May 082015
 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been sharing how and why Blurb is such an incredible source for telling your story—whether it includes photos, words, or both. I realize that not everyone has the desire to write a novel or sell a book of their photos. Some people just want to commemorate a trip, an event, or a special occasion. Others may want to visually capture a business concept or life experience. Whatever the inclination, Blurb makes it easy and affordable to realize it.

Chances are you already have an idea for the kind of book you want to create. But in case you need a little inspiration, here are a few ways people have used Blurb to create their own creative and useful books:

Gifts
A beautiful, custom-made book is one of the most thoughtful, meaningful gifts you can give. With Father’s Day, graduation, and wedding season just around the corner, this type of book can make the perfect gift that keeps on giving. And with Blurb’s cutting-edge book-making tools, you can add photos, words, stories, drawings—anything you want—and make something that’s truly one-of-a-kind. Ideas include: a favorite recipes book, a baby’s first year book, a book of poems, a senior year book, etc.

Memoirs
You have a story to tell. Ok, so you may not have hiked across the Sahara or been on Broadway, but that doesn’t mean that you haven’t impacted lives or had interesting life experiences. And it certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t have valuable insights to impart. Even if you have no interest in sharing your memoir with anyone, the process of reflecting on your life and writing down some of your thoughts and experiences can be incredibly eye-opening and cathartic.

Pet Books
What better way to showcase your best friend than with their very own book. It could be something as simple as pictures and quips of trips to the park, naps on the couch, playing with a favorite toy, or basking in the sun, to a more in-depth life story book about your pet. These can be shared as gifts, sold to fellow pet-lovers, or just kept for your own personal enjoyment.

Non-Profit Fundraising Books
With Blurb, non-profits can share their story with compelling words and images and then sell them via Blurb’s Sell & Distribute option to fundraise for their organization. For example, Gerrit Greve’s Hearts for Healing book showcases how kids interpret a giving heart through art. It also chronicles how Greve’s students gained new confidence in themselves and their abilities knowing that their art could make a difference in someone’s life and health. This beautiful book is an example of how Blurb’s platforms can be used to support a cause that’s important to you.

These are just a few ways that you can use Blurb to share your story or promote a purpose, but know that there are many, many others. Get creative! Honestly, the most important part is just clicking on the “Get Started” link on Blurb.com. As you start the process of creating your own book, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the creativity floodgates open!

And when it does and you’ve created your own book, be sure to tell me about it—if you’re okay with me doing so, I’d love to promote it to other readers. Who knows? You may inspire someone else to create a book of their own!

Apr 302015
 

**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links.

Thus far you’ve heard the Blurb story and learned a bit about the extensive tools and resources that Blurb makes available to their book-making customers. While all that is impressive, what’s really remarkable to me is how they offer all of that and provide visually stunning books made on photo-quality paper—AND do it all at such an incredibly affordable price. It’s really is something to marvel at.

Since day one, Blurb has been praised for their unwavering commitment to quality, which is why renowned photographers, graphic designers, architects, artists, and other creative professionals repeatedly choose Blurb to display their works of art. That speaks volumes in my book (no pun intended) because, if they trust Blurb to showcase their work, then it just seems logical that I should too.

Professional-Quality Books and Magazines
Whether you’re creating a photo book, a trade book, or a magazine, Blurb allows you to choose from a wide range of trim size, covers, fonts, layouts, and paper. Paper type is actually really key to any book which displays images. Other book-making platforms may have some nice quality paper, but you’re going to pay out the wazoo for your book. Others use recycled paper, which is good environmentally, but not so great for producing visually-rich images.

Blurb, on the other hand, provides customers with several paper options, including standard paper that has a smooth, semi-matte finish on 80# stock, to uncoated ProLine semi-gloss paper on 140# stock that’s ideal for high-end photography and design books.

Digital Books/Ebooks
Blurb is actually one of the few book-making platforms that gives you complete control over creating an ebook. Blurb lets you make ebooks in both fixed-layout (Apple iPad®-only) and reflowable formats (iPad and Kindle devices). You can even convert any book or magazine you create into a gorgeous ebook so you can share and distribute it in a way that’s easy, affordable, and earth-friendly!

Price
If price is a factor (when is it not?), Blurb is bar none one of the most affordable printers out there with one of the lowest price per page available – especially when you consider their quality and array of creative options. So that you will know exactly what you’re getting at what cost, Blurb developed a Pricing Calculator. I mentioned their pricing calculator in my last post, but to recap, this fantastic tool lets you see what your price per book will be based on the selections you choose (e.g. soft cover, 7 x 7 photobook, on ProLine Uncoated #100 paper).

You can also compare the pricing of different types of books (trade book vs. magazine, vs. ebook, etc.), covers (hard or soft), sizes (7 x 7 vs 13 x 11), paper type (matte, glossy), etc.

Although their pricing is already impressive, take note that Blurb is generously offering you15% off any book you create from now through 5/30! Get started now!

I recommend sorting through those pictures on your camera, smartphone, Facebook feed, or Instagram page and start creating your very own book. You’ll be so excited with the results that you’ll probably want to make a copy for all of your friends and family (I’m speaking from experience here!).

If you need some inspiration, I’ll be sharing examples in next week’s post of how some people have used Blurb to create their own creative and useful books—so stay tuned!

Oct 022014
 

I focus the camera just so and I press gently on the shudder, making sure it will get into the best possible focus and when everything looks great I press the button the rest of the way. The view I have witnessed with my own eyes, captured just like that.

The view from my window right now is nothing but black as the night has fallen and there are no street lights for miles. The moon and stars are blanketed over by clouds that pour down a chilled fall rain.

The view inside is another story. The light on the fish tank is the only one on and I can see the fish playing, chewing, and uprooting my plants. The snails sliding along doing whatever it is that snails do. This little eco-system of green, black, white, orange, purples, blues and even pinks, all beautiful and natural.

Then, there is Tweety, my grey cockatiel stretching out after having his bedtime snack of strawberry, moving down to have a drink. Following the same routine every night. Snack, drink, gets into his favorite spot and does a bit of grooming before tucking his head in under his wing and falling into a beautiful sleep. Only to wake up if the phone rings or something beeps. He hates those sounds. He hates a lot of things. The quirks of a bird you have lived with for four years are amazing when you pay attention.

I think that lots of us feel that we need to travel to see the view. To explore the world to find culture. Yet, there is so much to see and explore right at your back door, or inside your home if you care to look. In counting my 1000 gifts this year I have reached over 1700 and most of those things are right here in my home. 1700 things to be grateful for, to gaze at, acknowledge, to realize that it is by His grace that I am blessed to live in a place where owning things is normal.

 

Aug 192014
 

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Jul 022014
 

Part of me is oh so very frustrated by my computer being wiped clean, presumably by a virus. Yes it was a pain to fix but I am more sad that some videos and some pictures of my daughters grad and my sons award ceremony are now gone forever.

I know I can retake pictures of them with their awards but it’s just not the same.

Fortunately I did have almost everything else backed up to a second drive so I didn’t lose all of it, but I am really kicking myself for NOT using Dropbox, OneDrive, the Cloud or ICloud to keep things safe.

I also lost my calendar and while that’s not a HUGE issue it does leave me wondering if I am missing deadlines or not (hoping for not).

Yet, while I am frustrated by the pictures/videos that are gone I am gently nudged by God who is saying straight into me “But, I gave you a memory and you won’t forget these important moments. You don’t need a picture!” Oh how true God is! I don’t need a picture or video to remember a moment, I had the experience. Of course pictures help to document those moments but they are far from a need.

I was going to put my pictures that I did have backed up onto the computer but then I thought I should start new, leave those pictures where I know where they are and otherwise start fresh, an empty picture folder waiting for me to add to. Thousands of photos that I don’t have to sift through to find a particular one, perhaps this is a blessing in disguise. Removing the clutter of my digital life so that things can run more smoothly and with less frustration!

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It is crazy scary to start anything new but I know that with God holding my hand, with my camera in tow, with my heart and head where it is supposed to be, focused on His beauty and gifts, that I will be able to create and become who I am meant to be as set out in His plan! Yes! I am an integral part of a plan! Guess what? SO ARE YOU!

The mark you make on this earth, the people you touch, even the ones who never learn your name or only see you for a brief moment in time are moments etched into your own cross, notches that mark your interactions and how you impacted lives, how your life was impacted.

Let’s create so many notches in our own cross that it is split into pieces, refusing to crucify us and leaving ascending directly into Heaven the only option available.

Join me? In being His child, in being a positive influence, in focusing on the beautiful broken and the amazing crazy, we are His children and He tells us that we must be like children to come to Him!

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” ~Matthew 18:3-4~

 

May 292014
 

My 200 Words and Beyond

Last night I fell, hard. I don’t normally fall but the last little while my balance has been off, and I fell and hurt my ribs, arm, back and pretty much every muscle that tensed as I hit the ground. I think I have a problem with gravity right now.

I have been on this journey to slow so that I can know.

Know God more, know myself better, know my children more intimately, know the words penned on a page and most of all know that I am truly loved and lucky because of it. I am well over one thousand gifts in the JoyDare I have taken as part of the One Thousand Gifts book by Ann Voskamp. It is amazing how many things you can see when you slow.

hummingbird

My books are in dire need of some solid book ends. They have a gravity issue these days too! Falling over at random like the earth tilted or wobbled just a tiny bit on its axis to make my books slide right over like dominoes lined just right.

I have fixed the books for now, I have watched the guppy’s in the tank all tread water and stare north for about an hour leaving me to wonder why they all do that. Sixty some guppy’s all facing the same way like they are their own little army. I have yelled at the crayfish, Sheila, to get down. Only to realize that she is a crayfish and that she probably doesn’t know her name. So now I am left wondering if a crayfish can learn and what compels animals of all kinds to face one direction in unison.

I have went through my emails but didn’t respond. I have turned the pages on my Day Brighteners and read the inspirations for the day. I have checked in on my (in)courage group and I have checked in on the writing group I was blessed to join.

More blessings to count.

More ink to put on paper.

May 142014
 

Outside My Window on a Cold May 14th

When I crawled out of bed to put the dogs outside with my eyes barely open and my brain hardly noticing that I am awake and going through the morning motions I open the door and I see a carpet of snow and I feel it gently blow across my face and arms and a shiver runs up my spine in a gentle disbelief.

I get ready to go and as I walk out the front door I look at the glass that is partly steamed up from the boy who always manages to leave the door open when its cold and closed when it’s warm. I put on my flip-flops and a winter sweater because my feet refuse to believe that the snow is really there. The trees stark and naked in the grey backdrop of a sky and rain coming down between the flakes like the sky is incapable of what to do or how to decide.

 

may 14 Outside

I resolve to the fact that I won’t be going swimming this month. Between the ice, snow rain and me already having pneumonia it just isn’t happening. I sigh in a sadness but know that it just isn’t safe.

The dogs run about and they play loving the mud and the way they track it in – I don’t love that part so much. Getting multiple dogs to wipe their feet at the door is impossible so I look at the wet foot prints on the floor that lead to their crate and I know I will have to sweep when it dries because my body just doesn’t want to have anything to do with anything but rest that I am not getting. Rest that my water filled lungs need.

Outside my window the sun pokes through long enough to bring hope only to turn back into snow and rain. At least it is interesting to watch from this spot in my bed. Watching the rain fall, the trees bend, the spring snow fall and blow, the flowers rise up and continue to grow.

bleeding heart may 13

Outside there is this life that I don’t feel a part of because I am falling apart and I have to accept that’s okay and that God has a plan for me today just like he did yesterday. So I get down on my hypothetical knees and I pray. I pray for peace in those who are in my life. I pray for this new Ministry endeavor that I am on. I pray for a daughter and her puppy dog. I pray for my own health. I pray that the weather will warm so that we can grow our own foods and be excited to play outside.

I am excited to get the fire-pit going and the marshmallows melting and the bikes going and to see the birds hopping and living relaxed, safe, healthy – enjoying the mundane. The fun.

Read yesterday’s post Unconventional Love
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