Creations from Special Belongings


BY: Diane Snyder Cowan

CATEGORY: Grief and Loss
​When someone you love dies, being surrounded by their belongings can be both a treasure and a stressor. What is the best thing to do with all that stuff?

Do you toss it in a dumpster, donate to your local charity, save it for other people, save it for yourself or sell it?!  And how do you decide what to keep? And if you do keep it, what do you do with it?

Our loved one’s belongings often hold special memories.  Repurposing those items by turning them into artwork can help us honor and celebrate their lives as well as keep our memories alive.  While it may be difficult to cut, snip and refashion these precious items, with patience and a little creativity they can be turned into a lasting keepsake.

Here are some suggestions to get you started:

China – Mosaics are the art of assemblage of colored stone, glass and other items to create artwork.  Use china, tea cups and decorative plates to decorate the top of a memory box, tray or table.

Clothing – Old neckties, jeans, hats, sweaters, and other items can be used to make quilts, blankets, teddy bears, hats, and purses. Pockets from shirts and jeans can be included for holding personal notes.

Jewelry – Create new jewelry. Silver and gold can be melted down by a jeweler and used to create something new for you or for several people in your family. Gems and semi-precious stones can be shared amongst everyone in new designs. Cufflinks can become charms on a bracelet or necklace. Costume jewelry can adorn anything from a Christmas tree to a candle. Old pins can be turned into vin\tage magnets. Belt buckles can become necklaces. Be creative!

Table Cloths – Skirts, blouses and shawls can be fashioned from the beautiful fabric of a cherished table cloth. They can also be turned placemats or pillows.

Wall Art – Tools, jewelry, clothing and dishes can be used to create interesting and memory filled displays. Create a special wall hanging area for hats and/or purses that belonged to your loved. You can have items framed or buy and decorate a shadow box for these mementos.

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