February 28, 2013

memory jars

Blogger's Note: During my travels the past few years, I had the opportunity to visit various booked-related hot spots. Along the way, I have picked up several souvenirs, and I wanted to share how I showcase these moments in my home. Originally posted on my now-defunct blog, Lit Adventures, I hope you enjoy this post.

Memory jars are cheap and easy way to display keepsakes from travels. For those of us on Lit Adventures, they are a way to remember these moments and display them in your home.

I borrowed this from Young House Love, my favorite home improvement/decor blog. According to their post, they saw the idea in a Pottery Barn magazine.

When I read about these travel memory jars, they reminded me of the dream jars the giant keeps in Roald Dahl's The BFG. I new these would be a great way for me to commemorate some of my travel adventures and would fit right into my barbrary

Here is what you need to make them:
  • Jars 
  • Masking tape
  • Marker/pen
  • Souvenirs
On Young House Love, the bloggers purchased several same-sized mason jars to make their finished product. For mine, I have thus far used jars of varying size from small salsa jars to extra large marinara jars. While part of me loves the uniform look of same-sized jars, I ultimately decided to take my approach, because I like the idea of giving jars I already have, or will have in the future, a new use. Also, the finished product looks nice and is somewhat symbolic to me. Every adventure is different. Some are big and some are small, but they are all worth remembering.

The keepsakes you put in your jar can vary, too. Cheap keychains, pens or magnets fit great in these jars. Postcards, small brochures and receipts also work well. If you decide to use something like sand, seashells, rocks or other natural materials, be respectful of how much you take and no that it is illegal to remove these items in some places. (Read my post from La Push, Wash., here, which touches on that more.)

As an example, for my Seattle 2012 jar, I included a keychain with an image of the Seattle skyline, my receipts from the original Starbucks and my delicious lunch at Pike Street Market and the handwritten directions I received to find one of my destinations.

For a funny, more personal reminder, I included the $40 parking ticket I received, and the paperwork used to dismiss it. (Quick sidenote: The phone agent I spoke to with Seattle's parking services was one of the nicest, most helpful people I have ever talked with to resolve an issue. It was a reminder to me of the importance of being nice to people, especially if you want their help.)

For the best fit and overall appearance, I suggest you keep the number of items between three and five.

Once you place your items in the jar in a manner that appeals to you, write a brief description of your adventure, including location and time. For example, I wrote "LauraPalooza 2012 - Mankato, Minn." on my jar for that conference.

Display your finished products as you like. Bookshelves are a natural fit, and I will proudly place mine on shelves in my barbrary.

How do you display keepsakes from your trips?

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  1. What a wonderfully intriguing idea! And I love the barbrary! Thanks for this peek into your world. Can't you see a book spinning off from linking the jars? Or may a book about someone who makes up these jars becoming obsessed, imagining adventures to heighten the impact of each jar's contents. Or . . . I'll stop, I'll stop. I can't help it if you trigger story tsunamis in me!!!

  2. Laura, I love the idea of memory jars! I collect sand from all the beaches we visit. I pour it into inexpensive glass bottles with lids and they're all on display on my mantle. I'm also glad you had $40 to spend on more jars and not that parking ticket! XOXO