12 DIY PHOTO GIFTS FOR MOM

That day we celebrate our moms is like 2 weeks away guys! If you haven't found THE gift yet, read on for some groovy ideas to inspire your gift-giving. 

Nothing really tops sentimental gifts on mom's day. If your mom is anything like most moms, they are perfectly content with everything they have, and year after year it gets harder to find the perfect present. So the next best thing to scouring late-night infomercials is .... photo gifts!  I know you might be thinking that is so cliche and everyone's thought of that. But you might find a new idea here, or in a quick online search. It doesn't have to be her only gift: wrap it up in a basket with some pampering items or goodies for her garden. It's a nice finishing touch that says you took a little extra effort this year. : )

  1. Load a digital frame with her favorite photos
  2. Insert a photo in a locket that you purchase
  3. Create an iPhone case with a custom photo
  4. Create personalized stationary for her with custom photos and her monogram
  5. Make a mid-year calendar with a new photo to enjoy every month
  6. Is she a coffee lover? Photo Mug!
  7. Make a set of photo magnets for her fridge
  8. Create a photo case for that new mobile device she got for Christmas! (iPad, Kindle, Nook, etc.)
  9. Is your hip mom on Instagram? There are lots of photo labs now making Instagram books!
  10. If you dabble in graphic design, place an inspirational quote over a favorite photo and frame it
  11. Create a soft or hardcover book for her (tell the story of a recent trip, wedding day, or new baby)
  12. Print her favorite photos from a recent event or memory and wrap them up in a pretty storage box you find at a local craft store. Make sure it will look nice on her coffee table or a shelf so it's handy for company!
A photo canvas offers a clean, modern look and a refreshing change from the frame! This 24x30 is sized just right to really make a statement!

A photo canvas offers a clean, modern look and a refreshing change from the frame! This 24x30 is sized just right to really make a statement!

A PRINTABLE EASTER

The kiddos had this Thursday off for Easter/Spring break so we spent the day doing lots of Eastery things! First I made them into my little bunny helpers! : ) Then they got to work, making bunny tails, Easter cards, cupcakes, and eggs! Everything was very simple to do and super inexpensive. And most of the projects we did involved FREE printables that you can download and use for your Easter activities too!

What are you planning for your Easter gathering? If this post inspires any of your activities, I would love to know! Hoppy Easter everyone! xo

We printed the bunny ears found HERE from HGTV on cardstock. We cut them out and then taped them to thin headbands I got at the dollar store. 

We printed the bunny ears found HERE from HGTV on cardstock. We cut them out and then taped them to thin headbands I got at the dollar store. 

Find these free bag toppers from The Idea Room  at theidearoom.net HERE! We printed them on card stock, folded them in half, and then stapled them to the top of the bag. 

Find these free bag toppers from The Idea Room  at theidearoom.net HERE! We printed them on card stock, folded them in half, and then stapled them to the top of the bag. 

Find these adorable Easter cards and Easter basket tags from Jamie at The Crafting Chicks at thecraftingchicks.com HERE! We printed them on card stock and then attached pom pom bunny tails with hot glue! Very simple and cute! 

Find these adorable Easter cards and Easter basket tags from Jamie at The Crafting Chicks at thecraftingchicks.com HERE! We printed them on card stock and then attached pom pom bunny tails with hot glue! Very simple and cute! 

You'll need some milk while you're making those cupcakes! The kids drew bunny faces on their milk glasses with whiteboard markers. : )

You'll need some milk while you're making those cupcakes! The kids drew bunny faces on their milk glasses with whiteboard markers. : )

I got inspiration from topinspired.com for these scrumptious cupcakes HERE! We used funfetti mix and food coloring in our vanilla frosting. To top them, we used speckled jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, sprinkles, and strips of color card stock for the handles. They're much simpler than they look, I promise! : ) 

I got inspiration from topinspired.com for these scrumptious cupcakes HERE! We used funfetti mix and food coloring in our vanilla frosting. To top them, we used speckled jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, sprinkles, and strips of color card stock for the handles. They're much simpler than they look, I promise! : ) 

We used cheap acyrlic paints (50 cents each at the craft store) and sharpie markers for easy Easter eggs! Check out my Spring Pinterest board for all of my favorite egg ideas! 

We used cheap acyrlic paints (50 cents each at the craft store) and sharpie markers for easy Easter eggs! Check out my Spring Pinterest board for all of my favorite egg ideas! 

It gets harder as the kids get older to come up with egg fillings the kids will like (besides $$ of course!) Some of the goodies I included were: marbles, bazooka gum, water balloons, sour patch kids, pencil grippies, and stick on mustaches!

It gets harder as the kids get older to come up with egg fillings the kids will like (besides $$ of course!) Some of the goodies I included were: marbles, bazooka gum, water balloons, sour patch kids, pencil grippies, and stick on mustaches!

To end our Easter festivities, we played the DON'T EAT THE PEEP game. I originally planned to play this game just with my 2 kids, but I decided to bring it to my moms and join everyone in on the fun. It's for little kids and really simple to play with only one rule: Don't eat the peep! I wasn't sure how it'd go over with older kids and adults, but it ended up being a hilariously great time! We used sour candy to make it more interesting, and each time someone went and "won" they got to eat a real peep. Get the rules and your Peep board HERE from Thirty Handmade Days! 

To end our Easter festivities, we played the DON'T EAT THE PEEP game. I originally planned to play this game just with my 2 kids, but I decided to bring it to my moms and join everyone in on the fun. It's for little kids and really simple to play with only one rule: Don't eat the peep! I wasn't sure how it'd go over with older kids and adults, but it ended up being a hilariously great time! We used sour candy to make it more interesting, and each time someone went and "won" they got to eat a real peep. Get the rules and your Peep board HERE from Thirty Handmade Days! 

Don't Eat the Peep Game!
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HANG IT UP

I'm going to be real with you, I'm a photographer and I'm kind of terrible at getting around to printing photos. Can you relate?! It's an epidemic nowadays - we admire our favorite photos on the computer, when they really belong on our walls. We moved into our home almost 2 years ago, and my walls are still fairly nude. I'm making a point this year to surround myself with photos that evoke emotion in me. It's an important step to making our house a home. 

These photos are from our trip to Pensacola last August. It was our first real family trip and the first time my children saw the ocean. It was probably one of the best weeks of my life (no exaggeration), so I want to remember it everyday. I printed a 30x40 canvas of one of my favorite photos from this trip. I'm madly in love with it for so many reasons. It draws out many precious memories and feelings each time I see it.

I have more prints arriving this week that I'm excited to share. I hope that I can inspire you to take action too! I tell my clients this and I truly believe it - each of your days will be a little bit brighter when you're surrounded with photos and memories that you love. If you are inspired to hang something new around your home, I would absolutely love to know about it! Comment here, or share on My Facebook Wall. : ) Happy Hanging, xo

30x40 Wall Canvas
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MY EASTER TABLE

I prefer a relaxed and simple table setting when I host, and I love incorporating seasonal and earthy elements into my table decor. This was somewhat of an impromptu gathering and everything was purchased (or gathered up) a few hours before lunch - so no hard labor or expensive purchases involved. In all, I spent $27 to get this table ready for my guests. It thrills me to create a welcoming environment, without splurging! 

I have neutral table settings, serving ware, and decor on hand that can be adapted to any type of celebration. I hunt for votives, jars, and vases whenever on a thrift store spree; I love using different looking pieces together! I purchased a piece of burlap for my runner for $2.00.  The eggs were not boiled since I didn't have the time. I chose brown eggs in keeping with the "farm to table" look I was going for. I was ecstatic to find the purple flowers already potted in the birch-like pot at my local grocer; this felt like a steal at $12.99 because it so perfectly fit my theme!  I placed (store bought) moss in various votives to add bright color to my centerpiece and continue bringing spring to my table. I wanted to "Easter" it up, and what says Easter more than a chocolate bunny and chocolate eggs?! Thankfully, I found a classic looking chocolate rabbit, rather than the cutesy-looking modern ones. 

My menu was as relaxed and cozy as my table. We feasted on a personal favorite of mine: panko chicken over spring mix, garnished with lemon and avocado. Our sides were cheddar garlic biscuits and bacon potato salad .... YUM!! It's important to me to serve items I've made a few times because making a dish for the first time when hosting always stresses me out! I recommend sticking to this rule for anyone new to hosting, or trying to de-stress their hosting routine. If this post inspires something for your Easter table, I would love to know about it! Happy Spring and Happy Easter! xo

Get the recipe for panko chicken HERE!

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New-Newborn Photography

While I always admire those perfect, tiny newborn portraits where they're curled up with the color coordinated headband, in the latest teacup or basket or whatever  - I truly prefer capturing new life as it is. It's imperfect, it's loud, it's sleepless, it's messy, it's snuggly, and precious, and perfect, all swaddled up in one.  At newborn sessions, I capture a few of the perfectly posed shots because I know those portraits are always treasured by my clients. But my newborn photography is evolving, and I absolutely love where it's going. Here's a little peek at one of my latest sessions. All of these shots were taken within a few minutes, and I love how many different expressions little Camden (and his puppy) gave me. xo

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03/31/2014

Spring has finally, sort of, made it's way here! It is chilly, but I'm hearing the birdies and my windows are cracked oh so slightly! :D Now I'm in a scramble to get a bazillion projects done before I get immersed in wedding season. We've been remodeling my office, spring cleaning, hanging framed photos around the house (finally), and now we've got some backyard plans in the works. I've also got some new, springy, additions that have made my days just a touch sweeter. Happy Spring to you and yours! xo

Do you have any spring projects in the works? How do you bring in Spring?

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BACON BURGER + BACON MAYO = MMM

It won't spring up here... Despite what my calendar says, spring hasn't sprung yet! BUT, that doesn't mean we can't pretend, right? Let's get those grills out and think warm thoughts, everyone! There's nothing quite like a burger on the grill to put me in a delightful mood. Add the bacon AND the bacon mayo and I'm like ... oh man this is why I can't be a vegetarian. The texas toast and bacon mayo make this burger above the rest. So get your grill on and enjoy this mouthful this weekend! : ) 

I found this delicious recipe in my March Food Network Magazine 
Find the recipe HERE! 

OFFICE REMODEL | Design Inspiration

I said good-bye to my studio space earlier this year and officially made my home office my full-time workspace. In the words of Scooby Doo, working from home is "groovy!" If you work from home then you know the feeling, but you probably relate to my struggle of sticking to normal hours.

For the first year of business, working 14 hour days to stay afloat is exciting! But three years into the business, I find myself yearning for balance. It's near torture closing the computer at 5:00 when I just need a little more time to finish that project... But this is my year for finding that balance, and practicing business hours. I need dinner time with my family; I need my Friday nights to catch up with friends; I need to do absolutely nothing on Sundays but watch HBO and catch up on the laundry pile! I have to unplug. When I close those office doors, I'll say goodbye to work and hello to home.

Renovating my office is the first step I'm taking to solidify a working area that cues me when it's time to work, and when leaving that it's time to live. Making my own workspace feel different from the rest of our home is an important way for me personally to separate the two. I've included my inspiration board for my new office! I will be posting before/after photos and my renovation progress soon.  I will also be sharing more steps I'm taking to find balance and maximize productivity. It's happy hour here, I'm officially unplugging and enjoying my (renovation) weekend! Cheers, xo

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WELCOME SPRING

Today marks the first day of spring, and this year it's especially a welcome mark of a warmer season. Spring brings farmer's market trips, green grass, open windows, sweet birdie tunes, and dinner on the grill. Welcome Spring; we've missed you and all the beautiful things you bring - like these vibrant lily's. xo

DIY PHOTO BOOTH | Painting Party Post 05

A photo booth is always a recipe for a good time! I wanted to set one up at our party for my daughter to have fun with her friends - but it turns out that the adults spent the most time in it! When putting together a photobooth, you need 3 things: a backdrop, some cool props, and a camera of course. For our backdrop I used thick, gold wrapping paper from my local craft store and covered it in card stock cutout polka dots, streamers, and balloons. Our photobooth was set up for an evening party so we used a camera setup with flash on a tripod. Don't buy any photobooth templates before you check around the internet for some free templates - there are fantastic freebies everywhere, and they're easy to make yourself! Scroll down for some free templates from me to download for your next photobooth!

Here are some of the Photobooth Printables I used for our booth: 
Find the Batman, Bunny Ears, Top Hat, Glasses, & more HERE from Oh Happy Day!
Find the Beard, Mustaches, Glasses, & more HERE from Pure Sweet Joy
Find the Pink Sprinkle Lips HERE Oh Happy Day!
Find the Retro Star Wars Masks HERE from starwars.com
Find the Donuts HERE from The House that Lars Built


See more of my party planning for this event here: 
Painting Party Post 01 | Inspiration Board
Painting Party Post 02 | DIY Watercolor Invites
Painting Party Post 03 | DIY Party Head Confetti 
Painting Party Post 04 | DIY Painted Canvas Favors

This is an 8x10 photoshop template. Once our party was over, I took all of the best photos and placed them in these photobooth strips. I printed them as 8x10 prints at my print lab and hand cut them myself. I sent each person their photo booth strip with their thank you card. DOWNLOAD HERE

This is an 8x10 photoshop template. Once our party was over, I took all of the best photos and placed them in these photobooth strips. I printed them as 8x10 prints at my print lab and hand cut them myself. I sent each person their photo booth strip with their thank you card. DOWNLOAD HERE

This is a 10x20 photoshop template to use to create your own photobooth sign. A few days before our party, I took photos of my daughter in front of the backdrop and had this printed as a mounted 10x20 print so that it would stand up by itself on an easel. DOWNLOAD HERE

This is a 10x20 photoshop template to use to create your own photobooth sign. A few days before our party, I took photos of my daughter in front of the backdrop and had this printed as a mounted 10x20 print so that it would stand up by itself on an easel. DOWNLOAD HERE

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WITH LOVE, FROM MOM

Today is my birthday, and for this occasion, I asked my mom if she wanted to write a little note on the blog. Thank you mom for giving me life, teaching me compassion, and shaping me into a the woman and mother I am today. (xo) Without further ado...my mother.

In March of 1985, my life forever changed for the better. That was when I brought home my bundle of joy with a massive amount of thick, black hair and piercing blue eyes. I was a young mom who didn't at all feel prepared to embark on a new role of motherhood, but I have never had one day of regret. Jennifer Lee, named after an artist friend of mine, had entered the world.

Jennifer seemed to be one of those children who were adults even as children. She had a good head on her shoulders for making decisions and was always a skilled conversationalist. Though bossy a lot of the time, it was always apparent that Jennifer would be a leader of something one day.  I remember her asking me one day, "Mom. If I were the president of the United States, could I tell you what to do?" I responded, "Yes." She said, "Then I'm going to be the president some day." Another career choice that she toyed with was being a lawyer, which would have been very feasible.

Besides her leadership skills, Jennifer always had an eye for art. I would say that it started with the many drawings she scrawled on the wall behind her bedroom door (it took a while to find those) and the famous dark blue line she drew down the center of ALL THREE cushions of our brand new couch! Whether decorating, party planning, or shooting snap shots, Jennifer certainly has an artist's heart.

So here is a birthday wish to my sweet daughter who has brought so much sunshine into my life and the lives of many others. I am so proud of you for who you are, who you are becoming and all that you aspire to do. I love you more that the mountains are tall and the oceans are wide. May you have many, many more years of happiness and success. Forever - Mom

www.jleeblog.com
www.jleeblog.com
www.jleeblog.com
My mother, my father, and me

My mother, my father, and me

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THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE (green) THINGS

It's that time of year when we all get our green on. I did a little scavenger hunt around my home in search of things I admire in green. Before I knew it, I had found many everyday loves sporting the lucky color. Green is so fresh and inviting; it ushers in a bright new season and signals the growth of beautiful things. I hope you're counting your lucky stars today and enjoying a cold, green drink. Cheers! xo

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THE PARENT ALBUM

Creating parent albums make me really happy because I know how much they make mom and dad smile. I think about their face when they first hold it. I think about how it will be the conversation piece when company comes over. I think about how they'll sit down and show it to their grandchildren. I'm pretty confident it will be one of their most prized possessions as soon as they unwrap it! xo

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DIY PAINTED FAVORS | Painting Party Post 04

The second I saw these mini canvas and easel sets at my local craft store, I was obsessed and I knew I had to fit them into my daughter's painting party.  I created "mini masterpiece" party favors for the adults and they all loved choosing a canvas to take home. I have to admit that I put off painting these because I thought they would be pretty time consuming. But once I got into them, it took me under an hour to complete a set of eight. You don't have to be a painter (I'm no painter!) to whip up a collection of artwork. I recommend working with watercolor; let the water move the paint around for you and you'll have a whimsy art piece with little effort. 

Painted Favor Tips
01) Repeat Simple Patterns Dots, Stripes, Circles, and Brush Strokes. If you look at my canvas, you can see how I repeated these patterns but still made them look different by using different color palettes.

02) Use Complimentary Colors Speaking of color palettes, get out your color wheel (I mean google one) and find complimentary colors to use together. I used about 3-4 complimentary colors for each canvas. 

03) Variation Simple differences can make them all look unique and give the feel of a wide variety for your guests to choose from. I purchased 2 different canvas sizes, one rectangle set and one square. I also placed some of the rectangle canvas vertically and some horizontally on their easels. 

04) Make them Shine! I finished mine off with a bit of gold craft paint to add some extra sparkle! If you want, sprinkle on some glitter or paint on some silver paint instead. 

Buy your own mini canvas and easels here: 
Mini Canvas Set
Mini Easel Set


See more of my party planning for this event here: 
Painting Party Post 01 | Inspiration Board
Painting Party Post 02 | DIY Watercolor Invites
Painting Party Post 03 | DIY Party Head Confetti

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2014 BIRTHDAY WISH LIST

Another birthday is right around the corner... This time it's mine instead of my daughter's which isn't quite as exciting. So I decided to cheer myself up with some online "window shopping." Here's a list of a few things I admire that might also be showing up on my birthday list. Enjoy! xo 

01 ) BIRD HOUSES | Anthropologie
02 ) MINI BONSAI | Amazon
03 ) BOUNTIFUL | Amazon; CHELSEA MARKET | Amazom
04 ) FARMERS MARKET BASKETS | Anthropologie
05 ) CANDLE WARMERS | Kohl's
06 ) GOLD FLATWARE | Target
07 ) GUESS PERFUME | Kohl's
08 ) HEXAGON NECKLACE | Etsy
09 ) HEXAGON TOMS | Toms
10 ) OTTERBOX DEFENDER | Otterbox
11 ) BRUSH SET | Sephora
12 ) BAR CART | Target
13 ) SEEDLING POTS | Amazom
14 ) CAMERA STRAP | Amazom

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ON THIS DAY

On this day 11 years ago, an angel was given to me. When I held her on my chest for the first time, it was as if the world stood still and it was just her and I.  I couldn't believe something so beautiful had been given to me. With her arrival, I embarked on this journey of motherhood and I'm thankful everyday for the privilege. Hearing that 2 syllable word, "mama" never loses it's magic. 

Jubilee, You make every day on this earth sweeter. I have loved you for 4,285 days, and I will love you for a billion more. Happy Birthday Sunshine.

XO, mama

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DIY PARTY HEAD CONFETTI | Painting Party Post 03

Today I'm making head confetti for my daughter's color/painting birthday party. It's quite the tedious project I've got  on my hands, but the end results will totally make up for it. In all, it's taking me about 2 hours to complete this project. If only my kids weren't at school learning, they could be on hat-and-head-cutout-duty! If you're crazy enough to take 2 hours to make confetti like me, here's how to do it! 

Steps
Fun digital photos of your family members (and pets)
Printed 8x10 confetti template (Download my free 8x10 template HERE)
1/2" round paper cutter (or scissors)
Scissors
Scraps of colorful card stock
Hot Glue Gun

Now I'm having to fight the urge to place tiny "pom-pom's" at the top of the party hats. AHHH, being detail oriented is not all that it's cracked up to be! xo

See more of my party planning for this event here: 
Painting Party Post 01 | Inspiration Board
Painting Party Post 02 | DIY Watercolor Invites
Painting Party Post 04 | DIY Painted Favors

Using the Photoshop template I've provided, place one photo over each shape. Use the clipping mask tool to make the head your confetti piece. Repeat until all of the shapes are filled with a photo. 

Using the Photoshop template I've provided, place one photo over each shape. Use the clipping mask tool to make the head your confetti piece. Repeat until all of the shapes are filled with a photo. 

Now collapse the row, right click on it and select "Duplicate Group." It will ask you to name it, I suggest naming the next group "Row 2." 

Now collapse the row, right click on it and select "Duplicate Group." It will ask you to name it, I suggest naming the next group "Row 2." 

Continue duplicating your groups until you have filled your page. Then flatten, save as a jpg, and send to your local photo lab to print as a standard 8x10 photo. 

Continue duplicating your groups until you have filled your page. Then flatten, save as a jpg, and send to your local photo lab to print as a standard 8x10 photo. 

When your print is ready, cut out the circles using your 1/2" round cutting tool or scissors. Then make triangles out of your card stock scrap paper for the party hats. Place a very thin row of hot glue at the top of your head and attach the party hat to it.

When your print is ready, cut out the circles using your 1/2" round cutting tool or scissors. Then make triangles out of your card stock scrap paper for the party hats. Place a very thin row of hot glue at the top of your head and attach the party hat to it.

 VIOLA! You have yourself some very fantastic party head confetti! 

 VIOLA! You have yourself some very fantastic party head confetti! 

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DIY WATERCOLOR INVITES | Painting Party Post 02

Look at these lovely watercolor invitations my daughter and I made for her painting party! They were each uniquely made for our guests, and took about 1.5 hours to make in total. I found everything I needed from my local craft store. 

Supplies 
Watercolor Artisan Tiles (If you can't find pre-cut tiles, then purchase a pad of watercolor paper and cut yourself)
Assortment of watercolor paints, brushes, cloth, water
Glue Dots
Assortment of Card stock cut into squares 1.5"-2" thicker than your watercolor tiles
Calligraphy Pen
Envelopes

While painting the border of your tiles, make sure your brush is always wet and let the water move the paint around. Don't be afraid to play around with different techniques! Use your cloth or a sponge to blot the paint to give a more pastel and washed-out look. Dress up your envelopes with watercolor too; I painted the return address area. Make sure to let the paper and envelopes dry before attaching to the card stock and writing on them - don't worry watercolor dries pretty quickly! 

I purchased the stamps from Zazzle.com. They were about $20 for a sheet of 20. I won't be making a habit of paying double for my stamps, but they were fun to use for our small event. They took approximately a week to get here from the West coast, so plan and order ahead if you're not located there. Also, Zazzle runs sales all the time, so sign up for their emails and purchase when you catch a good sale! 

You can make your own here Zazzle Custom Stamps. More to come from our party planning soon, xo. 

See more of my party planning for this event here: 
Painting Party Post 01 | Inspiration Board
Painting Party Post 03 | DIY Party Head Confetti 
Painting Party Post 04 | DIY Painted Favors

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