Now that the holidays are over and everyone has opened their gifts, I can belatedly show you what we gave the grandparents – my mom and his parents – for Christmas this year. I wanted to do a ‘baby’s first ornament’ for each baby, but couldn’t find anything that wasn’t silly when I was shopping. So I started haunting Pinterest, like you do. There were a lot of recipes for salt dough. But then – lo! A really cute idea, from a fellow twin mom: photo block ornaments!

ornament 2Here, roughly, is what I did: I bought two-inch wooden blocks from Michaels and painted their edges with some spare black paint I dug up from one of the drawers in my craft room (I have started a LOT of projects, is all I’m saying). I found a representatively cute picture of each baby and sized it to 2×2 in Photoshop (if you don’t have Photoshop, everything I did is do-able in other programs, I promise). Then I hunted down some cute backgrounds and Christmas-y fonts – this was probably the most fun part and I might have downloaded way more fonts than I needed – and made some more 2×2 squares, one with each baby’s name and the year, and one with just each child’s initial. Finally, I scanned in their wee baby footprints from the hospital and sized them to 2×2 as well.

I had everything printed through PostalPix, which was super easy. All the picture components for each set of blocks came in a 9×9 grid (I just left the center piece blank). I cut them apart and trimmed them a little to make them fit nicely. I also picked up some cute holiday-ish scrapbooking paper when I was at the craft store, so I cut out squares of that for the top and bottom of each block.

Next: la assemblage! The instructions on the blog post I read simply said to Mod Podge the pictures on, as though ‘to Mod Podge’ is simply a verb automatically installed in your lexicon when you become a stay-at-home-mom and you just know how to do it. I missed that Stepford session, obviously. What worked for me was to use a decent brush – anybody who tells you to use a foam brush is just trying to sell you foam brushes, and you should remove them from your life immediately and with fervent force. So, use a decent brush, and brush a thin layer of Mod Podge – I used the matte kind rather than the glossy kind and was happy with my decision – onto the wood block. Then another thin layer on the back of your paper. Then press them carefully together. If any comes out at the edges, dab gently with a rag or paper towel. But not toilet paper, because it leaves little tufts of toilet paper on your pretty ornament. Not that I would know.

To be honest, if I were doing it again, I would have just printed the photos and name squares myself on regular paper – as it turned out, the photo paper was so thick and non-absorbent that it didn’t stick all that well, whereas the scrapbook paper went on super easily.

Once everything had dried, I painted the whole thing with another layer of Mod Podge to act as a sealant. Obviously, do everything but one side in your first go, let it dry while sitting on the unsealed side, and then go back and do that final side.

ornament 1Last step: go to the hardware store and buy a couple of itty bitty eye hooks. Screw them into the middle of the top of the block (totally doable by hand, I promise), and then tie some pretty ribbon loops onto them and present them to your adoring family.