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Jan 312013
 January 31, 2013  Posted by  At Home, Crafts, Entertainment, Family, Valentine's Day

Between digital cameras, cellphones and an influx of school portraits, most of us have tons of great photos. And where are they? Stuck in a drawer or, more likely, in a computer file. If you have these great shots, you should use them. Print them out and make some simple, inexpensive Valentine’s Day presents.

The simplest thing to do is to print out the photos and put them in a frame. Find a picture of something fun that your family or your beloved did over the summer or holidays and make a print. Because photo paper and printer ink are expensive, I usually upload my photos for printing at my local Walgreens. Prints start at 39 cents each there, before any coupons or promotions. Other drugstores and discount chains have similar pricing. The photos have to be in .jpg format; if your camera uses a different format, you can convert it using photo software. I’m fond of Picasa, which is free and easy to use.

Whenever I see a nice frame at a thrift store or garage sale, I snap it up. I like to have some on hand for future presents.

Framing isn’t your only option. Go to your refrigerator and pull off an advertising magnet. Do you really still need the 2012 Chicago Bears schedule, courtesy of your local real estate agent? No, you do not. Get some glue, paste a fun family picture over it, and cut it out. Viola! A new, personalized magnet. If you’re good with scissors, you can make shapes and puzzles for even more fridge fun. Maybe a heart for Valentine’s Day?If you don’t have any really fun pictures, cut out the face from an existing photo and paste it over the face of an athlete or celebrity. This photo has my son’s face on Bulls point guard Kirk Hinrich’s body. To diminish the lines, I took a photo of the photo, then converted it to black and white and cropped it in PicasaIf you have a ton of wallet-size school photos, take them to a copy shop for lamination. You can make a simple bookmark that a grandparent would love to have.If you’re really crafty, Disney’s Spoonful has some more elaborate, and lovely, craft ideas using photos.

Annie Logue

Annie Logue has lived in Chicago for the better part of 30 years now. She loves to travel and find new things, whether around the globe or around the corner. She’s also long been fascinated with money; she teaches finance at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the author of four books in Wiley’s . . .For Dummies series including Hedge Funds for Dummies, Day Trading for Dummies, Socially Responsible Investing for Dummies, and Emerging Markets for Dummies. She lives with her husband and son on the north side of Chicago, where she operates Chicago on the Cheap.

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