Top Secret Project For My Parent’s 40th Anniversary

My parents had their 40th wedding anniversary on August 26th, 2013 and my sister in law approached me with the idea to do something super special for them.

On their 25th anniversary I had organized a get together with family that summer for them. I had made them an album to put their wedding photos in and family brought little gifts for them to mark the anniversary.

Now many years later our family is much larger with the addition of my husband, my sister in law and our children. We now have a little clan of our own. We decided to have a surprise dinner with just us at the Toula Restaurant at Toronto’s Harbour Front.


With the help of one of the waiters we were able to pull off a great night. Of course leading up to the dinner the morning of, my mom was a bit suspicious. So I quickly sent a text to my SIL and she called to tell my mom what we were up to.

The excuse for the nice dinner was that it was the end of summer, the kids will be starting school, it might be a while since I’ll be in town with my family again so it was the perfect time to do something nice while it was still summer. I swear you can’t get anything past my mom, but what I made totally got them by surprise.

The project was a scrapbook of memories and pictures based around our growing family and the years they have been together.

While the organizing of dinner, cake and decor was left to my sister in law (she’s great at event planning), I took on the scrapbook project (I love to papercraft). I couldn’t find a scrapbook that was small enough to do what I wanted so I decided to make one from scratch.

I watched a few videos on techniques and with that I was able to create a scrapbook good enough for 4×6 photos. (search ‘paper bag album tutorials’ and ‘stacked spine tutorials’)

I had 14 pages, 7 tabs and a few small flaps to work with. More than enough room for what we wanted to do. Here are snapshots of the album in it’s entirety.


The flowers were handmade, paper was textured using my Cuttlebug, sentiments and numbers were hand stamped. The butterfly was colored in using distress inks.


We secretly got together the day before we left for England, August 10th, before going to my parents to spend the night and then flying out on the 11th. All of us took pictures holding signs each with words to spell out ‘Happy Anniversary! We Love you!” the first page had me and my siblings and the grandchildren with our salutations for my parents: “Mami & Papi”, “Dadi and Dadi-ma” and “Nana & Nani”.

I came back from England on the 29th and we had the dinner on the 31st.


The next few pages included pictures of my parents during various times. This included a page with their wedding picture (my SIL was on a top secret missing for that) and my older brother and my wedding photos. The next page had picture of them with their grandchildren when first born. As well as a spread of messages from their nieces and nephews.


The pullout tabs were used for messages and pictures of us and the kids.


There was so much in this album that my parents spent days going through it. Something new to look at each time.



More memories!


A side shot of how thick the album became.


Because I left for England way before we presented the album, I had to finish what I could before leaving. I passed the rest on to my SIL to finish it up and she found the perfect box to fit the album.


Yes my parents were shocked and SO emotional. My dad never sheds a tear but he was on the verge. I think they liked it :) The very last page of the book will have the picture that I posted at the top of this post.

This book was amazing to make and looking at it now, it’s unbelievable that we were able to pull it off. A big thanks to my SIL for making this day possible. She’s so awesome!