Monday, December 5, 2011

Dare to ... Give Homemade Gifts!

Hi Everyone!  This week at Kim's Dare to DIY is all about making homemade gifts (the best kind!).  With school being so crazy and whatnot, it's been a big fail this year on the homemade gift front.  Just ain't happenin'. 

However, last year I did "make" a pretty good gift for my mom, so in the interest of sharing something this week, I figured I'd blog about that.

Dare to DIY


My mom had a cabinet filled with boxes of all of our family photographs (and the negatives - ha!).  The last time she had even attempted to organize them was probably when I was a baby.  Thus there were years and years of jumbled photos all shoved into boxes.  Not convenient for browsing, and probably not the best way to preserve them.

I really don't blame her for not tackling the problem.  It was daunting.  However, early in 2010, I decided I was going to organize them all into albums for her for Christmas.  Starting early spring, I would sneak small portions of the stack home with me when we would go visit.  By late summer, I had them all at my house.  She never noticed, of course! :)

My first task was to dump them all out and get them in stacks.  Then I organized them the best I could, since chronological order was not happening.  I sorted into kid pics of my sisters and I, pics of my parents from pre-kid days, misc. photos of their past houses and projects, pics of vacations, and pics from our teenage years and up.  That. was. challenging.  It took me many, many weekends to sift through them all.  

Claire, Courtney, Caitlin.  Thank goodness we got a little better looking with age... I was going for the shriveled look.

Handmedown dress up clothes = awesome.

Remember back in the hard-copy photo days, you would get doubles of your roll of film?  Well, that just meant I had to separate doubles and put those aside.  I even kept all of the negatives and boxed them up for her, just in case!  

My parents' prom picture!!  White suit!

Next I went through all of the school photos that were still in the white envelopes from the school picture company, and attempted to make a master list of which photo was which school year.  There were some gaps, but it was nice to have that record, and still be able to throw away the envelopes.

Two great things about this picture:
1.  I was the world's biggest nerd, but clearly an early-adopter in the computer gaming world.
2.  My mom's glamour shot on the desk.

Yes, I still look this good in a bathing suit.

I did a horrible job documenting this process, but here are a few pics of the early stages.  Sandy helped.

The best part was I was able to scan a lot of the good ones of my sisters and I, so I forever have those images backed up (scattered throughout for your viewing pleasure).

Sorry mom.


I had begun to buy black photo albums as I found them at Ross or Target throughout the year.  In total, there were 11 albums.  I stuck with all black for consistency, but the albums themselves were different.  I hauled them all up to Tennessee at Christmas in big rubber totes.

My goal was to make my mom cry.  Mission accomplished.

Here they sit in my parents' living room, ready to be looked through and enjoyed, instead of hidden away in a box.  :)



  1. This is such an awesome gift - and one that took a lot of time for you to put together!

  2. What a thoughtful gift! I can imagine how long it took you to put everything together, we have tons of unsorted old photos too. I'm sure your mom was thrilled.

  3. Wow! I'm ridiciulously impressed. And you win daughter of the decade! 3 years ago, I started a very similar project for my parents. I just "finished" this summer. And it didn't include albums. Just sorting, purging and organizing. Then, I sent them off to a company to scan the best of them. I love having them as much as my parents. Don't you love that you won't really have to do this going forward thanks to digital?

    Thanks so much for sharing this. What a wonderful gift!

  4. How sweet! Your mom must be ridiculously happy!!!

  5. Your family is the cutest thing ever. You girls with your mom in front of the fireplace? Looks like a Southern Living shot from 1988 or something, love it. Meanwhile, this is probably the best give ever. I too, took all of my mom's pictures 2 or 3 years with the intention of organizing them all. I need to get back on it. You really do win daughter of the year.

  6. Oh my goodness, Claire! That is such a wonderfully thoughtful gift! This reminds me of when I took all of my Mom's many, many scraps of recipes and typed them up into a single cookbook for her. Crazy time consuming, but so worth it for a Mommy! Those are always their favorite kinds of gifts!

  7. 1. I mentioned the glamour shot to mom a while ago and she got seriously offended that I was making fun of it.
    2. Thanks to some toddler pictures of me you put up, I notice that (hallelujah) Lyla is looking more and more like me everyday.
    3. Everyone else is right, you did win the daughter of the next 5 years award, thanks for ruining it for Cait and I :)
    I'm gonna go over there today and look through all of those again. And if anyone was wondering, our mom cried like someone had run over her dogs. It was an amazing gift though.


  8. I always love reading your sister's comment right before I write my own (hmmm... maybe she should start a blog too?? I'd follow!).

    This is the best (I mean BEST) homemade gift EVER. And even the school picture folders???????????

    Wow. All of mine are piled in a bin. If you look in our house (on our walls), it appears that we only have one child. (poor hailey)

  9. This is amazing. I actually have all of our family albums in my house because my mom was tired of moving them from place to place and I'm still too lazy to do this. You rock. And I love your sister's quote "cried like someone had run over her dogs"

  10. Late to comment, but such an awesome gift! My mom had a small drawer of photos, and it was daunting just opening that. I love the pictures of you in dress up clothes, the one of your parents at prom, and the Cosmo magazine. So cute and hilarious!

  11. Hi Claire!!This is amazing!

    Also wanted to let you know I gave you the Versatile Blogger Award over at :). Hope you have a wonderful weekend!


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