Sunday, 1 March 2015

Tonic Verona Storage Unit and Memory Book for Mums 80th

Hi, hope you've had a great week.

Something a little bit different this week, it isn't cards!  This is a double birthday bubble … mostly about the Tonic Forever Moments Verona unit that I made for mum for her 80th birthday but also a little look at the 80 Years of Memories album.  There are loads of photos on this, it's a bit of a mega-post!

As some of you know mum has been having chemo so was not well enough to have a party – plus she had a ‘no hair – no party’ rule!  So I needed to come up with presents that didn't involve people visiting or mum having to go out, and after looking around on the internet I saw that someone had done 60 Envelopes for their dad’s birthday and that set me off.  At the same time I was watching Create and Craft TV (fatal to have on in the background, there’s always something … and now there’s the British Craft Network as well) and on came a Tonic Forever Moments show.  I have never done messy crafting before and thought this would be a nice easy project to start on, so bought the double Verona and Tivoli pack.

I didn't start the Verona till Boxing Day as I distinctly remember on the show they said it would take about four hours to do, so I sat on the floor in the lounge and got all the bits out to look at.  The drawers were really easy to put together and I started gluing and leaving the boxes in the bottom of the storage box to dry straight.  That was the easy bit!!  The instructions are completely images, no words at all and not many images of finished units either … but I wanted chapter and verse, I wanted words and full instructions!  My mum’s bedroom furniture is all white, so the Verona had to be white to match, how I wished later that she had a dark coloured bedroom - it took six coats of paint to get it looking properly white with no patches.  Next I needed green and pink papers to cover it when it was finished as all the papers that came with it weren't quite right.  I found some Hunkydory card/papers that were absolutely perfect BUT there were only two sheets of each of the ones I wanted in the pack I had so I had to make sure I got the most I could out of each one.  The only place I ran out was on the very top, it should be shaped with little ‘ears’ but the paper wasn't long enough so I just had to cut them off.  I also made the mistake of painting the back panel before gluing it on to the rest, which meant it was really tight and I had to fight with it a bit to get it on.

The decorating of the drawers was the best bit and really easy with the dies that came with the Verona and using contrasting card stock to set it off.

My only problem was the inking, I did it with Bundled Sage and Tattered Rose distress ink but the Tattered Rose was almost dry so you can hardly see it at all and as I was doing the inking the night before mum’s birthday there was no choice but to carry on.

My inking technique still isn't great either; the green looks very rough to me.  The embellishments at the top were done using my melt pot (the white ones and the green leaves) and some that I bought from Hobbycraft that matched the colours I wanted.

For the Memory Book I liked the idea that lots of people could contribute without having to be there in person, perfect for what I needed!  After having a look round the craft room I spotted my Project Life Album that I am still working on and the idea was born!  I decided to buy a 6x8 Album and get the matching page protectors so I could slip in postcards, also a front page and a couple of wallets that I could store any bits and bobs that came back.

Next up, how do I get hold of all of mum’s friends addresses – I don’t even know most of them, and how many letters do I send with how many postcards in each, and what do I say in the letter?!?  The postcards were relatively easy … one thing I am not short of is card stock, I got out my Project Life stuff and then cut up card from my scraps box to 6 x 4 and soon had a huge pile of cards.  I wanted to send the request letters out after New Year so they weren't caught up in the Christmas post, so I told mum I was going to put all her Christmas Card addresses on the computer to do labels so she doesn't have to write them all out (I did do that as well).

I sorted the addresses into good friends, who all got three postcards to fill in, ‘ordinary friends’ who got two, and casual friends (including people I didn't know) who got one.  Back to the internet for ideas on what to say in the request letter, which really helped as I needed to explain really clearly what I wanted people to do – which direction to write the postcard, only write on one side, email if preferred etc, etc.  So on 3 January I put the non-UK envelopes in the post and sent off the UK ones a few days later.  This was where I got really nervous, what if only a couple or no-one replied (and at this stage the Verona box looked a fright!) I was starting to try and think of alternative presents if a last minute panic happened.  All I had ready at this stage was an empty book with a front page in and lots of empty page protectors.

I had the replies sent to another address so popped in on 12 January to see if anything had turned up.  Within a couple of days I had received five emails, this was a great start as they had twelve memories on between them and the close family had already started sending theirs, so although I hadn't had a look at the post yet I had already got twenty two memories.  I almost cried when I saw the stack of post that was waiting for me – there were sixty three postcards in them!  It is a tribute to my mum and how much people think of her that a week and a half after sending out the requests, the album was full!!

Wallet at the back with all the letters that came with the postcards.

So there they are, both of mum’s birthday presents done!  Hope you like them; let me know what you think.

Bloopers were too many to name on the Verona, the painting, the inking, the melt pot embellishments … I could go on!  On the memory book there was only one major one, I put all the cards in and then turned it upside down and all the cards in the top pockets fell out … grr!  I ended up cutting tiny bits of sticky tape and sticking the middle of each top pocket to keep it all in.

Thanks for reading, have a great day ... and let me know what you think.