I haven't posted in 1 year. Can't really say I've been blogging for 12 years, now can I? I've thought about this place several times. I've wondered what I would post here that I'm not posting in other places which seem more suited to my life at the moment. I'm still thinking about it. I haven't completely abandoned this place in my mind. I'm in London, Ontario today. It's after 10 pm and I have to get up at 5 am. I won't be figuring it out here and now...
I read quite a bit, but it's not often I read a book just for fun. I picked this up at the new Little Free Library in our neighbourhood a couple weeks ago, and I'm glad I did! Medium Raw by Anthony Bourdain
P.S. This is my 2500th post on this blog! (10.25 years)
My blog is seven years old today! It all started on 04/04/04. (I wasn't aware of the coolness of that date at the time.) When I was trying to think of something to write to acknowledge this milestone, it occurred to me that my blog has been around longer than a bunch of great things:
My youngest daughter, Georgia - almost two years younger than my blog. I'm so glad I recorded my pregnancy and her babyhood on this blog!
Digital photography (for me) - of course digital cameras were available seven years ago, but I didn't have one until four months after I started this blog.
Facebook, Twitter, and many other social media sites - I had to check the history on this: "thefacebook" was born two months before my blog, but Facebook wasn't available to everyone until 2006.
Wow. My life would not be the same without these things -- or my blog! It's been a great seven years. :)
Be sure to check back tomorrow as I'll have details about my very first giveaway!
P.S. Look! Spring may actually arrive this weekend.
As I mentioned on March 21, I've been printing my TypePad blog in Blurb books using their BookSmart software. This software can quickly "slurp" blog posts into it, and it allows you to easily get photos from your computer if you need a higher resolution than what you had on your blog. Since I've made many books from blog posts using this software, I've become quite familiar with the process. I'm sure I could write for hours about it, but I'm just going to cover my biggest tips and then you can ask me questions if you have any. Also, I'm talking about TypePad here because that's my only experience, but some of these tips may apply to Blogger, as well.
Tip #1: Look for missing text. Always have your blog open to the post you're working on and compare it to the text that was slurped into BookSmart. Unless something has changed recently, [edit: I just checked and this is still the case] there is almost always a problem with missing text before links, bold text, italics, and sometimes with bullet points. (Plus, bulleted lists always need to be hand-formatted because the line breaks disappear.) Here's a screen shot I took the last time I was making a book that shows exactly what I mean by missing text and having your blog open to compare. Click on the image to enlarge and take a closer look.
Tip #2: Create a style guide. If you're going to be making more than one book from your blog and you want them to be consistent, then take some time during your first book creation to document the style decisions you're making. Feel free to look at my style guide: Download ATK-books.pdf (52.4K). This document has been a life saver for me because it's often many months between making books and I don't remember the details. You'll see that my books are not fancy! There is so much more you could do, but these are the decisions I made with my first book, and I'm sticking with them. It helps me finish faster. And I really like consistency.
Here are a few images of what my books look like on the outside and inside. Please note: this is nowhere near the number of different page layouts available or even what I use in my books. For posts with photos, I always choose a page layout based on the number and orientation of the photos, and that varies greatly. For posts without photos, I always choose a two-column layout, but there are other options.
Tip #3: Decide on comments and URLs. Decide up front whether or not you want to include comments. BookSmart does not slurp comments from TypePad blogs (I don't know about other platforms), so I copy and paste all comments into my books. It's very tedious work, but I like having them saved. Also, decide if you want to include link URLs (BookSmart gives you the option for this). I started doing that and so I continue, but sometimes I wish I hadn't. And sometimes I just delete them if I need more space, or if they're a long string of characters that no one would ever type into a browser.
Tip #4: Set your headers at the end. If you set your right and left header text at some point during your book creation and then move, add, or delete any pages, your headers will get mixed up. It's best to set them at the end (and check them before uploading your book to Blurb).
Tip #5: Decide on your standard time period. When I started making these books in 2007, I was at the peak of my blogging frequency. I decided four months (about 120 pages) was enough for each book (plus it took many hours to complete those and I just wanted to get them printed already!). I have continued with the four-month span for all of my books, but in hindsight, I wish I had gone with six months or even a year. I've had a few four-month periods in which I didn't blog as often, resulting in less than 80 pages. For those, I added blank pages at the end so I could have text on the spine. It's going to depend on how often you blog, how long your posts are typically, and how big you want your books to be. Also, each time you start a book, BookSmart will slurp your entire blog. You can't preselect the time period. What I do then is deselect all posts (with one click) and then go through and select the posts during the period for which I'm making the book.
Well, I hope that helps in some way! Feel free to ask any questions! I'll leave you with a look at all of my book covers so far (I took screenshots inside my Blurb account and then compiled them into this image). I wish I had put an image on the cover of the very first book I made. Live and learn!
I started a class called Blogging for Scrapbookers today. (Hello classmates!) Two weeks from today, on April 4, I will have been blogging for seven years. Yup! And this is my 2017th blog post (in 2007, I posted every single day). You might think I don't need any help in this department! Well, I've been going through the motions lately, and I haven't been posting as often as I'd like -- and then I end up writing these epic posts which take far too long to compose. Basically, I've been recording what's happening in our lives and posting photos I take for classes, but not much else. With this class, I'm hoping to be inspired to write more frequently, with more variety in topics, and perhaps more meaningful posts. I know this is going to be challenging for me because I'm not a fast writer (i.e., I spend a lot of time editing) and my spare time is very limited.
About the photo: These are my blog books which sit right next to my computer. I get all of my posts printed in books through Blurb and I love them! I decided to snap this photo today because this is one of the reasons I intend to continue blogging indefinitely. I love having this record of our lives, both on the computer and in books we can flip through. (The one with no text on the spine is the first blog book I made. It's called 9 states, 27 days, 8700 km, and it chronicles our road trip to the southern tip of Texas in December 2006.)
I took a quick stroll around our block today. Many details of winter around here! Once again, I was shooting in low light. Tough to get the colours just right.
What a day! First, Sophia turned 10! She has been looking forward to turning "double digits" for awhile now. At ten, she has grown up in so many ways, and yet she continues to be a spirited child at times. Sometimes it's tough to predict which version of her is going to appear. I guess that's the joy of pre-adolescence. No matter what, Sophia is an amazing girl and we're very proud of her!
The kids had no school today and I took the day off. The first part of the morning was pretty lazy. It was very nice that we didn't have to be anywhere. Mid-morning, Neil took the girls and Sophia's friend, Cyandra, to public skating at the Cooperators Centre. They were finished near noon, and Sophia went to Cyandra's house afterward. She enjoyed going in their outdoor hot tub. Meanwhile, Neil ran some errands and Madeline and Georgia stayed home with me. Neil picked up Sophia around 4 p.m.
I had been planning to launch Bite-sized Scrapbooking this weekend, but wasn't sure if it would be today or tomorrow. Well, I decided it was time! I tackled my launch to-do list and took the plunge. At 1:40 p.m., I sent out the launch announcement. It was very exciting! And then it was very stressful! I quickly realized the subscription process wasn't working correctly and I could not figure it out. I had done a lot of testing and it always seemed to work for me and Neil. It was very baffling, and I needed help.
I spent the next 2.5 hours troubleshooting the problem with MailChimp and PayPal (through online chat and phone). Thankfully, we figured it out and solved the problem! It's a long story, but basically when someone subscribed via PayPal it would send their email address straight to the mailing list -- and that wasn't supposed to be happening. And every time I had tested it, it worked fine because I was using a different email address than the one I use for my PayPal account. As far as I can tell, everything works now. What a relief!
So, it's official: Bite-sized Scrapbooking is open for business! And 10 people have subscribed already! I'm so glad I followed through with my idea and didn't let fear hold me back. It's such an amazing feeling! I can't wait to see all of the scrapbooking that gets done one bite at a time. :)
Back to Sophia's birthday... It was Sophia's choice for supper. She wanted hamburgers (made by Neil) and she wanted to make macaroni and cheese from scratch by herself. She used a recipe from her own recipe box, and it turned out very well! For her birthday cake, Neil made a confetti cake and Sophia made blue and pink frosting. She had wanted to frost the cake herself, so I let her do that, too. After supper and cake, Sophia HAD to practice piano. We were out of options for this week. She's working on "Happy Birthday" right now, so that was fun to hear on her birthday.
Sophia received her gift from us a couple of weeks ago. It was a new parka and ski pants set that she had picked out herself way back in September. When Sophia and I saw these sets at Costco and looked for her size, it was clear we'd have to buy it right then or there would be no size 10s left. She agreed to get it as a birthday gift and wait until her birthday. I decided to give it to her a couple weeks ago because the weather was dreadful and she needed new ski pants.
Last, but not least, this is my 2000th blog post! I think it's pretty cool to have this milestone coincide with my child turning 10 and launching a new business. What a day. WOW.
"Happy Easter" is the first thing Sophia drew on the sidewalk when they got the chalk out last Sunday. I saw it when I left the house Monday morning to catch the bus and had to snap a photo with my little camera. I like to think her little greeting made a few people smile over the past week.
The girls are very excited for Easter. Sophia and Madeline have been awake for 45 minutes already, but they're staying in their room as they know they're not supposed to get up before 7:00 am. The cheerful chatter and giggling has been constant. Georgia isn't awake yet, but I suppose I'll let them get her up soon. I look forward to seeing their excitement!
I've been blogging for four years today. It's kind of hard to believe it's been that long. It's also amazing how many people I know who have started blogging in that time! I love that.
I still enjoy this pastime, especially the element of staying in touch with family and friends, and even meeting new friends. That's been really cool.
Just checked my stats and saw that this is my 1424th post. That's almost one a day for four years! I'm surprised it's that many, but of course, posting my daily pics last year contributed largely to that number.
Thank you all for being here. I really like having these conversations with you (even if I don't "hear" your side of it)!
P.S. In case you missed Neil's comment, Goldy #2 was acquired this morning (and I was right; the girls call our second goldfish Goldy too). So far, so good!
One year later, my photo-a-day project is finally complete. Wow. What a year! I've heard from so many of you -- both in person and in writing -- that you've enjoyed my daily photos. Thank you SO much! I'm glad you'll liked them, and I loved hearing from you.
What can I say? I gained so much from this experience... an entire year in my life, my family's life, captured in pictures -- from the highs to the lows, from the interesting or exciting to the utterly mundane -- it's all there. And it's all dear to me. Your kind words and all the photos that I may not have taken otherwise (that is SO key to this project: many photos only exist now because I forced myself to photograph something, anything, every single day)... well, they almost make me want to continue. Almost.
No, it's time to wrap this one up. I need a change, and I'll enjoy my freedom from that specific daily commitment. It was very challenging some days! And time consuming. Absolutely. But. BUT. Also very rewarding.
It's incredibly cool to be able to recall something about each and every day of an entire year. Those photos allow me to do that. I love seeing those photos in rotation on my computer screen saver and remembering all those days.
I also enjoy seeing large batches of my daily pics in chronological order. I realize you haven't had that experience on this blog, so I've uploaded the photos to Flickr. If you're interested, check out Daily Pics 2007 (there's a new link on the right sidebar too). I think it's neat to see the progression. The seasons change and my little girls grow a year older. Even our home changes a little. All in a big block of photos.
I know I said I was working on something for 2008. I still am. I'm fine-tuning my plans right now, and more importantly, taking a little break from having a specific posting regimen. Stay tuned.
Oh, and I will be posting some photos in the meantime. I just haven't had time!
*** Here's an image of all 365 photos together in chronological order (click the image to enlarge slightly). To see larger versions and my blog entries (in reverse order), open the Daily Pic category and scroll down past this image.
This is my book! It's called 9 states, 27 days, 8700 kms, and it's comprised of all my blog posts -- including all of your wonderful comments -- from our trip to Texas last year! It was such a great trip and I spent a lot of time recording all the details each and every day. I wanted to have a hard copy of all those words. The pages shown are from the day we left, December 6, 2006.
To do this, I used a service called Blurb. Blurb offers free software called Booksmart that can "slurp" blogs into book format. Isn't that cool? You can choose the elements you wish to include (text, photos, link URLs, and comments), do some of your own formatting if you like, and then order a hard or soft cover book! This one is soft cover and 60 pages. I arranged the book so each day of our trip had its own two-page spread and I only included the one photo I had posted on that day. (I have yet to do a photo album from that trip, but I still hope to do that someday. At least I have the journal now!). It cost me only $28.80 U.S. after a $7.00 discount on shipping because I had a coupon (I signed up last year and they send coupons once in awhile). I ordered my book on November 20 and it came yesterday.
...that I enjoy and appreciate every comment I receive? I don't think I have, so I just want to say THANKS! to all of you who pop in and drop me a line once in awhile. You make my day!
Also, speaking of comments, Des asked me awhile back if I was planning to continue my photo-a-day project in 2008... The answer is no (but I won't rule it out for 2009!). Though I've enjoyed doing it for the most part and I'm so very glad to have captured this year in photos (I'm planning to have all my daily pics printed into a simple picture book for posterity), I will enjoy taking a break from that particular daily commitment. However... I am cookin' up something else for next year. You'll just have to wait and see!
As of today (April 4, 2007), I've been blogging for three years!
To commemorate this occasion, I'm going to post links to some of my favourite posts from the past. I don't have time to find them or post them all at once, so this post is going to stick around for awhile and I will add links when I can. Enjoy!*
The record books (April 13, 2004) An explanation of why I started blogging. It still rings true for me today.
That's enough. It's hard to choose just a few. So many entries are dear to me -- even those describing difficult times. It's amazing to look back and see how much has happened over the past three years. While we've been thrown a few curve balls in that span of time, this blog continues to remind me that no matter what there are so many little things to appreciate each and every day. I'm thankful for that.
P.S. Many thanks to everyone who obliged my de-lurking request. I received a number of email messages in addition to those posted in the comments section. That was fun!
*Added 12:22 p.m. On second thought, that's awfully presumptuous of me, isn't it?
I just know you're out there -- it's one of the reasons I keep posting! I would really love to hear from you. Yes, you! You don't have to say much. Just your name (or alias) will do. But, if you don't mind, I'd love to learn something about you too!
Here's the deal: You have two weeks to de-lurk. This post will be stuck on top until April 4 so you can leave a comment here. Just do it! No pressure ;-)Please?
P.S. If you feel you must stay anonymous to everyone but me, I would certainly welcome an email instead of a comment.
I'm planning to take (and post) a photo a day in 2007. Why? Good question. Because I have all kinds of spare time on my hands? Definitely not.
Basically, I just want to do it. It's a personal challenge. (Some people challenge themselves to run a marathon... I don't.) I love taking photos, "playing" with them on my computer, and posting
them. I enjoy looking at my photos (I hope I'm not the only one, but
if I am, so be it). I hope I'll learn how to take
better photos. At the very least, I'll have a visual record of 2007 (oh, and something to post when I've got nothing to say).
I know it'll be challenging and I'm sure I won't feel like doing it some days, but I think it'll be worthwhile and fun for the most part. I've been thinking of doing this for a couple of months now. When I looked for similar endeavors online and found Project 365, I was even more inspired to do it.
I may not actually post a photo every day as that could be awfully demanding, but I will take photos every day and post later if need be. I also don't know if I'll post each photo right here or if I'll set up a separate blog or Flickr site for this purpose. In any case, I don't feel like searching for another method right now, so I'm going to start putting them here.
My camera has been acting up lately (almost certainly related to me dropping it on a hard floor twice in the past year) and I sure hope it doesn't quit working completely. That could really throw a wrench into my project! Wish me luck. I'm not quite ready to buy a new camera (it would be nice though!).
Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart - Unknown
Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. - Anton Chekhov
You miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretzky
You are getting your wants confused with your needs. - Stacy Julian's dad
We are weaving character every day, and the way to weave the best character is to be kind and to be useful. Think right, act right; it is what we think and do that makes us who we are. - Elbert Hubbard
I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. - Blaise Pascal
Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.
- Cyril Connolly
To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of
to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
to leave the world a little better;
whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is the meaning of success.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson