Hi.

Welcome to my blog! I write, and take photos, and use Photoshop every day. I love learning and surprises and my sweet family and being a transplanted southerner.

Free 4x6 Photo Template, Plus Win an Epson PictureMate Charm!

Okay, so we have been back from our summer trip for about 6 weeks now, but I feel like with prepping for and starting school, prepping for and attending Spraguefest, that I am just getting the chance to breathe and get some photos taken of our books. AND I have been working out a super surprize JUST FOR YOU!

As I  mentioned while we were on our 2 1/2 week odyssey to the Western U.S., I brought along a little tool that was an amazing friend on the trip: An Epson PictureMate Charm. I had such a great experience using it, that I would like to GIVE ONE AWAY this week! YAY! (That’s at the end of this post).

I brought the printer along as an experiment - to see what it would be like to make a travel scrapbook in as close to real-time as possible. The goal was to capture photos among myself, Jared, and the kids, and then print them out in the evenings to glue them in to the books.

I started with three books - one for myself 8x10 and one for each kid, 5x7. They are the hardcover wirebound sketchbooks you can find in any craft or art store.

Honestly the biggest mistake I made was not starting with predone backgrounds. I brought paper with me to cut down and glue in, and it took up way too much valuable photoshop/print/glue time. But aside from that, we got the process down pretty well!

Each evening I would gather up everyone’s devices (two phones, my big camera, and the replacement ‘kid camera’) and dump the photos off onto my laptop. Then I’d go through them to add selected ones to my Photoshop document for printing.

Here are a few photos of my book. The edge of the book. A few fancies there - tabs for the dates and one ruffle. Note that there is only one…

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While we were on the plane, Rowen and I took out the Southwest Airlines maps in the back of the plane magazine and glued them in to our books. Then we traced the route we were taking.

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I got super lucky with timing - it just happened that several companies released really cute travel-themed product during this time. Here’s a cute travel log I filled out for each piece of the trip.

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Then the book starts with some pics of the airport and the plane. My kids hadn’t ridden on a plane in several years, and so didn’t remember it - they were both nervous and excited, and they did great. You’ll notice the fairly bad quality of the pics in these first pages - somehow between the rental car from Salt Lake and getting to my parents’ house in Idaho, we lost the camera we’d been taking photos with. Not my big one - no, sweet mercy. But the Canon PowerShot that we were letting the kids use as well. So the only shots of airport and plane and Salt Lake are from Jared’s phone. Just another reason to double up on those photo devices, right? :)

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We spent most of the day in Salt Lake, seeing Temple Square, visiting the Conference Center there, eating lunch, and meeting up for a playdate/meeting with Heidi Swapp at the park before heading up to Idaho. I used a map from a tour book in the hotel.

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Very simple structure for most of the pages - since I was rocking a 4x6 printer, I chose to either print a 4x6 (if it was a really special print), or for most of the pics, to do two 3x3 photos on a single 4x6 sheet. I created a quick template in Photoshop, clipped the photos in, and sent them to the printer. A few seconds to dry and they were ready to glue in.

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Here’s a shot of my printer/laptop setup in one of the hotel rooms - this one between Idaho and Oregon about halfway through the trip. Everyone else was sleeping, and I was up blogging and printing pics! It was awesome. :)

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I spent extra time at each place we went collecting things like maps, a postcard, a ticket, a receipt. Knowing it would make my book a lot cooler in the end. I made a pocket for this map by cutting one of the book pages in half and then gluing it to the page behind it, leaving the top open. That’s my cute brother and his super-cute son Emerson there reading the map. :)

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Went a little nuts with pics at the zoo! LOL. But you can see that I was able to get two 3x3s side by side on a page, so they didn’t take up TOO much space.

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Here is a shot of the setup at my in-law’s beach house, where we stayed overnight while we were in Oregon. Mostly this is a really good shot of a can of Diet Mt. Dew. But that is ALWAYS part of any setup when it involves me. ;)

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Here are Rowen and Grandma helping make the scrapbooks.

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One of the best parts of this was watching the kids’ eyes light up when they saw the pictures they had just taken, or were gluing such a recent memory into their book. And speaking of their books - I snapped a few pics of Rowen’s book.

I made Rowen’s book a little more like a workbook, where she could answer questions and draw her own pictures alongside the photographs. Here’s the first page:

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And her self-portrait:

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I just handed Rowen the cut photos, and she could glue them in wherever she wanted, as well as add her own artwork:

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She started collecting things to put in her book as well - such as saving her luggage receipt from the plane to put with her photos of the plane ride:

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Overall, the trip was incredible. And I would definitely bring a PictureMate along with me again - and definitely will, the next time we are on a trip. It is SUCH a cool way to bridge the time gap that happens between taking the photo and actually telling the story. It was a cool way to get my kids involved in telling the story from their perspective as well, and now I have three precious books for remembering.

Free 4x6x2 Template

I thought you might like to have the template I made for putting two 3x3 photos (framed in rounded black with some cool texture on them) onto a single 4x6 photo print. It looks like this (after printing, you’ll just cut off the extra inch of white). These can be printed on a 4x6 printer like the PictureMate, or can be uploaded to any photo printing service to get back some really cool rounded-square images. :)

Click here to download the 4x6x2 template.

Win an Epson Picturemate Charm

Okay, so are you ready to WIN an Epson PictureMate Charm to take with YOU on your next trip? Or take to the park? (Did you know it has a battery attachment?) Printing 4x6 prints could NOT be easier on this. I absolutely LOVED it. And the cost is very reasonable - one box buys you the ink cartridge and 150 sheets of photo paper, so there’s no running out of ink in the middle of the night. :)

All you need to do is leave me a comment before midnight on Friday the 21st of October (Eastern time), telling me WHERE YOU WOULD TAKE YOUR PICTUREMATE. And one lucky winner will get to do just that. Love it! Epson will ship this sweet little guy straight to your door to begin enjoying it! (Entries only accepted from within the U.S., please).

Alright, WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE YOUR PICTUREMATE?

Can’t wait to hear all about it! Let’s think up some unique places! :)

And the PictureMate Goes To...

6 Week Countdown to Spraguefest!