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

Getting Punchy

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – TOOL TIME FOR SCRAPBOOKERS

A Sampling of Punches and Border Makers

A couple of years ago I made the poster above to demonstrate the many shapes you could make with Creative Memories Punches and Border Maker. Some of these are no longer available, but they’ve also come up with all kinds of new ones. I always want every single one they introduce, but you soon learn to get a little picky.

Punches, Border Punches, Frame Punches and More

Punches are individual tools you can use to make anything from various sized circles to a variety of borders. However, each punch only makes one thing, be it a single shape or a certain pattern. The great thing is you can make them out of any color or pattern of paper you want to. Punches start at about $25 and go up to about $30, according to what the punch will do.

If it makes a single shape the punch is less expensive. The more you can do with with a punch, the more it costs. Some punches can stand alone on the page or make a border, like the Masquerade and Nativity border punches above. In the top picture of the poster, towards the bottom is a beige square. That’s one of the Frame Punches which will either make a border or the square you see above. Then there are the circle punches. They only do one thing and it requires a flipping the paper over in the middle of the process, but CM has only made a few circle punches and they are the most expensive. None are available at this time.

That’s the basic operation of punches, but if you are patient and you are given to a little experimentation there are all sorts of things you can do. Some croppers have figured out how to get some of the regular punches to do the same sort of thing as the specialized punches. Others use two punches and make a border with two shapes on it. These are the crafty people. You can spend all day on CMTV, the Creative Memories channel or on You Tube watching all the crazy things people figure out to do, but you’re not going to find me there. I just use the tools for what they were intended and never run out of ways to use them.

Border Maker System

Like the Custom Cutting System, the Border Maker System is a collection of tools you use together. With the Custom Cutting System, you get a mat and some blades to go along with several shapes and sizes of patterns. For the Border Maker, you get a two piece tool that works together to hold and cut your paper. Then there are a plethora of cartridges you can buy to use with the two piece tool.

While the punches have a tendency to sing, dance and serve hors d’oeuvres, all the border system does is make straight borders. The basic system is $35.50 and then the cartridges are $19.50 each. After your initial investment in the two piece tool, which does come with one cartridge, it is less expensive to buy the various shapes. I used to say that generally the Border Punches made wider strips than the Border Maker, but nowadays it’s hard to tell, just by looking, what tool made any given border.

Making Your Tools Work for Their Supper

Nothing in scrapbooking is in a vacuum. I’ve been traying to make it simple during these intro posts, but the more you learn about scrapbooking, the more there is to learn. There is more than one kind of page. There are several choices of adhesives and which one you use depends on what you’re sticking down and what you are sticking it to and what you want it to look like after it is stuck down.

When it comes to punches and borders, the same thing applies. There is absolutely nothing wrong with punching out one border and placing it directly on the page or the wallpaper. However, once you start working with them, you can get as crazy as you want to. Some punches only cut an edge off the paper, while others cut on both sides making a chain. You can use the edge punches on a wide strip of paper to make fancy strip cut on both sides. You can start stacking your strips and come up with completely new looks. Some crafty people make borders that are several layers thick, incorporating everything from letters to stickers and embellishments. About all I ever put together is 2-3 layers, but that’s me. You do you!

Obviously, you could go bankrupt buying punches and border maker cartridges, but they only represent a portion of the tools available to scrapbookers. There’s a corner punch which will create two different corners for your photos or mats. The 12 inch Trimmer has seven fancy blades to interchange with the straight blade. There’s a decorative trimmer to make your own wavy strips, a circle cutting for making infinite circle sizes and a zero centering ruler which is very helpful. I love the multi-purpose tool for scraping up things I’ve stuck down by accident and there’s a pointed end which I use for all kinds of tasks my fingers are too fat for. You need pens for journaling and there are two different scissors, both of which I use. And templates – did I mention them. Well, they can be used for several design jobs. Then there are sorting and storing tools which are really nice.

All this and you haven’t yet bought a single sticker or embellishment. Oh my! Have you begun to understand just how expensive it can be to get addicted to this hobby?

Next week, since you now have an idea what it costs to take up scrapbooking, let’s talk about the value of letting me do it for you.

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

The Fun Stuff(?)

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – EMBELLISHING YOUR PAGE

A Brief History of Embellishments

Back in the day there were two kinds of embellishments – die cuts and stickers. You bought them. You used them and it was all over. Then you had to go shopping for more die cuts and stickers. Fast forward until today. You can still get die cuts and stickers. The assortment available with Creative Memories and other suppliers is limitless. However, you buy them, you stick them down and they are gone. You want more – you buy more.

The Custom Cutting System was one of the first forays into tools you could use to make limitless embellishments in the colors of your choice. The only shapes available at first were circles, but it was revolutionary. If you’d wanted to have a circle before the CCS, you used a plastic template to draw the one size available and then used scissors to cut it out freehand. I was dismal at it, so I was happy for an option that made perfect circles at least more often than I could cutting them out freehand. I still had my challenges, but it was better.

As they started adding other geometric shapes to the Custom Cutting System, they also started making punches available. At first, like the CCS all you could get were geometric shapes, but it was still cool. Then they added others, like leaves, cars, planes and such – but in the beginning, they were really small and didn’t make much of a statement on the page.

They also came out with a variety of trimmers so you could make strips. There was one for straight cuts and then a second one with a couple of wave patterns. They even came up with various blades for the straight trimmer so you could get different kinds of edges. I have to tell you though, those rotary blades were dangerous because you could slice your finger easier than you could get a good cut in your paper, but the new trimmers all have enclosed blades.

A Border Warning

I guess this is the place where I have to talk about borders and titles. Borders and titles are a thing among a lot of scrapbookers and CM pushes them like the local drug dealer offers gateway drugs. In fact, CM recently put out a book with 110 borders ideas and believe me, they are beautiful.

The borders start with a strip 2-3 inches wide and then you layer letters and embellishments on them. The borders can be put at the top and or on the bottom or added to the sides or even run through the middle. Some consultants advisors (the old CM used to call us consultants, but we’re now advisors) spend their days creating borders to sell at workshops and crops.

Some people start every page/2 page spread with a pair of borders at the top and bottom or at either side. No wonder scrapbookers want to buy them pre-made! Now, don’t get me wrong. I love borders, but I don’t use them on every page. I sure as heck don’t make them several layers deep with one of the layers being a jigsaw puzzle of small paper pieces.

You can make beautiful, simple and quick pages with just photos, memorabilia and a few items of decoration. I do it all the time. People pay me to do it and they love every single page – even the ones without borders.

You can also use lots of borders if you want to. I just don’t want you to think you have to spend your days cutting out minute pieces of paper to layer on a pair of 2-3 inch borders for every page. You need to decide whether you are a memory keeper or a crafter.

To me, this kind of scrapbooking is expensive in time, materials and space on your page. It also puts the emphasis on the decoration of the page, rather than the photos and memorabilia. Borders push scrapbooking from the realm of memory keeping into the world of crafting. I am not a crafter. I don’t have the skill, the patience or the time (not to mention the money) to be a crafter. My focus is preserving memories.

I say this now, because we are treading on dangerous waters here. Scrapbooking is fun and it can certainly be a craft, but when you start down the road of embellishments, you start adding to the time and money you devote to the job of memory keeping. Time and money are the top two inhibitors which keep people from memory keeping.

As I flipped through the new idea book, one of the first ideas I saw had a woven paper lattice on a three inch strip decorated with layers of punches and floral embellishments you can buy ready-made from CM, to go with those you’d need to make. It was gorgeous. I wanted to make one right away.

Then I thought about the time, materials and tools I would be using and the fact that I didn’t even have a page to put it on right this minute. I actually have all the tools used in that particular border, but as a flipped through other pages, I was dismayed by the number of punches, bordermakers and blades I don’t have.

I am happy to support your scrapbooking, however you go about it, but if you’re like most people, elaborate pages are the wide and straight road into frustration, incomplete pages and guilt from overspending. I’m warning you not go there without your eyes wide open. A few punches will enhance your pages. A lot of punches could be a dream or a nightmare.

Okay, enough of a warning, come back next week and all introduce you to the other dangerous habit I have to go along with my paper addiction – punches and Border Makers.

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, 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.