Another Contest and a Book About Food

Posted by jdg | Monday, December 07, 2009

It's time for another contest and this one requires more than just a comment (that means your odds of winning are that much greater if you choose to participate). As you may have noticed, Shutterfly has been sponsoring this website through advertising for several months now and I couldn't be happier about it. This advertiser offers a service that lets people be creative and give unique gifts and as I've written before, I really love creating personalized books for the kids. We make half a dozen or so every year, from gift books for the grandparents to photo "albums" to help remember vacations (even if it's just Cincinnati) to paper versions of the sort of silly projects I've shared here. Luckily, just before my laptop died I'd placed an order for a bunch of books to give as gifts this year, and one for the kids I've been working on for months. The books arrived a few days ago (and don't worry, I paid for all of them myself).

I wanted to create a book that would make the kids think about where their food comes from. Every Saturday morning we walk up to the big weekend market and it's become a huge part of our lives. All my resentments and frustrations about living here wash away on Saturday morning while I buy fresh produce and unique local products surrounded by other people from all over the area and from all sorts of backgrounds doing the same thing. I know my kids will remember this tradition and I wanted to create a book that would both memorialize it for them and also help them think about how their food doesn't just come from Supermarket shelves.

For the front and rear covers I created a collage of all our Saturday hauls that I've been photographing for a few years:

Inside, I used some photos I've had for years along with some I took specifically for the book. We went out to Calder Dairy Farm to meet the cows who supply our milk:

Later I saw the farm's delivery truck at the store where we buy two gallons a week and snapped a shot:

While you can use the Shutterfly software to add text, I'm accustomed to adding the text myself in photoshop before I upload the pictures. Sometimes I skipped text altogether and just included pictures of the market that I hope will help the kids remember how beautiful those mornings were. I also took pictures of all our favorite farmers.

During the growing season we buy most our produce from farms here in the city limits, and I wanted to include something about the urban farming movement in Detroit. The pictures of Detroit farms I included were all taken on bike journeys with the kids:

The book is 33 pages long so these are just some examples. If you want to see the whole thing, just click here. I've been pleasantly surprised by how much my daughter loves it (but who wouldn't love a book about their own life?). She already has it mostly memorized and even "reads" it to her brother:

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Today I'm offering the chance to make your own book and win a whole bunch of prizes from Shutterfly, including two (2) 7" by 9" photo books, 25 greeting cards, 25 stationary cards, and a photo calendar. I am sweetening the deal by adding a free gift basket of some of our favorite non-perishable Detroit goodies from Eastern Market for the winner. You have one week to enter (deadline: Monday, December 14, 2009 12:00 p.m. EST).

To enter the contest, just create a book and add it to my Shutterfly community page. Your book can be as simple or as complicated as you want. It doesn't need to be a story, it can just be pictures. You do not need to share personal images or even order the book to be considered for the contest. Shutterfly's website can easily help you make a book from images on your computer within a matter of minutes. It will be especially easy to enter if you've ever created something with Shutterfly before. Once your book is done go to my shutterfly page and click "add" to share your book with me and I will pick a winner at random from all books shared.

I will announce a random winner on this site on December 14, 2009 (which I believe still gives you time to order and receive the free gifts before the holidays). I really look forward to seeing what you folks might create. Good luck.