Wednesday, September 23, 2015

everything you should know about photos & scrapbooks

I'm so excited!!  I was invited to write a guest post on a website called "Advice Sisters" in their lifestyle column, and my article went up today!  Please read and share!  EVERYONE needs to be inspired to do something meaningful with their photos!

(P.S.  I knew it would be edited, but I didn't see the final copy before editing, and there are several mistakes in the editing, so please overlook those.  Hopefully you're not as Type A about those as I am.)  :) 

UPDATE 2023:  You'll see references to a wonderful company called Heritage Makers in this article, but it was purchased in 2013 and had some technical issues and new management which resulted in some changes.  It is now YPhoto, a template-only platform that does not offer photo cloud storage. 

For heirloom-quality books and permanent digital photo storage that is secure and guaranteed private, we recommend Forever.  For preserving photos and memories in print, Forever offers three different software platforms: an "easy button" option to beautiful & fast done-for-you templates to fully creative and flexible digital scrapbooking.  Learn more here and see what is the best fit for you!  Plus, Forever offers permanent digital photo/video/audio storage, digitizing services (like old VHS tapes or slides) and more.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

digital scrapbooking: or, how to scrapbook faster

This post was updated in 2022.

You have photos.  You have a lot of photos.

You know keeping them on your SD card or computer isn't the way to enjoy them because you never look at them there, and your children never look at them there, and you know that all it takes is one computer crash or one newfangled technological advancement to make your digital files harder to access.  (Hi.  Remember floppy drives?  Or are you too young?!)  

You know it's wise to have your photos in two digital places as back-up and (and at least) one printed place.  (That link has the best digital photo storage around!)

Maybe you even know from my previous posts that printed photos can last up to 200 years, and the effect of actually interacting with printed photos and the memories associated with them has been shown to increase happiness, confidence, and self-esteem

Just knowing this much is a step in the right direction!  But now you need a direction.  And you don't have all the time in the world.  Come on.  

What you need to know is how to scrapbook faster.  

All righty, then!  Let's do this.  Let's get a handle on the photos, let's get them published, and let's not spend an arm and a leg, shall we?

So, where do we start?  Here are 3 keys to scrapbooking faster.


Like most things, you don't usually "find time" to sort photos or scrapbook--you MAKE TIME.  (That link has some helpful suggestions from experts on how to do that.)  I suggest calendaring it!  Set aside 15 minutes every day or a couple of hours once a week.  Put it on your calendar and keep that appointment with yourself like you would keep a dentist appointment or a piano lesson.  Even small spurts of time contribute to the big end goal.

TIP:  Team Up!  Work with a parent, child, or sibling.  Or find a friend in the same "I've got lots of photos and I need to do something with them" predicament and work together!  It makes it more fun, and it helps you keep your appointments. 


The best way to start is to organize.  Know what you're dealing with.  I have an excellent 3-part series on Photo Organization and Preservation that you can take a lot of tips from--just click that link to watch the series.  Part 2 is the main organization one, but parts 1 and 3 really round out the series.

I personally suggest organizing chronologically (as shown in the video above).  

It makes it easy to know what to do with a photo.  I personally have photo files on my computer by year and month.  So I have a folder called 2012, then inside that folder I have folders called "January 2012," "February 2012," and so on.  Then when you come across photos from Halloween 2012, you know right where they go.  More importantly, you'll be able to find them faster when you're putting them in your scrapbook later.

Even if you are working with older photos that need to be scanned, chronological organization is still good way to organize them.  You'll need to go through the additional step of scanning first, of course, (unless you click that link to find a white-glove scanning service) but once they're scanned, organize them this way and they will be much easier to find and publish.  

If you have a preferred way of organization that works for you, do that.  Doing what comes naturally to you will help you be more successful.

(photo credit:

It's also very important to not feel like you have to use every photo you take
.  Digital is great because we can take lots of photos, but it can make scrapbooking feel very daunting because we end up with So. Many. Photos.  Choose your favorites.  Narrow down.  Don't feel bad about not using every photo.  There's no rule that says that just because you took it you have to save it or print it!  

TIP:  Don't get overwhelmed.  Just do one thing at a time and focus on that one thing while you're doing it.  Enjoy yourself.  Don't worry about what else you still have to do.  What they say about eating an elephant is true:  one bite at a time!  Here are some additional tips to help with Photo Overwhelm.


Once your photos are all organized, you are ready to publish them so they can be enjoyed!  Digital scrapbooking removes the steps of printing the photos, buying paper, buying adhesive, buying stickers, buying pens, buying binders & sheet protectors, etc.  Digital scrapbooking is hand-in-glove with digital photos. 

Over the years, I've discovered that the most important thing in preserving photos and memories in pages where they can live and be shared is to find something that fits your preferences and needs.

If you want to just get photos and memories in pages quickly, you might not want something with a million creative possibilities and options.

If you love creative time and full flexibility in your pages with digital scrapbooking software, you might not want to be limited to pre-designed templates, beautiful as they are.

That's why I love these three options.  Have a look and see which one is the best fit for you (or maybe you'll like more than one)!  

You can't lose with any of these options because they are all printed on heirloom-quality products (pages and bindings), not the bargain bin options so common these days.  

My recommendation for how to scrapbook the fastest is the Yearbook with Design & Print:

TIP:  Focus on the photo and the memory associated with it.  Papers, backgrounds, and embellishments can make the finished product very beautiful and appealing, but they are always secondary to photos and their memories.  If you enjoy creating, go for it.  But if you don't, stick with simplicity.  

A good scrapbook is valuable to you and your family not because it's full of cute, but because it's full of YOUR photos and memories.


1- So this is all well and good, but we weren't going to spend an arm and a leg, right?  Is there a way to get top-quality memory books without spending an arm and a leg?  

Well, yes.  There are two.  One is to take advantage of Deals (sales), and the other is the (free) Club program.   (There's actually a great third way listed at that Club link.)

2- Many people find that working with others has great benefits.  We have fun and get things done!  Hold a Memory-Keeping Girls' Night or a similar activity--just bring your laptops or tablets and snag some wifi.  

OR join one of my upcoming online activities for our memory-keeping community!  Most of them are free, and they're always helpful and fun.   Click that link to see what's coming up next.

These steps, suggestions, and tips make scrapbooking so much easier!!  I hope you will enjoy implementing them, and that you'll share these ideas, too.  

Everyone who takes photos needs to do something meaningful with them!  Digital scrapbooking can be your best friend.  

If you don't preserve your memories, who else can?

Everybody could use great tips on how to scrapbook faster!
Pin to Pinterest to save and share.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

CRAFTING: Holiday Greetings & Perpetual Calendar Blocks

Back before Heritage Makers was born, I made some holiday/calendar blocks with some friends.  They were this cool design where four sides of a block had letters and you could spell out different greetings.  I've had them on a display shelf for about 15+ years!  

I really like them, but I didn't do a fabulous job painting with stencils.  I realized about a year ago that I could probably just make the block "faces" with a Heritage Makers scrap page, cut them out, cover my bad paint job, and come out with a much cuter end product! 

That's when these blocks were born:

This is the full set.  I think they're so cute!!!  

They are 1 3/4" blocks painted an off-white.  I used to be able to find blocks like this at my local craft store, but I can't really find them any more, so I order them from, although there are other places, I'm sure.  Order with a friend and split the shipping!  :)  You will need 23 wooden 1 3/4" blocks for this set.

2023 UPDATE:  Heritage Makers became YPhoto under Youngevity (which purchased Heritage Makers in 2013).  YPhoto uses only templates, so the creativity showcased here is no longer available thereBest-in-the-industry quality and permanent cloud photo storage with guaranteed privacy are required for anything recommended here by Photo & Story Treasures, so we highly recommend Forever.  

Using Forever's Artisan program for digital scrapbooking, you can make items similar to those shown here.  This video tutorial shows you how to craft with high-quality scrapbook pages, and this one shows you how to use Artisan to create something unique and then print at home (for instances in which you need thinner paper, sticker paper, etc.)  You can see just a few examples of crafting I've done using Artisan here.

You'll just cut out the little squares and stick them on the corresponding blocks, and you're done!  I actually use permanent double-sided tape for this, but you could use spray adhesive or a Xyron or whatever you like best.

And then you get cuteness like this, all year long:

...And wouldn't this set make a darling gift??

(Only 113 days left until Christmas!)   :)