Category Archives: Do It Yourself

DIY –Turn Old (or New) Photos into Stationery

August 9, 2010

In this digital age, I have found I take hundreds of photos each year – all which end up stored on my hard drive never to see the light of day. Rather than let my memories remain zipped up in files on my computer, I have found a creative and economical way to not only put these photos to good use, but share my experiences with friends and family.

Each year I take my favorite ten photos and create personalized stationery as gifts for the special people in my life. It is a lot more simple than you think, and definitely cheaper than buying the same thing in the store. Not to mention, the store won’t carry photos of your trips, hikes and family get-togethers!

Turn your photos into personalized stationery with the following steps…

First, choose 6-10 of your favorite photos. I recommend an even number, as two photos easily fit on an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper.

Next, create a template for each note card in a Microsoft Word Document.

  1. Change the page setup to ‘landscape.’
  2. Insert two of your favorite photos from files into the document. Adjust the margins so that the images appear at the bottom of the page, side by side.
  3. These will serve as the cover of  your stationery.
  4. Complete this task for the rest of your photos.


When it comes to printing…

  1. If you decide to print from a home computer, I suggest using a semi-gloss cardstock with a matte backing. The glossy finish will really dress up your photos, and the matte backing will ensure you are able to write on the stationery.
  2. If you do not have the ability to print from home, I recommed saving a copy of each template on a USB flash drive or memory stick. Your local Kinkos or printing store will be able to make copies for you. In this case,  have them print one master copy of each template, and use this master to make copies on a color printer. This will save lots of time and money!!!

 Finally, once the prints have been made, all that is necessary is to cut the cards and fold them.

  1. Cut along the solid line to create two cards per page.
  2. Fold along the dotted line for a fold over stationery card.


My favorite part of creating stationery and postcards? Getting them back in the mail over the years! Good luck with your projects!

DIY bookshelves for under $20

July 8, 2010

We all love books, but creating a nice affordable storage space for them can be a challenge, especially with children in mind.  If you have young children you have probably discovered that they love to pull them off the shelf and look at the covers until they find the one they want, without putting them back!  Or maybe you would like to show off that First Editions Oz Book Collection of yours?  We all know a good looking quality bookshelf will cost you A LOT of money.  So I was curious to see what others have done in the DIY bookshelves world to solve this problem.

An Ironing Board Bookshelf

The $20 DIY Book Display – 4 Shelves:

“Fawn” over at has created an inexpensive and elegant book storage solution for her toddlers.  This face-out book shelf makes it easy for people to see the covers, and easier for children to put them back.  A quick trip to Home Depot, some gluing, nailing, and painting and voila! You have wall mounted book display shelves that look great for far less than buying them ready made.

Hanging Book Display – Under $30

Another great idea is the Hanging Book Display by Megan featured on  She has done a great job of listing all the time, materials, and money you will need for this DIY book display.  She estimates about 1-4 hours, depending on how handy you are with a sewing machine.

Floating Book Shelves – Under $20

These popular shelves cost less to make than you might think.  Not only do they look great, (they’re “floating” on the wall!) they are also simple to make.  This tutorial at The Family Handyman provides one of the more inexpensive bookshelves out there.  If you don’t have old hollow doors lying around, maybe your town has a re-use/renew building supply center, like The ReBuilding Center here in Portland? Otherwise, I’m sure you weren’t in need of that closet door anyway.

Another great variation is the Invisible Book Shelf – it’s literally a “floating” book, that’s a shelf, that holds other books.  How cool is that?  It provides a great optical illusion that will be sure to get attention and looks of unbridled confusion from your visitors.

All of these great how-to’s lay out all the steps and materials along with helpful pictures along the way.  Have fun with these DIY bookshelves and remember to wear your safety glasses!

And, if you decide to spend a bit more money, these foldable bookshelves are fantastic too:

Need Great Gift Ideas for Dad? DIY!!!

June 17, 2010

Every year I struggle with what to buy my dad for Father’s Day. He never wants or needs anything! I usually end up getting a gift certificate or some useless tool he will stow away in the unused toolbox I bought him the year before…that or underwear.  This year, instead of golf balls, socks or a tie, I have decided to give my Dad the gift of creativity, and save my pocketbook at the same time!

Because I work at a bookstore, I am always on the lookout for great ways to reuse old books. As is turns out, there are several ways to convert your old tomes, or that great bargain bookstore find into a homemade gift for Dad. Here are a few innovative ways I found to recycle your used books into memorable Father’s Day gifts:

1. Father’s Day Frames -

Take your dad’s favorite title, author or even genre and turn it into a picture frame in just a few easy steps. Several blogs have outlined detailed instructions and tips to convert your used books into easy gifts: Blog – DIY Book Frame

The Red Chair Blog- DIY Old Book Photo Frame

2. Father’s Day Journals –

Use your used books to create journals, and give your hardback another life at the same time. It’s easy; simply sandwich blank pages between interesting covers and rebind (sometimes it is even fun to leave in some of the original text.)

If your Dad is a big golfer, or a fishing fan, you could create a journal to keep track of those great shots or unbelievable catches! Likewise, you could create a themed journal to log those beers or wines he loves, or even to note his favorite movies or books. There are even sites to make planners!

Here are a few blogs which outline step-by-step journal creation:

HGTV.CA – Journal from old book covers

Just Something I Made – Vintage Book Planner Tutorial

Book Journals

Good luck with your projects and Happy Father’s Day!