Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scrapbooking With Picasa

SECTION ONE : Why Scrapbook?
First of all, thank you all so much for your hundreds of ideas….when I asked for help in catching up on my really, really procrastinated scrapbooking albums, you really came through.  I looked into each suggestion and took into consideration cost, creativity, and most of all…time.  I didn’t want to spend a year doing pages everyday, and having five kids….I have to streamline.  I did intensive, sort of obsessive 3 week, one really late night*, thank God for naptime catching-up sessions, and I’m just about there.  I can hardly believe it myself.

A nice reader showed me how she used pages to create a beautiful adoption album using Picasa.  Because most (not all) of my photos were in my computer (not nicely organized mind you…that’s what really slowed me down in the earlier years), and I know Picasa pretty well  because I use the same procedure for making my blog banners (no time consuming learning curve), and it’s free, I knew that it was going to work for me.

SECTION TWO: Organizing the Process
I know a few readers asked and here’s what the finished Picasa scrapbooking pages look like…I did all different styles…they are mostly simple, but some have more of the “scrapbooking” look to them.   In some collages I would add a blank area, where I knew that I needed to glue some type of memento.  I had anywhere from 6-15 pages a year per kid…depending on how terrible/great I was at taking photos that year.  (With the exception of Patrick’s…I find a fill a whole album the first two years of a child’s life.)  Remember that I didn’t always have a great camera, and I was completely computer illiterate up until a couple years ago.

Here’s how I broke down the task at hand:

1. For each child, I took a blank piece of paper,  divided it into sections by year (2005-2010!!!), and went through my pics, and decided what events to record.  

2. I also used the little folder I keep for each kid with paper mementos…old report cards, tickets, etc…so I knew what I wanted to include on each page, and left a blank space if needed on the collage.  (If there was major stuff, more on this below, I just glued it on piece of actual scrapbook paper and inserted that into the scrapbook next to the digital photo page.)

3. I went down the list on each page, laying next to me at the computer, and using Picasa, found the photos for each event (not the fun part), and created each page (the fun part but stopped being fun at about 2008).

4. Sent all to printer.  (I did this by child and although it cost me $5 each in shipping, it saved me my sanity.)

5. When I got them back (the super fun part) I put them in order (I was smart and marked each page with the year in the corner) and assembled the scrapbook making sure I included the mementos where necessary.
I do a cover page for the year…usually a collage of random photos of that child…or again, maybe just one picture if it was a bad camera year.  Usually vacations, the birthday, holidays, summer fun, sports or dance recital, and school are what comes next.  After the school page, I usually use the old-fashioned method of creating pages with glue and scissors to put special mementos on a couple of blank paper pages.  (It  IS extra work, but I wanted to keep the effect of “old-fashioned” scrapbooking with past report cards, tickets to events, cute drawings, pool ID’s, hospital bands, little notes, etc….during the year I throw those in a little box with plastic folders with each kid’s name, and then I sorted through them to decide what to include in the scrapbook.)

All said and done, we all DO love them…even Jeff, who took up a lot of bedtime slack the last 2 weeks while he let his crazed wife work compulsively (and spent some of his hard earned cash)…he knows how I am once I get rolling with a project.  Using Picasa was just enough of a creative challenge and I was thrilled…jumping up and down…when I opened the boxes sent from the printer and looked through them.  They turned out beautiful…even the ones I got really, really lazy with.

Now that I’m caught up I will enjoy doing this SO much more.  Jeff kept saying, “If you don’t enjoy doing it, then DON’T do it!!!”  But who really enjoys catching up on anything?  I feel like I can quickly do more journaling on the pages too, in addition to the photos… I was able to do this for Patrick more than for the other children, because my mommy memory bank averages about 2 years…after that, it’s all white space, drained by hormones, lack of sleep and stress.  In  the future, I think if it comes down to it, I could finish an entire year (with ALL five) if I took a day to myself when Jeff was home at the end of the year and really got down to it…which is nice to know. 
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EXAMPLES OF PICASA PAGES:

2009-08-261

2009-05-114 A simple photo, but some great memories:  Pictures8More traditional with a scrapbook looking background:
I found that when adding text, Webdings, and Wingdings have little circles and dots that add to the creative factor: SCRAPBOOK BACKGROUNDS_115Simple collages…these are SO easy…select the pictures and Picasa does it for you..you can manipulate the photos where you want them, too: 2010_09_29
2009-04-19 seaside2 More traditional again:  (The blank space at the bottom if for the little menu I saved and will glue on later.) 2009-05-112 Sometimes I had to showcase my very favorite photos: 

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If you are interested in knowing more about how to use Picasa here are some tips and links:
SECTION 3: How to Use The Picasa Collage Feature To Scrapbook

HERE is an excellent and easy step by step video tutorial on how to make scrapbook pages.

First, here’s where you download Picasa.  Totally free, made my Google, safe for your computer.

Here and here is where I’ve downloaded some free colorful scrapbook pages I use for some of my backgrounds.  (You can just use plain old colors in Picasa too.)

Here is where I downloaded a few cute free fonts.  Just a note: I used the fonts that look like handwriting a ton, and also…I read that adding lots of fonts to your computer slows it down, so control yourselves!

I used Persnickety Prints for printing my 12 x 12 pages.  They are beautiful, crisp, perfect.  They cost $1.99 each, although for a few of my orders I made it in while they were having their semi-annual 25% of sale.  $5 shipping no matter how big your order.  (I also know that you can order at your Costco but they are not convenient enough for me in terms of location, and sometimes get mixed reviews depending on the store.)

Although it seems that ordering digital pages is costly, when I factored in the time savings, including the time it takes me to pick out supplies (stickers, cutting tools, pages, etc) and the cost of all those things, I’m totally sold on the digital way.   I’m not going to lie to you, like I said before, scrapbooking IS time consuming and costly, almost any way you spin it.
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Still interested?
SECTION FOUR: Some Picasa Tips

Here are some Picasa tips:

1. With the newest version of Picasa you can make those 12x12 pages…make sure you specify what size you want your collage to be.
Fullscreen capture 10112010 91428 AM 2.  Here is where you determine the style of collage.  Picture Pile gives you the freedom to manipulate the location, angle, size of your photo.  Mosaic automatically puts your photos into a collage looking format.  Sometimes Mosaic just doesn’t look right if you don’t have a great mixture of pics…then you have to quit being lazy and go to the Picture Pile function.  Remember if you want to journal, to leave blank space to write.  (If you are using the Mosaic function, add a blank scrapbook background into the mix and that might work as part of the collage where you can write.)Fullscreen capture 10112010 91443 AM3. I made copies of my scrapbook background pages, and then took one copy and cropped it…that way I could add a skinny little border on one side…it give you some creative options.  (Under File at the very top of the screen is the option that says Save A Copy…it took me forever to find that darn thing.)Fullscreen capture 10112010 91517 AM Like this: Fullscreen capture 10112010 100508 AM
4. The Set As Background option allows you to use those scrapbook backgrounds…or even a photo.  You can also do that for the Mosaic background…those little borders that peek through don’t have to be a plain color.
Fullscreen capture 10112010 100333 AM
5. When you are in the Library tab (see at the top?), where are all your folders are located, you can go through your folders and select what pictures you want to “bring” with you to the collage.  Make sure you hit the little lightning bolt next to the picture line-up down there, and your picture will stay there.   When you get to the Collage function with your pictures, you can drag and drop each one, or hit “Get More” if you need to go back to the Library and get more.  (Use the Picasa YouTube tutorial I mentioned above and you will understand this so much better.)
Fullscreen capture 10112010 100355 AM
6. Adding text!  The fun part!  You can manipulate the fonts with color, shadowing, size, location…which leaves endless possibilities.  And like I said before, if you have Holiday, Wingding, Webdings…you can get polka dots, a sun, a cute bicycle, a witch…on and on…and set those anywhere you want to.  You can journal or just use one big word.  Again…experiment and you will find the style you like.
Find the Text button: (In the third row)Fullscreen capture 10112010 113302 AM Then choose your font, size and color, then Apply:
Fullscreen capture 10112010 113421 AM 7. Your done!  If you want to go back and edit ANYTHING, you can!  Move the pics, add more, change the font.  When you click on that collage, a tab saying Edit Collage will come up.  Once done editing, you can save it as a new copy, or replace the existing.  (This came in handy when I was repeating the same page again and again for each child…I’d keep the Christmas page the same, but replace a photo of Santa with Matt for Santa with Andrew and so on…all the other general photos would stay the same.)
Remember, when you got to Export the Collages to a folder so you can upload to a site where you want them printed, make sure you click on Use Original Size.  (I use a smaller size for my blog and for my blog headers)  You need the full resolution for sharp pics.

I’M DONE!!!!  THE LONGEST STINKIN’ POST OF MY LIFE!!! 

For more ideas and help with using scrapbook papers and printing go HERE.

68 comments:

Lindsey said...

I don't know why I had never thought of using Picasa for scrapbooking like this. I have printed collage to put on pages, but man this would be so nice to do all the stuff and get caught up. I am so glad you shared this. You got some really good pages this way and so much more simple. Thank you!!

Clover said...

Wow I am super impressed! If you can do five years and five kids I can do two kids age 1 and 4. I keep thinking I have this great camera and some nice photos but they are all sitting on my computer. What a waste. As much as I wish I could be into scrapbooking I am not. So this would be a great!!!! alternative. Thanks for the long post!

Kennagurl said...

that was wonderful !!

Kristen Maier said...

Thank you so much. I didn't realize that you could use free decorations on this type of site and its FREE. I had a picasa and just never used it. It is a lot of writing, so in the morning, I am gonna try to read your post, but I wanted to thank you for posting about this. Your posts are super cute!

Good night!
Kristen M @ alltheproofineed.blogspot.com

Samantha @ Mama Notes said...

oh my gosh girl, that was a long post! :) Your pages look awesome though, way to go!!

kami @ nobiggie.net said...

Your longest post just saved me! Why didn't I think of this too?! Now I just need to make time to do it. I have to just do it!

Thanks so much Sarah, you are the best!

Brigitte said...

Wow you certainly have done the hard yards on this but it must feel GREAT to have them all done in such little time!! I'm impressed.
I use Picassa for my photos and have been trying to find a decent scrapbooking tool that I can manipulate yet it still basically does it all for me - and all this time it's been right under my nose!!
Thanks for your 'mile long post' - very informative and I shall be bookmarking this one to help me through my collages which I am now inspired, once again, to get done for Christmas! (hopefully...)

Emma said...

You have inspired me and made me feel so much better about my inability to document my children's lives with scrapbooking. Thank you Sarah! I will definitely give digital scrap booking a shot!!

Jennifer Jo said...

This is helpful, Sarah. Thanks.

I'm 4 (almost 5) years behind in my photo albums (not scrapbooks) and I've contemplated using this method, but I think I enjoy the tactile feel of photos better than the screen-dazed click-and-drag feel. We'll see though. My final decision hasn't been made yet---this job isn't going to get done anytime soon...

Kelly said...

You are a rock star!

Thanks for this... I will be back to scrutinize every step later:-)

Jane said...

Great info here Sarah! I understand how you're wired....used to be that way but my teens unwired me! I love the creative use of Picasa. Although I will never make an entire book, I love the collage/scrapbook page effect and it is also great to frame or use as a gift. Annie makes a lot of collages for gifts for friends - or even cards. Some of your examples framed would be lovely gifts.

Samantha said...

Wow! Thank you for such an informative post!!! I am way behind in scrapbooking. As in, I have 3 kids and I stopped at the second kid's first birthday. Whoops. This seems like something I can do, but would not have had any idea how to do it before reading this! Thank you!! And your pages look great!

Anita said...

What an undertaking, but what great results!! I have been looking everywhere for free fonts to use on a project and you really helped me out.

jules said...

I have not used Picasa in years! I just had a big falling out with Snapfish, so maybe I'll give this a go. You are really good at it. I am terrible at just keeping up with printing photos and putting them in albums! Kudos to you!

Amanda said...

WOW! THAT was a Loooong post! Thanks for all the step by step advise-I LOVE this idea but fear the time it will take. Im about oh- 8 years behind in pictures! I was sooo good with my first child (arent we all) then #2 and #3 came along and well you know the story....
Thanks for sharing all this!!

Heidi said...

wow, wOw, WOW!! A - mAzing post AND production! Well done, girl! I'm feeling inspired! :)

bygrace said...

Love this post and bookmarking it! Your pages turned out great, thanks for sharing the long-how to version!!

Sarah said...

I am amazed at your determination! I know what a challenge it is, going through years of photos. Your pages look beautiful! What a wonderful gift your children will cherish. Great job!

Julie F. said...

I have 5 kids too... and I'm 4 years behind on scrap-booking! This give me hope!

Thanks for sharing in such great detail. I may just be able to pull this off before the end of the year!

twolittletots said...

Thank you Sarah for a great post and step by steps! I am really behind right now for the girls books...I just have to figure out if I want to do it 100% on line...but I need to get caught up!

Great Job...your pages look wonderful!

Linda said...

Great job Sarah! I can't believe you're done...impressive! Thanks so much for linking me too and for the feedback the other day on my rant about education. ;)

Linda said...

I actually did a version of a how to tutorial on my blog a while back on how to do a collage in Picasa if anyone is interested. Here's the link
http://sousahabitat.blogspot.com/2010/07/diy-digital-scrapbook-pages.html

Dana @ SweetThings said...

THANK YOU for all the tutorials!!! I know it took a lot of extra work and time to do this. You are the best!!! Thanks a million!!

abled girl said...

Thank you for this post. Your last paragraph just cracked me up!

Wendy said...

So cute, thanks for this awesome post and showing us how you did those great pages!

jennie w. said...

Thank you!!!! I have tried to start digital scrapbooking but it is so overwhelming. This post is such a big help. You pages look gorgeous. Sadly I'm not much of a photographer, but any pics are better than none at all.

Ellen - SkoMomma said...

Kudos for catching up! and thanks for sharing your journey...you've given me just enough inspiration to get cracking on my pictures.

Amber@Timeless Treasures said...

Can't wait to start! And I love how you've included real things from the past (tickets, menus, etc). I have found those little things are what you end up treasuring the most. To touch something, smell something....it takes you back to that exact moment. I love it!

Gridiron Girl said...

Very impressive! You've inspired me to get started tackling 7 years and 2 kids.

Megan said...

wow, you have inspired me. I started using picasa for my scrapbooking too, but haven't caught up yet. I found 8.5 x 11 scrapbooks, so I just print them from home on our colour laser printer. Super cheap.

Amber said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I had great intentions of scrapbooking for my daughter. I got as far as her birth and never finished - she will be five in a few weeks and now I have another baby. I have felt such guilt about not finishing. Doing a manual scrapbook takes me so long...i can get my stuff out and start to think about what i want to do and not get any inspiration for two hours - so much time wasted - and then I get nothing done. I've learned it's better to just be simple and just get it done. I love Picasa and I never thought to use it for scrapbooking. I make collages all the time, too. Duh!! Thanks!

Rebecca said...

Wow - thank you for writing this post. I've been working on getting photos from the past six years collected and organized, and will hopefully finish next week. Once that's done, I would really like to check out digital scrapbooking to finish up those three dusty books I have hidden in the upstairs linen closet. You have just provided me with extra inspiration, and the know how!

Jenny said...

Oh My Gosh--this is great. Thanks so much for posting it all. It took me hours to read it all between playing with the kids/breakfast/lunch/and laundry.
I am about 3 1/2 years behind. I would be less than that if I could have just stopped freaking about it and come up with a solution like you have.
I, too, wish I had never started. But because I did, I have to keep it up or my youngest may feel slighted some day. This is how I think...
Now I can do this, get caught up and start enjoying that art of it again--maybe with a hybrid of paper and digital!

Taryn said...

That is so amazing that you were able to catch up that much. I bet it feels so good. Have you looked into Project Life by Becky Higgins. If you go to www.beckyhiggins.com and click on the Project Life tab you can read about it. It's really easy to use with pre-made pages that you just drag and drop your pictures onto. And it's $100 for a 106 page book so less than $1 per page. Anyway something you may want to look into.

Mrs. Sitcom said...

What a great post! Thanks so much for sharing -- not quite at that stage yet, but I'm going to file this away in the "Great Ideas" folder! :) Those pages look SO, so good -- I bet you will all get LOTS of enjoyment looking through them in the years to come! GREAT, great post!!

Traci said...

Wow! Great job Sarah. I've never scrapbooked until this year. I've almost completed my first year of Project Life which has worked great for me. I did just finish organizing all my photos from when the kids were little, but I plan on just putting them in albums. All the little embelishments have always seemed so overwhelming to me with scrapbooking. That's why I like Project Life, and would probably like Picasa too. Have a great day.

Brian and Staci said...

Sarah, you are so stinkin' cute I can't stand it!!!!! That last part about how you had turned into a heroin, packaday smoker...I WAS ROLLING!!!!!! Anyway, you have once again inspired me to get on the ball!!! My poor little Jake (5) doesn't even know he has pictures of himself :( I'm tottttttally gonna do this! You've made it look THAT easy...even for a computer illiterate person such as myself!!!!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Robin said...

I am so behind on my scrapbooking it's not even funny! Thanks for the great tutorial. I'll have to give it a try. I have been using Photoshop, but I'm still in the learning stage and it takes FOREVER!

Signature Mama said...

Thanks so much for the tips! I am 2 kids and 4 years behind, and I TOTALLY get your style of getting things done. Thanks for the motivation and point in the right direction.

Like Robin, I am trying to learning Photoshop and it is time consuming! I will give this a try!

I am off to turn all of the mirrors around and buy some extra concealer before I get started... ;)

Chelsi said...

Thanky you so much for this info!!! I am totally bookmarking this and will use it sometime in the future. :)

lindley said...

pretty darn awesome! thanks!

Sue said...

Oh Sarah, what a woman you are! Thanks for posting this long tutorial and sharing your treasure trove of information. It has motivated me to get on over to my Digital Project Life album and add some more pages.

There's nothing quite as rewarding as watching how much your kids love looking at their pictures!

Tyler said...

oh my gosh! I can't wait to get started. I am sooooo behind and this will be perfect for me to catch up! Thanks so much for this post.

Meg said...

Thank you SO much! I appreciate your effort in typing this all up!!

lauren said...

You're a terrific TEACHER. Thank you for showing us how to make these lovely scrapbook pages. These are my favorite posts!

Mrs. Dunbar said...

thanks, i'm totally going to do this! you rock.

CampDallas said...

Okay, I didn't even get past the first section of the long post (I will, don't worry), but I already have a comment. We are expecting our first baby (and are soooo excited!!), and I planned to do the traditional baby book. However, this past weekend, I drooled over a friend's baby's scrapbooked first 3 months of life. I found myself thinking, "Well, maybeeeee..." You just gave me the OK to NOT scrapbook, and I love you for it. Now, I'm going to read the rest of your post to see what other wonderful things you are going to tell me! :-)

Working Mama said...

oh thank you so much.....I am about 5 years behind on scrapbooking and I haven't known where on Earth I was going to find the time/money/mental clarity to do it. But this, well I think I can actually do this! I love that I can just get one page printed vs having to do a bound photo book. I would love to put these pages in the same jumbo sized 3-ring scrapbook albums I bought for my boys from Exposures online a number of years ago. Thank you a million times over!

Patti said...

All this time I've used Picasa and had no idea you could do this...thanks for sharing!

patti - urbanbundle

Ruth Ann said...

I have to say, THANK YOU!!!! for this long post. I shall be re-reading it over and over to try and understand the computer parts of it. I have 20 years of photos still to organize (I already did the first 12 years)and I needed some encouragement. Your very first idea is great! I.E., looking through the photos and deciding what events to record. Because I am organizing all 7 children's photos into envelopes with each year on them. THEN, after I've done that (and dated the Important photo and written who is in the photo and where it was taken on the back) I will choose out which ones to put on computer scrapbook pages...or regular pages... but I WILL DO SOMETHING because of your mile long post!

Brook said...

Awesome! I don't like all the cutting and pasting of regular scrapbooking but haven't wanted to learn a complicated digital program. This is perfect. Now maybe I can start digging myself out of the 8 years of digital pictures that I feel guilty about!

Brook

Christine @ {simple starfish} said...

Oh wow Sarah! What a great post! I have to do this project as well and I use Picasa all the time so I'm thrilled that you provided all this info.

One question though....I have the most up to date version of Picasa but I don't have a 12x12 option. Can't figure out why.

Jennie and Adam said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you! My kids will thank you too when they have completed scrapbooks instead of a random box of pictures and mementos of which no one remembers the date :) I'll definitely be trying your way--thanks for recording all the great tips too!

Harmony said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this post. I have been looking for a scrapbooking solution--I think I just found it!

likeschocolate said...

WOW! FIrst congratulations, thanks for sharing. I didn't know that Picasa had a scrapbook option. I will have to check this out. So Fantastic!

Vera said...

I am beyond impressed. I have NO idea how you had time to do that. I tried to do the exact same thing - except just for ONE year, and I couldn't get it done. But I keep telling myself, that right now I just need to take lots of pictures. Some day in the future, my kids will be off at summer camp for the first time, or something, and I'll have time to look back at all the pictures and scrapbook them. That's my plan. Don't tell me if it's a bad one! HA

J.J. said...

Oh my heavens!!!!!!!! Whoop!!!!! High 5! Thanks so much! I guess I needed permission to digital scrapbook all of that, too. I do a bound digital scrapbook every year....but now I need to do this!!!

Thanks!
JJ

Raluca said...

Very helpful, Sarah! Until now I thought you are using PhotoShop too, for special fonts. Right now I'm in the middle with reading your post. For sure I'll finish it. It's soooo interesting!
Thanks a lot and have a nice week-end!
http://blue-jeans-girl.blogspot.com/

Persnickety Prints said...

GREAT POST! We had no idea you can create these beautiful pages in Picasa! And please print at least ONE Persnickety Print at Costco and see the difference. (grocery stores are not pro photo labs! :) Your site is hilarious and fun and real.. and I put the wrong dates all of the time!
XOXOX
-Chari

Keisha - Cupcake Wishes & Birthday Dreams said...

You have just totally given me a brand new reason to hide out into the wee hours of the morning on the computer in my mom cave!

Kristen Maier said...

Some of the emblems I am trying to use have the checkered shadow behind them. What do I do with those? Have you come across this problem? Thank you for your picasa tutorials!!!

Kristen Maier said...

Ok. I downloaded a font, but cannot seem to use it. How do I enable a font that came from kevinandamanda?

Krystal said...

I think I figured it out. Thank you for this tutorial again

Carri said...

THANK YOU for taking the time to do this! I tried figuring it out for myself but as always, I couldn't.

Michelle, Queen of Everything said...

If I knew you in real life, I'd give you a BIG hug for this post! I am pretty good at Picasa and have been killing myself trying to learn Photoshop Elements, mainly to do scrapbook pages. To know I can do it on my good, old softward is a relief. Thank you!

And the lightning bolt that holds the pics in the tray is actually a thumbtack! :)

Johnny and Margaret said...

So I discovered your blog through Money Saving Mom, looking at your scrapbook pages, I noticed you had smaller text. How did you get that on the page in Picasa? When I add text, I can only type it, no entering etc.

Katelyn said...

I have used your picasa tutorials extensively since first reading them. Thank you!!! Do you know when the semi-annual sale at persnickity prints usually comes on. I am almost finished the pages I need printed but am not in a rush to print them so I could wait until they go on sale. I just don't want to miss the sale.
katelynskoien@gmail.com
Thanks!

Kiersten said...

I just wanted to tell you thank you for your scrapbooking posts. I have used them a ton! I so wanted to scrapbook all of our family stuff but was frozen in fear of having to learn PhotoShop (not enough time or brain power at this point in life) or the pages not looking good enough. Your simple method has helped me get over myself and admit I don't have time to learn PS and the pages made in Picasa are a-ok. Thanks again! :~)