Giving is the BEST.
I remember one Christmas years ago when I made a photo quilt for my parents. It took me hours upon hours with babies crawling over me to make that thing and my heart was beating so hard when I finally had the opportunity to hand over that wrapped up treasure. They adored that quilt. It holds pictures of so many family memories and I worked so hard to carefully pick out beautiful colors that would match their house and sew them all together. Oh I put a lot of work into that thing! They knew it was more than the pictures…it was a bundle of deep love and adoration from their daughter. It still hangs on the wall at their house to this very day.
Yes, they loved it. But I still think the giver had more joy than the receiver that day. That’s when giving gets pretty fun.
This Christmas I had a similar opportunity in giving. Because I put lots of blood and sweat and tears into making some photo books. They weren’t something that was asked for. They were something made directly from my heart. And that’s what makes the giving all the better.
First and foremost I made two volumes of mission books for Max. One for the first year of his mission and another for the second.
Here’s what the front of the books looks like:
And here’s the back:
Some of the inside pages…
…filled with all the pictures and emailed letters he sent us.
It took hours upon hours to put together those two volumes.
If there is anyone out there with a kid on a mission, START THIS NOW!!
Compile as you go, and you will be so happy!
Or maybe you won’t really know how happy to be because it was so simple and you won’t really appreciate the fact that you have that gem to record such amazing things.
And maybe you’ll be missing out on that second opportunity to re-live your son or daughter’s time out there serving a mission, going through all the letters and pictures and experiences that changed that son/daughter’s life in so many ways.
But if you’re really on the ball and do this a week (or even a month) at a time, I’m pretty sure you will still think it is pretty much the coolest thing ever.
And that way you won’t turn into a stress ball trying to do this thing right before Christmas in the midst of trying to get that same son married.
Ok, how was that for some digression??
I think I might have been the happiest lady on the whole planet when I was done and hit “order” on that website.
So what did I do?
I started another one. Because Lucy needs a baby book you see. And also because I’m a sucker for punishment.
But really, every year when birthdays come around we pull out the baby books that I painstakingly cut and pasted together with the “cutest” papers and quotes back in those scrapbooking days. And every year on her birthday Lucy laments that she doesn’t have one of those things. I gave up on those by the time I got to her. Oh I have pictures all right. Never-ending pictures of that sweet last baby of mine. I just have never put them together. And I figured that right there jam-packed in between stuff in December that I should probably get going on that thing. Sometimes I work best with a deadline.
So the special book Lucy and I have both wished we could pull out and look through became a reality:
And once again, I was a pretty happy mama when that thing was ordered.
Then it was on to wedding plans and Christmas prep, but when those things came in the mail I was pretty much dying of excitement to give them away.
Max and Abby were going to be gone on Christmas, and things were so busy before the wedding, but as luck would have it they dropped by before they left for California, and I had an opportunity to give them this early Christmas gift (it was for Abby too, of course, because hey, she wants to know about those two years her husband spent in Taiwan too!)
I was so excited to finally give away those things my heart had been yearning to give.
And I it was so fun to have their excitement match mine.
Lucy got hers on Christmas and she loved it too.
She has been carrying that thing around in her backpack and has read every word.
You can look up tutorials on the internet on how to make Blurb books that will be much more detailed than this, but I want to give a few little hints to get started if there’s anyone out there who is interested. (I was so grateful my friend showed me this…thank you Nichole!!)
First you put all the pictures you want to include in a “collection” in Lightroom (see left arrow below):
Then you select “book” in the upper menu (next to “library” and “develop”…see red arrow below):
You can look at the book to arrange it either in a large grid to see lots of pages (above), or you can look at just one or two pages like the view below:
You change the view by clicking on the small little icon of the one you want in the red circle on the lower left in the screenshot above.
You can add more pages by clicking on “add page” in the middle of the right column (also circled above).
There are all kinds of page layouts you can chose from if you click on the little arrow that shows up if you hoover over the bottom corner of one of the pages you’re working on…this is the same screenshot as the first one, but check out the second red arrow on the right side:
That’s where you click to give you the options for which page spread you want. It will pull up a blank template with the number of pictures selected, and you can drag in the pictures you want to use from the bottom row of pictures in that collection.
See where it says “text pages” in that menu up there (next to where the right arrow is pointing)?
That’s what you select if you are pasting in a letter from an email (it just gives you a blank page you can paste text into).
There are lots of pages in Max’s books where it is a full page of text.
When you’re done, you click “send to Blurb” and then you do a little celebration and wait for that precious book to arrive in the mail. There are all kinds of deals and specials that Blurb runs, so I figure as I go forward I’ll get books made and ready to go, and then order when a good deal comes through.
And oh my goodness that right there just sounded so much like a sponsored post. And I have to say that I wish it was! I wish Blurb would give me all kinds of free stuff for writing about this whiz-bang program that, if practiced, could make a world of difference in my life. But alas, they have no idea who I am. I just want to share a good thing when I find it:)
Ok, so did I confuse more than I helped? It is midnight so that could very well be the case. Maybe I’ll come try to clarify tomorrow. But for now I just wanted to share a little snippet into that world of making printed books because in our day and age, there are SO many digital pictures. They are filling up our hard drives, our phones and computers. And what’s going to happen to them? Will we ever see them again? Will our kids ever see them?
I think there are some pictures that deserve to be printed. To have sitting on a coffee table or a night stand. To be loved and to trigger memories of beautiful things, or of what our children are too young to remember. Things that make them THEM.
And if you can put those memories together in a book and give them away to someone who will love them, it will make your heart beat with love and excitement. And I think that’s good for the soul.