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?!


WELL, LET'S SEE!

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.}

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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.