slowing working through 2011

I’m on page 186 of our 2011 album…with 4 more months to go. Yikes. It has to be done this week…self imposed deadline. I pretty much always meet deadlines, so that means very soon our album will be done. I may wait a bit to order it though – in case a better discount code comes up. This book is going to be crazy expensive. I thought I’d share a couple of my favorite pages, and then give you a little info on how I am creating mine this year….

A few pages…these are set up for a 12×12 book. Big Book!

  • I am trying Blurb for our family album this year. I’ve used MyPublisher in previous years, but those books are limited to 100 pages. I was very happy with MyPublisher, but I really want the whole year in one book. MyPublisher has much better discount codes and coupons than Blurb, but I’m hoping the extra cost will be worth it in the end to have my whole year in one book.
  • I am designing my pages in Photoshop using the Modern Family Album Template from Design Aglow. I tend to tweak the layouts to fit my pictures.
  • First step, I select the photos I want to use on a spread (the two facing pages) and then I select the layout that best works with those photos. Then I do any editing on the pictures and place them into the templates. Finally, I save the page and add it to my Blurb book software. I’m going spread by spread…month by month. When I used MyPublisher I just used the layouts that came with the software.
  • In 2010, I tried to design each month as the month ended. I stayed with it until March. I so wish I could stick with that plan now. It would be much easier than doing it all at once.
  • I am doing a big 12×12 book because I like big pictures. I take A LOT of photos….THOUSANDS each year. I don’t want them tiny just to save money. It is an investment each year, but one well worth it to me. I’d rather have great photobooks for my family to enjoy than the latest whatever is cool gadget.
  • I am doing photos only. I might hand write some text later. Right now it takes me several hours to do one month. If I tried to include dates and captions, I’d never get them done. I figure pictures in chronological order with no text is much better than no albums at all.
  • Originally, I really wanted to turn my blog into a book this year. I tried a few times to get started but it was just overwhelming. I write a blog post basically every weekday…that is a lot of text…a lot of pictures…a lot of content to deal with….so I gave up. I’m hoping someday there will be blog to book option that is easy to use and mimics the wording and picture sizes of my blog. Not to mention, the whole resolution for blog pictures is different than was just too much. I do think I am going to turn just my posts related to our adoption into a book…thinking Little One might enjoy reading those one day.

Update: I got the Blurb email today…with this code: – “we’re offering 20% off when you spend $100 or more or 25% off when you spend $150 or more if you order before July 31, 2012. Use the promo code UNION at checkout.”

Guess I get to order this massive book very soon!

So that is it for today…I am chained to my computer getting this album done. Oddly enough, there is a little kitten whose company I’m enjoying while I work. I’ve been sending my sister and Chris pictures of Poppy sleeping….Lesley said I am becoming a cat person. I think she is right.

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  • ratna - Aha! This is a prefect timing post for me. I’m in the process of making 2011 book too (and the years before!). Choosing photos alone is driving me nuts as I’m not as organized as you. But thanks for sharing the process. I’m really glad I’m not the only one spend many sleepless nights for making photo album.

  • Marcie - I had a friend who did a huge blog book w/blurb and she said the thickness of the book meant that there was some pictures lost to the binding. I have yet to print my blog (working for Christmas as a goal!) but I would LOVE to hear your review when you receive your book. I’m sure it will be gorgeous!

  • Cassie - I love using Blurb! I try to finish each month’s section as the month wraps up, but it is hard to keep up. Do you order more than one copy? I’ve wondered if I should order two copies as I make them. They are expensive, though; it’s usually what I ask for as my Christmas present from my husband! :)

  • Becky - Ashley, I’ve been following your blog for the past six months ago, and I absolutely love it. You are so talented! I can’t wait to hear more of your adoption journey. Hope you’re off to China soon : )

  • Anita - I have long wanted to purchase a template of some sort from Design Aglow but am afraid I won’t know how to use it and will end up frustrated! I am fairly proficient with PSE and Lightroom. May I ask why you use third party template rather than the design program that is built in with Blurb and My Publisher?

    Enjoy your blog!

  • Erin Clayton - I have read your blog for a long time now and have really enjoyed it. :) I had to comment because I have heard many people say that you need to use the ‘premium’ paper or upgraded paper (I think it is the premium but whatever is one step above basic) to be really happy with the book. I am going to print my 2012 Project Life through them and after all of the reviews I have heard will do the upgraded paper and wanted to make sure that I shared this info with you. Beautiful photos and it looks like a really lovely book. Thank you for all of the wonderful content. I always enjoy!

  • nicci - Your daughter sewing…..just kills me! I can just see her in 10 yeaers, without the baby fat…love your photography. when I have a family one day, I hope I remember to take pictures of it all!

  • Kristy Chuhaloff - Your daughter is reading the book “The Best Loved Doll”! My aunt wrote that book! It has always been a very special book to me and I am thrilled to see someone else thinks so too!

    Kristy in SoCal

  • Alisa Trotter - I love your blog and your photographs! We have such similar interests!

    I can’t get over your little bitty girl using the sewing machine. :-) I remember it frustrating me to no end when I was in junior high! Kudos to Firecracker.

  • Laurie H - Thanks for the coupon code. Made a blurb book in 2010 so I need this motivation to get me finished with 2011 and on to 2012.

  • Megan - ashley-
    i cannot tell you how much i enjoy reading your blog. your creativity is inspiring and i love your generous and loving heart.

    on a separate note: my husband bought photoshop elements for me….i have NO IDEA where to even begin learning how to begin. can you recommend some tutorials or websites on how to teach myself some beginning points. i love all the design aglow products but have NO CLUE how to begin using them!!

    thanks ashley-

  • Nancy - I did a memory book for my marathon in Athens and I used Blurb I loved the result their quality is great and the price is reasonable plus they constantly have coupons and good deals. I got mine through groupon. Good job on doing a yearly book your kids are lucky.

  • Jenn - I absolutely adore the idea of going back and handwriting captions! That will be something for your children and grandchildren to treasure some day! Please, someday, share how you organize your photos and what you do with the digital files once you have made your book. Thanks!

  • Kitty - How did Blurb compare to the other companies you’ve used? I have used Blurb for 5 years for our yearbooks, but always wonder about the color and quality of other companies…crispness seems to be lacking at times with Blurb…thoughts? Thank you!

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