Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Thinking outside the box.

This year, my brother IL had the brilliant idea to create a google doc to which we could all add our Christmas lists.  This would come in handy for those of us who aren't really around all the time (i.e. me and mr) and can't keep up with what everyone's into/needs/wants.

I'll just come out and say it.  mr's mom's list was pretty sparse.  I think it was something like running socks and photos of the kids.  And since I was almost certain someone else was getting her running socks, I decided to go with photos of the kids.  But I certainly couldn't just mail her some pictures... that wouldn't do at all.  I started to think about how it was the end of another year, and how hard it was for mr's parents to miss out on watching bug and mini grow and change throughout the year.  Thus, the idea was born:

Oh, I know.  It's not actually a novel idea.  But I thought it was a good way to both showcase some photos and include her in the kids' year.  It's a brag book.  But in a box.  So it's a Brag Box.  Yeah.

Anyway.  Obviously, you could make one of these anytime, not just for Christmas, for any year you want to highlight.  You could make one for each kid every year and they could watch themselves change and grow up when they get older.  In any case, the idea is very simple, but I thought I'd show you my execution to give you some ideas.

Basically, you pick a bunch of photos - a few from each month of the year.  Not many, but enough to highlight the achievements, milestones, family moments, etc.  At this point, you could really make any kind of book you wanted to make out of these - like this Pop Up Mini book at Infarrantly Creative.  Or an easy accordion scrapbook.  Whatever.

I decided to use some plastic boxes my sister gave to me.  Lise teaches photography at a high school and used to get her film in these small square boxes.  They are black, have rounded edges and are, well, nothing special.  But that makes them a blank slate and perfect for upcycling into a little photo box.  Remember how I upcycled a cookie tin for my sister?  Same idea.  

So, start by measuring your box and cutting your photos to size and laying them out to get an idea of how many pages you will need.  Then you'll cut rectangles of scrapbook paper just slightly smaller than the width of the box.  Fold the rectangles so that they are an accordion that's the slightly smaller than the height of the box.  You'll most likely need to cut multiple strips of paper, fold them and glue them together to accommodate an entire year's worth of photos.  Then you'll just decorate the accordion with photos and embellishments, making sure to stay on ONE side of the accordion.  Leave the very back page empty of photos.  Glue the last page to the inside bottom of the box and fold the pages all up into the box.  Decorate the lid and the outside and voila!  You've got an accordion photo box brag book thingy.  Or a Photo Box for short.  Basically, a snapshot of someone's year.  

Here's how I put mine all together:

Firstly, I left the top page free of photos and made sure to have a little "tab" or overhang to grip and pull the pages out.  On the tab, I hand stamped "a year of zoe/ezra" in a shabby/distressed feel.  I'm no good at stamping, actually, so when I stamp ANYTHING it's a shabby, distressed feel, regardless.  

From there I just added photos and embellishments in order of the year.  As you pull the photos out, the kids get older.

I hand stamped the month next to one of the photos for that month.  Most months had two or three photos and I just picked one with the most space around it.  I had a lot of fun looking at how much the kids had changed.

I left the back page empty of photos but did use a bit of pattern/color embellishment.  I actually glued the photos on opposite sides of the accordion for Zoe and Ezra's books - on Ezra's you can see the the page that folds down onto the bottom has the photos on it, while Zoe's is actually on the other side.  They both looked fine, but I think I liked how Zoe's turned out better.

Then I just decorated the inside of the lid and then the outside of the box.  At the last moment, I had to attach something to keep the lid shut because all the embellishments made the darn photo accordions too thick... So I just put a loop of ribbon on the lid and glued a hair elastic around a brad on the bottom.  

You can slip the elastic through the loop of ribbon and then back over the brads.

Other tips:
I used hot glue for EVERYTHING that adheres to the actual plastic box.  That's some kind of scrapbooking blasphemy, I know, and I will probably be struck down for it, but it was quick and easy - though very, very hot.  Ouch.
I used double sided tape for all of the photos - archival quality and photo safe.  Take that scrapbooking police.
Other embellishments include brads (duh), ric rac - I love that stuff, small safety pins in a variety of colors, paper clips in a variety of colors, and the usual.  My favorite items to use to embellish a page?  Paper clips, safety pins, and small strips of contrasting paper layered, woven and glued in unique ways.  Cheap, I tell you, cheap.
Be careful not to overdo it on the embellishments, or you - like me - will not be able to close the boxes.  When you get to that point, think fast.
Did you notice I let their names slip?  Yeah.  I realized you'd probably all figured it out after this post anyway, so the cat's out of the bag now.  I'll probably still use their nicknames out of habit.  But no more blurred out names in the photos, so that's cool.
What, you think this is a lame Christmas present?  Are you telling me you'd rather get socks??

*Be sure to check the right sidebar for all the fun parties I link to!


Grammy Goodwill said...

I bet this was your mom's favorite gift, but she couldn't tell you that and hurt everyone else's feelings.

kellystar said...

and you said you weren't much of a scrapbooker?! I think they are great and will be cherished. By the way...Fiskateers has a new updated site...www.fiskateers.com

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