If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

We Wrote A Book!

I like to come up with something special for each grandchild as a gift for his or her birthday.  That was really easy at first.
The Cover (Isn't that a sweet little face?)

Then, when the number of grands started growing and each had siblings and there were toys galore and clothes as hand-me-downs and picture books filling shelves...
Opening Page

Well, we are blessed and so are our grands.  So, when it came time to give a special gift to our youngest grandson, we brainstormed and brainstormed.  It needed to be something that he and his older brother didn't already have.  It needed to be just for him.  It needed to be reasonably priced.  Well, I think you get the idea - lots of constraints.
Page 1 (A photo of one of their cows!)

Then, I saw a blog post where a parent had made a simple ABC picture book for a child.  Voila!  An idea bloomed in my head!
The grands and Mike's family have always called him Bay - what he was dubbed as a baby.

I began gathering photos that I had made which would fit letters of the alphabet.  Then, I noticed that some might be used for more than one letter - the barn could be R for red or it could be B for barn.  So, I decided I should brainstorm for words to go with each letter first.
When I first shot this photo, I was thinking R is for rooster!

I was quickly overwhelmed and called in the cavalry - Mike.  He was wonderful but he was also horrible at this.  For example, he first suggested A for ass.  Not really appropriate for children's picture book material!
Some of the images, like this one, are a bit grainy because I zoomed them after cropping them from other photos but all-in-all the quality of how it came out is great anyway!

Soon, we fell into a groove and he filled in the gaps for me with letters I couldn't think of something.
I liked how the site allowed me to bleed some photos onto two pages to vary the look.

Then, I began gathering the photos.  I had a reserve from this blog and some stored on the camera that I had never used.  So, there were only a few which I needed to capture.
This is one of the photos I got from open source.

I ran into a snag or two, like when I wanted a photo of the family dogs.  Photo hours were from about four o'clock till five o'clock when there was daylight.  Yet, their family store didn't close until six o'clock.  The two didn't coincide and I had to improvise.
I think I have an image of me holding almost all of the grandchildren and looking at them with pride.  
Glad I finally found a good way to share them!

For a couple of them, I wound up going into Google images labeled for reuse.  All-in-all, the photos came together alright.  Then, I had a bright idea that made things a bit more difficult.
Look at those sweet little baby feet!

I thought: why not write a short little verse to go with each photo?  What a great idea!  I forgot, however, that I stink when creating rhymes.
I had to borrow an old photo of the family dog and was a little inventive with the other image here!

So, again, I called in the cavalry.  Again, Mike was really good and really horrible.  Some of his rhyming suggestions were wildly inappropriate!  We persevered and we wound up being really pleased with the result.
The type of background I chose really worked well with my subject matter for this group of photos and topic.

I simply created the letters/words on top of the photos using Photoscape and my computer snipping tool.
Doesn't she look sassy?
I learned lots about combining photos, backgrounds, fonts, etc. on this project, too!

Then, entered the text using the available text boxes in the photo book creator on the Walgreen's website.  I chose a mat finish on my pages which we really liked.
I debated about what would represent our little historic town until I thought deeply and remembered a photo of Easton's grandpa captured during the building of the historic school where the local museum is now housed.

The pages are a heavy card stock which almost makes it like a child's board book.
This photo is a cell phone scan of a photo on our fridge!

There was lots to be learned about creating a picture book with this project but I think Mike and I are up to create another book for another grandchild's birthday in the future.
Okay, so that pasture scene is really more about the trees, hills, and sky background and the goats than the pasture 
and that isn't really a quilt but is a swaddling blanket and that is pretty close, isn't it?

The most important thing I learned is something I really already know...I don't take enough photos!
With the limitations of my photographic efforts, I had to be a bit inventive with my alphabet matching.

So, again, I'm resolving to take more photos and capture more of the beauty in our lives!
I love the cute shot Bonnie sent me with her cell phone.  He is so happy looking!

I also need to get the grands' parents to send me more photos of them doing the cute things they do! 
Using photos of important things to the child make it more personal, I think.
Of course, I also need to find more words that begin with X!

In this day and age when we always have a camera (on our phone) I find that I still don't shoot as many photos as I should.  Plus, I need to keep in mind that we need a variety of subjects for making these ABC Books.  
I had to shoot a photo of the bobcat at the last minute because 
I had planned to use one of Stephen driving the tow motor at the store
 - only to realize that the tow motor is not yellow!

I also need to start compiling things months in advance rather than weeks days!  Writing rhyming verses and sing-song statements is not something that really comes natural for me.  I'm far better with prose than poetry!
I do love that it can be personal and dated!

I also learned a lot about the Walgreen's website - it warned me that some photos would not look as good when they were zoomed the way I did but for the most part, we liked them anyway.  But the edge of the page is definitely the edge of the page.
I almost didn't get Easton's name on the back cover, which was my goal!

Mike and I were pleased with our creation and we think Easton and his family were, too!  We have already begun brainstorming for our next book.  After all, we already have eight grandchildren!  How did that happen?