May 8, 2013

Tutorial: Mother's Day Frame

"To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane in its perfect power" Maya Angelou.

I recently attended a High Tea in celebration of motherhood.  Dressed in my sunday best, including a colorful large rim hat, I had the pleasure of returning to my southern roots to enjoy a sampling of teas and petite plates and desserts that are must have during a tea service. As a special gift to the mothers, I made party favors for each guest to take home. Each one was unique and handmade.

Photo courtesy of
This is a quick and simple craft that is a great way to begin using a must have item in the crafter's tool bag: Mod Podge.  With the supplies in hand you can make one of these or more in time for Mother's Day.  A hour or two is all you need from start to finish to complete a frame.  Since I was making 22 frames, it took me three days to make the favors working a couple hours each day (during the kids nap time). If you are making a large number of frames, I suggest you make plans to break it up so you can enjoy the process and express your creativity. Here's how I did it...

Project Plan (For Multiple Frames)
Day 1: Paint Frames
Day 2: Cut Scrapbook Paper (heavy weight paper is more forgiving and less prone to wrinkles)
Day 3: Apply Paper and Embellishments using Mod Podge and Hot Glue Gun


Wood Frame (available at Michael's for $1 each)
Foam Brushes
Acrylic Paint
Disposable Plate
Scrapbook Paper (wrapping paper or computer printouts)
Mod Podge (matte finish)
Embellishments (flowers, ribbon, stickers, etc.)

Step 1: Paint the back, side and front edges of each frame.  This ensures a finished clean look and provides you with a nice outline to allow flexibility when lining up the paper. The frame will have plenty of time to dry while you prepare the scrapbook paper.

Step 2: Trace the outline of the frame (inside and out) and cut by hand.  Since I was making a large number, I used my Cricut machine to cut the size I needed.  If you are only making 1 or 2, it is faster to complete this step by hand.

Cricut settings using round square image were 7.8"x7.8" (Layer 1) and 3.5"x3.5"(Layer 2).
Step 3: Apply a smooth layer of Mod Podge in one direction to the front of the frame and then apply the paper cutout.  Mod Podge is a glue so work quickly as you may have 1 or 2 opportunities to reposition. Gluing the edges is extremely important to prevent peeling.

Step 4: Apply a generous coating of Mod Podge on top to seal and protect your project. The Mod Podge dries clear; however you will have a smoother finish if you paint in one direction using long strokes.

Step 5: Apply embellishments using hot glue gun once the Mod Podge has dried.

Yes, I planned ahead and made an extra one for my mother.  Now, I must find the perfect photo of the two of us to make this gift truly special.

Why Start a Blog? Why Now?

Why start a blog and why now?  Good question that I asked myself for several months before doing it.  As a research and development engineer who found her way into sales, I am a project oriented girl at heart.  That is the way my brain works and how I approach most of my life.  I am the type to plan her meals every week (for the most part - I am not perfect, of course), in order to make my week go more smoothly and reduce my stress. Having a plan is a part of who I am.  For example, even before starting this blog, I researched for weeks on blogging and have created a resource guide for myself to use during this journey.

For years, my creative outlets have been party and event planning (from designing the invitations, creating the decorations, to cooking the food), gardening, and of course photography.  Like many amateur photographers, I had short lived thoughts and dreams about what it would be like to take photography more serious and drop the "amateur" title. I no longer work as an engineer or sales manager. As a mother of a 1, 3 and 5 year old, I took on the most underrated title of my life and career, "stay-at-home mom". I fully embrace this choice. I am grateful that I pressed the pause button to cherish those moments that pass quickly. However, not unlike many moms that have made this choice, I long for those moments to have a peaceful thought to myself and work on something that nutures my interests, talents and skills. 

Recently, I mentioned to my loving and supportive husband that with my love of all things food and desire to spend more time with photography, it would be great to combine the two and learn what it would take to drop that "amateur" title. He said, "well do it"?  And I said, "what!?! Do you think I could do it now?" As I began to give him all my excuses, he simply said, "If you want it..make it happen". He suggested I take a focused approach and dedicate as much time as possible for at least a year to learn as much as I can.  He said it in a way that was really more of a challenge....and I am not the kind of girl to turn down a challenge.  And so, my next great project was created.

Let the journey begin.  This blog is a place to share my journey, to serve as a source of accountablity for me (especially on those days when it is all about the kids and hubby and 24 hours in a day do not seem like enough), and to serve as a forum to solicit advice and encouragement from others who have traveled a similar road.

Do I have a complete plan as to how long this will take or how I will get there? No, but I am taking a leap of faith and doing it anyway. One thing I do know at this point is that I must start somewhere and take action. Accomplishments are defined by the journey taken and the end result. I am excited to spend more time pursuing my passions and becoming a better photographer.