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.
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.
A simple photo, but some great memories: More 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: Simple collages…these are SO easy…select the pictures and Picasa does it for you..you can manipulate the photos where you want them, too:
More traditional again: (The blank space at the bottom if for the little menu I saved and will glue on later.) Sometimes I had to showcase my very favorite photos:
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.
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.
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.)3. 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.) Like this:
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.
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.)
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) Then choose your font, size and color, then Apply:
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.