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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Summer Blog Hop Stop 2!

Welcome to the second stop of our Creative Life Scrapbooking summer blog hop! Down here in Alabama, we pride ourselves on the beauty of our sugar white sands and our gorgeous Gulf Coast. It is a family tradition each summer for us to go to the beach, and beach memories make some of the best scrapbooks! Whether you prefer to make digital or traditional pages, both of these layouts will be repeatable using Creative Memories' Sun-Kissed and Mix and Match papers.

For my traditional layout, I was inspired by a "sketch challenge" put forth by Creative Memories. A sketch is basically like a sewing pattern, except you use it not to make an outfit, but to make beautiful and unique scrapbook pages. I love watching how a black and white sketch can come to life with different colored papers and embellishments (not to mention photographs!) Using the Sun-Kissed papers, the new Double Wave border maker cartridge and the matching Sun-Kissed embellishments, here is how I celebrated some of our 2017 beach memories:

Since vacations are often the place I take the most pictures in the shortest amount of time, my favorite way to make those books quickly is typically in a digital book using Forever's Artisan 5 software. I love the ability to start the book in our downtime on the trip itself so I can tell the stories while they are fresh on my mind, and I also love how I can use Creative Memories' gorgeous art digitally as well. 

Matching papers to outfits is just one way I like to choose backgrounds, and the Mix and Match blue and pink papers were actually quite perfect for our 2018 family photos on the beach. I used the ripping tool in Artisan to give a torn effect to the paper - it's a little like waves crashing on the beach, right? To add this effect, add paper to the page, select the cutting tool, select add a straight line, select the Paper Rip feature, then select cut. Voila!  

I am looking forward to getting some more digital scrapbooking done this weekend with the Pixels 2 Pages gals - if you are a Pixels2Pages member or if you are on Facebook you ought to check out the virtual crop! And if you want to learn more about traditional or digital scrapbooking, or incorporating Creative Memories' sketches or digital art into your own projects, reach out to me at any time -  that's what I am here for as a Creative Memories Advisor and a Forever Executive Ambassador! 

Thanks for checking out my blog and now it time to see what else we have for you today! Next on the hop is my friend Julie Tambrini's creations at Julie's Creative Memories Blog :) Keep on scrappin'! Fran 

Stop 1:Karyn McDermaid-Rolfe Karyn Crops
Stop 2: Fran Allen Smitherman YOU ARE HERE! CelebratingYourBeautifulLife
Stop 3:Julie Tambrini Julie's Creative Memories Blog
Stop 4: Lisa Brown Graham Lisa's Workshop
Stop 5: Candace Bouldin Scrappin' JPEGS
Stop 6 Noreen Smith Organized and Creative Mom

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Winter Blog Hop with Creative Life Scrapbooking - Stop 3

Winter doesn't have to be grey and colorless, it can be bright and cheery if you have the right tools, some pretty paper and embellishments and a few printed photos! While I love the summertime and the freedom and sunshine it brings, there is something very special about the string of holidays that starts in October and carries on right through February. Halloween, Christmas and Valentine's are some of my favorite times to take pictures and they make for some fun scrapboooking projects!

In this digital age, printing the pictures is often the challenge, and I have found myself becoming more selective about the events I print photos from. Vacations to the beach, to Walt Disney World, and even the Christmas months are usually documented in digital books that I make in Forever's Artisan software, but these events are too monumental not to be included in our chronological albums as well!

Recently Creative Memories launched the very fun Imagine products in its travel line, and I have fallen in love with the red, yellow and black paper, stickers and embellishments! I have also fallen in love with Creative Memories' Project Recipes (you have to get these from your Creative Memories advisor) and I had a lot of fun creating this one for my Halloween trip to Disney World with my family:

Having fun with Creative Memories' Imagine Project Recipe featuring the Film Strip Border Maker cartridge

Imagine paper, embellishments and stickers help to enhance the memories of this trip!

Good times with beautiful paper to bring the fun to life!

The Imagine line is so versatile that I was able to use it to create some fun Christmas and Valentine's pages as well! I love the red and white stripe papers from the Imagine Tone On Tone paper pack and the fun sayings from the Imagine embellishment pack - candy canes anyone? In this layout that might be used for Christmas morning or a visit to see the "Big Guy", I used the picket fence cartridge that comes with the awesome Border Maker System to make borders around the pages. I  threaded these 3/4 inch strips through them for a woven mat effect, and I used the Repositionable Tape Runner to adhere these delicate sayings to my page.

Last but not least, let's not forget Valentine's Day! So many fun hearts and red and white polka dots in the Imagine paper and sticker packs. I used the 12- inch decorative trimmer to cut some waves and foam squares to make the embellishments pop off of the page! 

A few jewelled embellishments never hurt anyone! 

So what do you think - can you IMAGINE using the "Imagine" line to document your memories? 

Don't stop with my blog-be sure to check out all of the other great contributors from the Creative Life Scrapbooking team on this fun Winter Blog Hop! Julie Tambrini with Julie's Creative Memories Blog is next on the hop, and if you wanted a link to all of them, here you go:

Stop 1 Noreen Smith Organized and Creative Mom

Stop 2 Karyn McDermaid-Rolfe Karyn Crops

Stop 3 Fran Allen Smitherman YOU ARE HERE! CelebratingYourBeautifulLife

Stop 4 Julie Tambrini Julie's Creative Memories Blog
Stop 5 Stefani Jones Crop with Stef
Stop 6 Lisa Brown Graham Lisa's Workshop
Stop 7 Sarah Fitzgerald Click Write Share

Thank you for taking the time to read it and I hope my pages inspire you to do something special with your photos today! Fran

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Fall Blog Hop

Welcome to the last stop on our Fall Blog Hop! It's fitting that this one is last as I am using it to look back on a great 2017 for Creative Memories and all of the wonderful paper packs introduced this year. I have collected all of them and would like to make sure I use them because I know 2018 will bring even more fun product launches! A little while back our Creative Life Scrapbooking Team did a "Stash Bash" challenge with products no longer available and a fun sketch. Today I am doing a "Stash Bash" challenge of my own with paper packs and embellishments that are STILL available from Creative Memories (but don't wait too long if you like them!) Here are a few pages I have come up with using Christmas photos I have been wanting to scrapbook for a while - I hope you enjoy the ideas and find some time to use some of your favorite paper packs in your collection before the year ends!

Made With Love and Woodland Whimsy! 

I love love LOVE gingham, especially red gingham, and it looks so beautiful next to green! I found the perfect combination in the Woodland Whimsy embellishment pack's trees, a few foam squares to make them pop off the page and the red gingham paper from the Made with Love paper pack. 

Time to pick a Christmas tree!

Documenting our annual tradition at Home Depot!

To complete the look, I used the wood grain paper from the Made with Love paper pack as part of a double mat that included (surprise, surprise!) a little bit more red gingham. The trees on the bottom come from the Woodland Whimsy Boy sticker pack - now all I have to do is journal.


Hot chocolate and gingerbread houses, it doesn't get better than that in November and December. I am in love with the Sugarplum line of paper and stickers because I love the ballet and I have a son in "The Nutcracker" this year, but until I have those pictures, I still have plenty of ways I can use this beautiful line. I made a quilt page using the Shape Maker Punch's square cartridge about a week ago - did you see this on our Facebook group? 

Making a quilt is easy with large squares punched out using Creative Memories'  Shape Maker System

I also wanted a way to show off the cute Gingerbread house and hot cocoa stickers so I made an easy border using the Fence cartridge that comes with the Border Maker System and a strip of paper woven through the slats of the fence!

A sugarplum border!

Showing off my new border on some gingerbread decorating pages!

Croptoberfest Project Recipe!

I have really fallen in love with Creative Memories' Project Recipes this year! They are only available from an Advisor and they are basically a pattern that you can use over and over to make beautiful page layouts. If you don't know an Advisor, you can find one near you by using a consultant lookup (or you could sign up to be one yourself!)

Most Project Recipes are simply guides to be handed out at workshops, but twice a year (National Scrapbook Day in the spring and Croptoberfest in the fall) a special kit is created  and available for purchase that includes all of the paper, stickers and patterns you would need to complete several multi page layouts. I made these pages from the 2017 Croptoberfest project Recipe kit ($12.50) back in October at my fall retreat without knowing which pictures I would use on them. Now I have found some photos that work with them! That is the beauty of a project recipe - paper first, photos later. All you need is a 12 inch trimmer  with a ruler and a tape runner.

Croptoberfest 2017 Project Recipe kit - Layout 1

Croptoberfest project Recipe 2017 - Layout 2

How will you use your paper packs? For more ideas on how, be sure and like and follow the Creative Life Scrapbooking page on Facebook  - we are a group of Creative Memories advisors and Forever Ambassadors who love to share our creations with others! We have regular features on Mondays and Fridays and the occasional Blog Hop and Virtual Pajama Cropping party :) 

Thank you for hopping along with us today! If you by chance started at my blog first and want to see the rest of the wonderful ideas, the links are below. Happy hopping! Fran

Stop 1. Sarah Fitzgerald at Click! Write! Share!
Stop 2. Noreen Smith at Organized and Creative Mom
Stop 3. Karyn Creamean McDermaid Rolfe at Karyn Crops
Stop 4. Stefani Jones at Crop with Stef
Stop 5. Fran Allen Smitherman at Celebrating Your Beautiful Life - YOU ARE HERE!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Time is Now To Make a Photo Plan

Life is beautiful and we have so much to be grateful for. Our photos remind us of all that we love so it is very important that we invest the time to learn about how we can protect them for years to come. What are you grateful for? Do photos play a part in holding on to the memories? They truly are treasures that take us to another place in time and remind others about how much we love and cherish them and their place in our lives.

Digital photos add a whole new level of complication to things, don't they? It used to be we finished a roll of film, took it to get developed, and never worried about losing them (barring an act of nature.) Now we take more photos than ever before, but rarely get them developed. We need a way to protect all the THOUSANDS of photos we take. 

Where are your photos now?
If you are like most people, these photographs and other memorabilia are stored everywhere. For most of us, “everywhere” is a mix of Smartphones, hard drives, laptops, external hard drives, flash drives, online retailers, boxes, closets, Facebook, free cloud services, etc… The list is ENDLESS. Wouldn't it be great to have them all stored permanently in ONE place and not have to worry about them? Wouldn't it be great to have them accessible to you, families and friends when needed to create a great slideshow, digital book, or a special gift such as a canvas or a calendar? Wouldn’t you like to be free from the worry over whether your account is going to be closed due to family neglect, lack of activity or a forgotten payment? What about you? Do you have a backup system? if you are relying on a cloud storage provider, have you read their terms and conditions? My eyes were opened WIDE when I found out that most cloud storage sites will delete your account upon their discretion, shrink your photo resolution to make room on their servers, sell your info to advertisers and have no promise of privacy or permanence. Your photos deserve better than that and free isn't always free.

Free Isn't Always Free
Are you aware that cloud and social media services such as Google, Dropbox, Shutterfly, Facebook, and photo developing companies such as Shutterfly and Wal-Mart have terms of service indicating that your account may be deleted at their discretion (or if you don’t buy from them within a certain period of time), that they will shrink the resolution of your photos to make room on their servers, and that they reserve the right to sell your data to third parties? Eeek! Eye opening. My photos are currently stored on my iPhone and in the iCloud, my camera's memory card, my computers, two external hard drives, scrapbooks, boxes, Shutterfly (previously), and in my account at Forever. While I work full time and don't have near as much time as I would like to devote to memory keeping, I do try to accomplish a little something every day to save my photos. Having the right tools makes all the difference in the world so please read on for more details on how I keep my 100,000+ photos safe and accessible!
 A Permanent Home

I was so excited to find my “Forever” home for my memories over two years ago. I have my computer and phone photos, old family recipes, my children’s scanned artwork and even scrapbook pages stored in my Forever account, safe from all that has scared me in the past. I love being able to access all of them on the go, from my phone and from any computer I wish to use. Better yet, I can retrieve them at full resolution. Here’s a short video for you to watch – let me know what you think after you do!

Cloud storage of your memories is a necessity in today’s world. People are taking more photos than ever before and not printing them, and computers and external hard drives have finite lifespans. A Forever storage account is permanent and is guaranteed for your life plus 100 years. Your account is financially and technologically backed by the Forever Guarantee Fund, similar to an endowment for a college or a life insurance policy. In other words, Forever is like PHOTO INSURANCE (but it is so much more fun than regular insurance, and unlike home, car, life, and health, you only have to pay ONCE to protect your memories!)

How is Forever Different than Other Photos Storage Solutions?

Forever is backed by a promise that your account is PERMANENT – you own it, you do not rent it. Your memories are there at full resolution for when you want to access them, and your account is PRIVATE (meaning your information will not be sold to advertisers.) Forever accounts are MOBILE with apps for the phone and iPad, SECURE with three servers strategically located throughout the country, fully encrypted like a bank. Finally, Forever accounts are SHAREABLE and you have complete control over who sees your pictures.

How Do Your Photos Get Into Your Forever Account?

Several ways! Auto upload from the free Forever phone app, pull pictures directly from your computer using the "Upload" button in your Forever account, send pictures from our Historian software, or link up with Facebook! There are so many ways to get your memories into your account.
What if your memories aren’t digital? No worries – Forever offers media digitization services! The professional team in Green Bay, WI do an amazing job scanning all types of media, from photos, negatives and slides, to scrapbooks, VHS tapes and even cassette tapes. The memories will be housed in your Forever account once they have been scanned, and you can also request a flash drive if you prefer.


Calling the Geek Squad to restore a computer can cost upwards of $1000 (and they can't promise to restore your photos.) Car, home, and life insurance cost thousands of dollars a year (and you hope to never need them.) What would you pay to insure something that is irreplaceable? What would you pay to OWN that home in the cloud rather than RENT it? What would you pay to pass these precious memories down to your loved ones in one organized place? Forever storage accounts start at 10G and you can add more storage from there (I have 250G with about 90,000 photos in mine, and it's about half full.) The one-time payment for the 10G account is $199, or $19 a month for 12 months, but in NOVEMBER ONLY you can get started for $139.30 with the code BLACKFRIDAY!!!! There is no annual fee, and once you own storage, it is yours to fill as you like. I would personally pay $200 a YEAR to protect something as irreplaceable as my photos, but this is a one-time payment. Better yet, Black Friday has come early to Forever and storage accounts are 30% off this month using the code BLACKFRIDAY! This is an AMAZING OPPORTUNITY! The code BLACKFRIDAY will also save you 40% off of the software programs, all print projects, and all digital art. Conversion boxes are also on sale for 15% off. November is the best time to start thinking about creating your photo legacy with Forever.

How Do I Get Started?

Signing up with Forever is so easy! As your Ambassador I am here to help you every step of the way with online and in person events and training! My link is and there you will find everything you need to sign up for a free 2G account, purchase a permanent account, create your own book in Forever Print or purchase your copy of Forever's award winning digital scrapbooking software Artisan 5 software and more! Once you have set up a free or paid Forever account don't forget to get the App for your phone and set it to auto-upload to back up those precious phone pics at all times! Remember the code BLACKFRIDAY to save up to 40% all month long :)

I have been an Ambassador with Forever for 3 years and it has been a wonderful experience. I love helping people with their photos and I am right here to help you every step of the way (along with Forever's fantastic support.) Consider us your Geek Squad, your photo coach and a friend to help you collect, curate and create with your precious memories! Fran

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Save Your Memorabilia!*

Are you overwhelmed with memorabilia? Are your desks, tables and counters swimming in programs, artwork, notes and cards that you can't for sentimental reasons throw away because you know they tell a story? If so then we are one and the same! School will be starting around the country soon (really soon here in the South!) and with the school year always brings a sense of newness and a desire to get organized. I have three ideas for you today to control the chaos!

Notes from the karate studio!
A special memory book

First, I am going to challenge you to TAKE PICTURES OF SOME OF THESE PRECIOUS ITEMS! Just get out your Smartphone, that's good enough, and start snapping! How many items can you document in 10 minutes? Here are a few treasures I recorded last night in a short amount of time.
A real treasure from my oldest son
Andrew loves our oldest cat Socks!
I can't save every item that Andrew creates but I sure can try!

What do YOU want to record for all time? Can you take a little time to take some pictures of some items that mean a lot to you?

Second, I am going to encourage you to find the best items and put them somewhere other than a box

Pick a few favorites, find some photos that go along with them, and make plans to put them in an album. How you may wonder? Allow me a minute to sing the praises of Creative Memories' pocket pages! They really come in handy, not just for sliding in full scrapbook pages, but also for certificates, cards and other memorabilia that you really don't want to adhere to your page. In my children's school days albums, I love to use one for each year to save report cards, artwork, and other items or pictures that I don't put in the book. We spend a great deal of time praising the beautiful paper packs and tools and all the fabulous ways to be creative, but sometimes it's the most basic items that really make the difference in our completed albums!

Creative Memories' 12X12 albums are my favorite way to preserve memories. These are my school days albums and I have one pocket page for each grade.
CM Pocket Pages are the best for storing memorabilia that won't fit on your pages.

Pocket Pages go in traditional 12X12 CM albums and come 12 to a pack
Precious memories stored in photo safe sleeves.

Finally, what can you do to save the digital images of these memories?

I want to know they are safe in the cloud because 1.) artwork made from food products won't last forever, 2.) notes and cards are easy to lose track of in piles and boxes, 3.) I want to enjoy these things and tell their story and 4.) storing memories offsite is critical to protect them from natural disasters.

Photos in my Forever library, uploaded straight from my phone (I keep my Forever app on auto backup)

I have uploaded these pictures from my phone to my Forever account via the free Forever app for Smartphones and I have assigned them to the appropriate folder (artwork, karate, etc...), making them easy to find when I need them.

A Karate album within my Forever account

A nested album of my son's artwork in his larger album.

Second, I can now easily use them in digital scrapbook pages with matching pictures! In this example, I took Andrew's note and included it in my digital book I am making with Forever's Forever's Artisan software about our family's trip to Universal Studios in the spring. So much fun to know it's getting used in an appropriate place! The fun is just beginning.

A little live music is good for the soul - the kids have other ideas unfortunately! 

Andrew explained his "music sickness" in his artwork when we returned home from Orlando!

I love adding this relevant piece of memorabilia to my digital scrapbook page
Now I feel SO much better about all of my piles that I have now consolidated, recorded and worked into my traditional and digital album projects! What can you share with us this weekend? I would love to see or hear how you do the same, please add some comments so we can share ideas!

* Today's post originally showed up as a Featured Project Friday post on the Creative Life Scrapbooking Facebook page! I am proud to be a part of this fabulous group of ladies who love to create and encourage others to do the same. We share ideas, kick off blog hops, and encourage others to live a life of creativity and memory preservation and I was the Featured Project Friday contributor this past week. While we usually share decorative page ideas, I felt like talking about something a little more practical - saving your memorabilia like cards, artwork, notes, etc... Hope this was helpful to you!