Friday, December 30, 2016

How would your life change if you unleashed the power in your photos?

I think one of the most undervalued things of our time is photos.

They're so easy to take, and then they're so easy to ignore.  They're so easy to pile up and so easy to postpone.

But there is an amazing power in photos.  The power to re-live a moment, to see a person long since passed.

And we're just sitting on it.

We don't have time, we have too many photos, we aren't interested, it's easier to just scroll Facebook for an hour or watch football.

I want to know what would happen if we actually unleashed the power in our photos by doing something with them--by preserving them in an accessible way and recording the memories that go with them.  

Who's up for the challenge?

So often we look beyond the obvious.  I need more peace.  I need to lower my stress.  I need more happiness.  I need to improve my relationship with __________. 

What if you're sitting on your own recipe for more happiness and peace?!  What if you could be your own stress-reliever?!  What if the ability to improve a relationship is as simple as some time and some photos and some memories?!


Here's the Six Month Challenge:
  • From January-June  do some type of memory-keeping once a week for a minimum of 30 minutes.  Set aside the time.  Don't wait for it to fall in your lap.  It won't.
  • Your memory-keeping will most likely start with organizing/uploading/scanning photos, and will move into actual memory-keeping, which is actually preserving the photos and memories in a product you can hold in your hands.  
  • {Choose one of these methods} if you're not sure where to start.  Memory-keeping is very individual, so be sure you find something you LIKE and will enjoy DOING.
  • Start with just one project.  Maybe it's photos from 2008.  Maybe it's your wedding album.  Maybe it's the vacation to Cabo.  Maybe it's the photos your grandma left you.  Just choose one project and start there.  You can start another when it's done, but don't get overwhelmed by too many photos before you even begin!
  • You can find a lot of {helpful tips here} if you need pointers or advice or ideas and direction.
  • Contact me (contact info at the tab above) if you need help, guidance, ideas, or motivation.
I would love to hear from you along the way, but I especially want to hear how this challenge changes your life after six months.  E-mail me your experience and the difference you feel!

There's a lot more power in photos than we realize.  Let's unleash it and ride the wave. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

truly the best gift ever

I don't normally get very personal here on this blog, but the very nature of Photo & Story Treasures is personal.  I've had the opportunity these last few months to practice what I preach!

I lost my mom a year ago, and before she died she left me a few boxes of mementos, photos, etc.  She pretty much just tasked me with the responsibility of doing *something* with it all.  So I decided to make her life storybook using those things.

I've said (both here on the blog and in person to many people) {how therapeutic memory-keeping is}.  I truly feel blessed to have just experienced this for myself.

Losing a parent isn't something you're ever really prepared for (even when you sort of are via a diagnosis), and although I honestly felt peace at her passing, both because we had a good relationship and because of my faith, it's still hard.  However, as I went through the things she'd given me, I got to know and appreciate her in ways I hadn't before.  It was indeed a therapeutic and healing process for me.  And it was actually a lot of fun to put together.

I very literally felt healed as I went through the process of making this book.  I became more focused on what I gained from my mom instead of what I've lost.  I didn't feel the pain as much, and I felt more grateful, more whole.  

There were pictures I had never seen before and stories in her letters I could appreciate.  I laughed, I cried, and I learned.  It was a wonderful experience.  I came away FEELING different.  I came away whole.  I came away not wanting to break down in tears when I thought about her passing.  I quite literally felt better.

I used a beautiful Heritage Makers template and then altered it to fit the story I was telling.  I scanned in a lot of items, too--letters, certificates, awards, thank-yous, etc.--in addition to photos.  

This is my Christmas gift this year to my dad and my siblings (and their families), as well as my own family.   I hope it will be as meaningful, therapeutic, and wonderful for them as it was for me.

I love sitting down with this book when I miss her.  When I miss her, I feel loss.  When I open this book of her life, I smile and remember what I have--legacy, hope, faith, and love.  There are funny and interesting things in the book.  There are pictures and stories that give me a sense of belonging and peace.  This is really my go-to when I miss her, and it's such a gift!

Some day, all of us will have just our stories left.  What a privilege it is to be able to tell them and share them with those who love us.   

{Get started here.}

Pin to save and share

Monday, December 12, 2016

why I didn't worry about my photos when my computer crashed (even though I hadn't backed them up yet!)

Fickle technology:  it's the real deal.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you probably already know how strongly I feel about PRESERVING YOUR PHOTOS IN PRINT--not just because it's the most meaningful way to store them, but because technology is fickle, always changing, and... you just never know.

Well, it happened to me.  

Three weeks ago (a very lousy birthday present, mind you), the operating system on my computer did an automatic update.  So as to avoid badmouthing any particular operating system, let's just call it Bindows Len.  It did this automatic update thing that I not only didn't authorize but that I had no idea was going on.  And all of a sudden my computer was completely inaccessible.

The good news is that I wasn't worried about my pictures AT ALL.  Isn't that amazing??  

I actually hadn't saved this year's onto a memory stick yet, but even if I lost them from my computer, I knew that I had all my pictures from this year saved in FULL RESOLUTION in my Heritage Makers account, and I could go to ANY OTHER COMPUTER and login, then save my photos to an external hard drive, CD, memory stick, etc.  But more than that, I'd preserved them in print (via storybooks and digital scrap pages), so I had those photos in the most important way anyway.  Digital photos are just the back-up.

This is just one of the many reasons I swear by Heritage Makers up and down.  It's an easy, high-quality way to get your photos off your phone/computer, and the digital storage at high resolution (with free downloads) is an excellent back-up!  (And Heirloom Assurance even backs up your photos in published projects!)

If you haven't used Heritage Makers yet, do yourself a favor and click the "how to get started" tab and GO!  #itsthebest

And if you're curious about the end of the story:  My husband was able (after SEVERAL tries) to find a way to save documents and photos and videos to a flash drive before we had to wipe the computer and re-install everything.  (I have no idea how that worked.  #miracle #graceofgod  Seriously.)  

But, lesson learned!  I bought an external hard drive and will definitely be backing up my computer regularly from now on.  Because you just never know.  A crash is always out of your control.  

Good thing Heritage Makers has your back.

UPDATE 2022:  For permanent, private cloud photo storage with these same downloadable perks, Photo & Story Treasures recommends Forever Storage.  

You can safely store your precious photo, video, and audio files there in full resolution, which you can download at any time.  Most cloud photo storage services these days reserve rights to your photos, to mine (sell) your data, and to discontinue their services at any time, with or without notice, even if you are paying the monthly maintenance fee.  With Forever, you purchase your storage space (once!) so that you OWN it, and there is no fine print--Forever is meant to be forever.  You can learn more here:

I was surprised to learn this:

And relieved to learn this:

Friday, December 2, 2016

advertising events using a business card (oh, and my ACTUAL events, too!)

Remember a couple of months ago I told you about a cool way to give yourself TIME to work on memory-keeping?  {If you missed it, you can read about it here.}

Well, I've been doing something similar for several years now, only my monthly events are in person!  I decided I'd like to advertise my Digi-Crop events ("digi-crop" just means "bring your laptop and work on Heritage Makers stuff").

UPDATE 2019:  Events are all online now so more people can attend!  Visit the "our community and events" tab to find out what's coming up next.  Most events are free.

And what better way to advertise than with a little Heritage Makers business card?  Around $5 for a little pack of 50, with the option to be double-sided, it's really perfect for just handing out right and left and getting the word out about your event!

I was so excited to get these little business cards back in the mail.

I have to say, I really love the portrait orientation on this one.

And I'm so excited to say that (*new this month*!) I've set up both of my monthly events in MeetUp. 

UPDATE 2021:  Unfortunately, the print partner Heritage Makers used for business cards raised the prices so high as to not be feasible, so Heritage Makers discontinued business cards.  Another option is Forever through their Artisan digital scrapbooking software program.  If you are interested in purchasing Artisan for digital scrapbooking, I highly recommend it!  It's amazing.  But if you're not, I am happy to hire out to create your business cards for you for a small fee (since I own Artisan).  Your business cards will be saved in your (free) Forever account so that you can reorder them any time!  Just contact me with questions.  I can create very personalized business cards for you.

Monday, November 28, 2016

home decor: crafting with coasters

I'm sure that title makes you think:

"Um.  What?!"

But, yes, I'm going to show you a craft project using coasters I made with Heritage Makers!

I first saw the idea {here} and thought it looked kinda cool.  And then some things got changed around on my bathroom wall, and all of a sudden this was going to be the PERFECT thing to go there!

The first thing I did, of course, was create the coasters in my Heritage Makers account.  {You can do the same thing by creating your own coasters.}  And remember I'm here if you have questions.  It took about 8 days to receive them in the mail, and then I gathered all my supplies together:

I did a beach theme, and I created the coasters using all pictures of beaches we've personally been to as a family in recent years.  It was so fun!  You can't see here, but in the bottom corner I actually put the place and date in small font.

If you're new to Heritage Makers coasters like I was for this project, here's the low-down.  A little shy of 4" square, cork-backed, and a really glossy, nice finish on the front.  (I honestly LOVED how my photos looked on these!!)

You might notice in my "supplies" photo (that I showed you first) that one of my supplies was a set of earrings!  The original instructions for this craft were to use a "large book ring."  I have one, but I just didn't like the look of it.  So I thought What else is cheap but would look good and do the same thing?  Walmart earrings, of course!  :D

I closed the clasp and then folded the ribbon over and hot-glued it.  (And, yes, this is really "ribbon," but it looks pretty different.  I was hoping for a beachy, flip-flops-and-hat kind of look.

I expected this to be a little harder or more complicated, even though I knew how simple this project was, but for the next step you literally just hot glue the coasters to your length of ribbon.  And that's it!

I saw that phrase "The beach fixes everything" on a sign once and adored it.  That is definitely a true statement for me!

And there it is on my wall!  I decided to dress it up a bit with the ribbon because I cut the bottom ribbon a bit too short, but those bows and knots are completely optional.

This is SUCH a fun project and SO EASY and such a cool way to display your photos.  If you do this craft, I'd love to see YOUR photos!  E-mail them to me at the address in the "contact me" tab above!

Monday, November 21, 2016

craft fair display

I wanted to up my game a little where my craft fair display was concerned.  I've been doing craft fairs for about 8 years, in 3 different states, so I've seen a lot and have been considering how to draw more attention to my booth.  I decided I needed to go HIGHER.

I need to have a display that stores well, without taking up much space, from year to year.  I love the idea of crates and tents and some of the other things you see at craft fairs, but in addition to the storage issue, spending a lot isn't really an option for me right now.

After some internet searches, I decided to use white pegboard (just from my local home improvement store).  I have two different tables showing two different types of things, and I wanted to give each pegboard stand a "title" so that people can see it before they come to my booth.  And I wanted it to be cute.  :)

I created cute little banners from a Heritage Makers 11x14 print.  The advantages here are
  • I could create it exactly like I wanted, with LOTS of choices of (included) digital art 
  • prints are a little over $3 each
  • I got the optional UV coating, which gives them a little more durability
I actually also really like this because I made these banners to match my business cards, flyers, and tri-fold brochures.

I submitted the prints for publishing and got them back about a 8 days later.  They looked like this
At my booth, I display items made via "online, digital personal publishing," and I also display "papercrafting & scrapbooking" items, so I have two different styles of banner pieces, as you can see.

Then I cut them out,
punched holes in the corners, and threaded some ribbon through.

Since these banners are only about 3" tall (you could make them bigger if you want), I used a mini hole punch and 1/8" ribbon (which costs almost nothing).  I did secure the ribbon on the back of each piece with a little tape just to keep them from sliding on the ribbon.

I used a total of six pieces of common white pegboard because I was making three background displays total.  They were 4 ft. high and 2 ft. wide.  Each piece was $8.  I put each pair together with white duct tape on the back, then pushed ribbon through the duct tape (using an x-acto knife) and tied them together for a little extra security.

Then it was time to put my adorable banners on the pegboard (just with tape).

I bought some pegs and some baskets made for pegboards as well.  Again, just at the home improvement store.

In my "personal publishing" section of goods, I sell a couple of magnetic items, so I bought some sticky-backed magnet strips (available at craft stores--I got mine at Walmart).

SEE??  It works!  :)
(I love doing creative things with the Heritage Makers car magnet.  It's 12x18, so although it goes great on a car for business, it also goes great on a fridge for a family calendar or menu planner, or on a file cabinet for a vision board!  You can write on and wipe off with a dry-erase marker!)

Ready to see what the display boards look like AT the craft fair??

I clearly need some more baskets for that last set-up!  This was my first run using the new pegboards, so next time I'll have it covered.  :)

I really love the height, but I especially love the little personal (and cute) touch the banners give to the pegboards.  I wish they were a little bigger, but what I wanted to say is really long!  Still, it really gave a nice feel to my display and is a big improvement over past years. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

you don't keep something as powerful as photos in a box

It's just not where they belong.  Photos were meant to be seen.  They weren't ever meant to be stored--either digitally or in a box.  It's just not their purpose.  Photos are supposed to be looked at.

There's great power in photos--the ability to remember, to laugh, to enjoy, to heal, to fall in love again.

Set your photos free by putting them in digital memory books (digital scrapbooks, digital photo books).  Digital has many advantages--the ability to make multiple copies, for example. 

Find a high-quality solution that works for you!  See {several heirloom-quality options right here}, then get started!

Whatever you choose, just be sure you're not keeping something as powerful as photos in a box.  

They were never meant to go there.  Same thing with digital storage.  It's not where photos belong.  Backups are great, sure, but THE REAL THING is the one you see, the one you interact with.  

There's a very real power there.  Unleash it.

Monday, November 14, 2016

chocolate wraps: Happy Holidays

I'm a part of a few networking groups, and I decided I'd like to take little December Wishes treats to my friends in the groups at our December meetings.  So, of course, I made little Happy Holidays chocolates.

Well, technically I made the sticky wraps from address labels in my Heritage Makers account, and I BOUGHT the chocolate.  :)  But you know what I meant.

If you haven't made address labels as chocolate wraps before, I suggest using a template from the Heritage Makers Template Gallery.  You can change anything in a template, and it'll give you a good jumping off place as far as how things should be measured and aligned so they'll fit around the Hershey Nugget.  Let me know if you need any help.

I have Christmas-celebrating friends and Hanukkah-celebrating friends, so I put both on the label.  And, of course, a little nod to my business.  Because these are so cool everyone will want to make them.  ;)

Then you just center the label on the Nugget and wrap.

CUTEST, huh??

These can be personalized for birthday parties, graduations, weddings, baby showers, and much more.  You might remember my first post about wrapped chocolates {here}. 

UPDATE:  Here's a video tutorial I made, walking you through making these awesome chocolate wraps.

UPDATE 2022:  Heritage Makers is currently being updated to a new software platform that doesn't require Adobe Flash to run (which Adobe has discontinued).  For the time being, it's easier for you to order these items from me--meaning I make them for you--than it will be for you to make them in your own Heritage Makers account.  Just contact me with questions and/or to order these fun chocolate wraps!

And now, I wish all my friends a Merry Christmas & Happy Hanukkah, and a prosperous new year!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Thanksgiving dinner conversation cards (great gift idea, too!)

I can't tell you how many people are duly impressed with the playing card decks from Heritage Makers.  I love showing them to people!!  I came across one recently in the Template Gallery that I had to try out!  They are Thanksgiving Dinner Conversation Starter cards.

They come in a nice little box, and this is a deck of 54.  That "thankful for you" side is the back of the cards.  The backs are all the same, but you can put anything you want on the fronts. 

I just love these, both to bring out as a host of Thanksgiving dinner but also (maybe ESPECIALLY) to bring as a gift when you're the guest!

I made a few little style-related tweaks to the cards before I ordered them, but you can certainly order them as-is.  

This is a nice little addition to your Thanksgiving table, or a nice little gift, at under $20.

UPDATE 2022:  Heritage Makers is currently being updated to a new software platform that doesn't require Adobe Flash to run (which Adobe has discontinued).  For the time being, it's easier for you to order these items from me--meaning I make them for you--than it will be for you to make them in your own Heritage Makers account.  Just contact me with questions and/or to order these neat cards!

Happy Thanksgiving!  #begrateful

Monday, November 7, 2016

love your job

I love doing something that matters.  If fact, I NEED TO do something that matters.

I believe passionately that memory-keeping is priceless, and I feel keenly that we have ONE chance at it.  Memories fade and moments pass.  I believe passionately that we can't afford to pass up what preserving our life stories and photos gives us:
  • an increase in happiness
  • therapeutic benefits including healing from grief and loss
  • increased self-esteem (especially in children)
  • a sense of belonging and security (especially for children)
  • improved connections with others
  • stress reduction
I love sharing beautiful, meaningful, high-quality ways to preserve photos and memories and life stories that will last.  I am passionate about inspiring, educating, and helping people to not just realize but FEEL the gift that photos are.

What's your passion?  What drives you?  What's something you could do that wouldn't feel like work?

Do you know someone who is passionate about photos and memories and preserving them?  Do you know someone who is their family's historian?  Do you know someone who loves genealogy?

Our passions are ours for a reason.  What's yours?

For more information about sharing the passion of memory-keeping, explore the "make it your side gig" tab at the top of this blog, or contact me using the "contact me" tab above.  I'm a supportive and no-pressure team leader, and a memory-keeping business is a rewarding place to be.

Monday, October 31, 2016

how to keep your memory from fading

Do you remember the day you got your first job?  Your first day of college?  Your engagement day?  Bringing your first baby home from the hospital?

Pick one.  Think back to that day.

What can you tell me about that day?

Chances are, if--today--you were to tell me about that day, you might say something like, "It was great."  "It was a wonderful day."  "It was exciting."  "Very special."

But if you had told me on that day, you would have a lot more to tell me!  There would be details, emotions, sights, smells, nerves, what happened on the way there, what happened on the way home, what you were thinking, how someone else reacted, and more.

So what can we do about it?

Here are some things you can do to keep those memories alive and cherished, which in turn give us increased happiness and fulfillment!  
  1. Take photos.  There's absolutely nothing like seeing your beloved grandmother or an angel baby again, or your wedding day or your first day at a new job.  That's what a photo does--it brings them back.  Those events, those people, those times aren't lost when you have a photo.
  2. Write.  The old adage "a picture is worth a thousand words" is mostly true, but without recorded details, your thousand words are quickly slipping away as the the actual memories literally fade a little every day.  You don't have to be a writer.  You just have to write.  What do you remember?  Who is in the photo?  When and where was the photo taken?  Why was it taken?  What made it photo-worthy, meaningful, fun, special, interesting, hard, good, worth remembering?  Write it down.  I guarantee you won't remember all those things if you wait 10 years.
  3. Preserve the photos and their stories (the writing part).  A box isn't where something this powerful belongs.  Photos and memories need to be taken care of.  I call it memory-keeping.  Some people call it scrapbooking.  Whatever that looks like to you, find a high-quality way to preserve these precious mementos of your life's journey.    
  4. Reflect.  Share.  Look through your memory-keeping, your photos and journals.  Take some time to get centered.  See where you've been and see how far you've come.  Share your memories and life experiences with others.  Children especially LOVE looking through scrapbooks and memory books of themselves, but be sure you do it as well.  There are even therapeutic benefits!

Preserved memories don't fade nearly as much.  And they're easy to recapture by simply looking back and reading.

There are different ways of preserving photos and memories, of course.  Any standard photo album from a big box store will do it, but be sure the products are acid-free, lignin-free, and high quality.  Otherwise, your photos end up not as "preserved" as you thought.

My favorite way of preserving photos and memories is digitally because it's so convenient.  Plus, using the company I do means that my photos are stored digitally as well--that's not only "fireproofing" both my photos and my digital book offsite (not at home) but giving me the ability to access my account and show my photos from my phone or other device/computer.  {Here's amazing information on the app, and here's amazing information on the *permanent* photo storage that Forever offers.}

I use all three of these different platforms for creating my own digital books.  Have a look and see which one fits you best.  There's an easy-button option, a quick and beautiful template option, and full-on digital scrapbooking.  Let me know in the comments which one sounds best to you.  (I love #3 but have used them all.)

You don't have to be a "scrapbooker" to be a memory-keeper.  You just need memories.  (The first and second options shown in the video are truly for EVERYONE!)

Keeping memories close benefits everyone!  Share this blog post
by Pinning this image, Tweeting, or sharing on Facebook or email.

Monday, October 24, 2016

why you should preserve your photos in print

I've talked about this before, but preserving photos in print is a REALLY BIG DEAL.  It's the only meaningful way to store them, as I talked about {here}.  But here's a stark reminder:

This graphic is from a survey from {Professional Photographers of America}, which I saw {here}.

This only mentions the 4.5 million cell phones lost in a year in the United States.  This doesn't mention the ones dropped in a toilet or swimming pool.  And this doesn't even cover hard drive crashes, unreadable files, or any of the other technology-inflicted issues.

Save your photos!  And by that I mean:  RESCUE THEM.  Get them off your camera or computer.  That's only the backup version of them anyway.  Put them in hands, on shelves, on walls, and let connections happen.  Let photos and memories be enjoyed. 

There are amazing, heirloom-quality options for preserving your photos in print right here--and they're so different that there's really something for everyone!  These options are better than anything else I've seen!

You take photos for a reason.  Print them so you remember why.

Friday, October 21, 2016

how to get your pictures off your phone

If you don't know how to get your pictures off your phone, that's the first thing to learn so that you can then preserve your photos.

It's wise to store them at least one way digitally, but {the best way to store photos is in print}.  Think of digital photo storage like old-time film negatives.  Negatives were good to save in case something happened to your printed photos.  But the printed photos were the important part because THEY were the things that got SEEN.  It's not so different today. 

But first you have to get your pictures off your phone, right?

UPDATE 2021:  With a (free) Forever account you can get the Forever mobile app and upload directly from your phone! 

One way to get your photos from your phone to your computer is to e-mail them to yourself.  Just be sure to select "actual size" or "full size" or "full resolution" when you're asked what size you want to send them.  You don't want to receive them in lower resolution (lower quality) than you took them. 
Once you receive the e-mail from yourself with the photos in it, open the e-mail and then download (or save) the photos to your computer.

Your phone should have come with a cable so that your phone can be plugged into your computer for backing it up, etc.  It should have a USB end and a phone end. 

If you have this cable, you can actually go onto your computer and open your phone, click on the photos on your phone, and copy and paste them onto your computer.

I have PC and an iPhone, so what that looks like for me is I find "This PC" then "my iPhone."  I double-click "my iPhone" and a window opens that says "internal storage."  I click that and see a folder called "DCIM."  I have videos and pictures inside that folder.  This is definitely not the simplest way to get your photos off your phone because after you open DCIM, each photo and video is in its own folder.  That means I have to double-click each folder individually, and when I see each photo (in jpeg form), I  right-click on the photo, choose "copy," and then go to the location on my computer where I want to save it and click "paste." 

As I said, this is not the simplest way to get your photos off your phone, but it does work.  This is a good method to get the VIDEOS off your phone and saved onto your computer, though!

And there you have it.  Three ways to get your photos off your camera so you can PRESERVE THEM by printing them!

Heirloom-quality digital photo-storybooks are a convenient and fantastic way to print your photos!  {Get started here!}