Tuesday, May 29, 2018

How to Overcome the Challenges of Inherited Family Photos

Are you lucky enough to have inherited old family photos?  While that is certainly a blessing, there are a lot of possibilities for additional challenges.  Maybe some photos aren't labeled so you don't know who is in the photo.  Maybe you have duplicates.  Maybe you just have so many photos that the thought of doing something with them is pretty daunting.

One of the biggest motivators, I think, to getting on the ball and getting photos out of boxes and into albums is this:  preservation.  If they're not preserved properly, photos can kind of decay over time.  And you certainly don't want that happening to that box of pictures from your mom.  Photos are sensitive to light, heat, and humidity (and water), as well as whatever is touching them.  Photos in a box in the attic are a ticking time bomb, so to speak.  Remember those magnetic photo albums from the 1970s?  Turns out the acids those pages were made of actually eat up pictures over time.

I'd like to help!  Getting those photos out of boxes not only preserves them but allows them to be shared.  What would photos of your grandparents mean to your children or nieces/nephews?  What about to your siblings?  They would be eternal gifts!

I published three articles about dealing with inherited photos that can help:
To read each one, just click the links!  These articles will help you as you sort through your treasured photos.  If you need some organizational help, there are some good tips {right here at this link}.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

guest post: Women Who Rock

Do you know any women who rock?  This year Dr. Ruxandra LeMay started an inspiring series on her blog looking at women of influence.  (If you are a woman, you are a woman of influence--trust me!)  I "met" Dr. LeMay through a bloggers Facebook group, and I was so honored when she asked to interview me for her series!

I talk about stepping outside your comfort zone, motherhood, running with YOUR strengths, balancing responsibilities, why being over 40 is great, and why pictures and memories really matter--basically what I've learned from life and business!

I hope this article is inspiring to many women in many stages of life!  I hope you find some great nuggets from it that you can use every day.  Enjoy!  You can find the article here:



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Snap2Finish: Making a Photo or Memory Book in a Snap

One of the reasons I'm a die-hard Heritage Makers user/lover is because of the high quality of the photo products (books and scrap pages).  It makes a big difference to me that my photos and memories are preserved in something that is going to last for generations.  I don't trust my precious story and pictures to anything wimpy.

So when Heritage Makers' parent company added an additional digital option, Snap2Finish, to their YGY Photo offerings, I admit I wasn't really enticed.  I love what I can do with Heritage Makers, from digital scrapbooking to beautiful books commemorating special events and family times.  But when I learned that the quality is the same as Heritage Makers (printed with the same process, actually, including the library binding in hardbound books), I decided it was time to get to know Snap2Finish.

Here's why:
  • Snap2Finish has some fun products not available in the Heritage Makers line.  Although Heritage Makers offers really cool things like making your own {playing card deck} and {car magnet} and {computer/messenger bag} and {cookbooks}, Snap2Finish offers puzzles and pillowcases and towels, which are kinda cool!
  • For someone looking for a really quick way to get their photos off their phone and into their hands and hearts, Snap2Finish is simple photo publishing and memory-keeping without anything complicated.  But the quality is so much better than your run-of-the-mill "free photobook" you find online sometimes.
  • Snap2Finish also offers photo prints in several sizes (including square ones) for traditional scrapbookers, too!
So although I had printed up several photos (just prints) for framing through Snap2Finish, I decided it was time to make a book!  As I mentioned, I *adore* Heritage Makers for ALL my digital publishing needs, from memory-keeping to magnet calendars and rockin' gifts, so I admit I went into Snap2Finish with a little bit of a bias.  

Truth be told, I was pleasantly surprised!  Making a photo book with Snap2Finish really was fun and easy!  It really comes together in a fast, uncomplicated way for a clean and simple look. 

And here's my finished book!  I love it.  The quality is definitely up-to-snuff and on par with Heritage Makers, which is a big deal to me.

The metal stitching in the library binding is the same as Heritage Makers.  (No glue that can crack over time!)  It's the best kind of binding available.  Heirloom quality is the name of the game for both Heritage Makers and Snap2Finish.

Snap2Finish has lots of fonts to choose from, and the page layouts are really simple.

Because it took a little trial and error (and asking my consultant) to learn where the buttons are and what everything does, I really wanted to make a tutorial video for you to help you get a fast start using Snap2Finish!  With just a few pointers, you can get your photos off your phone and bring them to life!

BONUS:  You can see how to use the auto-populate feature so you can just click a button and fill your book with pictures:  https://vimeo.com/283799561  (It's just a 4-minute video.)

So see what Snap2Finish can do for you!  To get started:
  1. Go to jenniferwise.snap2finish.com
  2. Click "register" at the upper right to open your free account.  IMPORTANT:  If you are a Heritage Makers user, you already have a YGY # assigned to you.  Ask me for it so you can enter it here--that way you can use Heritage Makers publishing points when you order anything from Snap2Finish. 
  3. Learn your way around the website and the program at the video.
  4. Let me know if you have questions.  That's the whole point of us being connected.  :)  My contact information is at the "contact me" tab at the top of this blog.
This is really a fun way to ENJOY your pictures...  in a snap!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Memories Connect Us - guest post by Carol Stewart

Today's post comes from Carol Stewart of Capture by Carol.  I was fortunate enough to "meet" Carol online a year or so ago.  We are definitely kindred spirits!  Carol has a passion for family stories and history.  She is the Family Historian in her family.  Carol is an advanced amateur photographer who loves to capture moments in the lives of her family and friends.  She has been using those captured moments (aka: pictures!) to create beautiful storybooks, home decor, etc., for over 20 years.  

In 2009, she discovered Heritage Makers and was in awe of its creative power.  In 2017, as she was approaching the prospect of an empty nest, she decided to take the next step and become a Heritage Makers Independent Consultant.  She has over 9 years of experience using Heritage Makers.  Her two most favorite creations are both storybooks:  a 60+ page storybook of her parents' history she made for their 50th anniversary and a 90+ page storybook she made for her children's high school theatre director upon her retirement.  Carol has experience in most of the products that Heritage Makers offers and can create anything for you!  Contact her through her website (link at the bottom of this post.)   

I love Carol's perspective on memories here.  They really are what make up our humanity, and we really do need help making them last.  Read and be inspired!

We are not who we are simply because we think. We are who we are because we can remember what we have thought about. ~Larry R. Squire & Eric R. Kandel from “Memory, From Mind to Molecules.”

Memories are what connect us.  Have you ever thought about that?.  What if you didn’t have a memory of the people you loved?  What if the people who love you didn't remember you?  A relationship cannot be sustained without memory.  Think about the movie Groundhog Day, where Phil Connors re-lives the same day over and over again.  Phil remembers every re-lived day, but everyone else he knows lives that same day for the very first time, every time! He's very lonely, and he has to start his relationships all over without any foundation beyond the past 24 hours.

In a relationship between two people, both of them need to have memory to grow the relationship.  A solid relationship foundation is built on memories.  Memory diseases like Alzheimer’s are so devastating because one person loses the ability to retain memories of their relationship with the other person.  I have experienced the effects of this awful disease in my own life and it is truly devastating for all parties involved.  

 “Every thought we have, every word we speak, every action we engage in- indeed, our very sense of self and our sense of connectedness to otherswe owe to our memory, to the ability of our brains to record and store our experiences.  Memory is the glue that binds our mental life, the scaffolding that holds our personal history and that makes it possible to grow and change throughout life. When memory is lost, as in Alzheimer’s disease, we lose the ability to re-create our past, and as a result, we lose our connection with ourselves and with others.”  ~Larry R. Squire & Eric R. Kandel from “Memory, From Mind to Molecules.”
Relationship and community are why we exist in the first place!  God created us for relationships and community, and through our relationships with Him and others, we glorify Him.  Imagine how hard it would be to fulfill our purpose without memories.  Memories connect us to each other.

We even set aside holidays for remembering!  Memorial Day, Veterans Day, Christmas, and Easter are all days set aside specifically for remembering. 

Memories connect us by helping us to understand who we are.  It's important to understand your place in history in the context of your family and your ancestors.  Understanding your context brings clarity to who you are and where you came from.  In 10th grade, I did a project on my family genealogy.  I was assigned to do a family tree, so my grandma gave me a lot of her family records.  Of course, I still have them to this day!  I created a huge poster board, and when I brought it to class I was the only one with a huge poster board.  Everyone else had one 8.5x11 sheet of paper.  I stuck out.   (What 10th grader wants to stick out?  J ) Needless to say, my teacher talked about my project that entire school year because he was so impressed with how much work I did. (Truth be told, I did all that work because I thought that was the assignment!) From that project, I gained a love for family history and genealogy.

When my mom's cousin learned about that project, she sent me a huge genealogy record of our family. She gave me panels and panels of 8 ½ by 11 sheets of paper taped together to make up a poster bigger than a queen size sheet. Through this project I learned many stories about my ancestors; who they were, the struggles they overcame, what their temperament was, etc.  It helped me understand where I came from and who I was, and it gave me a great sense of belonging and family pride. This documentation of my family history brought me closer to those that had come before me, even those I had never met in person.  It gave me a sense of security. That's what memories do to connect us.  (I’m currently in the process of documenting all those memories and will eventually put together a Heritage Makers storybook and include some old photos my aunt found).

Here is another blog post I wrote on the importance of remembering the past: www.capturebycarol.com/blog/5-remind-remember/

Memories connect us by deepening the existing bonds.  That 10th grade genealogy project inspired me many years later as my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary was approaching.  I created a Heritage Makers legacy storybook for my parents.  It took me a year to gather all the stories and photos (I had to scan most of them as they were film photos) but it was the most rewarding storybook I have created to date. This storybook captured the story of their lives together.  My parents loved it.  Watching my parents read that storybook together and bond as they re-lived all their memories together was priceless to me! My parents read that book over and over again.  That Christmas, I gave that storybook to each of my siblings, which they cherish.  That’s one of the things I love about making a storybook in Heritage Makers:  you can easily order multiple copies.  Rather than making multiple copies like you would with a paper scrapbook, you simply push the “add to cart" button! Easy Peasy!

When my mother passed away in January 2018, we had a table at her memorial with pictures displayed, a slide show running on a loop, and the 50th wedding anniversary storybook.  When people walked over to the table the first thing they did was to pick up that storybook and read through it.  The slide show was nice, but the storybook was something special--it was tangible and could be picked up and read at one's own pace. Another reason the storybook was such a draw is that it contained the history and the memories in the form of written words that went along with the photos, not just pictures only.  The most compliments I received from the display were about the storybook.  People loved looking through that beautiful Heritage Makers storybook.

We just completed our production of "She Loves Me!" at my daughter’s school.  I had several duties, including document the production through photos.  I took photos at all the dress rehearsals.  I printed 120 photos for display on opening night, and I had a slideshow, too.  People enjoyed the slideshow, but those printed pictures received the most attention, especially among the teenagers in the cast.  They just don’t see printed pictures like we did growing up!  They all wanted printed copies of the pictures because they wanted to hang them up in their rooms to remember this special bonding event they had all participated in together.  (I assured them that they would be getting a link to all my pictures but they still competed for those printed versions!)  From this experience, I'm even more convinced that printed versions of our memories are more treasured and enjoyed then digital versions.

Memories connect us by rekindling old bonds.  I have lots of cousins on both sides of my family, and when I was younger they were my best friends. They were like my siblings.  We have lots of pictures from family trips and other events. Growing up I took that for granted, thinking everyone had this experience.  There was a time that we were all inseparable but as we grew up and started having children of our own, life got busy and the gatherings were less and less.

Then my aunt died. We all gathered at her funeral saw pictures displayed along with a slideshow of many family gatherings.  Seeing those photos again reconnected us and reminded us of our history together.  It brought us all closer and we made a commitment to keep in touch. We saw our memories in the form of photos and rekindled our bond.  

Two years later, another aunt died. Then her husband, my dad’s brother, died a month and a half later. A week and a half after my uncle’s passing, my mom passed away. It was a tragic season of loss.   What did we, my cousins and I, all do?   We went through picture after picture after picture and gathered them all up and displayed them at each of the funeral services in the form of slideshows and framed photos and even some Heritage Makers storybooks.  

Why did we do that? The funeral services honored our loved ones’ lives, and those photos represented their beautiful lives.  The photos also represented our memories, our history with our loved ones and each other.  It both connected us and honored our loved ones.  Those pictures represented the deep bonds our loved ones had cultivated which we continue to enjoy today. If you think about it, those are the bonds that contribute to our health and wellbeing and keep us mentally healthy. 

I am so very thankful that my mom and my aunts knew the importance of maintaining a photographic history.  My mom and my aunts were good at keeping family albums and even writing on or near the photos.  Because they were so careful to record our photographic history, we have a legacy to pass on to the generations that follow us.  

If you don’t have this kind of history recorded in your own family I highly encourage you to start today.  Future generations will be impacted by it and will be thankful for your efforts.  Let Heritage Makers help you create a lasting legacy.  Start with your free Heritage Makers account today at www.heritagemakers.com/carolstewart.

Sometimes our memories are not accurate  Are there photos you don't like or might not have understood the importance of when they were first taken?  A change in perspectives can alter the recall experience of a photo, so going through old photos every few years can be helpful to your health and well-being. Let me give you an example.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, someone took a picture of me with my siblings, friends and cousins in our backyard.  We had just gotten out of the pool.  My mom developed the picture and put it into our family album.  I remember the bad feeling I had:  “oh my goodness I'm so fat.” But I look back on that picture now and realize that my initial reaction was ridiculous!  I wasn't fat! I was just right. When I look at that picture now, my focus is not on my body image but on the relationships in that picture.  I see a beautiful day with my beloved friends and family!  The passage of time almost makes it feel like I am seeing those pictures for the first time, from a different perspective. The photo jogs my memory back to a more accurate perspective and an accurate memory.  Reflecting on those photos and the memories that go with them deepens my bond with my family and friends.  A photo I once hated looking at is now one of my most favorites!  (I try to remind my children of this concept when they give me grief over some of the pictures I take of them today!)

Memories Connect Us:  Memories connect us by helping us to understand who we are, by deepening our bonds with others and by rekindling old bonds. Heritage Makers can help you stay connected to those memories with a beautiful storybook.  Start your connection today at www.heritagemakers.com/carolstewart.

How to protect those memories that connect us:

Record your memories in a Heritage Makers Storybook:  Photos and the memories that go with those photos help facilitate retaining those memories and as a result, those relationships are deepened and grow.  Photos and the memories that go with those photos help keep an accurate picture of our history.  Memory isn’t always reliable so it’s important to record the memories as soon as possible for a more accurate history.

Once you have recorded your memories and created a beautiful Heritage Makers storybook, order one for yourself and give away multiple copies as gifts!  The boost in self-esteem you will have generated in the person who receives your lovely gift will be well worth the reasonable cost!

Two + ways to store your memories:  The beauty of publishing a storybook in Heritage Makers is that your photos are stored in your account and in your storybook which means that you have a backup copy online in your account and a beautiful hard copy in your hands.  Win-win!  And, if you want a third way, Heritage Makers offers a high quality Photosafe Archival Disc to store all your photos.  It is a disc that will last over 100 years (compared to a normal disc which will only last about 5 years).

Heritage Makers Heirloom Assurance Program: Although the slideshows and digital display of photos are nice, they aren’t as fulfilling as a hard copy storybook in your hands!  Hard copies of your family history are important for your health and well-being.  Being able to pick up a hard copy of your family history is so rewarding and brings a sense of security and stability.  It also guarantees your history will be passed on to generations to come. Not only can you order multiple copies of your storybook but Heritage Makers also has the Heirloom Assurance program.  If any damage happens to your Heritage Makers storybook just order another one at half price!

Some of the advantages of using Heritage Makers to publish your storybooks and other products:

Quality:  Heritage Makers is unsurpassed in quality.  From the quality of their products to the quality of their image processing, you will not find another company that even comes close to Heritage Makers quality.  My memories deserve the best and Heritage Makers fits the bill!

Art Selection & Templates:   Heritage Makers is 100% customizable.  You can create your own products from scratch or start with a template.  There are 1,000’s of artwork and templates to choose from.

Studio online all the time:  Heritage Makers is 100% on the go!  No software to download.  Everything is created online in Studio.  No risk of losing your work due to your computer crashing.  Work from anywhere you have a computer and internet.
Learn More:  www.capturebycarol.com or start creating today by opening your free account:  www.heritagemakers.com/carolstewart

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fantastic #friyay

It's the first Friday of the month again, so it's time for another fantastic #friyay post!  This post comes to us from a friend I made because she's family!  Janna has been making {family yearbooks} with Heritage Makers for about 8 years now.  She makes a lot of other great things with Heritage Makers (like her daughter's high school graduation announcements--they were SO beautiful), but her main draw to Heritage Makers was the family yearbook. I remember her telling me after her fourth child was born that she would hold the sleeping baby while sitting at the computer--she worked on her family yearbook during baby naps!  Let's see why Janna loves using Heritage Makers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How to Order Photo Prints from your Phone

If you are a traditional scrapbooker or if you use simple photo albums, there's a quick new way to order prints straight from your iPhone!

It's called Snap2Finish.  It's a new line from Heritage Makers' parent company.  Opening a Snap2Finish account is, well, a snap.

At www.snap2finish.com click "register." 

This 3-minute video shows you how to order prints straight from your phone!

And if you are a paper-lover and enjoy hands-on memory-keeping BUT ARE SHORT ON TIME, I suggest the Pocket Pages and the Scrapbooking Kits from our Anthology DIY line.

You can see all the products at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY."  Pocket Pages have page protectors with picture-size pockets, so creating a page of preserved photos is a cinch!  Scrapbooking Kits are 12x12 layouts that have the look of traditional scrapbooking, but everything is already measured, cut, and coordinating, so you just assemble and add your photos and journaling.

Printing photos is the most important way to preserve them.  PRINT is how photos get seen and loved!  So whether you print photos physically and scrapbook them, or you print them in digital photo albums or storybooks, you are truly PRESERVING them!