DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

Decorating a Traditional Album

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – CUTTING INTO THE FUN PART

After Your Initial $75 Investment

A couple of weeks ago I told you it was possible to get started in scrapbooking for only $75 and that’s the truth, but all you’ve got at that point is a cover, pages and adhesives. If you want more than pictures stuck to a bare page, the next step is Trimmers and Tools. There are just a few basic items you need to get started, but there is a lifetime of fun stuff to collect – and just about the time you think you have it all, they come up with something new that feels as if it is totally necessary.

Two Trimmers

When you begin to decorate your scrapbook pages, there are two primary objects you’ll be dealing with – photographs and decorative paper. Creative Memories has a specific tool designed for each of these jobs.

Decorative paper comes in 12X12 sheets and Creative Memories has an amazing 12-Inch Trimmer I think everyone needs to handle these sheets. The price is $49 and worth every penny. I’ve used lots of trimmers in my decades of scrapbooking, even several versions of CM trimmers, but nothing can compare to this baby.

To begin with, the 12-Inch Trimmer is sturdier than anything else available. This is a tool you’ll use all the time for lots of different things, so you want a good one. When I say it has a double track blade guide, interchangeable safety blades and an easily replaceable mat strip, it probably won’t mean a thing to you, but what I’m saying is that it is well-built, easy to use and there are affordable replacement parts that keep the whole thing going. Because the safety blade is interchangeable, you can not only easily replace a worn out blade, but you also don’t need to get a trimmer for every kind of cut you want to make. You just get blades.

If you can only afford one trimmer, the 12-Inch Trimmer is the one that you want, because it can be used to cut both paper and photos, but if possible you should also consider the Personal Trimmer. It’s a smaller, easier-to-handle trimmer, designed specifically for trimming photos. It’s $26.50. The 12-Inch Trimmer didn’t even exist when I discovered CM in the mid-90’s, so the Personal Trimmer was my first tool and I love it with a passion.

The Custom Cutting System

OK, this is where the fun begins. You do not need a custom cutting system. You can scrapbook forever without being able to cut circles, ovals, hexagons, etc. However, the question is this, “Do you want to?”

I was slow on the uptake for the Custom Cutting System. It cost a little more than I wanted to spend at first and then once I got it, it seemed to slow me down. Then one day they came up with the NEW Custom Cutting System. They made various improvements in the system, from the mat that protects your table to adding a swivel into the blade cartridge. I became a Custom Cutting System fan.

It takes several items to use the Custom Cutting System, all of which can be bought separately. The mat is $15 and you will find yourself using it for many design steps beyond cutting, once you have it. There are a number of pattern packages you can choose, each for $16. You will either get three patterns of the same shape in various sizes, or a single jumbo pattern, or there is a Gemstone set for diamond and heart shapes. The final piece needed is the Blade Cartridges and there are three, red green or blue – each at $7.50.

Here’s how it works. Each pattern has a track on the inside and the outside edge. Each color of cartridge has the blade a certain distance from the feet which go into the tracks. Between the two tracks and three blades, you can make six different sizes with each pattern. Just use the Sizing Template that comes with the patterns to decided which pattern and blade to use. Put what you want to cut on the mat, place the pattern on what you want to cut and then use the appropriate blade in the right track to get the size you want.

If you’re just starting get the mat, the circle patterns and a red blade. That’s a $38.50. You’ll soon want more patterns and more blades, but it’s best to get accustomed to using the system, before adding too much to your stash.

Become a Real Cut Up

I have to warn you, if you fall in love with these, they will be just the beginning of a tableful of tools you think you need to scrapbook. Let me remind you of where you are in your expenditures. You spent about $75 for your album and basic page supplies. The 12-Inch Trimmer is $49 and you are in business for your first album at $124. If you want more, you get the Personal Trimmer and start your Custom Cutting System, which still keeps you under $200. You’ll need to spend about $75 every time you start an album, but the tools will be there for you virtually forever.

Once you have all these great tools, you’re going to need some stuff to cut. So, next week we’ll talk about Decorative Papers and Embellishments.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Real Estate Photography, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, Scrapbooking

The Weekend Report

TRAVEL HERE – THIRD WEEKEND IN NOVEMBER & AUTUMN IS DEFINATELY HERE

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving celebration yesterday. While last weekend was fairly busy, there’s not a lot that will be interesting to you. However, we did try out a new restaurant on Thursday and on Friday I did have one thing worth mentioning.

Finally Four Winds

So, shortly after we moved to the Rockwall area, we started hearing about a steak restaurant called Four Winds in Wills Point. We also heard that to get a reservation there, you needed to book a month in advance and you’d still be lucky to get in. We’re fairly spontaneous about our dining out and steak is something we usually cook at home, so even though folks raved about the food, we had not made any serious attempt to go.

Still, we kept hearing about it, so we’d begun to look for a reason to make a reservation and go. That’s when one of those people who want to sell you annuities sent us an invitation for a free meal at Four Winds in exchange for listening to her presentation.

I’m warning all of you people who offer up time shares, vacation clubs and financial plans, Bill and I are very good at ‘no thank you’. We actually consider the presentations a sort of entertainment and feel no compunction at leaving without setting an appointment or buying any thing at all. Remember, you contacted us. We didn’t come looking for you.

A free dinner at one of the most popular restaurants in the area? That’s a no brainer. I won’t waste your time with the annuity bit, but I will tell you Four Winds made listening to the spiel worthwhile. Both of our steaks were noteworthy and the side dishes were good too. I’m sure we’ll find a reason to go back and we won’t even mind paying for it ourselves!

Wine, Women & Wealth

One of my dear friends, Susan Bennett-White is a financial consultant. She handles all kinds of things from a program to save you money on the things you buy every day, to being able to help you get your finances in order to buy that house you want or even what kind of life insurance you need. Once a month she has a program directed at educating women, which as a group are generally underserved in the financial arena. It’s called Wine, Women & Wealth.

Besides being a good educational vehicle for women concerning their personal finances, it’s also a great networking event – that’s why I’m there. The meal is free, the event is fun and while it’s obvious Susan would love to have your business, there is never any pressure to buy, from Susan or from the various businesses – one of which is spotlighted each month. Just so happens this month, my memory keeping business was the spotlight.

So, in the photo above you see me, begging people to turn their mess over to me and let me turn it into memories they can share with pride. We’re at Alfredo’s Steakhouse in Forney, TX. Since I go there once a week for FANG, Forney Area Networking Group (Networking you can sink your teeth into) once a week and then once a month for Wine, Women and Wealth, it just might be the restaurant I go to most frequently, but even though it’s a steak house, all I ever get is breakfast, a salad or a sandwich.

I’d love to connect you with Susan and her monthly free lunch and networking event, so just let me know if you’d like to be invited next month.

Wedding Bells and Sunday School

The only other place I went this past weekend was church and I went twice. One of the sweetest girls in my church married the love of her life there on Saturday. It was a very tender event. Then, of course, on Sunday morning I got up and went to church. I happened to be the greeter, which meant I froze my patookus off, there in the breezeway of Rockwall Bible Church.

Otherwise, I took care of a few real estate photography clients, designed and ordered my company Christmas cards, finished a digital photobook and ordered it, started another one and tried to deliver a pair of scrapbooks I had finished, but my client got caught up at the mall. Not very exciting, huh?

I actually was away from the house for less than half an hour, because my client caught me before I got too far, but when I got home all hell had broken loose. My husband had decided to build a few shelves in the attic, for which I am sincerely grateful, but many of my “treasures” (translated that means “free tote bags” were in danger, because he wanted to “organize” (translated that means “dispose of”) them.

And really, that’s it! Next up, learn about Las Vegas’ High Roller Ferris Wheel and then on Thursday, we’ll be talking about the digital side of my memory keeping business.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

An Investment in Digital Memory Keeping

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – THE BEST PLACE TO STORE YOUR IMAGES

Who is Forever and Why Have I Never Heard of Them?

I have one very important thing I need to tell you and I need you to think seriously about it. If you aren’t paying for your photo storage, then someone is and you are the product. Even if you do pay for your storage, you probably have no idea what terms you acknowledged when you signed up and as soon as you stop paying, your photos will disappear.

I can hear you out there and you aren’t happy. You want to tell me why I am wrong. That’s OK. You’re thinking:

  • “I pay a lot for my iPhone/Android and this is one of my benefits.”
  • “I pay to store everything on the Cloud.”
  • “I pay for my photo prints/digital photobooks from Snapfish/Shutterfly/Mixbook/Mpix/Etc., so it’s not free.”
  • “Me and all my friends share photos on Google Photos/Drive and we’ve never had a problem.”
  • “I have a Prime account with Amazon, so I know you are way off base.”
  • “Well, I use Dropbox, so there!”
  • “I copied and pasted one of those announcements on my feed about Facebook not being able to use my photos.”

I hear you and I used to be just like you. In fact, I have lot of photos on my Android phone. I have two Dropbox accounts. I use Google Drive in my business and have shared on Google Photos. I have photos scattered across several photo printing sites. However, I haven’t fallen for the copy and paste stuff on Facebook.

Now, I have a question for you. Did you actually read the terms of the agreement you approved when you turned your photos over to whoever has them?

  • Did you give them permission to mine your photos for marketing purposes?
  • Can they sell your photos to third parties as stock photos?
  • Did they warn you they carried no responsibility if your photos disappeared?
  • Did they tell you they could compress and/or reformat your photos?
  • Did they tell you when you died your account would no longer exist?
  • Did they tell you they had the right to delete your photos whenever they so desired?
  • Did you read the part which explains when your photos become their property?
  • Do you know what will happen to your photos if they start charging for their storage and you don’t pay?

I could go on, but I think you are beginning to understand the problem. Now you are ready to consider Forever:

https://www.forever.com/ambassador/jane-sadek/preserve-and-share

It’s simple. If you aren’t paying for your storage with money, then you are the product. If you are paying for your storage with anyone one else besides Forever, you (or someone) is going to have to pay for it month by month or year by year from now on.

Only with Forever do you pay once and own your storage space. Only with Forever are your photos safe for your life, plus 100 years, guaranteed. Only with Forever can you be sure your photos won’t lead to advertising you didn’t want. Only with Forever can you be sure your photos won’t end up being used for marketing or on some stock photo site without your knowledge and to someone else’s benefit. Only with Forever can you set up a succession plan past your own lifetime.

In simple terms, the rest of those guys have set up their companies to turn a profit for their shareholders. That’s who they are responsible to, not you. Forever is set up completely different. They use the model of an insurance company rather than like those other photo companies. When you pay for your storage with Forever, most of your money goes into a fund to provide photo storage into perpetuity, not to the bottom line to satisfy their shareholders.

Forever has a lot of other services and they are happy for you to pay them for digitizing your physical images, printing photos, coffee mugs and other products, as well as selling photo photobooks. They’ll gladly pocket the profit of these activities, but if you buy storage from them, then you’ve purchased the best digital photo storage in the world and no one will ever have to pay another penny for it.

If you hadn’t heard of Forever until you read this post, that’s because they don’t have a marketing budget like the rest of those guys. They are sold strictly by network marketing. If you’re interested, I’d love to tell you more, including all the ways to save money on Forever products.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

An Investment in Traditional Scrapbooking

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED

Last week I told you that if you were going to start doing something about your mess and you wanted to do it yourself, sorting was going to be your first job. I also told you not buy up any fancy sorting equipment, to just use Ziplocks and shopping bags. Most people spend a lot of time in this phase, from a matter of hours to a matter of months. At some point, you’ll need to start your scrapbook and these are the basics.

The CM Album

As I have said before and will say often, I’m more interested in turning your mess into memories than I am in selling you products. However, I do have some strong opinions about which products are best for your scrapbooking projects.

To me, few things are more important than the album you choose for your scrapbooking. I’m not referring to what color you choose or if you’d like it to be embellished or want to add custom printing to the spine or cover. I’m talking about choosing a Creative Memories Album Cover over anything and everything else.

I’ve been scrapbooking a long time. There just isn’t anything out there any better for your project than a CM album. You might go to the craft store and find something you think is cuter. You might go online and find something less expensive. I’m telling you, if my advise means anything, you will use CM albums, and only CM albums, for your scrapbooking.

Why? Quality and durability are the main reasons. You’re going to put a lot of hard work into your album and you don’t want it falling apart in a couple of years. No one else makes albums that will do a better job for you for a longer period of time. CM also has the patented Flex-Hinge binding. This means your pages are going to lay flat and not have some kind of obstruction between the pages.

You may have started some other kind of album years ago or you might discover you can’t resist that album you saw at Hobby Lobby. I will still be your friend and I will continue to help you with your projects, but I’m not going to be very sympathetic when the other album fails and eventually, it will.

A proper CM album uses CM pages and only CM pages, which automatically include your page protectors. The pages come in a variety of formats and I will be happy to help you decide which is best for your projects, but they are designed specifically for CM albums and if you don’t use them, you are compromising the integrity of your album.

There are a world of tools and decorative items out there that have nothing to do with Creative Memories. You will never hear a peep from me about using them. Get those embellishments from Stampin’ Up. Buy your tools from the Michael’s clearance rack. Go to Hobby Lobby for your stickers and papers. I don’t care. I find myself lingering in the scrapbook aisles, too. However, I do think CM albums and pages are your best bet.

One more thing – adhesives. Creative Memories Tape Runners are the gold standard. I’ve used everything. I’ve been known to run out of Tape Runner in the middle of a project and have not waited until I could order from CM. I’ve been given stuff. I’ve picked stuff up on the clearance rack and at the dollar store. Whenever I deviated from CM adhesives, I was always sorry. Like the pages themselves, there are a number of types of adhesives, the wonderful Tape Runners and several other items for a variety of uses. All of them are great and I use them all, depending on what I am sticking down and what I am sticking it to.

When I recommend you exclusively use CM products, this is what I mean. Get your albums, pages and adhesives from CM and no one else. To begin your project, you will need a cover set, a package of pages and a Tape Runner. This will cost you less than $75 and your memories will last a lifetime.

This is where you begin. The basic building blocks of a scrapbook which will turn your mess into memories. You are the most important ingredient in your scrapbook, but you’ll be glad if you take my advice concerning these items. Happy scrapbooking. Let me know how I can help. Next week, we’ll talk tools.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

Is Memory Keeping a Craft, a Hobby or Something Else Completely?

Photo by Monstera on Pexels.com

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – IT’S NOT A CRAFT, UNLESS YOU WANT IT TO BE

I’m Not Crafty

“Talk to the hand!” Remember Fran Dresher? While people rarely throw their hand up in my face when the subject of memory keeping comes up, they do have several stock phrases they throw at me. I’m too busy! It’s too expensive! I don’t have time.

They generally wish they had sharable memories instead of their mess, but for a variety of reasons, they’ve already made up their mind to keep it on the back burner for someday. I do understand. It’s overwhelming and the longer you put it off, the more overwhelming it gets. I bless the day my mom gave me a Kodak Instamatic camera and a large leather scrapbook. She didn’t realize it at the time, but she launched me into a passion which would enrich not only my life, but the life of many others.

One thing is for sure. I was not then and I am not now crafty, so when someone uses a lack of craftiness as an excuse for not keeping their memories, I know it’s just that – an excuse. Oh, there are crafty scrapbookers. They cut out perfect little silhouettes with just a piece of paper and a pair of scissors. They draw really cute things on their pages, freehand. Their handwriting is gorgeous. Their pages are all about design and have more layers than baklava.

That’s not me. I have a passion for memory keeping and I know how to use basic scrapbooking tools anyone in the world above the age of five could probably figure out. I do have skills which make me a better scrapbooker than some people, but none of them have anything to do with craftiness.

It Can Be a Hobby

Whether you are crafty or totally not crafty, memory keeping can be your hobby. You can enjoy being a scrapbooker or a digital memory keeper without one ounce of craftiness. The purpose of memory keeping is creating a sharable format for your photos, memorabilia and words. You’ll need to sort what you have into some kind of organizational scheme, get it into the format you want and then journal about what’s there – whether that’s as simple as a short caption or pages of journaling. Where’s the craft in that?

If your memories mean a lot to you and most of us do cherish our memories, then making memory keeping a regular activity in your life is something you might enjoy. You’ll enjoy it more if you have a place to do it, so that you’re not packing and unpacking all the time. You’ll also enjoy it more if you have the right tools and accessories.

Here’s something else, as one un-crafty person to another; you’ll be more likely to keep up to date with your photos and memorabilia if you aren’t crafty. Crafty people can spend days working on a single page. They are so full of ideas that many of them create page after page without setting down a single photo. The craftiest people I know are some of the worst memory keepers.

Let Jane Do Something Else Completely

If you’d love to have sharable memories, but you don’t want a hobby or a craft, then here I am. Turn the whole darned mess over to me and let me fix it. There’s a good chance I might even care more about your memories than you do. I don’t just want you to have something you’ll enjoy and be proud of, I’m all about doing it right. While I am not crafty, I do have other skills that help me as a memory keeper and I am happy to use them for your benefit.

For instance, I’m a compulsive organizer. I can’t help it. I will stand in a store and straighten up their displays of merchandise or their rack of clothes. I can pick up something I know nothing about and figure out an order to put it in. It might not match the way some one else would do it or be considered the “correct” way, but it will be in order and it will make sense.

I’m also a story teller. A storyteller doesn’t merely catalog what they’ve seen or heard. They carve out the very best of what’s available to tell an engaging story. You don’t want to put every single item you can find in an album. It will be boring and redundant. You want the best pictures of the best and most important events to urge the audience on to the next page and the next page.

Through years and years of scrapbooking, I have developed an eye for graphic design and have a sense of color. You don’t necessarily need these for a good album, but they make it easier for me to do what I do. I don’t spend hours and days trying to figure out a page. I trim the photos, find some complementary decoration and slap it all down. That’s why I’m faster than the average memory keeper. I’m on a mission and I want to get it done.

You Want a Craft? It’s a Craft!

If you are crafty, I want you to know there’s an entire tribe of crafty people in both the traditional scrapbooking world and the digital world of memory keeping. They have worldwide online events where they share their crafty tricks with each other. They teach classes, they attend classes, they know all the apps and the websites. They invest in equipment I only dream of. They travel all over the place to attend events and conferences. They even go on retreats.

The purpose of this post is not to discourage craftiness in memory keeping, but to make the point that craftiness is not a pre-requisite for it. We can all do it, even if we’re not crafty. Time and expense are true barriers to memory keeping, but a lack of craftiness is not. If you’re interested, then I can help you get started. Just give me a call.

Then come back next week and we’ll talk about what it takes to get started in traditional scrapbooking. Don’t worry ,if digital is more your thing, we’ll discuss that soon!

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Real Estate Photography, Restaurants & Bars, Scrapbooking

The Weekend Report

TRAVEL HERE – FIRST WEEKEND OF NOVEMBER

Breadlosers at NorthPark

You know how it is when you’re visiting a restaurant you’ve enjoyed before and it ain’t what it used to be? That was my experience on Saturday morning at Breadloserswinners in NorthPark.

NorthPark itself is one of my very favorite places in the world. I go there to feel like a Dallasite. I parked in the Nordstrom’s parking lot and used their sleek Ladies Lounge. As I looked at the merchandise facing the aisles along my route, I felt like it was deja vu all over again! Didn’t I wear these very same fashions a few decades ago – eggplant colored mix and match ready-to-wear, cream colored crepe blouses with a high ruffled neck and prairie dresses. I guess shoulder pads and pleated trousers are next.

On my way to the restaurant I strolled along browsing the windows of a few stores. I always love the unusual clothing for sale at Free People and think I’ll stop in. Then I see the outfits they put together for display and am amazed they find ways to take these beautiful pieces and put them together in awful outfits I would never wear. Obviously, I am not their target audience. The next stop was Nā Hōkū, the Hawaiian jewelry store, and I always want everything in their windows.

Next I began to enjoy the aromas of NorthPark, like Lush with it’s hand made fragrances and pretzel’s in the oven at Auntie Anne’s. Being in my favorite mall excites all of my senses.

Entering the Main Court always feels like a special moment and I am flooded with memories of events, occasions and everyday visits to NorthPark. Riding down the elevator, I see Zara and am reminded of the very first time I saw one of their stores, in Vienna’s Stephenplatz. While I love NorthPark for being so Dallas, I also love that it also a touchstone for the rest of the world. Peeking in Zara, I saw emerald low-heeled pumps with a rhinestone buckle. Yes, the past is getting closer all the time.

I arrived at Breadwinners and the hostess is going through the is-your-entire-party-here routine with someone in front of me. I guess they have to do that, but I hate it. I’m not sure my friend, Lisa, has arrived, but I ask for a table for two without being quizzed about the rest of my party. Soon I’m being seated and almost immediately Lisa arrives with two kiddos in tow, but they are way too cool to be seated with us and wait for another table.

By the time I have been given a menu, I have been warned numerous times their fryer is broken and I can’t have any fried food. It wasn’t what I was there for, but other disappointments were awaiting me – like my drink order. Since being at NorthPark is always an occasion, I ordered a poinsettia, my own answer to mimosa, because I don’t like orange juice. I can’t decide if the poinsettia they delivered was made with flat champagne or white wine, but it was not what I had been anticipating.

For brunch I ordered their Basic Breakfast with grits and sausage. I LOVE grits and have had theirs before. Whatever they were offering up that day was not what I had in the past. There was either too much of something or something which wasn’t supposed to be there, but they were inedible. On to the biscuit! Well, they hadn’t kept that in the oven long enough to brown it and while it wasn’t necessarily undercooked, it also fell apart, so getting butter on it was a challenge. The consolation prizes were a couple of overcooked sausages and thank goodness a pair of properly prepared well-done fried eggs. If the rest of it had been any good, I probably wouldn’t have even eaten the eggs, because they are one of my least favorite foods, but with little else to feed me, I needed the protein.

I only see Lisa a few times a year, so it really doesn’t matter what we’re eating, I’m just glad to be soaking up her world. She’s a mommy in Highland Park and that’s so different than how I live, that I find it fascinating. Her daughter, who I’ve known since infancy, is now a pre-teen and talk about a different world!! She and her friend were dressed alike in neon colored shorts and gray tee’s. I know these are all the rage, but when I was her age you couldn’t have paid me enough money to go out dressed like that, much less to be twinsies with my friend.

As Lisa shared the recent dramas in her daughter’s lives I was struck with the similarities between the stories she was telling and a TV show I’d seen recently – Big Little Lies with Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Meryl Streep. I want you to know, the stories are real. Yes, it’s a fictional series, but the situations they portray are happening right now in Highland Park!! I’m not recommending Big Little Lies. It’s my husband who is watching it and I have only viewed a few episodes – enough to find it disturbing. However, as wacky as it is, it is apparently an accurate picture of life in affluent schools and neighborhoods in America.

The Rest of It

Friday, we visited the new Heritage Plaza Building in downtown Mesquite. We used the facility as a backdrop for a photo shoot photos, but I was impressed with the architecture and what Downtown Mesquite is up to.

Saturday night we went to a birthday party for my bestie at another friend’s house. It was great to celebrate Deb’s birthday and renew my acquaintances with some of her other friends. They put on a good spread and it was an enjoyable time.

There was church on Sunday morning and that afternoon I did one of my favorite things. I delivered a completed custom scrapbook to a client. It’s hard to believe you can actually get paid for doing what you love to do best and there’s always the pay off of pure joy when they see the album for the first time.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

That’s Too Expensive!

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – THE VALUE OF MEMORY KEEPING VS THE COST OF YOUR MESS

What Are Your Memories Worth?

Let’s talk worst case scenarios. Your house has burned down. Your family and your pets are safe, but everything you had is smoke and ash. You are grateful beyond measure to be able to hug your kids, but in the days to come, it’s not the new sofa or your smart TV you’ll regret losing most. It will be that box of photos under the bed.

While there are many families who face this scenario and other tragedies every day, I’ll agree with you, you’re odds are good. You probably won’t be a victim of a worst case scenario. You’ll probably go on living with your mess for decades to come. Along the way you may toss out those slides and home movies, because you don’t even have the equipment to access them anymore. You promise yourself someday you’re going to go through the photos in the box under the bed or in your phone, someday.

The real deal is most people don’t. They kick the can down the road until they retire, until they have more time, until they have more money, until the kids move out, until they hand the mess over to their kids or until they are dead and the mess is someone else’s problem. I have a challenge for you. If these photos and memorabilia aren’t important to you and you’re never going to do anything with them anyway, why not just throw them away or delete them now. Oh, you’re still with me, huh?

I know you have the best of intentions, but the tyranny of the urgent has a way of keeping us from addressing what is important to us. And then, too often, it’s too late. Your kids are looking for a decent picture of you on their phones, because the funeral is in a couple of days and they need a photo to put in the program.

Now, let’s talk best case scenarios. There was no fire, you have no mess and your memories are totally curated, tagged, captioned and safe for generations to come. Can you actually put a dollar amount on what that would be worth to you and to your family? The price of a vacation, of a boat, of your Starbuck’s habit, of a bigger TV, newer phone? You’re probably thinking nothing is more valuable than your memories, but you might still be reluctant to do anything about your mess.

Turning your mess into safe, shareable memories isn’t something that can happen overnight, but it can happen and it can happen more quickly than you might realize. However, it’s probably going to cost more than you want it to, in both time and money. Heck, these days everything costs more than you want it to and it usually takes longer than you want. When it comes to your mess the longer you wait, the longer it will take and the more it will cost.

What’s It Going to Be – Time or Money?

If you’d like to defeat the tyranny of the urgent and start doing something about what’s important, let’s do something about your mess. I’m not going to sugarcoat it. There’s a sliding scale between time and money. The faster you want it, the more money it will cost. The more of your time you’re willing to invest, the less money it will take.

If spending money is the least painful solution, I’ll curate your mess it for $15 an hour and put it in the format of your choice for as little as $500 an album (an album is 24 two-sided pages). If you’re going digital, then you’ll need to also purchase storage, but I have a permanent solution you’ll love.

If you’d rather do it yourself, just because you want to, or to save some money, then get ready to start sorting. That’s where it all starts, whether I do it or you do. Starting is free. I’ll be happy to give you lots of free advice, too. Like don’t buy fancy sorting equipment. Nothing works better than Ziplocks and shopping bags – and if you don’t have any, you can borrow some of mine.

You can spend a fortune on memory keeping tools and supplies, whether you’re going digital or you prefer more traditional solutions, but it is worth every penny. Believe me, I know. Ask my husband how much money I’ve spent creating these scrapbooks to hold all our memories. If you really want to get him going, ask him how much profit I’m making in this campaign to preserve your memories. But be warned, you might make him cry. He’s figured out I do this for love, not money. It’s my passion. In the end, all we have left are our memories or a mess. I don’t want you or your family to be stuck with a mess.

Next week, I’m going to explain help you decide whether you want your memory keeping to be a hobby, a craft or a service you buy from someone else.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

Digital or Traditional or Both

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – WHO ARE YOU DOING IT FOR?

Finding Your Who

What you have and what you want are important considerations for anyone tackling the job of preserving memories. Your time and money budget is a huge factor, too. However, the most important thing to think about as you plan your memory keeping activities is your target audience.

None of us are alike when it comes to the motivation for our memory keeping. Some just want to capture their child’s life to share when they are older. Others are heritage hunters who are tracing their family lines to other places or other times. People who are grieving often want to capture the memories of someone they have lost. There are also those who are looking into the far future, past anyone who is alive today, to someone they will never know, who might wonder about the past. These are just a few examples. Think about what motivates you and then let’s talk about what format would be best suited to your project.

Some of the most faithful Memory Keepers are like me. We preserve our memories for ourselves. There are no kids, grandkids or great grandkids we are doing this for. We are not famous or even infamous. We just enjoy our lives and treasure those we love, the places we’ve been to and the things we’ve done. We only have to suit ourselves.

Explore the Options

Memory keeping should never be a chore, so while your eventual audience is a factor, it’s not the only thing to consider. Whatever format you choose, you should enjoy doing it or you should find someone to do it for you. The one thing you should not do is leave your mess under the bed or floating around unorganized on your phone. My job is to help you get from your mess, to wherever you want to go.

There’s a very simple reason I prefer traditional scrapbooking. My husband and I run a real estate photography business. He’s the photographer and I do everything else. A whole lot of the everything else part is shuffling photos around my computer and the internet. I’ve tried digital scrapbooking, but it’s far too much like my day job. If digital scrapbooking were my only option, I too would just have a mess rather than shelves of completed albums I dearly treasure.

Example of scrapbooking

I am of the mindset that getting it done is more important than the way you do it and I know, whichever method you use, there are conversion options. I want to see people enjoying their memories and sharing them with others. If, like me, you’d enjoy crafting traditional scrapbooks, then that’s your answer. Create beautiful albums you’ll look at frequently and share them with others. If, at the same time, you think your target audience would prefer digital, don’t feel guilty about working in a format you enjoy. Do the scrapbooks traditionally and then digitize them. I can show you how.

If all the stuff that comes with traditional scrapbooking gives you the heebie geebies and makes you want to hug a tree, then you are a digital memory keeper. There are a variety of ways to embrace paperless memory keeping. If you think digital is your way to go, then you still have a lot of decisions to make. From streamlined online-only albums without any decoration, to elaborately decorated digital pages, there are great tools out there for being a digital memory keeper. Once you’ve done your digital job, then you can easily share it all with anyone having internet access. If any of those people would prefer something they can hold in their hand, then they have options they can pursue using the work you’ve completed for them.

And remember, if you know there’s no way you’re going to have the time, energy or desire to get this job done, regardless of the format, then you still don’t have to live with the mess or the guilt. One of my favorite things to do is take your mess and turn it into whatever memory keeping format you’d like to have. I love the excitement of finishing up one of my own albums and then paging through my completed project, but that’s nothing compared to the day I deliver a completed album. It’s the greatest feeling in the world for me and I’d love to do your album.

A Final Thought About Digital

In some ways, my passion for traditional scrapbooking is out of touch with the times. It’s a craft I don’t think will ever disappear completely, but I confess the results can be burdensome. I have an entire wall of traditional scrapbooks. My husband complains about them all the time and my nieces and nephews, who will have to deal with what remains of my life when its over, will most likely throw my beloved albums away.

So, I have worked out a digital solution for the future. It will transcend any changes in technology, it will not cost a penny for future generations to maintain, it is guaranteed for generations to come and it is also guaranteed safe from those who should not have access to your information and images. It’s not any of those familiar names like Apple, Google, Amazon, Snapfish, Dropbox etc. and we should talk if that’s where your memories are stored.

In the future, I will talk more about my digital solution, but in case my post inspires you to do something online with your mess, I wanted to warn you away from uploading to these well-known sites without being aware of their lesser known consequences. Come back next week and we’ll talk about your investment in memory keeping vs. the price of your mess.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

I Don’t Know Where to Start!

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – START WITH WHAT YOU HAVE!

What Do You Have?

Where is your mess? Everyone has one.

For some, it is shoeboxes of photos under the bed. For others it’s stacks of home movies, video and slides. Still others have their mess on their phones or computers. Some people have all of those messes, plus photos tucked away in drawers, cabinets and closets. The bottom line is their memories are more of a problem than a treasure. Folks are overwhelmed with what they have and they feel guilty about it.

The first step in starting is to start. Call me up and let’s talk about it. It doesn’t cost anything and you’ll feel better about yourself and your mess when we’re done! Let me warn you, this is absolutely the hardest part, so do not wait. Don’t wait until you see me next time. Don’t wait for a better time. Don’t wait until you are more organized. Rip off the bandage, tell me you have a mess and get that behind you.

How the conversation goes will depend on you. Some people cry throughout our first meeting. Others are strictly business and want a bottom line expense amount. Before we can go anywhere I have to understand your particular mess.

The first question I will ask is, “What do you have?” and the next is “What do you want?” While everyone has a mess, these questions determine the path each of us takes to resolve the mess. Once we establish these two important items, then (and only then) can we begin to talk about what is next.

Your Mess Might Not Be as Bad as You Think!

Another important question I will ask is this, “Do you want to do it yourself or do you want me to do it for you.” Recently I got a call from a woman who had lost her mom, but gained a mess. The mess sat on her dining room table for two years and she’d spent most of the time feeling guilty about it. She’d attempted to sort through some of it, but mostly it just sat there making her feel bad.

Whether you want to do it yourself or you want me to do it, budget is always a consideration. When I quoted my pricing to this particular customer, she couldn’t hire me fast enough. As a professional who was paid by the hour, my fees sounded like a real bargain to her. She couldn’t wait for me to come pick up her stuff, but from a couple of jokes she made, I could tell she was a little concerned about my hourly rate for curating. Not that it was an unreasonable fee, but that her job could take months on end. Remember, the photos had been sitting on her dining room table for two years.

The first day of the project I emailed her to let her know my progress and to let her know I would be giving her updates along the way. That seemed to relieve her and she asked specifically to be kept abreast of the number of hours I was accumulating on her project. A few days later, I sent an update and told her I had about another three hours of curating to go. She was both astounded and pleased. She had no idea I would be able to complete the job in such a short time.

I went from three boxes of unsorted photos and memorabilia to being ready to start in about six hours, over a matter of days, not weeks. I had a few photos I needed her to identify and a few questions my curating had raised before I could actually start, but I had accomplished in 6 hours what she hadn’t been able to do in two years. The point is this, your mess might not be as awful as you think it is, so give me a call and let’s talk about it.

More to Come

I’m congratulating myself on getting this post ready for publication. Scrapbooking is my passion, but it’s also my side gig, not my livelihood – at least not yet. Projects have trickled in over the last year, almost of their own volition, but I’ve wished for time to reach out with an occasional post, to encourage people to think about their own scrapbooking projects and how I could be helping them.

As with scrapbooking, starting is the hardest part and now I have. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be blogging about other aspects of my passion – from general information about memorykeeping, like this post, to the coolest news toys and innovations available from the companies I represent.

So, if you have a mess, a passion for scrapbooking or another form of memorykeeping, keep an eye out for my posts or subscribe to my blog and the posts will show up in your email.