Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cody's Book - 16 years of Memories

At long last, my son's Memory Book is complete!  Nathan received his book at 16 years old, and two years later, when Cody was 12 yrs, he was talking about how he couldn't wait until he turned 16.  When I asked him why, thinking it was so he could drive, he said so he could have a memory book too.  If you haven't seen Nathan's book, it can be viewed ---> HERE.  For Cody's book I wanted to do it a bit different -- starting with the covers.  I love how Nathan's covers turned out--but because I used foam core, it meant I had to be creative with my binding solution because typical ring binders wouldn't allow the covers to lay flat or turn easily.  Also, using the binding method I used for Nathan's book also meant it would take work to add more pages.

In case you haven't read the posting about Nathan's book, I should begin by explain a bit about this project.  I didn't have any girls to enjoy a Sweet 16 party with, and I sort of felt that the boys were cheated out of a wonderful birthday--well...because they were boys.  My Sweet 16th was one of my most favorite birthdays (you can read a bit about it on Nathan's book post)...and I wanted theirs to be memorable as well.  Years ago my MIL had given me a book about Kindness that talked about writing letters to the newborn baby while they were little and reading them when they got older.  Nathan was about 15 at the time and I thought, why couldn't I do that for the boys for their 16th?! 

In preparation, I sent letters to all of our family/relatives & friends, and the boys' friends, special teachers, youth pastors...etc, asking them to use an 8 1/2 x 11 sized paper, and write a note for his birthday--adding something they remembered about Cody, and include a picture as well.  They could embellish the page as much or as little as they'd like, or they could leave it up to me to put it together.  In many cases, the easiest for most people to do was to email me what they wanted to say, and I put it together for them.  The ones that didn't have photos handy to send, I spent time looking for photos to put with it.  Needless to say, this went out to a LOT of people. The response I had for both boys--even six years apart--has been overwhelmingly wonderful (both boys' books are over 3" thick)!  Which also explains why I've been lagging on doing much else. 

For Cody's binder, I found a green 3" binder (where the cover opens flat) at Target.  I decided to use a binder because I wanted to use sheet protectors for the memory pages & photo pages, and I knew more would be coming in after his birthday and wanted it to be easier to add in pages.  Since I wanted the covers to be my own, I altered them by covering them with canvas--I used white 12x12 Sticky Back Canvas, and stained them with Antique Linen Distress Stain.  I used one piece for the front, one for the back, and reinforced the spine with part of a third piece of canvas after it was stained.  The canvas really absorbs the stain well.  I didn't need to stain the areas I planned on covering with other materials.  I found some great Bo Bunny cardstock in their Cambridge line that I thought matched Cody's personality and added some flat embellishments of stickers & stamped quotes.  I also found this great acetate (Vintage Moon Collection-Paislee Pages) in a 25 cent bin and secured it over the cardstock with brads.  I used score tape underneath the frame on three sides to secure a photo between the cardstock & the acetate--but made allowances for the picture to be changed if desired.  I repeated this same technique for the back cover.  To adhere the cardstock to the canvas I used Claudine Hellmuth's Studio Multi Medium.  I love how the cardstock lays flat on the canvas without bubbling, and is completely secured to the canvas--I'm loving that Studio Medium stuff!  I also used cardstock on the inside and adhered it inside the cover pockets with score tape, and also to the the center of the hardware closure.  To completely cover the remaining green that was showing, I used a pale gold leafing pen.  For his bookmark I used a laminated tag I had made for his percussion instrument several years ago, and secured it with metallic cording to the binder--it fits perfectly in the center of his book when not in use.

For my pages in the book, I wrote highlights from each year of his life so far -- I ended up having 9 pages in Cody's book!  I guess sometimes you just have to know when to stop.  ha ha...  I've had a lot of people ask how I could remember all that stuff.  Basically, my long term memory is much better than my short term memory.  But in addition to that, I looked at baby books, pictures, and memorabilia -- and that helped a lot.  Unfortunately, I'm really not much of a scrapbooker--REALLY.  So most of my pictures were in boxes (which is sad).  But I've started feeling motivated to getting some scrapbooks done -- I guess we'll see.  =)  I'm still adding elements to pages, such as journaling, embellishments, stamping, etc. -- I guess it's just hard to let it go.  ha ha...

I'm really pleased how both the boys' Memory Books turned out.  They're both different, but will be equally cherished.  I remember Nathan saying when he was going through a hard time that he just pulled out his Memory Book and knew that people cared about him.  Sometimes we forget that our teenage boys, though rough around the edges, have a sensitive side as well.  Some of those who originally contributed to Nathan's book have since passed away...including my Dad.  These memories will last a lifetime, as they're shared with their children some day.  I feel good about that. 

Please enjoy this brief look at Cody's Memory Book.  You can click on any picture to enlarge it.

For everyone that contributed to Cody's book, I want to say how much I appreciate you taking the time to show you care.  It has meant so much to Cody (who has read it all, and keeps picking it up to read some more), and also to both Chris & I.  We're overwhelmed by your willingness to participate in this wonderful adventure....and we humbly thank you!

God Bless--Lisa


  1. dearest Lisa,
    what incredible book. Love the fact that it is will be a treasure that yr son will be able to cherish forever and share with his children. Magnificent job. take care dearie, gerri

  2. What a wonderful gift! I did a similar thing for my mom when she turned 80 and her binder was over 3' thick too - it's a treasure. Your boys are definitely feeling the love. And your pages are terrific!

  3. Such a wonderful project and fantastic gift.


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