February 4, 2013

Photobooks & Traditions

It was just over 6 years ago that Christian and I and 40 other foreign students landed in Finland for our semester abroad. On day one of international student orientation, Christian and I first laid eyes on eachother and spent the next 6 months completely inseparable. Then the time came for each of us to return back to our home countries. We were bummed out...really bummed out but we knew we wanted to be together. So we did! We visited each other every 2-3 months for a year until the day I graduated from college in California, then moved with him to Amsterdam

But during that year dating long distance, Christian gave me the best gift ever...


I opened the package from him several months after we had left Finland and there it was: a beautifully crafted masterpiece of photos from our 6 months in Finland as well as pics from me visiting his hometown (Maastricht) for the first time and him visiting me in California for the first time. It is definitely one of my absolute favorite gifts I've ever received.

The book captured all of our favorite moments including his comments here and there (in his not-yet-perfect English, which was and still is so cute and funny to hear...and I hope his English is never perfect!). I still look at this photobook often. It embodies such a special year that brought our two worlds together and I knew he put alot of work into creating it. 

Little did I know that these photobooks would turn in to our very own tradition--we have created one every year since. 

I take tons of pictures, but how often did we go back and look at them? Now we have all of our favorite pictures compiled into annual photobooks. This year was no different! We give ourselves January of every year to create these small works of art and our 2012 book should be delivered any day.

Once we receive our new photobook, we take each book off the shelf and look each of them together (and also do so several times throughout the year!). It's an amazing way to laugh and smile about how great life has been to us and to see precious memories we've been lucky to create together.

I love making these photobooks so much, that we made one for Christian's dad after our road trip in the Great American West (Christian's dad's first trip overseas AND he's a sucker for Cowboy and Indian stories). I also made a book for my parents after our roadtrip to Normandy and Tuscany last year. I even asked my bridesmaids to be in our wedding by making mini photobooks for each of them with funny pictures of us throughout the years (then the last page had my favorite pic and the words "Will you be my bridesmaid?").

I've become a big fan of Blurb for making photobooks (I used My Publisher for our 2008 and 2009 books but prefer Blurb ever since I gave it a try with our 2010 book). Blurb is so easy to use, has tons of customizable photo layouts and themes and the quality is top-notch. I won't lie though...it is so time-consuming just with choosing what pictures to include...but the finished product is SO worth it.

Sometimes I just cannot wait to end each year so we can add yet another photobook to our shelf ;). 

{Books from 2008-2010 and the book Christian made me...I love that he put a pic of himself on the front..haha.}
{Our 2010 book flipped open to pics from our Morocco trip}
{Our 2011 book and NYC}
{Our 2012 book--the newest addition! Well the digital version until the book is delivered...}
{The Blurb software is ridiculously easy to use--drag and drop, baby! The pics are a bit grainy because of my computer screen}

{And once the book is uploaded and being printed, you can log-in to your Blurb account and view the digital version, email to friends and family or share on Facebook or Twitter. You can even sync your blog so you can make a photobook of your blogposts...pretty neat!}


Jay said...

I've been meaning to do this for awhile now. I made a book via iPhoto with our wedding photos as a thank you gift for my parents and it turned out so great and it was so easy to do. I'm hoping to chronicle our travels and years abroad through photo books.
This post is a bit of a push to get working on it!
Thank you!

Jenna said...

I've been wanting to put together a photo book of Jurgen and I for forever, but have struggled to find a program that I like and always get overwhelmed and stop. Definitely going to try Blurb for his bday... how long does it take to get the book delivered?


Kari said...

I do a book for each trip we take too! Yours are beautiful!

Unknown said...

Such a cool story and really cool books!! Thanks for the great idea!

Unknown said...

Wow this is such an amazing idea. I have been wanting to do something special with our pictures this year that we have spent in Australia and you have just given me the best idea.
This will be great to share with our parents so they can see everything we have been up to.
Kayleigh http://www.thewayiwanderlust.blogspot.com.au

hayley said...

those are awesome! i love the clean, professional look of the photo books and have wanted to make one. but, i love scrapbooking, it's my thing, and it would seem a bit redundant to do the photo book :) i made a scrapbook for henning (boyfriend) last christmas and he loves it, says he can't wait to have all of these handmade books to look back on.
and i love your bridesmaids idea...that is so cute, might have to copy you when the time comes...then i could finally make my books :)

A and B said...

I love that! we do the same thing for gifts...and it is always fun to start flipping back through them! So much better than keeping the photos hidden on your computer!

Kristina said...

I wanted to do this forever, but somehow never find the time for it. I really must, because it is such a nice thing to go through and have all the memories in one book! Have tried Blurb before but then got freaked out by the options! Will look into it again, thanks for the inspiration!!
Kristina x

Eatlovemerry said...

So lovely! x

CeCe said...

What a great idea to do it every year in January. I am a few years behind on my blurb book (you are right, they are time consuming), but so well worth the memories. So wonderful that the two of you do it together.

lauren | eyes/ears/mouth+lens said...

I'm actually beaming right now. I've been meaning to do this for so long and I'm always so impressed when I see people who've taken the time to do it. YES! Go Christian!