I {heart} personalized gifts!

One of my besties and her husband just bought their first house!  And it’s so much closer to where I live, so I’ll get to see them more often!  Yay!
I got the idea into my head this morning that I wanted to give them a house-warming present of some kind.  A quick Google search for ideas yielded a photo letter collage.  They’re kind of in style right now, so you’ve probably seen them around, like this one from Walmart’s web site:
That’s a DIY art project if I ever saw one!

So I hopped on my bike and went around campus and “the hill” snapping pictures of the right letters – everything from columns to windows to railings to trees to sidewalk cracks.  And of course signs.

Back at home, I inserted the different pictures into Word until I found a combo I liked.

I have no photo-editing software, but over the years I’ve learned how to do a lot of magic with just Word and Paint.  So using Word, I swapped the photos over to black and white, and adjusted the contrast.  I copied and pasted them into Paint, cropped them, and saved them on my jump drive.

I knew the hardest part of this was going to be finding a frame.  I had very limited time (started this project at 10AM and was supposed to help them move at 1PM) so went to Target where I printed the photos for only $1.45.  Didn’t find any five-picture frames there, but ironically I did find this:

See?  I told you these things were in.  I thought maybe I could Mod-Podge the photos over those tiles if I couldn’t find a better frame.  The price was a bit high and I really didn’t like the idea of cobbling this together with Mod-Podge but, as my momma always says, beggars can’t be choosers.

I hurried to Michael’s and hit their framing section.  I literally went up and down each aisle three times re-checking, to make sure I didn’t miss a frame.  I would have even taken a six-picture frame – the McKays could have added a photo of them or their home in the last spot.  But no dice.  So I started looking at long, skinny frames and decided on this floating frame, for half the price of the PEACE frame:

Thank goodness they have a short last name!  It would have been very difficult to give this gift to the Christoffersons.

With little time to spare, I drove to the new house and used their sidewalk to assemble everything.

Yay, it worked!  And they loved it too.  It’s sitting in the window until they can find a hammer and nails.  Actually looks kind of good there!  They’re both CU alums, so they especially loved that all of the photos were taken in Boulder.

This project: so easy a monkey could do it.  So no excuse for you not to try it!

Photos of Macky Auditorium windows, my bike, Freaky’s on the hill, Tulagi’s on the hill, and a tree on Norlin Quad. 

Know what?  This craft was so fun that I did it again for Mother’s Day!  Twice!  See the results here and here.

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2 Responses to I {heart} personalized gifts!

  1. Amy says:

    This. Is GREAT! You did an amazing job. I like yours waay better than the “peace” picture.
    The hubby had a photo assignment to find letters in the world around him, and skipped it. We couldn't find anything! You put us to shame. Great photos!!

  2. Alissa says:

    You need to be SUPER observant to catch letters around you. Some are easy – like Y, O, etc. I knew finding K and A was going to be hard, so I just stole the letters from existing signs.

    Also, check out this great site to give you some ideas where to look. http://www.letter-photo.com/

    Have been carrying my camera around for the past week snapping pictures of other letters I find so I can do this project again!

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