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Saturday, January 11, 2014



Being able to pass down a beautiful scrap book to your children, one day, is a mothers dream.  You put hours of work and tears into each page.  Memory drip from every photo.  Tears come to your eyes just thinking about the contents. 

I have tried for years to build a beautiful scrapbook.  Just one.  When my baby girl was still an infant (10 years ago now), I got so far behind and so flustered with scrapbooking that I finally broke down and hired someone to do it for me.  I felt guilty at the time.  Someone else was creating my precious memory book.  It didn’t last long.  She flaked on me.  I realize now that she wasn’t making my memories, just putting them in a book for us to look at later.  She only did about a dozen pages or so.  
This was 10 years ago.

I still have those same pictures in envelopes, stuffed into boxes.  Still waiting.  I will be honest, I just haven’t taken the time.  I let perfection delay me.  My children will cherish the books even if they aren’t perfect. 

Two years ago we went on a mission trip to Oklahoma.  I knew there was no way I was ever going to get this one finished in just a few days to show my Sunday school class. 

Enter Wal-Mart.

I am in awe of the ease of the photo center website.  I had previously made photo calendars for family members, so I figured that a photo book would be a fantastic way to quickly get our memories ‘published,’ in a safe place, and done by me.

The day after we got back I plugged my phone into the computer, uploaded the photos to a new album and organized them in the book.  I was picky about how I wanted it to look.  I wrote a lot of details about what we did, what we saw, and what I would want to remember in twenty years.  Getting the layout just right was the hardest part.  It took me several days of constant work.

This week I am working on out 2013 ‘year book.’  Our family album for last year.  I wish I had worked on it throughout the year, but better late than never….

So, while I write this, I am uploading over 4,000 photos to the Wal-Mart website – and watching Despicable Me 2 with the kids, while dinner is cooking.  I will then put the photos in a layout in chronological order.  I look forward to printing it – before 2015. 

I will be working on this years book throughout the year.  I have already uploaded a handful of 2014 photos to the web site.  I figure I will work on the book at the end of the month.
My biggest problem is not adding all 4,000 photos.  You are charged by the page.  Our OKC book was 53 pages long.  At over $40 for the book, I need to keep the publication as close to 50 pages as possible. 

My favorite thing about ‘scrapbooking’ this way is

  1. I can reprint duplicates at any time – for any reason (each child wants one, it gets ruined….)
  2. I can add ‘stuff’ after printing.  In the OKC book I added in brochures, pamphlets and extra photos that didn’t make it to the book during the initial printing.
  3. I can add the fancy scrapbook decorations still.  I haven’t done any of this yet, but I have noticed where it is possible.  That is not the important part, but if you really wanted to, it is still possible.

Words of advice:

  1. Keep an eye on your estimated price.  Remember that you are charged per page.  I add 4-5 photos per page to keep the total number of pages to a minimum.
  2. Hardbound (in my opinion) looks and works better than soft covers.  I have printed one of each.  While we love both books, all five of us (and everyone else who looks at the books) prefers the fabric covered hardbound book.
  3. Don’t sweat the small stuff. I have typos (too much late night working), bad photos and small mistakes in each of my books.  That is not the important thing.  The important thing is that my kids will, on a regular basis, pull down the books to look at or show to someone.  They don’t ever point out the mistakes, they just recall the memories.
  4. When uploading several thousand photos, be prepared.  Uploading that many photos can take four or more hours.  This is why I suggest slowly working on the book over the course of the month or year.

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