halloween happenings – a photo book

Halloween Photo Book-1

Halloween/October has so many opportunities for photos:

  • making costumes
  • costumes
  • pumpkin patches
  • fall festivals
  • carving pumpkins
  • painting pumpkins
  • pumpkin lattes/pies/roasting pumpkin seeds.etc.
  • Halloween books
  • Halloween art
  • Halloween/October decor
  • outside decorations
  • jack o’ lanterns
  • trick or treating
  • the candy
  • spooky flashlight photos
  • October skies/ moon
  • parties
  • and so much more….

Halloween Photo Book-2 Halloween Photo Book-3 Halloween Photo Book-4 Halloween Photo Book-5 Halloween Photo Book-6 Halloween Photo Book-7 Halloween Photo Book-8 Halloween photo book-13 Halloween Photo Book-10 Halloween photo book-14 Halloween Photo Book-12

This photo book was made through Paper Coterie, which sadly doesn’t exist anymore. I still wanted to share because it is a great example of using basic blocks of color, Halloween quotes and simple layouts to create a fun book representing October/ Halloween adventures.


the essence of a school year

How do you capture the essence of a school year? Every year varies. Some years there are lots of projects, sometimes I can take a ton of photos or the teachers take photos, some times there is a plethora of field trips, shows, stuff, etc… Whatever your experience, there is always a story to tell about your child’s school year.

Here are some ideas on what to capture both in photos and/or words to characterize your child’s school year:

  • the obligatory first day of school photo
  • the school’s sign
  • what your child likes in their lunch or what they eat from the cafeteria
  • new clothes or school styles
  • new back pack – why did they choose it?
  • a picture with their teacher
  • what the inside of the classroom looks like, posters, bins, class library, the backpacks lined up, markers, areas (reading area, make believe area, science area, etc.)
  • Questions for your child – How old are you?, How tall are you?, Do you like your teacher? What are you excited about the school year? Goals for the year?
  • the class photo
  • your child’s professional individual photo
  • drawings, art
  • writing samples, stories, answers to questions
  • what is classroom life like? do they sit groups, facing the board, at a big table, rug time?
  • are there specialty classes? language? music? technology? library? science?, P.E.?
  • what is popular at recess? what does your child like to do?
  • photos of your child working on homework
  • carnivals
  • songs they sing, poems to memorize, etc.
  • craft projects
  • holidays, parties
  • projects, making the project, presenting the project
  • special days – like pajama day, spirit days, crazy hair days, etc.
  • field trips
  • sleep away camp
  • science fair
  • after school classes
  • self – portrait
  • rehearsing for a project
  • book reports
  • examples of tests
  • strengths, weaknesses
  • performances – a choir concert or a play ( include getting ready -nerves?excitement?)
  • moments with friends – who are there friends? what do they like to do together?
  • sports at school
  • reward systems
  • special events, – parent parties, picnics, end of the year party
  • homework folder, binder, books, pencils, pens, etc.
  • are they organized? or disorganized?
  • daily schedule
  • books read during the school year – reading logs, etc.
  • awards, certificates
  • report cards, notes from the teacher
  • blog posts from the teacher
  • trends – silly bands, colorful shoes, trendy toys ( Minecraft or Rainbow Loom)

This is a sample of the book I created for Harry’s second grade year. ( I know I am behind, but at least it got finished).

2nd Grade Book-51 2nd Grade Book-52 2nd Grade Book-53 2nd Grade Book-54 2nd Grade Book-55 2nd Grade Book-56 2nd Grade Book-57 2nd Grade Book-58 2nd Grade Book-59 2nd Grade Book-60 2nd Grade Book-61 2nd Grade Book-62 2nd Grade Book-64 2nd Grade Book-65 2nd Grade Book-66 2nd Grade Book-67 2nd Grade Book-68 2nd Grade Book-69 2nd Grade Book-70 2nd Grade Book-71 2nd Grade Book-72 2nd Grade Book-73 2nd Grade Book-74 2nd Grade Book-75 2nd Grade Book-76 2nd Grade Book-77 2nd Grade Book-78 2nd Grade Book-79 2nd Grade Book-80 2nd Grade Book-81 2nd Grade Book-82 2nd Grade Book-83

For this book I used the following:

capture life

Capture Life-1

What do I do with all those photos of our lives? I make a photo book, of course. “Capture Life” is what I named my Project Life Book for 2012. After years of capturing our daily lives in a scrapbook form, I wanted to switch to a digital version.

I created a digital template and input photos, project life cards, embellishments and journalling in Photoshop. Then I organized my pages to create a book with Blurb in a 12×12 format.

You can find various templates, project life cards and embellishments all over, but my favorites include:

Capture Life-2 Capture Life-3 Capture Life-4 Capture Life-5 Capture Life-6 Capture Life-15 Capture Life-8 Capture Life-9 Capture Life-10 Capture Life-11 Capture Life-12

i will remember you

Syberia-1Losing a pet can be overwhelming. After our cat died recently, I felt so lost and alone yet the memories were so vibrant in my mind. I knew I had to find a way to channel the energy into something that would help me overcome the sadness. A photo book allowed me to tell her story in photos and words and start my healing.

I searched my photos on Lightroom using keywords pertaining to my cat and put them all in a “Collection”. I used the Lightroom “Book” mode and created a quick and easy book linked directly to Blurb. The simplicity was just right for this project where I wanted to quickly get my words down. I made a 7″x 7″ soft cover book.

The following are some excerpts of the book:

How she came to be with us.Syberia-2

What she was like as a kitten.Syberia-3

Her relationship with the other animals.Syberia-4

Her relationship with people.Syberia-6 Syberia-7

How she played and her favorite toys.Syberia-8

Fun photos and a story about a specific day.Syberia-10

Favorite details – her sounds.Syberia-9

Her personality.Syberia-12

Her physical characteristics.Syberia-14 Syberia-16

Her favorite treats.Syberia-15

Her favorite places.Syberia-11

Her impact and what she taught us.Syberia-13Syberia-17 Syberia-18

And a good-bye.Syberia-20

We all miss you soo much.  We now have this wonderful book to look through and remember all the things we love about you.

week in the life

What does a week in your life look like?

Week in the Life-2-Edit

For years, I have been taking one week of a year and going in depth with what a week looks like for our family, inspired by Ali Edwards. I usually take a week where I know it will be a fairly ordinary, average week (if that actually exists).

The following are examples of what I photograph and document:

  • what we are eating for breakfast
  • what morning hair looks like
  • the drive to school
  • what the pets are doing
  • what each of us is working on
  • what lunch looks like
  • what books we are reading
  • what school looks like
  • what projects my child is working on at school
  • what dinner looks like
  • what the nighttime routine looks like
  • what tv we are each watching
  • what shoes we are wearing
  • what hobbies/projects we are working on
  • what grocery shopping looks like
  • what receipts look like
  • what we are buying
  • what games we are playing
  • favorite toys
  • funny/ interesting facebook posts
  • what is  on our computers
  • laundry
  • the weather
  • friends
  • selfie photos
  • appts.
  • things we like
  • things we are struggling with
  • things that are motivating us
  • workouts
  • sports
  • sports practice
  • outside the window
  • gas prices
  • cleaning
  • lists
  • notes
  • asking questions of my family – what made you happy today? this week? what made you sad? what was your favorite part of the week? favorite moments?etc…

The list goes on and on. You will be amazed with all the parts that make up your story.

Week in the Life-1 Week in the Life-3-Edit Week in the Life-4-Edit Week in the Life-5-Edit Week in the Life-6-Edit Week in the Life-7-Edit Week in the Life-8-Edit Week in the Life-9-Edit Week in the Life-10-Edit Week in the Life-11-Edit Week in the Life-12-Edit Week in the Life-13-Edit Week in the Life-14-Edit Week in the Life-15-Edit Week in the Life-16-Edit Week in the Life-17-Edit Week in the Life-18-Edit Week in the Life-20 Week in the Life-21

I used Ali Edward 8.5 x 11 templates for my pages. Once I created my digital pages I put them together at Adoramapix. The quality of the book is just incredible – the vibrance of colors and clarity with thick lay flat pages.  This is one of my favorite photo book printers! My one and only complaint with the company having very specific page count restriction is now gone, you can choose exactly how many pages work for you (up to 76 pages). This project is so worth it!

colored design

hawaii book-1

With a trip to Hawaii, I wanted to capture, the bright colored flowers, the vibrance of the blue sky and the festive feel so this book was about color. This book measures 8.75 x 11.25 landscape, lay flat pages by My Publisher. The quality of the book and photos is outstanding. I created my pages in Adobe Photoshop using digital patterned paper with color overlays. Each page included a simple tropical border and Ali’s Hand font. Since the pages were bright, if the photos were not full page or very large, I used a black border around the smaller photos to help them stand out on the page.

A little tip: I often pick up artistic postcards on trips and use them for covers or page decoration.

Here are some of the pages from our Hawaii 2011 book:

Title page – Location and dates.hawaii book-2 The rent-a-car and arriving at the hotel.hawaii book-3  The view from the room and an activity at the hotel.hawaii book-5 Details.hawaii book-6 Water slides and snorkeling.hawaii book-7 Jacuzzi and antics in the hotel room.hawaii book-8 A new outfit.hawaii book-9 A selfie.hawaii book-10 A loose tooth and stopping at Starbucks.hawaii book-11 Details at the USS Bowfin museum.hawaii book-12 The USS Arizona Memorial.hawaii book-13 A scenic shot and thoughts about witnessing this piece of history.hawaii book-14 A Luau.hawaii book-15 More details.hawaii book-16 Dancing at the luau.hawaii book-17 Learning the hula and fire dancing.hawaii book-18 Breakfast.hawaii book-19 Paddleboarding.hawaii book-20 Enjoying the beach.hawaii book-21 Playing.hawaii book-22 More playing.hawaii book-23 He lost his first tooth.hawaii book-24 Thanksgiving dinner.hawaii book-25 Hawaiian crafts.hawaii book-26 The Nui (a little luau).hawaii book-27 Visiting the North Shore.hawaii book-28 Lunch and stories.hawaii book-29 Iconic images of the North Shore.hawaii book-30 Another sunset and details.hawaii book-31 The Art.hawaii book-32 Swimming.hawaii book-33 Leaving and heading home.hawaii book-34 A collage of all the paraphernalia – tickets, map, postcards, certificates, wristbands, brochures, receipts, etc.hawaii book-35

Don’t be afraid to use color, but I did find that the pages with a bit more muted tones worked much better than some of the bright, over powering colors.

elements of a photo book

Catalina Book-1

A long weekend camping with friends captured in a photo book. I used My Publisher and they are definitely one of my favorite photo book companies. Their lay flat option up to 100 pages allows for more pages than most companies and the quality of their pages is fabulous! My pictures come out the way I intended – clear, vibrant and detailed.

I designed my own pages in Adobe Photoshop for more flexibility.

A couple of details that make a book easy to create:

I also added quotes and phrases from Ali Edwards that seemed to work with this adventure. ( Go Outside, Camping, We Word Art Brushes, This Journey Called Life )

Photographs to keep in mind while camping:

  • the journey there
  • the campsite
  • scenic shots from a hike
  • nature – plants, animals, rocks, trees, flowers
  • stories of kids or adults playing – games, adventures
  • discoveries – footprints, bugs, etc.
  • the stars and sky
  • sunrise or sunset
  • the food
  • evening around the campfire ( pump up your ISO and turn down your aperture)
  • maps of the area
  • the trip home

Here is a sampling of pages from my book:

A title page including the date of our adventure.Catalina Book-2 A quote and the story.Catalina Book-30The journey there.Catalina Book-3 Waiting for everyone.Catalina Book-4 Learning new games and our boat.Catalina Book-5 Getting seasick and a scenic shot of where we were staying.Catalina Book-6 DetailsCatalina Book-7 Activities – hiking and swimmingCatalina Book-8 What it looked like at night and in the morning.Catalina Book-9 Learning to fish.Catalina Book-10 New friendships.Catalina Book-31The big hike.Catalina Book-12 Nature details along the hike and the exhaustion from the hike.Catalina Book-13 The map.Catalina Book-14 Napping and Fish.Catalina Book-15 Sunrise.Catalina Book-16 Kayaking and learning knots.Catalina Book-17 The wildlife.Catalina Book-18 What nighttime looks like.Catalina Book-19 Our accommodations.Catalina Book-20 Exploring.Catalina Book-21 The journey home.Catalina Book-22 Seeing whales on the way home and a quote about nature.Catalina Book-23 A summary photo of the trip.Catalina Book-24 The back cover.Catalina Book-25 The spine detailing place and year.Catalina Book-27


Hope this inspires you to think about another photo book.


collage stuff-7

I have stuff, and more stuff, too much stuff and I am trying to purge all the STUFF!!! As one who loves to document our lives, I tend to hold onto everything – brochures, cards, receipts, maps, wristbands. You name it, I keep it. But not anymore!!! I have been doing several things to help with my problem. I scan a lot, but I also take photos of the stuff. I find that these photos are great way to represent a trip, or a day at school, or a love story and I often include these photos in my photo books.  Once it is scanned or photographed or both, I let it go – Yes, it goes straight into the trash (well, once I have made sure the photo was decent and in focus). I love watching all that stuff just go away!!!!

I layout all the stuff on a poster board on my living room floor. I play around in a collage style for a while until I find the right combination. I get up on my step stool and take a photo from above like this:collage stuff-8

Then I crop it.collage stuff-9

All these “super student” slips, I really didn’t need to save but I did. Right now I am working on my son’s 2nd grade book and I can actually see this being a page in the book.collage stuff-10

These were my son’s valentines from his classmates. (I love the combination of my son’s design on his paper bag to what was hip and cool in 2014 – Minecraft, making your own, Star Wars, science, and the sweetarts and Fun Dip is still just as great as when I was a kid, etc.)collage stuff-11

(The first photo was love note cards from my husband from our first year of dating.)

So go do it!!! Take photos, scan, purge!! Let it go!!! It makes you feel really good!!

a disneyland photobook

Disneyland Book-25Disneyland is an annual trip for us, it is our happy place as a family where we let go of electronics, work and focus on being present, laughing and enjoying each other. My goal is to make a photo book every year to celebrate these trips.

Here are some of things I make sure to capture in photos while at Disneyland:

  • The hotel room
  • My child’s excitement in line
  • If I can, the look on my child’s face during the ride ( ex. Small World)
  • “Selfies” throughout the day
  • My child wearing ears – the ultimate essence of Disneyland
  • My child participating in a show (ex. Jedi Training)
  • Characters
  • Playing with a new toy
  • I always buy the photos of us on a ride
  • Details of the Disneyparks (castle, small world ride, the Walt/ Mickey statue)
  • “Selfies” with 3d glasses
  • Scores on rides (Toy Story Mania, Astroblasters)
  • Scenic shots at night with lights (castle, ferris wheel at California Adventure)
  • Playing in the hotel room at night
  • Playing in the character’s houses in Toontown
  • Accomplishing tasks ( ex. at the Redwood Creek Wilderness Explorer Camp at California Adventure)
  • Playing at the pool
  • Traditional photos in front of the castle
  • My child being just tall enough or not tall enough for a ride
  • Eating meals and meal signs
  • Balloons
  • Mickey shaped food
  • Parades
  • Fireworks

I also make sure to scan or photograph the following:

  • Certificates (Jedi Training)
  • Drawings ( Animation Classes)
  • Receipts
  • My child’s writings about the trip

For this series of books, Blurb was the photo book printer of choice. A “10 x 8 standard landscape” using “standard paper” with the “hardcover image wrap”.

This book I organized chronologically. I usually chose two fonts for my photo books – one for titles and one for the journaling. Any more fonts and it gets too busy. I knew I would be doing a series of these books, so I splurged and bought the Kingdom font for titles and downloaded the Glasket medium font (free) for the journaling. I used Blurb’s simple layouts with a little adaptation here and there and white pages as a base.

Here is sampling of pages from our Disneyland “Summer 2011” photo book:

Capturing the Hotel RoomDisneyland Book-1 Harry’s favorite ride – Star Tours and him trying on Mickey R2D2 earsDisneyland Book-2 Jedi Training and the battleDisneyland Book-3I also scanned the Jedi Training certificate.Disneyland Book-4

The lightsaber he bought and characters in Tomorrowland.Disneyland Book-5 A selfie and the Spacemountain ride.Disneyland Book-6 A scenic shot at night, a “selfie” with 3d glasses and Toy Story Mania scores.Disneyland Book-7 The Build-a-Bear experience.Disneyland Book-8 Meet “Disney” ( I know not very original, but he’ll always know where it came from). Harry’s new Build-a-Bear.Disneyland Book-9 The hotel room at night, playing light sabers with “Disney”.Disneyland Book-10 Character lovin’.Disneyland Book-11 Enjoying Minnie’s house with “Disney”.Disneyland Book-12 Harry trying to accomplish all the goals to be an official “Wilderness Explorer”.Disneyland Book-13 Harry kept enjoying the fact the “Disney” was a camoflauged bear so he would stick it next to anything green and ask ” Mom, can you find Disney?”Disneyland Book-14 All the details at the pool at the hotel – scenic, slides, fancy drinks, floating in the water, etc.Disneyland Book-15 The traditional photo in front of the castle. Harry finally was tall enough on this trip to ride “Indiana Jones”.Disneyland Book-16 Harry tried to teach me how to cross my eyes at the Rainforest Cafe and then we just had to stop at the Lego Store.Disneyland Book-17 Another Space Mountain ride shot and the Astroblasters ( I love that you can e-mail it to yourself).Disneyland Book-18 Playing at the pool some more. Disneyland Book-19 Shots with the Cars characters and still not tall enough for California Screamin’.Disneyland Book-20 This trip we bought a book “Disneyland’s Hidden Mickey’s”. There is also an app of the same name. We found several but we could probably spend a lifetime finding them all. These were some of our favorites.Disneyland Book-21 No trip is complete without an animation class. Love watching Harry learn to draw and through the years he keeps getting better.Disneyland Book-22 Love the photo bomb as we were making our exit. After the trip Harry, was writing a journal, I scanned his journal page and included his version of the trip.Disneyland Book-23 More of Harry’s highlights. It is always fun to get everybody’s “favorite” part of the trip and include a little journaling about it.Disneyland Book-24 And the back cover.Disneyland Book-26

Have a magical day!

happiness is…..

Happiness Is-1You may or not be there yet, but Valentines Day is around the corner. This project would be a great gift for your kids, your spouse, your family or just for yourself. I received a $9.99 Shutterfly photo book coupon, so I decided to find a way to spend it. While looking around at the Shutterfly templates, I found this  “Happiness is…” Book. It is just my style – simple and uncomplicated.

The page colors offered were muted, so I decided to adjust my photos for a muted or desaturated look to go with the feel of the book. Once I found the photos I wanted to incorporate into the book, I used Photoshop and Totally Rad Actions to give them a bit of a retro/vintage feel. This book worked perfect in the 10×10 style and it was incredibly easy to insert photos, change page colors and add the “happiness is.. words.”

happiness is…    our familyHappiness Is-2

happiness is..   a state of mindHappiness Is-8 happiness is..  the journeyHappiness Is-9 happiness is… the simple thingsHappiness Is-10 happiness is…   loveHappiness Is-3 happiness is…   the everydayHappiness Is-4 happiness is…   you and me togetherHappiness Is-5 happiness is …. laughing out loudHappiness Is-6 happiness is…  everything about youHappiness Is-7

What is your happiness?