Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How to Alter a Photo Book

Hey y'all! Today I have something very fun to share with you. Last few months I have been brainstorming ideas for things I want to share here on the old bloggity-blog. In addition to some easy gift ideas to get you ready for Christmas I have come up with a few unique ways to preserve your memories. I'll talk more about this in a later post, but I am a big believer in printing out your pictures. In this digital world, where we Instagram every meal and share way too many pictures on Facebook, I think there is something really great about having some physical pictures. Using them to decorate your home  or hold in your hands to share with your family. 

Today I am sharing Modern Memory Keeping Idea #1: Photo Books.

Have you ever made a photo book before? Now, I am a make-your-own scrapbook kinda girl, obviously. And, I know many people don't have the want/desire to spend hours pushing paper around and creating great big books of 12 x 12 pages, but a few years ago I scanned my parent's wedding photos and made books for each of my siblings. They loved them! Photo books are so popular now, my friend makes one every few months with pictures of her daughter. She loves how easy it is to design online. She picks out all sorts of layouts, colors and themes and the book shows up on her doorstep a few days later. 

However, what to do if you want to make your photo book truly personal? What if you have memorabilia you want to save? Ticket stubs, maps, etc. There isn't a great way to add them to a photo book...or is there? 

A few years ago my friend Tiffany and I made a little trip to Europe. She never printed any of the pictures she took (silly girl). I thought it would be fun to print a photo book online, and further customize at home, with some elegent touches right from my own studio!

This will be a birthday gift (shh, don't tell, ok?) and I think she'll love it! 

If you haven't ordered a photo book from Shutterfly their website is really easy to navigate. You can make the pages as simple or fancy as you like. I decided to order an 8x8 soft cover book with one photo per page. I edited my favorite 20 pictures in the Studio app on my iPad, then uploaded them to Shutterfly into the Modern White template. It was exactly what I wanted-just the pictures, printed in beautiful bright color. My book arrived days later and I got to work!
I have a drawer in my work room that holds a random group of travel related ephemera and I pulled it out. Luckily I still had a few things I collected during our trip! I also grabbed a few favorite stamps, some washi tape and my favorite pen that writes perfectly on slick pages-the Sharpie pen. (I linked a few products I used below in case you want to find them for yourself!)

I left the front cover blank, then printed out my own 3x3 photo and glued it down with a frame. I love the little bit of dimension this gives it. Inside the front cover I adhered an envelope that held a few bits and pieces from the trip. I use this trick alot in mini books and it's a really easy way to hold things like that. On that right page I added the 'I'd Rather Be' in the Studio app and the 'In Europe in these letter stickers. Adding letter stickers is a really easy addition to a photo book. You could use them to denote location, add chapter headings or identify family members!
Some pages were pretty enough as is.
The funny thing is- I remember each of these meals- cuz' that's how I travel.
Here you can see how I used my stamps and Black Staz On ink
to add a special, but subtle touch to the page. I really love have I can combine stamps to make a custom look. There's those letter stickers again.
For this page I just used my Sharpie pen to write some thoughts directly onto the photo. Some people might be scared to write directly on a photo book, but not me. I am not in love with my handwriting and I am not an especially great writer, but, I love reading other people's handwritten notes. I think it's something so personal. Plus, by adding it after the book is printed meant I didn't have commit to what I wanted to say until the last minute ; )
Washi tape might be one of my favorite paper products ever. On afew of the pages I used the tape as a border. I love the subtle bit of color and texture it gives. On that right side I also stapled a small tag I found. And, now you know what our feet look like,lol.
This last page was a pretty genius idea. I had an old map of Paris that I cut down and used this dry adhesive to add directly to the last page.  I added one of my all time favorite stamps to the corner.

There you go! I wanted to share my favorite pages, but if you want to see the rest of the book click the collage below to go to the full online album! I hope this inspires you to further personalize some special memories of your own. You don't have to wait for a special occassion or a vacation.This idea would be a great way to document your favorite Instagram pictures, or maybe a book about your house and neighborhood? There's a million different 'occasions' that are begging to be remembered.

Please let me know if you have any questions-thanks for stopping by!  xoxo Michelle

Click the collage to see the whole album!

Products Used
For More Info about the Studio photo app click here >>

Monday, September 22, 2014

Easy Gift Idea-Baby Album

Hey y'all! 

Did you know it's only 13 weeks till Christmas? Whattttt.....that's crazy. That also means that things are about to get busy, busy in the Hot Wheels shop. I already have a few orders for Christmas gifts, from smart people who plan early (please note: I am not that prepared.ever. I am often finishing my own Christmas gifts at 11:00 on the 23rd).

I thought it would be fun to share with you a few ideas for easy handmade gifts. Last year I shared a Holiday Wall Decoration I have made a dozen times.  All the ideas I will share over the next few weeks have been made multiple times by me and are really pretty easy with a few skills (everything can be done by beginners-pinky swear). If you have any questions-leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

 Of course, if you don't have the time or desire to DIY, you can order one made by me in my shop
OK, so the idea is simple: one page per month. A clean and simple layout- space for one 4x6 picture and a card for jotting down all those little memories. Easy for mom or dad to stick one picture in and write a few words(or just throw the picture on there until you get more than 2 hours sleep, lol).

Parents LOVE these- it takes the pressure off of them to create the perfect baby book. It allows them to document a little bit of this really special time without alot of fuss. Remember those fill in baby books your mom (tried, but failed) to fill in for you? These books are MUCH easier.
 I like to make each page a little special by adding a few embellishments-usually whatever I have in my stash that fits the colors I am using. I overlap the card and the embellishments over the photo mat (sized 4.5" x 6.5") slightly, so when they slip the picture in it looks a little more finished-like they assembled it themselves! I noticed that alot of baby books you find at retail stores would have generic layouts, very cookie cutter. I think mine keep it simple but are full of personality

 For this little girl book I used digital papers and cards I bought at BeckyHiggins.com. I just resized them and printed them out. Super easy and I LOVE the pink and orange together!

Check out this boy version I sent out to a customer last week:

One the cover page I usually add a larger photo mat (sized for a 5x7 photo- so it's 5.5" x 7.5") and the baby's name. Sometimes I use stamps and sometimes I use letter stickers
I mean, how cute is Nicholas? If you can take your eyes off of him you can also see for this book I made the photo mat more of a polaroid style. That gave me the white space to embellish and add the month.
OK, I only had one picture of little Nicholas, but come on.......its a winner. I wanted to show you a few of the months so you can see how I changed up a few things to make it look unique.

In each book I also include some kind of pocket so you can keep cards, hospital bracelets, teeny-tiny socks....Instead of a plastic pocket for this one I decided to stitch my own. I love these papers from Studio Calico and I think they really made this book so awesome!
So, there you go- and easy baby gift idea that is a guaranteed hit! Easy to customize- you could make it bigger/smaller, add space for two pictures a month, or even document one photo a year! When I give this as a gift I usually add an acid free pen and a roll on adhesive-again. You could also include a gift card to Shutterfly so they don't have to think to hard to get their pictures developed. The idea is to make easy for mom or dad to use it! Like I said earlier, I tend to shop my stash for things to include in these albums (unless it is a custom order), but I did link up to the products I have used to make it easier for you! See below

I have these listed in my shop and currently have a one week turn around, but I am sure I will get much busier the closer it gets to December. Don't be a Nancy-Come-Lately- just order it now ; )

Thanks for stopping by and make sure to check out all my Etsy listings here. Have a great week!



Products Used:

8x8 Photo Album
Wood Veneer
Project Life Baby Products (the cards and paper I love)
Roll On Adhesive
Really Great Pens

Shutterfly Photo Books 600x90

Monday, September 15, 2014

100 Happy Days (the Update)

A few months ago I took part in an online challenge-100 Happy Days. From March to May (almost)every day I took a random picture and posted it on Instagram. The goal for me was to start seeing the good things happening in my life. I've written before that 2013 was a hard one for me and by March of 2014 I was more than ready to get about the business of being happy. Turns out there is ALOT to be happy about in this life of mine. I am a lucky girl.

In this 100 days:

Many great plays were seen-a really fun Easter weekend with my family - my niece Bridget was born! (and-another new niece or nephew is on the way) - I got a spa day with the girls -  a really fun Derby week was had - I got a new job! - I rode a wave of creative energy - I got thisclose to finishing my bathroom remodel - bought tickets to a really excellent concert - I had lots of great dinner dates with my girlfriends - had a LOT of really great, perfectly average days in between.

I decided to document this little experiment for my scrapbook:

I really enjoyed this challenge. I had a few FB friends who played along and it was really fun to see their pictures as well. What about you, have you ever done a photo a day challenge? I'd love to hop onto another one so leave me a comment!