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Vacation & Keepsake Memory Jars

My son loves collecting little keepsakes and treasures. Sometimes we go on leisurely treasure hunt walks through our neighborhood, hand in hand, to see what we can find. We pick up pine cones, bottle caps, pretty rocks and leaves. I love going on treasure hunt walks with him. He also enjoys finding or buying little keepsakes on our beach trips.

Sadly some of those little treasures get stuffed in a drawer or lost in the hustle and bustle of life. We try to remember to put things like shells in the apothecary jars in our front entry or the lantern on our front porch, but I really like the idea of letting him fill his own jars as a creative project.

Why let those little moments be forgotten so quickly?

We still have a few weeks left before school starts, so to fill up some of these last days of summer I am going to let him be creative with jars.

I saw these keepsake jars over at Martha Stewart and thought they were a fun way to capture those summer vacation memories. Aren’t they cute? Martha suggests using bendable wire to ease trinkets into the jar if the mouth is a little narrow. I would think you could even use wire to help mementos stand up or “float” within the jar.

These jars would also make sweet gifts or mementos for:

  • an anniversary (fill with keepsakes from dating or the wedding)
  • first year of baby’s life (put their first booties, hair clips, hats, hospital bracelets, hospital snap shots, pacifier)
  • a year in review (tiny mementos from the past year)
  • a gift for grandparents or for any other loved one or occasion in life
  • you could even make one as a teacher’s gift!

What other ideas do you have for using jars to hold keepsakes?

Look at these lovely aqua mason jars you could collect for memory jars!

Related Travel Keepsake Post: Easy Map and Travel Art

inspiration: Martha Stewart


  1. Arleen

    Hi Melissa. Love this idea! And in the wintertime, imagine collecting treasures and making snow globes! Have a great week. ~Arleen

  2. Chryselle

    I really love the idea of using the jars as a keepsake for baby’s things. Mine is 6 months old and I’ve been collecting things wondering how to store or display them. I’m going to try one of these jars now! Thanks for the tip, Melissa.

    Frangipani Decor

  3. Elizabeth

    Nice idea! I always throw things away and regret it later on…
    You can even make these into lamp bases by using a jar light kit.


  4. LexyB

    Very sweet. Although I’d be too scared to make one for my sons’ teachers (hmmm, dirt and knee scabs would probably be the only thing to prompt a memory for the teacher of my kids!).

  5. Joanie

    Oh Melissa, I love this idea! I’m thinking of holiday themed jars, and not just Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day. The possibilities are endless! Thanks for the inspiration. I’m off to find some jars!

  6. anne

    hello Melissa…..this is a brilliant idea…and putting something with a date on it, helps, as then in years to come you will know how old there were, and where you were at the time… :-)

  7. a-m

    What a fabulous idea. You have just solved my boys present for their Dad’s 40th. We want to do something that strikes right at the heart… this idea is just perfect! Thank you Melissa! A-M xx

  8. janice

    This is a fantastic idea!! Thank you. I’m ashamed to admit that my first thought when I saw the photo was DUST -FREE keepsakes!

    I have bowls of pebbles I gathered from my favourite beach in Greece and a hurricane lantern with them at the bottom as the base for a candle. (The pebbles are jade green and dark turquoise, marbled with black. The sea there is magical.) I can just imagine a jar of them. Then I started thinking of all the small precious things all over the house that are a pain to dust and have become invisible because they’re positioned in front of books on bookcases. Then I thought of Christmas and…well, I’m going to log off now and start sourcing jars!!

  9. The Blushing Hostess

    I love it. We have been collecting shells from different beaches this way for years, a great idea to put our other keepsakes in also!

  10. Emily

    what a cute idea! i think i am going to start doing this with the many mason jars we have that need a use other than making fig jam.

  11. Chele

    We have some old jars (not so pretty though!) that we have sea shells and cool rocks. Anything we find while on a vacation that we want to keep, we put in glass jars like that! Wow! I finally found something I can do that you have posted! LOL. It’s the lack of my creative self that feels like some things are not easy enough for me but this is!! :)

  12. Richella

    This is a wonderful idea! I’m not a scrapbooker, but sometimes there are little keepsakes that we’d like to do SOMETHING with. This solution is both meaningful and aesthetically pleasing. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. Marci

    That is a great idea! My daughter is a packrat, I mean collector, and her dresser gets full of her precious finds. I used to throw them all away when it got too full to see the top and she would be so upset. I can see us using jars to keep her keepsakes in. That would keep them organized and pretty and easy to find.

  14. Pinky

    Wonderful idea! My daughter just got engaged on Fri. night so I am thinking an engagement jar might be nice! They went to the beach so I could do sand, shells, a “fake ring”, matches from the restaurant etc,! Thanks for the inspiration!!!! Pinky

  15. Morning T

    Fabulous ideas that I definitely need to use!!!

  16. Sue

    I have a Mason jar of shells from every beach trip I’ve ever taken with my kids, but I LOVE the idea of putting other things in there too. Great inspiration!

  17. Hasley

    Brilliant! I just finished movnig no less than 8 “precious things boxes” that I gave my sons to stash their mementos (old shoe boxes brimming with stuff) but these are so much cuter, and you can display them— and get them off the floor, out from under the bed, etc. Thanks for the super tip!

  18. My First Kitchen

    Great idea. But what if you don’t ever really go anywhere to get keepsakes? My jar would have Oreo crumbs, couch lint, and the remote. The sad part? I’m totally okay with that arrangement.

  19. Shirley

    Great idea! I’ve got a couple of clear glass canisters I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with. Now I know.

  20. Pat

    This is a fabulous idea, Melissa!

    I just had a look at your Dash & Albert post. We have Cabin Stripe. I used it at the condo for a couple of years. It’s now in front of the stone fireplace, down stairs, here at home. It’s a 6×9, love it! I also have the smaller version of the one leaning to the right in the photo, with wide grey strips. I use that one in the guest bath, in front of the sink, at the lake. They are great rugs!

  21. Shannon

    These are such a great idea. I will definitely be making them with my kids. My daughter is the collector in our family. She is always finding leaves, rocks and pine cones on our walks.

  22. Diane Costanza

    Martha always knows what she is doing. They are a great looking momento.

  23. dionne

    this is a great idea. i now know what i’m going to do with all of those concert tickets stubs i’ve been saving and have never known what to do with them!!!!!

  24. Becky K.

    These are sooo pretty.
    I love it!

    That would make a great group activity too,
    for an art class or even a child’s birthday
    party activity!

    Becky K.

  25. jen

    I love this idea…we have a bunch of shells just sitting in sandwich bags. Wish I had collected some sand too from the beach.

  26. Jenny

    What a GREAT idea. I have three boys and they LOVE collecting things from our vacations. THese memory jars are fabulouse because they are contained and not spread all over their rooms! LOL

    I really enjoy your blog. I’ll hope you’ll stop by mine sometime and say hi :)


  27. Brandie Kajino

    I LOVE this idea! You could even use this in an office for events you’ve been to, people you’ve met. Great idea, thanks for the link!
    .-= Brandie Kajino´s last blog ..Deals: russell+hazel & momAgenda =-.

  28. Kelly

    We are missionaries to Uganda, East Africa- this would be the perfect way to bring a few “little pieces of home” with us when we travel. And marvelous keepsakes for our globe-trotting sons. I’m not sure how well the would travel- might need to collect plastic jars, and use some glue to make sure the arrangements stay in place. Or perhaps use this idea as a jumping off place to find something a little more travel-wise. But THANK YOU!



  1. I Have a Crush: Aqua Mason Jars - [...] as a place to hold pens and other necessities. Oh how fresh and beautiful aqua ones would be for…

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