Saturday, October 29, 2016

Digital Baby Book: Monthly Photo Pages + Custom Stickers

Wow it is almost November already!  I thought I would try to squeeze in a few more October posts in before the end of the month so here is the first of several.  I am back today to share another post on Lyla's baby book.  So far I have shared how to create a custom calendar page and the items that I scanned to files for preservation in the book.
Custom Calendar Page
In today's post I am sharing the monthly photo pages from the book and how to create a custom sticker to use with the Mixbook software.  I have written several posts on Lyla's monthly photo sessions from her first year including this post on the burlap bunting I made for the set, this post on the monthly photos, and this update on how the photos were going at 4 months.  These photos were fun to share on FaceBook each month and also worked well as decor for her 1st birthday party.  But I knew that these photos would shine the most in her baby book.  

Each month I recorded all of the little things that Lyla did and all of the activities she participated in. Some of these things are recorded in the calendar pages but others were used to help me write a letter each month to Lyla.  I loved doing this and I recommend that every expecting mother plan to do something like this for their child.  It is really touching for me to go back and read each letter and I hope that someday it will be meaningful to Lyla as well once she gets to read them herself.  I plan to continue to write one every 3 months up until she turns 2 and and then yearly after that.  It would be fun to include all of the letters in a book that I could give to her at her high school graduation.  

As you can see I made each monthly page have the same format.  I chose to keep these pages clean and simple because I wanted the photos and the letter to be the focus of each monthly page.  I wanted to add a little "handwritten" element to the letters so that is where the creation of the custom stickers comes in.  Here is how I created them:

I opened up my Pixelmator software (you can do this in photoshop or any other photo editing software and I am sure the steps are similar) and selected a blank canvas size.  I just used standard letter size in this example.  I then selected a font and typed my message.  Next I clicked on the background layer in the layers window and hit delete.
Once the background layer is deleted then you will see a checkerboard pattern behind the text.
Now you need to save the document.  When the save menu appears click in the box next to "save a copy as" and then select PNG from the drop down menu.  PNG stands for portable network graphic.
Now open up your project in Mixbook and click on the stickers tab on the left side of the screen and then click on the browse stickers button.
Select the upload stickers tab in the menu that pops up and then click on the orange upload stickers button.  Find your file and select it.
Once the sticker has uploaded you can close the window and your sticker can be found in the project stickers section of the stickers tab.  If you hover your cursor over the sticker then it will magnify it.  
To add the sticker to a page simply click on it and drag it to the page you want it on.  When you have the sticker selected on the page you can change the size of it and also manipulate it in other ways using the gray tool bar that pops up below the sticker.  

I used custom stickers in other places in the book as well.  The hot air balloons on each calendar page were vector files that I purchased on Etsy.  The little bison that you see on this page was just an image that I found by doing a google search.  I saved the image to my computer and opened it in Pixelmator. I used the magic wand tool or paint selection tool and clicked on the background surrounding the image and deleted it.  Then I saved the image as a PNG.  The only problem with this is that the images are often poor quality which limits how much you can enlarge them with out them becoming blurry or pixelated.  This wasn't a problem for me, however, since I was using them on the calendar pages and needed them to be small.  You could also type png after the image you are searching.  You will know it is a PNG if the background comes up with a checkerboard pattern when you click on the thumbnail in google images.  Then you can eliminate the step of removing the background in photo editing software.

I also scanned the footprints from the hospital into my computer and made them into PNG files.  I had to adjust the darkness of the footprints to make it work properly but you just have to play around with it little bit.

One of my favorite pages in the book is this page with all of her monthly photos and her 1st birthday invitation in the middle.
It is so fun to see how much she has grown.  And now she is 15 months!  Time flies!
Here is my little cutie playing in the leaves.  I love her so much!  Up next: a simple diy Kitty costume.

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