Thursday, December 27, 2012

Stuff I Love: Blurb Instagram books

Now that the year is coming to a close, I know a lot of you are thinking ahead for your 2013 New Years Resolutions. One of my resolutions for the past two years was to "Take a daily photo of my kid(s)" and that I did do. At the beginning of last year, I put together 2011's photos into a Blurb Instagram book and I loved it so much that I want to share it with you guys, in case you are thinking of doing something similar.

For the first year that I had an iPhone, I would just take tons and tons of pictures, but the problem was that they weren't great enough to be printed out, and yet I didn't want to lose them in the Photo Stream forever. I decided to pick one photo that I liked best every day, had it uploaded it to my Instagram account (a separate account used solely for daily pictures) and then I organized them into months. Back when I started, Instagram only had like 5 filters, so I've been using the "Earlybird" filter (with the frame, since back then there was no option to remove it) for two years, but I'll likely pick a new filter for 2013.

Right now, I'm taking a photo of the two kids together everyday, which is proving to be quite a challenge because neither kid can sit still, but I can't wait until December 31st so I can finish up my Blurb Instagram book for 2012 and send it off to be printed and bound.

I highly highly recommend doing something like this, so you can look back and see what you did every day, and it's such a great way to recap the year. Even if you don't have kids, you can still do a "daily photo" book, it's just a really nice way to see your year in 365 snapshots. Even though this book above is from 2011, P still looks though it and points out to me what he was doing in all the photos, which is really fun. Plus, putting together an Instagram book is a lot less stressful than doing full-out photo albums.

Here are some tips on what worked for me:
  1. I create a new Instagram account every year for photos, just so it's easier to manage 365 photos, than to have to sort through hundreds and hundreds of photos and pick out the ones from the year. Instagram doesn't make it easy to manage more than one account, so I just have to sign in and out of my multiple accounts.
  2. I use a Calendar app (this one) on my phone so I can see what date each photo was taken since Apple doesn't make it easy to see that information and I can't remember the exact day that most photos are taken. I usually just go in once a week or so and do 6 or 7 photos at a time, doing it daily would be tedious. I title each photo with the date so it's easier to order them properly.
  3. Blurb has two options for book-making. One is the online Bookify, which you can sign into your Instagram account and directly import your photos in, but managing the layout is pretty annoying. Two is the BookSmart program that you download to your computer, and you have more control over layout, but you cannot directly import from Instagram. I used the online Bookify interface, and uploaded the four photos into the page, and then change the layout to the four squares. They don't allow you to select the layout until AFTER you've dragged in the photos, so for the pages that only needed 1, 2, or 3 photos, but I still wanted to preserve the four square layout, I had to create a transparent .png image that I dragged into the blank squares. Does that sound super confusing? If you're doing it and need help, please feel free to email me!
  4. If you don't have a smart phone with Instagram, you can still create Blurb books from regular digital photos, or directly import from Facebook, though I really like how neat and clean the square photos look, so I'm sticking with Instagram.
  5. If you use the online Bookify, and you start your book in the middle of the year, you'll need to make sure to sign in and edit your book every 45 days, or else they delete unfinished books! I learned this the hard way, though I was able to email Blurb customer support and they were able to recover my deleted book.
  6. Since this year's (2012) book will be of the two kids together, I'm printing out two copies of the book and storing the extra copy in a safe place. When the kids are all grown up, they'll each get their own copy and be able to look back at their childhood pictures. I'm doing the same for all of our family albums.
In case you are curious, the 2011 book was around 108 pages, and it cost around $50 with the hardcover and premium paper upgrade, but Blurb is always running 20% promotions so it could be cheaper.

Let me know if you make a book as well! And of course, feel free to ask me any questions :)

Happy New Year!

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for my book with my own money, I just loved it so much that I wanted to share!


  1. What a fantastic idea, Kimmie. Thank you so much for sharing. I have to do something like this NOW!

  2. This is brilliant! I always get bogged down by journal-type scrapbooking, but this seems like something I can handle. Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. That's great idea! Thanks for sharing. I think for sure I would appreciate more if I had kinds but anyway I love taking everyday-pictures so I use your idea from 2013!

  4. Yes! In this day and age, it's so easy to just take a million photos on your phone/camera but never take the time to print them out. I don't want our kids to look back at their childhood with only digital images or Facebook albums. :)

  5. It takes me FOREVER to put together the scrapbooking-type albums, and it's just so overwhelming with so many layout and size options. This is much easier! :)

  6. Yeah! I wish I had done something like this in the years past just (before kids) so I could look back and see how I spent my year. Because all I have now is just a few photos from birthdays or events, but with months and months in between that went undocumented.

  7. This is such a cute idea. unfortunately, I don't need a book of my dog's butts and the road i drive to work on every day...but once I have munchkins of my own, THIS IS HAPPENING SO HARD.

  8. I love this idea! I did Blurb books for our engagement photos that I gave to our moms and kept one for us and then I made a blurb book of our wedding trip and honeymoon as well.  This year I worked on a 365 project with my photos, but I just left them on my blog (in fact, I am behind and should catch that up before the year is over.)  What I've been meaning to do is a family yearbook starting from when I met the kids.  My husband accidentally deleted my entire hard drive and all photos last year and I was devastated that I only printed a few of them.  We've managed to recover several and I think I am going to put them together into yearbooks so that I don't ever lose all of them again. What a terrific idea!

  9. You are so original! Love the page...

  10. First, good job on taking a photo a day of your kids! That's no small feat!!! And second, great way to capture and preserve those photos! I am always on the side of "print more!" hehe. Sounds like you had to do some funagling to get your book to be just right, looks great! I know both your kids are going to LOVE their books!!! For J's first year, I made 2 books. This year, his second, I made a 8x10 book for the grandparents. Your 108 page book cost about the same as my 8x10, with far less pages. Great deal! Sometimes Blurb has 30% sometimes! I used 30% off for my purchase.

  11. I love that you loved it so much you couldn't help but share! I can't wait to try and make one of these for myself!

  12. this is so cute!! awesome idea!

  13. This is awesome info Kimmie, thank you so much for sharing!  I've been addicted to instagram since last year too but never thought to put any photos in a book!  And I'm so inspired that you actually did a photo every day last year - I'm actually making that a goal of mine this year too (maybe a day behind, but 1/3 is still a decent time to start, right?) :)  I've definitely been in the trap of taking tons of photos but never filtering through them to keep the good ones/print them, so that's a big goal of mine this year too!

  14. Oh man I would be so upset if all my photos got deleted. I'm always paranoid that will happen, so I try to back them up on our external hard drive and then print them out when I can, but making photo books just takes so much time!

    You should print your 365 project photo into a book! it would be a good way to look back at your year :)

    And PS, thanks for the Christmas card! I forgot to tell you that I received it in the mail :)

  15. I started the year off with forgetting to take a picture yesterday :( so you're not too much behind, haha!

    And how am I not following you on Instagram? I shall go follow you now :)

  16. I love this so much I just pinned it on Pinterest! Thanks for the tutorial and app/product suggestions!

  17. Aw thanks, Teal! :) Let me know if you end up making one for K!

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