Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I got my sister a cookie tin for her birthday.

Here it is.  My sister’s birthday present.  It’s empty, too.  No cookies.  Now before you start thinking what a horrible sister I am, let me show you what it looked like when I gave it to her:

So, really, I gave her an altered cookie tin, not just a cookie tin.  And although it had no cookies in it when I gave it to her, it wasn’t empty either.  It’s actually a mini scrapbook album.  In the interest of frugality, I have decided to make all presents I’m giving away this year.  (If you are a family member or friend, this news may disappoint you.)
I’ve been kind of obsessed with the idea of altering objects into mini albums for a while.  I’ve seen altered match books where they are little flip-books of people’s kids or pets, with teeny tiny little pictures, or altered metal lunch boxes with pictures separated into categories using the alphabet organizers from recipe boxes.  Anyway, there are so many things you can do to create unique albums.  I had two of these little cookie tins leftover from Christmas.  It seemed such a waste to throw them away, so I kept them, thinking I would find a good use for them at some point.  And then it came to me.  An accordion album folded up and attached to the inside so when you open it, the accordion opens.  

A How-To:
(Just click to enlarge)

When I decided this is what I wanted to give my sister, I had to come up with a theme that she’d like.  I figured that anything including my niece would be a sure winner.  The shape of the tin naturally lent itself to the title of the album, “You are my Sunshine.”  Each page in the album represents a month of K, so there are 24 pages for her two years.
I traced out 28 circles.  (The extra circles are for the first and last page which I was planning on leaving blank so i could attach them to the tin).  At this point I would like to tell you that for someone who failed cutting and pasting in kindergarten, cutting out 28 circles and pasting them together to make 14 double-sided circles wasn’t the easiest feat.  I won’t do this again.  (If I make it again, I’m borrowing my sister’s cricut and die-cutting the circles.)  I originally thought it would work like this:  

I made half the circles with little tags and glued the tag of one circle to the next.  Then they started ripping and tearing, which made me cry a little inside.  So I came up with this solution:    

I hot glued bits of ribbon between each circle.  Then I used permanent white glue to glue circles on the back of each original circle, sandwiching the ribbons in the middle and masking the frayed edges.  (Although I have learned now that all you have to do to stop ribbons from fraying is take a lighter to them!)  
***This is where I stop and give you the most important advice you will ever get.  Be sure to triple, no, no, QUADRUPLE check the fit of the circles BEFORE you glue the ribbon and circles on.  See, my downfall?  I only single checked.  And the whole lot of them fit in a neat stack inside the tin.  But, with that little bit of ribbon added, they no longer fit.  At this point, I cried a little inside and outside.  But only a little.  So give yourself a little wiggle room with the fit, too.  I had to go back and trim the circles, which would have been easy to do if a) I hadn’t failed cutting and pasting, and b) I hadn’t already glued the darn ribbons on.  I had to trim AROUND the ribbons, which turned the circles into little football shapes.  mr would appreciate this - and if the album had been for him, I wouldn’t have cried at all.  I think I would have felt it a fortuitous mistake.  But it wasn’t for him.  I decided not to worry too much, knowing my sister would forgive my little blunders.  After all, she knows me pretty well.
Anyway, at that point I had fun embellishing the 14 circles, front and back - the front for the first year and the back for the second year.  I tried to use mostly flat items that weren’t adding a lot of bulk because I knew that the tin was only so deep.  I used coordinating scrapbook paper, ribbon, buttons, stickers, and some dimensional flowers.  When I tested the fit in the tin, I realized I’d had a little too much fun because the lid wouldn’t close and I had to go back and rip some of the embellishments off and cover up the flaws as best I could so I could squish it all in the container.  
I printed out pictures of K, size 2x3 so they would fit nicely in the circles.  I put them in chronological order on the circles (using my glue runner, I love that thing).  Some circles ended up with two pictures and I varied the angles, overlaps, etc. so it was random and not symmetrical or contrived.  I left the first and last circles photo-less.  I trimmed off excess photos and embellishments, and voila!  

Now came the task of figuring out how to attach the album to the tin.  First, I poked a hole in the center of the lid and the center of the first circle.  I attached this first circle (which had no photos, remember, but was embellished) to the inside of the lid using hot glue and a brad.  Then I poked a hole in the last circle and the bottom of the tin.  I attached the circle to the tin using hot glue and a brad but this part was much more difficult than the first circle had been because of the angle and the rest of the circles kept getting in the way... When I was done, I was convinced I had attached the last circle backwards, messing up the accordion fold.  Part of me died.  I ripped it out, fixed the embellishments, and put it back together the right way.  When I folded it all up, I realized I had done it right in the first place.  Now part of me wanted to kill the dumb project.  I ripped it out again, fixed it again and put it back together - the REAL right way - again.
Then, I decorated the outside.  I hot glued ribbon around the bottom of the tin, avoiding the area where the lid overlapped the bottom.  Then I painted the letters, decorated the top with paper, ribbon for the sun’s rays and buttons and glued the letters on.  Presto!  Cookie tin album du jour!  I was so excited I gave it to her early.
(just click to enlarge)

So, lesson #301:  Don’t get sloppy.  You don’t want to end up lopsided, glued to the spot all willy-nilly.  But, never fear.  A little embellishment can cover any flaw.


Riffkir said...

This is great....what did your sister think? I think your friends and family will be very pleased especially all the effort you have put in.

I am making all my gifts this year so far aprons made out of tea towels and crowns for children have been a real hit.

Unknown said...

My sister loved it! It's right up her alley, seriously. Do you have pictures of your presents posted anywhere? I am always looking for ideas and crowns for kids sounds great!!

Robin Ange said...

Cute idea! I love it.

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