This is the inside of the Memory Keeper Altered Tin from Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

Altered Tin Holds Multiple Memories

An old Camel tin (3.25″ x3.5″) lay on a shelf, abandoned to sleeker shapes, more ornate designs, and less controversial products. Its faded, scratched edges spoke of frequent use. The tin’s patina was naturally aged. 

This Camel tin is the altered tin used by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque to make a memory keeper for her Mother.

© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Altered Tin Memory Keeper

It could make a wonderful altered tin project I reasoned.

Gathering mementos for the altered tin project

My Dad, a life-long smoker of Camels in the soft pack, would notice this tin. An idea was forming. I began to gather mementos: a 1944 news clipping about Dad’s corn shucking, a 1937 picture of him ready for county fair with his steer, a 1997 letter from him with his standard ending sentence and signature: “More next time, Love, Dad.” 

The elements, once spread across several different drawers forced me get serious about the purpose of my altered tin. These cherished recollections would be especially meaningful for Mom. What about making an altered tin for her?

The shell casing and the article about corn shucking were two of the mementos included in the altered tin created by Mary Ellen Beads Albuquerque.

© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Altered Tin Mementos

With loving care, I installed a patriotic bead on the open end and wrapped my shell casing from the 21-gun salute at his funeral with a medal and a cross. As my hands worked, my mind ticked off ideas.

My Dad valued God, family and country. In that order. A good neighbor and citizen, he lived to serve. A matchbook cover from the campaign for his local judgeship fit into the box lid.

I used resin paper techniques to preserve the matchbook cover, the picture, and that wonderful signature line and then hand-stitched them to other elements on denim, his daily uniform. To one side, a piece of tape counted to seven, representative of seven children.

Inside the tin on the bottom surface, Dad’s many roles were tea-dyed and then encased in resin. An “angel” charm provided the perfect summation. I envisioned him watching me place it.

Handwriting provides a personalized altered tin touch

I elected to finish the project in his handwriting with the lines I’d traced from his letter modge-podged to the top of the tin. The roles he took on were on the bottom. 

This is the top of the altered tin from Mary Ellen Merrigan Albuquerque.

© 2018, Mary Ellen Merrigan, Altered tin top

My altered tin provided a truly heart-centered maker opportunity for me. It is a memory-keeper extraordinaire that I plan to send to my 90-year old Mother.  No doubt she’ll recognize the hand-writing on the tin.

What special mementos will you include in your altered tin?

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