At a used library book sale, I found RUSSELL AND THE LOST TREASURE by Rob Scotton.

Picture book RUSSELL AND THE LOST TREASURE.

In this story, Russell the sheep comes across a treasure map and works to find the treasure chest.

He is slightly disappointed to discover it only contains a camera. Despite his disappointment, he starts snapping photos of family members and friends. When he assembles the photos in a book, he realizes they are “The best treasure of all.”

So true, so true.

Our Blog-less Blog Books

This story inspired me to share our family’s Blog-less Blog Books. Some of my BEST treasures.

If YOU are looking for a way to preserve the history of your family (enhanced with photos), keep reading to find out how I have created these books.

Even if you decide this style is not for you, it may spark inspiration for something that will work out perfectly for you and your family.

Bills Family picture books

In 2008, after I had my first baby, I started a Blogspot family blog. (Remember those days?)

I kept the blog for a few years but the software changed and uploading photos started to become cumbersome, so I took it offline.

I was sad to lose this family “journal” so I decided to take the blog offline but still “blog”.

Hello Microsoft Word

I started typing up my “blog” entries in Microsoft Word.

One month per document.

When I completed all of the entries for the month, I saved an additional copy of that month in PDF format.

The following section will give a few tips about adding photos to the entries, then I will explain how I compile the PDFs into a book.

Adding Photos to Entries

When inserting photos, I made sure to use the “Picture Tools” and “Wrap Text” using the “Tight” option so the words would wrap around the photos.

Imagine showing wrap text feature in Microsoft Word

This saves space on your page and will ultimately save you money when you go to print your books because you will not need to print as many pages.

Using Collage Photos

I LOVE lots of photos, but adding photos in Microsoft Word one-by-one is a little cumbersome. So I started making collages of my favorite photos associated with my entries and dropping in the collages (still making sure to tightly wrap the text).

Page from family photo book
Page from family photo book

Sometimes I am writing about something REALLY exciting and end up filling a whole page or two with photos.

Page from family photo book

Creating Photo Collages

I have used Adobe Photoshop to create photo collages in the past, but an easier and FREE software option is to use CANVA online.

You can create a project the size you would like, drop all the photos in you would like (and jazz it up with images and text if your heart so desires) then simply download it as a jpg and add that collage into Word. It works like magic. Okay, it may take you a little bit to get the process down, but you can do it!

Pulling all the PDFs Together

I have used several book printing services: SharedBook, Lulu.com, Prestophoto.com.

Most of them like the contents of your book to be in one compiled PDF.

Luckily, Adobe provides an easy option to merge your files. At adobe.com you can merge your PDFs from the entire year (or two or three) for free and download the file to your computer. Then simply upload that document to the book printer of your choice.

I have found Lulu.com to be the most cost-efficient, but Prestophoto.com offers a little higher quality printing and some cool options like lay-flat pages.

Enjoying Your Treasure

Over the years, I forget a lot of the little details. Maybe even some of the bigger details.

Looking through these books takes me right back to different phases of my family’s life together.

I hope you are keeping a record of your journey. If not, start today! Don’t worry too much about trying to catch up. Sometimes that never happens. Just start today and work forward.

Have a great day y’all!

Jamie Bills

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