Are you a scrapbooker? Are you looking for an easier way to record family memories and moments? If so, you should try digital scrapbooking with Blurb.
As photographs have evolved from prints to digital images, so has my method of documenting my family’s lives.
After I had children, I documented their lives in baby books. However, these books never had room to hold photos and later, school work. So I switched to scrapbooking. My children got their own scrapbooks for each year, which contained photos, stories, drawings, and more. However, for me, making these books was an incredibly tedious task, especially since I wanted to make them look great. Gone were the old days of just slipping a photo into a sleeve. Now, I needed to embellish the photo, add accents, write a description of the photo, and make my daughters’ past year into a worthy work of art. I dreaded the days I had to work on them, which just added to my guilt. I didn’t want to spend the time shopping for supplies, cutting, pasting, ordering prints, embellishing, and writing. It was just too much work for me.
By this point in my frustration, digital photography was mainstream. With the advance of digital photography, the cost for all of that scrapbooking, as well as the time and energy invested into them, I decided to switch to digital scrapbooking. And I haven’t looked back.
There are many digital scrapbooking services and websites, but I simplified my life and my task of creating scrapbooks with Blurb.com.
Blurb is essentially a book printing company. They print photo books, trade books, magazines, e-books, and more. You simply download their free software “Bookwright” to create your book. Then upload photos, scans, or images and place them on pages in any layout you choose. You can also design your own layout for each page if you don’t want to use their pre-made layouts. Add text where you want it; various fonts, sizes, and colors are also available. If you’re short on time, there is even a feature within the software where it will make the book for you! As soon as your project is done, upload the book to Blurb and then order a copy of your finished product.
When you order your finished product, the book isn’t incredibly cheap, but you’re paying for the software (indirectly) and the printing of the finished book. My softcover scrapbooks are usually around 150 pages and cost approximately $50 (not including shipping) with regular paper.
During the ordering process, Blurb usually sets the default settings on your book with the highest quality of paper and binding. Just be sure to uncheck those boxes and use the standard, free paper (unless you really want the fancy paper). I usually create softcover landscape oriented books, although there are hardcover books, portrait-oriented books, and more. They also offer a pdf of your book as well for $4.99. Be sure to subscribe to their emails, so you can get notifications for sales; the best deal they usually have is 40% off.
My biggest hang up with Blurb is about their software. There are times when simply opening the program is difficult. Updates are often needed and sometimes these updates fail. There was a year when I was using their old software to create a book and new software was released during that time period; as a result, I was unable to transfer my work over to the new software and had to deal with the old software’s slow loading times, bugs, and other minor issues. The software is not without problems, but you also don’t have to pay for it. In addition, a few years ago a book I had printed had photos that were too dark and weren’t bright and clear. Blurb allowed me to lighten the images in my book and reprint it free of charge, paying only for shipping. However, Blurb is easy to use right away and requires minimal instruction.
All in all, I like digital scrapbooking more than traditional scrapbooking because I can do it anytime I’m sitting at my computer. I usually work on it throughout the year, whenever I have time available or my computer is nearby. I simply upload the most recent photos and add pages to my existing book. It’s also great to be able to increase or decrease the size of photos and text, allowing me to focus on content, not embellishments. Plus, the biggest advantage is not having to make two books, one for each daughter. I simply make the book for both of them, documenting both of their lives, and print two copies! I can also order additional copies at any time. If the kids were to lose a book, I don’t make another book, I just reorder it. It’s so much simpler, modern, and a great streamlined process from beginning to end.
I want my readers to know that this is not an endorsed ad for Blurb. I’m not being compensated for writing this post. I simply wanted to share my story about switching to digital scrapbooking, hoping to reach anyone out there that may be looking for an alternative.
How do you record family memories? Have you tried digital scrapbooking? Let me know in the comments!