6x9 photobook

6x9 photobook, Week in the Life 2014

Week in the Life 2014 Photo Book: TUESDAY

This is the second post detailing the pages of my 2014 Week in the Life photo book. You can view all of the posts in this series here.


When designing the spreads for Tuesday, I began to experiment with using digital brushes for repetitive stamping. Up until now, I have mostly used the PNG versions of the digital stamps, but by switching to the brushes, a whole new world of play opened up. While the same looks could be created using a PNG duplicated on multiple layers, the resulting file would be messy and unnecessarily large.

Here's what Tuesday looked like in words and images.

Just like Monday, the introduction for Tuesday was is from a photo taken in the early morning. I snapped this shot midway through making my daughter's lunch. I actually took a similar shot several times throughout the week, knowing that when I put together my album I'd likely only use one of the images, since my daughter eats almost the same thing every time I pack her lunch.

However, scrambling in the morning and issues with getting her lunch packed wound up being a major theme (an a major we need to change this for me). so, while sliced ham and a granola bar are pretty mundane photographic objects, this image has a lot of emotional weight for me. It's symbolic of a certain kind of chaos and disorganization that reared its head again and again as I documented the week.

I photographed the alarm clock using my iPad before I got our of bed. The time is reflective of my having overslept, which is thematic of the week.

I'm as self-concious as most women when it comes to having my photo taken. My husband snapped this series of images while we were having an unusual Starbucks breakfast date after my daughter left for school. I love the genuine expressions he captured here. 

The image collage on the right page was made using an altered version of  Press Plate 39 from Paislee Press.

The repeated digital stamp shown on the right side of the page is part os the Thankful for This Day stamps and brush set by Ali Edwards. I used the digital brush here instead of the PNG file and stamped repeatedly in the white space, changing the color, as needed.

A scene of my lunch and daily medication regimen, which is very much a part of my life. The Tuesday digital stamp is from Writers Block Vol 2 by Paislee Press.

Same stamping technique used here, as above. I used two versions of the phrase no day like today from the What Today Looked Like brushes and stamps by Ali Edwards. 

More stamping for this 2-page spread image of my husband working in the afternoon. This stamp is also from What Today Looked Like. I used the ABR version to repeatedly stamp the phrase WORK LIFE, reducing the opacity of teh brush about 20% before each stamp. This is similar to the effect you get if you ink an acrylic or rubber stamp and then repeatedly stamp the paper without re-inking.

Cross-Country Move, 6x9 photobook

Cross Country Move Photo Book: The Technical Design Stuff

This is the third post in a series about the photo book I made to document our cross-country move from Southern California to Indiana. You can view all of the posts in this series here.

Photoshop Template Design

Before I began building my photo book, I created a Photoshop file with a series of 6x9 inch master pages that I would use a template for all of the spreads in the book. 

Master page designs: day intros

For the purposes of the book, each day is a chapter and they all begin with the same layout design. I kept the left page pretty clean, with a circular-masked image, a day-number heading, and a sub-heading that lists:

  • the city we began the day in
  • the one we finished in, and
  • the miles in between


I kept the rest of the pages pretty simple, creating space to tell the story of each day (as documented my DayOne App) and to display large images. I wanted to tell the story of the day as a cohesive story, as I usually wrote it in a single setting after we checked into the hotel each night.

While I used image collages a few places in the book, I primarily chose to display my images at 6x9 (full bleed, single page), 12x9 (full-bleed, 2-page spread) and 9x9 (square-cropped image that is full-bleed on one page, only).

This is a photographer preference. I think images have an emotional impact that is proportionate to how large they are displayed. I prefer to collage images only when the grouped images tell a greater story together than apart. Usually, these are a series of images taken close to the same time:

Or, images connected in theme, color, tone, or texture:

A Look at all the Page Templates

Below, are screenshots of each of the layouts as they appear in Photoshop. 

You may have noticed two collage layouts toward the end. These are Press Plate 38 and 39 pre paislee press. I plan on doing a tutorial soon that explains how I use Photoshop's linked smart objects to incorporate templates that I purchase from other designers into my photo books. I'll update this page with a link to that tutorial when it's done.

6x9 photobook, Week in the Life 2014

Week in the Life 2014 Photo Book: Monday

This is the first post detailing the pages of my 2014 Week in the Life photo book. You can view all of the posts in this series here.


Week in the Life is an in-depth documenting project created by Ali Edwards. It can take many forms, but generally involves taking detailed notes and photographs throughout the day for seven days straight. It's a marathon documenting project that provides a unique snapshot of your and your family's lives.

You can complete this project at any time, but I chose to complete mine in conjunction with Ali Edwards and a whole bunch of memory keepers from October 27th through November 2nd, 2014. If you'd like to learn more about Week in the Life and see the albums Ali has put together over the past decade, I highly recommend you check out her site.

The documenting and album creating requires endurance, but the finished result created both a mirror and a time capsule of the way we are living. I have completed this project one previous time. And, both times I captured moments I adore. I've also seen things reflected at me that I didn't like, and wanted to change. 

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be walking through the finished pages of my album, one day at a time. 

Technical Details


Week in the Life 2014-Monday: Intro A self-timer shot taken as I watch my daughter walk to her school bus | yolandamadethis.com

For each day, I decided to start with a 2-page, full-bleed image that has a transparent circle and the day of the week as an overlay. The image I chose for these intros has more to do with their visual impact, versus their being reflective of something significant during the day. 

Three pages documenting the morning (roughly 7AM to 1PM). We overslept this day due to a malfunctioning alarm. This would become a theme for the week.

Week in the Life 2014-Monday: PM | yolandamadethis.com One of my favorite shots of the week. A portrait of the toys my daughter loves, exactly as I found them when I came into her rom after she finished playing with her friend.

Cross-Country Move, 6x9 photobook

Cross Country Move Photo Book: Introduction

This is the first post in a series about the photo book I made to document our cross-country move from Southern California to Indiana. You can view all of the posts in this series here.

I grew up in Southern California. My dad was in the Navy. Aside from the 5 years I spent in Seattle after I married, I lived in the San Diego area all my life. My whole existence has been on the West Coast and, like most Pacific Ocean snobs, I had long viewed the Midwest as some sort of curious wasteland. A place where people once lived, but moved on. I imagined it as one giant used car lot. A flat landscape of corn and wheat occasionally broken up by an abandoned factory, where things we once made were now being made somewhere else and the people who made them were desolate and lost.



Yes, there was Chicago (parts of it amazing—other parts war-torn, segregated, suppressed, sad). And maybe there was Minneapolis. But that's the Upper Midwest. That's different. That's not Cleveland. That's not Kansas City. St. Louis. That's not...Indianapolis, where I now live. (Okay, I live close. In a small city that sits on the northern border of The Big City. But work with me...).

I've never lived anywhere that feels this much like Home.

I don't mean home in the sense of where I come from. San Diego is that home. Adobe rooftops, marine layer, carne asada burritos, flip flops, jogging, traffic, beach cruisers, skateboards, veneers, implants, avenidas, mesas, and calles. That is home. But San Diego has never felt like a place I belonged to. It felt like a place I came from. It's as familiar as the mole on the back of my left hand, but feels no more a part of me than a glove covering it.

No, I mean the sense of Home in that I have arrived at a place where it feels like I've always belonged. The chattiness of the people. The old and worn things. The history. The green, everywhere. (In all my life I have never known there was so much green in the Midwest. From the fastidiously manicured lawns to the canopy of trees enveloping the streets, green is everywhere here. San Diego is blue and brown. Green is hard to find.) This place, from the moment I stepped off the plane to visit last fall, has felt like a perfect fit.

And it didn't let me down when we sold our home and moved across the country to live here. Nine months in, our circumstances have changed more than we could have imagined, but that hasn't stopped this place from wrapping its arms around me and pulling me in tighter.

Mushrooms in Indiana Somewhere in Kansas | yolandamadethis.com


We came here because I had a job. And that job was moving. The opportunity came. I explored it. 

I said yes. We prepped. And prepped. And staged and prepped. We sold our house in a day. We packed.

Papaya Way House 2014 | Somewhere in Kansas | yolandamadethis.com

We visited Indiana for the second time last February. Five inches of snow fell that first night. We found a home to rent. We got ready. We packed. We drove. We moved. We saw so much. I documented it.

Nine weeks after my arrival, the circumstances changed. I no longer had a job. I can't talk about it. Priorities shifted. I was expendable. Papers signed. Desk packed in boxes. Security badge turned in.

I went Home.

Two weeks late, I had a doctor's appointment to investigate some changes I was noticing in my body. Eventually, I'd learn that I need surgery.

I have had surgery before. That is why I need surgery, again. Complications. The body, like life, is complicated.

But, the story of my body is still writing itself. I don't want to dive into it in this post. Instead, I want to share with you the ways I documented and created a photo book about our cross-country move from California to Indiana.

Here's a few images from the finished book. Up next, I'll walk you through the initial design and talk about why most of my photo books will be 6x9 trade books from Blurb for the foreseeable future.