Scrappy Saturday: Free Stuff!

Free Googley Eye Download from Creative Memories

Need I say more? For those into digital scrapbooking, Creative Memories offers a plethora of free doo-dads you can add to your pages and other digital projects. Be sure to click on the images in each post on their Digital Freebies page to bring up the high-res versions before you download them.

But, wait! There’s more. (Said in my hokeyest TV announcer voice). You can try their digital scrapbooking software for free too! Try it before you buy it. Download the free software here.

Already hooked on digitial? Then I highly recommend investing in Storybook Creator Plus 3.0 — it’s got lots of new features that make the original version that much easier to use and offers a lot more capability. Purchase it to download direct to your PC here.

As always, if you have questions about any of CM’s products, contact me!

52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy, Challenge #3

I’m a wee bit late for WeTree’s Week 3 challenge: “Assess yourself! You’re great at researching everyone else’s history, but how much of your own have you recorded? Do an assessment of your personal records and timeline events to ensure your own life is as well-documented as that of your ancestors. If you have a genealogy blog, write about the status of your own research and steps you may take to fill gaps and document your own life.”

I jumped into my family’s genealogy about 5 years ago, whilst assembling a scrapbook about my father’s life. But I really do need to do a better job of organizing my personal documents, photos and other stuff.

The good news is that there is plenty of stuff to organize. One of the saddest things that a genealogist faces is a lack of artifacts and sources to work with. Not so with my life! I was quite the packrat in my childhood. Sure, I’ve purged a lot over the past decade or so, but there’s still plenty left to document my life thus far.

I’m slowly starting to take apart the old magnetic and other albums that store my childhood photos. These I’m organizing into photo-safe scrapbooks from Creative Memories. Some will be traditional scrapbooks and some will be digital (using scans of photos). Others are more like traditional photo albums (you slip the photos into individual sleeves rather than laying them out on 12×12 or 8×8 pages). This latter option can be put together much faster, but journaling boxes and other scrapbooking materials can also be incorporated to tell stories and add fun touches to the photo pages.

I still have items like my childhood medical records, my elementary school ephemera, my high school and college newspaper clippings and more. These will have to be stored carefully as many of the items are very fragile. Luckily, Creative Memories has many options to help me with this endeavor as well.

This organization and preservation process doesn’t happen overnight, but the results will be well-worth it years from now when my personal history is still in good shape. Some might see this type of project as a chore, but I enjoy stirring up old memories as I go through old photo albums and create new ones.

Still not convinced you want to take on a project like preserving your own history? Then I’m here to help you. Drop me a line!

Scrappy Saturday: Traditional Scrapbooking Ideas

CM Traditional Challenge #1 Example

Last week, I posted about getting into digital scrapbooking via Creative Memories’ digital challenges. For those who hold physical trimmers and paper near and dear, there are also plenty of options.

CM’s Project Center has a section devoted to traditional scrapbooking, including a Project Idea of the Day. The projects include traditional scrapbook pages and other ways to use CM’s materials.

CM has also started a challenge series for traditional scrapbooking. Challenge #1 was posted on Facebook just this week.

As always, please contact me if you have questions about CM products!

Scrappy Saturday: Go Digital with CM’s Digi Challenges

I’m going to try a new blogging theme–Scrappy Saturday–to let you all know what’s out there for those interested in either digital or traditional scrapbooking. This week, my focus is getting into digital scrapbooking by participating in various online challenges being run by Creative Memories.

What you’ll need:

* try it before you buy it by downloading a free version first!

You can find out about ongoing Digi Challenges by following the CM team on Facebook. Check out their Events tab for the current challenges.

I’m participating in the 365 Project: I take at least one photo everyday and then create a one- or two-page spread at the end of the week. At the end of the year, I’ll have all of the highlights of 2010 ready to publish as a Storybook.

If that sounds daunting, there are plent of mini challenges you can participate in to get the feel for digital scrapbooking. These challenges are a great way to get to know the software and the different capabilities that are there for designing your own pages and using existing designs.

My response to Digi Challenge #9

I recently completed Digi Challenge #9. A layout was provided and all I needed was to select two of my photos to include. I got to pick 4 different papers and 3 embellishments to complement the photos. Then, I needed to fill in one journaling box and I was done. It’s fun to see how others responded to the challenge as well.

If you’ve been thinking about trying digital scrapbooking, but don’t know where to start, try out one of these challenges and see where it takes you. Digital scrapbooking is fast and easy. You can more easily share the results of your digital creations with far-flung friends and relatives than you can with a traditional scrapbook.

One extra benefit to using CM’s digital scrapbooking software is that you create archived versions of your photos and designs with their system almost without having to think about it. By regularly backing up your CM files, you’ll ensure your memories are safe for years to come.

If you have questions about CM’s digital scrapbooking products, please drop me a note!

Christmas Cards

This is post #4 in the GeneaBloggers Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories.

Today’s Advent Calendar prompt asks: “Did your family send cards? Did your family display the ones they received? Do you still send Christmas cards? Do you have any cards from your ancestors?”

I don’t really remember my mom sending out a bunch of Christmas cards every single year. I started doing this myself after college — I found it was a nice way to stay in touch with folks after moving away from my home state.

I went through some childhood mementos to see if I could find any Christmas cards that I received as a child. Instead, I found the gem below, which my mom helpfully labeled “Melissa’s Christmas Card to Santa 1980″ (I was 4).

Xmas Card to Santa 1980

I remember those stickers vividly — actually they were stamps and had to be licked to make them adhere to the paper. Mom used to stick them on gift tags she attached to Christmas presents. I distinctly remember licking those stamps while sitting at a tiny white table I had in my playroom in the basement of the house we lived in at that time. Perhaps I’m remembering making this exact card? I can only assume that the letters at the top were my attempt to sign my name…

From a genealogical perspective, this card has more than sentimental value. You may be able to tell from the scan that there’s also a drawing (actually, a watercolor painting, also by moi) on the reverse side. Turns out, the picture on the back and this card were made using a piece of my dad’s medical office stationary* and his office address is printed on the reverse.

After many years of buying Christmas cards that only required me to include a quick note and to sign my name, I’m making my own cards again this year. I’d like to think my technique has improved a bit — I’m still using plenty of stickers though! See below for some examples. The materials came from this year’s featured project by Creative Memories.

Handmade Xmas Cards 2009

*My parents embraced recycling early — in addition to stray pieces of stationary, my dad would bring home reams and reams of discarded EKG printouts from the medical offices where he worked. Many a drawing was done on the back of these printouts — my sister and I were still using them for scratch paper years after he retired.

Photos and Lessons Learned from my First All-Day Crop

100_3818smOn Oct. 3, I attended my first 11-hour crop, Celebrate Northern Virginia, at the Fredericksburg Expo Center. What an awesome and fun experience! There were more than 900 scrappers – all Creative Memories consultants and their customers. I completed dozens of album pages over those 11 hours, attended classes, tried out new products and got tons of new page design ideas. I’m sharing a few of them here. Check out all of my photos from the day on flickr.com.

100_3819smHere is my four feet of table space at the crop. I worked on a 12×12 album about beach vacations my family has taken over the years and then I began work on an 8×8 Christmas album. I used the Power Layouts system before the crop to organize my pages and photos so I could quickly assemble the pages at the event.

100_3795smThere were hundreds of album page layout ideas on display for us to photograph. Here is a creative one that made use of Creative Memories’ puzzle-piece shape maker. The pieces are laid out on one of the Discover papers.

100_3796smI think this might have been my favorite layout idea. This page is gorgeous and uses Jewel Heritage paper and journaling boxes. This paper is available while supplies last…

100_3799smI am including this one because the little frog in the middle is the cutest!

100_3813smOne of my upcoming projects will be an album about my elementary school days and I really liked this layout idea for that kind of album. This uses Graduation Perfect Fit paper (also available while supplies last on my site).

100_3826smThere were make-and-takes stations at this crop where you could try out the different shape makers and other products. I tried out the new Stardust Maker and Precision Point Adhesive when I made this little Christmas tree.

100_3827smOne of the classes I attended was about taking advantage of small scraps of paper to make embellishments like this flower.


100_3824sm

Lessons learned:

  • Sort your photos ahead of time.
  • Take a pillow to sit on!
  • Attend the classes (my friend Sandra, above, taught one on using wallet-sized and other small photos in your layouts).
  • Walk around. Take pictures of layout ideas. This helped to break up the day and moving around kept me from feeling too stiff.

The same site has already been reserved for another crop on October 2 October 16, 2010 (new date!)I plan to attendlet me know if you want to join me!

Sunday ScanFest — Why It’s Important

Today, I took part in my first ScanFest, a monthly online event hosted by Miriam Midkiff of AnceStories. A bunch of us chatted as we scanned in family photos or other items to be preserved electronically for the future. It was a lot of fun — very helpful to have the distraction of friends to chat with while performing what can otherwise be a monotonous task.

Events like this are extremely important. I know how vital it is for me to make copies of my family photographs, but I always put it off. Today, I was able to scan all of the photos and some other documents that I had previously put into a scrapbook about my dad. Some of the items date back to the 1800s. There are others in my family who have copies of some of these photos, but not necessarily all.

In a way, it was even more important for me to scan more recent photos (from the 1970s and 1980s) because these are the only copies I’m aware of — the negatives have long since been lost or forgotten.

Beyond just scanning my images and documents onto my computer, I took the extra step of saving them in a vault I’ve created in Memory Manager 3.0 software by Creative Memories. This program helps you organize your photos, journal your photos digitally and then print them online or at home. The software works with Creative Memories Storybook Creator, where you can create digital scrapbooks to share online or prepare professional-quality printed copies through the CM Photo Center. It also provides a means to store video and audio files. Memory Manager even has photo editing capabilities like re-sizing, red-eye reduction, color correction, etc.

The vaults can be backed up by saving them to CD or external hard drive. The software helps you to create shadow copies for extra security.

If you are scanning your photos, that is a good first step, but please make sure you are making back-up copies, no matter what your system. If you are not yet using a back-up system, please consider Creative Memories’ Memory Manager software. It provide so much more functionality than just a folder on your hard drive.

If you have any questions about Memory Manager, etc., please feel free to contact me!