For the 3rd year in a row, I participated in Desiree’s Twitter Secret Santa (TSS) event. This year, I had the pleasure of being the Secret Santa for one Mr. Christopher Kolk. I must have some pretty strong intuition because back at the end of July, I was perusing Etsy while Jay was away in Austin, TX and saw a picture frame that I thought would be perfect for him. I thought to myself, “How nice would it be to get Kolkie for TSS and get him this frame with a picture of him running his first half-marathon in it?” I saved it to my favorites and then pretty much forgot about it until names were assigned and I saw my 4-month-old premonition come to pass. I realized once I started thinking about it that there was a possible snag. That frame needs a landscape-style picture. I went online to MarathonFoto.com to look up photos from Kolkie’s first marathon to see if any of them would fit in it. Everything on there was portrait-style. “No worries,” I said to myself. “I’ll just order one of these and find a similar frame.”
It was then that I clicked on “Buy” and realized how ridiculously f*cking overpriced MarathonFoto.com is. If I wasn’t doing this as a gift and had no other photo options that fit with my vision, I would never have bought from there. The single digital download price is $30! I’m pretty sure they’re cheaper at Disney World. TSS has a rule that gifts must be within $5-25, so that was already over budget.
I must admit that I was a bit deflated. I looked around a little bit more and found the option for two printed 4×6 photos that was only $14.95. I could work with that. Then I had an idea. Since I was just beginning my new DIY phase, I decided that I was just going to make my own picture frame for much cheaper than anywhere else I could find it. And thus, a new craft project was born.
I was super excited to get started on this. I looked around Pinterest to see if there were any ideas that I could build off of and emailed a few links to myself [1, 2, 3], but never ended up referring back to them at all. I wasn’t entirely sure what my vision for the final product would be, but figured that I’d figure it out along the way. And figure it out I did. I found a great frame at none other than Marshalls for $3.99. I had wandered in there with the “just in case” attitude, but I was fairly certain that I’d end up getting the frame from Michael’s. From there, I checked in Wal-Mart to see if buying craft paint and a brush would be cheaper there than at Michael’s and found a big pack of thin brushes for $1.97 and picked out two different paint colors for$0.57. I was on a roll. I hit up Michael’s and decided to buy scrapbooking stickers to see if I could use them as little decals for decorations. I found a pack called “Marathon Runner” and picked it up. The woman at the register gave me a coupon for 30% off, which brought the cost down to under $3. So far, I doing well on the money front, with all my craft supplies and frame costing under $10. The picture itself brought my total up to $25, though it ended up being a little bit more once you factor the f*cking absurd price it was to ship .02 ounces of photo paper. A learning curve to note in the future: Pick a picture that you have access to print out yourself for $0.75, haha. The actual gift and materials, however, were right at $25.
So enough of the boring prose and onto the pictures. Here’s what I did.
My indulgent “Before” picture. I didn’t end up using that black paint, but bought it just in case I needed a third color.
I laid out all of the stickers first to see if I liked where they were placed and then painted the “13.1” onto the bottom of the frame.
After solidifying my sticker choices, I showed it to Jay. He thought that perhaps it needed something a little bit extra as far as text went. I told him that I was considering either a sticker I hadn’t used yet to go on the bottom of the frame or else writing the date in. I have shaky, undelicate hands, so I was worried that I’d mess up if I wrote anything else, but luckily, the date was “11.19.11” so all I really had to worry about was making straight lines and a nine. The funny thing about this picture is that Jay took it of me and I had absolutely no idea he was taking it until hours later.
There was one thing that I didn’t take into account when I bought the frame: whether or not it would stand up both portrait and landscape style. It only stood up portrait style! So here’s my confession that I feel bad about: I ended up going to TJ Maxx and buying a frame of the same brand and switching the backs out. It stands up a wee bit straighter than your average picture frame, BUT that’s because it’s symbolizing how much of a go-getter that Kolkie is! Plus, it can be hung on a wall if the over-erectness gets to be annoying. And there’s always the “lean it against a wall” option too, lol. That was another learning curve for me that I know for the future.
Here’s the finished product. Tadaaaaaa!