Decor – Memorabilia Displays

Shadowboxes are a great way to display memorabilia such as travel souvenirs, vintage items, or personal heirlooms.  By having these items protected under glass you and your family, along with the visitors to your home, can enjoy looking at them while keeping these items protected from any damage.   Over the years I have made several shadowboxes that are displayed throughout our home and in this post I will show these examples.

Travel souvenirs

As I mentioned previously in a July 2013 Décor Post, Displaying Travel Souvenirs, in the library of our home nestled among the books are several items that we have collected over the years during our travels across the United States and other distant places such as Europe and Asia.  I have found that shadowboxes are an excellent way to display these travel souvenirs.  One example, shown below, is the shark weapon that we purchased on a visit to the Polynesian Culture Center in Hawaii.  This beautifully crafted piece is displayed in a shadowbox to be admired but the real purpose for having it behind glass is that the sharp edges of the shark teeth are enclosed to prevent anyone from handling this dangerous weapon.  Several other smaller shadowboxes are also displayed on the bookshelves and the examples are shown below and they are: a framed piece of Edelweiss purchased in a small shop near Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, a small piece of brick from the home of Abraham Lincoln located in Springfield, IL and a piece of cable that we purchased at the San Francisco Cable Car Museum.

Hawaiian travel souvenirs
Germany travel souvenir    Springfield travel souvenir

San Fransico travel souvenir

Discussed in the May 2013 Décor Post, Framing Small Items, during our family road trips, I always purchase pins as inexpensive souvenirs and over the years I have collected hundreds.  These pins, shown below, are displayed in special walnut cases with black liners.  Also shown below are additional cases, one case displays my collection of Hard Rock Café guitar pins purchased during over visits to the restaurants throughout our travels and in another case is a very small part of my collection of over two hundred Disney pins.

Pin collection 2  Pin collection 1
Pin collection 4    Pin collection 3

Another memorabilia display featuring travel souvenirs can be found in our basement displayed above my Disney bookshelves.  It is a vintage Disneyland pendant in a black shadowbox and is shown in the photo below.    As I mentioned previously in the April 2013 Decor Post, Disney Memorabilia Collection, I go into details about my Disney obsession and the items that I have collected over the years.

Disneyland pendant shadowbox

So, instead of storing your travel souvenirs in boxes which are hidden away from view, try displaying them in shadowboxes or special display cases which allow you to look at these items while the items are protected from dust or damage and you will be able enjoy the memories of your travels!

Vintage items

As many of you know from reading previous posts, I enjoy browsing and shopping in antique stores and on EBay.  Over the years I have purchased many vintage items and scattered around our home are several small and unusual framed items which add personality and interest to our home decorations.  In the May 2013 Décor Post, Framing Small Items, I featured a shadowbox that is on display in my home office that contains commemorative medals of the British Kings and Queens that I had purchased inexpensively on EBay.  The pins, shown below, range from Queen Victoria to the present Queen Elizabeth II and it is a wonderful way to have a little piece of interesting history.

Framed collectible 3

In another Décor Post, Framed Jewelry, posted previously in February 2014 features several vintage jewelry items that I also purchased while shopping in antique stores and on EBay.  These vintage jewelry pieces look wonderful displayed in small frames and add an elegant touch to our home décor.  Shown below is a beautiful crystal fur clip which is attached to a piece of white velvet and displayed in a small gold frame.

Framed Fur clip

Recently, one of my Spring cleaning projects was organizing the closet in our master bedroom.  The room is a rather large walk-in closet with a counter positioned in the center and has a wonderful and convenient chute to the laundry room downstairs.  The room also has useful built-in shelving where I have displayed two shadowboxes, which are shown below.  One shadowbox has a set of antique lace collars and cuffs while the other one has a pair of antique men’s spats.  Using these antique items displayed in the closet seemed perfect and I think they look great!

Vintage women's lace collar and cuffs    Vintage men's spats

So, next time you are shopping in antique stores or on EBay think about how you can decorate with vintage items displayed in shadowboxes in your home.

Personal heirlooms

Showcasing family memorabilia or heirlooms is a wonderful way to add a personal touch to any home.  In a May 2013 Décor Post, Framing Small Items, I featured quite a unique item displayed in a shadowbox.  The items, shown in the photo below, are a personal letter and a religious medal from Pope John Paul II and included in the shadowbox is a photo taken on the day of our daughter’s baptism. This is an example of how these very personal items can be displayed to commemorate a blessed event.  For more information about this shadowbox and to read the story of how we came to receive these special items, please click on the link above. 

Framed collectible 1a    Childhood beach shovel

The next item of family memorabilia is an old rusty beach shovel shadowbox display, shown in the photo above.  When I was a child living in California, our family used to enjoy the occasional day at the beach.  This old metal beach shovel, found in my parent’s garage.  The trick to making this type of shadowbox is finding one that has enough depth to accommodate the shovel and then using a piece of sandpaper for the background of the shadowbox because it would look like the sand on the beach, finally the shovel was attached to the paper with hot glue.  Seeing the beach shovel shadowbox hanging in our downstairs bathroom brings back wonderful memories of Paradise Cove.

The next two examples of family memorabilia are framed items of clothing which are shown below.  The first is one of our daughter’s baby outfits and I also included a baby photo of her in a small gold frame, these items are simply displayed in a white shadowbox.  The second shadowbox which contains our daughter’s 5th grade graduation t-shirt and it is hung in her bedroom, she likes looking at the names and remembering her classmates.

Cassie shadowbox 2    Cassie shadowbox 1

The final example of a family memorabilia shadowbox was used a few years ago when my husband’s Grandmother passed away.  She was an artist and for her funeral/memorial services and we displayed several of her paintings and other pieces of artwork and her art ribbons won at local fairs and competitions was arranged in the shadowbox and also put on display at the funeral home.  Sadly, if you are ever put in the position of making funeral arrangements or planning a funeral service, it is always a thoughtful idea to add some items that were of personal interest to the deceased.  When these items are displayed among photos of the deceased, along with the floral arrangements, it helps to “tell the story” of the person’s life.

Grandma Hodge's art ribbons

So, memorabilia shadowboxes can be used to decorate and add personality to the home.  These items can be travel souvenirs, vintage pieces and family heirlooms. For another idea using shadowboxes, please be sure to check out next week’s Craft Post, Childhood Shadowboxes, for an easy and simple craft project to use as a display in your home.

Decor – Framing Small Items

Scattered around our home, there are many small and unusual framed items.  Some of these items are a collection of collectible items or cameos or historic royal medals.  These add personality and interest to our home decorations and are displayed throughout the house.

In my home office, I have recently added two wonderful collectible pieces by Margaret Furlong.  She is an artist located in Oregon that designs beautiful decorative pieces inspired by nature made in bisque porcelain.  The two pieces from her collection currently on the bookshelves in my home office are the “Heaven and Earth” and the “Hope for a New Millennium” which were purchased several years ago and originally were displayed in my daughter’s nursery in our California home.  To create these two framed collectible pieces, I purchased inexpensive gold frames that perfectly fit the Margaret Furlong pieces and two lovely pale green “velvet” scrapbook papers from the local craft store.  I removed the glass and backing from the frames then cut the “velvet” paper to fit the frame using the glass as a template.  I attached the collectible onto the paper with hot glue; carefully making sure that it would be perfectly centered within the frame, and then hot glued the paper with the collectible attached to the frame’s glass for additional support.  Finally, I placed everything back into the gold frame and it was ready to hang on the wall.  This easy craft project took 30 minutes to frame both pieces.  These two framed collectibles are a wonderful example of how to display small items in a beautiful way.

Framed collectible 2     Framed collectible 1

Displayed in my home office is a shadow box that displays commemorative medals of the British Kings and Queens.  As mentioned in this month’s Celebration post, Victoria’s Day, I am fascinated by the British Royal family.  My interest was sparked several years ago when I read a novel about Queen Victoria.  Since that time I have read numerous books about the royal family and while visiting England several years ago I had an opportunity to see the castles and country homes of the royal family which I had been reading about in their biographies.  This inspired a collection of commemorative medals of the British Kings and Queen.  The first one dates back to Queen Victoria and commemorates the Diamond Jubilee and her 60 year reign as Queen of England.  Additional commemorate medals include the coronations of the Kings and Queen that followed, King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI and finally the current Queen Elizabeth II.  One very unique pin marks the year 1937 when England had three kings.  During that one year England had three different kings, they were King George V who had recently died at the beginning of 1937, King Edward VII who abdicated before his coronation and then King George VI who was crowned at the end of 1937 and he is the father of the current Queen Elizabeth.  This particular pin is my favorite one in the collection.  All of these seven commemorative pins are in a walnut shadowbox and are wonderful way to display the collection in my home office.

Framed collectible 3   Framed collectible 4

Several years ago while shopping on ebay, I came across a great source for cameos.  I purchased several not knowing exactly what I was going to use them for, originally I was thinking of using them for a jewelry project.  Instead, I decided to frame a lovely blue cameo the same way I framed the Margaret Furlong pieces.  I purchased a small silver frame from the local craft store, dark grey “velvet” scrapbook paper and used the same process, it worked out beautifully.  The framed cameo now sits on the side table in our master bedroom and is a lovely decorative accent.

Down in our basement there is a bookshelf which is filled with family memorabilia (in the future I should write a post regarding the bookshelf and how everything is displayed!)  Anyway, there is a very special piece that commemorates our daughter’s baptism and the story behind this piece is very interesting.  First, I need to explain that both my mother’s parents emigrated from Poland through Ellis Island in the early 1900s.  Needless to say when Pope John Paul II became pope in 1978 my mother was very excited.  Several years ago when I was working on a special 80th birthday book for my mother, I wrote to the Pope hoping that he would respond and to my surprise he did write back with a lovely letter wishing her a happy birthday.  To conclude the story, when it came time for my daughter’s baptism, I again wrote to Pope John Paul II and received a letter blessing her on this special occasion and enclosed with the letter was a very special medal for her.  I copied the letter, reduced the size to fit the frame I had purchased, the original letter went into her baby book, and in the small shadowbox I included the medal the Pope sent along with a photo taken at her baptism.  This is an example of a very small item, the medal, being displayed in a wonderful way to commemorate a special and blessed event.

Framed collectible 1a

In the entertainment center down in the basement are several walnut cases specially made with a black liner and they are perfect for holding a collection of pins gathered during our road trips and overseas travels.  Almost every place visited on our travels I will purchase a pin as a souvenir and over the years I have collected hundreds.  Most of these pins are displayed in these special large walnut cases.  Check out this month’s Décor post, Travel Souvenirs, for more information regarding the other items we collect during our vacations and how they are displayed in our home.  Two small walnut cases are also displayed in the entertainment center.  One case holds a collection of Hard Rock Café guitar pins that were purchased while dining at the restaurants in several U.S. cities and other locations in Europe and Asia.  We like the food at the Hard Rock Café and if we are visiting a particular city on our travels I always check to see if there is one located there.  As mentioned in a previous post, Disney Memorabilia Collection, part of our Disneyland souvenirs is a collection of over two hundred Disney collectible pins.  Most of these pins were purchased during our visits to Disneyland or online from e-bay when I am looking for rare or discontinued pins.  A small part of the pin collection is displayed in one of the small walnut cases and the rest of the pins are stored away.  These walnut cases are an example of a terrific way to display a collection of small items and sometimes when we are down in the basement watching movies I will pull out one of the walnut cases and look at the pins and remember the places we have visited.

Pin collection 2    Pin collection 1
Pin collection 4    Pin collection 3

So, when you are purchasing small decorative items, think about displaying them in small frames that would look wonderful on bookshelves or tables in your home.  If you are a collector of small items like pins and medals, think about displaying the items together in shadowbox frames or special cases that are made specifically for this purpose.  My basic idea is that if you have purchased and collected these items take some time to display them in a decorative way to enjoy every day.  This idea is also a wonderful way to add interest and personality to a home.