Scrapbooking -- The Tech Way
Not crafty? Don't worry. New electronic options have made scrapbooking a whole lot easier.
Creating a family scrapbook from scratch (think scissors, glue, markers, and more) is no longer your only option. Using your home computer to design a personalized scrapbook is becoming a popular strategy. Here, some suggestions to get you started.
Art Explosion Scrapbook Factory Deluxe (novadevelopment.com; $40)
Both beginning and experienced scrapbookers will find this software easy to use. Besides offering red-eye removal, photo repairing, and ready-to-use templates, the software lets you create your own customized designs. Images can easily be imported from digital cameras, CD-Roms, or scanners. The best part: You can share your finished work in a number of ways, including Web photo galleries, scrapbook slide shows, and PDF files, as well as old-fashioned printed pages.
Epson StoryTeller Photo Book Creator (epsonstore.com; $20-$30)
This kit comes with everything you need to make a photo scrapbook at home. Included are a pre-bound book in one of three sizes, 10 to 20 glossy photo pages plus two spare pages to correct errors, and software that allows you to enhance and lay out your favorite family photos. Once you've designed your pages, you can print them on your home printer and place them in your book. The final personalized touch: Create your own glossy cover.
Hallmark Scrapbook Studio Deluxe (hallmarksoftware.com; $29.99)
This software contains an impressive selection of special effects, templates, and clip-art images (included are more than 12,000 pre-designed templates with themes such as school activities, vacation, and sports, and 7,000 pieces of clip art). As with most scrapbooking software programs, you can also design your own template from scratch for a more personalized look. Once you've created your page -- complete with images, clip art, and captions -- you can e-mail it as an attachment to Grandma and Grandpa or print it at home and add it to your family scrapbook.
Scrapblog (scrapblog.com; free)
This online service merges two popular ways of sharing photos and stories: scrapbooking and blogging. Once registered, users can upload photos, add stickers and backgrounds, and then publish their finished work on the Web. Once the scrapblog is posted, you can invite family and friends to view it and post their comments -- like a traditional blog. As of now, you can't print out the pages, but starting in June you can order a bounded version of your scrapbook to be delivered to your home.
Shutterfly Hardcover Photo Book (shutterfly.com; $30-$40)
The popular photo-sharing site allows registered members to create a photo book (either hard or soft cover). You can choose from 15 different themes, then customize each page with photos and captions. Prices vary depending on the cover material you select (leather, suede, or satin). The books come with 20 pages; additional sheets cost $1 each.