Tuesday, September 18, 2007

New Season, New Look.

I gave our blog a makeover for the fall and changed the name, yet again. I think I'm finally happy with this title. The quote sums up exactly what our lives are like with our Leah, and also serves as reminder to live life to the fullest. We are just so blessed to have her, she is just the cutest little thing and so perfect for our family.

I've also developed a new hobby...digital scrapbooking...finally something creative and "mom-like" I can do! Being left-handed, I have always had challenges using scissors...can't cut a straight line to save my life.

Thank goodness for technology...with digital scrapbooking, you don't need scissors, just a good photo editing software (I use Adobe Photo Elements) and a couple of really cool digital scrapbooking sites. You can then publish your book professionally very inexpensively on sites such as http://www.shutterfly.com/, http://www.picaboo.com/, http://www.printmyphotobook.com/ and http://www.snapfish.com/.

A couple of my favorite digital scrapbooking sites:
http://www.scrapgirls.com/, http://www.shabbyprincess.com/, http://www.sweetshoppedesigns.com/, http://www.twopeasinbucket.kaboose.com/, http://www.scrapbookgraphics.com/, http://www.polkadotpotato.com/

Another big project I've been working on is creating "Leah's Story", an adoption lifebook for her that records everything I have about her background before she came to us...kind of like a very in-depth baby book, but I'm writing on a child's level for Leah as she starts getting older and having questions about her past.

There is a great site that I've been using as my guide for ideas, http://www.chinadigitalscrapbooks.com/. Research of many adoption resources encourage adoptive parents to prepare a lifebooks to attempt to assist a child in creating a sense of identity and confidence. I plan on including every little teeny tiny fact I can, down to even what the weather was like on the day she was born, this will be incredibly important to her one day and I want to do this right for her.

Leah already says "I born in China". I always want her to be proud of who she is and what she is made of. I love the diversity that adoption has brought to our family, we now get to celebrate holiday's from two cultures...parties all the time! The Autumn Moon Festival is coming up next week and Leah's favorite book right now is "Round is the Mooncake" and we love to talk about moon cakes and paper lanterns. We are having a play group over this weekend and are planning on celebrating the festival with her China friends. It's just too much fun.

Adoption is an awesome thing. Just plain awesome. I highly recommend it.


Anonymous said...

Love the new look of your blog. Thanks for the digital scrapbooking tips. I'll have to check on your favorite sites. Look forward to seeing you and Leah this Saturday.


Yes, Minister... said...

Hi! Thank you so much for visiting us :D I love your blog ~ It is so beautiful. I have just discovered digital scrapbooking and having so much FUN! I look forward to visiting you often.

Ladybug hugs,

Kimber said...

Your blog is beautiful! I am planning to start digital scrapbooking so your tips were much appreciated:)


Taryn said...

Love your new look!!...especially all of the pink! I scrapbook and have been doing it for years...and I guess you can say that I do it the "old fashion" way. I would like to start digital scrapbooking, but once you buy the materials how does it all work?? I have looked at some of the sites and love the ideas, but I just can't seem to get the hang of it all!

Melissa, Shawn & Leah said...

Hey Taryn,

I left a message on your blog, but then thought it might be helpful to answer the question here too in case others had the same question.

Thanks for your sweet comment!! Looks like you do some really neat things, I'll start following along on your adventures!

To answer your question, once you buy the materials (i.e. "elements, papers and kits), you download them off the site and upload the files into your photo editing software to design your pages. I use Adobe Photo Elements and love it. You can get a free trial to try it all out for thirty days. (http://www.adobe.com/products/photoshopelwin/.)

From there, you can also design your pages and even your blog. To upload a background image to your blog, you will need to upload a scrapbook paper to something like photobucket.com, then you will be able to have a link to add to your HTML coding on your personal blog. Here's some great directions on how to design your own site at http://tips-for-new-bloggers.blogspot.com/search/label/Background%20Image.

Hope that helps you, if not let me know if I can answer any question. Thanks for visiting us and I look forward to following your journey.


sara said...

Thanks for the website & I have been **trying** really hard to make "something" work! Maybe I am trying to post my code in the wrong place. I really want the colored side bars (with my new digital scrapbook paper) & I would like a new header. Specifically, WHERE did you post your new html code? I am trying to put it under "side-wrapper"..is that right? ughhhhh. Maybe I should hire it out:D

Melissa said...

Hi Sara,

You are almost at the finish line. Go to edit html on your layout, it's your background that you want to change. Copy and paste below in your html and replace current background copy (if any). A rasberry pink image will be your background. This is one of my images I uploaded into my photobucket account and I know how a html link for. When you are ready to upload your scrapbook page, upload to a photobucket, copy link and replace your http address in the (http://...blah, blah, blah section) below. Your chosen image will become your new background. Try that and see if that helps you....it's a lot of trial and error in the beginning!

Copy and paste this below in the HTML coding section:

body {
background-image: url(http://i85.photobucket.com/albums/k53/msparks874/digital%20pics/clyle-snowgirl-solidpink2.jpg);

sara said...

are you tired of me yet? You are so very sweet to answer my novice questions! I just **love** what you have done! The prompts you gave me did indeed change the entire background, but how did you get it where it is still white under your posts & your sidebar? When I turned my background pink, the whole background turned pink! I have also downloaded adobe:) I think my husband may be starting to think I have an addiction to the computer? Maybe I do!? Thanks so much!

sara said...

Could it be the template that I am using? What template do you use!?

Melissa said...

Hey Sara,

It's more than just the template choice, with HTML coding, one comma inserted in the wrong place, throws everything off.

If you want, just let me do it for you to get you started. Just let me know your blogger account info but create a new temporary password so I can log in, and then change it back once the blog is done. (Email me at msparks874@yahoo.com). I will need a direct link to the background image you want. I can do this for you tonight. Do you have a header already that you like or do you want to create something different?