Again, I'm so sorry it took me the entire weekend to get this posted. I came home from work on Thursday with a sore throat and just proceeded to get sicker as the weekend passed. We had no internet at all on Saturday, and then my hard drive crashed on my computer on Sunday. Plus, we had to work in a trip to Nashville and a bowling party for Cass.
Aren't weekends supposed to be relaxing? ;)
Anyway, a couple of months ago Savannah from Shutterfly contacted me and wanted to know if I'd be interested in trying out one of their books. I said yes. Before I go any farther, let me explain a few things. I switched to digital scrapbooking a couple of years ago. I am ashamed to admit, however, that I have had none of my layouts printed since that time. Not a single one. Nada. Zip. Zilch.
In my defense, there are a number of reasons for this. One, I think it was my way of responding to the fact that I still have hundreds -- literally hundreds -- of layouts from my paper-scrapping days that still need an album home. Some of them are in page protectors; some aren't. I have those big sterilite storage drawers filled with them. Part of that is because I can't settle on an album that I like. Obviously I just need to make a decision and go with it, huh?
The other reason is that I was a little intimidated by the whole process of resizing my layouts, uploading them to the site, and having them bound into books. I don't know WHY that process seems so intimidating to me, but it just does. I think part of it is the idea of having to figure out the order in which I want my layouts to be arranged. The other part was all that talk about trim size and bleed size and gutters and so on.
But when Savannah contacted me this time around, I decided to brave my indecision and fears and just take the chance. Of course, then I totally slacked and let my album slide to the bottom of my to-do list each month. So August passed. Then September. And October.
November arrived, and with it was a reminder that the special codes I'd gotten would expire on November 30th. I'll admit, I panicked a bit. I hated to flake on this album, but I knew I didn't have time to really put together anything extensive -- I'd planned, at one point, to scrap either my trip to DC with Cass or my trip to San Francisco with Chris, but I knew I didn't have the time to give those albums the attention they deserved.
That's when Liz came to my rescue. (Just another reason I love her so). Liz has designed a number of stunning albums designed for use with Shutterfly's program, so you can put together special family albums in just a few quick clicks. I opted for her most recent release, Snapshots 2, and it was perfect.
The entire process was really very painless, and I was finished in just a couple of hours. That includes uploading my files on the Shutterfly site and arranging them into photo book form. Here's a peek at some of my pages.
I love how the photos look against the subtle wood pattern, and loading them into Shutterfly's program was really easy to do. I just chose the full bleed page option after resizing all my pages to 8x8, and that was it. The best part is that Shutterfly offers a PREVIEW option, and what you see is exactly what you get. So it really takes the guesswork out of putting these albums together.
That's not the only tool that Shutterfly has provided you with, though. There are also a number of tutorials that walk you through the process of creating your photo books, from start to finish, as well as downloadable templates for your pages, including the covers and spine.
I know I'll be making a few more books. Like I mentioned, I have a ton of photos from my trips to DC and San Francisco that I want to get scrapped, plus I've been thinking about doing a camping album from our various LBL trips. I'll be honest, though. I doubt any of them will be "made from scratch." Lucky for me that Liz and Amanda both have a number of really great albums in their shops. I really like both of these.
Snapshots by Paislee Press
Destination: Good Times by TaylorMade Designs and Vicki Stegall
All in all, I'm really happy with this entire process, and I can't wait to see my printed album. I'll make sure to post about it here when it arrives.
In the meantime, I've got a few giveaways for you. Shutterfly has graciously provided me with three 20-page softcover albums to give away: a 5x7, a 7x9, and an 8x11. If you'd like to win one of these albums, just leave a short message in the comments letting me know trip or memories you'd use one of these books for by Tuesday night at midnight (EST). I'll draw three random winners and announce them on my blog on Wednesday. Remember, the albums must be ordered by 11/30, so you've only got a couple of weeks to get them created.
Oh -- and for some interesting reading, Liz had a great post on her blog last week (or maybe the week before) about printing layouts and so on.