Mother’s Day Top Ten Memory Box

It’s so convenient to live just 15 minutes from a Michaels craft store. I’m convinced that our Petaluma store has the best employees and staff a shopper/crafter could ask for. I’m even getting to know the staff by name- John, the manager is always busy on the floor stocking and organizing but never too busy for a kind hello and product update, and I’ve grown quite fond of several other employees there, especially Claire, my favorite cashier. For a big store, it sure has a small town vibe. Gotta love that.I went to Michaels yesterday to brainstorm an idea for crafting Mother’s day gifts. I was looking to create something of a mix between my sister’s journal cigar box and my husband’s Top Ten lists. I spied these large wooden recipe boxes and the crafty gears started to turn. Here’s what I came up with…

Mother’s Top Ten Memory Box

I made a total of four memory boxes, one for my mom, one for my sister, one for my mother-in-law, and one for me (of course!) So, yes, if they read my blog, the jig is up.

Michael’s just stocked Jolee’s Boutique new line of French General products by Kaari Meng. Here’s a sweet video of Kaari and her new product-

I picked up pads of her two sided 12″ x 12″ papers, delightful embellishments and 12″ x 12″ adhesive-backed fabric.

Although the boxes can be decoupaged with paper, the adhesive fabric couldn’t have been more perfect and mess free for this project. The fabric patterns and images are just gorgeous and some so beautifully “patch-worked” in places. I cut out shapes to match all sides of the recipe box, cutting the back panel into two pieces to work around the hinges. I trimmed each of my pieces just a bit smaller than the box sides, you’ll see how that looks in a bit. Each box required a bit more than one 12″ x 12″ piece of adhesive fabric, so I did a bit of mixing and matching on a couple of the boxes to maximize my sheets.I peeled the backing from each piece and adhered it to the sides.Using my Xacto knife, I trimmed around the hinges, and sliced through the fabric along the lid sides and front to separate.

I then used sandpaper to scuff all edges of the fabric pieces and edges of the wood, even rounding the corners of the box. This created a wonderful aged look.With the little fabric fibers sanded off smooth, I brushed the entire box with Mod Podge Hard Coat, careful to avoid the hinges. This was my first time using this product and I think I’m hooked! It dries nice and hard and actually enhances the texture of the fabric rather than dulling it. Also, it doesn’t have the slightest stickiness factor when dry that you might find when decoupaging.Once the hard coat was dry, I gave the entire piece another quick and light sanding to soften the surface just a bit. Then I added embellishments to the front of each.The French General embellishments have adhesive foam dots which are great for scrapbooking, but I recommend something stronger, such as hot glue, for adhering them to boxes that may get knocked around a bit.

Here are my four finished boxes:For the inside of the box there are lots of options for Top Ten memory making. I designed a couple of printable cards to help explain the concept, and printable list cards in both one-sided layouts or for longer entries, two-sided or folded layouts. The printables are sized as both 3″ x 5″ cards and 4″ x 6″ cards, depending on your preference. If you’re working with a smaller box or would like to attach cards to decorative larger paper (as shown below), then the 3″ x 5″ cards work best. If you’d like to skip the decorative paper backing part and just have large cards, print the 4″ x 6″ sheets. And, in a pinch, standard office supply index cards will work just fine.


4″ x 6″ Info Cards

4″ x 6″ List Cards

3″ x 5″ Info Cards

3″ x 5″ List Cards

The French General two-sided papers are breathtaking. Each 12″ x 12″ sheet cuts equally into quarters of 4″ x 6″.An adhesive runner, glue stick or liquid paper glue does the trick for attaching smaller cards to the quartered papers. There’s no set number of any of the cards that you should make. Make several and the recipient can always make more of their own as needed. Or fill their box with cards, papers and a glue stick and allow them to craft their own from the start. Also, you may opt to print larger 4″ x 6″ cards and save the decorative paper to cut into subject/category dividers slightly taller than the cards and labeled or tabbed.

TIP: To keep cards of any size from falling back into the not-so-full box, glue a piece of corrugated cardboard or corrugated cardstock trimmed to fit into the bottom of the box.

I filled the boxes with instructions, ideas and plenty of starter cards. I included a fine-point roller-ball pen & box of chocolate covered pretzels, both of which I also found at Michaels!

TIP: When making these boxes as shown, you may find yourself with scraps of adhesive fabric. Cut those into strips, remove the backing and wrap around wooden spools to create your own rolls of beautiful fabric tape!Now I’m off to start filling my Top Ten Memory Box and nibble on chocolates.

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40 Responses to Mother’s Day Top Ten Memory Box

  1. #1 - Susan says:

    Cathe those are awesome! Nice job and great choice of colors and patterns!

  2. #2 - Lori says:

    I love your precious boxes!! I didn’t even know there is fabric that is sticky ~ how cool!!!

  3. #3 - Suzan says:

    This is a wonderful idea and will be a perfect gift for my sister. Thanks so much!!

  4. #4 - Tracy says:

    These images and products remind me very much of Tinsel Trading in NYC – one of my very favorite places!

  5. #5 - Bobbie says:

    I love boxes and I especially love these! I love the top ten idea as well! I am sure these will be made at my house sometime soon!
    Thank you Cathe!

  6. #6 - Kate says:

    These are beautiful! great idea for Mothers Day

  7. #7 - Theresa L Begin says:

    What a great idea, Cathe!!! These came out beautiful!! Shared a link to here over on Shoestring Elegance!!

  8. #8 - Annette G says:

    wow am totally loving these wonderfully altered boxes. Must look out for adhesive fabric here in the UK as it sounds a wonderful product.

  9. #9 - anne says:

    I’m going to Michael’s this week to get three of these boxes. My boys and I can make Grandma gifts, and they can help make one for me too. I was out of ideas for Mother’s Day this year, so this post is perfect timing. Thanks!

  10. #11 - Julia D. says:

    Love, Love, Love your wooden boxes! The color and patterns are so great. Thank you for the wonderful idea. You are the best!

  11. #12 - Amy says:

    What a beautiful idea, Cathe! I’m making one for myself!!! I’m heading to Michael’s on my lunch break. Thanks again for wonderful inspiration. I will be so excited when you are start doing classes in the barn!!!!

  12. These are beautiful Cathe! I love Kaari’s designs so much, I can’t wait to get to Michael’s to get some of the papers. I have the French General Jewelry design book and look at it almost every day. Thanks for posting this tutorial. Awesome!

  13. #14 - wendy baker says:

    amazing… what else could i expect from you though. xoxo.w

  14. #15 - Melodee says:

    FANTASTIC! I was going to do a mother’s day thankful box with notes from all of us to our mom . . . now I think I’ll do both! I even get to go up to see her right after Mother’s Day. Thank you so much, Cathe. You have no idea how important this will be to her this year. Next year, her brain will not be with us the way it is right now. This will be so good for her. Thank you.

  15. #16 - Elizabeth Toel says:

    What a great memory keepsake! My girlies and I each made a box that we throw things into during the year…a ticket stub, a receipt, maybe a program from an event we went to. We write some memories on these items and then on New Years Day we share them with each other. I love the idea of the top ten list – we may just have to add that to our boxes!

    Love that little video! I would love to get lost in that shoppe!

    xoxo Elizabeth

  16. #17 - Kaari Meng says:

    Cathy! I love this project – and the fact that you used all of the Jolee Boutique/French General paper craft products – thank you! What a beautiful gift for your mom and sisters – and yourself! I think I will have to try my hand at making one as soon as I can!

    Merci Cathy – hope to see you soon!


  17. #18 - Saucy Chick Sherry says:

    Your memory boxes are beautiful. The time and detail you put into these lovely gifts are even more special and make them a gift of love. Blissful creating…

  18. #19 - Danee says:

    As always Cathe, your projects are stunning. I am glad to know that Michael’s will carry Kaaris’ line. I saw it on her website and it looked so charming.

  19. #20 - {gemmifer} says:

    This looks to be a very easy and fun project, and the results are beautiful. I’ll have to keep it bookmarked for next year for my sister who is currently a Mom-to-be!

  20. #21 - Elise says:

    We ARE lucky to have SUCH a wonderful Michael’s – I couldn’t agree MORE! Thank you for REMINDING me why I had to hoard the WONDERFUL nuggets of crafty possibility from the new French General line! Thank goodness CLAIRE was on deck at Michael’s to alert me to the EXACT location of the line in our store! {Hee Hee!} LOVE your beautiful festooned box! I could line my SHELVES with these and NEVER tire of the look and the project! You ROCK, sweet CRAFTY babe!

  21. Aww those are such lovely gifts! I’ll have to check out that French General stuff, it’s too cute!

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  23. #23 - Judy says:

    Absolutely beautiful, wish we had a Michaels in Australia …

  24. #24 - Claire says:

    Aw, thanks, Cathe! Gorgeous box! A great use of the adhesive fabric – love it! As always, thanks for the inspiration.

  25. #25 - Charo says:

    Great tutorial, so pretty idea!

  26. #26 - sandie says:

    What a wonderful idea! Thank you for sharing how you made this. Hope you don’t mind me adding it to Pinterest.

  27. #27 - Mel McCarthy says:

    Beyond stunning! You think of the most amazing things & your style is so gorgeous.

  28. #28 - Annette H says:

    Very Nice Gifts!

    Thanks for the detailed How-To
    and all components to make.

  29. #29 - Ann says:

    Oh Cathe this is such a brilliant idea! I’ve been jotting down my Mum’s and my sisters’ memories in scruffy notebooks for years – it would be so nice to see them in one of these gorgeous books. My Mum is 87 and I’ve been trying to get her to write about her life for the last 25 years….. I wonder if this might just be the right time!! We’ve already had Mothers Day here in the UK but her birthday is next month – hooray!

  30. #30 - Joey says:

    I love, love, love this idea! I just made one for my mom per your instructions. Sadly, I couldn’t find the Jolee paper at my Michaels so I use regular paper, and it did not turn out NEARLY as cute as yours, but I’m still going to give it to my mom for Mother’s Day and try to find the adhesive paper to make another one for her!
    Thank you for the inspiration!!

  31. #31 - Jen says:

    Cathe, Thank you for the beautiful and thoughtful Mother’s Day box. You know how much I love to document, journal and make lists! This combines all three. I love you, my dear sweet sister.

  32. #32 - FranT says:

    I just love this Cathe. I am new to your blog, but I am surely coming back to visit. The photos are wonderful and your boxes are perfect!

  33. #33 - kate blue says:

    fab! You made it look so easy!

  34. #34 - Laurie Kearnes says:

    I just heard about your website on a Paperclipping Roundtable podcast from last summer. Wow! I am so impressed! I wish I had known about you long, long ago. Your stuff is fantastic!!!! Thank you!

  35. #35 - Sheila Mainous says:

    I took your idea and made my daughter a memory box for Mother’s Day. It came out really nice. Neither Michael’s nor JoAnn’s had adhesive backed fabric or paper so I had to make my own. I used fabric. I added a lace decor to the top of the box and the word “memories” cut out with my Slice. Thanks for a great idea. She loved the box. My grand daughter is in sixth grade, so she has many years to make good use of it!

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  37. #36 - Tyisha Atterson says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I

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  39. #37 - Deonna B says:

    This is wonderful! I love the whole idea. Thank you!