Nurturing my to-do list: Tackling unfinished projects

This post was blatantly inspired by Ali Edwards. In fact, I bumped the original post scheduled for today because I really wanted to talk about the subject of FINISHING. And tackling projects that have been on my to do list and hanging over me for years.

Finishing and prioritizing and being honest about my choices is really important to me. It’s how I structure all of my days, so refocusing on finishing these particular projects is simply about reaffirming what I want to accomplish this year.

This falls under the category of NURTURE (my One Little Word for this year) because dear lord it would be nice to get my office more organized and these files off of my computer. All of these (and a couple others) fall under the Memory Keeping goals I mentioned here.

Here are the projects I would like to finish in 2014:

  • Project Life 2014 (technically not exactly started)
  • Yosemite minialbum (2013)
  • Day in the Life Blurb book (2013)
  • Colorado Blurb book (2013)
  • Scotland Blurb book (2011)
  • Week in the Life Blurb book (2011)
  • Italy Blurb book (2009)
  • England Blurb book (2009)

I have several smaller Blurb books and albums I have wanted to make as well, but I think this is enough to go on with. Obviously, I love Blurb.

I’ve started blocking off time. A few hours tonight to finish typing up journaling. A few hours over the weekend to organize photos and import them into Blurb.

You’ll notice most of these are travel albums. My travel scrapbooking method (developed over the years) is pretty simple. Make a small travel journal to collect all the journaling and memorabilia while traveling (here’s the Scotland one and the Alaska one for examples). Then I take all that journaling and type it up and put together a Blurb book of the journaling + my digital photos (Alaska cruise example).

So the good news is, I have everything for all of these travel books already collected. The bad news is they are GIANT projects. Each trip is at least a week long and of course I took a TON of photos.

I’m about a third of the way done with my Scotland book, so that is where I’ll start (I recently realized if I want to include everything I will have to break it up into 2 books). Some of the journaling for older albums I can pull from my family blog. Plus I’m deciding right now that if we go on a vacation this year I will NOT try to get the album done immediately afterward. And I don’t plan on participating in any Day in the Life or Week in Life projects this year.

But memory keeping AND travel are very important to me, so these are all projects I definitely want to finish. The smaller ones (like about our cats or our house or some of our minitravels) I may end up letting go of.

Now what? Here’s the plan:

  1. Prioritize. I’ve got the most finished on the Scotland album. Next is probably the Yosemite minialbum, and then pieces from there. I subscribe to the get-one-done method of productivity rather than assembly-line a bunch at once.
  2. Schedule. I use Google Calendar to make sure I book the time to work on them. I don’t have any idea how long each will take, so I’ve just set up a recurring several-hour date every week to power through. And add more time in as I have it.
  3. Organize. Not all of my journaling is typed up. Not all of my travel details are collected. I have a bag of pamphlets and memorabilia from England. Somewhere. I plan to do this on a project-by-project basis.
  4. Share. I’m really proud of these. At least what I have done so far. And I want to share them with you all. So feel free to nag me.

What projects do you need to finish this year?

What plans have you made to get them done?

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Personal holiday gifts with Blurb

For the next couple days, hunker down and finish up some DIY holiday gifts! I’ve got a Blurb discount for you that’s only good through Sunday: 30% Discount Valid through 12/8/13 with purchase of $200!

Give Something Personal This Holiday Season

If you have a digital camera-whether it’s your smart phone or your DSLR-chances are you have a lot of wonderful photos of the people you love. And there’s a pretty big chance that if you do, those photos haven’t seen the light of day since you first took them, posted them to Facebook, or picked that new wallpaper for your smart phone or computer.

What if you could give these photos as a gift? Wouldn’t you look like the best most thoughtful person ever? Yeah, you pretty much would. And with Blurb’s easy, custom books, you can make a photo gift book that’s both personal and extremely polished.

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A real book. One you can hold, share, and pass on. Plus it’s so easily customized that you can create different versions for different people. Just swap in a few new photos, change the text, and re-order. Looking to make something a little bigger, like a family history book? Yeah, Blurb has ways to do that too.

Of course, this is a custom gift, so you don’t want to be last minute about it. Even though you can order up until December 19, ordering early is always better (and a bit cheaper too).

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I am a Blurb affiliate because I love love Blurb. I am in the middle of 4 or 5 different Blurb books with even more planned.

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Early bird BLURB discount this week!

Just popping in to let you know of a pretty great deal for your holiday gifts…

You MUST check out this awesome holiday gift guide they put together. Click here or on this image –>

It’s thorough and gorgeous and I am so inspired to cancel all my plans and just sit at home and make Blurb books.

I especially love the travel books on page 8 (obviously) and the planners on page 5.

PLUS: This week they have a pretty great discount going on! Get a head start on your Holiday gifts by creating your own Blurb book and save 20% through 10/7 (next Monday) with code EARLYBIRD20.

Blurb 20% off Early Bird Discount Code
Dates: Oct 1 thru Oct 7 (11:59PM)
Save 20%, up to $100, no minimum spend required*
Click here: Save 20% at Blurb through 10/7

*Offer valid through October 7, 2013 (11:59 p.m. local time). Valid for printed books only. A 20% discount is applied toward your product total with no minimum spend. Maximum discount is USD $100, GBP £65, EUR €75, CAD $100, or AUD $100 off product total. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.

Can’t wait to see what you make!


A day in the life Blurb book so far

I’ve started my A Day in the Life Blurb book!

If you haven’t seen it previously, A Day in the Life is a memory keeping project from Ali Edwards focusing on recording the everyday details over a whole day. One day each month.

Table of Contents:

I plan on using 1 photo for each of the days (that corresponds to the first page of that day’s chapter) ….

I still need to add the rest of the days (obviously) and the page numbers …. But I won’t know the actual page numbers until after the book is done.


Chapter/Day openers:

The book is going to be 8×10″ portrait layout, so each day-opening spread is going to include a horizontal photo going across both pages with the day/date on the right. The typeface is Avenir.

(The January photo looks slightly different because it’s a cell phone 4×3 photo instead of a dSLR 4×6 photo)





That’s it. That’s all I have done so far. But choosing the layout and typeface and all was just exhausting :)

Since I have photos that don’t have captions and captions that don’t have photos I’m not totally sure how I’m going to do the rest of the days’ layouts, so if you have any ideas please let me know.

Th next Day in the Life I’ll do will be June 26 (as will Ali). I thought about doing in on the weekend on the last day of the month, but we’re going to be out of town and I didn’t think I would be able to do the thorough recording I would want to.

Are you doing A Day in the Life?


in progress: Scotland Blurb book update

I worked on our Scotland Blurb book over the weekend! I can’t wait to finish it and print it up and read through and relive our amazing trip ….

Here’s the problem: I lost some of my work.


When we got back from the trip I spent a day or two writing out all of my journaling (by hand) in my travel journal.

And then I spent however many weeks typing up all my journaling ….. and somehow lost the first 3 days’ worth of text. Annoying. So now I have to retype it all …. But! I can start the layouts on the day 4 and onward.

Starting with Monday, visiting Stirling.

I may have taken A LOT of photos. A LOT. And I’m not even sorry. My plan is to fit as many in the book as I can – and BIG. I am fully prepared for this to be a multi-hundred-page-book.

If you’re working on your own Blurb book, be sure to use discount code MAY15OFF by the end of the month to save 15%

Click each image to see it larger:

I’d love to hear what you think!

P.S. for those of you who don’t know … we went to Scotland in August 2011 with my parents, my brother and his girlfriend Chelsea. Check out all my Scotland blog posts here













Have you ever used Blurb for a travel book?

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if I were a good daughter ….

… I would have finished my Scotland Blurb book in time for Mother’s Day.

My family went to Scotland in August 2011 and I’ve been working on putting together my Blurb book since then.

Between my mom and I we have HUNDREDS of photos (maybe thousands), so when I mentioned that I had started mine, she kind of hinted that she would want a copy of the book when its done. Saves her a ton of work, obviously.

But I’m not even close to being done.

That doesn’t mean you can’t finish a Blurb book in time for Mother’s Day :)

Instant Books are easy to create, take about an hour, and start at just $12.99. This is definitely a present she will leave on the coffee table for everyone to see each and every day. Give it a shot! Moms love photos :)

Plus I have a discount for you

20% off through May 10, 2013 | Code: LOVEYOUMOM | Dates: 4/25/13-5/10/13

*Note: I am a Blurb affiliate because I love the product.
I have something like 7 or 8 Blurb books in my house (not even counting the ones I’ve given as gifts).


BLURB book: 1 year at Schubert HQ

Last week I posted about 1 year of living in our house (I still love it even if we bled money the first few months).

Around the same time I started working on that post, Blurb emailed me to offer me a free book to try out their new Designer Collection – it was fate!

Introducing the Designer Collection – six beautiful photo book templates for our 7 x 7 inch books, created with designer Laura Brunow Miner. Highlight your favorite photography with textured backgrounds and stylish designs and create a photo book online in minutes.

Blurb Designer Photo Books

Create a quick, high-quality Small Square book with one of our six designer photo book templates and our streamlined drag-and-drop process.

Choose one photo to highlight per page, switch photo orientation, add captions if you wish – even import photos from Facebook and Instagram. Easily switch between templates to choose the one that matches your style, click order, and you’re done.

Our new Designer Collection photo book templates were created for us by editor, designer, and photographer Laura Brunow Miner. The founder of Pictory, an online photojournalism magazine, Brunow Minor also runs Phootcamp, an annual photography retreat, and was included in “Most Influential Women in Tech” in 2010. Laura has brought her passion and experience to create these elegant, fun templates for people who want to feature their favorite photos, from wedding to travel to fine art, in style.

Blurb designer collection

So here’s a quick look at the Designer Collection Blurb book I made last weekend….

As you know, I had already taken all the house-tour photos (for this post), and in preparation for the book I took some more detail shots to sprinkle throughout.

I used the ZURICH design and just had the software prefill the book for me with all the photos. Because I had taken the detail shots all after the tour shots, I did have to spend a *tiny* bit of time rearranging the photos so they were in the right order.

But all in all, this was the QUICKEST Blurb book I have ever made. Faster even than my Fangsana and Khaleesi Instagram Blurb book, since I didn’t add any text to this one.

Just the book title and our address (blurred out in these photos for privacy) – on the front cover and spine.

front cover:

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back cover:

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and a glimpse at the interior pages (not all):

That first gray page (Blurb puts these end pages at the front/back of each book) will be home to the first impression of THIS Home Sweet Home stamp from Elise Cripe (which had not yet been received when these photos were taken). That will more or less act as the ‘title page’ since otherwise I just started with the first photo.

I used a plain, black Bic pen (my favorite favorite pens) to hand-write a few little captions throughout. There are a couple spots where I rushed it and the ink copied on to the opposite page just a little bit. But it’s barely noticeable.

In that first page (photo of the garage), you can see the pen I used – which also should give you an idea of the size 7×7″.

I love this book.

Andrew loves this book.

I love how easy it was to use this Designer Collection template.

I love that we have this little moment in our home’s history all bound and recorded in this sturdy little book.


ONE THING TO NOTE: It looks like these Designer Collections are only available using the web-based Bookify book designing software. I would only use that for smaller books – Instagram books, photo tours like this or similar. I would never use Bookify for a bigger Blurb book about a vacation or longer story. Instead, I use their downloaded software BookSmart for those.


What it’s good for: 20% Off Designer Book Templates only*

Expires: 3/31/13

*Fine print: Get 20% USD, AUD, CAD or EUR off your Blurb Designer Bookify product total up to $150. Offer expires March 31, 2013 11.59pm local time. May only be used once per customer and on books created by you. May not be combined with any other coupons, volume discount or applied retroactively to previous orders.

P.S. I’m a Blurb affiliate. Purchasing through these links helps support Lemon and Raspberry.

P.P.S. As an affiliate, I almost always have access to Blurb discounts, so email me before you order one!


Our 2011 in objects: printed BLURB book


I’ve recently put together a small Blurb book of our 2011 in objects. Last year I put together a blog post reflecting on our previous year as symbolized by some of the STUFF in our house.

When putting together the book, I simply pulled the text and the photos directly from that blog post, cleaned up the formatting a bit, and I had a lovely small hardback book capturing our 2011.

Blurb lets you use whatever fonts you have on your computer – so the titles in this book are Lobster 2.

I also created the photo grid for the front cover (Blurb lets you make whatever templates you like). Because all my photos have that blown-out white background, I used a white background on the book and the edges of the photos blend in pretty well.

2011Blurb  001

Book spine and back cover are simple white.

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Proud of this little book. Only 23 pages.

But a great little time capsule.

Have you made Blurb book recently?

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Starting Saturday! December Daily 2012

Tis the season! December first is on Saturday and for the second year I will be participating in December Daily (an annual creative project that I believe is from Ali Edwards).

For those of you unfamiliar with December Daily (from Ali’s 2008 post):

December Daily is an album that documents the month of December leading up to Christmas day (and sometimes beyond – that’s completely up to you). It is a chance to reflect, to share, to celebrate the season in a manageable, in-the-moment way.

Last year I did through Dec 31. Depending on our holiday plans this year (not yet finalized) I may do that again.

Ok, I will also admit that doing BOTH Project Life AND December Daily albums may be a little much for me to keep up with. We’ll see. Or, maybe it will be brilliant. I will report back here in January.

Just as with Project Life, I think the most time consuming part of keeping up with December Daily will be editing all the photos.

Just like last year, I will be doing my December Daily in a small Blurb book. If I had to print out all the photos and find all the Christmas-y products to use, I would never do this. I’m a words+photos kind of girl, and this is the best way I know for ME to get the stories recorded. Everyone is different, of course, and I LOVE looking through everyone else’s scrapbooky minibooks.

But that just won’t work for me.

Last year I was figuring it out …. this year I want to try to focus more on the stories.

My Blurb book-design software still has my personalized templates I made last year:

… So that is a little piece of work done.

Last year I used that blank text space (on the left page) for the date, and moved it around for each day (see photos below). This year I *may* just leave it where it is to save time. We’ll see.

Either way, I have plenty of room for photos, and those 3 columns (on the right page) for stories. I will be keeping my “big” camera with me at all times, and Andrew will continue to send me his iPhone photos every few weeks.

This is not about making a new project for myself – this is about recording the stories that would otherwise get forgotten. Like this quick weekend trip to see friends in San Francisco. Or a quiet Sunday by myself in the middle of a hugely busy month.

Here are a couple examples of the layouts from last year in design-phase:

On days when not a lot happens, I may also journal about holiday music, food and other traditions.

Get those stories recorded!

And finally, some photos of last year’s finished, Blurb-printed book. Hardcover, 7×7″ imagewrap. View more photos here. I’m planning on this year’s to be very similar. Probably different typeface, obviously different photo. But ideally the cover will be a photo of Andrew and I …. a tradition to carry year to year.



Need some ideas for your own December Daily?

Are you doing December Daily? Any tips for me?


Scotland Blurb book design progress

I know I have been talking about this on and off for months…. so let’s just say I am *slowly* working on my Scotland Blurb book.

Among other things…. I’ve had to go search out my brother’s (then) girlfriend Chelsea’s photos and download them, go get Andrew’s iPhone photos that he had backed up for me and download them and I’m still waiting to get photos from my mom. And then add them in to our photos. But because of timestamps being off, they don’t sort correctly. So I have to manually reorganize some thousand-ish photos.

And my computer is REALLY not the best, so the software runs slow with all those photos.

And somehow, on top of all of that, I lost the journaling that I had already typed up for the first 4 days of the trip! Sigh.

So, um. Slow going.

BUT! If you are faster than me, you can get 15% off a Blurb book through the end of this month

Offer: Save 15% on Your Blurb Book | Code: FALL15OFFBOOK | Dates: 10/1/12-10/31/12

But, I am still going…. This is going to be a BIG book, so I obviously want to make sure it’s right once and not have to do a second draft …..

I don’t know if you’ve ever used it, but BookSmart, Blurb‘s book design software, makes it *super easy* to design your book…

I have created my own templates for chapter/section titles … and several other templates to use throughout the book.

Blurbs’s templates are awesome and versatile – and full of white space … I just like to fill the page a little more so I tweak my own.

So for today’s update, I wanted to show you the chapter/section title pages ….

Each DAY of the trip will be it’s own section, set off with a page like this.

2-page full bleed image taken on that day, with the location and date of that day’s activities. The template (1 template for the left side, slightly different one for the right side) were designed by me. The typeface is ROMERAL (as also used on the cover)

Some examples:

Now here’s my question for you:

Do these pages look off balance?

I can’t decide. Someone with more of a design sense than me tell me what you think.