DIYdiy projects

sweet idea: diy catalog of love

by Grace Bonney

as a newlywed, and someone that generally likes giving sweet gifts for no reason at all, i love finding projects like this that appeal to my heart and my crafting hands. grace light of poetic home recently celebrated her two-year anniversary with her husband and decided to make him a gift by hand, rather than pick up something at the store.

inspired by library catalog cards, she decided to replace the book numbers with important dates in their relationship, book titles with “chapters” of their life together, and publisher locations with places that are important to them. the best part? each year they plan to add memories to their library card box.

so if you have an anniversary (this would be perfect for the 1st- paper!), birthday, celebration or any other special day coming up- consider making your own diy gift for someone special like grace’s. this is definitely a gift they won’t be soon to forget. (and the website that generates custom library cards? awesome! click below to check it out)

CLICK HERE for the very short (sweet) project instructions after the jump! thanks so much to grace for sharing this with us!


-Box for holding cards (try Ebay for vintage card catalog boxes)
-Catalog cards (click here to make your own custom cards)
-List of important dates, places and times in your lives
-Computer printer and paper


1. Create lists of special dates, events, moment, memories and places in you and your loved ones life.

2. Using this website, generate a custom card for each special memory. (How cool is this site??)

3. Print out each card and cut them out

4. Place them in your box and get ready to see your loved one smile…

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  • oh what a great idea!!! how could he EVER forget a special day again with this in tow!!! LOL

  • Thank you so much Grace for thoughtfully sharing our “catalog of love” with your lovely readers!

    I appreciate everyone’s kind words! May all of your love stories and moments be cherished and shared for years and years to come! :)

  • This is a great idea but i’m having some trouble…the date is getting cut off. i just right clicked and saved my card but when i print it the date gets cut off. is anyone else having this problem?

  • How do you print the cards off the site? Am I missing a step? Such a cute idea and I just need to figure out my dates…Anniversary is coming up very soon!!

  • If my wife gave me this I would feel really bad because I wouldn’t remember half the dates/events she typed up. This seems more like a project for sentimental suckers than a useful gift. Ask your man if he would rather have a gift certificate to Best Buy or a wooden box full of type notes about past events and I guarantee he’d rather have the fun’mun to spend in an electronics store. Sorry girls. Just trying to keep it real and prevent any other men from getting this “gift”.

    • matt

      i see your point but you’re overlooking a fair amount of guys (and girls- this isn’t necessarily a gender-specific post) who would appreciate it- several of whom emailed me while i was out today to say they would be psyched to get this from their girlfriends. maybe combine this with a gift certificate to best buy and you’ll have the perfect gift.

      but i don’t think that this shouldn’t be considered a “gift” because it’s not a video games combined with a case of steaks and beer. some dudes don’t mind sentimental gifts every now and then.


  • I used to write “glad-your-are-herewith-me-now” postcards home to my husband while we were on vacation together, so that he would have some-sweet-residual-thing to meet him upon arrival as he returns back to work.

    I better gather those up and make it box set. Thanks for the reminder.

  • This is a very sweet idea…would be cute to include photos on the backside of those cards if she happened to have some that matched the event she wrote about. :-)

  • Woops! I’m actually into sentimental gifts and not beer. My comments stemmed from a conversation I had with an associate about how some people value times/dates of events, and some people don’t. Without the anecdote of my outside conversation, my post may have come across like a beer-drinking, steak-eating, non-wooden-box-appreciating kind of guy. I didn’t articulate my comments from that point of view. This is a fantastic project and a wonderful example of creativity using an old wooden catalog box (something I love). It really is a great idea with lots of aesthetic detail. I just thought that if this was given to me, someone who doesn’t value dates/times of events, I wouldn’t appreciate it as much as someone who did. That being said, I’m forwarding this link to my wife along with a note to drop in a Best Buy certificate – for me, the perfect gift!

    • matt

      i think the box plus a best buy certificate is a great compromise. that or a little card with a beer of the month certificate (which my mom actually gave my husband once- and he loved). a little bit of both worlds is always good. ;)


  • thank you grace! this is a rad crafty gift. my hubby and i are having our 1 year anniversary this september and i’ve been trying to come up with a sentimental and eco (as in economically) sound gift. yay!!!

  • I love it! I have been looking for just the right paper gift for our super duper number 1 anniversary! My hubbie- well- he probably won’t be the most impressed (honestly!) lol, but that’s alright, it is a relic that will live on (and he does appreciate that). :)

  • @Matt

    this would be the perfect gift for someone like you (and my husband) because then when you’re wife brings up something ya’ll did together you can go to the card catalog and remind yourself!

  • This is such a wonderful idea! My paper anniversary is in just over a month and I am very tempted to borrow this idea for my book and library loving husband.

  • 25 years this summer since I was engaged…to a quiet man who wrote me a note tied to a plastic ring with a piece of charcoal on top. If I gave him this, he’ll say it was nice and it would gather dust on a table until I moved it…BUT
    what a fantastic gift to myself (and my children someday) to save 25 years of memories. I can write random things and file the good in the front, the not-so-good,
    some to be tossed later, in the back- tiny digital photos or scraps of fabric or old ID cards.
    Or a box with childhood memories- thanks for the mental vacation you just gave me!

  • This is so adorable… it makes me realize that my husband should stop being such a workaholic and smell the roses….

    Thank you so much for sharing this.
    I envy you for this.

  • As a librarian, I LOVE this idea. However, my husband is exactly the “beer-drinking, steak-eating, non-wooden-box-appreciating kind of guy” that Matt described. Not that he’s not sentimental, but I know this would only end up stashed way somewhere, never to be looked at again. Much more practical to do something like this for myself, to one day be passed on to our children or grandchildren. I also love the idea of something like this as an alternative to a baby book.

  • I know this makes me one cynical little rain cloud, but all I keep thinking is, “Wow, what a tragic, heartbreaking thing to possess when you eventually split up.”

    My former partner and I made and kept very similar handmade art and “records” of our love, our story, our life together….and now it all haunts me, and I don’t know what to do with any of it.

    Anyone else think that? No? Ahh, alright.

  • Woah- I love this for the purpose as a gift for a loved one on your anniversary but I really LOVE it in place of a tacky baby album. Perhaps some small polaroids could be placed on the backside of the cards as well. Thank you!

  • This is amazing!!! Such a great/creative/unique gift. One day (when I have some one to make this for) I’m totally making it!

  • I am definitely going to enjoy it and what a wonderful gift for our children.
    River: That was heartbreaking…

  • i love this idea. i oftentimes forget about these significant dates and this would be a very sweet reminder to go through.

  • What an amazing idea! Love the vintage box and those cards are so cute. It is amazingly thoughtful and meaningful. Thank you so much for sharing this idea!

  • Inspired and inspiring!

    Bit of a cheat that she didn’t use the vintage typewriter though.

  • Last Christmas, I bought a small-size, 365 page Moleskine diary, and on every page, I wrote 1 line about how much I love my spouse. She carries it with her everyday and wherever she is, she can open it to see exactly what I was thinking about her.

  • Hey, you know I saw this when I was glancing through D*S and thought it was great.

    A while back my wife started to keep a tiny lined notebook out on a shelf. At random times she would write something nice in it. About me. I never know when and I never know why.

    I remember initially smiling and thanking her for the sentiment, but having thoughts more in line with the other Matt from above.

    But some days when you just feel down, you’d be surprised how good a few nice, simple, written words can feel. And somehow the fact that the words were written at another time and regardless of my mood makes them seem even that much more authentic.

    I also work in a place where we see old archives and written words from the past on a regular basis. I can tell you that there is something great about knowing that a future generation of our family may some day see the words and be transported, even just a little bit, into the lives that my wife and I share right now.

  • Love this…This is such a great starting point for a thoughtful gift for a sister, friend, father or spouse. Could be memories, family recipes, quotes, poems, or stories… WELL DONE!

    I have a box of documents, letters and deeds of land from my father’s family in NJ years ago. Some of the letters are 100 years old. It documents my grandfather working in NYC and the history of his life. I love looking through it and worry that with all that we do by text, phone and email that we are losing that sharing of history. This is such a nice way of preserving our memories. How cool to do for a child and save for a special birthday?

  • what a beautiful idea!

    Julie- I work for a publishing company and I found a couple of these old boxes in our archive /store room. you can probably find them on eBay too.

  • I’m loving this- not just as something to do for my husband/us, but also as a memory box for our 17 month old son. I kept a journal of his first year, and now I keep a wall calendar with notes of accomplishments and milestone moments. This would be so cool to give him when he was older.

  • Wonderful! Thanks for passing it along. I’m a librarian, and I’m getting married this November. This is an amazing starting point for a great wedding present for my fiance.

  • Oh my goodness! I don’t mind sounding all gay when I say, I love the idea! In this digital age, I might as well spend more time putting what’s left of my creativity into this project on our next anniversary. I am quite certain my fiance’ will love this! I can’t thank you enough!

  • This is a great idea. I am just finding this post today, but it’s so funny that my husband and I celebrated our 20th anniversay June 17th (the day of your post). Of course with so many significant dates over all those years, I need to begin now and hope to have it complete for our 25th anniversary! I think I will write some cards out by hand but use a similar format…and to who says it has to be a gift…I want it for me :)

  • just to ixnay the old, “i’m single, so it doesn’t apply” bummer mentality…I think it would be great to do for a long time friend of funny, sweet times over the years, etc. I think it would work beautifully for that too.!

  • How did you get the cards to print larger? I can’t seem to figure it out. many thanks.

  • This is such a sweet gift, the kind of thing I generally tend to do for my friends anyway!
    If I ever meet Mr Right I would hope he would be the kind of guy who would appreciate me taking my time to do this for him :) thank YOU for sharing it with everyone!

  • I just finished making a “love catalog” for my husband for Christmas and I’d like to offer a tip to anyone who plans to do this. After printing the cards (I had 122!), instead of cutting them out individually, I took them to Staples and had the copy department cut them for me! I had one “card” per page, and it cost me $8.00! Easy! And awesome! Thank you for passing on this excellent gift idea!

  • Not being a really date-remembering kind of person myself, I think I may do the opposite and fill the catalog with big and little things we talk about doing together and dreams we have for the future. There could be a card for “Backpack Through Europe” “Learn French” and “Grow a Veggie Garden” and then a few things we’ve already accomplished like “Buy a House”… then I can fill in the dates and add cards as we go.

  • I could totally see this as a recipe box as well….recipes for meals shared together, special restaurants, recipes for love, etc.

  • Hi, I am trying to print these cards but they do not come out the correct size. What is the best way to print these cards out to get the 3×5 size on a mac?

    Thanks.. any help would be appreciated.

  • I love this idea! I actually think not only would be great to use for a couple I also think it would be a really awesome thing to do for kids! I am going to pin it so that by time I have kids hopefully I remember to do this for them!

  • I am actually trying to use them as my seating arrangement for my wedding. How do you get them to print smaller and not in the ugly yellow color? Thanks for the help!!!