DIY Memory Box

Being a working mom of 5 means that my free time is very limited. And that also means that I don’t always have time to “keep up” with my scrapbooking and memory keeping. (Really, is anyone completely “caught up” anyway?) Sometimes it takes me a while to get photos and memories onto a scrapbook page, so in order to keep those photos and memories fresh and organized I decided to try a new system this year–a memory box!

memory box by aly dosdall 1

I’ve seen this idea in various forms floating around Pinterest and the blogosphere lately and I really love it. So, after looking at several different systems and types of memory boxes I came up with one that I think will work for me. The idea is that I record memories from each month of the year on Grid Journaling Cards, and then print my 4×6 photos (or photo collages) each month and store them with the journaling cards until I have time to create a page using the printed photos and hand written stories.

memory box by aly dosdall 2

All of the memory boxes I’ve seen have been store-bought, but I tend to be a DIY kind of gal so I decided to use some We R tools to help me create my own little 4×6 filing box. I wanted my memory box to be acid free and archival safe so I used some flexible 12×12 chipboard leftover from some patterned paper packaging. I trimmed two 10″ x 5 3/8″ pieces of chipboard and scored them with my Trim and Score Board at 1″ and 7″.

box 1

Then I pulled out my Gift Bag Punch Board to help create the bottom flaps of the box. I slid the scored chipboard pieces into the board, lining up each of the score lines with the “start line” on the board, and then punching and scoring only the “horizontal line”. I trimmed off the smallest flap from each piece of chipboard, and this created two parts to the box that were ready to assemble.

box 2

box 3

I adhered the two pieces together using power craft tape (you could also use a hot glue gun) and then trimmed a piece to place in the bottom of the box to fill in the gap between the bottom flaps. The piece was just 1/8″ smaller than 3″ x 6″ to allow for the thickness of the chipboard when placed inside the bottom of the box.

box 5

box 6

Next I covered the box with some patterned from the Notable collection and added some Enamel Shapes and die cut numbers for the year. Then I made some dividers to keep my photos and memories for this year organized by month. I trimmed some coordinating cardstock to 4 1/2″ x 6″ and then added some file tabs that I made with my computer and File Tab Punch. To create file tabs that fold over the dividers I folded my paper in half and placed it in the punch so that the fold was just below the top edge of the punch. You can see where the paper is in relation to the punch shape when you turn the punch upside down.

folded file tabs 1

folded file tabs 2

box dividers

I adhered the folded file tabs to the dividers and added a few 4×6 Grid Journaling Cards to each month so I can record stories as they happen. Then I printed my 4×6 photos and Instagram photo collages and placed them in the proper month. I’ll leave this sitting on a visible and accessible surface in my craft room so that I can easily record memories and add photos as the month progresses.

box contents

memory box by aly dosdall_january contents

memory box by aly dosdall_journaling cards

I’m really excited about this new system. It’s totally easy and low-stress, but will still allow me to keep my photos and memories organized until I can get them into my scrapbook!


Trim and Score Board
File Tab Punch
Notable Paper Pack
4×6 Grid Journaling Cards
Enamel Shapes–Cool
Evolution Advanced
Lollipop Alphabet Die

School Work Display Wall

Heading back to school can be such an exciting and fun time with shopping for supplies and new clothes, and meeting new friends and teachers. But it also can be a time for refocusing on organization with all the school papers and art work that come home. This simple display wall is a perfect way to keep all those papers organized that also allows your child/grandchild to feel the pride of displaying their work.

School Work Display Wall by Aly Dosdall

First I selected a long wall in our basement in the family room where the kids hang out often (not many windows down there, thus the funky lighting in the photos). Then I picked up a 1″ x 4″ wood beam from my local hardware store that fit the length of the wall where I wanted to install it. I gathered some wooden clothes pins and glued them to the beam with carpenter’s glue about 18″ apart. Then my dear hubby painted the whole thing using the same paint we used for our trim. Once the whole thing dried, he screwed the beam into the wall and then spackled and painted over the flathead screws.

School Work Display Wall by Aly Dosdall 2

Now it was my turn to take a crack at it and get creative! I covered the clothespins with some of my favorite Washi Tape colors–the smaller rolls fit perfectly over them. I also added some coordinating Enamel Shapes at the top for a little more visual interest.

School Work Display Wall by Aly Dosdall_close

Our kids love to come home and hang up their favorite school assignments and artwork, and we all love to see them on display! Once they’ve been hanging up for a while and the kids are ready to replace them, I take a photo of them and then we say goodbye and toss them in the trash. Of course, each school year I keep three or four samples of their work in an accordion file folder so they’ll have something to look back on from their school years. 

How do you like to organize school papers and artwork?



Washi Tape–Coral, Sea Foam, Butter
Enamel Shapes–Warm, Cool



Washi Tape Frame

School photos are an essential part of each new school year, but my dilemma always is what to do with all the extra prints! It’s fun to have them on display so here’s an easy DIY idea you can make for your own home, or as a gift for grandparents or teachers–a Washi Tape Photo Frame. This frame is about 5 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ and fits either a 3×4 photo or a wallet size photo.

Washi Tape Frame by Aly Dosdall 1

I started with plain small craft sticks I bought at my local craft store. The small crafts sticks are exactly the same width as the smaller rolls of patterned washi tape, so I covered 14 of them with the smaller roll of Sea Foam Washi Tape. I trimmed the excess tape off the ends of the sticks by turning them upside down and cutting it off with my Small Precision Scissors (the washi tape won’t gunk up the non-stick surface).

Washi Tape Frame by Aly Dosdall 2

To hold the sticks together I placed four extra ones across the back and glued them down.  I embellished the photo frame with some Enamel Shapes. You can also add magnets to the back of the frame and display it on a fridge or metal cabinet.

Washi Tape Frame by Aly Dosdall 3

Now you’ll be armed with some ideas when all those photos come home–bring on the new school year!



Washi Tape–Sea Foam
Enamel Shapes
Small Precision Scissors

Arbor Day Project

Today is Arbor Day, and in honor of the trees we are planting and trying to preserve today I decided to create a project entirely out of paper scraps. This was a fun challenge to take on, and inspired me to want to do this more often.

We R Arbor Day Card by Aly Dosdall

Here is the card I made with several scraps from my Notable Paper Pack. I trimmed the scraps down to 1/2 inch strips and adhered them diagonally across my card base. Designer tip: a Xyron works really well for this.

arbor day scraps

Then I trimmed down the negative paper leftover after die cutting some butterflies, and added it to my card with foam squares. To finish off my card I added some more scraps at the bottom as a border and sentiment, die cut some mini butterflies, and added some Enamel Shapes.

We R Arbor Day Card by Aly Dosdall close

Here are some tips for storing and using up paper scraps:

  • Store scraps by color in color coded accordion file folders (found at office supply stores)
  • If it’s hard to remember to use them, try storing scraps with your full size papers
  • Trim your scraps down to usable sizes (ie 12 inch strips, 6×6 blocks, 4×6 blocks, 3×4 blocks)
  • Browse through your scraps once in a while to remind yourself what’s there
  • Use your scraps for punching and die cutting
  • Create cards or tags with your layout leftovers
  • Create a background of strips on a layout

Imagine how many trees we could preserve if we all were more mindful of using our paper scraps. It’s a wonderful way to take care of our beautiful world. Happy Arbor Day!



Notable Paper Pack
Butterfly Nesting Dies
Game Day White Textured Cardstock
Enamel Shapes–Cool, Warm


Baby Week: Cinch Baby Book

Yesterday I shared an Instagram Baby Album, and today I thought I would share another mini album option to document your baby photos.  Just like the instagram album, this album is great to keep and display for yourself, or you can make one as a gift for a friend or family member.

We R Cinch Baby Book by Aly Dosdall_cover

I started with two 6×6 pieces of chipboard and covered them with some patterned paper in soft colors from the Game Day and Hip Hip Hooray collections. Then I decorated the front cover with some paper, die cuts, alphas, and embellishments.

We R Cinch Baby Book by Aly Dosdall_page 1

During my daughter’s first year I took a photo of her each month in front of the same background to document her rapid growth and change.  For each page of my album I included one of her monthly photos, plus some list-style journaling about what she had learned or how she had grown that month.  Most of the journaling is printed on a tag or journaling card tucked away in a pocket.

We R Cinch Baby Book by Aly Dosdall_page 1 close

I like to repeat certain elements on each page in my mini albums to create a sense of unity throughout the album.  Each page has a decorative edge I made with my 2 Edge Punch, a die cut Journaling Card, Washi Tape, and the same papers and colors.

We R Cinch Baby Book by Aly Dosdall_page 2

We R Cinch Baby Book by Aly Dosdall_page 3

We R Cinch Baby Book by Aly Dosdall_page 4

To indicate my daughter’s age on each page I created tabs by stamping the month, outlining it, and punching it out with my Tab Punch.  I included lots of die cut shapes, envelopes, and tags, as well as enamel shapes, buttons, wood veneers and chipboard accents.  I even used my Envelope Punch Board to make a pocket for my journaling by cutting off the top flap of the envelope.

This type of album is a really fun way to compare differences and track the growth and changes during baby’s first year. I hope this album inspires you–give these tips a try on your next project.



The Cinch
6×6 Chipboard
3/4″ Binding Wire–Gold
Game Day Paper Pack
Hip Hip Hooray Paper Pack and Alphas
Albums Made Easy Journaling Cards–Notable, Hip Hip Hooray, Quoted, Grid
Washi Tape–Aqua, Avocado, Butter
Enamel Dots and Shapes–Neutral, Warm, Cool
Sew Easy Baker’s Twine–Aqua, Yellow, Green
Baby Mine Fabric Buttons and Milestones Clear Stamps
Bracket Tab Punch
Raindrop 2 Edge Punch
Envelope Punch Board
Tag It Kit Dies
Heart Punches Dies
Pocket Scrap Dies–Hello, Life, Today
Nesting Dies–Frame 2
Mini Pocket Template Die