Stories about sharing memories at home

A Mother’s Day Memento: Do-It-Yourself Photo Pendant

Mother’s Day is coming up fast (May 10) and you are no doubt bombarded with gift ideas from all of your favorite sites and shopping apps – from scarves and jewelry, to spa time and mimosas, to the latest gadgets and gizmos.  If you haven’t bought something for mom yet, skip the store-bought gift and show her how much you care with a creative DIY keepsake

Fabulous Photo Glass Pendants

You don’t need to be an artisan to make a photo pendant, you just need a few supplies (glass tiles, jewelry bails, Diamond Glaze, twine or chain, and a printer) and a little inspiration.  I get a lot of my inspiration and ideas from Pinterest, however you can personalize your pendant in so many ways – including the shape of the tile, the color and style of the photo or artwork, and the type of chain you add to the pendant. I used photos of my boys to create pendant necklaces for my mom and mother-in-law as Mother’s Day gift this year.


Once you select your glass pendant style (I went with a square), it’s just a few easy steps:

Grid Shot_Photo Necklace

  1. Select the photo or artwork you’d like to use – photos of grandchildren, pattern with text, or a restored photo from the past – and resize the image to approximate size of glass tile. When you’re ready, print the image.
  2. Lay your glass tile over the print and cut with a craft knife to the edges of the tile.
  3. Apply diamond glaze over the entire flat portion of the glass pendant.  Once your pendant is covered, place it on top of the printed design and let dry for an hour.
  4. Use craft scissors to carefully trim away any excess paper.  After you have your paper shaped to the tile, place another coat of the diamond glaze on the back of the pendant and let dry for an hour.
  5. Place a small spot of an industrial adhesive, like E6000, onto the bail, and then attach to the pendant in the top middle of the tile. Allow to dry for another 30 minutes.


Once the jewelry bail has dried, you can attach a chain, ribbon, twine, or leather cord to personalize your pendant and you’ve created a DIY memento for mom to wear for just about any occasion.

Model_Photo Necklace

A Helping Heart

Valentine CardThis past Valentine’s Day, the play room at the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Center at NYU Langone’s Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital was filled with hearts – and not just those belonging to the patients. The pediatric outpatient facility that treats children with cancer and blood disorders received a special visit from celebrations expert Darcy Miller, editorial director of Martha Stewart Weddings.

“I have been involved with the center at NYU Langone for 16 years. I found out about the center through a friend, and once I saw the incredible doctors, nurses, and staff in action, I knew it was a place where I always wanted to volunteer,” said Miller. “I like to visit the Hassenfeld Center and do special art projects, especially around the holidays.”

This past Valentine’s Day, the project invited children receiving treatment at the hospital to create personalized cards. Each child created an “I heart ___” sign that they filled in with the name of a special someone impacting their lives. Miller snapped a photo of each patient holding up a sign and printed the photo using an Epson Expression Small-in-One. To finish each Valentine’s message, the photo was pasted into a frame illustrated by Miller.

“We were able to immediately print out pictures that we took – the kids loved seeing their projects come to life,” Miller commented. “The personalized cards became priceless gifts for the doctors, teachers, parents, and friends that received the valentines.”

Photo with Supplies

The day touched the hearts of everyone involved at the Stephen D. Hassenfeld Center, including (and most importantly) the patients and their families.

“Seeing the children engaged in the project, showing their love to others around them was inspiring. Their smiles, as they showed off their projects, were the most rewarding part of the day,” said Miller.

Learn more about Darcy Miller and her projects by following her on Instagram (

Learn more about Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone Medical Center, and what you can do to help. Also, visit NYU Langone Medical Center on its social media channels: Instagram (, Facebook (, Twitter (, and YouTube (


Photo courtesy of Darcy Miller




From the Heart: DIY Photo Valentines

The 14th day of the second month of the year can be senselessly saturated with stress. But that day in February when pink and red refract across every metropolis doesn’t have to result in skyrocketing blood pressure.  With twin boys in kindergarten, my goal is to create imaginative classroom cards on a budget in minutes.

Forget cliché conversation hearts – these adorable DIY greetings require little more than a printer, scissors and a paper punch to give tots a treat that will last beyond Feb. 14. Following are some creative ideas for sharing the love, inspired by Housewife Eclectic and created by my DIY friend Merritt.

“You make me glow” Valentine:


Card 1

“You’re a gem” Valentine: 

 Card 2


DIY Valentine Supplies: Computer or laptop, 8.5” x11” photo paper, photo printer, scissors, paper punch, and candy/gifts for cards

Step 1: Take photos and save to your laptop or computer. Consider taking a few different versions to provide a variety of Valentine cards for the class.

Step 2: Insert photos into a Word document and add text and colors to personalize. Try adding color borders, shapes, color filters, and positioning the text in different areas depending on the photos you take.

Step 3: For the Valentine cards featured here, a horizontal design worked nice and provided surface area to add a small gift that matched the text, e.g. a ring pop or glow stick. It also allows you to print several cards per page. 

 Capture 2_VDay

Step 4:  Print design on desired paper. The Valentine cards featured here were printed on Epson Premium Glossy paper, however a Matte paper works nicely too.

Step 5: Cut cards and add gifts with tape or a paper punch pending the size and shape.

Beyond the classroom, if you’re searching for bejeweled gifts, chocolate or a photo keepsake to give your sweetie, have some fun with personalized wrapping. Our creative team just updated the Epson DIY wrapping Paper Generator to offer a range of romantic images to choose from. Dress up your jewelry box and small gifts with these easy steps.

I’d love to see your crafty creations for heart day in the comments below.

Epson DIY Wrapping Paper Generator

Epson Wrapping GeneratorThis year, take the fuss out of holiday gift-giving. Whether you’re making handmade goodies and crafts or braving the crowds at the mall to find that perfect something for everyone on your list – wrap it up with a personal touch and bring a smile to the faces of family and friends.  Personalized wrapping makes any gift extra special, and we’ve got you covered, literally.  Our creative team developed a customizable wrapping generator that makes it even easier to wrap with your own personal style.

The Epson DIY Wrapping Paper Generator offers a range of holiday images to choose from and you can add extra personal touches with customizable font, colors and backgrounds to download for printing and wrapping.  With the help of your printer, a computer and a few other ingredients, dress up your smaller presents with these easy steps:

STEP 1: Gather the supplies (see list provided).

Wrapping Ingredients  
  • Home photo printer like the Epson Expression Premium XP-820
  • 5” x11” paper or larger if you own a 13-inch or 22-inch wide printer
  • Computer or laptop
  • Holiday shopping list of names
  • Tape and scissors
  • Ribbon, tassels, yarn or small ornaments to embellish

STEP 2: Click on the Epson DIY Wrapping Paper Generator link (  Once the window is launched you can easily enter text and design your wrapping paper by selecting the font type and color and your desired background.  Note: You can click “preview” to generate a view of your design prior to printing. 

STEP 3: When you’re happy with your design, click “print” to access the print window. Make sure to enable “background graphics” according to the instructions listed on the generator for the browser you’re using.

Step 4: Load your printer with paper and click “print.” An everyday paper like Epson Bright White paper works well for photo quality and pliability for wrapping; however you can use general purpose plain paper as well.  For larger packages, you can print several copies of the paper and tape sheets together to make one larger sheet.

STEP 5: Wrap the gift item and embellish with ribbon, labels and other fun accents.

Once you’ve created your paper and wrapped your holiday gift, I like to add a little extra whimsy with photos and other embellishments.  Some of my favorite gift tag templates include: mitten tags, custom gift tags and personalized photo tags.  Ribbons with different textures and colors or natural objects like burlap rolls and feathers are also fun. Get the whole family involved and enlist the help of the kids to gather objects and come up with ideas for friends and family members.

Now, that’s a Wrap.

Some of My Favorite Photo Projects

Nothing brings a smile to the face of family and friends than a good photo. Unfortunately, despite my attempts to print and share the more print-worthy snapshots, I have plenty of great photos that don’t make it into a frame, on a wall or in a post on Facebook or Instagram.

However, many of these photos can be turned into handmade crafts that not only make a unique gift, but also provide a photo memento for grandparents and extended family to enjoy in their homes as functional décor. Whether you’re looking for a gift idea for an upcoming birthday, holiday gift exchange, Mother’s Day, or Father’s Day, following are some of my favorite photo projects.


Coasters are a simple, inexpensive way to add personality to a coffee table or nightstand. Add photos to the mix – a series of portraits of the grandkids, the family dog over the years, or images of dad’s car collection – and your standard coaster turns into a conversation starter for parties and events or “photos for your table” as my son, Jaiden, calls them. You can create a set that features a collection of photos or individual tiles of a larger image to create a photo mosaic when displayed on a tabletop. I made a gift set for my brother’s upcoming birthday, featuring photos of him and his 1 year-old son, Vihaan. (Shhh…it’s a surprise) So easy. All you need are a few simple supplies available at your local craft store and a home photo printer. Easy, step-by-step instructions are available at


I’m always amazed at the collection of photos, cards and other items that adorn refrigerators and magnetic whiteboards in people’s homes. These creative spaces in today’s homes can say a lot about a family’s personality, organization and outside interests. Photo magnets are a fun way to share photos with family and friends and a surefire way to make sure your pics end up on loved ones doors and walls for family to enjoy. recently featured a how-to for creating personalized photo tins that can also service as magnets. The example featured here is courtesy of my fellow DIYer Merritt and her daughter Sadie. 

DIY Bridal Shower Decor

Advice 2

We’ve all been called upon to host or co-host a bridal shower–it’s somewhat a rite of passage as a friend or family member. While the effort comes with great honor, it also involves a great deal of coordination and planning to incorporate elements that make the event meaningful for the guest of honor–from the theme and venue, to the food, décor and activities. However, it’s the little details that make the strongest impression on the bride-to-be and your guests.

A co-worker recently threw a shower for her sister and the photos inspired me to share her crafty ventures in the hopes it will help fellow DIYers and future shower hosts with their planning.

Q: Tell me a little about the bride-to-be’s style.Bingo 1

The term rustic chic can conjure up a range of thoughts in one’s mind–organic, countryside, vintage with a touch of whimsy. For the bride-to-be, it means comfortable, natural and organic with a tiny bit of girly mixed in for fun. For example, her dress was simple but elegant with a vintage lace bodice and A-line skirt. She added her touch of whimsy by adding rhinestones for some extra sparkle. 

Q: What was the inspiration behind the shower theme and decor?

 My goal for the shower was to mirror her style and keep things simple but elegant with a little bit of girly fun mixed in for good measure. The colors for her wedding were orange and gray and the reception was going to be outdoors, so I thought it would perfect to “marry” that with an outdoor shower as well. I used classic white linens and mason jars for the rustic and added in splashes of gray and orange with ribbons, flowers and Chinese lanterns. And, a simple orange heart used throughout décor elements was the little bit of whimsy.  

Q: What other décor elements helped bring the theme together?

In addition to a customized sign for the bride that was the focal point of the party, I wanted to incorporate a few activities that carried the theme and gave guests something to do while the bride-to-be opened gifts.

 The “Gift Opening Bingo” was a big hit among guests and was really easy to create. I simply used coordinating font from the banner and inserted a table in Word and switched gifts around in the table to create a range of Bingo cards for guests.   We also created an advice jar created with a Mason jar, ribbon and chalk label to invite guests to offer the bride-to-be some “spicy” words of wisdom. 

Q: How can readers create a personalized banner?     

I created the banner for the shower in Word using the following steps:

  1. Choose the font you want to use – I used Orniste.
  2. Put a letter on each 8.5” x 11” page
  3. Include a colored heart or another symbol for middle of banner
  4. Print, cut and paste on paper of your choosing – a matte paper works well for durability
  5. Punch holes, string with ribbon and hang

I hope the rustic-chic crafts featured in this shower how-to offer some inspiration for the next event you host and I’d love to hear the ideas behind your little details.

Banner 3

Unleash Your Inner Pumpkin

Pumpkin Carving

Fall is upon us and it happens to be one of my favorite times of the year. The colors of foliage, fields of pumpkins, a splendor of frightful decorations, and let’s not forget the deliciously sweet, pumpkin-flavored treats.

Beyond the pumpkin-induced pallet frenzy, the season can inspire a range of crafts for adults and kids alike, whether it’s décor for the front door, treats for the classroom or a personal touch for your fall party with friends. We’ve put together some ideas and helpful links to help you get your pumpkin on this year.

Pumpkin Carving 101

In our house we take pumpkin carving pretty seriously. I love how pumpkin carving has evolved to a form of artistic expression that can include far more than your standard carving knife. With templates, craft paint and other seasonal accessories like fun-shaped squash, you can create some amazing Jack-O-Lanterns to lead the way for cutely cloaked trick-or-treaters. The team here at Epson created a template with dinosaurs in mind for my twin boys that you can download and print for your carving or stenciling endeavors.

Trick or Treat Fall Totes

Costume?  Check.   Trick-or-Treat route?  Check.

What about something to carry the treats the little goblins (otherwise known as children) collect along the way? Consider turning a standard canvas bag into a candy receptacle that can be used for the rest of the fall season for shopping or other hauling needs. A scan of your child’s artwork, simple text or a coordinating image to enhance this year’s costume are all great places to start. From there all you need is an iron, iron-on transfer paper and a photo printer to create a reusable tote.

Personalized Pumpkin Treats

Whether you’re hosting a fall feast or helping out for this year’s Halloween celebration in the classroom, personalized wrappers, toppers and labels are easy to create and print at home.  I’ve tagged several of my favorite ideas that I’ve seen this year – from pumpkin-tines and Boo Bars to photo booth frames and printable Halloween decor – to help you celebrate the season.

And if you want to carve your own dinosaur feet, click on the image below and download the template.

Dino Tracks Carving Pattern

Scan to Facebook How-To

Social media and the cloud have had a dramatic impact on the way we interact with others – whether on a personal or professional level. As a working mother of twin boys, I use social media and the cloud to organize my digital files and keep my family and friends updated on the boys’ endeavors and entertaining mischief.  And, like most busy moms, I love to learn about new ways to save time and integrate a new digital tool into my daily routine.

Epson recently added a new capability to its Expression Small-in-One home printers – an easy way to scan-to-Facebook and the cloud.  The new feature allows you to scan, edit and share photos, along with other fun projects, directly to Facebook or other popular cloud services all in one single workflow. While there are countless scenarios where instant photo and project sharing can come in handy, I’ve outlined a few ideas in the hopes it will inspire other ideas for minimizing clutter, getting organized and sharing more with friends and family:

  1. Digitize Your Shoebox of Photos – I’ve found that digitizing my older photos allows me to prepare for family events and my future craft projects, like restoring and printing photos for the next family reunion. With the average household containing nearly 3,000 photos stored in bins, memory albums, and old photo sleeves, scanning directly to Facebook or the cloud is an easy way to turn several years of photos into content that friends and family can enjoy.  
  1. Easy #TBT – Posting a nostalgia-inducing photo from a different era is one of my favorite ways to connect on Facebook. I love sharing old photos of familyand reminiscing with friends about the memories they bring to mind, especially for #throwbackthursday. The new Scan-to-Facebook feature makes scanning and sharing those oldies but goodies easier than ever. 
  1. DIY Kids’ Art and School Work –  In a recent a blog entry, “Scanning into summer: Tips for Sharing and Organizing Children’s Artwork,” I looked at several project ideas for digitizing and saving school artwork. With Scan-to-Facebook, you can share projects with other moms, families and friends or share special projects in new ways. For grandma’s next birthday or Dad’s Day, scan your child’s handmade card to share on Facebook and then store in the cloud to make the projects accessible on your smartphone or tablet when you’re traveling or visiting with family.  

The pictures below offer a quick how-to for scanning and sharing with friends and family on Facebook using Epson’s Easy Photo Scan Software.

Step 1:  Place the photo or project you’d like to share on the printer’s scanner bed.

Step 2:  Open Easy Photo Scan Software and click Scan to launch; click Preview to scan the image; review and click Scan Scan to Facebook_Image 1


Step 3:  When finished, click Close to close the window and open the original scan window.  If desired, you can enhance the image, including cropping, black and white and red eye correction.


Scan to Facebook_Image 3


Step 4:  When ready, click the Facebook icon in the destination tab, followed by Login in the pop-up window.


Scan to Facebook_Image 4

Step 5:  After you’ve successfully logged into Facebook, click Send in the pop-up window; your scanned photo or project will upload to your Facebook profile page.  Viola!


Scan to Facebook_Image_5_blurred


Pretty in Pink

press tour8Anyone with daughters under the age of 10 will absolutely know two things: One, the entire soundtrack to Frozen; and two, that their birthday parties are pink and about princesses.

Being the mother of twin six-year-old boys, I’ve escaped these frilly realities of life, but that doesn’t stop me admiring the photos of parties other mothers have thrown for daughters. And while I just admire, other mothers are scouring Pinterest and other sites with serious intent, desperate for ideas for the next party. Yet some parents are realizing that a solution is closer than they think. In fact, it’s sitting on their home office desk.

“Kids’ birthday parties are expensive, and can be stressful. I used to spend $200 or more on invitations alone!” explains my colleague Stacey, mother of two girls. “My five- and three-year-olds are always changing their minds on the design—and the quantity needed.”

Luckily, Stacey realized that her Epson Expression XP-810 could solve many of her problems by setting up a print shop in her house. “Nowadays I just order printable templates from and print invitations, banners, tent cards and other décor directly from my printer,” Stacey says.

Using your home printer also makes personalizing the party decorations and favors that much easier, and cost-effective, to boot. “I’ve always loved personalized items for my daughter, and when her 6th birthday was coming up, we decided to make these cute, personalized party favor bags. She loves her name, pink and being a princess, so the design was easy,” says Diane, mother of my son’s classmate, “Princess Ione”. “They are very easy to make—perfect for busy, working moms.”

ione6Diane chose clear plastic poly bags she found at the party store, which look fancier than sandwich bags, and printed the toppers they designed on card stock. “It was so easy, my daughter did most of the work! We just filled the bags with candy, folded the topper over the bag opening and fastened it with a few staples,” says Diane. “We were both very proud of how they came out.”

Looking at sites like, it’s easy to figure out how to use a home printer to cut costs while still making a birthday party unique, whether it’s for a son or a daughter. With even less effort, customized stickers can be applied to bags from the party store, with the birthday child’s name on them, or personalized for each guest.

And since many of these ideas can be used for both boys and girls, it looks like it’s time for me to move from just being inspired by the photos and actually making some. At least I still have the advantage of twins—it means I only have to host one party for both boys!

Scanning into Summer: Tips for Sharing and Organizing Children’s Artwork

Jaiden Gallery_FinalAs parents, we have the propensity to think that our child is likely to be the next Picasso or Matisse. While my children’s artwork may or may not adorn the walls of museums and galleries across the globe some day, currently it resides in heaping piles throughout my kitchen & dining room.  While I enjoy the memories that a project represents, it’s always a struggle to sort through them and choose the special pieces to share and display.

Now that school is out I wanted to look at what other parents and crafters have done with their kids’ art.  The following is a roundup of my favorite ideas for digitizing and saving school artwork, with the help of a scanner and printer:

  1. A Framed Collage:  It’s extremely hard for me to pick just one piece of school art to frame, which is why I love this idea by blogger Ms. Moth at Moth Design. By scanning and shrinking all of your favorite art projects that you’ve collected over the year, you can fit them into one large framed display.  After scanning a selection of projects you can arrange them digitally in the desired framing size and print one single glossy or semi-glossy page.  You can also have some fun with the frame color and style you use to color coordinate with rooms and other décor items in your home.
  1. The Noteworthy:  Seeing your child’s reaction to their work printed on mini photo cards is worth the work. Identify some of the more colorful pieces from your child’s collection of projects and consider scanning and printing them onto photo quality ink jet cards to turn them into personalized greeting cards for family and friends.  You can also have the kids help embellish the note cards by adding glitter, ribbon, tags or other fun items.
  1. It’s in the Bag: Need a reusable shopping bag?  Personalize your tote by printing your favorite scanned graphics directly onto iron-on transfer paper (Hint: choose the “Flip Horizontal” option on your print settings for a mirror image).  After printing the image, simply cut the graphics, leaving 1/4” of white space around the image and iron onto your bag.
  1. Digitizing Your Favorites: Epson’s blogger Jennifer St. James recently sat down with Sara Caputo, founder of Radiant Organizing + Productivity, to look at ways to digitally organize your content. The blog post looks at Evernote – a cloud-based service that allows you to collect, organize and access information when you need it. There are some tips for capturing photos and scans and uploading to Evernote that help you ensure artwork projects are conveniently accessible on your smartphone or tablet when you’re traveling or visiting with friends and family.

I’ll revisit this in a future post to dive in deeper on scanning and organizing, but in the meantime,  would love to hear from you on some of the interesting ways you’ve shared and organized your kid’s artwork.