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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

This guest blogger just so happens to be my personal favorite… I’m allowed to be a little biased because I think he has a crush on me, and I think he’s kinda cute too.  Make sure you leave a comment and like the post on Facebook because I need lots of positive feedback for this blogger!
This is Eric, husband of the oh-so-talented Monica.  I got word that Jess and Monica would be having “guest bloggers” and I jokingly asked why I can’t be a guest blogger.  Well, she called my bluff and told me to put together a post. 
Now the conundrum, I am not housewife and as my WHOLE family can vouch for, I am NOT crafty.  So what can I post on?
Ah-ha… probably the most important thing (not living) in my whole house would be our photo books!  And this is one quasi-crafty thing that I am totally in charge of.  So here goes.
If all of you crazy blog-stalkers with kids are anything like my wife, you take thousands (if not millions) of pictures of your kids, your house, your family and really just your whole life.  These pictures sit on your camera or computer, occasionally they get dropped into a blog or facebook, but for all intents and purposes, they sit – lost and wasted. 
In 2007, I got tired of seeing Monica take so many awesome pictures without ever doing anything with them.  That’s when we discovered Blurb.  Ever heard of it?  The beauty of Blurb is that they offer “book-store quality printing and binding” at incredibly reasonable prices. 
Everyone I’ve talked to seems to get overwhelmed with idea of doing a photo book.  But trust me, it’s not hard.  The longest, hardest, most time-consuming part is just sorting through the tens of thousands of pictures stored on your camera and computer and organizing a years worth of pictures.  But… and this is a big but… it’s so rewarding going through a full year, seeing all that you’ve done, re-living all the fun events, seeing how your family has grown over the course of a year. 
Ok, so what I do, (and this is just preference), is I go month-by-month, sorting pictures mainly by events.  I drop all pictures into folders on my desktop with a name of the even.  For example, I’ll have folders such as “snow fun,” “baking with mommy,” “bath-time,” “field trip to the farm,” “fun with playdough,” “Kenzie’s soccer,” etc., and then I always have a folder for each kid with all the best pictures that we have for them.  Then when it’s time to actually put the book together, it really just flies!
The great thing about doing a photo book like this versus just printing photos and putting them in an album is that you get to tell stories, explain the events, and actually add personality to your photos.  It’s a great place to remember some of the crazy things your kids have said or done.  With the craziness of moving over this summer, I got way behind on putting these books together.  I sat down to do a book for the 2nd half of 2009 a couple weeks ago and I was amazed at how much I forgot!  I saw all these pictures and couldn’t quite place where we were, or what we were doing, or some of the fun stories behind the pictures.  My goal is to do 2 books per year as soon as that year is finished.  There are so many types of books that you can do – Monica scanned all of Kenzie’s art work from a full year of school and made an art book, she made several small books documenting things such as birthday parties or Christmas.  We’ve even given a book to my parents after a week on vacation with them (yes, these books make great presents for the grandparents!)
Enough talk.  Here is what Blurb actually looks like (screen shot from our ancient desktop).  You log in and all the Blurb books you’ve created are listed. 
Once the book is created, I import all the pictures that I have from a given folder on my desktop (i.e. beach with the Motts).  There are dozens of picture/text layouts to choose from and all you have to do is drag-and-drop your pictures wherever you want them and then add the text.  The view below is during the editing process.
You can also preview your book to see how it will actually look once published.
I mentioned in the beginning that it’s “book-store quality printing and binding” at incredibly reasonable prices.  For a 200 page book, with a hard-bound cover, it’s only $48.95.  A 200 page book can easily hold 600-800 pictures.
I know Blurb is not the only company doing this – it just happens to be the one we use.  I searched for photo-book reviews and this website seems pretty accurate.  It rated Blurb as 4 starts (out of 4) for quality, but lower scores for features and ease of use.  Other sites have higher scores for ease of use/features but slightly lower scores for quality.  I’m not looking for anything too crazy, so I’ll sacrifice a little on the crazy layouts and customizability for quality. 
That’s it.  Now if only I could find a way to do something similar to the hours upon hours of home-videos we have, I’d be all set!  Any suggestions?
-Eric (Monica & Jess)
Linked Up to: The Stories of A2Z

The comments +

  1. Becky says:

    Great Job Eric! I do photo books as well.. but hearing you do it, maybe I should put Hugh in charge of it! I actually just made one tonight, using Shutterfly of a recent weekend trip we took and I took a TON of pics.. I will certainly check out Blurb b/c we do a family year book and it can get pretty costly but your book sounds more reasonable and can hold a ton of pics! Thanks for the idea!

  2. lori says:

    The husbands are definitely going to hear it after this post! I just did a photo book last night on snapfish b/c they had a buy 1 get 2 free sale…great sale but I have NEVER heard of Blurb and getting 200 pages for less than $50 is amazing! trust me I’ve tried them all… My Publisher, Snapfish, Shutterfly, Winkflash, ArtsCow, Kodak. I’m going to have to try Blurb now. -Lori

  3. Becca says:

    Impressive Eric! I remember looking through many of your books…your commentaries are great.

  4. You just made this sound really easy and cheap. I’m probably going to be mad at you when my book doesn’t look as good as yours, just as a heads up :).

  5. AmyAlves says:

    I’m going to check this out Eric! Thanks!

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