photovent 2010: a beautifully different photo garland

"There is nothing like a dream to create the future."

~ Victor Hugo

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Last week, I hinted that I was not handling the fact that the holidays are just around the corner very well

In fact, before I continue, a bit of advice -- and heed my words, people -- never launch a book between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Don't get me wrong: it's all incredibly exciting, and I'm thrilled more than you know; however, while I'm focusing on the book, it's hard to be mindful of all the other things I need to do.  You know, like Christmas shopping.  And, um, showering.

Anyway, I was lamenting this fact with my friend Mir online the other day, and telling her, "you know, I really need to do something on my blog over the next few weeks so that it frees up some time for me, but also ensures that I don't miss updates for readers."

"What do you have in mind?" she asked.

"I'm not entirely sure," I said.  "I mean, I sort of like the idea of Advent calendars -- you know, those calendars where every day, you open a little door and get a little surprise?  I'd love to do something like that on the blog -- something sort of photography-related, where every day, visitors would get a little surprise, or something. Like a 'photovent' calendar, or something.  But I'm not sure how to do that."

"You're going to laugh," she said, "but I've always loved the kinds of advent calendars where you actually build something, and you have something cool at the end."

"Yeah," I mused.  "But how do I do that with photos?"

"How about a photo garland?" she suddenly typed.


"Dude, that's brilliant," I said.  "Let me see if I can come up with some ideas for how to make one."

A quick Google search turned up this how-to for making a garland with photobooth strips.  Which is truly 8 shades of awesome.  But the thing is, I don't take photobooth strips. 

I have, however, taken a ton of photos for this book I just wrote.

So that's when I came up with the idea of us making a beautifully different photo garland, instead.  Every weekday for the next 5 weeks (through Christmas Eve), I'll share a pdf for you to download to create your own photo garland.  Each image that I share will be an image from the book, overlaid with a word that means something to me (and, I hope, to you, as well).  The final product would look great on your Christmas tree or mantle (or would make a great stocking stuffer or handmade gift); however, the words and images aren't particularly religious in nature, so if Christmas isn't your thing, you'll still end up with a pretty garland that you can decorate your window, or your office, or cubicle, or even your inspiration board (I've already got mine up in my office, in advance of putting it on the tree -- and after Christmas, instead of packing it away, it's going right back in my office).  And the best part?  It's incredibly easy to make, without so much as a glue gun in sight.

And thank God for that, too, because I'm truly one of the most uncrafty people I know.


Are you in?  Cool.  Here's all you'll need (available at any office supply store or online):

  • the pdf's that I'll be sharing every day from today through Christmas Eve.  Simply click on the links to download them, and print them out on a colour printer.  I suppose you could use a good quality printer paper; however, for best results, print on photo paper -- I used this one.
  • self-adhesive laminating sheets.  (The original instructions required an actual laminator, but my friend Rachel told me about these self-adhesive sheets, and these really are all you need.) I used these, just because they were small and cool -- however, you can use these sheets as well, to laminate multiple images at once, and they're way cheaper.  By Christmas, you will have needed to laminate 25 images, so be sure to get enough.  You'll also need to trim the images once laminated, so have a pair of scissors nearby.
  • 1-inch binder ringsThese will do.
  • a hole punch.  I used a simple one like this.

And here's what you'll do:

1.  Click on the link to the pdfs that will be available each day (from today through Christmas Eve) to download.  Print out the pdfs with a colour printer and cut out both images.  Place the two images back-to-back.

2.  Follow the instructions of the self-laminating paper to laminate the two back-to-back images together in place (so that it looks the same on either side).  Trim so there's a little bit of the laminating paper around the edges of the two adhered images (if you trim exactly to the edge of photographs, the two back-to-back images will come apart.  Don't ask me how I know this.)  Do this for each of the pdfs you download over the next few weeks.

3.  Once the two images are laminated together, take the hole punch, and punch a hole on opposite sides of the laminated images (refer to the image above to see how the holes should be placed -- absolute precision isn't required, just eyeball it). 

4.  Taking one binder ring, link two laminated images together through the punched holes, as shown in the image above.  Continue linking laminated images together to create a long chain.  The final chain will have 25 images, about 10 feet long.

And that's it!  As I said, for the next 5 weeks, I'll share an image/pdf with you every weekday (along with a quote, because you know how I love me a quote).  I won't be far away -- I'll likely be ducking in every now and then to share news (like the Houston book launch that will be happening on December 2nd from 7 - 9 at Brazos Book Store, and a San Antonio book event/meetup at a very cool lounge on December 9th -- stay tuned for more info!).  I'll also be occasionally sharing additional news and images just to let you know what else is going on Chez Chookooloonks.  However, I'm hoping that on the days where I'm just so blindsided with activity that I can't find the time to blog, you'll excuse me by accepting the image and the quotations that I have lined up for you -- and at the end of it all, you'll have a lovely garland as evidence of your patience.

So with that, the image at the top of the post is the first image --  click here to download the "Create" pdf.  And as the blog gets updated every day, you can see all the images for the Photovent 2010 by scrolling through here.  Enjoy.

Images:  my Nikon D300, various lenses.  The ones in the tree were shot in my neighbour's yard.  One day, my neighbours are going to arrest me for trespassing, mark my words.

Song Across the universe, as performed by Fiona Apple