vacations together or might even help to create a summer vacation theme for your child’s room.
1. Use the photos taken while on your trips or postcards gathered from each location to create a desktop collage by arranging them under a glass desktop protector.
2. Use those photos or postcards to create a mobile or framed wall collage. You might even consider filling out the postcards first with your memories of the vacation.
3. Make a goal of collecting leaves from local vegetation at each vacation spot. Press the leaves and frame each one in matching frames to represent the various vacation locations visited throughout the summer or over the years. You can also label the framed leaves by using a paint pen on the frame’s glass.
4. Collect a pin or charm from each vacation spot to arrange on a bulletin board or in a shadow box to be hung in your room or attach these to decorative ribbons which can be hung on a wall or suspended from the ceiling.
5. Collect stones, shells, twigs, sand, etc. from each location. Once you are home, purchase matching decorative jars to represent each location. Fill the jars and use a paint marker to label the location and date on each jar. Glue a few of the pebbles or shells to the jar lid to add some flair and arrange these jars on a long shelf or table top. This can be an ongoing tradition over the years.
6. Use postcards or photos to decoupage a table top, trinket box, wood lamp base, flower pots or photo frame. Just about anything can be decoupaged!
7. Sketch out and paint a map representing your travels onto a blank canvas floor cloth. Don’t feel that your map needs to be accurate, the whimsical feel of a hand drawn map will add to the charm of the rug. Decoupage photos of your family onto the map representing each location’s best memory. Add several layers of polyurethane to protect the floor cloth. Once dried, this can make a nice bedside rug in your child’s room or made into a wall hanging, and will bring a smile to his face each morning when he wakes!
8. Collect hats from each vacation and display them on a high shelf in his room.
9. Collect t-shirts or pennants from each location. Use these to create a window treatment or duvet cover for your child’s room.
With a little planning, you can ensure that your vacation souvenir purchases will be useful, appreciated and will last for more than just a few days. And when summer vacation is over, your child can relive those fond vacation memories easily by taking a few moments to admire her beautiful vacation masterpiece!