Wednesday, April 17, 2013

WIP: Review of My Blog Book

Good News
The blog book that I ordered on 3/16/13 was delivered on 3/23/13 so the turn-around time is faster than they say on the website.  I had to wait until I visited my sister in NC last week to see it, since I had a copy for her and a copy for me shipped directly there. I was really pleased with the quality. Here are images of the front and back of the hard cover book I ordered. The book is 11 1/4" tall and 8 3/4" wide and about 3/4" thick. The title is repeated on the spine.

Book Front Cover
Book Back Cover

Blog Book Readers
Although my sister can use a computer it is not her first choice of communication. Now she can sit back in a comfy chair anywhere and read my posts at her leisure instead of being confined to being in front of a computer screen. I think it makes a great gift for someone who would enjoy reading about your craft but is not quite so comfortable with computer or does not have ready access to one. I optimistically added Volume 1 to the title of my blog book in anticipation of making one every year or so.  I am also considering ordering a smaller version and including only the posts that relate to a specific gift quilt. That way when I give someone a quilt I have made for them, they can see the history of its construction, even if they are not a quilter themselves. You can order a less expensive version than I did by having a softcover or by selecting an option than rearranges photos to conserve space, thereby reducing your page number count since it is priced by the page. Also you have enough control that you can choose to include only certain blog entries. Including only those relevant to the quilt being gifted would also reduce the cost since it would be fewer pages.

Lessons Learned for Next Time
Next time I do this (and I plan for there to be a next time) I will keep some things in mind as I write my posts.
1) Since links cannot be clicked in a paper copy (duh) I will try to  spell out the link instead of substituting phrases like "click here" for the sometimes lengthy url entry. If the reader wants to visit a url I reference, it will then be available for them to type in when they do go to a computer. Also I can substitute the year and month of a past post for "see this post" without much extra effort and then the reader can flip back in the book to my reference.
2) I will be more judicious in my use of buttons as links and possibly just substitute the text of the url link. That way I will not see the same button appearing over and over again throughout the book. In the overall cost scheme of things, the buttons are relatively small and even repeating them multiple times probably adds only 2-4 pages of extra cost.  Even though the buttons are cute, I felt seeing them repeatedly was distracting from my own personal images and seemed to give the buttons an exaggerated sense of importance.

The pictures in the blog book were smaller than I expected.  I usually select the extra large size option for pictures in my posts and the ones in the book were printed much more like the default medium size. I do not know if this was a resolution issue or if there was a option that I could have selected and did not when I was creating the book. I have a call in to the company to find this out.  My husband did point out to me that had the  pictures been printed at the extra large size, my page count and subsequent cost would have risen appreciably.  It is a trade off.  I was not disappointed at the pictures within, just surprised. And I should also mention that my blog is white text on a bright magenta background.  The book is printed white on black, which actually looks better, is easier to read, and definitely uses less ink. Again, this was a surprise but it really looked crisp and sharp. I am considering changing my on-line blog layout so maybe next time you look at my posts they will have a different look and be easier to read.  I plan to play with that in the next few days.

Here is the url I used to order the book archiving my blog posts
There may be other vendors out there that offer a similar service but I did not do extensive research and comparison. I was quite happy with the product I received. This company's interface for creating and viewing the book online was easy to use. I am on a Mac so I can attest it was Mac friendly, too. You get to preview the book on line so I should not have been "surprised" by those items I commented on in the last paragraph. Maybe just chalk it up to a short memory...?

Since I was traveling last week and have been on jury duty this week (I was actually selected as a juror and served for the very first time) I've had very time to sew. But here is my list of projects. I hope to get back to some of them this weekend.

Completed projects:
  1. None
Ongoing projects:  
  1. Color Play of the Day (see 2013/01) - back from long arm quilter, ready for binding
  2. Sunny Spring Frost - back from long arm quilter, ready for binding
  3. Jack O'Lantern Trio (see 2013/02) - awaiting FMQ
  4. Chicken quilt - awaiting FMQ
  5. Overlapping square wall hanging - awaiting FMQ
  6. Grinch quilt (see 2011/12) - on design wall for assembly and creative sashing solution
  7. Mask quilt (see 2011/10) - hidden away in a container awaiting inspiration for arranging hexagons
  8. Scarecrow (see 2013/01) - just add his doo-dads and be done with him!
  9. Paper pieced block of the month - downloaded and ready to print
New projects:  
  1. Redesign blog layout.
Stats since last WIP:
     Completed  projects - 0
     New projects - 1
     Currently in progress - 9 (can hardly wait to get  back to my sewing room!)

Now I am off to check out what the rest of you have been up to at:


  1. You are as late as I am in posting to Lee's Freshly Pieced! A soul mate! And in more than one way--when I saw your book and the Lakehouse quilt of those bright daisies on the cover, I really smiled, as I' have made one of those, too. I enjoyed reading through your blog and have added you to my bloglovin' list!

    Elizabeth E.

  2. I love the idea of the book! What a great keepsake! Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a great idea.

  4. Love that back photo! I followed your advice, and you can actually select small, medium, or large photo size; I use extra large for Days of Autumn so I think I am stuck downsizing either way. They should consider adding an option for "spell out links," though, because it is a pain to read a three-line HTML link online when "This Ruler" would suffice. Also, consider what you spell out; although it's nice to have your reader able to type in a URL, links change all the time so what you're taking great pains to immortalize might not even be there next week, and books have a longer shelf life than blog posts.

    Also, I am loving the new layout. The colors are way easier on the eye, the only thing I miss is having a serif font in the body text for better flow!

    1. Hmmm. I debated the serif font Times (or maybe it was Times New Roman?) for exactly that reason but it seemed tiny. Maybe I will reconsider and use a larger font size with a serif font.

    2. I switched to the serif font Georgia and it is a bit more spread out. I did not have to increas font size and I do like it better. Thanks for the feedback. Also I do not plan on subbing the entire URL in the text- just enough so that the reader could get a start in figuring it out. For example "see yyyy/mm" in my summary section of ongoing projects.

  5. To add to the font discussion (from a designer's viewpoint - and since I just lectured about it in class tonight): You should pretty much never use a serif font in body text on a website. Sans serif is the way to go, as indicated in most studies about this topic (it's the exact opposite for printed text though). You'll rarely see a professional site that uses a serif font in body text. When I look at your blog on my phone, the text is displayed using a sans serif font.

    1. You are absolutely correct. I Googled the topic and educated myself better. I switched back to san serif Arial, which is what I had selected before switching to Georgia. It was interesting that your phone converted it to a sans serif font. At the time you read this post and commented on it, the font had serifs. Now my question is this. When I submit these posts to be printed in a book, will they shift back to a font better for reading on paper?