Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The "150 Days Away" Picture Book

  One year ago today was the day I left for my study abroad adventure in China.  This time of my life changed so much of my life now.  It changed how I think, it changed my relationship with Tyler, and it gave me a new perspective on the world.

  While I didn't know how, these changes were not unexpected.  I knew being gone 150 days would be very hard...especially on my relationship.  I knew it would also be hard for Tyler, and that's why I planned ahead.

  This may have been one of the larger projects I've taken on in my life...the 150 Days Away Book that I made to give Tyler the day I left.  It is a picture album with 200 slots made into 150 days of letters, pictures and memories for Tyler...one for each day that I was gone until the day I returned.
I used what is still my favorite picture in the front.
  At first, this book was only supposed to be pictures with a short sentence, but turned into a project that was fun, daunting, and something that even changed how I felt about Tyler.  We had been together about 6 months when I started it.  I worked on it between 6 and 8 hours most nights for two months during the summer to complete it.  This time was not just time to work on editing photos or cut and glue pictures and paper...it was a time I thought about not being around Tyler for this chapter in my life, reflection on the happiest six months I'd had in years, and curiosity about the future.  Putting this book together really helped me confirm in my heart that he was the man, almost year before we were engaged.

I tried to give much of the book a story book style, since it was going through the memories of our time together.
Tyler's first letter on the day my flight left.
Some days were serious, and others were fun!

I shared team spirit with Tyler for OU/saxeT weekend.
I thoroughly researched dates of things we'd done together on facebook, image properties from my camera, and other ways to track down specific dates of many memories so that I could put that photo or write about that memory on the anniversary. I also enjoyed giving him a countdown until the day I got back to the US.
One of my favorite things Tyler and I did together...build an IGLOO!
In the end of the book, I gave him two CDs.  One was with romantic songs, the other with Christmas songs.  I consistently used lyrics from the songs on my pictures in the book.
I was gone over the holidays, so I got to incorporate some Christmas spirit while we were separated.

I also tried to throw in fun things, like baby pictures or something that he'd never seen before.  I'd successfully hidden my baby pictures from Tyler until this point.  Luckily I picked a cute one. ;)
Baby pictures...isn't Tyler a cute baby??!!
Since I only had 200 slots, he only got pictures on certain days.  Some days he got just a letter, other days he got a letter and picture combined on one card, and other days he got a letter and a picture.
I did my best to color coordinate pages without repeating scrapbook paper patterns.
In the end of his book, I left an open space for a picture the day we returned.  Since I began with a story book theme. I also ended, but since our story didn't end, I decided to let our story begin.

It was definitely not the end!
So here's to the end where we began.  I can't believe it was just a year ago that I left for so long!

Now I get to embark on a new adventure that will take even more time and effort!  I sent the check in the mail to book our wedding venue, so now that some of the logistics are being taken care of, I can start crafting for the wedding in the near future!

That's all for today, Coffee Readers!  Until next time (have a cup of coffee!)


6 comments:

  1. I love this! I didn't know you did this, so cool!

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    1. Yep, worked on it when I wasn't at work last summer! :)

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  2. I've been looking through your blog, the wedding series and now this series and I love it! You are so creative!

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    1. Thank you Beth! Glad you've had a look around. This is one of my favorite projects!

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  3. I absolutely LOVE this. It is super creative, sentiemental, and incredibly sweet. I just began a long distance relationship with my boyfriend of a year and a half, and we are unsure of the "end date," so this hit home for me. Thanks for posting this :)

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    1. Thank you very much, Mary! I gave this with the letters to him the day before I left, and it actually brought him to tears! Guys really do love sentimental things - and I think having something tangibly new from you every day will help them feel closer while you're apart! Best of luck in your long distance relationship! They're hard - that's no lie - but it can also be a great way for your relationship to grow in a way it wouldn't otherwise!

      If you haven't seen the rest of the series I did over LDRs, you might check those posts out too! There's only 3 other posts, but some over-the-internet date ideas and communication tips might come in handy!

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