For as non-traditional as our wedding is, one tradition I wanted to keep was giving a gift to Mr. Sea Monkey the morning of our wedding. I want to see the look on his face when he wakes up and see all the emotions come through. He is pretty good at hiding his emotion, but for a split second, I can tell everything he is thinking, because it all comes across his face.
I didn’t want to buy him anything, because I’m pretty bad at buying actual gifts. The best I can do is a coffee mug or gift card. I usually try to make Mr. SM his favorite foods and desserts, but that would be hard to do in a hotel room. I also wanted to make him something that would get used more than once. I searched around, but always came up short. I talked about being more productive during my bouts of insomnia and this case was no different.
I thought about it for a while before I came up with writing 100 reasons I love him in 100 days. I didn’t just do 100 random reasons, but I actually took time each night to reflect upon what made me say, “Wow, I just really love this man.”, each day. I had to do it each day, no matter what. It didn’t matter if he did something that made me mad or annoyed, I had to come up with something to write about. I recommend every couple do this exercise, because it really made me realize how trivial some of the things that made me mad at him were. At the end of the night, I was going to bed thinking about what makes me love him.
I didn’t want to just hand him 100 pieces of paper and call it a day, I wanted to give him something that was beautiful and had meaning. I decided on putting the letters in a mini binder. I couldn’t find them anywhere in my town, so I decided to make one for him.
- chipboard (can be found at supply stores, I got mine from Hobby Lobby)
- Card stock (to cover the chipboard)
- Binder mechanism (I used Tim Holtz)
- Adhesive (liquid or scor tape)
- X-Acto knife
- cutting mat
- bone folder
- Stickers (for decorating)
1. Decide what size you want your binder and cut chipboard accordingly. I chose to do a 5″ x 7″ binder, because my paper is 4″ x 6″, so I cut two 5″ x 7″ pieces, using an X-Acto knife. I had to go back over the cut a couple of times to actually break through since chipboard is so thick.
2. Cut some chipboard for the spine. I chose to make mine 1″ wide x 5″ long. It can be whatever width you’d like, but make sure it’s the same length as your covers.
3. Glue the chipboard to the paper you chose for your cover and cut all the corners off diagonally. This helps when you fold the paper. If you chose paper for the inside, make sure you fold and glue that first. I left about a half an inch border from the edge of the chipboard to the edge of the paper. There should be paper folded down over the inside of the binder.
4. Place the binder mechanism where you want it to be and mark the holes. I wanted mine to be in the middle, so I measure it out, but this can just be eyed. Punch out the marked spots with a regular hole punch, cover the spine with your paper of choice and punch out the holes again. You only have to cover the side that will be facing up with paper, not the back. The back will be covered later.
5. Choose a piece of paper the length of your spine and covers, place the spine piece on it and then measure 2″ from the ends of the spine. My paper measured 5 1/2″ x 5″. It looks better if you use a contrasting pattern or color from your cover. This piece of paper will bring the whole binder together. Cut out the paper and glue the spine down. The spine should be paper side up and the paper you just cut should face down.
6. Take the two covers, measure 1/4″ from the spine and glue them down. Your binder should now be one unit. Take a bone folder and run it along the edges of the spine and cover to help it fold easily. Wiggle the binder back and forth a couple times to loosen it up.
7. Take the mechanism and attach it to the spine. One of the reasons I HIGHLY recommend the Tim Holtz brand is because it comes put together and you just have to add the brads to attach it. Just place the ring binder over the pre-punched holes and poke them through. I added stickers to the back of the spine to cover the brads.
8. Decorate. I bought a bunch of scrapbook stickers from Hobby Lobby while they were having a sale. I added his full name to the cover, along with some Washington D.C. stickers, because he’s from around the area and loves that stuff.
Front Cover (had to cover his full name)/Personal Photo
Stickers covering brads/Personal Photo
For the letters, I wanted them to have an aged look. I soaked them in coffee grounds and water and baked them in the oven on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees for about 6 minutes, or until they are dry.
I actually loved this project so much, we sat down together to make one for our honeymoon. We are going to put pictures and journal clippings, and anything else we find to keep, in it.
What are you doing for a gift?