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Photos unite family and friends, so if you want to be the hit of a holiday party, just copy my friend Pauline. She recently sat down at brunch and whipped out a stunning book she had made from photos on her iPhone.  She said she compiled it with a really easy-to-use mobile app. The beauty and coolness of the photo album got more raves than photos of her grandkids.

phone album“What a great gift,” my sister-in-law Sue said, reaching for her phone to download the free app called Mosaic.  Everyone else joins in, and soon instead of having dessert we’re all making photo albums.

Mosaic lets you select 20 photos already on your smartphone or iPad with a single tap.  It organizes them into a mosaic photo for the front of a 7” by 7” linen-covered book.  Inside, each photo is displayed on its own page.  It costs $20 and promises to be delivered to your door in four days.  Right now it’s available only on iOS devices.

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Photos in any form make memorable keepsakes. They bridge generations, are terrific conversation pieces, and heartfelt gifts at holiday gatherings.

Other options

For the Smartphone Videographer

A free app for iOS and Android called Magisto lets you turn videos stored on your smartphone into movies.  Place check marks next to the videos you want to use, then select music, themes and special effects from a list.  Magisto takes the best parts of your videos (I’m not sure how, but the dead, soundless parts of mine were not in the video), and splices them into beautiful little movies.  You can share them on YouTube and Facebook.

Canvas Prints

Transform your favorite photo into a canvas print in minutes.  This option requires uploading your special photos from your computer, Facebook or Instagram to the website Easy Canvas Prints.  There are many options for sizing, touch-ups, designs and pricing.  These canvas prints are likely to make great gifts. I see a wall hanging of my Goldendoodle Lexie in my husband’s future.

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For Calendars, Blankets, Mugs and Table Runners

In addition to photo albums, wall hangings and desk accessories, Shutterfly offers hundreds of photo options.  It’s been around for a while, but it’s best in class. All smartphone photographers can join traditional camera buffs and use this site. Step-by-step easy instructions assist users.  Shutterfly also has a mobile app for the iPhone.

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