Several people have asked for a tutorial on how I creat the frame that I use on the photos. This is actually quite easy.
I use Adobe Photoshop CS4 and these instructions will be using that program. If you have Photoshop Elements or another version of Photoshop or GIMP or some other program that allows you to use layers you'll have to adapt but it can probably be done. I know that JU-North is doing it with Paint Shop Pro here. NOTE: There are several different ways to do some of the steps I'll tell you about here, so if you know a different or better way, go for it. It's the end results that count. Since I am not a pro at Photoshop I just bully my way through and sometimes I find an easy way and sometimes there are easier ways.
Step 1: Select and Open the photo you are going to frame
Open your photo in Photoshop. If you are going to make any other changes to it that require any additional layers then go ahead and do all that first. Once you are done and have your final photo where you want it make sure you flatten the image (combine all layers into one) by going to the tool bar click layer and then click flatten image. If "flatten image" is ghosted then you only have one layer or it is already flattened. NOTE: If you want to save a copy of the work you've done including all the layers, do that before flattening it, and then save the flattened image with a new name.
Step 2: Duplicate the Photo so you have one on top of the other
Your image should now be your "Background" Layer and it should be highlighted as it is the only layer in the Layers palette. Right click on the Background layer and from the drop down menu click on Duplicate Layer. A window will open asking you if you want to name it Background Copy. I change mine to Foreground, but you can name it whatever you want. For the rest of this tutorial I'm going to assume you named it Foreground. The new Foreground layer will be above the Background layer and will now be highlighted.
Step 3: Re-size the new copy of the photo so that it is smaller than the original
With the foreground layer selected (highlighted) go to the Menu Bar and click Edit > Transform > Scale. Two things will happen; One, A new Options Bar will open just under the Menu Bar and Two, tiny little boxes will appear at the four corners and the horizontal and vertical midpoints of the Layer. If you place your mouse over any one of those tiny boxes the pointer will turn into two arrows going opposite directions showing which ways you can re-size your layer. However, for this application I prefer to use the Options bar to do the resizing. You will notice about seven boxes with numbers inside there is one labeled "W" with a 100.0% inside and one labeled "H" also with a 100.0% inside. In between them is an icon that looks like three links of a chain. When "On" if you change the percentage in one box it will match it in the other. You can tell if it is "On" because it will also be inside a small box. Click on it to turn it "Off". If you are using a Horizontal photo like the one above, Enter something like 95 in the "W" (Width) box and 92 in the "H" (Height) box. Take a look at what you have and adjust to your preference. Once you are happy with the size of the Foreground hit your enter key to complete.
Step 4: Add a "Style" to the Foreground Layer
By adding a Style to the Foreground layer you can give it some separation from the background. You can use one that comes with PhotoShop or create your own. I created my own which I named PhotoFrameShadow, but you can just start with something like Clear Emboss, or just add a drop shadow. If that is too difficult right now don't worry about it because the next step will add some separation anyway.
Step 5: Blur the Background Layer
Go to the Layers palette and select the Background layer. Make sure that the Foreground is no longer selected, only the Background. Now go to the Menu bar and select Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Choose an amount that you like. If your preview button is checked you will see the amount of blur. I use a 9.
Optional Step 1: If you want to darken, lighten or add color to your background, now is an excellent time to do it since the background is selected. Decide what color you want or use black if you just want to darken it or white if you just want to lighten it and make that your foreground color in your toolbox. Now select the rectangle tool and drag it over the entire photo. Since only the background layer is selected it will only show on the background layer and your foreground will remain as it was. Chances are that whatever color you chose will now totally hide the background layer. This can be adjusted to your liking by Layers palette and selecting the new layer that just appeared above your Background layer - probably called Shape 1 or something like that - double click on that and a window named Layer Style will open. (If it doesn't do that the first time, try clicking in a different place. I find it works best if you click above the title "Shape 1" as close to the top of that layer box as possible.) Once the Layer Style window appears go to the General Blending box near the middle top and make sure the blending mode is set to Normal and then adjust the opacity percentage by typing in the amount you want or by sliding the indicator back and forth until you get it where you want it. I use a different amount every time depending on the color and the background etc. For the photo above I liked it when it was at 79%.
Optional Step 2: If you have a watermark or copyright signature to add go ahead and do it now, but first make sure you go to the Layers Palette and select the Foreground layer.
Finishing Up: If you want to save it with all the layers etc. in tact then make sure and do that now as a Photoshop file. Do that before you re-size it. At this point I re-size it down to the size I'm going to publish it to my blog in and then save it as a JPEG file which automatically flattens it down to one layer again.
Good luck and have fun. Don't be afraid to experiment. Some Great examples of wild and different ways to use these basic ideas are done by Krista at Picture Imperfect . Make sure you go to some of her "older posts" to get some more great ideas.
If you have questions, I may have answers, particularly with Photoshop CS4. I can't answer any specific how-to's with any other software.