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Thoughts on books, design, storytelling, family, and more. From my little corner of the world to yours.

Archive for April, 2008

5 tips: turn your box of photos into a book!

Friday, April 25th, 2008

my box of old photos 

I just had such a fun meeting with my neighbor Judie and her cousin Maureen about their upcoming book project: their grandparent’s story.

Judie and Maureen are at what I call the ‘concept stage’ for their book. I love talking to people at this stage! They have a general idea of the story they want to tell, they have gobs of stuff from their boxes of photos and memorabilia, they still feel like they are missing a ton, and they are (quite naturally) feeling very overwhelmed.

So, here is what I told them. These are my tips for anyone who suffers from what I call the Box Problem (boxes of photos and no clue what to do with them!) and is ready to start on a book.

5 Tips For Turning Your Box of Photos Into a Book:

1. Pick one clear story. You can’t cram the whole box into a single book – an especially tempting approach for first time bookmakers. No one will want to read the book and you’ll feel scatterbrained putting it together.

examples of a good story: Mom’s Memoirs, Grandparent’s Story, Story of a Family Farm, One Branch of Family, Love Letters, Your Child’s School Photos, Your Family’s Santa Pictures, Celebration of 90 Years of Life, etc.

examples of a bad story: combining any of the above, mixing many branches of a family, mixing too much family history when telling a family member’s story

2. Create a table of contents. Totally essential. This will be your don’t-leave-home-without-it roadmap for the entire book project. It will help you organize images, gather your thoughts, and write your story.

3. Get help scanning the images. Unless you are a whiz with scanning, this can be an overwhelming task. We now offer a great scanning price – around 250 images for $100! Even if you’re not ready to start on your book we’d be happy to get your images ready for you. Email if you’re interested.

4. Pick a meaningful deadline. And I mean meaningful. Otherwise it won’t stick. Birthday, Anniversary, Christmas, Family Reunion. If you have a reason to finish the book, you will.

5. Accept that you will never be fully “finished.” You won’t find that one photo, that one family name, or the map of that one town in Sweden where Grandpa grew up. But it won’t matter. With few exceptions, my clients hand off resources to me and say things like “I’m sorry it’s not more organized” or “If I just had one more week…” or “I feel like I’m missing something.” But when they see their book designed, they are blown away. What looks rough and incomplete in a text document turns beautiful and priceless in a book form.

Books are magical that way.

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Monday, April 21st, 2008

My talented photographer friend Kevin Delahunty helped me finally make the leap and actually post a photo of myself on the site.

This seemingly minor step took me … oh, over 2 years. Not kidding. I even had one last minute abort when I was still in LA. My friend took shots and everything and then I wimped out and posted an old photo of my grandparents instead. I’d much rather look at old family photos than ones of me!

But I realize whenever I go to other people’s sites I like to know about them and I love being able to picture what they look like. So, here I am. I’ll be adding my own version of a bio in the future too.

Kevin made the shoot totally fun and not nearly as cringe-worthy as I feared. He also took some great book shots you’ll see soon. Thank you, Kevin!

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coffee = idea

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

I love this handmade book I found on Flickr, by Spills Her Coffee. I couldn’t agree more. Coffee and ideas totally go together.

coffee = idea, from 'spills her coffee' 

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seattle creative meet up – open invitation

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

who: the men + women of Seattle’s creative and design community
when: tomorrow – Wednesday, April 16, 6-8 pm
where: Velocity Art & Design’s South Lake Union showroom
why: to be inspired, meet each other, and have fun!
guest speaker: artist Matte Stephens, recently relocated to the Northwest

seattle creative meet up: the lab

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wow, look at this popup book

Monday, April 14th, 2008

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paying tribute to a tree

Friday, April 11th, 2008

Here’s a little (month of) Earth Day inspiration for you.

Each year right about now my grandparents used to throw a party for a tree. I know, doesn’t that sound amazing?

Their Mount Fuji cherry tree spanned 60 feet and bloomed each April. It inspired their annual Japanese-themed dinner party featuring sushi, chopsticks, kimonos and my grandmother’s porcelain butterfly dishes.

Just look at this stunning tree – definitely worthy of a party!

mt. fuji 

And here they are with friends, paying tribute to Mt. Fuji in kimonos. (my grama is 3rd from left, my grandfather is on the right)

paying tribute to mt. fuji 

My grandmother tells me Sunset Magazine wanted to feature the party one year, but she declined. She didn’t want to offend anyone who wasn’t invited then might feel bad seeing it in a magazine! My sweet grama.

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accordion books, at last!

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

After much noodling and a bit of paper cutter drama, I’m really pleased with how these accordion books turned out. They’ll be for sale on the site soon, and available through photographers as well (if you’re a photographer, contact me!)

Here’s an example of a baby book, with some seriously cute pictures by Teddi Yaeger.

baby photo accordion book 

baby photo accordion book 

baby photo accordion book 

And wedding books! So excited to finally offer a wedding book idea. We can match the ribbon and pattern to your invitations, colors, etc.

photo accordion books 

wedding photo accordion book 

wedding photo accordion book 

You can choose a full bleed or a white border for the images, and some images look best over 2 pages, like so…

wedding photo accordion book 

Sign up for the mailing list (at the end of this page) to be notified when these are available for ordering!

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holy toledo

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

Toledo* the paper cutter is back in action. The darn thing wasn’t cutting straight and was making me crazy.

But thanks to a patient engineering brain (my kind neighbor Don) and a magic box of bolts (from my tool-collecting neighbor Chuck) it is now aligned, calibrated, and back to its true cutting form. Yay!

This means you’ll see finished photo accordion books soon!

toledo the paper cutter 

magic box of bolts 

*A bit of back story. Toledo was named for the small town where I found him – Toledo, Washington. He had spent 20 years in a barn on a tree farm, and before that who knows how long in Toledo High School’s printing classroom. He was refurbished by some kind people in the Budweiser hydroplane shop (in case you’re wondering how he came to be Budweiser red) and weighs in at 500 pounds or so.

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