Thursday, January 31, 2019

How to Hygge with Photos and Memories

Hygge is one of the best ways I've found to beat the winter blues!  I discovered it about a year ago, and although it is a tradition that's hundreds if not thousands of years old, it is increasing in popularity--and it's no surprise!  If you need a little more comfort and coziness in your life, you need hygge.


Hygge is pronounced "hue-guh."  It's a Danish (and Scandinavian) concept that embraces a general attitude of comfort and coziness.  It's a focus on warming your soul.  Imagine candles and crackling fires and hot cocoa and fuzzy slippers, and you've got the feeling of hygge.  Hygge also includes relaxing time with family and friends which fills both the home and heart with comfort and warmth.  You can read more about hygge at my article {Beating the Winter Blues with Hygge}, including how I use hygge to temper seasonal depression.  I love hygge! 

There are a lot of ways to hygge.  Reading a good book, baking, and creativity are hygge.  In fact, Christmas lights are hygge.  Last summer I read an excellent article from Hello Hygge, a blog dedicated to all things hygge, about how photos are hygge.  I had never thought of that specifically, but it's exactly what I always say!  Photos, in my opinion, are the essence of hygge--warm, cozy, comforting.  There's a lot to be said for letting something that made you happy once make you happy again.  In the article, {Capturing Everyday Hygge}, the author basically defended photos, saying that we often minimize pictures of food or selfies as trivial.  But her conclusion is the same as mine:  if it makes you smile now, why not capture it so you can look back on it and smile later, too?  Hygge is personal--it's what makes YOU feel comfortable and happy and peaceful.


Henry David Thoreau once said, "It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see."  So if pictures of sunsets or flowers do that for you, take them.  Your photos are valuable to you because of what you see there.

The whole magic of photos is that you can capture something that makes you feel good so you can look back at it and experience the power of reminiscing.  (For some fascinating perspective on reminiscing, read here about {reminiscence therapy} or here about the history of the word {nostalgia}--a word that was actually first coined as a medical term in the 1600s!)


I really don't know of anyone who couldn't benefit from a little more hygge.  It's a very relaxed, mindful, comfortable, low-stress, warm, connected approach to life.

So let's talk about how to hygge with photos and memories!  With a focus on warmth and coziness and comfort as you hygge, photos and memories are the perfect place to start.  I think photos/memories and hygge are the perfect combination for three reasons:
  1. Photos really do make you happy.  Studies show that {looking back on happy memories actually increases your happiness in the present}.  
  2. If you suffer from Photo Guilt (it's like Mom Guilt but more widely experienced) because you have lots of photos just sitting on your phone or computer, this is the perfect solution!  Hygge with photos and memories allows you all those cozy hygge feelings we've been talking about while at the same time you're actually checking something off your to-do list.  Both make you feel better!
  3. All the steps of preserving your memories and photos are hygge--quiet time set aside for self-care, looking through mementos of your life's experience (pictures), remembering, connecting, putting words to your experiences (memories), creating something from your photos and memories, and giving yourself (and/or your kids) something tangible and uplifting to look back on when you need a boost.  We all {NEED the process of preserving our photos and memories}--it's therapeutic!  In fact, {photos have been shown in studies to increase both happiness and relaxation}!
In fact, memories and creativity are even important to personal growth!  Like reading, meditating, and exercising are good for the soul, so are memories and creativity.  They're all hygge.  If you're not sure you're creative, YOU MUST READ {The Importance of Creativity to Personal Growth}.  It will give a you a better understanding of what creativity is, how much your soul needs it, and how you ARE creative.  It will make you feel good about yourself right now!  If you're not sure how memories (looking back) has anything to do with hygge, YOU MUST READ {The Importance of Memories to Personal Growth}--the resources and insights there blew my mind.  


Now that you know why hygge is so good for you and why photos and memories are so good for you, too, let's get to the real business of using photos and memories for hygge.

THREE STEPS TO HYGGE WITH YOUR PHOTOS AND MEMORIES
  1. The very first step to being able to use your photos and memories to bring you happiness and warmth and comfort is to sort your pictures.  This serves two purposes.  First, digital photos are usually cluttered and/or disorganized, with pictures of your finger and nine pictures of essentially the same thing scattered throughout.  Sorting through photos then deleting garbage pictures and duplicates make your pictures manageable.  Check out my {video tutorials for organizing digital photos here} if you need some help.  Second, too many pictures makes them overwhelming and actually makes them not very enjoyable.  Choose your favorites to upload to your computer for step 3.  (Short video tutorial on getting your pictures off your phone and onto your computer {here} if you need it.)
  2. Set aside time.  Hygge is unhurried.  It's a peaceful focus on warmth and comfort.  If you need some tips on making time, I've been collecting them for you for quite a while!  Check out all the information at my {"don't have time?"} link.  There are many resources there, including fantastic ideas from experts as well as some new perspectives about time you may not have thought about before.  And don't miss the information about {"our community" (my online events)} which are hygge in several ways--they involve photos and memories and friends.
  3. Now make something meaningful with your photos.  Creating something from your photos is hygge--good for your heart and soul.  Writing down your memories and what makes those photos fun or special or wonderful is also hygge--good for your heart and soul.  My go-to suggestion is to make a yearbook of all the photos from one year, and the video tutorial below walks you through that step by step with heirloom-quality books.  But there are lots of ways to preserve your photos and memories, from high-quality softbound books and wirebound cookbooks to wall canvases and digital scrap pages.  Check out {all the top-quality methods I recommend} right there at that link--including a more creative digital scrapbooking option than is shown in the fast & easy video below.  Find something you will enjoy!

In Denmark, hygge is mostly a winter tradition that starts in the late fall when days get shorter and colder, but as its popularity increases, people are seeing reasons to hygge in fall and spring.  I believe it's because our world is a little crazier now than it used to be.  With so many things clamoring for our attention and so much loudness and so many things we feel like we have to do, our desire for peace and quiet and comfort and self-care and warmth is continually on the increase.  Regular time spent with your photos and your memories is the best way I know of to carry that hygge softness with you all year long.

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Thursday, January 17, 2019

One-of-a-Kind Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

For an updated post with creative and unique Valentine's Day gift ideas, please visit Six Creative Valentine Ideas.

If you're like most Valentine-givers, you are giving a gift or a card to someone special for a reason.  You want to show love and appreciation.  With a little planning, this year you can give your someone special an impressive and truly personal gift or card.  Ready to see FIVE one-of-a-kind Valentine's Day gift ideas?  Let's go!


Thanks for stopping by.  We have a 2023 UPDATE before you read on:  Heritage Makers and Snap2Finish became YPhoto under Youngevity (which purchased Heritage Makers in 2013).  YPhoto uses only templates, so the creativity showcased here is no longer available there, and they also no longer have capability to print previously-created projects like these from the old system. YPhoto is not a photo storage site like Heritage Makers was. 

Best-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 for:  

·        creative digital scrapbooking applicable in a variety of photo products using Artisan software

·        easy photo-memory books using templates in the free AutoPrint and Design & Print software programs

·        private, permanent, secure, and guaranteed photo and video cloud storage (triple-backed-up and bank encrypted)

·        white glove digitizing services for old memories like VHS tapes, slides, old scrapbooks (scanning), 8mm film, audio tapes, and much more

Learn more here to  find similar products at top-quality with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Please also note that the Card Kits and Exchange Blocks (idea 4 below) were from Heritage Makers' sister line, Anthology, which is no longer in existence.

___________________________________________________

The first three ideas I'll show you are all created online (with templates available) using Heritage Makers.  It is so versatile and so personal.  

The last two ideas are things you just order without creating digitally.  They're from Anthology DIY, and they're really clever and fun!

So let's see these five fantastic ideas already!

REASONS I LOVE YOU BOOK


I think "reasons I love you" gifts are some of the best kind you can give!  

A written note listing reasons you love your special one would be wonderful, but imagine opening your own book with those reasons, complete with your own photos!  There's nothing like it!!

PERSONAL GREETING CARD


I really think one of my favorite things about this type of truly personal card is that it's the same price as one from Hallmark or Walmart!  Actually, a little cheaper!  And you can put your own picture, your own message, your own sentiment on it.  Isn't that amazing?

LOVE COUPON CARDS (OR PLAYING CARD DECK)


How cool is this?!  It's a little hard to tell from just this picture, but this is the back of a playing card deck that's been made into Love Coupons!  On the front side, there are sweet little coupons like "30 minute massage" and "candlelight dinner at home for the two of us."  

I LOVE how personal this gift is!

The playing cards don't have to be Love Coupons, either.  If you want just a regular deck of playing cards with a picture on the back, you can do that, too!  

And you can make them for friends instead of a sweetheart, if you prefer, like this:

Remember I said there were a couple of non-digital items that are great one-of-a-kind Valentine's Day gift ideas?  These are kits that are almost done for you and make really fun gifts.  Here they are: 

VALENTINE MAKE & SHAKE CARD KIT

I have made cards from Anthology DIY card kits before, but not these shaker ones.  I absolutely adore the Anthology kits in general because it's like crafty card making without nearly so much time.  I get to be creative, but I don't have to cut or measure anything.

A COZY, PERSONALIZED PHOTO BLANKET

(Updated 2023)  This blanket (don't you love the gorgeous colors?!) is obviously with photos from a trip to Ireland, but you could personalize a blanket in any number of ways.  I love the plush style, but sherpa is available as well.  Use Design & Print to choose a (free) professionally-designed blanket template, and you'll be done in no time!  


Note: There are many awesome blanket templates in Design & Print
Forever's free software, but I created this using Artisan, Forever's 
digital scrapbooking software
 so I could use my own font for Ireland.
 

This is the preview of my blanket before printing.





The blocks themselves are a separate kit from the sticky-backed canvas pieces shown above.  I personally consider the block set (with the paint, etc.) optional, but it's certainly easier than cutting your own blocks.  

How's that for five adorable, unique, personal, and creative Valentine's Day gift ideas that will make your recipients feel like they're one-of-a-kind?!  

Save for next year, too!  Pin to Pinterest.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

What Memory-Keeping Has to do with Personal Growth

Are you a resolution maker?  Or are you a proponent of having a word for the year to focus on?  I'm definitely the latter.  In fact, my word for this past year was "prioritize," and I have changed up quite a few aspects of my Heritage Makers business.  I prefer small do-able changes over a giant proclamation at the beginning of the year (when, frankly, it's cold and dark and I just want to sip hot chocolate all day) about big changes I want to make.

Of all the goals or words for the year that may be crossing your mind, I'm guessing they have something to do with personal growth.  Whether it's taking the stairs instead of the elevator or increasing your random acts of kindness, most things we strive for are related in one way or another to personal growth and self-improvement.  We often want to do a little better at something.


In my years and years as a memory-keeper, and now sharing it as a business since 2005, I have discovered four truths about personal growth in relation to memory-keeping.  While we think about our goals and growth for the coming year, I'd like to offer these four truths for you to consider in coming days, weeks, and months.  The blog posts I'm sharing with each truth go into much more detail, so you'll definitely want to read each one!

Here are four truths I've learned about personal growth through memory-keeping.
  1. Making time to sit, feel, remember, and engage with your photos and your stories gives you peace, gratitude, and happiness in a way nothing else can.  Putting your photos and stories in something tangible gives credence to them is actually therapeutic.  Read more--including statistics and studies about the benefits of memory-keeping as well as advice on HOW to be a memory-keeper--at {Personal Growth through Memory-Keeping}.   
  2. Hobbies are not for people with too much time on their hands; they are for people who want to expand their minds and use or find their talents.  Hobbies challenge your brain, give a needed break from stress, and increase positivity while lowering depression.  (As you might guess, preserving my photos and memories is my favorite hobby because it combines the therapeutic benefits I mentioned in #1 with these benefits of a hobby.)  Read more on {The Importance of Hobbies to Personal Growth}.
  3. EVERYONE IS CREATIVE, and everyone needs to use their own creativity for personal growth, happiness, and satisfaction!  An understanding of what creativity actually is frees you to create.  If you want your heart to feel good right now, read the inspiring words at {The Importance of Creativity to Personal Growth}.  You'll come away knowing much more about yourself.
  4. Memories are important to personal growth!  At first glance, it seems strange--how can memories (looking back) mean so much to growth (going forward)?  Our memory, in fact, is wholly responsible for our connection to other people!  Memory is also what makes it possible for us to grow and change.  I had never thought of that.  I learned so much from the expertise in {The Importance of Memories to Personal Growth}.

So what DOES memory-keeping have to do with personal growth?  Actually , preserving your photos and memories by taking the time to engage with them and remember has EVERYTHING to do with personal growth!

And it would be the perfect goal for the coming year because {it's good for you and good for your family} at the same time!  

{Get started right now!}  There is (quite literally!) no time like the present!  This is gonna be SO good for you!

We all need these therapeutic benefits--so Pin and share!

Happy New Year!  See you there.

2023 UPDATE about references to Heritage Makers:  Heritage Makers and Snap2Finish became YPhoto under Youngevity (which purchased Heritage Makers in 2013).  YPhoto uses only templates, so the creativity showcased in previous blog posts is no longer available there, and they also no longer have capability to print previously-created projects like these from the old system. YPhoto is not a photo storage site like Heritage Makers was. 

Best-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 for:  

·        creative digital scrapbooking applicable in a variety of photo products using Artisan software

·        easy photo-memory books using free AutoPrint and Design & Print software programs

·        private, permanent, secure, and guaranteed photo and video cloud storage (triple-backed-up and bank encrypted)

·        white glove digitizing services for old memories like VHS tapes, slides, old scrapbooks (scanning), 8mm film, audio tapes, and much more

Learn more here to  find similar products at top-quality with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Follow Photo & Story Treasures on social media here: