Birthday Traditions #2 – Year-End Photo Collage


I LOVE pictures!  It is in my DNA.  My Grandpa always had his camera ready to go.  He snapped pictures at every event – big or small.  He would then print his picture in triplicate – at Costco!  He would put his favorites in labeled albums and sort the rest, divide into envelopes and mail out to family and friends.  Even with the ubiquitous smart phone cameras – I always bring some sort of “real” camera to big and small events.  Every year, in preparation for one of my three boys birthdays I make a collage of a favorite picture from each month of the past year.

For my first son (#1) I didn’t even think of doing the collage as a photoshop document, even though I had been digital scrapbooking for a year.  I printed out 1 favorite picture from each month and taped them to a huge piece of oaktag with labels indicating each month and that it was his 1st birthday.  A couple of years later I realized that digital was the way to go.  I could still achieve the same results with less cutting and pasting!

I use a blank 11X14 file in photoshop.  I then look through my pictures month by month (I organize my pictures on my computer in folders by year and then divided by month) and pick a favorite from each month.  I start in the upper left corner with the month of their birthday.  I usually include a picture from their last years birthday party.  I resize the picture to fit into a grid pattern.  In the bottom corner I put a text box that has the month.  I move around the rectangle counter clockwise moving through the year.  In the middle I put a bigger text box that says “Happy X Birthday XXX.”

My local Walgreens now prints enlargements in the same day!  I print it out – pop it in a frame and display it in the house.  The most fun part – is pulling out past years collages and displaying them next to the new one.  I usually put at all the collages, new and old, one week before the actual birthday.  I then put them away the week after the actual birthday.  It is so fun to relive all the wonderful moments over the last couple of years.  They would not be as special if we kept up the collages year round.  The boys expect a collage and they get excited by it – which makes the work worth it!

I would be happy to help anyone who would want to try to do a digital collage.  Just get in touch!

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Crafty Tuesday – Pool Noodle Lightsabers


With a busy life it is hard to find time to get the supplies and motivation for crafts.  I try to gather a bunch of ideas on pinterest and then buy or gather any supplies we would need.  If I already have the idea and supplies – a last minute craft idea becomes easy and fun for all.

My boys love star wars (who doesn’t?) and play fighting.  I came across a lot of ideas for pool noodle lightsabers and we adapted it to fit our supplies and our preferences.


1 pool noodle for every two lightsabers

Silver duct tape

Black duct tape

Serrated knife



Use knife to saw each pool noodle in half.  Have your kids decide if they want a traditional lightsaber or a double-sided one.  If they want a traditional use the black and silver duct tape to make any kind of pattern you want on the edge of one of the ends.  It can be one or two strips or more.  As you can see from the pictures, each one of the lightsabers we made are different.  If they want a double-sided lightsaber you put the duct tape in the middle of the noodle instead of the end.

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The great thing about these lightsabers is they make a cool sound when they hit another lightsaber – but they are safe to play with.  My kids have the plastic ones you can buy in a store – but they can really hurt if you “accidentally” hit someone with it.  DSC03289

NaBloPoMo November 2014