This post is the culmination of a decade’s long intent finally fulfilled. Many years ago I decided that traditional scrapbooks just weren’t my cup of tea. Instead, I imagined a custom memory box that I would design complete with trays to house and organize mementos and photos. Alas, year after year rolled by and I never got around to making that custom box. Finally, this year, I decided to embrace the adage, don’t let perfect be the enemy of good, and finished my first memory box. It’s not the complex design I had in mind but it is custom and, in it’s simplicity, it works great – maybe even better.
For the box, I worked with Tilnic Box to create a customization of their pie box. I made it deeper so I can accommodate more items and longer and wider so I can always be sure to fit larger paper ephemera. I like the clean lines of the pie box and that the lid can come off completely – making it easier to peruse the contents.
For the brass plate, I ordered a series using the same font and style from NapTags.com. The series covers multiple years so I can always keep the boxes looking like a set.
In December, I started sorting through all the knickknacks and souvenirs I’d gathered over the year. It took a lot longer than I expected as I spent time recalling each event and experience. For some I added a tag with a handwritten note of a particular detail. For some of the photos, I put them on simple card stock so I could add a note. For other photos, I added them to a photo album or grouped them.
What I like best is the variety and tactile nature of the memory box. It invites myself and others to touch and feel each item. To spend time with it and experience it and the memory it holds. It’s fairly easy to put together too. The hardest part is deciding what is included and what’s not. The most time-consuming part is jotting down notes, which, relative to creating an entire scrapbook, is a breeze.
I just unpacked my second custom order from Tilnic Box today and I can’t wait to start filling it up. I’ve held onto so many things over the years from fourth grade notes passed in class to angst-ridden zines from high school to nearly every school ID and employee badge. I look forward to giving them, travel souvenirs, and many other mementos a proper home in these boxes.
I have this odd fantasy of sorts that when I’m old I’ll be surrounded by these boxes. It reminds me of a scene from Everything is Illuminated. In the scene, Elijah Wood and others are inside a house that’s in the middle of a vast field of sunflowers. The inside of the house is filled floor to ceiling with boxes of memories. It’s such a charming scene. I kind of love the idea of it even if that makes me bound to be an eccentric old lady some day in the far future.