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?

one little word

Build Book-1

I have been following Ali Edwards blog for years. She constantly inspires me with her real world storytelling. At the beginning of each new year, she talks about choosing a word for a year. This years story about her word is here:

I can embrace the idea of an inspirational word rather than trying to make a dozen resolutions that never seem to happen. We usually choose a word as a family, something we want to strive towards, a foundation for change, a feeling to embrace and live by. Our past words include, change, create, rediscover, emerge. This years word is BUILD. In an attempt to figure out how to embrace this word, I started perusing the internet looking for quotes that included the word “build”. I looked through pinterest and then went to on to quote sites: There are tons of good quote sites out there but these two are my favorite. The following two you can search by whatever word you are looking for and it will come up with quotes including that word.

Once I found all these inspirational quotes, I wanted to make sure they were in a place in our house that we could refer to them and remind us of our goals/ inspiration for 2014. I decided to make a cute little book that we could refer to.

I turned to Blurb.

Blurb have a variety of sizes and cover options, very user friendly templates and you can make enormous books ( really great for books over a 100 page limit which most companies have). My complaints with their books is if you have high quality photos they can look a bit noisy or grainy in print and they do not have a lay flat option. For this book, Blurb was the perfect choice.

I started with a 7×7 softcover book. I took some abstract photos I had of flowers, trees, architecture, etc. and instagrammed them to get that whimsical, oversaturated look. I stuck with one basic format of picture on the left, quote on the right.

Build Book-2 Build Book-3 Build Book-4 Build Book-5 Build Book-6 Build Book-7 Build Book-8Now we have a great little book to leave around the house to remind us to “build”.

sunset photo books

Sunset Books-1

Every holiday season, I make my husband a photo book composed of sunset photos we have taken during the year. We are very fortunate to have some incredible sunsets. The last two years I have made a book with Adoramapix. You can find their website here:

I really like Adoramapix photo books for their variety of sizes and high quality, lay flat pages. The cons of this company are their specific page numbers – 14, 26, 38, 50 or 76. I don’t mind the page limitations with this type of book about sunsets because I can easily figure out how to make the photos fit or delete a couple photos, but when I am telling a story in a photo book, I have a much harder time limiting my pages to a certain number because I never know how many pages I will need to tell the whole story.

For both books, I chose the “Custom Hard Cover” option for the covers which takes an image of mine and wraps it as the cover. When my first book arrived, I was in awe of the cover’s most beautiful, metallic finish. It just has this incredible luster. The attempt to photograph the finish just doesn’t come out so you have to take my word for it but it will make say you “wow”!

Both books are 8×12 in size with 26 pages each. Below are some sample pages.

Sunsets 2010 Book:

Sunset Books-2For this book I chose black as the background color or base color. And used Ali Edwards “Words of Beauty Hand Drawn Words” digital brushes. Included are cursive words such as ” beauty”, “stunning”, ” “fantastic”, “dazzling”. The perfect words to describe these sunsets and add a simple detail. Here is the link:

You can see how I used the words.

Sunset Books-3

Sunset Books-4Sunset Books-6Sunset Books-7I also keep the layouts for such a small book to about 3 different layouts or variations of them.

Sunset Books-9

For the 2012 Coronado Sunsets Book, I wanted something similar but different. So I kept the same size book, used white as my base color, did not add any digital brushes and used different, simple layouts.Sunset Books-10 Sunset Books-12 Sunset Books-11 Sunset Books-14 Sunset Books-18 Sunset Books-19