Thursday, April 28, 2016

Photo Books :: Book Making Tips!

I know everyone has their own preferences for photobook creating.  For instance, I prefer to create photo books based around each season.  For me, it's much less daunting to approach bookmaking with only X amount of photos to include.  An entire years worth would do me in... With fewer images to work with, I feel freer to add extra pages and give full coverage to special events.  I also like the idea of pulling out a bunch of books ahead of a season, to remind us of all the fun activities that season offers...

However you go about making your books, some of these tips may be of use.  I've made a few now, and have developed my perfect recipe...

  • First up, uploading takes foreverrrr.  Tip // flag all your favourite photos, or create an album on your device before you upload.  This way you won't have to worry about selection during the (boring) upload process (it's harder to select favourites when you're looking at teeny thumbnails - I end up overselecting, which is annoying later).  Most sites let you upload instagram and facebook pics too, so that's handy.  Once your upload has begun, go find something else to do, because you have aaaaaages.  I like to work on two at once, so as I'm nearing completion of one book, I start uploading pics for the next one.  Makes things easy.

  • Creating a vibe for a page can take a little time.  I prefer to have a mixture of portraits and still life/nature shots to give pages a bit of balance.  This is personal preference, but it gives your eyes a chance to rest, and makes the portraits stand out a whole lot more.  I also love giving a rounded sense of the day/occasion.  To jog memories and evoke all the feelz.  For instance, when I look at these pages from our brief visit to GC, I instantly recall the crisp clear morning, sense of adventure, salty air and legit tacky vibe of Surfer's Paradise.  It's the little things ;-)

  • As much as possible, I include quotes, phrases and artwork produced by my kids in that particular time period.  If I don't have many of the above, I'll list some of their favourite things. This also helps if you're finding it hard to narrow down photos.  Some pics aren't quite special enough to include, but they remind me of a game they were into or phase they were going through.  Sometimes it's simpler just to list those things and leave space for the most special images.

  • Still, there will always be a bunch of images that you can't not include but don't quite fit anywhere else.  I reserve a couple of pages, sometimes more for all these leftover images.  I use grid layouts, and as much as I can, work out an arrangement that allows the eye to take in the images without being too overwhelmed.  It's not always possible, but varying scale and colours (incl. b/w), and including images that aren't portraits helps.  I've also done a few grids sticking to a particular colour or theme (swim pics, green toned images), and even arranged them in downward rows of colour, creating a bit of a rainbow.  Anything to help the individual images stand out a little more.

Otherwise, don't be afraid to adjust images sizes, especially with themes that overdo the use of negative space.  Double check your book a few times before ordering (I still missed a typo in one of my books #boooo), and wait for a decent coupon!  If you sign up for Snapfish or Mixbook they will email these on the regular.  You never need to pay full price!

That's it from me.  Do you have any tips to add?

Monday, April 25, 2016

Camping :: Wenderholm Regional Park

It's not all room service and spa baths, yo.  

After spending most of January in our tent, it really began to feel like our second home.  It has taken several years for me to feel any urge to camp - because #babies.  Last summer we eased into it by staying in my Pa's caravan for a couple of weeks.  This year we went all in, and other than the heat, we loooooved it.  I'm a born again camper...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Book Review: Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

Twenty Questions for Gloria by Martyn Bedford

Oh. So. Good.  Immediately good.  Through and through good.  For one thing, I love me a psychological thriller.  For another, this was so much more than that.  It was tender, raw, bittersweet.  It's kind of a thriller turned up on it's head...

Friday, April 1, 2016

Photo Books :: Print Shop Comparison

One of my big goals for the year is to get our favourite photos (six years worth) printed into these little seasonal photo books.  Four books times six years is... lots.  So I have my work cut out.  I've completed 1.5 years, plus a couple of additional books.  I'm also working on a baby album for Garland, and a couple of other special occasion albums.  In short, I'll be doing this for the rest of my life, I guess...

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Kid Wears (+ giveaway) :: Funky Giraffe

Get ready for a whole lotta cute!  And I'm not just talking about my adorable nephew (isn't he, though?).

If there's one baby item that's worth it's weight in gold, it's the humble bib.  Many cute outfits have been saved by this handy little accessory, and many more have been ruined in its absence.  They are also the first baby item to need replacing, in my experience.  So if you have a little one and you need a bib supplier hook-up, I have one for you!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Book Review: The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz

'The Hired Girl' - Laura Amy Schlitz

Ah, such a breath of fresh air!  I loved this book, and so needed this kind of read!  'The Hired Girl' is so layered and sweet and sad and often funny.  So many feels!  This is one for the Austen/Alcott/Downton fans...

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Tane Mahuta - Waipoua Forest

Most people stop in on Tane Mahuta as a matter of course, but it took us 6 years to take our kids in, despite passing through Waipoua Forest several times a year.  That's pretty slack.  We dropped in a few months back and it was such a short and sweet detour I kicked myself for not doing it sooner...

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Quick Review - Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium

I'll keep it brief because everyone already knows Kelly Tarlton's is cool.  I'm also relying on phone pics, which aren't the bestest.  However, KT has become a total fave, following a class camp we took last year.  Last weekend we made a repeat trip with Garland as a belated birthday treat...

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The shape of our days

The education question looms pretty big for most parents, and so too for us. We took a long time to weigh up the pros and cons and sit with a final decision, and it wasn't a simple one.  Homeschooling was never the big dream, but it was never something I shied away from either.  So we made the call.  Purchased our curriculum.  Set up an at-home classroom...

Sunday, January 31, 2016


Tomorrow is the start of our homeschooling year with Eleanor.  We're homeschooling newbies, but we're using the Oak Meadow curriculum (we bought ours on ebay) and I feel like we're in safe hands.  I'm in the process of setting up a classroom space for Eleanor, hoping it'll turn out cute as well as functional.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Eumundi Markets

Perhaps Australia Zoo was a little less fun than we'd hoped for, partly because we'd already spent the morning scouring the Eumundi Markets.  Between the market (huge!) and the zoo (huger!), that's a fair bit of walking in one day.  In the middle of a mini heatwave...

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Camping List

We've spent most of January living in a tent.  Far enough away from home to feel refreshing, close enough to feel pretty darn comfortable.  We are home again now, time to prep for the new year.  But before we forget...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas is Coming

So much about 2015 has been challenging, stressful, or just outright scary.  Which is a pretty negative spin on a year that has also had its fair share of total magic, but the point I'm heading towards is that entering the Christmas season we really needed low-key...

Friday, December 11, 2015

DIY Wall Decals

I was hanging out in the school art room yesterday, and noticed these cute DIY stickers on the windows.  I stole the instructions off my workbud and today we had a go.  Not sure we have the best technique, but we had lots of fun.  Eleanor has already requested that we make more tomorrow, so perhaps we'll try and perfect them...

Return of the Elves

Elf on the Shelf is totally one of our favourite Christmas traditions, though some years I've put a lot more effort in than others.  Last year I didn't even really take photos, definitely no elaborate set-ups!  This year we've been playing it simple too, but I'm keeping track of his moves over on instagram.  The kids are fuuuuully behind these guys!  They got a note from the elves this year (we've adopted a second pal), and Eleanor decided this was irrefutable proof that the elves weren't just toys...