Memories, Sweet Memories

With a smartphone in every pocket and access to the Internet just about ubiquitous, there are more ways than ever to capture and preserve your most meaningful moments. From the convenience of digital technology to the handmade craftsmanship of skilled artisans, a host of unique options are available to turn your dream into a reality. Whether you’re looking for a sentimental gift or trying to preserve a legacy, here are seven ideas that allow you to remember—and personalize—every irreplaceable memory.

Flowers to Beads… and More. Are you looking for a unique way to save that special bouquet? Turn your flowers into jewelry! You can transform fresh or dried flowers into bracelets, necklaces, watches, candleholders or a number of other accessories. Visit and send a message to Peoria artist Charlene Therien, or contact Artistic Flowers in Pekin by visiting or by calling (309) 347-0022

Personalized Books. What better way to motivate your children to read than a book featuring his or her very own name? Choose from among 30 stories—from fairy tales to pirate explorations—and insert your child’s name right into the text. Also available: personalized puzzles, coloring books, placemats, stickers, lunchboxes and more! Visit

Wedding Dress Reuse. Inspired by the TLC show Something Borrowed, Something New, this memento trend has brides looking for innovative ways to display or reuse their beloved wedding dresses. Junction Gallery can take your dress out of the box and frame the bodice for display—call (309) 689-0456 or visit Or have your favorite seamstress reuse the fabric and turn it into a christening gown (or other dress) for your little princess!

Memory Quilts. Do you have a bunch of ratty, old college or concert t-shirts lying around? If you no longer wear them but can’t bear to throw them out, turn them into something new with the help of The Retired Quilt. Transform your favorite memories into a cozy keepsake you can keep forever! Visit

Personalized Ornaments. These individually hand-painted ornaments can be a great way to remember a special moment in your life. With styles ranging from baby gifts to sports to the military and more, you can find the perfect symbolic ornament for your tree—and personalize it with a name and date at no extra charge. Ornaments from Maria’s Art can be found at

Photo Albums. While old-fashioned photo albums will always be a staple, websites like Shutterfly and Snapfish allow you to create your own scrapbook so you can savor your favorite digital photos with ease. Just upload your photos, choose a book and a theme, and wait a few days for your masterpiece to arrive in the mail. Or keep it local and visit to explore a variety of customized photo books, calendars, greeting cards, posters, wall decor, and other gifts.

Pandora Bracelets. What better way to remember a special moment or relationship than to wear it on your wrist every day? Select your own personal combination of charms—from letters and numbers to special occasions to your pet cause—and wear them on a Pandora “Unforgettable Moments” bracelet, available at Bremer Jewelry. Visit or call (309) 683-1024. a&s