Saturday, September 29, 2012

51 Years of Memories Magazine

A little over a week ago now I suggested that rather than just copy everything you see on Pinterest, try taking a few of them and making the pins your own. Adding personalized details or tweaking the project can put a whole new spin on an "old pin". Often I'll get into a project with one picture in my head of how I want it to turn out and then half way through I end up changing what I'm doing...either because I had a new idea or because circumstances around me changed and changed was necessary. Jean sent us in a great example of thinking on her feet and changing up a pinned project when she was thrown a curve ball. She started with a sweet and wonderful gift idea for her husband and ended up with something different but just as wonderful...she made the pin her own. 

The Original Pin
Have you seen this "60 years of memories" idea? You ask family and friends write memories they have of your loved one (usually the birthday boy/girl) and then you order them by year and present it as [insert age] years of memories. I did this with my husband one year for Christmas...he loves top 10 lists, so I had people write their favorite memory of Cameron and I made a top 10 (or 20) list of favorite memories involving Cameron. He loved it. It meant so much to him that people would take the time to send in their memories and thoughts. We did this again for my parents 25th anniversary and they loved it. This gift really is sweet and fun for anyone at any age. 

Here's Jeans story of her experience with this project: 

"When my husband's 50th birthday rolled around, I froze.  Paralyzed by the fear of planning a surprise party, I did (mostly) nothing.  I did enlist the help of our young daughters in creating an Angry Birds cake, but that's a whole 'nuther Pinstrosity. 

Not wanting to disappoint him for his 51st, and knowing the pressure was off for a real surprise, I began recreating the fabulous '60 Years of Memories' pin.  In the original pin, the Pinner presents her dad with 60 letters from his friends filled with their memories of him.

Like this Pinner, I wrote an email using her verbiage but exchanging words where necessary.  The following message was sent via Facebook to approx. 100 friends:

If you're receiving this message, you probably know that Tom is turning 51 next month. To celebrate his birthday, I'd like to put together a little surprise to let him know that his nearest and dearest are thinking of him. I'm going to try and create a '51 Years of Memories' book with a memory his friends and family have of him.

And this is where you come in!

If you have a spare moment in the next few days, I would be so grateful if you'd jot down a favorite memory you have of Tom and send it in a reply to this message, or email it to me at [email address]. You can mention anything you like -- although the more nostalgic the better! Please absolutely feel free to send jpg photos too.

Thank you so much for participating -- I know everyone is busy with their own lives, and I do appreciate you taking a few minutes to do this; it will be so worth it when he reads all the memories people have of him! (Please don't forget to keep it a surprise until then, though!)

Thank you again! -- Jean'

Of the 100, 15 friends replied with stories, 2 asked when the party was (party?), and at least 3 said they would get back to me (but never did).

Since I was a far cry from the intended 51 letters, I had to work with what I had. I created a magazine, and gave each friend a full page to tell their story.  This resulted in large, easy-to-read fonts and big pictures."

The Pinstrosity

Jean said that "although this did not turn out as expected, [her] husband is VERY proud of his birthday magazine, and never misses an opportunity to show it off."

Things will go awry (I love that word) during projects. That's just life. And Pinterest. But that doesn't mean that all hope is lost and that we should climb under our covers and wail. 15 letters would not have made quite the impact in the original form of the pin...but Jean was able to take the pin and what she had, and make it her own. 

When things don't turn out just exactly how you imagined them, look for ways you can salvage it and turn it into something new! I know not everything is salvageable, but you'd be surprised what you can save even out of the biggest Pinstrosities. 


  1. Those are both really cute birthday ideas. Good job salvaging the project, Jean!

  2. Nice job! Those 15 letters made it just as special. I love the magazine cover! Awesome idea!

  3. So Jean where did you get the magazine printed at?

    1. Hi! Thank you for all the sweet comments. I had the magazine made at MagCloud It was very affordable (around $4.00 not including shipping).

  4. I think I might like the magazine idea better. Awesome save!

  5. So my question is how did Jean make the magazine? Love it!

  6. Aww, thank you! What a treat to be featured on Pinstrosity!
    I made the magazine at
    It was very affordable, and I've even made another magazine of our family vacation.
    Thank you again!

  7. It might not have been what you expected, but still SO cool! Nice job, Jean!

  8. Awe! NOW that is sooo special! Love his happy face. He is famous! CoverMan. :-) Love this Jean. So sweet and creative. :-)

  9. My husband turned 30 this year, and, along with all his friends, we gave him a media libray of the last 30 years. I sent out invitations assigning each person a year, asking them to bring a used or new book, VHS, 8-track, DVD, record, cassette, etc. from their assigned year. I realized that sending the paper invite made all the difference. Facebook is easily ignored. A paper invitation means you're serious. We had around 60 of the 80 or so people invited come to the party and most of the rest (out-of-towners) mailed gifts from their year before the party. The little bit of extra effort sending a physical invitation can make all the difference in response.

  10. I did this for my parents' 40th wedding anniversary and let's just say... I had to strong-arm some of my family members (trying to strong-arm and guilt your extended family and great-aunts & uncles can get a little awkward). I had to write three notes myself and begged most people to write "multiple" notes, but i actually did it! it was worth it but not remotely what I thought the process might be.

  11. My aunts did this for my grandfather's 80th birthday, then made a scrapbook. It was very sweet!

  12. I did this for my mom's 60th with sad results. So when guests arrived at her party I handed them paper, a pen and the envelope. Still I never even got close to 60 and while she liked what she got I think it was an epic fail and made me more disappointed in my family and her friends then anything.


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