Sunday, April 26, 2015

DIY Mother's Day Gifts

A little off topic but can I just brag about my friends for a moment?  When I decided that I wanted to start a blog I was so nervous.  I wrote for a couple weeks before I finally decided to share the blog with one person, my sister.  And when I finally did post a link to the blog on social media I was floored by the response.  My friends have been sharing their organizing ideas at dinner, via emails, Facebook, texts.  The suggestions just keep coming and the support feels...incredible.  Maybe it helps that I'm writing about something that a lot of people struggle with or don't enjoy doing but that doesn't diminish how grateful I am.

At dinner a couple months ago I asked my friends what they need help organizing.  I got some of the usual responses like, 'My garage!' or 'My tupperware!' but I was perplexed by one of my friend's answers.  She said she has so many digital photos that she never prints and they just sit in photo albums on her computer and online.  I struggled with her response for a while, because at first it felt like one of those projects where there isn't really a trick to doing it.  You just need to find the time.  But her comment has stayed in the back of my mind and a solution finally came to me when I was trying to figure out what to get my moms for Mother's Day.

Mother's Day is two weeks away (!!!!) and it is time to get crackin'.  Usually I buy my mom flowers but this year I wanted to try to plan ahead a little and do something special.  Especially now that I'm a mom and I understand all that moms do.  We should be celebrated!  We are pretty amazing.

I came across an article in Real Simple that included some photo gift ideas that are perfect for someone like me who wants to hold on to everything and perfect for my friend who is trying to have her photos become tangible things instead of living in a cyber cloud.  Who better to create gifts for, from keepsakes and memories that you have stashed away in your closets, drawers and online photo websites, than your mom.  Especially my mom who doesn't live close and loves getting anything that reminds her of her grandkids.  Of course you can always do a photo coffee mug or necklace with the kids names on it but I wanted to share some of the more unique and DIY gift ideas I've come across.

Recipe photo album: Collect recipes from multiple generations and match up photos of the person who is known for the recipe, with their recipe.  Cooking is a big deal on my husband's side of the family (Italians of course!) so his mom had plenty of recipes to share and I'm hoping she'll really enjoy the gift.  We are even adding in recipes that my husband and I have made that she really likes.  You can make this photo book in any photo site but Shutterfly is having a sale depending on the size of the photo book, that ends 4/29.

Meal with all her favorite recipes: This idea ties into the photo recipe book.  If you want to stay away from giving your mom more 'stuff', figure out how to make her favorite recipes and even some classics from her mom and grandma and make her a multi-generational Mom dinner.

Framed hand prints: What is not to love about those tiny, adorable hand prints.  You can do an art project just for Mother's Day or have an existing hand print project framed if you are short on time, or paint.  All you need is the hand prints and a frame.

Custom date print: My husband bought me one of these for Christmas that includes the date we met, when we got married, when our first daughter was born and our second.  I love it so much it hangs at the center of our living room wall.  Added bonus, no one has an excuse for forgetting an anniversary!  You can do the same thing on Etsy for your mom with dates of when your children were born.

Stuck in a bottle: This one takes a little more creativity to execute but is something my mom would be endlessly entertained by.  You can use a photo of yourself now, yourself as a kid or a photo of your own kids.  Our maybe create a set of bottles with the whole family.

Re-creating childhood memories: Another silly gift idea for mom's who have a good sense of humor.  Locate some of your favorite childhood photos and see if you can recreate the poses as an adult.  Or if you want to tone it down a little, see if you can find pictures of you and your children that are similar and make a photo book or wall print.

Art project photo album: Select some of your kid's favorite art projects from over the years and match the art with photos of your children.  Real Simples suggests the website Artifact Uprising but you can also use the standard photo book websites like Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc.

Candles made out of melted crayons: This is not only a cute idea but it is also a great way to use up all those broken crayons you have laying around the house.  There are a million tutorials out there but I found one on Brit + Co that makes snazzy color block candles.

Memory video: I've done this for my husband for our anniversary with photos of us over the years and a few different videos of our kids.  You can make a short movie with photos or videos in a program like iMovie fairly easily depending on how computer saavy you are.  Here is a link to a tutorial if you need help.  One movie that I created used a picture from every day of my daughter first three months, with music, and the second was all videos of my daughter dancing to upbeat dancing songs.  I originally made them both for my husband but my mother-in-law loved them so much I made her a copy too.

Shadow box filled with memories: This is great if you want to combine an art project, photos and other trinkets from you or your kids lives.  It is helpful if you find a theme to the box.  You can find shadow boxes at craft stores or Amazon or Target.

Photo puzzle: This gift is perfect for a puzzle enthusiast but as a close friend warned, make sure you think about the photo you are using and if it works for a puzzle (not too much of the same color!).  You want your mom to have a fun gift, not an endlessly frustrating brain teaser.  Try Snapfish for this gift.  They are having a sale until 4/29.

Whether it is a custom photo book or a special meal, hopefully you can find a gift idea that is perfect for your mom.  A DIY idea may take a little extra man hours but you know your mom is worth it.  I mean, she deals with all your shenanigans, doesn't she?

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