$0 Anniversary Gift

$0 Anniversary Gift

This year, my husband and I celebrated a milestone anniversary. We’ve been married 5 years! We are still babies when it comes to this marriage thing (which I fully admitted here), but we’ve had a busy five years. We purchased and sold our first home, bought our forever home (at least until I start itching to move again), and welcomed three children into our family. Whew. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s only been five years when I think about everything we’ve done.

Even though giving and receiving gifts is fun, this year we decided we didn’t really want to buy something just for the sake of buying it. We don’t need anything, and the only thing we really want is an occasional date night for some peace and quiet. (With four kids in the house, peace and quiet are rare treats.) Despite our agreement not to buy anything, I did want to mark our five years with something special and sentimental so I went the “shop my house” route and made this instead.

$0 Anniversary Gift

I’m affectionately calling it my $0 Anniversary Gift. I know that probably sounds cheap and horrible to some, but I loved making and giving this to him so much more than if I’d just added to his tie collection.

Here are the supplies I used, all of which were already in my home. Woohoo!

  • picture frame
  • computer paper
  • computer, printer, access to google maps
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • 2 pieces of decorative cardstock
  • glue

First, I found the frame I wanted to use. I needed to know how much space I was going to be working with so I could appropriately size my hearts and labels. I had this empty silver 8×10 frame in the basement so this seemed to be the perfect time to finally use it.

Next, I cut different sized hearts out of heavy cardstock and placed them in the 8×10 space to see how big I wanted them. I eventually settled on 2 inch hearts and labels so I’d still have a good amount of open space  in the frame.

I used google maps to print out the various locations I wanted to use: where we met, married, 1st home, hospital where our kids were born, and our forever home. The sixth picture was one of our wedding photos.

Google maps usually has a little red pin at the location you enter, and I knew I didn’t want that in our pictures. Thankfully, I was able to remove it. I put my mouse over the “Traffic” square on the right side of the screen, and when the mouse hovered over it a drop down menu appeared. I then clicked on the name of the location, which made the red marker disappear. This gave me nice, clear pictures to print on regular computer paper.

I used my 2 inch cardstock heart as a stencil and centered it over the locations and cut them out.

$0 Anniversary Gift

Next, I chose the paper I wanted as the background. I originally thought about using one of these as the background,

$0 Anniversary Gift

but they just didn’t make the statement I wanted. Then I stumbled upon the faux wood paper and thought that piece would be really neat to use. It’s kind of a modern day version of carving our initials in a tree, which I love and think is very romantic. Perfect for our anniversary, and this indoor girl gets to stay inside. Yay!

I then printed out the labels I wanted to use on computer paper, cut them out, and started to assemble everything.

$0 Anniversary Gift

I used foam squares under the hearts and labels to give the piece a little more dimension.

Once it was all together I thought the labels needed a little something extra so I cut slightly larger brown rectangles to act as mini frames for the labels and help them pop off the tree background a bit.

Finally, I popped it in my frame (it’s amazing the difference a pretty frame can make!) and voila! Absolutely no money spent on making one of my favorites gifts I’ve ever given.

$0 Anniversary Gift

$0 Anniversary Gift

(Michael Buble’s “My Everything” was our wedding song so I was excited to be able to squeeze that in to the project too.)

And there you have it! A great, sentimental anniversary gift that didn’t cost an arm and a leg to make, and it was a perfect and meaningful surprise for my hubby. The best of both worlds!

(Linking up at these great parties.)

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    • Emily says

      Thanks, Mandi! I think my husband was nervous when I said I was going to make something for him that it was going to be really frilly and feminine. He was relieved to see something sentimental and with maps. woohoo! lol

  1. says

    I love how this project turned out, and it makes such a perfect give (costing $0 is a big bonus!). You did a great job. Thanks for sharing. I’m now following via bloglovin. =0)
    I hope you’ll swing by my blog later tonight, as the Meet & Greet blog hop starts & we’d love to have you join us!

  2. says

    Happy to be following along. Found you through the link party! I love this idea…my husband and I are celebrating our third anniversary next month!

    • Emily says

      haha Thanks, Julia! I’m telling him you said that. He better agree or I’m adding a pic of a lawyer’s office and “Where we’ll get divorced” to this project. (Kidding, of course!) He’s not getting rid of me that easily :)

  3. says

    This is so cute! I love this idea. I have actually been looking for some DIY type art because our house is so bare since we moved! This would be perfect :) I found you via the friend connect blog hop :)

    • Emily says

      We moved last year too, and our house is still bare. I love landscapes and paintings so I gravitate to those probably more than I should, and it’s nice to have something personal on display now too. I’m glad you found me. Thanks for co-hosting :)

  4. says

    I’m glad you put linked this post at a different blog hop, because it reminds me that I forgot to comment on it the first time I saw it! I LOVE LOVE the idea of this gift and how the hearts are photos from important memories. I know he just loved it, too! Thanks! :)

  5. says

    LOVE THIS! I just pinned it as well so that I will be able to find it when I’m ready to make mine! The best thing is that you can make this for someone else as a bridal shower or anniversary gift! Love it!!
    I found you through the “Homemade By You Link Party” on “Made to be a Momma” where I am also partying, would love it if you’d stop by too.
    Hugs, antonella :-)

  6. says

    What a gorgeous idea! This is the sort of beautifully sentimental gift I would love to give and receive – but my husband has a heart of stone when it comes to this sort of thing 😉 He doesn’t do sentimental AT ALL lol.

    • Emily says

      I joke that my husband is a robot. Thankfully, his designer did seem to program him with a sentimental chip so he appreciated my hard work. :)

  7. says

    I love the look of the wood grain paper behind the hearts! Just beautiful. This December is my hubby and I’s fifth. I’ll have to file this away as inspiration!

  8. says

    I just wanted to let you know that I featured your wonderful project on homework. Thanks so much for sharing it on The Inspiration Board. It makes me so happy to see beautiful creativity linked up!

    homework &

  9. says

    That is such a romantic anniversary gift, so much more meaningful than anything you could buy. It’s a great way to mark the occasion – just think what you could add in another few years!

  10. says

    This is so beautiful and such an original and creative idea. I think the road in your ‘Forever Home’ picture looks like a pregnant woman looking down at her belly :)

    • Emily says

      I’m never going to be able to look at my driveway the same way again! That totally fits me too since I’ve have 3 kids in 4.5 years. Anytime I have exciting news to share people automatically think I’m pregnant. :)

  11. says

    I LOVE this idea. We have an anniversary coming up in November and this would be perfect. I’m pretty sure my hubs would appreciate the “free” part as well 😉 Thanks for sharing!

    • Emily says

      Congratulations! I hope you have a very happy anniversary. Why is it husbands always appreciate free stuff. I try to explain to my husband that when I buy stuff on sale I’m saving us money, but that doesn’t seem to have the same effect 😉

  12. Allison says

    This is super cute! I might do something similar to it. I’m not married, we don’t have any kids, or own a home yet. I’ll do a where we met, our first place, our cat adoption, and our anniversary. When the time comes for everything else it’ll be easy to update :) This is seriously one of the best gifts ive seen in a while, I love the idea of 0$ gifts. I may even make one for my mom and step-dad.

    • Emily says

      Thank, Allison! I love your idea of making one for your mom and step-dad, and making different milestones to fit your life. If you make one I hope you’ll let me know and send some pics. I’d love to see it.

  13. says

    I love this! I have seen a few variations of this, but never this take on it. It is clever and cute and who doesn’t love FREE! I’m so happy to be featuring you today and thank you for sharing your idea at Life Inspired.

  14. says

    Very cute! Love this idea! Thanks for stopping by DIY Vintage Chic’s Friday’s Five Features and Fun Festivities. Don’t forget to stop back by this Friday!

  15. says

    I don’t find this “cheap” at all! I absolutely love the idea! I generally think that the best gifts in the world cannot be purchased, especially when the gift is made out of love! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up for This Momma’s Meandering Mondays! Have an amazing week!

  16. says

    What a beautiful, thoughtful, creative, oh so not cheap anniversary gift. This is a pure example of the thought counting. You laid out your lives thus far in a beautiful way. Congrats! I wish you many more years together!

  17. Travelnut says

    Here is an e-mail I gave to mty Husband on Feb 14, 2010

    He still has it on his in-box 3 yaers later. !! :)

    Hi Honey,

    I LOVE you sweetie!

    You are an awesome man and the center of my world.

    I am making you a heart shaped banana bread loaf… just because I can.

    That I love you more than life.
    That you make me smile every day.
    That most people can only wish to have what we have together.
    That we chase our dreams together and catch them.
    That little things can not hold us back.
    That we are not tied to anyone or anything except to each other.
    That we are still have many adventures together.
    That I am totally in love with you.

    Your admiring wife, Liz D!@#$%

  18. says

    Hi Emily,

    I just love this idea. It is a great memorabilia to make for our marriage. I’ll keep this in mind for our 8th year anniversary. Cathy pick your project as one of her favorites. WE are featuring this later today :) I also have another email for you. Hope you could check it out soon.


  19. Kate says

    What a fantastic idea!! My husband and I celebrated 37 years of married life in May of this year. Gonna do this for our 40th!
    Thanks for such a creative idea!!

    • Emily says

      Congratulations!! 37 years is quite an achievement. I hope you’ll come back and share pictures after you make it :)


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