If you’re reading this blog, it’s probably pretty safe to say that you inundate your life with all things Disney. From news & rumor discussion forums about the parks, to Twitter “meets” to watch Disney movies with fellow fans, to websites dedicated to showing people how to lead a Disney Driven Life, the Mouse manages to invade our lives on a daily, if not hourly, basis.
My wife and I have found more ways to surround ourselves with Disney than we can even remember. Seriously. However, on a recent episode of BetaMouse, when Henry Work made a sarcastic remark about scrap-booking, he sparked my memory regarding one of the ways that I used to get a dose of Disney in my daily life, and in so doing, he challenged me to demonstrate just how cool/hip/fun/”BetaMouse” scrap-booking can be. Challenge accepted.
That’s right, I was once a scrap-booker. It was the wild and loose spring of 2008, and everyone was experimenting. I had resolved to make a photo book documenting our August and Christmas trips from 2007, and I found that all of the pre-fabricated designs on the various photo book sites were lousy. I discovered an option on one of these sites to use a full page image per page, and the light went off that I could design my own layout, save it as an image, and viola, have my own designs. I had never used Photoshop prior to this, so I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I could have simply aborted the digital photo book idea and made conventional scrap-books, but my misguided sense of masculinity wouldn’t allow for that. At least digitial photo book creation (I refused to call it scrap-booking) seemed more tech-savvy and manly than regular scrap-booking. Plus, in my experience with traditional scrap-booking, it always made a mess and was expensive, and I hate expensive things and messes, so digital scrap-booking, even if it would prove more difficult, was the clear choice for me.
For those unfamiliar with Photoshop (CS3 was the version I used), it has somewhat of a learning curve. However, I was persistent, and through video and written tutorials, along with my own inquisitiveness, I managed to create my first layout. It only took me 4 hours to create.
The process became significantly less time consuming as I learned the ropes, and when I was finally done with the project, it was only taking me around twenty to thirty minutes per page. Not bad, given that it was something that I enjoyed. So you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you decide to scrapbook, here are some tips concerning ‘mistakes’ I made.
If using Photoshop, use Actions. Actions allow you to record a series of commands that you make within Photoshop (similar to macros in other programs). You can then apply the Action to other objects/images after recording the first action, rather than repeating the repetitive process for each image/object. For scrap-booking, I found this especially helpful for the addition of borders, drop shadows, and other enhancements to photos themselves within a layout.
For those planning on turning these layouts into a photo book, find a template with guidelines on the photo book producer’s website. If there isn’t a template, find the dimensions (gutter, etc.) and add these guidelines in Photoshop (or whatever program you use). Trust me, you don’t want to rearrange a layout because the page-preview on the photo book website indicates one of your pages will be cropped such that it features “pcot” rather than “Epcot.”
Flickr and Google images can be great resources for backgrounds, but searching these sites for high resolution backgrounds will be time consuming. Take your own background photographs at the parks. The Tower of Terror bell hops may give you some weird looks for taking close-up photos of a wall, but it’s a lot less time consuming (and more authentic!) than finding something that “sort of” fits your theme online.
Don’t do all of the work yourself. There are a number of websites that offer free (or paid) scrapbook embellishments. Use them. I found myself making far too many of my own, and this was time-consuming. For some pages, there was no way around this. There simply were no logos for certain Disney resorts, etc., that I could find online, so I had to carefully extract them from literature I found. Another helpful resource that will add a little zest to your layouts is MickeyAvenue.com. Mickey Avenue has countless fonts used at Walt Disney World.
Save tickets, maps, paper menus, hard ticket wristbands, and anything else that might look cool in the scrapbook, and scan it when you return home. These items bring a nice touch to your pages, and provide a nice change of pace from the typical purely-photo layouts. After all, back in the ‘old days’ when scrap-booking was done with paper and scissors, these type of things were common staples of a good scrapbook.
The end result was really cool, but that wasn’t the big draw for me. The draw was creating something I thought to be neat, and in so doing, extending our Disney vacation a bit further. I think this process of “extending the trip” is something we all do, and is really quite fun. It provides a more gentle transition back to reality. Rather than simply sinking into the depths of depression (kidding) after the conclusion of a Disney trip, we have something to cushion the blow. For some of us, this is photography-related. For others, it’s a support group via Twitter. Whatever it may be, for those of us, like myself, who are truly obsessed with the Mouse, it’s imperative.
I have since ceased scrap-booking. Not because I don’t like it, but because other commitments and interests have displaced it. It was something that I did to preserve our memories, but also to “extend the trip,” and now I extend the trip in other ways. Through editing images, preparing extremely long trip reports, and even writing this weekly blog, I’ve found that I have plenty of Disney in my daily life. While I could probably find the time to make these photo book layouts, too, I think that would be pushing it–it’s good to have some balance.
For those who have an interest in creating similar photo book pages, I encourage you to give it a try. You certainly don’t have to use Photoshop (there are a number of paid and free alternatives, although I can only vouch for the wonderful powers of Photoshop), and you don’t have to start with anything complicated. There are also many online resources, and places to share your creations, so give it a try! You can check out my other Disney photo book pages here. If you need any embellishments, Disney logos, or borders, feel free to send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How do you extend your Disney vacations? Do you scrapbook? Have you ever created photo book layouts? Do you have an interest in creating any now? Share your thoughts in the comments!