It takes just minutes -- and a little creative thinking -- to inject new, gift-worthy energy into this old tradition. An easy-to-stash brag book speaks louder than boasts. A photo flip book puts videotaped memories magically in motion. A tin full of favorite handwritten recipes perpetuates family traditions. And party favors crafted from snapshots along with laugh-out-loud recollections set the mood for what's sure to be a memorable celebration.
Use double-sided plastic binder sheets made to hold sports cards. For a larger book, you can instead use 3 sheets made to hold 4-by-6-inch photos, trimming just the punched edges.
To create a 12-photo book, trim 3 sets of side-by-side pockets from a double-sided sports-card sheet; each resulting sheet will hold 4 photos, 2 on each side. To make the cover, cut a rectangle from oilcloth, heavy fabric, or leather, making it 1/8 inch larger on all sides than photo sleeves. (If using oilcloth or fabric, cut 2 rectangles and glue wrong sides together. Let dry.) Center and stack sleeves inside cover. Sew along the middle seam that divides the 2 sides of the photo pockets, attaching sleeves to cover. Attach an eyelet to front cover; slip a loop of elastic cord, about the same length as the book's perimeter, through eyelet, knotting the loop on the inside of the cover to make a band closure. Slip snapshots in sleeves.
Favorite snapshots of birthday or anniversary celebrants can easily be transformed into party decorations, gift tags, and favors.
Using photo-editing software, scan, size, and print images onto card stock. With scissors and a tag-shaped punch or template, cut printouts into tags. Stack tags, and use a small hole punch to make holes at the top.
If desired, trim a cover from decorative paper, and write a personal message on the image, or stamp with an initial or the birthday or anniversary numeral. Attach an eyelet through the punched holes, and tie with ribbon to napkins or a gift, or use tiny brads to hold several photos together for conversation-starting tag-book favors.
Keep treasured dishes in the family by scanning and printing original recipes from everyone's most beloved cook and handing them out at the next reunion. Annotate with recollections to add personal flavor.
Scan and size recipes and photos with photo-editing software, and print onto card stock. Cut to size, and place in tins. Wrap tins with a wide band of paper printed with a colorful pattern (scanned vintage kitchen linens work well) and a portrait of the cook.
Compiling "remember when" moments in an album and presenting them to a friend makes the bonds even stronger. Use our template with the headings "How We Met," "My Favorite Memory," and "Our Biggest Laugh," or make and write your own.
Print template in multiples, trim to size, and distribute to contributors with a deadline and self-addressed stamped envelopes, also requesting photos and friend-related memorabilia. Insert responses into transparent sleeves in a book, and present the honoree with what's sure to be a much-cherished trip down memory lane.
Memory Flip Book
A video of a baby's first steps, a tossed wedding bouquet, or a less-than-perfect attempt at a high dive can be transformed into a keep-at-hand photo flip book for repeated enjoyment.
Websites such as flipclips.com will turn a 10- to 30-second digital video clip into a palm-size tome with pages that, when leafed through quickly, re-create the big event. Choose from a range of sizes and custom-cover options. The smallest flip books, 3 1/2 by 2 inches, are perfect party favors and can be slipped into muslin drawstring bags.