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What to do with heirlooms that have more sentimental than practical value.

Relatives’ possessions often have more sentimental than practical value: You don’t want to get rid of them, but you may not have a use for them, either. Instead of letting jewelry, clothing and other collectibles gather dust in your attic, try one of these ways to give old keepsakes new life:

• So Aunt Jess’ insect charms aren’t your style? Grandpa Joe’s watch is beautiful but broken? Bring them to Lulu Frost (<www.lulufrost.com>), a New York-based family business that specializes in turning old jewelry into new pieces. You also can purchase ready-made designs from vintage pieces.

• You don’t have to mothball your mother’s 1960s silk taffeta wedding dress or your grandfather’s WWII military uniform just because it doesn’t fit. Instead, consider wearing only a piece of a vintage garment. Take the clothing to a tailor or seamstress who can make something new — a cocktail dress from the wedding gown or a military-inspired jacket from the uniform — and you can wear your family history.

• Maybe Grandma’s fur is worn around the edges, or you don’t need it in sunny Miami. With the help of JR’s Bears <www.fur-teddy-bears.com>, you can preserve her favorite coat by transforming it into a plush teddy bear. One coat can be recycled into multiple bears, so several of your relatives can have remembrances of Grandma.

From the February 2007 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

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