Do you have a "go to" gift that is a great choice for almost any occasion? I do: the humble picture frame. I've found over the years that it you're stuck about what to get for a gift, whether it's because the gift is for a guy (I think in general that women are easier to buy for), for someone you don't know very well, for a person at work (such as a gift for Secretary's Day) or for an occasion where you just aren't sure what to get (such as a baptism or First Communion), a picture frame almost always makes a wonderful gift. While some frames can be incredibly expensive and easily suitable for things like wedding gifts, one of the great things about picture frames is that they generally won't break your budget. A nice frame is great on its own, of course, but one of my favorite things to do is buy a frame that comes with a wide mat, and personalize the frame by embellishing the picture mat.
I made the frame in the photo above for my husband for Father's Day. I found the cool weathered wood frame at Michael's and once I combined a couple of coupons, it was 60% off! I loved the sage green color of the frame and the mat, so when I took the kids outside to shoot a photo to go into the frame, I told each of them to wear a tee shirt in a muted green color. I really love the final results.
For the Father's Day frame, I used bold black rub-on letters from Making Memories. I chose a font that had a somewhat distressed look, because I thought it would go well with the finish on the frame itself. I was going to put the kids' names along the left side, but eventually decided to just go with "Father's Day" because it was simple and everyone looking at the frame would know immediately what occasion it was meant to commemorate. I added the date along the right hand side. For embellishments, I chose a 3-D butterfly embellishment and some grey self-adhesive pearls, as well as a small square acrylic embellishment that I positioned following the date. I liked the butterfly because it added a note of whimsy and specialness without being too feminine. All of the things I used to embellish this frame were things I already had in my scrapbooking stash. I'm sure you have tons of suitable things, as well.
Although we haven't decided yet where to hang the Father's Day photo frame, my husband just loved it. He's getting to that age where it can be hard to buy him gifts because it seems like he has everything that he wants or needs. But he always cherishes a nice new photo of the kids.
As I mentioned, an embellished frame makes a great gift to commemorate almost any occasion. I made a really pretty frame for my son's girlfriend as part of her graduation gift, but naturally, I forgot to take a picture of it before we gave it to her! What I liked about the graduation frame was that I found embellishments in her school colors, brown and gold, and I used those to decorate the frame. Below is a frame I finished just yesterday, to present to a woman that I work with on her retirement.
Although she is not technically in my department, we had a little retirement brunch for her in our offices last week, and that's when I snapped these photos. In case you're wondering about the feather boa, sunglasses and red carpet, the honoree works with people in the movie industry, so we chose a "Hollywood" theme for the brunch that we had for her. In keeping with the glitz and glamour of our theme, I chose self-adhesive gemstones and glittery flowers to embellish the photo mat. Here's a close-up of some of the flowers.
The rub-ons I used are from American Crafts, and I chose a font that was bold but also had an element of whimsy to it. I think it goes great with bling of the rest of the embellishments. Oh, and another little thing I love to do, if there is an "i" in any of the words I'm putting on the mat, I dot the "i" with a gemstone.
Although you could certainly use stickers or chipboard letters for these kinds of frames, I really like rub ons because of their seamless look. They end up looking like they were actually printed onto the mat, rather than added later. Most photo mats are made of smooth, heavy mat board, and rub ons generally go onto these mats with ease. No fighting like you sometimes have to do with a textured surface.
If you want to make an embellished photo frame, your best bet is to select a frame with a nice, wide mat. You can usually spot mats that are constructed of actual mat board, because they will "rise up" above the surface of the picture (you can see this in the close-up shot, above). Really cheap frames will sometimes have mats that are just made of heavy paper, and I would avoid these because they don't look as nice and the surface isn't as perfect for using rub ons. If you don't want to spend a fortune on your frame, both Michael's and Jo-Ann's carry tons of frames that are reasonably priced, and often on sale. You're sure to find a frame that will fit the occasion, and of course, you can find tons of suitable embellishments there, as well.