Thursday, July 31, 2014

Photo Printing At Home | Paper Comparison

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It’s no secret that I love printing my photos at home.  I love having them instantly when I’m ready to scrapbook.  I love the precise control that I have over margins and colors.  I print almost all my photos for scrapbooking and Project Life at home, using a Canon Pixma MG5320.  This model is no longer being manufactured, but I’ve had two Canon Pixmas and they are both fantastic.  If I were to purchase one now, I would buy the Canon Pixma MG5520 or the Canon Pixma MG5420, which are both under $80!

Why do I love this printer?
  • I can print borderless 4x6 photos and sheets of 8.5x11 photos at home.
  • It prints true to the color I see on my screen.
  • I print all my digital journal cards at home using this printer and the Canon 4x6 Matte Paper
  • I print all my Silhouette print & cuts on this printer.
  • I can control the margins very precisely so that my photos never get cut off.
  • I can save print “presets” for various things, such as “4x6 printables”, “4x6 photos”, “8.5x11 photos”, “8.5x11 digital printables”, etc.  I set up these presets once and forget about it.  Then every time I want to print one of these items, I just choose the preset and the print software will automatically choose the right paper and settings for me.
  • It is wireless wifi, so you can print from a laptop somewhere else in the house. 
  • It has AirPrint for Apple iOS products, so you can print directly from your iPhone or iPad.
Some people say the ink usage on home printers is too expensive for them.  I’ve been keeping track of my ink cartridge changes and my print volume of different types of printing, and I’m very happy with how long the inks last! 

For example, I last changed the Magenta ink on 1/18/2014, six months ago.  I replaced the Cyan ink on 2/4/2014, and the yellow ink on 3/8/2014.  I haven’t had to replace either black ink cartridges this year yet.  Since January, I have printed 78 of 4x6 glossy photos, 17 of 8.5x11 sheets of glossy photos, 23 of 8.5x11 regular documents, 14 of 8.5x11 sheets of digital printables, 41 of 4x6 sheets of digital journal cards.  All together that’s a whole lot of printing for not having to change a set of inks yet!  (Although I will need to change the black and magenta soon.)

Anyways, enough about the printer itself.  Suffice to say, I love it.

I wanted to show you some photo paper comparisons that I’ve done.  I was running out of Canon 8.5x11 Canon Glossy Photo Paper, and I was at Target, so I thought I would try the Target Up & Up brand of photo paper because it was cheaper.  I opened it up to print my June Project Life photos, and noticed immediately that the paper was much thinner than my regular Canon photo paper.  After printing, I was not happy with how dull the photos looked at certain angles.  I printed the same sheet of photos on the Canon photo paper so I could compare.  I was surprised at how different they looked at an angle.

The left is Canon and the right is Target.

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Now, to be fair, the photos didn’t look too different when looking at them straight-on.  But the Target photo paper was still much thinner to the touch.

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I posted the comparison on Instagram and Facebook, and was surprised to hear from a great number of scrapbookers love to print their photos on Costco’s Kirkland brand professional glossy photo paper!  Even scrapbookers that I admire who are on multiple design teams told me that they love the Costco photo paper.  So I had to give it a try!


I also had some Canon Semi-Gloss papers on hand, so I threw that in.  I had a few sheets of 4x6 Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper that Peppermint gave me, so I threw that in too.

Here were the comparisons.  I was surprised that my beloved Canon photo papers looked slightly yellow compared to the Costco and Epson photo papers.


The Costco was the brightest white compared to the Canon and the Target.  The Costco was also very thick.


The Epson Ultra Premium seems to have the most bright white paper.  Costco’s white has a slight bluish undertone. 


In this photo below, you can see clearly how much brighter white the Costco photo paper was, compared to the Canon.  The Canon definitely has a warm yellowish undertone.


Another Canon vs Costco comparison.

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Again, the Canon papers had a slightly more yellowish undertone than the Costco or the Epson.

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In this comparison at an angle, you can definitely see the Target paper looks dull at an angle compared to the other ones.  And the Costco was the brightest.


One last comparison.


For me personally, I prefer the brightness of the Costco and Epson photo papers versus the Canon.  If you prefer a warmer photo, then Canon would be the choice.

Let’s take a look at the cost comparisons.

For 8.5x11 photo papers:
  • Canon Photo Paper Plus Glossy II:  $4.99/20 sheets = $0.25 per sheet
  • Target Up & Up Soft Gloss:  $5.99/30 sheets = $0.20 per sheet
  • Epson Ultra Premium Glossy:  $22.99/50 sheets = $0.46 per sheet
  • Costco Professional Glossy:  $18.99/150 sheets = $0.13 per sheet
My favorite was the Epson Ultra Premium Glossy, but it costs over 3x more than my second favorite Costco paper, so Costco wins!

For 4x6 photo papers:
Again, my favorite is the Epson Ultra Premium Glossy (which is whiter and brighter than the Epson Premium Glossy), but in the 4x6 size they cost 5x more than Costco, which was a very close second favorite for me.  Costco wins again. 

I hope that you found my home printing photo paper comparisons helpful.  What is your favorite photo paper for printing at home?  Did you learn anything new with these comparisons?  Do you have other printing questions that you would like me to address in a future blog post?
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Even Dancing Queens Have To Eat Sometime

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{At the San Diego Symphony Pop: The Music of ABBA concert on Sat 7/19.}

The last couple of weeks after we got back from our NorCal trip has been a whirlwind of summer fun. 

We went to my friend Julio’s birthday party on Friday 7/18.  He had a huge spread of Mexican food.

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Lots of drinks.

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A DJ playing dance music.

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I finally got to meet Julio’s brother and sister-in-law.  It was a fun night!


On Saturday night 7/19, we went to the San Diego Symphony Pops concert featuring the music of ABBA with our friends Anne & Gilbert.  There was an ABBA tribute band, and they were even from Sweden! 

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They played most of ABBA’s best hits, such as Take A Chance On Me, Dancing Queen, The Winner Takes It All, Fernando, One of Us, Waterloo, etc.  Speaking of “Take a Chance On Me”, try watching this video from the Wake County SPCA without wanting to bring all the animals home! 

Concert selfie.

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With Anne & Gilbert.  We brought lawn chairs to the concert.  They even let you bring your own food and drinks, as long as they are not in a big cooler.


We brought homemade pasta with roasted veggies.

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There was fireworks over San Diego Bay at the end of the concert.  That is one of my favorite things about the SD Symphony summer concerts!

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On Wed 7/23 we tried out a new restaurant called Peri Peri.  It was South African food, which I’ve never had! 

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I got the Prawns Peri Peri, which was flame-grilled prawns, shell on with butter, lemon, coarse salt, and Peri-Peri sauce (a very spicy oil).

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Todd had the Boerewors House Made “Farmer’s Sausage”, with coarsely ground sausage seasoned with coriander and cloves.

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The food there was very good.  I think we’ll be back!

OMG, Todd is famous! He got on the You Are Not So Smart podcast back in June! He was driving home one night and listening to it, and then all of a sudden they talked about Todd's cookie recipe that he modified from America's Test Kitchen! It was SO cool!  Listen to the podcast between minutes 53:30 and 58:30, it's Todd's 5 minutes of fame!  The show even pinned Todd’s cookie recipe on their Pinterest board.  And last week, Todd finally got the book they promised, for having his cookie recipe tried out on the podcast!

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On Friday night 7/25, we went to Barnes & Noble after dinner for a bookstore date!  Todd wanted to peruse the new collage football magazines.

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I checked out some beauty and crafty magazines.


On Sat 7/26 we went to visit Sally and her twins.  I hadn’t seen them since their birthday party in March!  We had dinner together:  grilled sausages, caprese salad, and roasted asparagus with balsamic brown butter.  Noms!

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I brought over some crafty supplies that I purged, and fairly soon everyone was covered in stickers, lol.


Since it’s been hot here, even by San Diego standards, we’ve been eating salads.

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But we did try a new recipe from America’s Test Kitchen:  Cauliflower Soup.  (Registration required to see the recipe.)  It sounds unappetizing, but after watching them make it, it looked so good we had to give it a try!  And boy it’s really good!


Ready for some Noodle cuteness?

Sleeping soundly on his perch.

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Extreme close-up.

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Playing under the dining chairs.  Hilarious!

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Hanging out in the craft room with me this past weekend.  So cute how he wants to be close to me, even when I’m crafting.

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On the dresser in the morning, where I often find him after I get out of the shower.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

2014 Project Life | June Anniversary Insert


I’ve been working on my June Project Life pages.  I tackle a couple of hours here and there.  I’ve got all my photos printed and into protectors.  I’ve got about 5 pages done, with 4 more to go.  Today I want to share a special insert in my album dedicated to our 20th anniversary “date”.  The related blog post with photos and stories are here

This was the first time I used the October After page protector and it was really fun!  I also used mostly Crate Paper’s new collection Notes & Things, which I won via their Instagram giveaway. 

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Front side.


I took the wood veneer ampersand from the Studio Calico June Project Life kit “Hello Hello” and heat embossed it with gold AC embossing powder.  I used glue dots to adhere it to the outside of the page protector.



More heat embossing.



Back side.  I took these photos when the sun was going down already, so they were not the best quality.  Oh well.



I stamped and diecut that Insta frame using stamps & die from Papertrey Ink.  Love how that turned out.  The mint ink pad is Studio Calico’s “Mint Hint” dye ink pad.





Later this weekI have more posts to share with you regarding printing photos on different photo papers, and also more Project Life pages to share.

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