Magnetic Acrylic Picture Frames
Lori Sullivan, a mother of four from Dallas, recalls finding herself in a quandary about an activity for the Candy Cane Breakfast she hosted for the girls in her twin daughters' class last year. Each girl was asked to wear her pajamas and bring an ornament to exchange with friends. Lori says, "Everything was ready. Invitations were sent out, the food was all set, but I needed some kind of craft the girls could take home as a memento. Picture frames are always a big hit, but I wanted something durable that they could proudly display at home for many holiday seasons to come." That's when it came to her—magnetic acrylic frames, available at any local craft store, that the girls could decorate.
At the Candy Cane Breakfast, the girls were supplied with holiday stickers, letter stickers to spell out their names, and small adhesive decorations in the shapes of candy canes and snowflakes. They had a blast decorating their very own frames. What really made the frames special was that Lori and her co-host took a group picture of the girls with a digital camera at the beginning of the party. They then printed the pictures on a small photo printer for the girls to slip into their frames at the end of the party. If you don't have a photo printer, send a helper (Dad, perhaps?) out to the local drugstore to print and duplicate your pictures in a snap. Most places have convenient do-it-yourself photo machines. All in all, the frames were a hit with the girls and their moms, who were very impressed with Lori's ingenuity. "Besides everyone loving the frames, the best part of this craft was that it was original and so easy. It was inexpensive too!" Lori says.
At a recent gathering, family members passed around a wedding scrapbook. By the time it was my turn to get my hands on it, I could tell this was no ordinary photo album. What I held in my hands was a high-quality, custom printed work of art. Beautifully bound, the pictures were printed right on the pages. I had never seen a wedding story captured in such an original way. Immediately I thought to myself "this cost a pretty penny." It was nice enough to have been bought. You can imagine my surprise when I found out that it was homemade and inexpensive. Not only that—it was easy, too!
To make the scrapbook, the couple gathered their favorite pictures, wrote personal captions for each, and placed an order online at Ofoto.com. They received this family heirloom in the mail a short time later. Best of all, it was fuss-free! Think of all the possibilities available with this gift. You can memorialize your family history, your family's favorite moments of the past year or baby's first year, and give the scrapbook to a special someone who will love and appreciate it forever. This is a gift that is sure to make a lasting impression!
Personalized Clothing or Other Gifts Made of Fabric
Personalized apparel makes a great gift that you know will be worn and loved. At your local craft store, you can find fabric transfer paper with easy instructions on how to print and affix photos. Or look for wearable "blank canvases" on which you can iron a special picture. Embellish with iron-on appliqués and fabric paint, and you're done! Kids love anything that has their names printed on it. Why not add a picture of a favorite pet, friend, or family member on your preschooler's tee shirt? Or put a photo on a bodysuit, burp cloth, sweatshirt, or soft cotton blanket for a baby gift. How about a photo on an apron or tote for Grandma? The possibilities are endless. This really is a fantastic gift for most everyone on your list.
Think about other gifts made of fabric. Iron-on fabric transfers are a great tool for larger projects for the home. One such project is a family quilt. Don't worry if you're not the "sewing" type. Your local fabric store will usually have a large directory of seamstresses. Choose one or several special pictures to build your quilt around. The results are spectacular, and you're giving not just a gift but a family treasure. Alisa Slagel, a mother of two from Arizona, tells of a friend who made throw pillows using a beautiful black and white picture of her daughters. She added the caption "Grandma's Girls" and then gave this gift to both her mother and mother-in-law. "[They] were really cool!" Alisa says of her friend's gift idea.
Holiday gift giving need not be a hassle with these creative, fun ideas. So start checking names off that massive shopping list with these truly original and memorable gifts for the loved ones in your life. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a picture on a gift is worth two thousand. You'll have discovered a great way to start a new family gift-giving tradition.