Saturday, September 12, 2009

Look, It's a Blook!

A couple of Christmases ago, my father-in-law gave me a wonderful surprise gift, my first blook. I am not a scrapbooker, so the last 4 years of blogging (over 1300 posts!) are essentially my only record of motherhood. It had long been on my list to save these posts somehow, but I never had the time.

Since that Christmas, he has started putting my blog together in hardback form 6 months at a time. We are now up to 5 yearbook sized volumes. If there were a fire and I could only take one physical possession, this would be it!

Several times a year I get e-mails wondering how he did it, so I thought it was time to put the information in one cohesive post. Mine were made using for the set up and for the printing.

When I set out to do this on my own I tried using another prominent website, but found that my pictures were not going to transfer in good quality. I also consulted with a designer who wanted to charge me $2000 to take on the project. Needless to say, my father in law's gift was much more in line with my budget. :-)

I know there are other online sources and methods, (including people who will do it for you for a fee) so I wanted to open the comments up to those of you who have had experience in undertaking this project. Please post your tips/experiences below.


Lauren said...

I've done the same thing, only I used Shutterfly. I'd LOVE to find an easier way, however. I cannot copy and paste anything into Shutterfly, so I wind up spending months re-typing. Currently that works for me in the evening as we have no kids. However, in 5 weeks we will have a newborn and I'm feeling certain he is going to make that tough! Ha! I enjoy reading your blog!


k and c's mom said...

I do a daily blog of my first grade classroom. It lets the parents (and grandparents!) peek into my room on a daily basis and see what is going on. Many parents have asked if there is a way to save the years' posts and pictures as a sort of virtual yearbook. I have a parent who is trying to save it all to CD, but most parents want the "hard copy" in their hand. I'm anxious to see what this inquiry brings up!

Nicolasa said...

This is really cool! I had a wedding planning blog and didn't want to continue with that blog once the wedding events were over so I just printed up page by page... yeah, it was a lot of ink! Love the idea of a blook! :-)

Michelle said...

I remember when you told us about this. What a great thing to have. I have all my info and even though I haven't blogged as much over the last year I would love to do something like this to keep a record of my kids early years. When I go back and read some of my early posts I hardly remember the stories I wrote. It is all such a blur without tangible evidence.

Maybe this will spur me on to blog a bit more.

beck'sthree said...

Jen, I think the site you were referring to is blog2print rather than blogtoprint. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction.

Bailey's Leaf said...


Arlene G said...

thanks for sharing...I would like to get my blog printed as well. Six months at a time sounds doable.

Allison said...

Hmmm...what do you recommend for those of who do not scrapbook and do not blog...who have thousands of pictures on the computer???

My poor girls. :(

MamaBear said...

FedEx just dropped off a 400 page blog book at my house today. It's the best feeling in the world and the worst all at the same time. As you know I design blog books for a living so the moment I open up the fruits of my labor I'm am beyond thrilled to see the final result but very nervous that I will find an error. So far so good!

One of these days I will have my own blog entries compiled in albums....and I too would grab those if our house ever caught fire.
Until then I will continue to chip away at my waiting list.

In these tough economic times I am in awe of how God has provided an income for our family through the talent that comes from Him alone. I consider it my ministry to provide a way for other families to have a hard copy of their family's journeys - some involve infant loss, long hospitalizations, and my latest project....two years as a missionary in Nepal. She will use the book when she travels around to talk to churches about her experience as a missionary.

I am happy to mentor anyone who has questions about turning their blog into a book even if hiring me is not in your budget. You can contact me via email at 4theloveoffamily @ gmail (dot) com

or my website:

Jennifer said...

MamaBear, I am so glad you put your info on here. Beck, thanks for catching me error. It is fixed now. :-)
Allison, your comment made me laugh. My Mom did only a half of a scrapbook for me my whole life and I survived!
Thanks for the tips folks. Keep them coming!

Blair said...

Those look adorable! I am going to have to check out that site.

I have made two books so far and working on my third. I am also doing them 6 months at a time. I am a year behind, but the outcome is so worth the work. My girls love reading "their book."

I used the website Blurb ( and their software BookSmart. I have been very happy with the program and each update they do to the program makes it better (in my eyes anyway). You can now edit their page layouts and other fun features.

To see my second book, check out my post about it.

I hope that helps some of you!

Adam and Kimmy plus Reese! said...

Blurb is the best program that we have tried for this. You have to download a small program (free) and the options are unlimited on book size and price. VERY reasonable and a quick turnaround. We made a photo book of our vacation and we made the biggest book with the best paper for less than $100. It is SUPER simple and a very good quality book...check it

Adam and Kimmy plus Reese! said...

forgot to add that you can do blog to book...options for page layout are essentially limitless. Then you can also do picture books. Forgot to also mention that we do this for about every 100 to 150 posts on the blog. Time for another on our end!

Melanie said...

Thanks for this post, great info! I actually just ordered a blog book from SharedBook & just blogged about it myself! I LOVED how absolutely simple it was, but I was a little disappointed at the print quality of the photos. I'm excited to check out Blurb & some of the other options listed here. In addition, a friend of mine is working on opening up an Etsy shop for blog books. Seems the market is really expanding. Thanks for the great tips!

Blair said...

Jen emailed me with some questions about Blurb and I thought I would share my reply with y'all.

And Allison, you can make just a picture book through Blurb. I did one and I was thrilled with the outcome!

My email to Jen:
BookSmart did give me trouble for a few pictures, but it wasn't due to their software. Here is my so not technically correct, I don't really know what I am talking about, but I will try explanation:

In Blogger's old editor (if you haven't changed over to the "Updated Editor" under your settings, you are still in "Old Editor" mode), you didn't have much control over your pictures. It allows you to drag your pictures around and place them where you want, but when you do that, you lose the html code that goes along with it. Your picture still shows up on your blog, but when you go to click on it, it won't expand to full size (since the code to it was "lost" during your dragging). When you go to slurp your blog to BookSmart, again, since there is no code, you only get a thumbnail size picture. When you try to make the picture bigger than a thumbnail size, BookSmart gives you a warning sign that the resolution is too low.

I was lucky in that I only did that for about 30 pictures. I was able to get the original off my hard drive and upload it directly to BookSmart.

Blogger's Updated Editor allows you to drag your pictures and not lose the html code (though I have not tested this with BookSmart yet so I am afraid to actually do it!). I do like the control the Updated Editor allows you over your pictures (the ability to change size and layout of your picture in edit mode) but hate that there is no spell check. I am a horrible, no good, very bad speller.

I have been very pleased with the quality of Blurb's books. They are very sturdy (think your high school year book), and the pictures are very sharp and clear. Up until this latest update for BookSmart, my biggest complaint was lack of control over the page layouts. Now I can click "edit page" and BookSmart allows me to make "cells" bigger or smaller. I can make my picture cells - which to me is the most important part - bigger and I can't wait to see this latest book! I have three months to go and hope to finish it soon. It is a daunting task, but a labor of love!

I even made a book of all the letters my grandfather wrote to my grandmother during the war. I scanned all the letters into my computer, then uploaded them to BookSmart. The book is amazing. The letters look like they are the actual letters and the quality is outstanding. And now I have a copy of the letters too since my parents have the originals.

Oh, I almost forgot the best part about Blurb. The cost! My second book is over 400 pages long and it was less than $80. It is hardback with photos printed on the cover and back. I hope they keep their costs down as I have heard of some companies charging over $100 for books not even 200 pages long!

Queen Bee said...

This is all such great information! I was a scrapbooker...before my boys came along...and I miss having the "hard copy" to flip through. This is the answer I've been looking for! THANK YOU!!

Kate Geisen said...

I've used Blurb, too, and love it! I'll never scrapbook again...the rest of my scrapbooks will be digital albums. The finished product was very professional looking.

storey said...

i want to see these :)

Beautiful Images By: Eva H. said...

Your blog is amazing!
thank you for sharing..