Monday, January 30, 2012

Your Inspired Christmas Gift Ideas Worked Wonderfully!

After asking for advice from fellow bloggers for Christmas present ideas this past October, one of the things I decided to do was create one 20 x 20 inch canvas portraits of each daughter and add a poem or thought onto each one specific to each daughter. So many internet friends mentioned how some of the best gifts they received were the handmade treasures that their Dad actually took the time to create.
I decided that one of my attributes was my knack for creativity and I decided to use family photos to make each daughter some both memorable and usable.  I started with a self portrait photo of each girl and added either an authentic poem by Daddy or Words of Wisdom that I felt was pertinent to the specific child. 

I was able to get six 20x20 unstretched canvas photos (without frames) for $45 from ArtsCow thanks to a coupon code.  It took a few weeks to arrive but it was SO worth it.  I took them to the local Hobby Lobby and had them framed. Now that I've seen how canvas is matted and framed, I'm certain I could do it myself.  The employee was kind enough to let me watch her do several and showed me a few tricks of the trade.
Our blank-walled main hallway is now adorned with six LARGE portraits of our beautiful daughters.  Every night, when they go to bed, they will pass by a beautiful portrait of themselves adorned with a personal thought written specifically for them.

Next, I couldn't resist some fun little notepads.  I chose a group photo of the girls all dressed up and faded it out enough so that the notepads could be used, well, as notepads.  The title at the bottom of the notepad says it all: "Divas - Notepad."  The girls loved them and Wifey showed them off at a dinner party which made me all the more proud.  You have to understand, we've had more Christmas gift let-downs than we care to remember.  You know, where you pick out a gift that you think will be super awesome only to see the child toss it aside them second after the wrapping paper comes off?  We've found the trick to giving gifts that are admired: make them personal, make them yourself and take the time to make them special.

Next I decorated xtra-large cosmetic bags.  I made three for the little girls to hold their pens, pencils, crayons and stuff.  Then I made three for the big girls to hold makeup or whatever.  They looked very nice and for $18.96 for six xtra-large zippered bags (again, coupon codes at ArtsCow) I couldn't go wrong.

All together I spent an estimated 20 hours designing and redesigning these items.  It is much more fulfilling than going to a big box store and buying garbage that will get used a few times and discarded.  If you are like me and not so good at making things COMPLETELY  from scratch (although I AM trying to learn), I recommend using a service like these that provide an art design program that allows you to add text, shapes, borders, etc to your favorite photos.

If you sign up (for free, of course) use my custom referral link and you will get "1200 free prints credits & 3 8"x8" photo books & other great photo gifts credits" and I'll get some rewards too. Yay! Free stuff!



  1. You did great, OJD! Better start planning for next Christmas. You really set the bar high now!

    : )

  2. I have to agree with HossBoss' great job but what to do for an oncore?

  3. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be really something which I think I would never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely broad for me. I’m looking forward to your next post, I will try to get the hang of it!
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