Monthly Archives: March 2011

Photo preservation 101

Photo albumsA few summers ago I decided to attempt a daunting task: to organize my family’s photos.

Although most of the printed photos we had at that point are now stored away and arranged in a closet at home, it wasn’t easy to sort through many memories from my childhood and moments before my time.

My parents had kept photo prints in envelopes from photo centers, some with accompanying negatives and others without. Some photos were still trapped inside sticky photo album pages and faded in color. Some photos were dated and/or labeled, but it seemed most were not.

I’m sharing this experience because I’d like to emphasize the importance of preserving photos. Sorting through hundreds of photos can leave many questions unanswered. Whose baby is in that photo? Where were these photos taken? And were those people there?

Preserving your printed photos

Do you want to remember your past forever? If so, check out these photo preservation tips:


  • Use photo boxes to store loose photos. You can find these at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores or Hobby Lobby. Index cards make great dividers or tabs to categorize the photos by event or year.Photo storage boxes
  • Store your photos in albums with plastic sleeves, similar to page protectors in a binder. The plastic should prevent photos from aging quickly. Avoid albums with sticky paper that keeps photos in place. The glue can damage the photos and make it difficult to remove them from the album.
  • Buy photo albums in bulk, especially if they are on sale. If you keep photos in similarly shaped and sized albums, it’s easier to store them in whatever limited space you may have.


  • Avoid storing photos in direct sunlight and under artificial indoor lighting. Bright conditions cause photos to fade.
  • Keep photos in a cool, dry location in your home. Heat and moisture may speed up the aging process of your photos.


  • Most importantly, remember to write the date or year each photo was taken on the back of the photograph, on photo box dividers or inside photo albums.
  • Use the five W’s (who, what, where, when and why) to tell the stories behind your photos.
  • Always use archival pens or acid-free writing utensils to label photos.

Memory card for photo storagePreserving your digital photos

Technology can go wrong; it’s a fact. And unfortunately, I neglected backing up my files when I got my laptop three years ago. I didn’t have my laptop for a year before it decided to completely re-start itself and I lost everything, including some photos. This wasn’t a fun experience, so I have some advice for others who store photos on their computers:


  • Invest in an external hard drive. Back up all your files regularly and store the device in a safe place.
  • Keep track of the photos you have uploaded from your memory cards to your computer. Don’t delete photos from your camera until you have confirmed they are backed up.


  • Store photo files in folders labeled by month and year, then by date or event. This system works best for me, but you may find it’s easier to use other means of organization.
  • Delete bad photos as you upload them. Poor quality photos waste space on your computer and external hard drive.
  • Make digital copies of original photos if you decide to edit them with Photoshop, Picnik, etc.

So how do you organize your photos? What works best for you?



Filed under Photos, Scrapbooking

The thing about going green.

Going green; spring grassIn the world of scrapbooking, it actually is easy being green.

Think about all the everyday items you can incorporate into your layouts. Cut out a newspaper clipping about the big game you attended last night. Save ticket stubs from movie outings with your friends. Use extra buttons from new clothing to add some flair to handmade cards.

Not only do these items support recycling, but they also save you from spending money on other supplies. You probably can’t find cute, colorful brads or shiny stickers around the house, but leftover paint chips or even shelf lining can add more interest and texture to your pages.

Materials to use

Here’s my list of some unique materials and objects you can find without much effort and use in your layouts:

  • newspaper clippingsScrapbook memorabilia; game pieces, ID card, caution tape
  • buttons
  • ribbons from gifts
  • ticket stubs
  • pressed flowers
  • old t-shirt scraps
  • paint chips
  • free pencils from events
  • bumper stickers
  • locker stickers from high school
  • receipts
  • party hats
  • decorative napkinsScrapbook memorabilia; retro party hat from my aunt's New Year's Eve party.
  • old CDs
  • shells
  • coins
  • game pieces
  • Christmas or birthday greeting cards
  • tablecloths
  • shelf lining
  • beverage umbrellas
  • shoe laces
  • deflated balloons
  • old ID cards
  • notes

I created a fairly long scrapbook of memorabilia from high school a few years ago. However, household items and recycled materials add a lot of character to layouts with photos, including layouts of mini albums. You can also drill holes into old license plates to create a mini book cover.

If you prefer going green and using other eco-friendly products, consider purchasing recycled papers for your layouts, or even try making your own paper. Crop Addict devotes an entire section of its store to eco-friendly scrapbook papers.

Some household and even food items qualify as eco-friendly scrapbook papers. For example, paper grocery bags, cereal boxes and corrugated cardboard make great, sturdy foundations for layouts.

Things to consider

Although the eco-friendly materials I’ve listed are convenient to use, some items may contain harmful substances that could damage your photos over time. Although you can’t alter these items’ properties, you can prevent them from ruining your work.

Tips to follow

  • Use an acid-free spray to protect your photos from foreign materials. If you aren’t sure whether the items you use are acidic, spray them anyway to prevent brittleness and deterioration at the very least.
  • Store your layouts in page protectors. Not only does this prevent facing pages touching each other, but it also prevents fingerprint contamination when family members and friends flip through the pages.
  • Buy acid-free adhesives such as glue sticks or sticker mounts to keep your scraps intact.

What to do

Have you tried eco-friendly scrapbooking? If so, what works? What tips do you have for other scrapbookers?

So now that the snow is (hopefully) gone for the season to remind us of what the green grass looks like, think outside the box and get scrapping with your household scraps.

**Disclaimer: Keep items that are relevant to your layouts; items you will actually use. Don’t hoard too many objects, or else you will be overwhelmed during your projects. I know this from personal experience!


Filed under Scrapbooking

In the public eye(let)

I would love to own a card and craft shop someday. But another dream job of mine is practicing public relations for a colored eyelets much bigger craft store, such as Jo-Ann Fabrics.

Although Jo-Ann Fabrics is a bit pricey, the costs of its products compare to that of other craft stores. Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is a trusted brand, and its sales and coupons entice me to return for more scrapbooking supplies. The weekly sales flyers include coupons with generous discounts, and the flyer is even available online.

Social media

Jo-Ann Fabrics uses technology to connect with its consumers. The company’s Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and YouTube accounts help customers find relevant information about their projects and purchases, as well as communicate with other fans, followers and consumers. Jo-Ann Fabrics also has an account with ArtFire, a small company “with a passion for handmade, art and indie business.” I had never heard of ArtFire until now. What have you heard about it?

Jo-Ann Craft Essentials ribbonsBlog posts

The Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Store blog adheres to consumers’ needs and wants but also retains a professional tone. Readers may refer to blog posts for project ideas and more.

However, I noticed the blog posts generate very little, if any, comments from readers. Jo-Ann Fabrics would benefit from building stronger relationships with its consumers. An additional Facebook “like” or a handful of Twitter followers will further promote the brand. But encouraging creative bloggers and blog subscribers to interact might better contribute to online relationships.

This leads me to my evaluation of the online public relations efforts for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores:

What they’re doing well:

  • The FAQ section of the Jo-Ann Fabrics website is fantastic. The page is very thorough and separated by several categories, including order information, shipping information, gift cards and more. Although the company has existed for more than 60 years and has plenty of experience with customer service, Jo-Ann Fabrics covers most, if not all, customer concerns. This demonstrates a strong understanding of consumers’ issues and the dedication to solving their problems.
  • Although the fact sheet is bland, it’s simple and easy to follow. The photos of executive officers are fairly consistent and links to social media pages line the bottom of the page.
  • Jo-Ann Fabrics social media sites assist the company by connecting with target audiences and customers. Individuals who shop at Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores have many outlets in which to share ideas, comments and concerns.

What they could improve:Jo-Ann Craft Essentials Dye Inkpad and rubber stamps

  • The website’s press room and general news pages could both use some work. For such a visually-rich brand, Jo-Ann Fabrics website designers should consider including some photos on these pages. Corporate communications should also attempt to share more meaningful content to the media more often.
  • The company’s Facebook page does not stand out compared to other Facebook fan pages. Jo-Ann Fabrics should be unique and creative; its Facebook page should reflect the abilities of its customers. I suggest a colorful background to draw viewers into other features of the page, such as photos and Prom Contest details.

What else do you think Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores could do to improve its public relations efforts?

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Filed under Public Relations

Spring into scrapping.

I realize it’s not spring yet, but since the snow is mostly melted, I can pretend! (At least until Ohio weather “surprises” us with an April snow shower.) Happy Birthday handmade card

March will be a busy month–two weeks left of classes and projects to finish before spring break, and many of my friends and family members have birthdays coming up as well. Below are some photos of cards I’ve worked on this evening.

What are your spring break plans? What is your favorite thing about March?

Handmade card with flower stamp

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Filed under Handmade cards

Let’s get digital?

Laptop keyboardIndividuals share personal information, thoughts and feelings all over the Internet every day. Facebook profiles, blogs and tweets allow us to interact with others online but also develop a personal brand.

My scrapbooks are personal to me, and I enjoy creating each page by hand: cutting the paper, cropping the photos, tying the ribbons and writing the journaling.

Digital scrapbooking is a trend that transforms the hobby into something very different; it introduces older traditions to the future. This recent method is convenient for some, but does it retain the quality and meaning behind handmade scrapbook pages?

Below I have outlined some pros and cons of digital scrapbooking and traditional scrapbooking:

Digital scrapbooking


  • It uses less physical storage space.
  • You don’t necessarily need to make space or use a table to complete a page.
  • You may save your work in several formats and locations (i.e. flash drives, compact discs and external hard drives).
  • Many individuals now use digital photos, so scrapbooking via computer software saves the cost of printing multiple copies of photos.


  • Pages are less personal since typography replaces handwriting and layouts appear to be flat and less three-dimensional.
  • Digital scrapbooking software can be expensive, as prices may exceed $100. However, some software may be downloaded for free.
  • Staring at a computer screen for hours while creating a page can be tiring.
  • Technology can go wrong and perform slowly sometimes, so the process may be frustrating, depending on your resources.

Traditional scrapbooking


  • You don’t necessarily need technology to complete a page.
    Handmade cards, blue and green colors

    Cardstock, stickers and ribbons add three-dimensional aspects to a project.

  • Scrapbook supply stores exist in local areas to provide you with many options for scrapbooking resources.
  • Traditional scrapbook pages have three-dimensional capabilities.
  • You can use up old printed photos that have been taking up space for years.


  • Photos and scrapbooks take up a lot of space.
  • Finding the correct supplies to use and then creating a traditional layout can be time consuming.
  • Traditional scrapbooking requires a lot of clean up.
  • Scrapbooks are unique, but you can only save them in one spot. Your work cannot be copied without physically creating the same page twice.

What do you have to say about the differences between digital and traditional scrapbooking? Do you agree with the comments I made?

Although I think digital scrapbooking is less personal than using craft supplies to create scrapbook pages, digital scrapbookers do create some beautiful designs. Check out a gallery of digital pages on You can find more ideas via digital scrapbook designers’ blogs on the site as well.

I may decide to venture into the digital scrapbooking world someday, but for now I’ll stick to at least using up the excess of scrapbook supplies I’ve had for years.

How about you? Have you tried digital scrapbooking, and if so, what was your experience like? What do you like about traditional scrapbooking?

If you are interested in trying digital scrapbooking, check out some tips from Karen Ellis. Also, a Picnik tutorial for creating a digital page can be found on in a post by Debra.


Filed under Digital scrapbooking, Scrapbooking