August 29, 2015

Summer Retreat is Cool!

Embellishment 2

It is late August, which means one thing in my life… football ( or marching band) season has begun AND it is time for my Summer Scrapbook Retreat. While the crosstown football/band rivalry heated up this week, twenty seven of us gathered on Thursday and Friday to organize photos, create scrapbook pages, to relax, to catch up with friends and to eat great (and too much) meals and snacks. I hated to miss the GA/BHS Game, but was so glad to hear that GA prevailed!

Today, after much cajoling, Vivian and Neely produced a lovely pre-dinner wine cocktail with too many ingredients to name. Linda, our Honey Creek chef fed us a wonderful dinner of pork roast, meatloaf, mashed potatoes, great salad, peas and carrots. The food is always delicious, and we are all looking forward to her Fried Chicken tomorrow… of course there will be baked chicken for those who can resist, but not sure who that will be!

Earlier today, we managed to have enough dry weather to take our group photo. Here we are, 26 strong, missing one person who took a break to run down to Jacksonville for a party…

Honey Creek Summer 2015

Happily, we warmly welcomed six new scrappers to our group this summer. We hope they will join us again.

To keep up to date with news about retreats and Creative Memories products, like my Facebook page – Your Memories Simplified.

January 17, 2015

Winter Retreat is Happening Now!

Today, there are 23 folks gathered at Honey Creek to do “something fun” with their photos, to retreat and to relax… There is enough winter in the air to enjoy a fire in the evening, but it is temperate enough to be outdoors to watch the sunrise.


Last night I began to think about the old movie “Same Time, Next Year” with Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn (thanks IMDB). It is a story of two people who have a “once a year” relationship. They meet each year at the same inn on the same weekend. As we watch, they grow older, traveling through the “stuff” of life. My favorite albums are like that. They span a period of time,  showing growth and change, and hopefully transformation of some kind.

Like Alda and Burstyn, at Camp Wanna Crop A Lot & Summer SunSational Retreat we gather at the same time each year. On the weekend of the MLK holiday and the last weekend of August, we meet and catch up on each other’s lives. We eat, we laugh, we listen to each others’ stories, we eat, we make layouts, we organize photos, we shoot photos, we take nature walks and we eat some more. Most of us don’t see each other in between. Usually, we welcome one or two new people and enjoy adding them to our “Crop Circle.”

This winter we are welcoming eight new people, five, thanks to Scrapbook Retreat Directory!

One constant is our group photo, the location of which migrates depending on the season and the sun. Since today was a bit overcast, we took the photo using our crop room as the background. Here is the 2015 photo of this year’s adventurous group.

Group Photo Low Res

Join us this Summer, August 27-30, 2015.

August 24, 2014

Report from Summer SunSational Retreat 2014

Summer Retreat 2014This summer we are a small but mighty group! Every August we gather at beautiful Honey Creek in Waverly, Georgia. 

We begin to arrive on Thursday, always on the weekend BEFORE Labor Day Weekend. We start off with a simple potluck supper (this year appetizers!) and catch up with friends that, for many of us, we only see twice a year. The surroundings are beautiful, the accommodations simple and rustic and the food is always great. 

This summer, a few of us have taken advantage of the pool in the morning. The water temperature was perfect and refreshing, especially considering we have had air temps in the high 90’s this week. We exercised a bit in anticipation of eating a few too many Peanut M&Ms or sausage dip!

Some get up early and wander the beautiful grounds, looking for nature photo ops, some enjoy sleeping in and some hit the scrapbooking room at the crack of dawn… there are no judgments here, just a group of women enjoying laughter, sharing our photos and memory keeping however we choose.

Consider joining us in January 2015 during the King Holiday Weekend when we will be back at Honey Creek Camp and Conference Center of the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia.


August 8, 2014

Summer Retreat is Around the Corner!


Honey Creek Sunrise

If you are looking for a non-scrapbooking weekend away, I’ve got a deal for you! The date is August 22-24, 2014. Venue is the beautiful, rustic Honey Creek in Waverly, Georgia. Bring your kayak, your fishing pole, and a good book and you will be set! Double room rate which includes all your meals is $145/person. Single room rate is $245. Please share this with friends! Thanks!!!!

Of course if you want to come as a scrapbooker, all the details are on the Scrapbook Events Tab. BTW, I’m waiving the $50 late registration fee for this weekend only for new customers!

June 10, 2011

Saved by Memory Manager…

The headline might be a little dramatic, but I’m so happy that I use  Creative Memories Memory Manager for my photos. Last Saturday while I was working on a project, my external hard drive crashed. And while it was a trifle annoying, I was up and running with all my photos intact in about 20 minutes.

Now, I was actually away from my home computer, so I had to wait until I got home, but once there, I simply rebuilt my photo vault from the shadow copy that Memory Manager creates every time I exit my software. Nothing was lost! No edits, no tags, no folders, everything good as new!

That is my kind of back up!

What is a Shadow Copy? It’s magic! Well, not really, but it felt like magic on Saturday. In researching the term Shadow Copy, I found a long and boring article explaining the technology which I’m pretty sure you don’t care about. So here are the basics.

As you set up Memory Manager you are prompted to create a Shadow Copy. Normally, your photos reside in a folder called a vault on your C: drive and you use an external drive for the Shadow Copy.  Alternatively, you could keep your photo vault on an external drive and the shadow on your c: drive. This is my preference so that I have the vault available to me when I switch to using my laptop at scrapbook events.

When you exit Memory Manager, as long as your shadow copy is configured properly (don’t worry, it’s easy!), Memory Manager AUTOMATICALLY updates the shadow. The Shadow Copy contains a copy of all the photos and all edits, tags, folders… All Everything. When the vault drive crashes (they all crash eventually) nothing is lost!

If you currently use Memory Manager and if your shadow is set up properly, you should see this screen as you exit Memory Manager letting you know that it is backing up any changes you made while the program was open.

If you don’t see the screen, check to make sure the Shadow Copy path is pointing to the correct drive.

On the home screen (welcome page), make sure that there is a green check mark next to the words “Shadow Copy”. In the screen capture below, Shadow Copy is circled in red. I know it’s kind of small, but I wanted you to see the whole screen so you could place where it is. If the check mark isn’t there, there will be an exclamation point. Click on it, and make sure that Memory Manager knows where your shadow copy should be. That’s all!

I can no longer answer questions about Memory Manager. My suggestion is to upgrade to Panstoria’s Historian where support will be provided. Panstoria is the company that developed MM and your vault should transfer into Historian with little or no difficulty.

March 24, 2011

New Workshops Posted!

I’ve posted two new extended scrapbook workshops in the scrapbook events tab. The first event is my annual summer retreat, Summer SunSational Scrapbook Retreat 2011, August 26-28 at Honey Creek Episcopal Conference Center in Waverly, Georgia (just south of the Golden Isles and Brunswick.) The second event happens a bit earlier on June 4th – National Scrapbook Day. But first, the retreat… why am I talking about this first? Because, everyone needs a bit more time to plan a weekend away, whether the issue is budget or time or both!

Just so you can see what’s in store for you this summer, I’d like to share a little about my winter retreat. Above is the group photo from this year’s event. We have to take a photo, right? There are some regulars and some new folks in the group which made it incredibly fun. As you can see from how everyone is dressed, the weather was really mild! What a nice break from the cold winter we had!

I loved that folks had a fun AND  productive weekend.

Evaluation comments were really good, here are a few:

  • Thank you, everything was awesome!
  • Great Event, Great Job!
  • [Can’t think of anything I’d change.] Everything was just wonderful and you do a phenomenal job. Thank you!
  • As my first weekend with you all, I thought it was great!
  • This was wonderful! I loved it and will definitely be back!

I love happy customers!

One of the big benefits of the event at Honey Creek is the beautiful surroundings and spacious crop room.

Here is a before photo — before folks arrive that is. This is my typical set up for a group of 4 attendees. Stuart Hall, where my retreats are typically held, is wall to wall windows on two sides of the room, so even though you are inside you feel a part of the fabulous surroundings. And, if you like to get up early, the sunrises are always spectacular! Actually, they are spectacular even if you decide to sleep in! There are no rules!
National Scrapbook Day – Saturday, June 4th
Now, for a few thoughts about National Scrapbook Day (June 4th; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.) – a whole day set aside to work on your photo project, time to tell your story… with lots of support from other attendees and me.  Hope you can join me! Click on the Scrapbook Event Tab for more information.
January 20, 2011

One Little Word

Do you know about One Little Word? The basic idea is to find a word to explore during the year, instead of making a bunch of resolutions.

I’ve picked a word for the first time. My word for 2011 is Appreciate.

I’m taking Ali Edward’s class at Big Picture Classes, and have followed the simple prompts for January.

I’ve adapted the project for a Creative Memories PicFolio Sleeve that I already owned. It’s not perfect, but it’s done. I loved exploring the definition of appreciate and finding meanings I hadn’t even considered.

“To be fully conscious of”

Wow, that would be really great, wouldn’t it? If I was just 5% more conscious at the end of 2011 I’d be thrilled!

“To increase in value”

Well, wouldn’t we all like that to happen in 2011!

And just to be more grateful, for everything — the good, the bad and the ugly.

Oh, and the photo? I’m appreciating me! Appreciating me, sporting a first place medal in my age group for the CASA Jingle Bell Run in December.

And the other thing… yes, it’s been a while… I started a job in December and even though it’s only part time, something had to give, and this blog is what gave.

November 10, 2010

What to do with all those papers that come home from school…

I love this cat picture. Is he cute or what? I pulled this watercolor out of my daughter’s “elementary folder of school stuff” today, so I could scan it and address how to handle all the stuff that comes home from school.

If you have a child in school, especially in elementary school, you are probably overwhelmed with all the papers they bring home.

Their first story, their drawings of your family, the sweet notes they write… it all seems important. Parents often come in two types. There is the kind of parent who saves everything, and the kind who saves nothing. I’m fairly schizophrenic, one day being parent number 1, the next parent number 2. But, because both of these solutions are rooted in being overwhelmed, I’d like to suggest a middle road.

First, let’s layout some of the types of stuff (more officially called memorabilia) that comes home.

  • Tests, Report Cards & Worksheets
  • Creative & Report Writing like this…

The above scan is the first page of a story my daughter wrote in Kindergarten with no spelling correction (duh.) I wish I could say that I found this teaching method (you know, letting them be creative and not correcting spelling) was successful, but to this day, as a 7th grader, spelling is still a very low priority in my child’s writing. But I digress, that is a topic for a different day, and probably a different blog.

  • Artwork like this… love the owl with the night sky also.

  • Notes & Cards like this…

Yes, I do love her with all my hart and heart!

Obviously, these are all items I kept.  They are sweet, emblematic of the age or year, or I just plain liked them. However, there was plenty of art, notes and stories that went in the trash (mostly when she wasn’t looking.)

So, what to keep? I think as always, it comes back to story.

What is your child’s story this year? Are they mastering writing? Have they blossomed as an artist? Does this item help tell the story best?

If so, then by all means keep it. If not, toss it. It’s always better to toss the undesirable stuff sooner than later. I took a class on Organizing Paper Clutter at Simplify 101 and the BEST thing I learned was that much of what we call clutter is simply the result of delayed decision-making. If I can decide now, it can go to an appropriate storage place or go away! Simple.

But, if you are going to keep the memorabilia, then how will you store it?

Memorabilia that is letter sized or smaller is easy. I have an archival expandable folder (sorry I don’t have a recommendation, the one I use is no longer available) for tests, report cards, thank you notes, certificates and writing assignments. For elementary school, I filled an entire folder. I’m thinking that middle and high school will fit into a second one.

If the artwork or project is large like the owl art, you have a couple of choices. There is large flat portfolio type storage and if you have a budding artist on your hands that may be a good option. If anyone has any recommendation for this type of storage, please leave a comment.

If not, then taking photographs of the art may be the way to go. I photographed the owl today.

***TIP*** In order to avoid using flash, I put the art on a black piece of foam board and took it out to my front porch, which meant I had soft, indirect light. I laid the foam board on the porch floor and stood above it, making sure the camera strap and my toes didn’t get into the picture! It isn’t as perfect as a scan might be, but it was a whole lot easier.

If you are looking for more ideas for your kid’s artwork, check out this post. Read the comments section for lots of different ideas. I like this blog post also. The best tip on the second post is to add your child’s name (hadn’t thought of this since I just have one!) and their age to the back of the artwork. (I really wish I’d done that with the larger pieces.)

Do you have a system you love? Please share!

October 28, 2010

Boring Topic Alert! But so important… can you guess?

It’s everybody’s favorite chore – Backing up digital photographs!

When did you last back up your photos? I’m going to tell my story here. This is not an exhaustive look at all the different back-up programs you can use, this is simply how I came to REALLY learn the importance of backing up and what I use to accomplish it.

If you have ever lost photos to a bad hard drive, memory disk crash or other minor disaster, you know exactly what I’m talking about. In 2005, I had a new computer and even though my photo organization software kept asking me “Do you want to back up your photos?, I thought “I’ll do it later”. Well, this four-month-old computer was in an office near my bedroom. At about two in the morning, the computer made a noise that woke me from a sound sleep. I got up to see what had happened and saw the blue screen of death; I decided to go back to sleep, feeling very certain that I and my photos were in big trouble.

The next morning I discovered that, in fact even though I’d been groggy the night before, I was completely correct. My hard drive was unrecoverable. The tech guy who looked at it said, “I can’t even get it to spin up.” He assured me that I could probably spend hundreds of dollars trying to recover my files, but I didn’t have hundreds of dollars available for that purpose. Luckily, I only lost about 4 months of photos and because it was summer, it meant that other people had taken photos that I could have. And even more luckily, I’d printed some of my favorites from that time and made a couple of scrapbook pages. So, for me, my lesson was learned. You can’t trust your photos to one hard drive. Ever.

As soon as I got my hard drive replaced, I purchased an external hard drive. This was five years ago and hard drives weren’t as cheap as they are now. I’m happy to say, that little (80 gig) hard drive is still plugging along. It now has a friend sitting next to it that is much bigger (500 gigs). When I was in the computer training business, we were fond of saying, ” A hard drive crash is not a matter of if; it is a matter of when.” It was true then and it’s true now.

And, it’s not just hard drive crashes that should concern you. There is robbery, yes, a friend lost her computer and back up devices to thieves. Then of course, there is fire, flooding and other natural disasters. Oh my!

With all the potential threats, you need on site and offsite backup.

It also helps if the backing up is automated. Mine is, and I love that I don’t have to remember.

On site backup is the easiest to set up. My biggest concerns are my photos and my financial data. My financial software asks me about a backup regularly, and I always say yes.  My photos are in Creative Memories Memory Manager software (which I sell) and whenever I make changes to my photo vault,  it backs up the changes to a “shadow copy” on my external drive. At any time if I need to rebuild my vault, the shadow copy keeps all the tags and folder structure I’ve arranged within Memory Manager.

Offsite backup is a bit trickier, but very important. Offsite is for all those disaster type scenarios and there are all types of services. I use Mozy. It is simple enough to set up, but if you have a lot of data to back-up, it isn’t fast. And that is an understatement. It can take months to get everything backed up, but once it’s done, it just does an incremental backup whenever changes are made. It’s pretty reasonably priced too.  Some people just upload all their photos to places like Flickr, or Shutterfly or Creative Memories Photo Center. Personally, I need something automatic. If I have to put it on a to do list, there’s a chance it isn’t going to happen. And we know what happens then…

What is your back-up plan? How is it working for you? I’d love to hear about it.

If you don’t have a plan and you need help; contact me. I’ll be happy to get you started with a plan.



October 23, 2010

How to Make an Event Photo Booth Inexpensive & Fun!

Why are Photo Booth’s so popular at weddings and events these days?

In a word — Fun!

Fun for guests, fun for the photographer and fun the hosts later enjoying the photos. And although you can get pretty crazy with backdrops, props and all kind of special equipment, you can also do one fairly inexpensively.

Last weekend, I was the photo booth photographer at a wedding. The bride kept it simple, purchasing a queen sized bed sheet from Target on sale for the backdrop and some fun dollar store props. I used two simple stands with a rod across (it needs to be fairly tall – at least 8 feet to accommodate tall folks and their hats!) and clamps to attach the sheet.  It was night-time which meant that we had to use flash. A daytime setup would be a breeze!

In most cases I took at least two shots of each group, you really can’t count on everyone in the photo staying perfectly still. The fun for the guests is the goofiness of the costumes, so you don’t want the photographer getting up tight about movement in the shots. We had the table below set up with silly hats, glasses, wands, swords, mustaches on sticks and other paraphernalia. Several of the guests had their photo taken multiple times with different get-ups.



The booth did become more popular as the night went on… no big surprise there! Here are two of my favorite photos from the event.