MonthDecember 2012

Photo Book

There is a reason I don’t like to scrapbook — it feels too similar to work to me! I must plan: what is the purpose of this page, what will be the focal point, how does it fit with the rest of the pages… In the end, I feel like all the embellishments distract from the image rather than enhancing what I’m trying to say. It’s not fun or relaxing for me. But, when I checked out at Target one day, I got a coupon for a free 8 x 8 inch photo book. I thought, “I should try this.” So of course I needed a plan… What would my book be about: my kids, specifically showing them both at the same stages from birth through six months. It was fun because I realized I naturally took the same types of photos of them. (As a second child myself, I’ve made a strong effort to ensure my daughter has as many photos as her older brother.) I can’t tell you how many options for backgrounds and textures and embellishments I tried. In the end, I’m a simple designer. I want the photos to be the focus, and I want continuity through out the book. I did this with repeating background colors and photo layouts, a consistent font, white borders on all images, and the photos themselves were paired up. It’s clean and simple, and I love it. I doubt I’ll ever do one again, given the choice. It sucked a lot of evenings from me and was exhausting!


My designer takeaway: If you need a layout idea to get started, browse through an online photo book shop’s layout options. Might give you a new arrangement to try.


Holiday Letters 2012

Recently I created holiday letters for my family and my parents. I’ve taken on some new philosophies for these in the last couple of years:


1. Photos and more photos (since everyone is doing photo cards, I need to reciprocate with photos of us. Besides, photos often tell the stories better than words.
2. Keep is short and sweet. I like to give a little more info about our year than just what you find on a photo card, but people don’t need all the details. I like to highlight a few things about each of us with photos and short captions.
3. Design it. I’m a designer, and you’d better be able to tell that from my holiday letter. The first year, I just slapped some photos and text on the page. Then I did one for my mother and made it look much nicer than mine. What was I thinking?!


This year, I really wanted to make our holiday letter resemble a comic book. But, no matter what I did, I couldn’t get the concept easily conveyed. I had the handwritten font, the black borders, the popping title, but I think the kicker was the photos. I didn’t want to convert them to illustrations, and those really set the tone for a comic. So, I abandoned the idea and went for pretty and festive. I’ll see if I can’t think up something successful for next year.


My designer takeaway: I need to use opportunities like this to be creative for myself and try out something I want to do.


Blowing Bubbles with Dye

My son is four, and four is a really fun age. There is a lot you can do with a four-year-old. This was one of our favorite crafts: Blowing Colored Bubbles on Paper. I saw this online one day, and it was so simple I promised we’d do it that night. And we did! You take a bowl of water with a drop of dish soap. Then you get a straw, food coloring and paper. You blow bubbles in the bowl until it’s a big mountain, drop some food coloring on the bubbles, and smash the bubbles with paper. It’s so fun that you don’t need a kid to enjoy this one! The bubble texture on the paper is fabulous! It may just pop up in one of my designs one of these days. Also, I think I may cover a large sheet and use it for wrapping paper.


My designer takeaway: Texture… I love textures!
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