Spring Fever, that is. The thermometer has reached 45 degrees today...very unusual, but the snow is melting like CRAZY! My hubby came home and told me I had better look at my garden...when I went out back, it looked more like a river than a garden! We live right by the mountains, and when the snow melts this fast, there is bound to be a mess!
Do any of you happen to remember my skunk story from last summer (if you haven't read that story, you'll want to...trust me)??? Well, that culvert goes under the road and look what is all backed up waiting to come into my garden....
The water goes right through my garden and into the Shop Yard...and then right into the canal. It's crazy to see water in the canal, because we haven't seen any since last fall.
The girls and I headed out exploring through all of the mud and muck in the Ranger. We have tracks to put on the Ranger for the winter, and we had a great time trecking through the mud and water. It was great to get out of the house...and that 45 degree temperature did make me really sick...sick for spring. You can't beat the sun on your back, the fresh air and 45 degrees after being cooped up inside all winter!!!
And just for fun...here are a few pics of the girls today...
Kate devouring a banana...she is obsessed with bananas and grapes.
and this...well, this is a part of every day of our life. Dress up. I don't even know why I buy normal clothes for Lily and Kate...they ALWAYS end up in dress up clothes.
ETA, again: I would share a page with my kids' artwork, but I didn't include that in my 2008 books...that is just something I am planning on doing this year.
ETA: I created an 8x10 book, and I ordered the image wrap cover. I don't like the dust jacket thing...it's just a pain in the rear. They always fall off and get torn. The whole purpose of these books is so that my family (kids included) can look at them...and I don't want to be stressing about the dang dust jacket.
For the photos that were vertical rather than horizontal I either croped them to fit vertically, or if I couldn't fit everything in that space, I rotated them sideways. I didn't want to change the layout of the page just to accomodate the horizontal photos, because then I couldn't fit as many photos in as little space. I take most of my photos vertically anyways.
I also wanted to mention that I have already started putting things together for this years books. I am scanning favorite artwork from each of my kids...report cards and other special things so that I can also incorporate them right into the book. I think it would be great to have a section at the end featuring their report cards, favorite artwork for the year etc. (I am doing everything from the actual year, not the school year...just anything from Jan-Dec) I love the idea of having everything in one place...nice and compact. I'm scanning and trashing all of those things that I usually hangonto forever, and never know what to do with. Also, someone mentioned Danelle Johnson's photo organization. She is a real genious, and she has posted some really good ideason her blog as well.
I also wanted to add, that even if you aren't a computer genious, you can do this. You simply import your photos into the program and drag and drop them into the template. No Photoshop or fancy skills required. Anyone can do this.
So...I've told you that I have finally come up with a way to satisfy myself when it comes to organizing and printing my photos. I love scrapbooking (both digital and paper), but I really have been annoyed with myself for years. I can't stand to have an album that is not complete, or chronological. So...I have all of these digital scrapbooking pages made that I refuse to print into a photo book until the entire year is complete, and able to be printed in one book (who knows when that will happen). I have millions of photos that I take of the kids...and lots of memories that they can't see, because they are all on my external hard drive. It's such a shame to have all of these photos that we can't even look at unless we pull them up on the computer. If I were to go back and make prints of all of them, it will cost thousands of dollars (seriously...I take WAY to many photos). My paper scrapbooking projects are here and there...some layouts, some mini books etc., but nothing is complete or in order as I would like it. I have been frustrated with the whole situation for a while now, and I finally decided on a new strategy for getting it all in order. So in hopes that this might help some of you who have the same dilemma, here is what I've been doing...
As mentioned, I am a "complete" person...I wanted every photo of each child from an entire year in one place. I decided that rather than spend hours and hours on something that would never get done, I wanted to take the simple route. I wanted to create a photo book for each child for each year. Now I know that a photo book is not a new idea...but I wanted to fit every single photo of each child for an entire year in one book. I have made those little photo books with a handful of photos from the year, but I didn't want anything to be left out. I don't want a partial review of the year, or the highlights. I wanted to put every photo I took to use. I also wanted this book to be no fluff. Once I start adding fluff (i.e. text, digital scrapbooking stuff etc), I can never get a project finished because I am too much of a perfectionist. I started out working with Shutterfly, but I just wasn't happy. I hated uploading photos to their site...it was a pain in my but. And also, I don't like the glossy covers that I have gotten on their photo books before. I decided to give Blurb a try (www.blurb.com). I have been using their software to turn my blog into a book, and it is super easy to use, so I decided to create the books in Blurb. I couldn't have been happier...
I simply created a folder on my desktop for each child and went through all of my 2008 photos and added them to their folder in chronological order by date. Then, I simply downloaded Blurb's free program and used a super simple template that allowed me to fit as many photos as possible in the book. I did four pages of a simple layout that has 9 photos per page, and then I would do a two page full-bled photo layout using some of my favorite portraits from the year. I also scanned all of the kids' class photos, school pics, dance pics, basketball/wrestling pics, pics with santa etc. and added these into the book so that everything was in one place. It was so easy...each childs' book took me only about a days worth of work, and they were done. I love how the cover is not glossy, and the quality was great! The other perk, was that I didn't have to upload each photo onto their site...I simply downloaded their free software, built the book on my computer, and then uploaded the finished product all at once. Each book ended up being about 190 pages, and the cost was around $60 each. There is no way I could go back and print 4x6s for that cheap...now way! I am still waiting to get Lily & Kate's printed, and thus my delay in posting this info on my blog, but I decided to go ahead and post it anyways showing Grace and Russell's books.
Here is a look at the books (I have to admit that photos don't really do them justice though...they are honestly just beautiful, and the quality is amazing)...
front of Grace's book:
I did four pages of photos like this....
and then two full page photos (favorite portraits) like this...
I repeated that pattern throughout the book...It gave me the ability to fit as many photos as possible while still highlighting some of my favorites.
Russell's front cover:
I am now in the process of going back and doing previous years' books. I am just thrilled with the fact that everything is done, and all in one place. I can just see my kids leaving home someday with a book from each year in tote. None of our memories will ever be hidden away on the external hard drive again! And really, the best part, is that I can now scrapbook and digital scrapbook for fun! I can add my layouts to a book with not stress of not having a complete documentation of the year...it can just all be for fun...and a little creative outlet! So...I hope this helps out someone out there who feels the same way as I do about organizing photos...simply go to www.blurb.com and download the free software to get started. Good luck!