Organizing Digital Photos

One of the biggest benefits of digital photography is the ability to take lots (thousands) of photos for essentially no money beyond the original purchase of the camera or phone. But while this is great, it can also be a pain to organize and back up those photos in a way that makes them easy to find. I have a pretty easy but efficient system for organizing and backing up my photos, so I thought I’d share how I do it.

Uploading the Photos.

Of course, before you can sort, organize, and back up your photos, you first have to get them off your devices. I upload my photos from both my phone and camera at least once a month. If I’ve been taking a lot of photos or have been traveling, I’ll often upload them more than that. It only takes a few minutes usually, so I’ll plug my phone or camera into my computer while I’m doing something else. If I haven’t taken as many photos, I upload them at the end of every month. I upload them directly to Dropbox, which makes things really easy later on because Dropbox automatically gives the photos a file name with the date and time the photo was taken. This means all photos are organized chronologically in order even when my phone and camera photos are all bunched together, plus I can very easily see when each photo was taken!

Organizing the Photos.

Because I upload my photos each month directly to Dropbox, the organizing step is actually very easy! At the beginning of each year, I create a folder in Dropbox with the year as the folder name. For example, this year’s folder name is “2019”. Inside that folder, I create 12 additional folders, one for each month of the year. These are labeled with the month. In order to keep them in the calendar order, each month name is preceded by the numerical for that month. So “1. January” for January or “9. September” for September. Once I’ve uploaded the photos to Dropbox, they can be found in the “Camera Uploads” folder on Dropbox. I just have to select them and drag them into the “2019” folder and then into the correct month folder. Since the file names are already by date, I’m all done!

Exception: When I’m traveling, I often take thousands of photos and because I often make photo books or upload the photos to Facebook and my blog, I do create a separate folder for just the travel photos and place it either in the month folder or, if the trip spanned days in more than one month, in the year folder. For these, I label them with the destination(s) and year. For example, when I traveled to Scotland and Ireland this fall, I created a folder named “Scotland & Ireland 2018”.

If you’re thinking that your Dropbox will fill up really quickly using this method, you’re right! That’s why I only leave the photos for the current and previous month in Dropbox. I don’t want to pay for extra storage, so I back up all my photos elsewhere (see next section). I create an additional “2019” folder in the “Pictures” folder on my computer. After I’ve backed the photos up, I simply drag the month’s folder to this other “2019” folder, where it will reside for all eternity.

Backing Up the Photos.

I back up my photos is two additional places. First, I upload all photos (I do usually go through them first and delete any blurry or mistake photos) to Google Photos at the end of each month. I simply select all of the photos from that month, upload them, then add them to a new album On Google Photos, I simply label the album with the month and year. For example, “January 2019”.  I create a separate folder for any long trips (especially if I took a lot of photos) and label it with the destination(s) and year.

I also back up my photos on an external hard-drive. I have one from Seagate that holds 1 terabyte. I create a folder with the year on my hard-drive, then at the end of each month, drag the month folder into this, which automatically copies it. Super simple!

And that’s it!

Hand-Lettered Christmas Cards

For the past several years, I have made hand-lettered Christmas cards for several of my friends at college.  I’ve shared some of those here.  This year is the first year that the designs were 100% my own, and also the first year that I’ve incorporated color.  I went simple in the color department- black pen on white paper, with some bright red.  I’m going to apologize in advance for the poor camera quality- I didn’t finish the cards until just before our gift exchange, so I rushed to get pictures and they didn’t turn out well.2015-12-05 19.12.09This first design was quite simple and more graphic than the others.  I liked the idea of a somewhat “busier” background, with a bold message in the middle.

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I was really happy with how this one turned out- I played around a lot with the lettering for ‘night’ and love how it turned out.

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I really love this one as well.  I think this is the most “fun” of the designs, and it has a certain childlike feel to me.

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Although I like this one, it’s not my favorite.  It feels a bit too unbalanced to me.

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This is another favorite.  I actually wasn’t sure I liked it until I added the stripes to the “jolly”, then I discovered I really loved it.

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This is the design and lettering I’m most proud of!  I thought of the idea when laying in my bed last weekend, not wanting to get out of bed.  I’m really happy with the way it turned out!

Dresser Makeover- Part I


I’ve been hard at work trying to finally finish my dresser makeover.  You know, the one I talked about well over a year ago?  I got an old dresser from a neighbor for free.  It was filthy but I could tell it was solidly built and I really liked the size and shape of it.  For the past year, I’ve spent 15 minutes here and there attempting to sand it down to the natural wood.  I’m not sure what kind of paint/stain was used on it, but it was taking forever.

I’ve been thinking for awhile that I really wanted a pop of bright yellow in my bedroom.  I came across an image of a yellow buffet in a dining room, and I loved it.  So I decided to paint the dresser instead of refinishing it by sanding it completely down and staining it.  After all, if I was willing to sand it down now, I can always strip it and get it back down to the natural wood in the future if I want.

Painting it also seemed like an easier option for now than what I was originally planning.  I washed the drawers really good the other day, but the dresser has been on the second floor of our garage/barn for the past year, so I was unable to get the actual dresser down on my own.  I figured my sister could help me get that down this morning, but she refused to help because the stairs are super steep and narrow.  Being the stubborn person I am (and making me realize how like my mother I am), I decided that was going to get that dresser down on my own.  Which was very possibly insane.  I told angrily told my sister that if I wasn’t back in the house in fifteen minutes to call the ambulance, and then proceeded to drag the dresser carefully down the stairs.  It wasn’t easy (and definitely not smart), but I did get it down all in one piece (and without injuring myself).  I’m waiting for it to dry now after I hosed it down, and then on to the actual painting!  Stay tuned for the actual makeover post!

DIY: Fabric Pencil Case



I somehow managed to misplace the fabric zippered pencil case I’ve used for the past several years, so when I went to pack for college, I discovered that I needed a new one.  I mostly use my pencil case to hold pens, the occasional pencil, a pencil sharpener, and a highlight, so it didn’t need to be very big.  I found this tutorial from “Say Yes” and thought that the instructions were clear and easy.  It’s not the cleanest way to make a case (many of the seams on the inside are raw seams), but it was definitely pretty easy and I’m happy with the results.


One thing I would mention is that the finished case is not long enough to hold regular unsharpened pencils.  Mechanical pencils, pens, and highlighters all fit fine, but my longer Ticonderoga pencils do not.  I don’t use pencils often in class, so it’s not a really big deal to me.


I used a really cute fruit patterned fabric (that I got from JoAnn’s ages ago)  for the outside and a heavier-weight maroon fabric (this one was really old, no idea where it was from) for the lining.  I was really surprised how much stuff this holds!

If you are looking for a quick and easy sew or are looking to try out zippers for the first time, this is a good project!

Hand-Painted Wooden Box

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A couple of weeks ago, I finally got to go shopping in a place I could get some art supplies.  I was going through some stuff in my room a few weeks prior and had found a few small wooden boxes that I think I had gotten several years ago with the intention of painting them to use as gifts.  I found that I didn’t really have much acrylic craft paints left, so I decided to put off doing something with them until I could go shopping (the nearest town we can get crafting supplies is an hour away).

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For the first box, I decided to take a design I had seen in a wallpaper and free-hand it onto the box.  I first painted a base coat of the bottom color and then painted over it with a navy blue.  Although I am very happy with the end result, it was definitely a bit of a challenge- I probably should have chosen an easier pattern!  The whole box (I painted the top and all four sides) took me at least 5 hours to paint.

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The box is a perfect size for storing some small notebooks I have and I love the pop of color it adds to my bedroom!  And it was really nice to get back to creating and painting.