We love sharing little household traditions with you guys. There are just so many cheap and easy ways to commemorate special dates and display unique items in your home that can make it feel more personal and meaningful. For example, we whipped up these vacation jars a while back…
… and also explained that we love sending a postcard to ourselves to help remember all the details of every vacation that we spend together (they look great tossed in a large glass vase):
We also shared how we framed old keys to commemorate all the places we lived before moving into this “forever home” of ours (as seen to the left of the postcards in a vase above).
And how I snagged a vintage map on ebay, mounted it on cork, and framed it for a simple pinboard that helps us chart all the places we’ve traveled together (we’ve since added a bunch of pins thanks to our big Texas road trip):
And how we love to pose for some cheap-o photostrips on big days like anniversaries and other momentous occasions (like the day we found out I had a bun in the oven):
But enough looking back, let’s get back to 2010 shall we? Speaking of the brandspankingnew year, John and I actually have a strange little New Year’s Eve tradition: a nice romantic sushi dinner. It actually became a tradition after we were together a few years and realized that we had subconsciously gone out to a sushi dinner on Dec 31st ever since we began dating. So after accidentally enjoying a nice little Japanese feast together in 2005 and 2006, of course when the end of ’07, ’08, and ’09 rolled around we kept the tradition alive. And somewhere along the line John suggested that we save a pair of chopsticks from each restaurant (unused ones of course) and label them with the date, the occasion, and the place where we dined. It’s such a cheap (well, free actually) way to keep tabs on our year-ending whereabouts- and it’s fun when they’re displayed en masse atop a lacquered box, stashed in a cup on my desk, or even stuck in this Ikea vase:
We love that we can glance at them and remember evenings spent celebrating the end of one year and the beginning of another- and it’s great to see that we actually kept the tradition alive no matter where we were traveling at the time (from Georgia to Delaware and of course on the home front in Richmond, VA).
Oh and not to worry guys, this year it was only cooked fish and veggie sushi for me since the bean is “on board.” But it was still just as delicious and memorable. So that’s our odd little sushi inspired tradition. What about you? Do you have any “momentos” that you collect or even label to help you remember special events or milestones? Matchbooks? Bottle caps? Sea shells? Wine corks? Snow globes? Menus? Shot glasses? Tattoos? Do tell.
Love the chopstick idea!! So cute! My husband and I are big travelers so everywhere we go, we buy an old map of the country/state where we are and then frame it upon our return. Probably the best story of our map acquisition is when we were in New Zealand… the whole story is here: http://leeandsallynztrip.blogspot.com/2008/08/one-for-nerd-record-books.html
Tiffany T. says
Every Christmas we go to the movies and have a glass of wine. I always keep the bottle and the stub. We love going to concerts so I like to keep those tickets too.
These are all such good ideas. I have memories of my dad organizing all the photos and putting them all in albums. I love going back to my parent’s house still, and seeing all the albums year by year, perfectly organized. My goal, is to go through my immense digital photo collection, and start creating albums for every year. I just need to find the time!
I have a random question – I’m loving your bathroom reno posts, and I know you’re revealing slowly in chapters on the blog.. but as of now, do you guys have a fully functioning bathroom?
Yup, we’re a bit behind when it comes to sharing our bathroom progress on the ol’ blog (thanks to holiday madness and the time it actually takes to write up each post after we complete each stage). But as of now we have a full functional toilet and tub so two-thirds of the bathroom is complete (we just have to install the vanity this weekend to complete the trifecta). Then the tub is getting reglazed on Monday so as of Tuesday (once it fully cures) we’ll have an 100% completed bathroom to enjoy. Wahoo!
Ok, this may sound strange, but ours is ROCKS. My mother-in-law started this little tradition. My husband and I got married outside and when my mother-in-law got home she had a big rock stuck in the heel of her shoe. She took it out and wrote the date and that it was from our wedding. When she passed away 2 yrs ago we got the rock. Our daughter has become interested in rocks and likes to collect different ones, so when we are someplace I want her to remember I have her snag a rock and we write the date and occasion. Strange but fun!
Lauren M. says
I stole your glass jars idea for our new house (first one!) and I get so many compliments. It was probably the easiest project ever. Thanks for the idea (one of the many I took from you!)
Tammi M. says
We’re getting married in May and are starting ‘our new tradition’ on our honeymoon. For each trip, we’re going to get an absolute tacky-to-the-bone souvenir. We’re going to buy a very nice chest to store all of our ‘treasures’. We often laugh about how when we have kids we’re going to tell them how they HAVE to be good or they won’t get our ‘treasures’ when they’re older. We’re goofy people in general, but the constant thoughts about us shopping and choosing the perfect tacky souvenir, carrying it through airports, putting it in the chest, giggling the entire time….keeps me entertained randomly through the wedding-planning process.
Now that’s hysterical. Love it!
Nicole P. says
Our family collects a few cool things: I collect wine corks, my son collects ‘cool’ rocks, my husband and I both love to get a shot glasses from each vacation – we have recently started collecting snow globes – snowmen or santa only : )
I love looking at each collection!
My husband and I have “soundtracks.” Whenever we travel a long distance to see friends or a mini vacation, we make a CD of songs. It started in college when we were each at a different university over an hour away from each other, and we’d make a soundtrack at our apartment before leaving to see the other. They have their own CD book we keep them in. It’s fun to get them out and listen to the ones from 2003…or even 2007!
this isn’t really my tradition, but Bakerella does something similar with sand and tiny glass jars:
i tend to just file everything, with a memo to myself to frame flatter items at a later date. so i have a file with old ticket stubs, a file with old cards, etc.
i mostly commented to say that I love that you are using a Sophie Kinsella book as decoration.
Haha, I love my chick lit!
My husband is retired navy (submarines). Ever since we began dating I have hunted down a sub ornament for Christmas…. some are classic navy, one has Santa in it, one is from the former Soviet Union, one draw by a child, etc. Amazing how many boats, planes, even motorcycle ornaments you can find, but not many subs, so it makes it even more special to find an interesting one. This year I made one! Next year maybe I’ll break down and get the classic Beatles Yellow Submarine one on ebay.
Taylor @ thehouseonpennylane says
These are such wonderful ideas. I’ll be reading through all the comments to get more :)
So far, the only things that my husband and I collect are Christmas ornaments from our yearly visits to a Disney park. After this post, though, I’d love to collect more thoughtful items, like your chopsticks. I think it’s a great way to decorate meaningfully.
Thanks for the inspiration :)
I have friends who save the corks of every bottle of wine they drink. They write the date/occasion on the cork and save them all in a glass hurricane vase.
We collect matchbooks and keep them in a clear jar on one of our shelves in the living room. It’s fun to go back and see where we’ve been – hotels from various vacations, restaurants where we’ve had romantic dinners, even fun bars that we’ve hung out at with friends. Plus, we’ll never have an excuse not to light candles around the house!
I buy a Christmas ornament from trips we go on and write the date somewhere on them. We have a miniature cruise ship, lighthouse from Outer beacher, Anne of Green Gables House, Santa in a hammock on the beach in St. Thomas and so on. I also buy each of my sons a special ornament significant of the year and something about the year or something they loved that year(John Deere tractor, new big brother etc.)
I love Christmas and love pulling out our special ornaments each year.
My Dad and I save the cut portion of the bottom of the christmas tree and write the date on it each year. After all the years of doing this we have a vase filled with ‘slices’ of pine trees. I always love the look on the Home Depot guy’s face when I ask him for the cut piece.
My fiance has also started the tradition of making a “coke can angel” each year. It started because we didn’t have a star or angel to put on top of the tree the first year we were together so he made the angel out of a coke can. Now THAT is DIY. Haha
I have also adopted your vacation jar idea, I love to look back and remember my husband and my vacations.
I have always kept our concert tickets stubs and now I have them on display in a large vase, somewhat like your postcards.
My husband collects yardage books (from golf courses)and anytime I have been away without him I try to pick them up for him as well, so I have displayed those as well in a large bowl in our living room. May be places he has golfed personally or places he wishes one day he will.
My husband has also had a continuing collection of interesting logoed golf balls, so I have them on display in our glass top coffee table. Brings a conversation peice to the room.
Thanks so much for all you do in your blog, I am an avid reader and always look forward to see what you both have been up to. Keep up the great work.
Mrs Fritz says
We shoot video with our flip HD camera whenever we go on vacation – or even just do something fun and unusual like taking a Segway tour of or biking or canoeing in our own town. Afterwards my husband creates short 5-15 minute edited films and adds in music. He amazes me every time with his ability to pull the very best moments and to find the perfect music to set everything to. We’ve only had the camera for a year, and our new tradition is to watch all of the films from the previous year on New Year’s.
My boyfriend and I don’t have a set tradition, but I’ve been hanging onto ticket stubs and other misc. mementos for the past two years. I never cared much for the idea of buying some fancy scrap box that you can’t even see into, so I’ve kept all these trinkets in an old shoebox, which is not a suitable home for happy memories. Thank you for the keepsake jar idea!
Hey Guys! We have a small bowl in the kitchen with seashells in it that we collect from different beaches we visit! We even went to Gatlinburg (Smokey Mtns) this past November and I found a shell that had turned into a fossil. I found it in a place called Smokey Mountain Knife Works. They have tons of great and fun stuff, not just knives! LOL! Anyway, I love the sushi tradition. We started doing the same thing for Valentines day! I think we will start doing the same with the chopsticks too! :)
Jacquelin Hicks says
My husband and I recently started collecting postcards as well. It is a wonderful way to document all of the fun places we’ve been.
Hubby and I love Disney World. Love might be an understatement, actually.
I haven’t come up with a good way to display our disney love- we have hats, some mementos and ticket stubs, etc. While I love Disney, I don’t think all of our collections are good design. I have them in a little box that I pull out every once and a while.
I love the map idea. I might steal it.
I’ve saved a little branch of our Christmas trees since we’ve been married (07, 08 & 09). I have them labeled in zip lock bags but when I save enough I creat a “specimen” shadow box. I also have the Champaign corks (labeled) of the night Brad proposed, our wedding day, first anniversary & the day we bought our house.
Well, speaking of tacky souvenirs, I started collecting float pens in 1997. I’ve accumulated 195 of so far. They are kept in little buckets from IKEA. My grandkids get a big kick out pulling them out and tilting them to see the floater go by.
Chulavista Locks says
I remember collecting those floating pens way back in the day!! OH those were so much fun. Wish I had kept them just as collector items. =)
Destiny D says
This is one of my all-time favorite posts so I’ll be checking back later to read all of the new comments. Afterall, what is the purpose of a great looking crib if you don’t have special someones and memories to fill it with? Way to go!
We have a large glass vase like the one that holds your postcards and I’m always struggling with what to put in it. I filled it with ornaments for Christmas, but it’s empty again! Have you used yours for anything other than postcards?
(We tried to save our champagne cork from New Year’s this year, but the puppy stole it yesterday and chewed it to pieces!)
We collect fun Christmas ornaments from our travels. We have a beautiful hand-crafted porcelain one from Vermont (featuring a snowly mountainside), silly plastic ones from Seattle, the Smoky Mountains, and Boston (salmon, a bear, and Paul Revere, respectively), hand-painted pottery ones from St. Thomas, St. Martin, and Mexico.
It’s really fun to look for them (especially the hand-crafted ones from local artists) while traveling and they’re a wonderful reminder of our time together when we decorate the Christmas tree.
Stormy Smith says
I noticed you have a pin on Des Moines, IA – that’s where I live :) Glad to know you’ve made a stop here!!
My husband and I DIY an ornament every year – our first was an oversized ball ornament that we drew on and decorated with stickers (2004). The year we got married we saved tickets and printed tiny pictures and decopaged it all onto a cut out shaped like Italy. It’s fun to find an interesting way to document our year and usually comes together as we wander around Micheal’s, we never have a plan!
After nine years together I wish I would have thought to save more, I love all of your ideas!!
L E A N N A says
We have a Memory Box full of ticket stubs, cards, corks with coins stuck in them, etc.
Since we love to travel, we get a Christmas ornament from every country we go to. It is almost always something indicative of the country. It’s cool to revisit the memories.
We couldn’t find one in Belgium and our London ornament broke. Anyone have a spare ornament from those two countries lying about? ;)
Holly West says
Mick and I bought special champagne flutes for our wedding and every year on our anniversary we take them out and do a toast.
We aso met on New Year’s Eve, so ever since then, *every* time we toast (which is every day actually), no matter what time of year, we say “Happy New Year.”
Jessica @ How Sweet says
Those jars are awesome ideas! I love it!
I collect old records (hunt down the used music stores and buy one or two or three classic records), frame the covers with a little card visible that states the place and store I found it. I have about thirty, in addition to ones my own parents gave me. Can’t wait to give them to my son when he’s old enough to appreciate them…hopefully it will still be cool to like what your parents liked by then lol.
I also collect sanddollars, let them bleach in the sun, write the place and date in a fine tip sharpie on the edge and hang them as ornaments. Some years I hang them on my kitchen window so I can appreciate them year round.
A friend used to collect a leaf per year and dry and press them into a frame to document her sons life in a fun way..it ended up being a very special memory when he passed away from cancer at a young age. Sad but a wonderful way to remember him.
I remember this thing called “mementos”. But then I had my boys and they broke them all. Which is okay, because now they’re replaced with piles and piles of kid drawings that make my heart happy every time I see them, which is often because they’re taped up all over my house.
Confession: my husband and I steal soup spoons! Never more than one and never twice from the same restaurant, but we’ve amassed a pretty cool collection that we actually use for meals. We’ve even got friends who’ve taken up our “criminal tradition” and bring us soup spoons from places they travel. :)
I love the writing postcards to yourself idea. So good.
We started keeping champagne and wine bottles from special occasions (or just the cork, in the case of champagne from our wedding).
Also, we live in Richmond too and LOVE Sushi-O. One of the best sushi places in RVA for sure.
I don’t have a special collection of anything, but I love some of your ideas! However, my mom has an amazing collection of heart shaped rocks that she collects from places she’s been. She’s very outdoorsy and loves to camp and hike so she finds them all over. Also, whenever my sisters or I travel somewhere far away, we try to find one for her as well. She writes the date and location on the backs of them (if they are large enough.)
We keep wine corks for vase filler and such, but our special ones–we visited wine country for out honeymoon, so that kicked off a tradition of buying a special bottle of wine on each anniversary to save for the next one–live in a wine glass from one of the vineyards we visited on our honeymoon. We love glancing at them and remembering the honeymoon and anniversaries. I can’t wait until we’ve been married long enough to have more corks than we know what to do with!
Jenny @ DIY Newlyweds says
Hubby and I got in the habit of collecting a magnet and mug from every vacation we take. It’s easy to do since these are things you can find in a souvenir shop in any destination. But it makes me worry what I’m going to do with all of those mugs and magnets after we’ve been married 10 or 20+ years! I guess my children will inherit a very interesting china collection someday!
I love your idea of postcards to each other, that is something I’d really like to start doing. Writing notes on actual paper, rather than a computer, is so romantic but is becoming a lost art!
The one thing we do right now is that we commemorate our vacations in photobooks that I make on Snapfish/Shutterfly and those types of sites. I used to be into scrapbooking, but it is so much easier and more organized to make photo books online. What I like about them is that you can add text along with all of the pictures. This way I can tell our vacation as a “story” and write down all of the little things we may forget later on.
I collect rocks. Always have. I’ve done a bit of traveling around the world and every place I go I find an interesting rock on the ground, write the place and date on it with a Sharpie, and bring it back for my niece. I am trying to cut down on my own clutter and collections, so I just passed this one to her!
I love the vintage map idea – I work with old maps as part of my job and my husband and I love to travel so it would be perfect for our house!
We don’t have too many keepsakes – we kept the bottle of wine we drank the night of our engagement and the cork to the champagne we toasted with at our wedding – otherwise we mostly have pictures for the memories!
Heather Wendling says
This is JUST the inspiration I need today! I keep everything and so much more is captured in photographs. Playbills and ticket stubs. Matchbooks. Wine corks. Maps. I love looking through treasures from our travels – trips my husband and I take, girl trips or family time.
Shannon Mignone says
I remember as a kid, my grandmother having these distinctive glass ornaments from overseas when she lived there. It’s something I have always wanted, but never got. So for our own tradtion, my husband and I go to a local glass blower and buy 5 new, different ornaments each year. Oddly, one of the ornaments is a Norwegian Star because my grandmother only really acknowledged our Norwegian heriatge at Christmas (weird, huh?).
Love your ideas, I would love to incorporate some purposeful items in decorating!
Kim at Yellow Brick Home says
We have a handful of “ball” jars at home, which we most recently used to stash our holiday candy. However, I got some inspiration from a photo where someone sprayed them all white. It looked super chic and fresh, and the Ball logo stood out even more!
I want to do the same thing with the paint, but I’m still trying to figure out what to stash in them since they won’t be see through. Hmmm.
Anyway, love the chopsticks idea! So cute.
Mike and McGee says
We’ve collected wine corks for years. We artfully arranged a bunch of them in shadow boxes (we glued them to heavy cardstock), added a few items from wine tastings we’ve attended together, and hung the boxes in our kitchen.
We’ve saved what we considered to be momentous fortunes from Chinese fortune cookies, like the one I got several weeks before Alex was born that said, “You will soon witness a miracle.”
We borrowed your key idea, since I had saved the key from our first house. We paired it with a key from our current houses and added several vintage keys.
We’ve saved a ton of things from our childrens’ babyhood, although we haven’t organized it or displayed it in any fancy way yet. Guess we should get busy…
What great, creative ideas. I love the chopsticks.
Hey – an off subject question. We just re-did our shower – took tub out and put in a tiled shower with great euro doors. How do you suggest I match the floor rugs – to the wall color, tile color, or floor color. I’m working with platinum tiles, BM Quiet Moments walls – white cabinetry.
Thanks for the hint.
We’re all about layering in different tones and textures, so for the floor mats we’d suggest going a shade or two lighter or darker than the wall or the tile color just for some added dimension and interest. Hope it helps!
A friend of mine took all her ticket stubs etc. from things she has done with her husband and made them into a collage and framed them. I have always thought it was a great way to do something with all those stubs filling a shoe box.
The Waspy Redhead says
Love your little traditions! My boyfriend and I started a new tradition of buying a Christmas ornament for our tree every time we travel someplace. It’s a fun living memory book when we trim the tree and think back to our vacations fondly.
We also save corks in a giant glass jar (more of a decanter or pitcher really). We try to be good about writing the dates on the corks, but more often than not we skip that step.
I’m love the map idea…and I must ask…what brought you to Iowa? Nobody ever comes here!! When I saw two pins there I had to wonder :)?
My best friend and her family are actually are from Reinbeck IA (so I fly into Des Moines to see them from time to time). John’s even been with me!
You guys have some great ideas!!! I love these!!!
I’m so glad that you re-posted the vacation jars idea! I started reading your blog about a year ago and have slowly been making my way through your older posts so I hadn’t read that one yet. Such a great idea! I have a giant box of keepsakes and wanted a way to display them in a non-tacky way.
::runs swiftly to michaels and buys eight billion jars::