October 21, 2014

2013 family yearbook

I remember coming across a pin from a blog on Pinterest quite some time ago. The blogger had printed a custom family yearbook and I thought it was so awesome. At the time, I wasn't big on photography, but since I recently purchased my beauty of a Nikon, I am obviously becoming more obsessed and somewhat skilled at taking photos.
Then I saw this post from the blog I read almost daily about how they had just printed their family yearbook through MyPublisher. I decided to look into making my own. About two months later, I received my finished 2013 family yearbook!
First of all, I want to say how user friendly MyPublisher is. I have tried a few other programs and creators before and felt sort of "meh" about them. I had even started on a few other websites but felt they were more difficult to use. With MyPublisher, I simply downloaded the program, uploaded the photos I wanted to include, which was basically anything memorable for the entire 2013 year, and then I started building my pages.

My first page lists the most memorable moments or events of the year, which I think I saw on Pinterest.
The option I loved the most was deciding which photos I wanted on a specific page, and then choosing from their preset layouts based on the number of photos I wanted. I did try their auto-fill which automatically creates your album from the photos you upload, but it separated certain photos that should have been together {not the program's fault!}.
After playing around with my book and adding fun text here and there, I got ready to order it! Again, the ordering process was very user friendly and really guided me through extra features and all the way to the "confirm order".
I decided to search for a coupon code for the heck of it, and was lucky enough to find one on Retail Me Not Canada. The coupon code was "4waystosave" and literally chopped my final price in HALF! {I am totally checking out Retail Me Not before ordering ANYTHING online again!}
As for my add-on features, I chose the lay-flat pages, with deluxe satin cover sheets {between the cover and the first/last page} and super gloss pages. With my coupon code, all these additional features cost less than $20, and were worth every penny!
And production was super quick! I ordered it the Wednesday and it arrived via Fed Ex on Tuesday!
I cannot brag enough about this yearbook and product! I have created such a beautiful and lasting keepsake. It is constructed so well that I don't even worry when my kids look through it!

I plan on creating a Beadow Family yearbook for every year since our eldest was born {2008}. Since making this 2013 yearbook, I made an album specifically for our wedding photos, which also turned out beautifully!

For this album, I chose a "prettier" inside cover with a pattern instead of a solid colored cover. I also used their wedding templates which offered many different styles of layouts. 

What I am also planning on doing is, once the yearbook for that year is made, I would move the year's photos onto a disk or memory card, and keep it in a pocket inside the book. That way, everything for that year is in the same spot! Nice and organized, just how I like it!
I love this alternative to printing and organizing photos in albums the traditional way. For me, this was really personal. Even my hubby loved it and thought it was a great idea! Plus, I would rather have a family yearbook than an album for each child {they can fight over them when I'm gone!} That ensures there will be no argument over who has the most photo albums!

I hope to have a lovely shelf-full of albums soon enough.

October 14, 2014

Pumpkin Preparation

Due to the cooler fall temperatures here, my kids got their wish of carving our pumpkins early while the selection at the store was of plenty. We were going away from Thanksgiving weekend, so I thought it would definitely be worth carving them before our trip, ensuring we would get the most bang for our buck as they could be displayed for at least 3 weeks up to Halloween.

I purchased a larger classic orange pumpkin, and a medium sized white one. I couldn't resist getting two, as the white ones were so nice! I also bought the $5 carving kit by Pumpkin Masters that was on display beside the pumpkins at the grocery store. Mind you, I ended up finding a similar kit at Wal-Mart later that week, for the same price but with larger tools which would have made my job a little easier and would probably ensure the kit lasts more than one Halloween.
The kit (similar to the one shown here) included a rotary wheel to transfer your image, a scoop, two different size saws, a pick to punch holes, and images to transfer. After two carved pumpkins, both saws were quite bent. But all in all, the tools worked well.
1. The best tip ever when it comes to pumpkin carving is to cut a hole through the bottom instead of the top. There is nothing more difficult than trying to light a candle from the top, and I like to use real candles!
2. So after cutting open, cleaning out and carving my pumpkins, I let them soak in a water bath with bleach for a few hours. This prevents mold from forming and ruining your jack-o-lanterns prematurely.
3. Finally, I rubbed all cut edges with Vaseline petroleum jelly. This will help it last as long as possible.

After 1 week and a half, my pumpkins still look perfect. Will it last another 2 and a half weeks until Halloween? I sure hope so! Our temperature has fluctuated a lot this fall, so if they end up crumpling before October 31, I'm sure they won't be the only ones in town!

As for other Halloween decorating, I will take out my usual suspects of pumpkins, vampires and treats. I keep things pretty simple and G rated, as Luca is still young and afraid of scary things.
Happy Halloween and Happy Fall to All!