Sunday, January 27, 2013

Photo Books

I've changed my mind many times on how to organize all my photos. I was printing all my pictures, labeling them, and sticking them in an old fashion photo album. Then it got harder to find photo albums I liked (or ones that would hold the amount of photos I had). So I stared putting all the photos in a photo box. This works for storage, but it is much harder to look at them.
So I've finally decided how to organize my photos. I've been making photo books online! I'm so happy with my decision.
Here is how I do it.

First I upload all my pictures to Picasa. Picasa is where you can organize and edit your photos. It is owned by Google. It has a lot of cool editing features. Picasa is also what I use to make collages of photos (like my header).
screen shot of Picasa

To make my photo books I use My Publisher. My sister introduced this to me. It was her idea to make my parents a photo book for their 30th anniversary a few years ago. My Publisher may be a little more expensive than some other sites, but it produces a great product. When I downloaded My Publisher I did it through Costco's website. I got a discount on some of my books for being a Costco member. However, I do not see that deal on Costco's site now. FYI Costco members: if you go to the photo section of the website you will also get 20% of Tiny Prints (where I got my Christmas cards done) for being a Costco member. 

My Publisher is pretty easy to use. Once you download it and start on a book, it ask you a lot of questions before you start downloading the photos. I'll let you know how I make mine. 

When asked to choose between Simpler Publisher or Custom Publisher, I always choose Custom Publisher. This allows me to arrange the pictures how I want them, and I can put them on the page I want. Simpler Publisher designs the book for you. 

I also choose the Classic Hardcover (11.25 x 8.75). 

I choose the linen cover because it is cheaper, but there are a variety of choices for the cover. 

Once you have made all of these decisions you can now download your pictures. 
Do you see where it says My Pictures in the top left corner? That is where I store my pictures. When I download them to Picasa, it automatically saves them by the the date I took the picture (not the date I upload them). I just click on the pictures I want and drag them to the space below that box. 

Once all your pictures are downloaded, click on Make Book (bottom of last picture). You can also go back and add more photos any time during the process. Just make sure to hit save before exiting (bottom right of screen). 
This is an example of one of my books in the making. Above are all the pictures I downloaded. Below is the book I made. 
The Page Layout icon allows you to choose how many photos you want on a page and if you want a caption or not. Double click on the photo to edit it (turn or crop). 

The rest is pretty self explanatory. You can start a book and finish a few days later. Just make sure to hit save, or do like me, and don't exit My Publisher until you are done. You can preview your work before you purchase anything. It can take some time to make a book, but I think it is worth it in the end. 

I usually go for the cheapest options. However, you can pay a little more for the pages to lie flat, a cover to protect the book, or thicker pages. Once you click to make the book it may take a few minutes to move on to the next step. 

I love the finished product!
I've only made books for 2011 and 2012. I made two books per year. I've also chosen the neutral colors, but there are a variety of pretty colors.
I'll still print some pictures. But instead of printing hundreds, I'll print the ones I want to frame or some that are just really special. I save all the pictures on my computer. Then I'll take them off the computer and put them on an external hard drive. Then I know if my computer crashes, I'll still have my precious pictures. 

When I received my book, there was a code that came with it that allowed me to get $20 off my next book. Of course that $20 had an expiration date with it, but I was able to use it since I made all 4 of these books within a few weeks. I just waited for my coupon before I made the next one. 
I hope this can be of some help. Let me know if you have any questions or further advise on how to organize photos or make photo books.

*And please excuse any grammatical errors and/or sentences that don't sound right. I was finishing this up during a very dramatic episode of Downton Abbey.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Week in MS

We spent all last in Mississippi. Saturday to Saturday. We spent all but one night in Greenville. Our first night in Greenville was spent celebrating my uncle Ronnie's 50th birthday! We went to Doe's first, and then we ended the night at my aunt's where Ronnie sang and played the piano.
Don't judge it by the walls. 

We spent one of our nights in Tunica because Nick had some meetings. Nick left the meeting early on Monday morning because an ice storm was headed our way. It was sleeting the whole way from Tunica to Greenville (2 hours). Ice accumulated on the roads, and the bridges looked a little scary. We saw one wreck on a bridge. Anyways we made it back safely.
It was a cold few days. Nick took these pictures. I was too cold to even step outside. The first day the sun came out was the day it snowed all over the rest of the state.  We didn't mind missing the snow. We had enough of the cold and cloudy days.

Nick spent some time hunting, and I spent some time resting. Mid week Laurie joined us. Millie and Laurie had a ball. They are together a lot, but they are not usually together from sun up to sun down for 4 days straight. They copied each other, talked, played, and fought a little. They would sometimes fight over Lovie (my mom) or 'Monie' as Millie would say.
 They ate cake for lunch one day. 
I saw a quote on Pinterest that said, "A grandparent's house is where cousins become best friends."
 They also fight over Nick.
Millie was scared of the hair dryer until she saw Laurie using it. 

We had a good week away. I am just now adjusting back to our routine of feeding ourselves, laundry, and errand running. Thanks for having us Lovie and Doc. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

A New Year

We had a lazy New Years. We went to bed about 9:30. The next day we ate some black eyed pea dip and greens because it's tradition. I might have stayed in my pajamas all day. Actually, I put on some blue jeans when the Spooners came over for some dip.
Millie on New Year's Day

This year has started out with a few home repairs. 

Last week Nick discovered we had a leak in our front yard. He dug for days. He finally found the pipe, went to Lowe's, and fixed the leak. He had to dig about 4 feet deep to get to the pipe. He said he dug the last bit with just his hands. 
After the leak in the yard was fixed, he came in to find one of our toilets was broken. He went back to Lowe's and fixed the toilet. Then a few hours later we discovered the motor in our garbage disposal quit. Another trip to Lowe's, and we had a working garbage disposal.

We are also doing some renovating to our kitchen. We are making a bigger pantry, getting a new oven, dishwasher, painting, and new lighting. It is all very exciting!
This was Stephen cutting our tile. Earlier this week Nick cut out the rest of the cabinet under the stove. We replaced the stove top with a stove/oven combo. The oven arrived yesterday, and Nick stayed up late last night to hook it up. I cooked an egg on it this morning. I no longer have to light our stove top with a lighter. It is awesome! I'm going to wait for a few more updates before I show some before and after pictures. 

I'm so thankful for a handy husband (and brother-in-law).

My mom left this morning after being here all week. Nick and I went out to dinner one night and saw Les Mis. It was wonderful. Sad story, but good movie. I also went to Target by myself and took my time looking around. It was nice not having to carry or chase Millie around the store. Thanks Lovie. 

Millie and I just got back from having lunch with some friends at Chick-fil-a. It was good! Millie fell asleep before we got out of the parking lot. I might take a nap now too. And Nick just got came home early, and he might start working on the kitchen. Whoo! 

I hope you have a good weekend!