Easy DIY Mother’s Day Gift

We know it’s only April 1st, which seems a bit early to be talking already talking about Mother’s Day BUT as far as we’re concerned, it’s never too early to start planning a day to honor our AMAZING moms.

When the Michaels team told us that April’s challenge was to share a Mother’s Day gift idea, we were extra excited to get to work and start thinking of a little something to show the two most amazing women in our lives how lucky we are to have them! We immediately got together and started chatting about what makes each of our moms the most happy in order to create a gift that was personal to each of them. As we chatted about each of our moms, we kept coming back to one thing that both of these ladies love the most in lives…. their families.

jan-baby-harry-meme-arizonaChestnut ClubYou see…we have these amazing, selfless, beautiful, hardworking, compassionate, smart, and positive role models who are the happiest when each of their families are happy. There is nothing these two women love more than spending quality time with their kids (and now grandkid for Janimal!). We are two very lucky girls to have such amazing role models in our lives and women who have shown us the importance of family. They have instilled in us the value of a family, which we both now cherish and hope to pass onto our own families someday.

casey-mike-wedding-jan-family-memeO'Connor Chestnut ClubIt’s this same value that drove our idea for this year’s Mother’s Day DIY gift idea — a DIY snapshot that highlights the special people in each of our moms’ lives…. showing how HAPPY they are because of them.

Personalized Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

We love this personalized Mother's day gift idea for grandma.

We love this personalized mother's day gift idea for the mom in your life.

If you have an amazing mom, grandma, aunt, or super special woman in your life who is happiest seeing those around her happy, today’s gift idea may be perfect for her too! And just like we did for our organizing post, we each did a slightly different take on the same idea to show you guys that this gift idea can be adjusted to fit your favorite lady and the people who are most important to her.

A Gift for Grama

As you guys know, we have a new grandchild in the family. In fact, he is the ONLY grandchild in the family. And my mom couldn’t be any happier to don the new title of “Grama.” jan-baby-harry-colorado

In order to celebrate her first Mother’s Day as a Grandmother, I wanted to include this little munchkin in her present.

Baby-Harry-Chalkboard-GiftOn our recent trip to AZ, I borrowed my little godson for a photo shoot at my grandma’s house. When my siblings & I did a similar gift a few years ago, I painted a bunch of letters onto poster board. This time, I decided I could just add text later on the computer (way easier!). So I wanted 2 options that little Harry could hold for the photo shoot. I stopped by the local Michaels and picked up an 8×10 canvas as well as a chalkboard.Baby-Harry-Gift-2

Then we went outside around sunset and did a 15-minute photo shoot. We went back and forth about his outfit. Pajamas? Cute little summer clothing? In the end, we kept it simple! A plain little diaper. Adorable & classic!

Then we simply handed him the canvas and his parents jumped up & down behind me to get him to look & smile. I snapped and snapped away as our little “model” stole our hearts.


At first, we tried it on a blank backdrop (the garage.) But ultimately, we decided that green grass looked better. Baby-Harry-Michaels-Canvas

I snapped about a hundred photos in less than 15 minutes, and then we went to the computer and chose 5 of our favorites. Here’s what we came up with…

IMG_8082 (1)IMG_8071IMG_8059 (1)IMG_8054 (1)IMG_8075 (1)

The canvas ended up being easiest for the little guy to hold, so we went with that. But the chalkboard was cute for some alone pictures. You can even write text in that for another unique photo op idea.

Once our favorites were edited, I simply used Picasa (you can download it for free) and added text onto the white canvas board. You can also use PicMonkey to edit your photos. I suggest going with a bold & black font on there so you can read it well when you print the pictures.

Speaking of which, once we had our favorites with text, I sent them to Walgreens and printed out (5) 4×6’s. Then, I headed to Michaels to have a custom frame made for my mom, with the pictures in tow. I chose the size, frame, and mat and worked with the hardworking gal in the framing department to finalize all the little details.

jan-grama-mothers-day-gift2 weeks later, and my custom frame was done and ready for Janimal. Pretty adorable, right?

A Gift for Mom

If Pat had a grandchild running around, I would have TOTALLY done the same exact thing as Casey (I mean how adorable is baby Harry?!). But since Pat’s first grandchild isn’t due until July (!!!), we had to go with Plan B… for now. For those of you who have moms who aren’t grandmas, you can probably relate to our family’s take on this same concept.

mothers_day_photo_gift_oconnor_family-004We definitely could have taken individual photos (like Casey’s) but to show some variety here on the blog, I decided a group shot could be just as fun. I wrangled up the crew last weekend right after we attended Easter morning’s sunrise mass, which explains why we’re bundled up on the beach so early in the morning. After mass, we walked over to the skyline and did a (super quick) photo shoot with our foam boards. (Instead of canvas, I bought large white foam boards from Michaels and cut them each in half). <— Rookie Tip: this is a cheaper option for a large group

mothers_day_photo_gift_oconnor_family-005The “word” you spell out can literally be anything that is special to your family or your mom. We toyed with a few ideas but ended up spelling out “OCON8”.


Long story short, a lot of people call us the “O’Cons”, which is short for our last name O’Connor. Growing up we would joke that we were the “OCON 5” and families would actually address some of our mail or Christmas cards to the O’Con 5.

Well…. fast forward a few years, two weddings and a new pregnancy and the original OCON 5 is more like OCON 8 (original 5 + 2 son-in-laws + a baby on the way). We thought OCON8 was a fun yet meaningful message that not only highlights my mom’s love of her “O’Con” family but also gives a nod to her becoming a Grandma in a few very short months! Crazy how time flies, isn’t it?!

mothers_day_photo_gift_oconnor_family-007mothers_day_photo_gift_oconnor_family-004Once we all decided on the best photo option (so many fun ones to choose from!!), I added the letters on Picasa and got our photo developed (size: 11×14). Then I headed straight to Michaels to pick out the perfect frame for our mom.easy_diy_mothers_day_gift_mom_familyWe presented my mom with the (early) Mother’s Day gift and she was literally in LOVE with it. In true mom style, she didn’t waste any time hanging it up in her house. I’m happy she loves it just as much as we thought she would and am excited to keep this frame updated over the years as we (potentially) add more members to the original OCON5!family_oconnor_diy_gift_idea

We hope you loved these personalized Mother’s Day gift ideas as much as we do! You don’t need to spend a ton of money to show the lady in your life how much you care!Personalized Mother's Day gift idea of wall art for grandma or mom


The Year of Casey

Hey there!

I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m a Chicago gal teaching you how to design, DIY, and maintain your home…by yourself! Learn more about me right here.

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