Turn your Instagram into pillows and wall art

Personalize Mementos. Please #UseFilters

We’re in the heyday of beautiful Instagram and Facebook feeds. But, why not kick it old school? I remember the days of polaroid and instant cameras. The anticipation as I waited for the film processing was like a cliffhanger in a Breaking Bad episode. Many times I was disappointed with badly lit faces, irreversible red eye, and blurry images. Wasted film for a few great photos.

Nowadays, you can do so much on your phone (hello Portrait mode!), or invest in a DSLR camera. Anyone can turn mundane shots into works of art. While I’ve taken my fair share of bad pics, I’ve learned a thing or two from my talented photographer mother.

Old School Meets New School

While Instagram and Facebook are great ways to share to our inner circle (and to the world), the photographic mementos are no longer captured in the physical sense. Everything is digital. Where are the archival albums with the clear sheet protectors? Where is the shoebox of polaroids stacked up neatly, or thrown in a mangled heap? Where is the silver locket on a chain containing a charming B&W portrait?

With all the filter wizardry you can find with a myriad of apps like Instagram, VSCO, Snapseed and Lightroom, any image can be manipulated. So, I’ve got some recommendations of how to turn pics into old school mementos.

The Age of Pet (+Human) Pillows

With all the famous Instagram pets, we know how important pets are in the universe. Pet parents, fur moms and dads, whichever moniker you choose, they exist — legions of them.

Startups have realized that the ubiquity of social media can be turned into prized mementos. Ottawa-based CanvasPop is not another canvas / wall art company. They make it easy for anyone to turn photos into works of art, mementos and keepsakes.

Photo pillows are becoming a popular medium for pet parents. It’s one of the most popular use cases for pillow-making. I found the CanvasPop experience easy to use, and I picked a couple pics of my adorable niece and turned them into cushions in under a few minutes.

My cushions ended up in the happy arms of her great grandma and was a major hit during a recent family reunion.  I was happy to see that CanvasPop enjoyed it as well, and shared on their feed. Social Media > Photo Art > Social Media. A virtuous circle.

Prynt the new polaroid camera?

You can still buy a polaroid camera, and shake it like a polaroid picture.” But, since many of us just carry a smartphone in our pocket (or purse), it seems like an extra thing to tote. Enter Prynt, the accessory (case) that you can attach to your iPhone, and turn your device into an instant camera. The photos from your phone can be printed ASAP on inkless sticky paper (much like the polaroids of yore) but smaller in dimensions like a Fujifilm Instax mini size.

Blurb it. Photo Books

Since Instagram and Snapchat have turned the average person into a perfectionist of sorts, you can extend that perfectionism to beautiful photo books complete with a story, captions, and pages of your personal photography.

Blurb is not a new kid on the block, but it’s certainly a great site for creating high quality photo books. Instead of a 12-month calendar that quickly becomes outdated, you can create an annual photo book. A chronological visual storytelling masterpiece.

When in Doubt, Wall Art

As you look at the white wall(s) in your home, how to decorate can be a challenge. Why not go subjective? Find some of your best pics and turn them into canvas wall art. Maybe it was a fun night where you and your crew dressed up as members of the legendary band KISS (check!), an adorable family photo, or a close-up of your precious pup.  You can always update your wall art each year, and gift to your relatives.

So, enjoy turning your social media into old school mementos you can keep!


Smell ya! Dog, smells, and the ideal bed

Hooman? Smells about Right

As a dog mom (and human mom), I’ve learned a few things about the way certain smells conjure up memories, loved ones, and yes — the odorous poopy diapers.  The science of smell is an interesting one as we don’t give our nose enough credit. But the nose knows.

Of the estimated 84.6 million US households that own a pet, 60.2 million of them have a dog. The bonds between humans and dogs are incredible. The growing humanization of pets has idealized the attachments we have with our four-legged family members.

Olfactory Firepower

As we sometimes joke about the bum-sniffing tendencies of our tail waggin’ BFFs, humorously depicted in Illumination Entertainment’s The Secret Life of Pets, dogs are wired to sniff and respond. According to the March 2018 article published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science, dogs can smell as much as 10,000 to 100,000 better than the average human. Furthermore, a dog’s scent glands are said to be 1,000 stronger. Through evolution and by design, a dog’s nose is adapted for keenly sniffing, and olfaction is managed by the part of the brain as part of the limbic system — which is also connected to the part of the brain that manages things like behavior, memories, motivation and emotion.

So what is it about a person’s used shirt or sneakers that’s so darn appealing? Whenever I’m about to travel and pack a suitcase, I often find one of my dogs resting beside it with that worrying, depressed look. He just knows I’m about to disembark, and he’s not happy. If, on the other hand, I drop a hoodie or shirt on the floor, he’ll warmly snuggle up against it with his nose buried deep in the folds. I think to myself — that must be love.

Whatever the case may be, a dog’s keen sense of smell is remarkable and their attachment to us, humans (a.k.a. pack leaders, parents) resembles a mix of love, devotion and undying fealty. In recent years, there’s fascinating research on dogs that have been able to sniff out life-threatening diseases such as cancer and diabetes.

Architecture for Dogs & the Wanmock


Source: AFD Torafu Wanmock

With dogs being an integral part of the family unit and the home, it’s cool to see active projects like Architecture for Dogs (AFD) paying homage to beautiful design and building unique structures to better articulate the human-pet bond. The concept feels organic and brings elements of high design into the home.

AFD is the brainchild of Muji Creative Director Kenya Hara, and it’s a collective of talented designers and architects. One of the kits that AFD sells is the Torafu Wanmock, which brings in the owner’s t-shirt  into the mix, making it the perfect hammock.


Source: Petcube Care x AFD

On the AFD website, it describes the following: In Japanese, a dog says, “wan,” the name “Wanmock” combines the woof sound with the piece’s hammock style.

The Wanmock kit is specified for the Jack Russell breed. However, after trying out the kit with a certain famous Frenchie, we found that the Wanmock can accommodate a variety of smallish to medium breed dogs. If there’s a will, there’s a way. You know how large dogs sometimes enjoy curling up in smallish spaces?

If you loop your favorite care-worn shirt and drape it over the wooden structure, your BFF will find a way to snuggle and breath deeply into the folds of your clothing. After all, you are remarkably you. The nose knows…..

So the next time you want to bring you and your dog closer together, grab that worn, sweaty shirt and let him (or her) love you the way only a dog can. 2018 is after all the Year of the Dog.

Enjoy being a mom (or dad) to your #1 fan.