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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

A 2018 Lookback!

I cannot thank you enough for all you did to celebrate your life with me all around the country! I am excited about 2019 and all the ways I can help you preserve and record your life's most precious moments. Scrapbooking is more than a hobby or a pastime, it is a gift we give to ourselves and to those we love. We take these pictures for a reason and they deserve a safe home. If 2019 is the year you want to commit to doing something with your memories, reach out and I will let you know how we can work together to get your goals accomplished. No matter where you live or what your wishes for your photos and videos may be, I can help you. Happy 2019! Fran

Monday, November 5, 2018

Digital Memories Saved and Enjoyed Forever!

Happy November to you! It is a month of gratitude and thanksgiving, and Forever is always here for us to help us celebrate life's most precious moments. Whether you have calendars and cards to make for gifts using Forever Print, videos you want to share with other family members wherever they may be, or photos on your phone you want backed up safely and privately, Forever has you covered. 

November is a Great Month to Save!

Being the month of "Black Friday", Forever has amazing deals on all the things I love and use every day to keep my memories under control and in my life. If you love your photos and videos but are not a Forever storage member yet, I would encourage you to buy your permanent membership today. Flash drives and external hard drives are great for a while, but they are not permanent and they are easily misplaced or malfunction. Storing photos online as a second backup is a great idea and the "cloud" is a necessity in this digital age, but as photo printers like Wal*Mart and Flicker send out reminders that they are going to delete your photos if you don't order, and as the headlines point out daily about the privacy issues at Facebook and Google, I am so grateful for my Forever home for my photos, videos and documents. Forever Storage (all size accounts) is on sale for 30% off this month - it could be the greatest gift you ever get for you or your family:

 Here is a list of all the things on sale (and there are other deals that pop up from time to time so remember to check the "Deals" tab!) Let me know if you have any questions about any of them. 

·         Save 40% on all Printed Calendars! 
·         Save 40% on all Printed Projects!
·         Save 40% on FOREVER Artisan® purchases and upgrades! 
·         Save 40% on FOREVER Historian™ purchases! 
·         Save 30% on all FOREVER Storage® Single Payments or get your first month FREE!
·         Save 30% on all Digital Art!
·         Save 15% on all Conversion Boxes!

Conversion Services

If you have had scrapbooks, photos, negatives or videos converted by Forever, you know what a wonderful job they do. Now that Forever has video capability in your Forever account online, you can decide whether you want to have your videos you have had converted stored there in addition to the flash drive you were sent. If you have videos, there are two ways to store and enjoy them. For permanent account members, videos can be uploaded and stored for future download just like any photos you have up there without any additional charge. If you want the extra privilege of streaming and sharing, a Premium Video Plan lets you do that. I have it and I LOVE it! Here is a video I can enjoy and share anywhere because I have the video plan - what would YOU like to save? 

 November is a wonderful month to think about the memories that matters most to us and I am here for you! I hope to connect with you soon - please let me know how I can help you make your photo projects come to life. Fran

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Fall Blog Hop - Stop Number 1!

It's that time again - time for the Creative Life Scrapbooking ladies to share our ideas with you so that you can go out there and create your own wonderful scrapbook pages! You are in for a treat today as you hop from blog to blog - thanks for joining us and read on.

The fall is a great time to exhale and take a look back at the year that has been. Our summer vacations are usually over, but in all the hustle and bustle of back to school followed quickly by the holidays, it's easy to get behind on your photo projects. I know I love to buy all the latest and greatest papers and stickers and tools and embellishments from Creative Memories throughout the year because they are all so irresistible, but when life gets busy (or when I find myself working more on my digital projects) they tend to pile up, waiting for the right moment to be used. 

The papers and the stickers do pile up, don't they?
I am determined to use these!

Today I decided to start working through that stash to make some pretty layouts for my September to December 2018 pictures. With each layout I mixed old and new from different collections - it's been fun to see it all again. I hope this will encourage you to do the same - let's get started!

For my first layout, I wanted to document a few pictures my husband took of my oldest son on a September trip to Gatlinberg. I'd never had much of a reason to use the Adventure or the Woodland Whimsy Boy collections, so here was my chance!

Adventure and Woodland Whimsy, a mix of older papers and stickers for new photos.

Recognize that journal box from years ago?

Paper from the Adventure paper pack combined with Woodland Whimsy Boy stickers
Later in the month, we took a short trip down to the Gulf Goast - I had already made a wonderful digital book of our summer beach trip, but I did want to document at least a few pictures from the September one. Having recently returned home from my 9th annual Croptoberfest weekend retreat at the Springville Camp and Conference Center, I still had some cardstock from the Limited Edition Croptoberfest cardstock pack, and a BUNCH of stickers and embellishments from the Sun-Kissed collection. Here's what I came up with:

Croptoberfest exclusive cardstock combined with a smattering of Sun-Kissed stickers and embellishments. Tore some Maritime paper with the tearing tool to add a little extra "oomph" to the layout

Croptoberfest cardstock, Maritime paper torn wit the tearing tool, Sun Kissed embellishments
Now for memories not yet made. Falling leaves, Halloween and Thanksgiving are approaching, so I wanted to be ready for when the photos start piling up. Gather Together, Pumpkin Spice and Seasons Greetings are here for us, ready when our pictures are! I feel so ahead of the game now with these pages pre-designed for pictures not yet developed :) 

Croptoberfest cardstock combined with Gather Together paper and slide in pack

My take on the Croptoberfest Limited Edition Project Recipe

Second layout from the exclusive Limited Edition Croptoberfest Project Recipe kit

A "batty" page I came up with a few weeks ago for our Creative Life Scrapboooking "Border Maker Monday" feature. Who knew jets could be bats? Be sure and like our FB page to see more fun ideas like this

Silver metallic pen + Jumbo Jet cartridge =  Hanging bats!


Boots from the Pumpkin Spice collection! Available in both traditional and digital format from Creative Memories for a limited time

My layout from last Friday's "Featured Project Friday" post on our Creative Life Scrapbooking page. Seasons Greetings paper, stickers, and embellishments  combined with the Holly punch, the Rolling Hills Border Maker cartridge and the new Embossed Bow standalone punch!

Seasons Greetings paper and stickers with an easy tearing tool layout

What old and new papers and stickers can you combine to breathe life into your stash and prepare for all those wonderful fall and winter pictures to come? Comment below with your ideas - I would love to hear them! 

For the next stop, you are heading to Lisa's Workshop - you are in for a treat, she always has the most wonderful ideas (and I am super excited about her new cropping facility - I know you will be as well if you live anywhere near her!) 

Thanks for stopping by and keep on scrappin'! Fran

Stop 1 YOU ARE HERE! Fran Smitherman Celebrating Your Beautiful Life 
Stop 2 Lisa Brown Graham Lisa's Workshop
Stop 3 Noreen Smith Organized and Creative Mom
Stop 4 Karyn McDermaid-Rolfe Karyn Crops
Stop 5 Julie Tambrini Julie's CM Blog
Stop 6 Diana Brinsley D. Brinsley's Memory Keeping Blog

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