Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

Digitize Your Memories

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – PUT ALL YOUR MEMORIES ONLINE WITH FOREVER

Forever Boxes Make Digital Easy

Unless you’re quite young, you’ve watched the world go from analog to digital. One set of grandparents used a Brownie Hawkeye camera to take photographs, while another set grandparents opted for slides. An uncle wandered around all of your family gatherings filming reels and reels of movies. Then maybe your dad showed up with a huge camera on his shoulder to take VHS tapes and you may remember when he changed over to the Hi8 format. Then you went digital, but you’ve got photos on your computer, more on dvds, others on a hard drive, perhaps some on the cloud, but a whole lot on your phone, for sure!

A lot of that media you can’t even look at, because you no longer have the equipment it needs and if a photo you want to find is on your phone, then you might have to scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll to find it. Last week I told you how wonderful Forever’s storage is and obviously moving all your digital images from wherever they are to your own digital storage space will be easy. But what about the photos, the slides, the movies and all the rest. Well, Forever can convert it all to digital – including the piles of photographs.

Well, that’s easy, too. You put it all in a box and send it to Forever. Not just any box, a Forever box and I’ll be happy to help you.

Your Forever Box

Here’s how it works. We decide which box(es) is/are going to hold all your stuff and order what you need from Forever. Forever sends you an empty box to fill up with all the items you would like to be converted to digital. When the box comes, you fill it up and send it back to Forever. Forever digitizes it and puts it online. Then they’ll send your stuff back to you, but if you don’t want it, you can just dump it in the trash, because all your stuff is online.

When Forever digitizes your material, it goes into a temporary storage account for 60 days, so you can decide what you want to do with it. They’ll also be happy to produce a dvd or thumb drive. But the very best thing you can do, in my opinion, is get your own permanent storage from Forever and put your memories there. Those memories will be there to be enjoyed by generations to come and you can rest easy.

Organizing Your Online Memories

Once you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of getting your memories online, you’re going to want to share them and Forever makes that easy, but somewhere along the way, you really need to do some organizing – or get me to do it for you.

Many Forever customers want to do the organizing before they send their memories off to Forever or they get me to do it for them. This is the most economical way, because you won’t be digitizing things you’re not interested in keeping. Your empty boxes will come from Forever with plastic bags and labels to keep your memories in order. If your memories have already been organized, at that point we can put notes on your bags and Forever will use those notes to name your online images. Your organized memories will be ready to share.

However, some of my clients say, “Jane, I don’t even know what’s on these videos!” Or they say, “It will be easier for me to sort through them once they are online.” Some even say, “Once they’re online, my family is going to help me sort them.” In this case, we can get your stuff all packaged up, as is, and send it off to Forever. Then you’ll have 60 days in your temporary account to decide what will go on Forever, what you’ll download and what you’ll just delete.

Curation for the Generations

Anything is better than nothing. If all you manage to do is send your stuff off in your Forever Box and move it over to your own online storage account once it’s digitized, then you’ve already done more than most people manage to get done. Too often, the next generation, faced with a cache of slides, reel to reel tapes, VHS videos and a pile of analog photos, will just toss them into the trash. And why wouldn’t they? If you haven’t organized your memories and taken the time to identify who is in them, then exactly how are those who come after you supposed to know what it’s all about?

Now, imagine notifying your family and friends they can peruse their memories online, at their leisure, with the click of a link. That will be great news for them, even if the images are helter skelter, but imagine how much more excited they will be if the memories are organized by date and event and tagged for cross-referencing by name. With a few clicks, your Uncle Joe can see all the photos you have of him in one place. You get to decide which of your photos you want to share, whether you want your family and friends to download from your cache and even if you want someone to be able to upload new photos or add notes.

I’m There for Whatever You Need

If you like, you can do all of this yourself. It’s easy and I am happy to show you how. Or, if you’d just like to turn it all over to someone and wake up one day with a totally organized online storage account, I’ll be happy to take over for you.

How much does it cost? Well, that depends on a lot of things. How much do you have, what does it consist of, is it organized or do you need me to sort it? Here’s the link to the digital conversion page, which has the cost of the various boxes https://www.forever.com/digital-conversion/, but first timers can find it very confusing. You’ll need to understand what an item is and how overages work, to begin with. So, give me a call at 972-971-5263, and we’ll get you started.

When it comes to pricing with Forever, there can be a little sticker shock along the way, but there are also a lot of different ways to save, save, save. During November’s Black Friday Sales, you could get $1000’s worth of storage for less than $400, but you needed to know all the money saving tools available from me and from Forever. So, while I encourage you to browse the Forever site and learn all the exciting things you can do with Forever, don’t let sticker shock scare you away. I’ve got offers you’ll be excited about.

In fact, why don’t we talk about those money-saving plans next week. You’ll love all the ways there are to save with Forever.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

Back to Digital

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – STORING AND CURATING YOUR PHOTOS ON FOREVER

Why Forever?

Back in November I introduced you to Forever Storage and the reasons I think it is best way to store your photos online. If you would like to review that post, click here, but here’s a chart that spells it out.

Perhaps the best part of a Forever account is that you buy your storage rather than rent it. Think about the difference in a landlord and a tenant. With other storage systems, your photos are merely tenants on someone else’s property. The landlord makes the rules. The landlord has a right to enter the property. The landlord is responsible for maintenance and you’re screwed if they don’t do it. If the landlord changes the rules, you either have to live with it or you’re stuck with the new rules. The list goes on.

At Forever, you own the property your photos are stored on. You make the rules about your photos. No one can go in there without your permission. No one can change the rules without your permission. You can do as much or as little as you like with your photos. It’s yours.

When you’re renting space for your photos, if you don’t make your rent payment, you lose access to your photos and what’s more, they don’t even have a plan for you to pass on your space, even if you want to. At Forever, you buy your space, so it belongs to you and whoever comes along after you.

Fully Customized Organization

I’ve used a lot of different online storage products in my life and while they will give you all the space in the world for a small monthly fee, your options for setting up your library are always limited. When I first started using Forever, I didn’t even know how to appreciate the flexibility I was given. It took me a while to create a system that worked for me, because it’s not just a matter of fill in the blanks.

It didn’t take long for me to get the hang of it and now I love it. Forever keeps a library of everything you upload to the site and with a few query words you can get to exactly what you want, You also get to set up whatever albums you want and then nest albums under there to as many levels as you want. Each album you access quickly tells you how many photos are in that album and how many nested albums you have within that album.

Within any album, you get to chose the order you want them in and if none of the automatic choices work, you can create your own.

As you set up your albums and nested albums, you can create a name for them and then you can fully describe what the album is about and if you want, put a date or date range on it.

Tagging is a breeze, but that’s only the beginning of the ways you can identify your photos with Forever.

Most online photo storage picks up information from your metadata and you’re stuck with whatever is there. Not with Forever. You have total control.

Just because it was Conger-7 wherever you got it from doesn’t mean it has to stay that. If the date taken is really just the date you uploaded it, you can change it to the real date.

Want that photo to be in other albums? That’s easy and it doesn’t take up more of your storage to do that.

And the description? None of that 25 words or 100 character stuff. Tell the whole story. Don’t want to key it in, fine, go to the app and use voice to tell the story. You’re not going to run out of space.

Sharing

While Forever will stay out of your storage and diligently protect it from others who shouldn’t be in there, it’s got all kinds of ways to share your images when you want to do so. You can share a single shot or an entire album or even your whole account. You can also set a level of sharing for the top level of each album. You might have some items you want to stay private, just for you. Friends and Family could have their own level of access to other albums. Then you could even have public items you opened up to whoever wanted to see them, so it’s great for all kinds of applications like teams, schools or other groups.

There are other ways to give the people you want access to your files. You can collaborate with others in you albums and decide what level of collaboration you want them to have. You can set up a manager and allow them to act as you if you want. You can also designate who you want to have access and control of your files and which files after you. Try that with icloud!

Auto Uploading

Have you ever wished that every photo you took on your phone or added to Facebook could be captured permanently somewhere so you never have to worry about losing them? Forever can do that. Or you can do one or the other of them. Up to you!

So What’s the Bad News?

If you’ve been using a free service or have been paying $1.99 per month for 100 gigabytes of storage, the bad news at Forever is sticker shock. The first time you hear how much 100 GB of storage costs at Forever it is going to be a difficult pill to swallow.

I must be honest with you. While I love Forever storage, I have to admit I don’t like all the rigmarole it takes to figure out how much you have to pay. On the day in November I wrote this post, with all the various deals and discounts available, you could get 100 GB of storage for $387.98 or something close to that (according to how you stacked the deals). However, the retail price for 100 GB of storage is $1000. I think that’s crazy, but someone smarter than me dreamed up this pricing and if you’ve ever shopped at Macy’s or Kohl’s, it will seem familiar. (This dress is $400, but today with a coupon you can get it for $19.99.)

So, while $387.98 is a lot, it’s really not fair to compare it with the $1.99 a month at Google, for instance. Google can rent that space for that price, because they owe you nothing in the way of privacy or security. They also know they will be able to make money off your photos with data mining and advertising. If they lose all your pictures, that’s OK. They can compress your photos anytime they want, so they will take up less space. If they want to delete your photos, all they have to do is send you an email and if you miss it, that’s tough. They also have your permission to use it for whatever else they want to.

On the other hand – all you will ever pay for your Forever storage is $387.98. After 16 years, when you’ve paid Google that much (if they don’t raise the price, which they most likely will) you’ll still have to go on paying something every month and if your kids take over the account, then they will have to keep paying as will your grandkids, great grandkids or whoever of your decedents is still around – if Google is still around. Remember VCRs? Which reminds me, that you Forever account will be upgraded for free to whatever formats come around after .jpg or whatever has disappeared.

Chances are at this point I have confused you more than I have helped you, so give me a call and lets review this. Whenever you decide you want to purchase your storage, I will research the deals at the time and make sure you get the best of them.

Come back next week and we’ll dig beyond mere storage and see what else Forever has to offer.

Photo Organization, Scrapbooking

Custom Scrapbooks By Me

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – LET JANE DO IT!

Save Money & Time with Custom Scrapbooking

If you love scrapbooking yourself, then the cost and the time are nothing, but most people have no idea what it takes to produce a photo-safe album with attractive themed pages, so their jaw drops when I tell them the price and then they tell me they have to think about it. The people who do have a clue of what is involved can’t hand their projects over to me fast enough.

I’ve spent several weeks of posts introducing you to scrapbooking, because until you understand what it takes to create a scrapbook, you can’t appreciate what I do. If I just tell you, “Custom scrapbooks start at $500,” and you have no idea of the time, money and effort involved in creating that scrapbook, then you’re going to think I am out of my mind.

The Bare Bones Album

Last week I told you newly minted scrapbookers will spend about $450 dollars and 72 hour on their first album. My most basic album will cost $500, if the photos and memorabilia have already been curated. That’s because I already have all my tools, I have decades of experience, I get a discount on what I do have to buy and most of all, because I have been doing it for so long, I’m going to do it a lot faster than you!

The Bare Bones album will not include embellishments, but your photos and memorabilia will be attractively displayed on wallpapered pages with mats behind selected photos. You can be very proud of theses albums and your investment includes all materials and labor.

The Basic Album

While the Bare Bones Album is good for someone on a budget or anyone who would prefer a minimalistic look, most people really enjoy embellished pages. They want festive borders, fun stickers and other elegant embellishments to create themed pages and a rich look.

As I’ve said before, the more embellishments there are, the more it will cost to in time and money to complete the album. My primary style is simple and quick, but with a lot more decoration than what I put in a Bare Bones album. The emphasis is still on the photos and memorabilia, not the decoration, so there are more of your memory items on each page, than you would find on a more elaborate album. This is the album most of my clients prefer. My Basic Album, is $750 and like all my albums includes materials and labor.

The Fancy Album

While my personal style is to create simple pages so I can have completed albums, some people want more. They may just like the look of highly decorated pages with only a few memory items or perhaps it is a really special album, like a wedding or a new baby and so they want something that is obviously out of the ordinary. I have all the tools and experience required to create these heirlooms and I would love to do it for you. Fancy albums start at $1000, but according to the level of decoration desired, the sky can be the limit.

I use the same techniques and tools I would use for any album, but instead of various decorative elements being spread throughout the albums, I pour everything I’ve got into every page and the results are breathtaking. One popular look is to have heavily-decorated matching pages throughout the book, while another is to create a heavily embellished theme for each page. Bring your desires and I will pour on my creativity. Together we’ll create a masterpiece.

Curating Your Photos & Memorabilia

Some people are naturally organized and while they haven’t gotten as far as creating an album, their memories are sorted and just waiting for memory keeping. I’m happy to take over at that point and put together a wonderful album for you.

The truth is, most people just have a mess. There are photos under the bed, their shelves are full of movies, videos and slides they don’t even have the equipment to show and their phones are overloaded with images. They have tickets and programs from their kids performances, items left over from a vacation and all manner of other items of memorabilia.

Don’t fret! I can help. Even if I know nothing about you, your family and/or your friends, one of my greatest gifts is the ability to find order out of chaos. I will need to know a few things about the photos and memorabilia before I start and during the process I may shoot you a text and ask what something is, but I can sort your stuff. I also know how to tell the story without using every single item. I’ll return what’s leftover to you, but most people look at the album and throw away the excess.

It’s great if you can provide enough information to create a detailed timeline, but many times people have inherited a pile of family photos and they haven’t got a clue of the time frame and locations. They may not even know everyone in the photos. Albums do not have to be chronological. So don’t worry! I can turn your mess into something beautiful, even if you’re at a loss about what you actually have.

I will sort and curate your photos and memorabilia for $20 an hour. That scares some people, because they’ve been trying to sort it all out for years. My sorting and curating is completely different than yours. For one thing I don’t know your tribe, so I’m not going to get caught up in reminiscing. I won’t stop every 15 minutes to show something to my husband, to text someone I saw in the photos or to cry. Oh, I do cry every once and awhile, but I’ll be crying a lot less than you. It’s also my job. I don’t have to squeeze it in between all the other things in my day. I sit down in my scrapbooking studio and work, un-interrupted for hours on end.

Only it’s going to take me a lot less hours than you might think. My favorite story is the attorney who had photos spread out on her dining room table for two years. I took them to my studio and had them sorted in six hours. She was flabbergasted, but that’s what I do. I turn messes into memories.

So, while I would love for you to become a fellow scrapbooker, if that’s not going to work for you, I still want your mess to be memories, so let me be your memory keeper!

If digital is more your thing. I will be talking about that over the next few weeks. Keep coming back!!

ART, DFW Metroplex, Performing Arts, Photo Organization, Photography, Restaurants & Bars, Scrapbooking, WRITING

The Weekend Report

TRAVEL HERE – NCFCA AT DBU, AT MY DESK & TAKING DOWN THE TREE

National Christian Forensics and Communications Association

Once upon a time, before there was a Spot On Images and we lived in Dallas, I used to attend Dallas Christian Writers Guild. Somehow that ended up taking me to Denton for a group of writers I can’t remember the name of. While I was never able to sell my novel, I did make some great friends. One of them, Rachel, invited me to judge at a speech tournament. By then, I’d figured out the market was focused on paranormal young adult fiction and wasn’t interested in a simple romance at a retirement center. I’d also moved to Wylie.

Rachel suggested I give judging a whirl. The tournament was going to be in Wylie at a church almost around the corner from our rental. She had no idea I’d been on the speech team at Bryan Adams High School. NCFCA, to which her children belonged, just needed community judges. She thought I’d be good at it, because she’d observed me critique the works of my fellow writers. I was flattered at the time and agreed to do it.

Now, I’ve got to admit. These kids blew me away. I’d belonged to the National Forensics League back in the late 60/early 70’s. My fondest memories of the time was a trip to a Houston tournament in Jimmy Johnson’s red Impala convertible. After our sponsor threatened our lives if we went to Galveston, we, of course, snuck out and went to Galveston. It was 10 minutes on the beach and we had to head back, but the exhilaration of the outing stays with me, even today.

The home-schooled members of NCFCA are dead serious about their craft, unlike us crazy public school kids, who just wanted a reason to get away from home. Don’t get me wrong, we had some really great people on the speech squad, who would walk away with all the trophies, but most of us were just there for a good time. NCFCA members are all there to compete!

Anyway, I loved the experience and have continued to volunteer every time I can. We moved to Rockwall and I discovered many of the families in the church participated in NCFCA, but that’s really not my primary motivator. I really just love the kids and love the experience of the speech tournaments. If you are the least bit intrigued by it, I think you should follow the link above and give it a try. They have a tournament over in Ft. Worth in March. I’d love to have someone to carpool with.

Last weekend they had a tournament at Dallas Baptist University and even though I was fighting with allergies, I went ahead and judged, because I love it so. I was not disappointed. It took the whole day. I judged four events and the commute was substantial, but I loved it.

Bill was not amused. I left the house at 8am and got home after 9:30 pm. The allergy symptoms I had been fighting were winning the battle and I was miserable, but my faith in the upcoming generation was renewed. I have hope things are going to be better in the world when these guys take over. Come with me in March and let’s help the next generation blossom!

Digital Photobook Project

If you read this blog at all, you know I’m all about scrapbooking and I have a business devoted to it, but I also offer digital solutions. I booked a new digital assignment which needed a quick turnaround, so I was afraid starting it from scratch would take too long. I decided to create the photobook from one of the gorgeous templates Forever has on their site, but that was totally new to me, because I usually create photobooks from scratch in Artisan. As if that weren’t challenging enough, I also decided to use the album planner in the Historian program.

I had assumed there was some sort of integration between the Historian album planner and the photobook templates on the Forever site. What is it they say? “Don’t never assume nothing.” Yes, I found the album planner to be a great tool, but it would have been an even better tool if I could have clicked a few buttons and automatically populated the template.

My other challenge had to do with saving the template in some format which would let me stop somewhere along the way. I knew there had to be a way, because few people can sit down and do a whole album in one sitting. After exhausting all the methods which made sense to me and losing a couple of starts, I had to call customer service for some help. I am happy to report in a few minutes I had talked to someone very knowledgeable who had all the answers I needed. The solution was easy, just not intuitive.

I finished the photobook and got it ready for my client to proof. However, I do have several integration innovations to suggest to Forever. The photobook templates are lovely, the Historian album planner is a great tool and Artisan is an amazing scrapbooking program. However, these three products need to be able to shake one another’s hand. Integration of their products is one of the big jobs at Forever, but Job One is always the security of the online storage. What might seem simple or apparent as a product feature isn’t going to happen until the Forever engineers are 100% certain it won’t compromise the storage. So while I might fuss a little bit, I’m happy Forever does things the way they do.

Taking Down the Tree

Client’s rush order out of the way, the Christmas tree standing in my living room was the next challenge. I usually go to church on Sunday mornings, but this week I was just too puny to do so. Yet, I was also feeling too good to sit on the sofa and vegetate, so I started the job. I gave it a good three hours and got about two thirds of the way through before I ran out of steam.

Then my bestie came over and we indulged in one of our favorite comfort foods, chicken pot pie! Later Bill dragged me to Olive Garden for dinner. He had a plan to maximize his monetary investment while feeding both of us. Good job Bill. We may be eating Olive Garden to go orders and leftovers all week, but you proved just how much food you could get for under $50!

The Christmas tree project was Job One for me on Monday. It’s time to get over the holidays and get back to real life. Come back next week for more adventures of Jane. Wednesday is Travel Talk and we’ll be talking about some Southwest challenges which happened long before the recent meltdown and Thursday we’re talking about what it costs to build a scrapbooking page. Looking forward to chatting with you!

Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Scrapbooking

What It Costs to Build a Page

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – YOUR STYLE CONTROLS YOUR COSTS

More Is More

Above you can see several pages I created during an online crop. Creative Memories has them every month and they are a lot of fun. You can use the time to drill down and get pages done with virtual friends from all over the world or you can be crafty. During this particular crop I got crafty, so I haven’t done very many since then. Perhaps one more.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a great place to learn a lot of things, try things you might have never tried to do before and you could win something. The problem for me and maybe you is the temptation to get all caught up making pages which might have no relation to photos you actually want in your album. That’s what happened to me. I made these pages and several others. Then I gave them away. They weren’t my style and I couldn’t figure out what of mine I wanted to use them for.

They weren’t my style because each one took a really long time to make and most of them had more embellishments than I would ever put on a page. The more you put on a page to decorate it, the more time it is going to take and the more money you are going to spend.

A Typical Two Page Spread

The two pages above are out of an album made during the pandemic, so that’s fairly recent and they are typical for my level of decoration. The photos and memorabilia are the stars and the other items just help tell the story. That’s how I do it.

Let’s pretend I just started scrapbooking and they are the first two pages I have done. To get started, I spent $75 to get the coverset, the pages and the adhesives, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but chances are you’d want more than 12 pages/24 sides, so let’s fill up the album with 36 pages/72 sides, which would take the total to $141. The only tools I bought to make these pages were a corner rounder, a personal trimmer and a 12 inch trimmer, which would have cost me about $85. I’m about $300 in, but I still need decorative items.

Decorative items have to be bought in packs. Let’s assume everything I needed for these two pages came out of one collection of decorative items, to make it simple. That would have been a printed paper pack, a pack of cardstock, a mat pack, a pack of stickers and a pack of embellishments. I would have spent about $50 to get all of that. However, the items you see on this two page would have only used about $4’s worth of that $50 or $2 a page. If life were simple, your $50 of decorations would easily cover 24 sides of paper, but you’d need $100 more to cover the other 48.

So, your first album would cost, $450. I can complete an album in about 24 hours, but as a newbie, it would probably take at least 3 times that, so more like 72 hours.

Those 72 Hours

I have been scrapbooking since my teens, which is over half a decade, and the hours I have spent doing it have been some of the favorites in my life. After your first album, you’ll get faster – maybe – if you want.

I have a sort of photographic memory of all of my supplies and I don’t spend much time in decision making. I’d rather have a completed page than a perfect page. I can complete 10 pages while my best friend does 2. That doesn’t make me better. It makes me different. It does however make it easier for me to do this as a business.

If you are are interested in scrapbooking as a hobby or craft, I am happy to support you in whatever ways you need from coaching to stickers. If you want to get faster, I will teach you my tricks. If you want to save money, I’ll teach you how to make the most of every inch of paper and every single sticker. And there are a world of CM resources out there to turn you into a scrapbooking artist.

While your first album would cost you $450, the next one would only be $315 – probably less if you are careful with your decorative supplies. You can join CM for about $50 and get a 10% discount on whatever you buy, plus $50 in credit for your first order. So, that first album would cost $405 and the next one $243, because your discount would go up. Do enough cropping and you get 40% off. CM has no quotas, so you can buy as much or as little as you want.

Of course, along the way, you’d want to buy more tools and you could turn into a paper addict like me, so while the cost of a single scrapbook would go down, your investment in scrapbooking would go up.

If this is exciting to you, then welcome to the world scrapbooking. You’re going to love it here. If it doesn’t then come back next week and we’ll talk about the economy of having me do your scrapbooks for you.

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

Building a Page

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – IT ALL STARTS WITH YOUR STUFF

Gather the Photos and Memorabilia

Before I ever get to building a page, I’ve already done a lot of sorting. When possible I try to do things in chronological order, but that’s me doing personal albums. Your albums may have a completely different organizational system and that’s just fine. After you do this a while, you start to get a feel for how much will fit into an album, but even I can get surprised about how much will fit on a page.

I try to do two page spreads whenever possible. I tie the side-by-side pages together with matching or coordinating papers, but I start with the photos and memorabilia. I gather what I have for a particular day, event or subject and I spread them across the two pages to begin visualizing what the page will look like. Do I have enough to cover two pages or am I trying to cram too much on there? Is there a good balance between photos and memorabilia? Does the memorabilia tell the story or will I need to add captions, titles and journaling? Do I need all the photos or are some repetitive?

Then I begin to trim the photos I am going to use and as I do I start to think about what I’ve got in the way of papers and embellishments which will fit the theme and complement the photos. I place the trimmed photos on the page in the configurations I think work best without actually adhering them to the page. This sometimes hints at the papers and embellishments which will work best.

The hunt begins. Sometimes I know exactly what I want. Sometimes I spend a significant amount of time searching for the right pieces. It is a bit of a balancing game. Usually there’s either a paper or an embellishment that comes to mind when I am placing the photos on the page. I get that and then I start looking for what will go with it, but there is no rule about what piece to start with, because other times I have bought a particular set of stickers for a certain occasion and they are my starting point.

Let’s say it is the wallpaper which comes to mind first. I will find it and scoot it under the trimmed photos. Perhaps the next thing is a journaling box that needs to fit into a particular space. Each step I take I put it in place without adhering it, because as long as it’s not attached to the page I can continue to play with it until I get it right. The bottom layer is the wallpaper. Next is the mat or mats. The photos go on top of the mats. Then you have to work in the journaling boxes, stickers and other embellishments. When it’s all in place, then you stick it down with the appropriate adhesives.

There are variations on each item based on your unique style. I’m a speed demon, so usually one mat is all I will use, but I have seen beautiful pages where the photos have 2-3 mats layered behind them. I’m likely to slap the sticker right on the decorative paper, but some people gather multiple stickers together to make a collage. Crafty people use something called Peekaboo Pockets to create layers of photos which must be flipped over to see all of the images and decoration or they create messages which slide out of a pocket with a tab. You can use all of these or none of these. It’s fun to try things out and see what you enjoy doing, as well as which results you like best.

Simple Pages – Completed Albums

What you have to remember as you decide how heavily you will decorate the page is this: The more complex the pages are, the longer it is going to take you to finish your album. This is why the more creative among us sometimes have a hard time finishing a page, much less an album.

The final touches on any page are the embellishments. Hear me when I say you can be a very successful and creative scrapbooker without ever using an embellishment, especially if you have budget and time constraints. If your primary concern is to have completed albums to share with your family and friends, then the fewer embellishments you have the better.

At the same time, for many of us, the embellishments are the icing on the cake. Yes, the mission will always be the main thing, but we want our Punches and Border Makers, too. We love hanging out at the craft store looking for the perfect stickers. Even the boxes which we journal in can be an embellishment.

Don’t come back next week if you’re not interested in decorating tools and supplies. I’ve already walked you through the basics. You’ll invested about $300 and whenever you start a new album you’ll spend about another $75. The embellishments are the budget breakers. They are also the reason I buy so much paper. The embellishments help set the tone and the theme of the page without anyone reading a word of your captions or journaling.

If you’re at all like me, you will barely be able to wait to learn about all the tools and supplies available for scrapbookers. I hope you’ll join me next week.

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

Confessions of a Paper Hoarder

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – ORGANIZING YOUR PAPER ONCE YOU HAVE IT

Being a Paper Addict Has It’s Challenges!

Costing about 79 cents to $1 per 12X12 page, your paper is a valuable asset in your scrapbooking supplies. For that reason you need to find a way to protect it once you have it. While Creative Memories has awesome storage tools, it’s not the only game in town. Buy what you want, where you want to for your supply organization or even incorporate things you already have around the house, but don’t just leave the paper sitting around unprotected. And perhaps you’ll be smarter than me and not become a paper addict, so you won’t even need all this advice.

To protect my paper, I use various CM organizers I have bought over the years, but I also use a variety of boxes, envelopes and such I’ve repurposed for my scrapbooking supplies. For this reason, my studio is pretty low rent in comparison to those of other scrapbookers. They have special shelving to hold the cardstock and it looks just like what you see in the craft stores. Then they have another kind of shelving built to hold themed papers in their original packaging. They line it all up alphabetically and chat with one another about it like they are talking about old friends, instead of packages of paper.

Do not be intimidated by these scrappers. Your scrapbooks do not come out looking better just because you have fancy storage systems. You also shouldn’t buy up more paper than you will need in a reasonable length of time, unless like me, you just like paper. You do need some kind of system, so you’ll know where your stuff is and it won’t get damaged, but that’s the only criteria. As I’ve said before, it helps you get your scrapbooking done if you can designate a space in your house as your scrapbooking corner, but even that is not a requirement. It just helps.

My System

So, I have 10X12 papers I bought in the nineties, 12X12 cardstock and printed papers I’ve bought since then, and a whole lot of everything else. Any newly opened CM paper I have sits in a CM organizer, divided into plain cardstock, shimmer cardstock and printed paper and then sorted by color. I know the CM organizers will protect the paper because they are made with the same photo safe requirements. The primary reason I segregate my CM paper is because I do, from time to time, sell something to someone. You don’t need to be so fussy.

I also have my new papers from other sources stored in CM organizers. Many vendors sell their pages in a themed book, but I take them out and sort the paper. A smaller organizer holds papers from a ginormous book which would destroy the top edge of the sheet. I keep them separated, because I know they will not fully cover a 12X12 page and they are also not strong enough to be wallpaper. These are organized primarily by color, because there are no real themes. The rest of the non-CM papers I keep in a larger CM organizer, organized by theme.

All these steps just make me organized, but the sheer volume of my stash is a little ridiculous. It’s the rest of it that makes me a hoarder, but it also makes me very practical. I keep my scraps – all of them. Sure, if you’ve merely cut a circle out of one corner of a page that cost $1.25 almost anybody would store that page until they found a way to use the rest of it, but if it’s bigger than an inch, then I’m probably going to save it, too.

The pictures above are a sampling of my organized scraps, which I file by shape, size and color. On the left are the strips. In the middle are my small odd-shaped scraps. At that point, I am not as worried about archival issues. I challenge myself to use these rather than cut into a new piece of paper. It’s sort of a game with me. Cut new paper and I lose points.

Then on the right, behind my sticker organizer is a black CM organizer where I keep those sheet-sized scraps. This is not so much to protect them archivally as it is to keep them from getting wrinkled.

Do It Your Way

I have told you how I store my paper, not because it’s the right way to do it, but to give you some of my ideas, which might help you develop your own system. You may never see a piece of paper smaller than 12X12. You may always buy CM paper or you might never buy it from them. You may only have a few packs at any given time or you could become a full blown paper addict, like me. You be you.

These are the basics of paper handling and this is where you can stop buying tools and supplies, if you’d like. It’s all you’ll ever need to make beautiful albums. However, it just scratches the surface of what’s available out there if the scrapbooking bug bites you as hard as it has me.

Next week I’ll chat with you about the steps I take to build a page, which will by necessity introduce you to some of those other tools and embellishments you don’t need, but which will beg you to buy them.

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.