Each year we ask our mom the same question, "What do you want for Mother's Day / Christmas / your birthday?" And every time she has the same response, "Pictures!" For someone who loves giving and receiving gifts as much as our mama, this simple request always makes us smile. She literally just loves having new photos of her kids and family and being that we're the more technologically savvy generation (and generally the ones with tons of pictures), she turns to us to fulfill her photo dreams. You would think that given her love of having fresh photos we would nail each gift-giving occasion in spades...but you would be wrong. We're constantly brushing aside her wishes in favor of other things we think she would want or need. Usually she is surprised and delighted - but she still has no trouble reminding us, "You know I would have been perfectly happy with some photos, right?"
This year the two of us started thinking about Mother's Day early and we determined that this would be the holiday where we would finally give our mama what she really wants - photos. Of course, we could have just printed her a selection of favorite shots in a few glossy sizes for her to pop into the collection of frames she has at home...but we wanted to get a little more creative. Naturally, we turned to Shutterfly and their selection of photo-ready products for us to personalize. Once we got started choosing favorite pieces, it became clear that we needed to do more with the finished products. We realized what we designed worked perfectly for hosting a little Mother's Day breakfast for our mamasita!
If you’ve ever perused the available options on Shutterfly, you know there’s a lot to be had. The company is of course known very well for their prints, photo books, and selection of paper goods (cards and stationery, calendars, etc.) but the array of gifts, home decor pieces and entertaining must-haves makes it a really one-stop-shop when shopping for sentimental, personalized items. We got really inspired when investigating their Design Studio and it emboldened us to do more than just upload family shots…
That being said, we did start by choosing pieces that we wanted to use family photo on. Sipping coffee or tea in the morning is as much of a ritual for the two of us as it is for our mom. When the three of us are together – whether at home in Kansas City, on vacation, or in one of our houses in Dallas – it’s a cherished time to wake up and visit before we start our day. We wanted to get our mama a few of the photo mugs and loved the idea that she would think of us when using them. Shutterfly has some really cute mug designs you can choose from with multiple-photo layouts, words and sayings, etc. but we went with the classic single image design and opted for colored handles and insides with hues that complement whichever photo was on the mug.
After selecting the mugs, we wanted to see what other table top pieces were available and we really liked the look of Shutterfly’s melamine plates. Our mom is a collector of dishes but she’s recently re-vamped her backyard and has been dining and entertaining al fresco more often. We figured that having a set of dishes that are non-breakable and dishwasher safe would be a great addition to her entertaining arsenal! Though we loved the idea of putting a cropped picture of each family member’s face on every plate, we wanted to give her a set that would be suitable for non-family functions (family faces don’t always look best layered with food on top!) and different from anything she has. The two of us had the idea of making the plates look like calcutta marble. The mostly white coloring and organic variations would look sophisticated and elevate the whole casual dining experience. We found a large jpeg photo of marble via google, cropped random sections of it into squares and individually uploaded them for each plate. It was super easy and we’re obsessed with how they turned out.
Once we had mugs and plates, we figured a pretty serving tray was the next must-have for the celebratory breakfast we were envisioning. Shutterfly has some super cute options you can personalize – fun borders, initials, multiple-image designs – but we chose to do a single image tray without any overlaid text. We went back and forth on whether we should pick a photo of our family (there are some great ones from our brother’s wedding last summer) but in the end, we figured that something bright but without faces would be better. The image we uploaded was a shot by Leslee Mitchell of one of the flower displays from Sally’s wedding. Our mom put so much love, creativity, and time into Sally’s day – and we were all SO obsessed with how the flowers turned out – that it felt like a perfect shot to put on display. The best part about the trays is that they’re lucite and completely waterproof!
To complete our Shutterfly order, we wanted to create something that really did fulfill our mom’s simple request of receiving photo prints. So we uploaded another shot of flowers from Sally’s wedding (also taken by Leslee) and used it to make a personalized frame to hold a black and white photo print of the three of us from the wedding.
Waiting for our order to come in was like counting down the days till Christmas….and getting to see all the completed pieces was so rewarding. We’re obsessed with how everything turned out and so impressed with the quality. Although we are spoiling the surprise for our mama by sharing early what gifts she’ll be getting this Mother’s Day, we were too excited with how our vision came to life and how it really tells a personal story. We’ll definitely be turning to Shutterfly again and again for gifts (Father’s Day is just around the corner – June 18th!) that are as fun to make as they are to give!