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I've found that with today's technology, people frequently take pictures but rarely have the time/energy to display them properly. A quick upload to Facebook or email out to friends, and that's all the attention your special picture gets. I've found a great way to showcase your special snapshots and creating great gifts is scrapbooking pages or collages.
With my mom living in Washington, she rarely gets to see the kids. This year I created a "2010" album of my life and all the things we did. This way it's almost as good as her being there, and she can share it with her friends and relatives. I did it in a storybook style, spending about one page per season, labeling events and changes we went through. You'll find alot of great pictures you didn't even realize you had, and also get a chance to organize your photos for later use.
My sister in law's birthday came this year, and I struggled to find something to get her. She's the type that has everything, and really doesn't need anything. I thought about what means most to her- she has 9 year-old twins- the joy of her life. I looked through my computer and found tons of pictures of her twins..in candid shots, poses, at our birthday parties, etc. I made a collage of them and framed it with a quote running through the pictures. She loved it and they were shots she'd never have at her disposal.
For a great birthday present, consider compiling pictures of that person or events with them, and make a collage with quotes and dates. There are great 3-D stickers and doo-dads that you can add to your framed collage. Depending on the time you want to spend, you can cover your frame in fabric and add layers of cloth, torn papers, ribbons and other decorations to your project.
Did a family member or friend spend a special day or visit with you? Capture it on film and collage it on a framed sheet. A trip to the zoo or outing will bring back great memories if it's on something they can hang and look at throughout the year.
I love to compile pictures taken over the year and add artistic elements to them- black and white, play with them on Photoshop- and show the changes over the years. For an wedding anniversary, consider having the wedding picture surrounded by later pictures and current candid shots. Incorporate meaningful items like invitations, napkins or other mementos around the pictures.
I keep my sister in Kauai, Hawaii updated to our events by making a yearly album. Starting at January, I'll add pictures of our New Year's and Easter, then camping trips and fishing excursions in the summer. End it in winter and send it to a loved one, they'll get to see what you've been up to and get to add pages as time goes on.
Teachers love homemade gifts from their students, and rarely get to capture their field trips, class parties, etc. Take pictures throughout the year and make a collage for them, with dates and names. I did this for a teacher once and she loved it..she always took tons of pictures for parents and newsletters, but never displayed them on any formats for herself. She hung it up 11 years ago and it still hangs by her desk!
What I love about collages is there's no "wrong" or "right" way to do it. It's the truest form of creativity and all about what and how you want to express yourself. They're very meaningful to the person you make them for and relatively inexpensive.
So pull out your favorite pictures and start collaging! That special person will feel great getting to see your captured memories, and you'll feel better knowing you created a meaningful gift with items around the house. A picture says a thousand words and what better way to tell loved ones how much they mean? So get to scrappin and make a unique gift that's sure to wow that special person!