Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blog Book

Its quite possible I say it too often, but I'm so thankful for the gift that blogging has been to me.  It serves so many purposes, but my first priority with it has always been to journal and record our lives where we are at right now.   Well before I began blogging, it was important to me to record our lives as the years slip by.  When the children came along I stepped up my efforts considerably, knowing that this time would be gone in an instant.  For some people, its not as much of a priority, which is fine, but for me it is essential.  Maybe its because my memory is not as keen as I'd like.

At any rate, the process of recording everything has changed through the years...Here are some examples

2004.  The first year I documented by month.  Somehow that is/was a system that just made sense to me.  As you can see, nothing too fancy...

I never got very accomplished at the scrapbooking thing and lost patience with it very easily.  The materials, the mess, the time.

Then at the end, I would tuck in a write-up of the year, using my calendar/planner, my memory and the scattered journal entries I had.  It worked.

Then in 2007, I decided to stop trying to pretend I was a scrapbooker and I went digital,  My love for 
Shutterfly books was born.  
Again, a spread for each month.  It worked.

And THEN, in the spring of 2008, I began blogging.  At the end of the year, I used Blurb to create a book from my blog.  Its pretty cool...it takes all your blog posts and "slurps" them into their system.  I was so incredibly excited when my book arrived and I had 155 pages of pictures and stories of our every day lives documented and bound into a hardcover book.

 It worked.

And THEN in 2009 I started doing Project 365 (as you are all aware...thanks so much for your support, btw...I love doing it, but it really is harder than it looks, so its nice to occasionally hear that others are enjoying it too) and with P365, I found the Blurb format just did not work how I was hoping it would.  I got discouraged and so 2010 came and went without my 2009 book getting printed.  And so, it got thrown on the 2011 resolution list to figure it out, bite the bullet and get it done.

When I revisited it, I realized I would basically have to format every single page...all 388.  I took a deep breath, made the cross sign and started in, knowing, in the end, it would be totally worth it, but still wondering where the 30? 40? hours would come from.  At one point I thought there has GOT to be a better way...its not like I'm the only one who has a blog and would like to keep it for posterity OR that they are a new invention.

So, I asked my friend Google what he thought and I found Blog2Print.  In roughly 3 minutes (yes, minutes, not days!!) it spit out a book for me.   Really.  I had quite a few cover choices, had the option to add a title page and a couple other decisions and that was it.  My 2009 had to be split into two books because there were too many pages for one book.  I was a little skeptical of the quality, so I only ordered one.  It arrived today, ahead of schedule and I'm very happy with it!  This is January-July, 266 pages:

 I really like the way it handles my Project 365 posts.  Its not perfect, but...it works.

 Side by side...
I am a believer in Blog2Print now, at least for the way my blog is set up.  Again, its not perfect, but for doing NO formatting, I think its great.  If anyone is looking for a business venture, I think there is a big hole in the market for turning blogs into books (and a high demand, I would assume).

If recording your life is important to you, I would encourage you to find a way that works for you.  It doesn't need to be complicated or fancy or 500 pages, just find something that works.  I am very thankful for my 25 pages 2007 book.  I know its not for everyone, and thats ok!  But if it is a priority to you, in the words of Nike, Just Do It!  :)

I would love to hear what method works for you?  Are you an accomplished old-school scrapbooker (I know several who are aMAZing)?  Do you print photos and add them to an album (or stick them in a shoebox)?  Do you keep a hand-written journal or typed on the computer?  Have you gone digital?  Which blog book company do you use?  Please share!  I know my system has a lot of room for improvement.


Connie said...

Thanks so much for this blog book post. I'm gonna try it out cause the Blurb site was NOT working for me. I spent HOURS and had only scratched the surface.

Meg A. said...

I am SO glad you posted this! I worked on my 2009 book with Blurb and only got halfway through. It was just way too time consuming.

LuAnn said...

Oh I love this post !!!
I have pictures in boxes, bags, some scrape booked and now the past 7 years (that is when we got a our new camera) all of my pics are on a hard rive box that Joel downloads too.
I get enlargements done - they are all over the house. But this book sounds great. Expensive ???

sara said...

well you know I use blurb for my P365. but I may have to look into this for my blog. I did not print out last year's blog because I just couldn't face the hours of work it was going to take. thanks for the tip!!!

And i thin you are right..big hole in the market...I wish I knew how to do that!!!

Amy said...

OH SO HAPPY!!!!!! I'll be working on mine tomorrow. So glad to hear I can kiss Blurb good-bye!

{Thirty} Little Piggies said...

I'm thrilled to take a look at this new option for blog books! THANKS for sharing!!

I'm a big-time scrapbooker and have so many albums filled with memories of our family. Those albums are among my most precious possessions. You probably feel that way about your blog books!

Again, thanks for the advice. Your books look AMAZING!

momma frans said...

ok, disregard my question on the 365 post. I found this. :-) tha ms you so. uch for posting is review and showing the two side by side. I've used blurb, too but it takes for.e.ver. to get it all done with having to go thru and format it all myself. I've never heard of blog2book, but will absolutely look into it for this years book!!

rita said...

Very helpful post!
Like you I consider it essential to record our family history.
During our missionary-nomadic-and-raising-children years I kept all papers and photos and hawled them around, but no time or way to gather them in a meaningul way.
Since settling in the US I have gone through various stages.
--film cameras-->prints-->several years of scrapbooks or albums with plastic pockets for photos
--digital photography was an unwanted interruption for a while, I had to learn a new way.
Same with the series of cameras and computers. Many changes, much to learn. Learn one, get a system going, then a change, again!
--Blogging has been a wonderful means!
I am encouraged to go back and put each year into book format. The grandkids LOVE to go through the albums I do have.
--Now I am also tackling the archives of the forgotten years going back by decades. The goal this year is to go through the years ending in 1--2001, 1991, 1981, 1971.

Question: Blog2Print does not allow any editing?

Darla said...

i am so glad i have gone back to read all of your posts that i have missed. i did blurb last year and it was pretty complicated this year for me too. my book is unfinished and in waiting...still. i will def. check out this other site you mentioned. whatever is easiest is what i will use. that is my rule in life usually. thanks for sharing. :)