An adorable Father's Day gift idea: a photo book with pages the kids can fill in + a custom mug full of his favourite treats!
DIY Crafts, DIY Kids Activities, DIY Parties & Holidays, Free Printables

Make an Customizable Photo Book & Mug for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is on June 21st this year, and my daughters and I have come up with something ultra special for my dear hubby this year. With the help of Snapfish, we created an adorable photo book that with custom pages I made for my kids to fill out, and a sweet photo mug filled with Dad’s favourite treats. We think Daddy will love his meaningful gifts this year, and I had a blast making them with my girls. Read on to see how easy it was to create these photo gifts, and I’ll also share with you some free files I created that you can add to your own Snapfish Father’s Day book!Continue reading

DIY Crafts, DIY Kids Activities, Free Printables

Free First & Last Day of School Faux Chalkboard Sign Printable

by Christina Dennis

Free First & Last Day of School Faux Chalboard Printables by The DIY Mommy

My little girl is going to preschool in a couple of weeks. She is going to school. School! I’m half over-the-moon excited to have a few hours with just me and my littlest baby girl every week, and I’m half sad that little C is growing up.

I’ve been feverishly researching some ideas for back-to-school photos and I’ve found some brilliant ideas on Pinterest. My favourite ones are when the child holds a sign that says “First Day of School” (I love chalkboard signs!) and the parent collects little facts about their favourite things (like this adorable example) and writes them on the photo afterwards. This is repeated on the last day of school with a “Last Day of School” sign and a new list of favourite things from the child. What a cute way to see how your little guy/girlie has grown – outwardly and inwardly!

I’ve designed these little faux chalkboard signs that I’m going to be using for my wee preschooler soon (ack – I’m still in shock!) and would love to share them with you. You can print off the PDF’s by following the links below:

First Day of School Sign by The DIY Mommy

Last Day of School Sign by The DIY Mommy

Free First & Last Day of School Faux Chalkboard Printable by The DIY Mommy

Do you have any little ones starting school for the first time this year? How are you (and them) feeling?

DIY Business & Blogging, DIY Crafts

Make DIY Photo Backdrops with Fabric or Paper

by Christina Dennis

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

I love taking photos of my two girls! They’re just so darn cute and I want to capture every stage of their little lives with images that I can treasure forever. While I like to take photos with natural backgrounds (like the beautiful outdoors), I also like to experiment with creating interesting backdrops with easy and inexpensive materials that I have in my crafty arsenal. My favourite materials to use as backdrops are simple fabrics and white banner paper – both of which also work really well ask backdrops for product photography if you’re a DIY mommy that sells her creations!

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

For a simple white backdrop for photos, I use banner paper. It comes in very long rolls and you can buy it at most stationery or office supply stores. My favourite setting to take photos in is outside at the middle of the day when it’s cloudy (it’s daylight, but the sun can’t cause shadows). I roll out a long piece of banner paper, and tape it up to the side of my house with packing tape as high as I need it to be. Then, I let it roll gently onto the ground at least 5 feet and secure the bottom with whatever heavy things I can find. In this case, stumps! I then set my subject (here, it’s a bag for my Golly Gee! Baby line) on the paper, about 6″ from the side of the house and I shoot away. I always take many, many pictures so that I have lots to choose from when I’m editing them.

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

If I’m looking for a photo backdrop with a little more pizazz, I use some brightly coloured fabric! Here, I’ve used a bolt of quilter’s cotton in a lovely aqua shade with small polka dots. The dots are cute, but they’re not busy enough to distract from my subjects which are my dear girls for this picture!

And, as the photo above shows you all, here’s my secret to crafting with two children in the house: RARELY CLEAN YOUR HOME. *wink*

Here, I’ve placed the end of the fabric on top of my (messy) kitchen island (iron out the fabric first if it’s wrinkly or has a crease down the middle) and secured it with heavy objects. Let the fabric drape down to the floor, and continue it a few feet on the floor in front of your island, counter, table, desk or whatever high object works! Place your subjects a few inches from the back of the fabric and snap away!

DIY Photo Backrops by The DIY Mommy

In both cases, I open up my favourite shots in Photoshop and edit them a little. First, I’ll crop the image so that I take out any secret things I don’t want in it (like tree stumps or messy kitchens). If there’s only one other edit I do, it’s open up the “curves” window and lighten the image (as shown above). Sometimes I’ll adjust the colour balance and other things, but my Photoshopping skills are minimal so I usually keep it pretty simple.

Here’s the finished product using a fabric backdrop and my darling girls (I took at least 50 shots, cropped the photo and lightened it):

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

And here is one using banner paper outside with one of my products (I cropped the photo, lightened the background, and then ended up erasing the background completely using the eraser tool):

DIY Photo Backdrops by The DIY Mommy

While they’re no substitute for professional photos, DIY photos of children and DIY products are so much fun to experiment with! Try playing with paper and fabric next time you take some photos and see what you can come up with that’s interesting and unique.

Christina Dennis is the creator and designer behind Golly Gee Baby, a collection of unique and colourful baby clothing and accessories that are ethically manufactured.