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As with most nights, I sat in bed last night and started reading for a while.

This has become and regular thing for me and one that I usually really enjoy.  I either read my bible or an autobiography or something from one of my favourite authors.  To be totally honest I find that it helps me unwind.

Now, since I am being honest, I should perhaps also admit that I usually do this whilst at the same time watching the television. Yeah I know, but I just have that kind of mind where I can cope with doing two or three things at once much better than doing one thing at once sometimes.  In fact, when I was married I used to flick through several channels watching several different programs at once and following each storyline quite adequately.  Which totally infuriated my wife.  Hm I wonder if that is also part of the reason why my wife and I are no longer together? lol.

Last night however I just couldn’t get into the book I was wanting to read.  It was Tolkien’s “The Silmarrillion”  a collection of his mythopoetic works and which I had read many years back but had recently been given and  felt like reading.  But alas just couldn’t for some reason.

I even tried turning the television off and concentrating just on the book itself, but to no avail.  I got up, made a cuppa and then returned to my reading along with relaxing drink in hand and still it didn’t work.  So finally I gave up and just sat there for a while thinking about nothing in particular and everything in peculiar (as can often be my way).

It was then that I happened to look across at my chest of drawers and noticed a box that I keep there.  It is ( I am sorry to say) a designer file box.  Very fashionable and quite appealing (hey I am an artist I like that kind of thing and anyhow I recently went through a phase of “interior -designing” my home).

And a thought occurred to me.  Why not design and keep a Treasure Chest?

Don’t forget to check out Mumsee’s excellent blog – see below for details.

No I don’t mean one that you build and then lock and bury in the garden (producing a small aged map with a big red X on it) but instead one that you can keep in your bedroom and that can become a home for special mementos?

How about it?  It would at the end of the day be really easy to do I think – especially if you are arty and especially if you have children or grandchildren who you can get to help you?

Here is what you will need…

Shoe box (preferably one with a detachable lid)

Desirable Heavy Wallpaper

Thin Card

Thicker Card ( Thin cardboard )

A4 sheets of acetate. (Like those used on overhead projectors)

Glue (Strong paper glue is best)

Scissors

Ribbon (Choose ribbon that will match and compliment the wallpaper you have chosen).

Making Your Chest

All you have to do get yourself an old shoe box and then pop to the local decorating store and pick up a decent  roll of heavy wall paper that you feel is pretty or appealing or fashionable.  (If you don’t have a decent shoe box why not simply ask your local shoe shop if they have one they can spare?  I am sure they are always throwing them out or compacting them.)

Once you have your shoe box, simply set about carefully covering it (inside and out) in your chosen wallpaper. Try to make as neat a job as possible as you may want this to stay with you for a long time to come.

Once you have covered both the lid and box (inside and out) put them to one side.

Having come up with the idea I did an internet search for a wall paper covered shoe box and found this interesting blog article mumsees

Making Aide Memoires

Then, taking your thin pieces of card, cut out little rectangles of card (four or five  about business card size and four or five about postcard size.)

Once you have cut them out take your wallpaper roll and from it cut out enough rectangles to cover the backs of each of these rectangles of card that you have just made.  NOTE: Try to cut them slightly bigger than the rectangle of card that you have so that they can not only cover the back of each rectangle but have enough left over to be able to fold over the edge of the rectangle and form a small border on the front.

These can then be used to write little “aide-memoires” (memory aids) on such as dates, people’s name, little messages that mean something to you.

[If you are feeling really adventurous or arty, why not try experimenting with different shapes – hearts or basic flower shapes for example]

Making Message Cards

Why not try cutting out and covering more postcard sized cards and folding them to make little greeting cards that your children or grandchildren can write little messages of love on?

Making Photo Frames

Next how about selecting a few well-chosen normal size photographs that mean a lot to you and that make you feel good. (Try to get copies or choose ones that you don’t mind being put away in your Treasure Chest.)

Take your cardboard and cut out a rectangle big enough to allow you to put the photograph in the middle of it with 1.3 cm border all around.

Then carefully cut out another rectangle of exactly the same size and carefully cut out the center leaving just a 1.5cm rectangular border.  Then carefully cover both sides of both rectangles in your wall paper. [These become your photo-frame base and front border respectively]

Then, taking one of your a4 sheets of clear acetate, cut the same size rectangle out. [This becomes your glass]

Carefully place your photograph in the center of your complete rectangle [Your photo-frame base] and glue it in place.

Then carefully glue around the outside of your photograph and carefully lay your rectangle of clear acetate on it.

Take your wallpaper covered rectangular border [your photo-frame front border] and glue one side before placing it on top of the acetate so that it glues down.

Make sure that the edges all line up properly and the photo is clearly centered and visible and then place some heavy books on it until the glue it dry.

(Remember you can make as many of these as you wish and that will fit into your Treasure Chest)

Making Envelopes

Additionally you can use the wallpaper to make little envelopes in which to keep any letters that you have received and that you treasure or bigger envelopes in which to store drawings and artwork that your children or grandchildren have done.  For instructions on how to make your own envelopes click here . Remember you can choose your own sizes.

Using your ribbon

The ribbon can be used in several ways…

For example, you can cut lengths of ribbon that is big enough to tie round your treasure chest or if you are feeling very adventurous how about carefully gluing ribbon round the corners as a feature.

Additionally you can cut out lengths of ribbon to tie around the greeting cards, aide-memoires, or even the photos in order to keep them together.

Additionally you can create little ribbon hooks on each of the greeting cards, aide-memoires or photo frames.

These not only make them all just that little bit special BUT ALSO if you would like to you can use them to hang them on your Christmas tree, replacing them all back in your chest once the festive season is over.  [By the way little greeting cards like the ones described above and that kids, grandkids and friends can write on also make great christmas tree decorations without necessarily needing to be a part of your Treasure Chest.

Conclusion and Use

Of course covering shoe boxers in wall paper and making greeting cards and aide-memoires etc are nothing new.  As you will no doubt see if you do visit mumsee’s excellent blog which I found earlier today.  But what might be new to you is how I am suggesting that we use it.

What I am suggesting is that through careful selection, those of us who suffer from depression or other forms of mental health can create a Treasure Chest in which we can put things that either a) lift our spirits or b) act as anchors in times of storm.

By choosing what we want to go in there and by keeping it as a very personal and special thing we can use it as a resource for  when we are struggling or in times of trouble.

I know that in the instructions above I have made reference to including things from our kids or grandkids but don’t be limited to that.  We can use letter or items from friends, love ones, parents, family.  We can include certificates and achievements that we have made.

Or how about keeping items that we have written or drawn or painted or made that we are proud of and that mean something to us.

The opportunities are endless really (although of course they have to be able to fit in the box)

I for one really do intend on doing this and perhaps when I have I will take some photos and share them with you.  And hey, if you decide this is a good idea, and make your own how about sharing those with us too.

I really help this helps and you like the idea.

Kind regards and Happy Treasure Chesting.

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