Even before the pandemic kept us stuck at home searching for new hobbies, an entire industry was mushrooming to help people create a modern version of the beloved photo album. From Shutterfly and Mixbook to Walgreen’s and CVS, websites offering customized memory book services abound.
To remember a trip, for example, at one time you’d set up a projector and screen to walk your friends through the streets of your travels. Today, you can compile your photos into a bound book that you create online. At a reasonable price and within a pretty quick time frame, presto!
You have your trip captured for posterity in a little book that fits neatly on a shelf or a larger coffee table book that you can display.
The process is both fun and easy. Your design skills can be minimal, and many of the sites guide you so intuitively that you don’t have to be a tech whiz to complete the project.
If you’re using older photos that you have only in hard copy and not in a digitized format, scanning them will produce the best quality, but if you don’t mind a lower resolution you can point your phone camera and snap a digital shot of each photo.
Options are limited only by your imagination and time available. Test out your title in every font listed or settle on the first font you see. Include captions, add descriptive paragraphs, or restrict your book to photos only.
Do a straightforward layout, attach motifs like hearts and stars from the websites’ libraries or frame the photo itself in a heart or star shape. Make your book all color, go artsy black-and-white or set some photos in sepia or other special effect.
You probably haven’t taken a trip lately, so what else would make a nice subject for a book? Anything in your life qualifies.
Look through your photos. If you’re a collector, craft a tribute to your collections. Make a birthday book for your child or grandchild chronicling the person’s life. You can even document what we all hope will be a one-and-done experience of living through a pandemic.
When a friend lost both her dogs one summer, I downloaded her photos and text from a blog she writes and sent her a surprise Christmas gift of a book commemorating her canine pals. Her whole family loved it – and, for sure, there were tears.
Being home so much these days has elevated the importance of living in space you love. Some years back I thought that someday, before we give up our family’s house, I would like to privately publish a “home memoir” – a coffee table book showing the rooms of the house with text explaining how we use each room and rolling out stories of events that took place there.
I thought other people might want to do the same for a cherished home, so in summer 2019, along with a partner, I started a business, Home Memoir, to help people do just that.
Now my “someday” has arrived. I’m planning to sell my house, and I will make my own home memoir to take my memories with me. This house has witnessed 36 years of my life. These walls have stood around me as I joyously brought home a baby but also managed a few frightening diagnoses.
The house watched me raise three children, cook holiday meals, and host parties ranging from barbecues to New Year’s Eve. Within these rooms I’ve laughed and cried, exercised and chilled, cozied up in winter to watch a movie and tracked in summertime sand from Lake Michigan’s beaches.
More than background, the house has been part of the fabric of my adult life. I want to keep a remnant in pictures and prose.
What new hobby did you pick up during the pandemic? Have you thought to create photo books of memories? What memories of your house do you cherish and would like to preserve in a home memoir book? Please share with our sisters!