I started my morning by checking my email and since Memory Keeping is my business, I’m always on the look out for content, something I can post to my social media channels. I’d been writing blog posts the day before, so I really wasn’t looking for another one, but this one found me anyway.
Creative Memories is a Heaven for Crafters
Creative Memories has a blog and that’s where my email took me. If you’re a crafter, you’ll love it. You’ll need all kinds of tools and materials complete the beautiful things the blog features. These particular borders require 11 various items. Each border has 3-4 easy steps (ha), or at least it seems that way, until you figure out that each “easy” step also includes 4-5 steps. You could craft away a morning with these borders.
I have nothing against crafters. I’m happy they have both the skill and the time to do the amazing things they do. Crafters, please let me be your Creative Memories Advisor. I can point you in the direction of a lifetime of craft ideas and sell you everything you’ll need to complete them – including all the totes you need for packing up to go away on that crafting weekend.
Creative Memories is Also a Resource for Memory Keepers
However, crafters have given Memory Keeping a bad name and to be honest, I get a little mad at Creative Memories for obscuring the line between memory keeping and crafting. I get it, crafters who scrapbook are probably going to buy more product than your average person who just wants to save their memories in a traditional album. However, I’m one of those people who embraced the old CM taglines – “Everyone Has a Story to Tell” and “Simple Pages, Completed Albums.” “We Make Scrapbooking Fun,” the phrase on the back of a recent catalog, just doesn’t resonate with me.
So, as I was saying, I looked at the Creative Memories blog and my hair stood on end. Sure, the bear borders are really cute, but I’m not sharing the post on my Facebook feed without a disclaimer. Most of my clients are incredibly busy people who hire me to scrapbook for them. They want an economical answer to their Memory Mess, whether they’re attempting to tackle some of it themselves or they’re turning the whole project over to me. I offer them an affordable album package, which includes all labor and materials, and my clients love the results, but I assure you, none of these borders will be in one of my standard albums. My standard albums are simply beautiful and I can complete them in a couple of weeks, but they’re all Memory Keeping, with only a touch of crafting.
I’m a Devoted Memory Keeper Who Can Also Craft
That being said, if you’re a crafter, go visit the CM blog I mentioned, go to CMTV, soak up their YouTube Channel. There’s a lifetime of crafting there. Get after it. I love it, too.
I want you to know that if you hire me to do your albums for you, I can craft, but I also need you to understand, specialty albums have to cost more. I have stacks and stacks of papers, drawers of punches, boxes of stickers and a variety of other tools on shelves and in baskets. Heck, I even have a Cricut! No matter how simple the album, I find ways to use my toys in quick bites. I am a Closet Crafter, whose day job is Memory Keeping.
However, there’s no package price for a specialty album. I work on a time and materials basis, keeping track of every minute and every sticker. Elaborate titles and borders will fill every page, with thick layers of beautifully crafted paper enhancements. It’s the perfect gift for a bride or a new mother. It’s a vacation album you’ll cherish. However, the timeline for it could be anywhere from a month to six weeks. The materials used will add up, but it will be the time which takes the biggest bite of your budget.
Back to Basics
Here’s the bottom line. Memory Keeping does not require crafting skills. If you want to do this yourself. I promise you can do it. If you’re looking for an affordable way to get someone else to do it for you, I’m your girl. At the same time, if you are a crafter, there just aren’t any projects out there as meaningful as Memory Keeping.
In other words, Memory Keeping is job one, whether you do it or I do. Crafting is optional! So give me a call and lets get busy saving your memories!!
I hope Memory Keepers, Crafters and Travelers will keep coming back. Tomorrow I’ll have The Weekend Report, next Wednesday we’ll be traveling and then a week from now I’ll be keeping more memories.
There’s more than one way to skin a cat. We’re not talking animal cruelty here, I’m referring to the old saw which pointed out most jobs have more than one way to go about them. You say po-TAY-to and I say po-TAH-to. Same veggie, different pronunciations.
Well, Creative Memories has their own interpretation of digital scrapbooking and it’s not a photobook at all. It really is a scrapbook. The coverset is the same coverset you’d use for their traditional albums, but instead of a solid bookcloth or one with decoration embossed on it, your album can have your own photos on it, just like a photobook.
The Best of Both Worlds
My scrapbooking hit a bump in the road when digital came along, because Creative Memories hit a bump in the road. At the time, it just looked as if management was abandoning the traditional scrapbookers who had made them the premiere memory keeping company in the world, but it turned out they had abandoned a whole lot of stuff. We’ll just leave it at that. They went bankrupt and have been totally reorganized and refocused, but those were rough days in the scrapbooking world.
At the time, it seemed as if you had to stay on the traditional scrapbooking road or take the exit to digital everything. There were no solutions which embraced both formats.
I wasn’t ready for digital back then, so I stayed with traditional scrapbooking, but there was no good source for traditional scrapbooking supplies (except the huge stash of CM supplies I had bought up to meet the quarterly quota, which thank goodness is no longer a thing!) I eventually found another scrapbooking supplier which had the same style pages and coverset as CM, so that period of photographic unrest is not apparent on my scrapbook shelves.
Then CM returned and it felt like coming home. At first, I still wasn’t ready for digital, but these days I heartily embrace the CM solution for both traditional and digital scrapbookers. At first glance it looks like a traditional scrapbook. The construction of the coverset and the format of the pages is the same as the CM traditional album, but a closer look reveals the personal images printed on the coverset, just like they are on a photobook.
But wait there’s more! You can create a digital coverset for your traditional album if you want to stick with traditional pages, but want a personalized coverset. Or you can select a beautiful traditional coverset for your project, but all of your pages can be designed and printed digitally. And you have to know where I’m going now. No matter which coverset you choose, your pages can be both traditional and digital. The point is, you don’t have to choose.
Making It Work for You
Now, if you are a scrapbooker yourself, then your mind is exploding with possibilites. If you’re not a scrapbooker, then let me tell you why this is such a good idea. The photos and memorabilia for a Baby Boomer are going to be primarily analog. Generation Z is going to be totally digital. Generation X-er’s are going the start out analog and melt into digital, while Millenials might have anything.
I do custom albums for all generations. Baby Boomers and Millenials are easy. Baby Boomers generally want a traditional album, because that’s a more straightforward way to address their photo mess – even if they turn around and have the album pages digitized, it’s just simpler to work with what they have. Millennials go for online albums, because that’s how their brain works and they don’t want to kill trees.
With Generation X and Millennials, what they have in the way of photographs and memorabilia depends a lot on which direction their parents leaned. If like me, their parents had a hard time letting go of their analog camera and printed photos from the drug store, then the record of their lives, at least at the beginning, will be analog. Then there will be a period where some items are digital, but others are still analog. If their parents instead embraced the digital age from the very beginning, then they generally go the route of the Millenials, but they might print a photobook for their parents. (And that’s what Forever’s for!)
Since Gen X’ers and Millennials have both traditional and digital items, they might feel it would be necessary to make a choice, between scrapbooks and photobooks, but they don’t. It’s not necessary to digitize all the analog stuff to go in a photobook or print all the digital items, so for a traditional scrapbook. With CM digital, you can have a traditional scrapbook with both traditional pages for analog and printed pages for digital. Some people even get their digital items printed and add traditional photos or decoration to the printed page. There are no rules!! Only solutions and I can bring you all of them.
What Do You Have and What Do You Want?
I started the Memory Keeping 101 series the same way I begin my conversations with a custom scrapbook client. What do you have and what do you want? You answer may be that you have a little of everything and you’d like a solution to embrace both analog and digital. Well, here’s your solution. No matter what you have, CM has a scrapbooking system which will do either or both. Just give it all to me and let me at it. Or you can do it yourself. I’m here to help either way.
Come back tomorrow for The Weekend Report if you need suggestions for your weekend and on Wednesday, Travel Talk will be focused on NYC. On Thursday, we’ll be back to digital solutions from Forever.
MEMORY KEEPING 101– Artisan, Scrapbooking, but Digital
Digital Photo Gifts and Photobooks
You know the names – Snapfish, Shutterfly, Mixbook, SmugMug, etc. etc. etc. You go there. You drop your photos into a template. Maybe you can edit some, maybe you can’t. You can make gifts with photos, like blankets, coffee mugs, calendars and ornaments. You can also make bound photobooks.
Ever try to contact their customer service? I have chatted online. Either you’re talking to someone with a name five miles long that you can’t pronounce or it’s a bot. Doesn’t matter. They can’t help you, because if it is a real problem they don’t have a script for it. So they elevate your problem and good luck with that. I’m still waiting for my email from my elevated customer service call concerning a Christmas Card order a few years ago.
Quit that!! You can do all of that and more on Forever. Highest quality images, best quality products, quick turnaround and amazing selection. Here’s the difference. Those other guys are the big box store. Forever is me. Now I’m not doing all the work, but you have me so you never have to chat with a bot. I have Forever, so whatever it is that you want to do with your photos, I can get it done.
Since the main focus of my business is custom scrapbooking, I don’t spend much time trying to transform Snapfish customers into Forever customers. In fact, if you’re already memory keeping, then good for you. That’s what I want. I’m happy to tell you why I believe Forever is a better way to go, and I would love for you to buy these services from me instead of them, but my real target is people who just have a mess and want me to fix it. I would love it, if next time you go to print photos or make a calendar/coffee mug/photobook/blanket, you gave Forever a try, but what I want most is for you to keep on memory keeping.
And Then There Was Artisan
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t do all that photo gifting stuff for my own purposes. Perhaps that’s because I don’t have kids, grandkids or pets, but I think the real reason is because I’m a scrapbooker. I want my photos and memorabilia in an album, not on my coffee mug.
Because I’m a scrapbooker, I’m used to starting with a blank page, so all those photobook templates frustrate the heck out of me – even Forever photobook templates. I tried. I really tried and I ran, not walked, back to my traditional scrapbooks.
Then I discovered Artisan! With Artisan I can start with a blank page. Oh, they have all the templates in the world, if you want them. In fact, the training videos assume you want to use templates and teach from that standpoint, so my learning curve was pretty steep. However, after a few sessions, I skipped to the part where they just told me what the various buttons did, without telling me how they worked with templates. I haven’t looked back.
I still prefer traditional scrapbooking. Perhaps you know my husband and I own a real estate photography company. I sit at a computer all day long managing photos – downloading, uploading, receiving and delivering. When my real estate photography day is over, I would prefer to move to the scrapbooking table and do things manually. Don’t get me wrong, I will do digital photobooks, for my clients, for gifts and occasionally just for myself, but it’s just not my first love.
If like me, you just want to keep doing traditional scrapbooks, then you should at least allow Forever to print your photos. Here’s why they are the best:
Taking It to the Next Level
If digital scrapbooking is your thing, then before I go, I should tell you about Pixels 2 Pages. It’s an online community of digital scrapbookers. These people are serious about it. They even have retreats where they get together with their computers, either virtually or in person, to scrapbook. You can try it out for free for a month.
Online communities are not my thing, but they might be yours. I have met some of these people in person and they speak a language I don’t even understand. I think it’s easy to learn, but again, I’m primarily a traditional scrapbooker. I’d rather talk about the latest Border Maker or Punch, but, as I said, that’s me. I just wanted you to know it was there if you wanted it.
That’s all for today! We’ll visit the Metroplex tomorrow and go to NYC on Wednesday, but on Thursday, we’ll get back to Memory Keeping 101.
I’m old fashioned. I think the price of something should be a definite thing, but it’s gotten a lot more complicated than that. Whether you’re shopping online or at the grocery store or the local department store, there’s the price that’s marked, the price that’s advertised and the price you can get it for. Unfortunately, though I love everything Forever has to offer, I hate the way they do their pricing. Younger people might understand it all better, but I get confused.
The Welcome Coupon
Joining Forever is free. I send you a link: https://www.forever.com/ambassador/jane-sadek/. You fill in a few details and you’re in – all the wonders of Forever at your finger tips. But it’s better than that. To thank you for signing up, Forever gives you a $20 Welcome Coupon. They’ll send you an email to thank you for joining, but don’t delete it, because there’s a code there you’ll need to redeem your $20. With just a few minor exceptions, it can be used for anything.
The Forever Club
Remember Layaway? That’s an old selling strategy where a store will put your purchase in their storeroom and you pay for it over time. You’ll still see it every once in awhile, but these days most people just charge it. Back in the day, we weren’t so free with our credit cards, so the stores would help you buy their merchandise. I have a beautiful silver service my favorite aunt paid for piece by piece year by year with layaway. It’s one of my favorite treasures.
The Forever Club is like layaway in reverse – like a savings account. You go ahead and put a little aside for a few months and suddenly you have enough to get video streaming, a terabyte of storage, the big Forever box or whatever else you’d like to get, without putting a burden on your credit card. And unlike the bank, where they’ll charge you service fees for holding your money, the Forever Club is free and your Club dollars never expire. That’s a nice tool to have when you are planning a digital project.
5% Off Everything and Stacking
But there’s more! When you belong to the Club, you get a 5% discount on everything. So even if you don’t want to save up for a big purchase – I never have – belonging to the Club is worth it. You may only put in $25, but you’re going to get $26.25 worth of merchandise. Your shopping cart will just have that 5% taken off every time, whether you’re scoring a Deal of the Day for Digital Scrapbooking Art or getting photos printed or buying more storage.
Stacking is a thing at Forever. You know how you get a coupon from some companies and the rules for using it are so restrictive it’s almost impossible to use. Well, you can use your Welcome Coupon and your 5% Club discount together on virtually everything and then stack them with other deals I will talk about later.
And, like the vegetable cutter at the state fair, that’s not all. Every three months you belong to the Club you get free storage. The amount you get is based on the level of membership you buy. And this isn’t one of those Clubs you get into, but can’t get out. You don’t have to go through a bunch of hoops or spend hours on the line waiting for a customer service rep. You go into your account and cancel it yourself. I know, because I start and stop all the time, but I always be sure to stay in for 3 months to get my free storage.
When I am working on digital projects, I know I am going to be spending dollars with Forever. Like I said, the Forever dollars can be used on everything and they never expire. Why wouldn’t I want a 5% discount. So, when I start the project, I join the Club at the lowest level, $25 and I be sure my membership goes for at least 3 months. During that period of time, whatever I am doing from buying storage and printing photos, to creating print projects or even buying up digital art, I get that 5% off and I am also earning half a GB of storage. Believe me, the way I eat up storage, I’ll take every half a GB I can get.
But some people are more aggressive. They want it all and they want a lot of it – a TB of storage, video streaming, several Forever boxes – you can quickly stack up thousands of dollars. For the sake of this post, let’s say they’ve set a budget of $7500 for their project and they want to get it all within a 3 month period. They’d join the Club at the $2500 level for 3 months, but they’d end up with $7875 to spend and 50 GB of free storage. Yep, that’s a good deal.
The Deals Page
For me, the deals page is the good news and the bad news. The good news is that there is always a deal. You will never pay what Forever lists as their full price. However, the problem is that the deals are always changing. If you asked me today what you’d spend on any given project, I can tell you the full price and what it would be if you bought it now, but I can’t tell you what the price will be if you buy it later. It might be better, it might be worse. I try to help people get the best deals, but there is no published schedule of deals to come.
Most of the deals are just a percentage off the list price – usually ranging from 10% to 50%, but keep an eye out, because crazy things can happen. They also come up with specials that you can only get with the Club, which is a nice bonus. You can get free tickets to online events, membership to the Digital Scrapbookers Group (Pixels 2 Pages) and even deals on shipping.
There’s also the Deal of the Day, which is usually something for digital scrapbooking, but sometimes they throw us a curve ball, so it wouldn’t hurt to check it everyday. I look anytime I go on the website
Then there are the bundles. Perhaps you can get free storage if you buy video streaming, for instance, but they put all kinds of things together. They also get more creative, but the more creative they get, the more complicated they also get. During the madness of Black Friday, you could get $100 and $200 gift certificates with a bonus coupon which would give you amazing discounts off various things, but while the gift certificate would not expire, the coupon had to be used by the end of December and it had rules about what you could stack it with. More good news/bad news in my opinion.
You Need Me
This is why you need me. While Jenga is a game where you pull out blocks, Forever is a game where you have to stack the deals to get the best price. I wish it were easier, but the days of easy seem to be over.
There’s another reason you need me. I have a 5% discount in my pocket that only I can give you. It’s only good for certain products, but if you are buying something which qualifies we take off all the other coupons, discounts and deals, and then I take 5% off the top. Let’s say you were buying that TB of storage. With my pocket discount I could take hundreds of dollars off the bottom line.
When You Fall in Love
If you become a member of Forever, which is always free to join, you might have a little period of adjustment, but at some point you are going to fall in love. Maybe it will be the joy of owning your own piece of the cloud or taking boxes of photos digital or maybe it will be the first photobook you print, but at some point, you’ll say, I’m so glad I did this. That’s when you start sharing.
Now, in this social media heavy world, sharing usually means putting a post on your channel and your reward is clicks, likes and comments. You get more with Forever. If you share my page and the person you shared it with joins Forever, they’ll get that $20 Welcome Coupon and you’ll get a $20 Thank You Coupon. There’s no limit! Share away! You don’t even have to involve me. Just go to your Forever account, hit the share button in the upper right hand corner and you’ll get a link to text or email. Done!
The Ambassador Opportunity
While we are talking about saving, I have to tell you about one more opportunity. You can become an Ambassador for $119 annually. Instead of just getting 5% off with the Club, you can also get at least 20% paid back to you for everything you buy. This is not for everyone. You’ll need to spend at least $600 to breakeven on this deal, if you’re just buying in for the discount.
My business is photos and memory keeping, so being an Ambassador just makes sense. I have people with Forever Club memberships who yield me a few dollars every month. I have other clients who pay big purchases out over a year’s time and I get a few dollars every month from them. Sometimes I make a big sale and get a huge commission. But most importantly, whatever I buy, I get 20% back and there are no minimums and I don’t hold any inventory.
If you’re a serious memory keeper, it might make sense for you or if you are looking for a business opportunity you can have fun with, look no further. Let’s talk about how it would work in your life.
Never Ever Pay Full Price
I know, that’s a lot of information, but I wanted to put it all in one place, if for no other reason than to remind myself of all the ways I can save money or save you money on your digital memory keeping. Wanna know more. Keep reading my Thursday posts or just give me a call.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
Travel Here – Holiday Parties and BBQ in Downtown Rockwall
Scooching back to Thursday, I had a spate of holiday events at the end of last week. Thursday morning was a monthly networking event in Turtle Creek . In truth, I didn’t see a single gift which made me want to take it home. The gift I took got oohs and aahhs and was one of the few which was traded, but I confess it was a re-gift. Well, not exactly a re-gift. I’d won the tea mug in a raffle and the last thing I need is another dish or mug. My cupboards runneth over. So, I saved it for something like the gift exchange.
I opened the Binge-Watching Survival Kit – a White Elephant gift on steroids. Inside are 2 face-cleansing towelettes, 2 dental floss, breath drops, emergency socks, 2 stain removing towelettes, 2 coasters, snack clip, 2 hand cleaning towelettes, 2 folding sporks, facial tissues and a sofa yoga guide. Do you actually think there is any difference at all in the face cleansing and hand cleaning towelettes? The only thing I found remotely entertaining was the “Decision Coin.” One side says “One More,” while the other says, “Go to Bed.”
For now, I’m holding on to it, in case another gift exchange rears it’s ugly head. I’ll probably break it up after the holidays, putting some of it in the car for emergencies and the clip chip in the kitchen, but that spork is going into the trash. The metal box will be great for stickers!
That evening our HOA held a Christmas party for the neighborhood. I knew they’d have the same old fajita buffet they usually do and the same old people, too. When we moved here, I’d hoped we’d have neighborly neighbors and at first it seemed we did. Then things went left. One thing led to another and let’s just say the no drama llama wouldn’t be comfortable on my street.
In spite of the drama we’ve been through, we do have the very best next door neighbors in the world, but I knew they were traveling, so I would have stayed home. Since Bill wanted to go, we went. We got our plates of food and the only people we did know had already filled up a table, so we sat down with strangers. I want you to know they were very nice, but their endeavors to get to know us were so intense we felt like we were suffering an interrogation. We shoveled down our fajitas and high-tailed it back home.
Wine Glass Exchange
One of our very favorite clients has an annual wine glass exchange during the holidays. I was invited for the first time previous to the pandemic and I was all out of kilter. I’d bought a beautiful bejeweled wine glass to exchange, but discovered raunchy was the name of the game. The glasses most frequently traded were those with the naughtiest sayings. Everyone, but me, had brought in food, even though the invitation said nothing about it. The invitation did say BYOB, but most of the bottles were hard liquor and they were sharing cocktails. I took home my bottle of prosecco and the only portion missing was what I drank.
The pandemic caused a two year hiatus, but this holiday it was back on. While raunchy is not my style, I did manage to find a glass with some sass. I took a plate of desserts and a bottle of champagne. It was good champagne, but even though I only had one glass, the champagne was gone within five minutes. The fudge on the dessert plate seemed be a hit. I felt much more in the groove.
When we gathered around the tree, I discovered I had been a trend-setter two years ago. This year be-dazzled glasses were the trend and my sassy glass went to the dead pool. The gift I opened was not a wine glass at all, but a water goblet. I had seen it earlier in the day, on clearance at Hobby Lobby. My gift exchange luck was holding at bad.
Saturday Afternoon Fun
I woke up Saturday and hit my scrapbooking table. I had lunch planned with my bestie after her dance lesson, but I’m working on a huge sorting project and all the holiday folderol had kept me away from it. By the time I met her downtown, I’d made some headway on the project.
When we moved to Heath back in 2015, Downtown Rockwall was pretty sad. There was some renovation going on, but there were more vacancies than businesses in the storefronts around the square. That’s all in the past now. As I stood on a corner waiting for bestie to show up, I was pleased by the hustle and bustle around me. There are no more vacancies. It makes parking a hassle, but it’s a good hassle to have.
Though we have several favorites in Downtown now, we opted for something new, Community BBQ and Grill. Their website says they won Best of 2020 from C&S Media, but since they are still in their soft opening, there’s something fishy there. The site also says they are “traditional, not typical,” and that I can vouch for. We had the ribs (if there are ribs, we always have ribs) and they were eat-with-a-fork good. That’s how much meat they had on them.
The fried okra was served piping hot and delicious. The rolls were good, too. I can’t vouch for the mac & cheese. Not sure what’s going on there. The mac was spiral pasta and the cheese was a runny sauce. However, Deb had the cole slaw and she said it was both fresh and delicious. Wine was free, because they don’t have a license yet. It was a nice Pinot Grigio.
Hunger sated, I had one more Christmas gift to buy, so we went down to Bella’s House on the Square. There are several stores I enjoy visiting on the Square, but I know Bella’s has Brighton and that’s what I wanted. I managed to only leave with the gift, but several other things would have loved to come home with me. Deb bought a Christmas ornament, but I don’t have anymore limbs on my tree and I think Bill would have a conniption if I came home with any holiday decor.
I had one more to-do on my list, but it wasn’t downtown and I couldn’t take my bestie. The scrapbooking project I did for the pageant queen had been completed since the end of November, but we were having trouble getting our calendars to mesh. Finally, we had a time that worked for us both.
I love everything about my little cottage industry, from the moment I meet a potential client to the delivery of their project, as well as every photo, item of memorabilia and sticker in-between. This delivery was albums two and three for this particular client. I was eager for her to see them, so the waiting had been difficult.
The delivery of a traditional scrapbook is my favorite thing. Memory keeping is an important tradition and I’m glad it translates into our digital world, but for me, digitized photos or a printed photobooks just don’t have the emotional impact of a scrapbook. (Hubby disagrees, by the way. He’s all about video and photo books.) Most of my clients look through their album with tears in their eyes. Not all of them and my pageant queen is not a crier, but her absolute glee was apparent.
She also started hauling out my next jobs for her. She wants albums of her kids. The kicker is, someone somewhere along the way made albums of her kids for her, “but we like what you do,” she said. She also said, “Has Meagan called you yet? I’ve got another referral for you, too, and be ready, because everyone who sees what you do will want you to do the same thing for them.” From her mouth to the ear of God!
So, that was the weekend, Sunday was church, memory keeping and a walk around the neighborhood. Not terribly exciting perhaps, but a good time. Come back next week, for more Vegas, more memory keeping and another Weekend Report.
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.