Scrapbooking, Souvenirs, and Shopping for Yarn

There are many ways to preserve the memories of a trip – scrapbooking is one way, but well-purchased souvenirs, or even yarn can also bring back thoughts of a past trip.


My sisters are coming to my house this weekend for a scrapbook party. I started thinking about what I would work on – of course, it will be my scrapbook about our trip to Tokyo.  I love reminiscing about the other trips I’ve taken by paging through the memories that exist between two covers.


I started scrapbooking years ago – long before digital scrapbooking was a possibility.  I have a large collection of paper and stickers- probably too large – but with all these supplies available, I haven’t made the switch to digital.  My style has changed over the years, though; my pages are much simpler in my current books.  I focus more on the photos and less (or not at all) on embellishments.

I only scrapbook major trips we’ve taken – I don’t do anything with everyday photos.  I started when my girls were a little older, so I didn’t feel the urge to do baby albums or school albums, like some of my family members do.  Don’t get me wrong – I love their albums – but vacation albums work for me.

Many people like digital scrapbooking.  I’ve tried it and it’s a lot of fun. I’d like to do more of it in the future – maybe I’ll do a digital scrapbook for the tour in the fall.

Instagram, 500px and Snapchat have taken over much of scapbooking ‘s popularity.  These sites produce galleries with a lot less time and effort. It’s great that there are so many options to choose from – there is always something that will suit your taste.

What if you are not a photographer?  Sure you may snap a photo on your phone once in awhile, but if photography isn’t a passion, what can you do to remember your trip?


Souvenirs are available in all tastes and price ranges.  Some people collect postcards, or stamps from places they have been.  Others collect larger items – and focus on ones that represent the place they are visiting.  They buy a replica Eiffel Tower or a small Buddha figurine.

Beautiful Belgian Lace
Beautiful Belgian Lace

I love looking at linens, so when I travel to a place known for lace or another domestic art, I look for a small piece that will bring back memories.  Some areas are home to woodworkers or glass blowers – a carved wood figurine or glass bowl would make a great souvenir.

Think carefully about what you buy, though, so you don’t end up with a house full of clutter.  Don’t buy an object just because you want a souvenir – buy it because you love it.

Shopping for Yarn
The Gunmetal Shawlette that I Made in Paris
The Gunmetal Shawlette that I Made in Paris

One of my favorite ways to remember a trip is shopping for yarn. If I purchase yarn, I’ll remember the trip as I knit a project, and then every time I wear what I made.  “This is the shawl I made from the yarn I got in Paris.”  “I got this sock yarn in Munich.”  I’ve talked about some of my yarn shopping before.

How do you know what to buy if you are shopping for yarn on a trip?

As I see it, there are three ways to buy yarn – or fabric or other craft supplies – on a trip.  The first way is to just buy what you like; if the yarn jumps out at you, buy it.  It is painful to feel the regret when you get home, knowing the beautiful yarn is still in the store thousands of miles away.

It can also be regretful to purchase yarn that just builds your stash, but never becomes part of a project.  The second way to buy yarn, then, is to choose a project while you are shopping.  Shops usually have samples on display.  If you like a project you see, you can buy the pattern and enough yarn to finish the project.  In this way, you are more likely to actually finish the project.

My New "Reggia" Socks from Yarn Purchased in Munich
My New “Reggia” Socks
from Yarn Purchased in Munich

The third way to buy yarn requires you to be a little more proactive. If you are a member of Ravelry, like many of my readers are, you can collect digital patterns, saving them to your account. When you find a yarn you like, you can see if it will work for one of your “favorited” patterns. You can then look up how much yarn is required and purchase accordingly.

If you are a quilter or are involved in a different craft or hobby, some of the same ideas apply.  If you are purchasing supplies for a certain project, buy what you need or maybe a little more than you need, so you don’t have to go back for an extra quarter of a yard.  If you find something that you aren’t sure how you will use it, but feel that you can’t live without it, purchase enough to make it a reasonable part of another project.

Small Venetian Glass Plate
Small Venetian Glass Plate

When you travel, be sure to include money for souvenir purchases in your budget.  And consider how you will get your purchases home.  A Venetian glass bowl is a treasure, but a broken one is garbage.  (Glass sellers are usually willing to carefully wrap your purchases – let them).  If you intend to purchase a lot of large souvenirs or yarn, you may want to bring an empty backpack or purchase an additional suitcase as you travel.

Purchasing souvenirs can add to your trip and help you remember all the fun you had.  More importantly, though, is to have a great trip in the first place. Don’t be worried about what you are going to buy – but focus on enjoying the trip.  Have fun!


  1. I know a boy who collects pressed pennies from all the places he visits with his family. It is not too expensive ($0.51), doesn’t take up too much space or weigh too much in the suitcase, he enjoys tuning the big handle on the machine to make them, and it is a good reminder of all the places he’s visited. Their other son collects patches.

    1. Great ideas! I didn’t think about souvenirs for kids. One of my daughters collected Euro coins from each country we visited. Did you know that even though several European countries use the Euro, their coins have a particular country noted on them. They all spend the same, though and can be used in any participating country.

  2. Jewelry makes a great souvenir as well! It doesn’t have to be expensive – even cheap jewelry brings back memories and is fun to wear. It has the benefit of being small and easy to pack for the trip home too!

    1. That’s a good idea, too! I don’t wear a lot of jewelry, but I have scarves that I’ve purchased from many different countries. Whenever I wear them, I think about the place where I bought them.

  3. I have a daughter who collects bookmarks from many of the places she visits and I collect decks of playing cards. Both are small, light weight and usually inexpensive so they are also easy to bring home.

    1. More great ideas! I would imagine bookmarks and playing cards would have the same pictures as postcards, so it would almost be like getting two souvenirs in one.

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