Thursday, May 31, 2012

Photo organizing and printing

I take a ton of photos!!
Not only of my family, but other families as well.
I am passionate about capturing memories and moments of life!
 But with all those photos, how does one organize, store and print them?
Well-I will tell you how I do it.

please excuse the poor photo, I should have done a screen capture instead
First of all, I download my photos to my computer.  
For photos taken with my big girl camera, I pop the SD card right in the slot my PC has.  
With the photos I take with my iPhone, if it's only 1 or 2 I want to download, 
I email them to myself and save them on my computer from my email program.  
But every week or so, I do a big download and hook my phone up to my computer.  
I make folders in My Pictures.  
I sort them by year and month.  
Then within the month, I use separate folders for each of my kids, 
events and/or holidays and sometimes by date.  
I don't rename any of my photos until I edit them.  
That's how I keep track of those that still need to be edited.  
For basic editing I use PicMonkey.  
For major editing I use Paint Shop Pro but I'm thinking of taking the leap to Lightroom.

I back up my photos onto an external hard drive.  I do this every other week or so, at the end of every month and before and after I edit any photos that I have taken of others.  On my hard drive, I separate all my photos into folders labeled the same way as I do on my computer:  by year and then by month or by name if it's a client.  I used to write all my photos to cd's but gave up on that once I got the hard drive because it's a pain to store all of those cd's.   After making sure my kids were safe, my external hard drive and my purse are the things I would grab in the event of a disaster.  Just a few months ago, we were under a tornado warning and I made sure my ehd was there as I hid with my kids in our storm closet.  I'm working on finding an option for storage outside of my home.  I'm thinking of using an online automated back up.  

As for printing photos, it really doesn't do much good to take pictures if they never leave the computer.  I used to scrapbook all those photos.  Just look at all of those albums in the photo.  But then I had a 3rd kid and all that went out the window.  My baby is 4 1/2 years old and has about 5 scrapbook pages in his book.   Sad.  I plan to go back to it someday.

It made me sad that no one was enjoying the photos I was taking since I couldn't keep up with scrapbooking.  So 4 years ago I started making photo books using Blurb.  Their software is super easy to use and I've been really pleased with the quality of our books.

I make a separate book for each of my kids.  In their book is every photo I took of them for the year.  I don't put any journaling at all- just photos.  

I worry that there aren't any stories to accompany the photos, but at least they can see the photos of themselves and their siblings.  One of my favorite says is, "Done is better than perfect."  If I waited until I had time to perfectly do their books, including journaling, there wouldn't be any books at all.  

I would rather have books that my kids can hold and look at.  And they do love to look at them.  We all like to sit around and talk about the photos and reminisce about good times.

In our family books, I include the photos I take for Project 365 (which is 1 photo a day for a year). That way it is a slice of our lives and not just posed photography.  Although I do include those too since we usually get our family photos taken every year.

Since I am a scrapbooker at heart, this year I started making a smash book.  It's a cross between a journal and a scrapbook.  I really enjoy writing down my feelings and recording memories on a small scale.

Since I take a good chunk of our photos with my iPhone and love editing them with Instagram, I use Postal Pix to print them.  I can submit the photo order right from my iPhone and pay with my Paypal account.  I like that their size options fit the square Instagram photos but they also print regular sizes like 4x6 too.  The quality is really good and they are speedy.

This was a rather long post with lots of information.  If you have any questions about anything I did or did not cover, please let me know and I'll do my best to answer them.  Also, if you would like to share any tips for how you organize and print photos, please do so in the comments.  I'm always looking for ways to do things better!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

10 on tuesday

I've got a bunch of random things to say so I'm doing the 10 on Tuesday thing.

1.  I went to Old Navy twice over the weekend.  I hadn't been there for months.  They were having some killer sales and I scored some great stuff for my entire family.  I got 3 striped shirts to add to my collection.  I may have a problem with buying striped clothing.

2.  I'm excited about summer!!  We have lots of fun stuff planned and we get to sleep in!!  All of my kids are still asleep right now and all I can hear is the sound of the air conditioner and the click of my keyboard as I type.

3.  We still need to make our summer bucket list like we did last year.  We've talked about some of the things we want to do, we just haven't written them on our chalkboard.

4.  We went to the newly opened Opry Mills mall yesterday.  It had been closed for almost 2 years after the Nashville flood.  Our favorite stops were:  the Lego store, Old Navy (of course), Claires, Game Stop and

the Vera Bradley store, where my daughter was able to get her first Vera!  

5.  I'm super behind on my photo a day project.  I hope to catch up.

6.  My husband has been sick pretty much since January.  He's been trying to slow down since his little hospital episode but still was feeling rotten.  He went back to the doctor on Friday and got some serious medicine- high powered (and super expensive) antibiotics and prednisone.  Hopefully that will do the trick.

7.  We have a major problem with fruit flies.  I made this little trap and it's working!  I put apple cider vinegar

in a jar with a paper funnel.  It blows my mind that it works, but it really does.  I needs to work a little faster though, those little flies are driving me nuts!!

8.  I made this cinnamon roll cake.  It is seriously so good.  My entire family really likes it, and that's saying something with all the picky eaters we have here.  Hmmm- I may need to have a piece for breakfast.

9.  I found the cutest little galvanized metal, chalkboard easels (say that 10x fast) at Target.  I think they will look so cute announcing dishes at pot lucks or as place cards at a dinner party.  I should go get a few more for that.

10.  I have been totally addicted to hot tamales lately, as seen in the photo above.  My husband fueled this addiction by buying me a few boxes and strategically placing them around- like by my computer.  Yum!!

What have you been up to?

Monday, May 28, 2012

throw pillows

It's only recently that I've been into throw pillows.  I know right?  What was I thinking?  I thought pillows wouldn't work with my brown leather couches.  But they do work!

And I love them now!! 

But that brought up a new problem.  We had pillows that were made from fiber-fill or that batting stuff.  They flattened very easy and were misshapen.  No matter how much I fluffed them, they looked terrible.

So I was walking through Ross and found these pillows.  

I didn't LOVE the look of them but I did love the price.  That's $13.99 for both of them!!!

And the best part of all, the covers come off, leaving a feather pillow insert.

So I sewed up a cover with some blue fabric that I love for the front and plain white fabric for the back.

I made an envelope so I can change them out really easily.  I don't have a pattern, or even directions since I was winging it and just eyeballed everything.  Here is a great tutorial, similar to the way I did it.  Except that lady knows how to sew! :)

So now I have some throw pillows that can take the abuse my kids give them and still fluff up really nice.  When the covers get gross, I throw them in the wash.  And I'll change them out when I get bored with them, which will probably happen soon. (The flower pillow is from Ross too.)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

lamp redo

I love a good lamp redo, don't you?

In my quest to continue to lighten and brighten in my craft room, I decided to tackle the lamp on my desk.  I previously added floss to the lampshade to stick photos in.  I still like that look, but with the board above my desk holding photos as well, it was too much.

The base was purchased at Goodwill.  Ya just can't beat $6 for a lamp base!

I taped the lightbulb part and the cord...

and gave it a few coats of Strawflower spraypaint by Rustoleum.

The lampshade was already covered in white and black polkadot fabric.  I just added the yellow ric rac around the top and bottom with a hot glue gun.  

Here it is on my desk.  I love the pop of color it adds!

Before and After.

Monday, May 21, 2012

vinyl plank flooring aka fake wood floors

I love, Love, LOVE the vinyl plank flooring, aka fake wood floors in my craft room!!

The carpet needed to be replaced in this room for a long time.  I knew I didn't want to put more carpet down, but I wasn't sure what would to do.  The room is open with no distinct boundary between the hall to the carpeted stairs and my kids bedrooms.  The stairs need to stay carpeted, as much as I HATE the carpet in there, to absorb the sound of the vaulted stairway.  And I still want the bedrooms carpeted for now.  So I was unsure how to change the flooring.  I read a few things on the internet about vinyl wood tiles.  I even bought a few samples, which sat in my garage for 2 years.  Then I looked at the flooring department at Lowes and found these vinyl wood tiles that I really liked and some metal pieces that are transitions between carpet and tile.  
photo from Lowes
They have texture and are beautiful.  And they aren't too expensive so I gave it a shot.

I cleaned out the mess in the room and stuffed it all in my kids bedrooms.  
They loved the obstacle course to their beds each night for 2 days.

I had to tear out the carpet, pull up the carpet tack strips and millions of staples, scrape off the dropped ceiling texture on the subfloor, patch holes in the sub floor, sand and sweep.  And then sweep again.  And then vacuum.  And then sweep again.  It was sooo dusty.  No wonder everyone in my house sneezes like crazy.  Gross.

The next step is priming.  There is a special primer for subfloors (I couldn't find it on the website, but it's in the same aisle as the tiles at Lowes) to be able to stick vinyl tiles to them.  I just rolled it on with a paint roller and an extender pole.  It was dry in about 30 minutes.

(Please excuse the poor cell phone photos.  I was knee deep in the project and didn't stop to grab my camera) Once all the prep was done, it was time for the fun part- laying the tile.  The subfloor had a pretty good line running down the length of the floor so that it was I used to make sure everything was straight. I put the first tile up against the line and worked my way around the room.  I snugged them up very tight to each other and staggered the placement so they all didn't end it the exact place.  The vinyl tiles are easily cut with a utility  knife.

I used metal transitions between the carpet and the vinyl.  It's not a perfect match color wise, but it looks pretty good in person.  I cut it to size with a hack saw, then pounded the included nails through the holes into the floor below, making sure to get the edge of the carpet.

I'm not a big fan of quarter round, so I found this lightweight, square molding that I like so much better.  I attached it with glue.  I wasn't sure it was going to work so I used craft glue in case it needed to be removed.  But it looks great and is holding up fine.

Here are a few more photos of the finished floor.

It's hard to believe it's vinyl.

I soo wished I would have done this a long time ago.  It is holding up perfectly- even with sliding the furniture around on it.  And the best part, the entire thing only cost a little more than $200.  Amazing!!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

customizing store bought curtains

When doing my craft room, I wanted light and bright curtains. I looked around at a few stores, but couldn't find anything I liked. I wanted something a little more customized then was available.


So I customized some store bought panels. And they go right a long with the chevron phase I'm in!
I found these white tab top panels at Walmart, on clearance even!!
Please know that I'm no seamstress, but here are the steps I took.
  • I cut the tabs off the top of the curtain panels.
  • I ironed the bottom edge of the white panels to get them ready to sew the chevron fabric on.
  • I cut the fabric to the width of the curtain panels, then folded over the edge and pressed a seam to the fabric.
  • I then pinned the fabric to the panel,
  • and using a straight stitch with my machine, I sewed the fabric on.


I hung the panels from drapery rings.
I hung them low enough that they puddle slightly on the floor.
Easy enough to make custom curtains from store bought panels!



Monday, May 14, 2012

old entertainment center to new storage cabinet

Now that we all have flat screen tv's with smaller stands, old entertainment centers have become a thing of the past. But I decided not to get rid of ours, and now use it for storage.

This cabinet is now in my craft room/office.  

It used to look like this back when it housed our big, old, square, weighs a jillion pounds tv.  

After a few coats of white paint and adding everything inside, it houses tons of craft storage!!!

In order to efficiently use the space, I added a wooden stand (cut from a 1 x 12 and screwed together to form an upside down U) and a power strip to the back of the cabinet to plug in the printer and cricut. 

I found a few different organizers like this under shelf wire storage...

...and this closet organizer to break up and use the space.

Now I'm able to fit so many things in here, that aren't so pretty, but very necessary to my crafting pursuits!

There is also a ton of space at the bottom of the cabinet for my kids craft supplies.

The pull out drawers that used to hold DVD's hold a little plastic bin so nicely.

I love this cabinet!  It holds a ton of stuff!!  And the best part of all is that when I'm all done for the evening,

I shut the door and have a clean and clear space!