In November last year my husband, James turned 40. I wanted to do something pretty special so I decided (against my better judgement) to start the 40/40 project.
Many moons ago, when trawling through Pinterest, I stumbled upon a project that was so cool I just had to prepare something like it, it was called Sixty Years of Memories. The basic idea is that you collect 60 letters from 60 friends and family and then present it to your loved one. I thought this could work perfectly for his 40th, simple eh? Err… no!
In September I set the project in motion. I asked 40 people in James’s life to write a letter in old fashioned ‘pen and ink’ with a favourite memory, photo or just a general outpouring of love. By October I was starting to get a bit twitchy with only 9, thinking I would have to abandon the project altogether. I then started hasseling people to death by calling, texting and emailing. I became ruthless. I even popped round to a few of my friends places and stood over them until they wrote something. Oh dear! By early November I was having to stuff 2 or 3 letters into each envelope. The last letter arrived the morning of his birthday.
The project was more than I could ever have imagined, it was a labour of love to be sure, but the final result was full of funny and heart warming memories and it was BURSTING with love!
To present each letter I managed to find some airmail envelopes. Harder than you would imagine. These Thai Airmail Envelopes are from Handmade Concept on Etsy. They arrived the day before his birthday – talk about cutting it fine!
To house all the envelopes I found a box in my local newsagent, it was then I enlisted my lovely friend and artist, Jessica Watts to help. She paints predominately in oils but her art is firmly rooted in collage which is exactly what I needed! She covered the exterior with maps from a vintage atlas, mainly UK and Australia maps. The interior was covered with pieces of envelopes, post marks and stamps from all the letters I received. It was finished with some Post Office stamped numbers marking his birth date. The box is a piece of art in itself.
We presented it to him in a very noisy cafe on the morning of his birthday. He was blown away. Here is a little video of him opening his present – he doesn’t quite finish my letter!