Friday, October 20, 2017

The ScrapGals Nashville Retreat in Review

A couple of weeks ago, I co-hosted the ScrapGals Retreat in Nashville, TN. After a fun morning of sightseeing downtown on Friday as an optional kickoff to the event, the actual retreat began that afternoon around 4:00 pm and lasted until 9:00 pm on Sunday.

On Friday afternoon, we worked on a "connections" traveler's notebook which encouraged attendees to get to know each other here at the beginning of the event. Sara Preston's store opened at the beginning of the retreat and would stay open the entire weekend. On Saturday, I taught my selfies class in the morning, and Tracie taught her page-worthy class Saturday afternoon. We also posed for our group photo, spent some time working on class projects, and enjoyed our pajama crop that evening. On Sunday, Jen Schow taught her class on go-to designs and totally inspired everyone with her fabulous layout examples. We spent the rest of the afternoon cropping and then closed the event with a dance party featuring Tracie's husband's band. The whole weekend, we enjoyed fabulous food, lots of laughter, and some time to be crafty. I think it was an amazing time had by all, and here are a few photos from the weekend to prove it.

Warning - lots and lots of photos ahead! :)

Monday, October 16, 2017

Comparing PL Page Prints

Last month, I sent in a Project Life page print order to both Becky Higgins and Persnickety Prints. Because I wanted to be able to compare the prints to each other, I had the exact same pages printed in the exact same way. Here, I want to explain what the sites had in common and how they differed in the hopes that it might help you when you produce and order your own PL prints.

**This is an unsolicited and uncompensated evaluation of the print processing from these two sites. I'm simply sharing my personal experience and opinion so that others might consider this information when you get ready to print your own PL pages.

For reference, here are the pages I had printed. I'm not scanning and posting the actual prints as part of this post because the differences I noticed were not significant enough to show up in a digital scan. The only way you can really tell a difference between them was in person. And it was a total accident that I printed the same design style for each of the two pages; I didn't plan that at all.

Notice that I chose one page with a white background and one with a black background because I wanted to see how I liked having multiple style backgrounds in printed form.

How the printing process from Becky Higgins and Persnickety Prints were the same:
1. Both charged $1.99 per 12 x 12 print
2. Both offered the print in either glossy or matte
3. I ordered them within 5 minutes of each other and both arrived at my home in KY 9 days later
4. Shipping from both sites was a flat $5 fee
5. Both were printed on high-quality photo paper
6. Both sites updated me when my prints were ready to ship and offered tracking of my prints
7. Both sites offer print sales occasionally - 25% off seems to be the norm
8. Both sets of prints arrived safely without any kind of damage and were wrapped in waterproof casing during mailing

What I preferred about the processing at Becky Higgins:
1. The border of the black or white background was a tiny bit thicker from BH
2. The colors of some outdoor photos seemed a bit more saturated from BH (but this also made them seem a bit darker)
3. There were no extra steps to upload and print the pages since I created them using the BH PL app

What I preferred about the processing at Persnickety Prints:
1. The photo paper seemed a bit sturdier and heavier from PP
2. The colors on the prints from PP seemed a touch more vibrant, bright, and true-to-life
3. The matte finish was more matte from PP
4. The heavy cardboard included in the packaging made these prints feel safer during shipping

What I wish were different about printing PL pages:
1. Wouldn't it be great if you could print your PL pages from BH or PP on cardstock or linen or a more textured kind of photo paper? I still think this photo paper was a bit slicker than I would have liked for the whole layout. I'm guessing that's something that just takes getting used to though.
2. The turnaround time for printing was longer than I would have liked. Waiting nine days for my prints felt like FOREVER... Given that and the flat rate shipping cost, it's much wiser and more economical to prep several pages and print them all at once rather than ordering piecemeal like I did for this sample.
3. Since printing multiple pages will be rather expensive at $1.99 per page, that means I'll need to set aside some budget to do large print orders. If I have a large project, like an annual PL album or a huge trip to document, I'd likely need to print 15 pages or so at once to make it budget-friendly. It would be nice if these companies offered a bulk print price for a project like that rather than having to divvy up the printing for my budget needs. (PP offers the chance to buy print credits when they have a sale, so that's the next best option to the bulk pricing idea.)

The verdict:
I think you'll be happy using either of the printing services I tried, Becky Higgins or Persnickety Prints. I will probably mostly use PP in the future because I prefer their paper weight and the look of their matte paper over that of the BH site. Whichever printing service you choose, I think using a single printing service for a given project is wise because it will provide the most cohesive look for the project.