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Do you ever look at your collection of family vacation photos and wonder what you’re going to do with them all?

If you’re like me you take lots of pictures that don’t turn out.  Someone didn’t hear “cheese” or maybe they got cut off.  There’s always a kid with a goofy look on his face.  I also take far too many pictures that don’t “do justice” because I get caught up in the majesty of the setting and forget that my camera never will capture it all.  (You know the ones you gloss over in the book because they’re just scenery.) But then there’s the one where you capture something so good you just can’t help showing it off.

I was experimenting the other day and came up with something I really had fun with.  I found some landscape photos and flowers that were so rare and beautiful that I thought surely they must be stock photos.  But no, they were from past family vacations.  There just happened to be a few that turned out really nice.

I copied one into a word document for a background “mat” and then used the auto-shapes tool to create boxes and borders on it.  Then, I cropped some of the better parts of otherwise dull pictures of the kids and put them in.  I spent a couple of hours going through pictures, after that, trying out different backgrounds, color saturation, and croppings.

Software gurus will think my methods are primitive, but I used the resources I had and had some fun with them.  I ended up with some personal designs that are going to be eye-catchers on my wall or in the album.

Unfortunately, because I used photos in combination with a word document, I wasn’t able to upload them here.  I actually printed, then scanned them to get them to display, so they lost some quality in the translation.  But, I suppose my purpose is to share the idea and let you run with it!

I’m planning on putting some in frames and others would be cute as cards or simply as pages in the photo album.  My imagination is just getting started on this one!

New York Harbor Matt Background

New York Harbor Mat Background

Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Background

Cub Scout Pinewood Derby Mat Background

Thunder Mountain Mat Background

Thunder Mountain Mat
Violets Mat Background

Pansies Oval Mat

Butterfly Leaf Mat Background

Butterfly Leaf Mat

I attached actual leaves to this mat and love how it turned out.

I attached actual leaves to this mat and love how it turned out.