Category Archives: Custom Keepsakes

Transform your treasured clothing into beautiful, lasting keepsakes.


Receiving Blanket Keepsake Ideas

Remember that receiving blanket the nurses wrapped your newborn baby in after they were born? Did you keep it? What can you do with it? Instead of storing it away, transform it into a Receiving Blanket Keepsake, like a teddy bear.


Almost everyone who has had a baby brought their precious little one home from the hospital with their first blanket. You know the one…it’s cream or white with blue and pink stripes along the edges and it usually has the hospital where you delivered your baby imprinted in one of the corners.  Do you still have it? Have you been looking to create a Receiving Blanket Keepsake that you and your child can treasure for years to come.


If you are loving the idea of a Receiving Blanket Keepsake, but not sure if a teddy bear will work for your family, what brings a smile to your face? Maybe a dog, cat, or bunny? Or maybe including the blanket with other outgrown clothes in a larger memory blanket that your child can use as he or she grows? Or maybe a tooth fairy pillow? Or a Christmas ornament? Your keepsake can also be embroidered with your child’s name and birthdate.

Whatever you choose as the best way to savor this memory on your family, Once Upon a Time Creation is here to help. Here is the link to our website page with all the ideas of what you can create from your baby’s outgrown clothes and blankets:

If you live in the Philadelphia area, you are welcome to come to our studio to see samples and talk about your keepsake ideas in person (the link to schedule an appointment is right below the menu on our website). If you would like to coordinate by mail, we’re happy to do that too!

Our mission is to create beautiful, functional keepsakes your family will love!

Looking forward to working with you,




“That would never be my kid.” The Addiction Crises.

These memory blankets were created for a wonderful family who lost their son to addiction. He was 19.

This family was so kind to share their story. It breaks my heart. Their son was a kind soul and full of life, loved his family and friends, and wanted to make the world a more peaceful place.

He did not want to live the life of an addict. He wanted to heal and tried to recover. He went to rehab and was clean for 53 days. Then he was gone. It has only been 6 months and sometime they feel it has been six days and sometimes it feels like six years. They are hurting. They are experiencing every parent’s worst nightmare.


To be honest, I had heard whispers and talk that heroin and drug addiction are a huge problem in our area and around the country, but until now, I hadn’t come face to face with the issue. Meeting this family and seeing their pain has opened my eyes to how real and widespread this problem is.

I am not an expert and have a lot more to learn, but I have read and heard from reliable sources (counselors and parents) that heroin is cheap and readily available, that kids are getting addicted to certain prescription pain relievers first, that someone can die from their first dose, and the worst thing you can say is, “That would never be my kid.”

Kids are dying all around us, right in your backyard, from the schools your kids attend. It’s time to take a stand and declare that it is NOT okay to bury our kids.

Education, quality physical and mental health care, and losing the stigma around addiction will help our community get a handle on this problem and hopefully eradicate this crises.

Locally, there is an organization called Steps 4 Hope ( It was founded by a Great Valley family who lost their son on January 7, 2014.

“We support and partner with both local and national organizations, such as Shatterproof, The Herren Project, The Adolescent Awareness Foundation, Be a Part of the Conversation and Narcotics Overdose Prevention and Education.  These important organizations educate students and communities, advocate for desperately needed changes in legislation and health care and work to end the stigma associated with the disease of addiction. Please join us to help end this public health crisis.” ~ Steps 4 Hope

There is a race in Ridley Creek State Park on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 9 AM. If you would like to register or become a sponsor, here is the link:

Steps 4 Hope

Please join me in in the fight by talking to your kids, supporting local awareness, and showing empathy to the families that are suffering. Parenting takes a village and we are all part of it.


Once Upon a Time Creation Bedspread Remembrance Keepsake Pillows

Remembrance Keepsake Pillows

If you are not familiar with a Remembrance Keepsake, it is a tangible piece of something that holds special meaning to you in honor of a loved one that you have lost. It could be anything that helps you feel like a part of that person is still with you and reminds you of all the wonderful memories that you shared together.

We all have special memories from visiting Grandma. Each of our senses contribute to the memories of the time spent together…the scent of her perfume, the taste of her famous pie, the sound of her bracelets jingling, the sight of her garden, and the feel of her well loved chenille bedspread. When Grandma is no longer with us, it feels good to have something of hers as a remembrance keepsake of the love you shared.

There is something about those memories that makes us feel happy and content. Maybe it’s that Grandma always made you feel special. Maybe it’s because she was so genuinely proud of you. Maybe it’s because she always gave the best advice. Maybe she always listened without pretense or judgement.

When we lose Grandma, it leaves a hole in our heart. I truly believe that we all move on to a better place, but that doesn’t mean you miss them any less.

Over the years, we have created keepsakes with so many things that were near and dear to your hearts because of Grandma…an apron, a piece from her curtains, her favorite robe, the dress she wore to your wedding, her pajamas, and her bedspread.

We hope that having a remembrance keepsake gives you a tangible memory of your time together and facilitates the sharing of family stories. The next generation can look at a family tree and learn when and where she was born, but you will have to tell them about her. How she lived her life. Why she inspired you. What made her so special.

Hopefully talking about the generations that came before us will help us remember what we loved, what we want to change, and how we can live our best life.

Once Upon a Time Creation Custom Keepsakes


Getting Your Home Ready for Sale Liz MacDonald Shelf Help 2

Getting Your Home Ready for Sale with Liz MacDonald of Shelf Help

It might have taken a little while to arrive, but wow, the spring market is here and it’s hot! If you are getting your home ready for sale, here are 5 staging tips you should keep in mind:

Create a good first impression with your home’s exterior

  • Invest in mulch. It will up your curb appeal
  • Seed or sod any dead spots in your yard
  • Create an inviting entry with no clutter, peeling paint or bugs in the light fixtures!

Showcase your home, not your stuff

  • Show off your gorgeous hardwoods – don’t cover them all with area rugs
  • Remove heavy drapery to let in as much light as possible
  • If you have a fireplace, make sure there’s nothing obscuring it

Remove distractions

  • Make rooms feel as big as possible by removing large bulky furniture
  • Remove family photos and any decor objects smaller than a soft ball
  • If you have built ins, make sure to leave space so they don’t feel crowded
  • Minimize what you have out on your kitchen counters

Make sure your rooms are shown as they are meant to be used

  • If you’ve created a home office from what is obviously supposed to be your dining room, convert it back. You don’t want buyers thinking there isn’t enough space in the home

Create flow

  • Connect rooms with a neutral color pallet
  • Stage and photograph your rooms from the perspective of their entries
  • Don’t decorate every wall. Give buyers space to imagine their own items

Remember, staging your home isn’t about your taste or decor (a tough pill to swallow, I know!), it’s about appealing to the broadest range of buyers possible. You’ll need to think of your home as a product while it’s on the market. This is tough while you’re still living there, but if you can make this mental shift, you’ll have an easier time keeping it “showing ready”.

Getting Your Home Ready for Sale Liz MacDonald Shelf Help 4

Liz is an interior designer with a background in video production. She married her two passions to create her video series Shelf Help. She works with clients to decorate their homes while they live there and then stage them once they are ready to sell. If you’re looking for vision for your home contact Liz at

Girl Scout Keepsake Pillow by Once Upon a Time Creation

Girl Scout Pillow


A Girl Scout Pillow created from your vests and sashes is a fun way to celebrate those Girl Scout years. From Daisies to Brownies to Juniors to Cadettes to Seniors, each stage of the journey is filled with meeting new friends, enjoying new experience, and learning new skills.

Girl Scout Pillow by Once Upon a Time Creation

Whether you have saved vests and sashes from you or your daughter, they are too special to part with. Each patch is earned through hard work and dedication.

Girl Scout Pillow 3 by Once Upon a Time Creation

Your Daisy bib, vest, t-shirt showcases the beginning of the Girl Scout journey while learning about the Girl Scout fundamentals and the value of every line of the Girl Scout Promise.

Girl Scout Pillow 2 by Once Upon a Time Creation

Bridging from Daisies to Brownies opens up a new world full of Journeys and Try-Its.

Girl Scout Keepsake

Going from Brownies to Juniors brings on new challenges as they are encouraged to reach out of their comfort zone and try new things. As they emerge as leaders, they can help guide the younger ones and show them what it means to be a Girl Scout.

Girl Scout Pillow (back) by Once Upon a Time Creation

Since neither myself nor my daughter ventured into Cadettes or Seniors, I don’t have personal experience with the levels. But, from what I hear, they are filled with travel and growth opportunities that the girls will carry with them for the rest of their lives.

If you would like us to help you transform your Girl Scout vests and sashes into a Girl Scout Pillow, please visit our website: Girl Scout Pillow

Thanks for visiting,


Wedding Dress Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation 3

What can I do with my wedding dress?

Is your wedding dress in a box in the attic? Covered up in your closet? In a bag in storage? Wouldn’t you love to enjoy your dress again?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, it brings my thoughts to love and that amazing day when we professed that love and rejoiced in it with our friends and family. From beginning to end, it was a celebration of a new life together. Seriously, what is not to love about your wedding day? Doting husband…amazing guests…meaningful ceremony…great food…flowing drinks…your favorite music…and, of course, the dress!

Wedding Dress Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation 4

Reliving little wedding day moments is so much easier when you are holding something in your hands that reminds you of that special day. Did you know that that “something” could be your gorgeous gown? There are so many ways you can transform your dress so you can love it again.

Without further ado, here are some ideas for you…

Wedding Gown Keepsake Wristlet Bags by Once Upon a Time Creation 5

Bridal wristlets have always been popular wedding shower gifts from Mom to the bride-to-be. Created from Mom’s (or Grandmom’s) gown, this piece of history served as “Something Old and Something New” and connected generations in a special way. While this is still a fabulous idea, we have seen a growing trend of women creating wristlets for themselves from their own gowns.

Wouldn’t it be fun to be able to carry your wedding dress with you every time you have a date night or get fancy? Not only are these wristlets beautiful and meaningful, they are so versatile. They look fabulous with any color dress for the big nights out and they also bring that jeans and pumps outfit to the next level. It’s big enough for all your night out essentials, but you will have to leave the sippy cup at home.

Wedding Gown Keepsake Wristlet Bags by Once Upon a Time Creation 3

Since a wedding dress normally has quite a bit of fabric to work with, you can also share your piece of history with your family.

Wedding Dress Ring Bearer Pillow Keepsake by Once Upon a Time Creation 1

If there is an upcoming wedding, a ring bearer pillow is an instant family heirloom that can be shared and passed down when the big days arrive.

Wedding Dress Ring Bearer Pillow Keepsake by Once Upon a Time Creation 2

Boys can get in on the fun, too, with a handkerchief made from your dress.

Wedding Gown Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation 3

Throw pillows are another great way to love your wedding dress again. Each gown is so unique and all that loveliness showcases beautifully on a pillow.

Wedding Dress Pillow Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation 2

Wedding Dress Keepsake Pillow by Once Upon a Time Creation

Of all these custom keepsakes, ornaments may be my favorite. I have heard from so many clients that they keep their ornament out all year, hanging it in a special place to enjoy every day.

Wedding Dress Heart Ornament Keepsake by Once Upon a Time Creation 1

Just think how long we all treasure our ornaments. Each year, when we decorate the tree, we reminisce about the story behind each piece. Whether your wedding dress ornaments are created from your gown or another family member’s gown, you will come away with a tangible piece of history connecting generations.

Wedding Dress Angel Ornament Keepsake by Once Upon a Time Creation 1

Thanks so much for allowing me to share these ideas with you. Hopefully, you are inspired to get your wedding dress out of storage and love it again.  A creation from your wedding gown would make a great Valentine’s gift!


If you would like Once Upon a Time Creation to help you transform your wedding dress into beautiful, custom keepsakes you can enjoy for years to come, please visit: Gift Ideas Created from Wedding Gowns.


Something's Awry Productions Gumball Pillow by Once Upon a Time Creation

Commemorative Pillows for a Family of Filmmakers

What is your family into? Sports? Music? Art? How about Filmmaking? You don’t hear that everyday, right?

Something’s Awry Productions is a locally-owned, family-run production company that has produced many short films, commercials, and stop motion shorts. To commemorate their two most recent short films, we created these fun pillows. The fronts of the pillows showcase fabric printed snapshots of scenes from both films, monogrammed film logos, and coordinating fabric. The backs proudly display the company logo and award laurels.

Something's Awry Productions Alien Communications and Gumball Pillows by Once Upon a Time Creation

If you are not familiar with film production, it is a complex process. For those of us not in the industry, we will never fully understand everything that goes into making a film and the emotional investment made for each production.

So much time and energy are expended way before the first actor sets foot on set. The organization and sheer will of the Producer seem to be the driving force behind any production. Finding (or writing) the script, acquiring funding, casting, securing equipment and locations, wardrobe, and the list goes on…

Something's Awry Productions Gumball Pillow  by Once Upon a Time Creation

From what I hear, the actual filming is usually fast and furious. Locations and actors have time constraints and obviously, the longer filming takes the higher the budget reaches. It’s raining…uh oh, change in schedule. Actor is delayed…uh oh, change in schedule.  I am not sure I could handle that kind of stress!

After the lights and cameras are put away, post-production kicks in. Honestly, I have no idea what that entails. All I know is that editing a film is very technical and time consuming.

Something's Awry Productions Alien Communications Pillow by Once Upon a Time Creation

The unique family that founded Something’s Awry Productions does it all! Among the three brothers and mom, they each have unbelievable gifts and talents they bring to the table. They write, produce, direct, edit, promote, and do it all with creativity and professionalism.

Something's Awry Productions Pillow Backs with Award Laurels by Once Upon a Time Creation

Something’s Awry Productions has won awards all over the country for their stop motion animation and short film productions. Two of their most recent films that are featured on the pillows are Alien Communications and Gumball. Both were filmed locally in Chester County, PA.

Along with their short films, they produce commercials that have been picked up by major companies such as Lego and Mattel. Their creative view of the world and attention to detail shines through in each one of their productions.

Something's Awry Productions Gumball Pillow by Once Upon a Time Creation

So are you as impressed with this family as I am? Did I mention that two brothers are still high school?! You heard it here…someday they will be honored on the Oscar stage. From now until then, I will be one of their biggest fans!


We are so grateful to Something’s Awry Productions for creating our video. We were looking for a way to share our philosophy and process with you and they really nailed it. If you are looking for a new way to share your business and connect with your customers, please contact Amy and she will help you get started. You will not be disappointed!

Buddha Babe Bibs Memory Blanket by Once Upon a Time Creation 3

A Growing Business Keepsake Memory Blanket

When we think of memory blankets, we normally think of a collage of t-shirts and outgrown clothes, but a memory blanket is so much more. It is a visual display of a person’s history, a timeline of interests, events, accomplishments, and special moments. Buddha Babe bibs

This blanket takes this concept to a new level. Did you ever think a business’s history and growth could be showcased through a memory blanket?

Tina and I met through an amazing group of women entrepreneurs called the Bizzy Mamas. She is the founder and driving force behind Buddha Babe. A little over a year ago, her company began as Buddha Bibs because Tina wanted a stylish way to keep her son dry through that drooly phase that all kids go through.  By utilizing trendy, fun fabrics, she combined style and function that people adore.

Buddha Babe bib

Like any growing business, her bibs have matured and her offerings have expanded. Now you can find adorable beanies, blankets, teethers, and more through Buddha Babe. What began as a dining room table venture has transformed into a line of luxury baby goods for the stylish mama and babe.

Buddha Babe bib and teether

This blanket celebrates how far Tina’s business has come in such a short time and holds special meaning because all these bibs were worn and loved by her son.

Buddha Babe Bibs Memory Blanket by Once Upon a TIme Creation

For most of us starting a business after we have a family, the two are closely connected. Maybe there was a product we needed that wasn’t on the market, or maybe we wanted to do something a little better, or different, or maybe we needed the opportunity to create our own schedule and be more present at home. Whatever the reason, the motivation and drive to create a successful business is coupled with the needs of home. This unique combination can produce amazing results and we see that happening at Buddha Babe.

Tina with her My Buddha Babe Memory Blanket

Have you started your own business? Why did you start? What keeps you going? Please share! Your story is inspiring and moms everywhere want to hear about it.


For luxe style and comfort your little one will drool over visit Buddha Babe.  Tina has graciously given us a special coupon to share with you. Please use the code KARMA to receive 10% off your purchase.

If you would life to create a special keepsake from special clothing and textiles you have saved, please visit our website:



Army Uniform Remembrance Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Honoring A Special Uncle with Army Uniform Keepsakes

Sometimes a memory is too painful to talk about. The heartache and grief are just too much to bear, so we do what we can to get through the day, the weeks, and the years. This family lost their son in Vietnam and the physical memories of him were tucked away until the next generation found them and wanted to share his story.

Army Uniforms in the trunk before the keepsake creation by Once Upon a Time Creation


They wanted to honor his life by sharing memories of him, both in word and deed. Through the creation of keepsakes from his uniforms and sharing them with siblings, nieces, and nephews, this family found a way to share a piece of their own history.

Army Uniform Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Sometimes a physical memento is the catalyst to converstaion. Our senses of touch, sight, and smell all help us to spark memories, remember moments, and ask questions. A memento, whether a picture, artifact, or keepsake, can also help explain events and stories to the next generation.

Army Uniform Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Sharing a family history is different than reading a book about the bigger picture. It’s about understanding who people are and how they got there. It’s about seeing physical and personality traits trend through generations. It’s about appreciating that who and where you are today was directly affected by the decisions and circumstances of those that came before you.

Army Uniform Remembrance Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

Army Uniform Keepsakes

Sharing your own family history makes stories of the past real for the next generation. Reading about how many soldiers were lost in Vietnam in a book is vastly different than hearing your grandma talk about the day the letter arrived or feeling your uncle’s fear as he talks about the days he spent overseas. Our image of the world is shaped in many ways. Personal accounts of our own family are valuable pieces to the puzzle that we pass to the next generation.

Army Uniform  Keepsakes by Once Upon a Time Creation

What are your thoughts? How do you share your family history? I would love to hear from you.


If you have saved clothing from a lost loved one and would like to create custom keepsakes to share with your family, please visit our website Once Upon a Time Creation 

Custom Keepsake Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

The Beauty of Ornaments

There are no rules when it comes to tree trimming in our house. We do not have the decorator-variety tree where all the ornaments are coordinated and the latest garland trend is draped perfectly over the evergreen branches.

Heart Apron Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

Remembrance Ornaments created from a beloved apron.

Our tree is adorned with little feathered handprints, laminated snowflakes proudly framing a preschool picture, quilted treasures from my aunt, wooden creations from my grandfather, different Nativity scenes, the varied collection we have amassed from places we have been, the few glass balls we have left from our first tree (when we ran to CVS for decorations realizing we had none), JoePa figurines, and so much more.

Heart Remembrance Jean Ornament by Once Upon a TIme Creation

In loving memory of a hard working dad created from his paint-covered overalls.

The collection I am most proud of will not be hung on our tree forever. Every year we give each child an ornament that represents an activity, a favorite occasion, or something they love from that year. When we pull out all their ornaments, we see all the things they have done, learned about, and obsessed over.

Irish Heart Ornaments by Once Upon a Time Creation

These are not fancy ornaments. Some have been purchased at the mall kiosk, some have been ordered online, some have been locally purchased, and some have been handcrafted. Everything is represented, from karate to video games to movies as well as princesses, dance, and instruments.  Seeing them together creates a little “this is your life” snapshot that will go with each of my kids when they have their own tree someday.

Penn State Ornaments by Once Upon a Time Creation

Outgrown pjs turned into fun ornaments.

And then there is the collection that is not hung on the tree, but will go with them also. This group is displayed in our studio all year. These are the ornaments designed from clothes that they wore when they were little. For some of you, you may be experiencing this now and for some, you may remember, that there always seemed to be a favorite piece of clothing from each year. It may have been the camo pants with the big pockets for collecting rocks or the Spongebob pjs, or maybe the Cinderella dress or the comfy romper. Now that they are both teenagers, each ornament brings me back to when they were little, and how parenting then was easier and harder at the same time.

Angel Wedding Dress Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

A beautiful wedding dress becomes angel remembrance ornaments.

Decorating the Christmas tree has always been a big deal in my family. My grandmother hosted her annual tree trimming party to bring family and friends together to eat, drink, and adorn her enormous tree. She believed in the miracle of family and Christmas so this was her time to shine. After she passed away, we created angel ornaments for everyone in the family out of her red and white pjs. My hope is that when that ornament is hung on each tree we can all feel her smiling down on us.

Angel Remembrance Keepsake Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

To me, ornaments are not just decoration. They are a family history to be enjoyed, displayed, and shared every year in that magical Christmas time we all love.

Vintage Linen Ornament by Once Upon a Time Creation

Heirloom vintage linens can now be enjoyed on the tree.

Do you have an ornament or Christmas tree tradition? I would love to hear about it.


If you would like us to help you create ornaments from special clothing you have saved, please visit our website ( or contact me (610-202-7850 or

Heart Shirt Remembrance Ornaments by Once Upon a TIme Creation

Remembrance ornaments for the family from favorite shirts.