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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!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Summer Scrapbook Ideas You Can Use Now! June Blog Hop Stop Number One

Summer is a great time for taking pictures, and it is also a great time to do something special WITH those pictures! Everything slows down just a little bit in the summertime, and it is so wonderful here in the South to kick off the end of the school year with a family get together to commemorate Memorial Day. Where there is family, there is food, and where there is food there are often photos. That is exactly why I was so excited about the newest collection from Creative Memories appropriately titled Made with Love (oh yeah, and I do sort of have this obsession with gingham!) The collection features beautiful food themed papers, stickers and mats, and it is truly stunning for your scrapbook pages. 

The Creative Memories Made with Love Collection  is perfect for your delicious "foodie" pages

While there are even newer paper packs and sticker sets that just came out this week such as the limited edition Americana and Adventure collections, I was still very excited to work on some recipe pages using "Made with Love." You will see I was fortunate to have a little help from three very special women in my life. I hope I will inspire you to do the same with some of your summer food photos! 

Let's Start with A Very Special Wedding Gift 

When I was engaged to be married, my mother's sister gave me the greatest gift a girl could imagine. It was a collection of recipe cards in the handwriting of my beloved aunts, cousins and grandmothers, and it is irreplaceable. I have naturally scanned them all and stored them in my Forever account in an album called "Recipes" because these are documents I want to keep for generations. I treasure this gift so much and can almost imagine my Nana and my Italian aunts sitting at the table writing them out, and I can practically taste and smell the dishes as I am reading the cards.

Treasured family recipes collected for me by my aunt for a wedding present

My Nana's and my mother's handwriting in one place

Adding Pictures to the Recipe Card Concept

My Mom and my two aunts are such amazing cooks and I always love getting recipes from them, but this Memorial Day I asked a special favor of them. I knew they would be bringing delicious dishes to our get together so I asked them in advance if they would mind if I brought them some Made with Love mats to transcribe their recipes on while we were visiting. They of course said yes, so I brought my camera and made sure to get a picture of them writing down their recipes for me. Seeing who lovingly prepared the dish is just one more element that makes these memories and family treasures even more special. 

"Skinny" sweet potato fries prepared by my Aunt Sherry

An Irish Cream Cake prepared by my own Mom with the recipe written in her handwriting 

A delicious butter bean Greek salad with the recipe written in my Aunt Donna's handwriting (it was a long recipe so I will most likely be using a 4X6 sleeve to include the third card!)

I am so happy with the way this two page spread turned out!
So the next time you are getting together with family or friends, bring your camera and some slide in cards and ask if them if they wouldn't mind taking just a moment to share their recipe with you in their own writing. Do take a picture of the dish as well as the cook!  Preserving memories can happen anywhere at any time ,and they will surely be flattered that you thought of them and want to celebrating their cooking. Can you think of any other way to document family recipes? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below! 

For more ideas on ways you can create scrapbook pages this summer, please enjoy the rest of the "Blog Hop!"

• Stop 1 with Fran Allen Smitherman CelebratingYourBeautifulLife YOU ARE HERE!
• Stop 2  with Sarah Fitzgerald ClickWriteShare

• Stop 3 with Noreen Smith OrganizedandCreativeMom
• Stop 4 with Karyn McDermaid-Rolfe Karyn Crops
• Stop 5 with Lisa Brown Graham Lisa's Workshop
• Stop 6 with Julie Tambrini Julie's CM Blog
• Stop 7 with Stefani Jones CropwithStef

This blog contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated should you make a purchase. Thank you as always for your support of Celebrating Your Beautiful Life and I am always happy to help in any way with your traditional or digital photo preservation projects. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Spring Blog Hop - Stop Number 2

Spring Break Memories!

Ahh, Spring Break - that magical time so needed by students everywhere as they attempt to make it through the long stretch between the Christmas holidays and summertime! Whether you have a sanctioned "spring break" or not, I hope you have chosen to do SOMETHING special to celebrate the change in the seasons. Our blog hop today is focusing on all things spring, and while chronologically I am nowhere near caught up with my photos and should not even be THINKING about these pictures yet, I'm cheating (and giving you permission to do the same!) I always tell those who are overwhelmed with the volume of photos and projects they are "behind on" to start with something current, so I am following my own advice.  I am definitely "guilty" of scrapping what I am in the mood for, and many times vacation photos take priority because they are just so darn fun (right?) 

Once the day is done, there's really nothing like loading your pictures onto your computer and looking at a full screen version of your memories. I encourage you to set aside some time to take a seat at your laptop with a beverage of choice and start the process of recording YOUR Spring Break  memories. Once you have completed and printed your digital book, the entire family will be able to easily enjoy and relive the trip over and over again - memories preserved for a lifetime are the reason we take these pictures in the first place. I've already started my Spring Break 2017 book and I can't wait to share a few pages from our recent trip to Orlando with you here! 

Grab some coffee and your laptop loaded with Artisan 5 digital scrapbooking software so you can start your own digital photo book while the memories are still fresh!
Photo credits: Yamilette Platero at The Boss Latina

Our Spring Break was last week, and this year we took my parents with us down to Orlando to have some fun at Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure and the Kennedy Space Center. As you can guess, I took LOTS of pictures - I mean it's not every week you get to meet Marilyn Monroe, Lucy and Sponge Bob AND watch a SpaceX rocket take off!

My little guy turned down a kiss on the cheek from Marilyn Monroe - at least he said "no thank you!" She sure was a good listener to all of his concerns about the day :) 

A SpaceX rocket launching with a great view from the Kennedy Space Center

I am determined to get these stories told and photos shared so the family can relive the memories through the pages of my photo albums. With over 1,500 pictures and lots of stories to tell, I want this project done quickly while the memories are fresh, so as I do with so many trips, I am choosing to make a digital scrapbook in Artisan and have it printed as a hardbound 12X12 book at the Forever Print Shop

A few of my digital vacation books from the past few years - so easy to travel with and the whole family loves looking through them!

You might remember how excited I was during our Christmas Blog Hop when I found out that Creative Memories was introducing digital art to match their fabulous paper and stickers, and I am happy to show off a few pages here using some of those kits. Due to a few "down days" where we were able to relax away from the parks, I was actually able to carve out some time while on vacation to start on my book. I am already having so much fun with my digital photos and thanks to my Artisan software program and some super fun Creative Memories digital art kits my pages are really popping! I don't claim to have the most elaborate pages because I am more interested in getting my books done and the stories told, but it is nice to have a pop of color and some fancy fonts here and there. Let me show you what  I mean.

Beleaf It or Not! 

I have never been one who worried about having an exact paper or sticker to match my theme. Licensing gets tricky and I always like to think outside of the box when I scrap anyway. So when I didn't have a Jurassic Park kit to scrapbook this hilarious "raptor encounter" moment, did I sweat it? Not a bit! I just reached for my Creative Memories Better Beleaf It digital scrapbooking paper and a free Jurassic Park font from and went to town. I liked it so much that I decided to make this moment the front of my book. I loved how the leaf paper wrapped around the back of the book for me to add more photos to it for a consistent design. What a great feeling knowing my entire cover is finished already!

The front of my Spring Break digital 12X12 book. This Jurassic moment brought to you by a free font and Creative Memories' leafy "You Better Beleaf It" digital paper pack! 

The back of my 12X12 book captures a fun moment for each of us, with a "thankful" phrase from Creative Memories' Painted Harvest Digital Mat Pack

The front and back of my cover as seen in my Artisan software (CM digital artwork displayed in the Content panel on the right.)
Cool and Serene! 

One of the prettiest collections Creative Memories has introduced in recent times has been the Cool Serenity collection! I love it traditionally (there is paper, a Fast2Fabulous album and embellishments) but I REALLY love it digitally because I can stretch and shrink the elements to my liking! Again, I didn't have a Moana scrapbooking kit, but boy I love how this Cool Serenity digital art kit worked so perfectly on my pages to create this tropical feeling. I foresee a lot more use out of it for trips to the beach and aquariums in my future. "You're welcome!" (uhh, inside joke - you must see the movie!)

Who needs a "Moana" kit when you have Creative Memories' Cool Serenity papers and embellishments?

Did Someone Say DONUTS? 

Okay, I am a sucker for images of food, and I just loved these pictures of my son with a donut that was literally bigger than his head. Hey, he deserved it - we had just ridden the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror*, haha (note - these pictures are actually from a trip we took back in February. Yes, I have a "Disney" problem, I can't seem to stay away and I have several books going right now!) If you love images of sweets like I do, then the Soiree collection has you covered, with cupcakes and donuts and everything you would need for fun celebratory cards and scrapbook pages! As much as I love the Soiree collection on paper, for this blog I am showcasing the fun of it digitally (and yes the word "fun" is one of the embellishments that comes with it.) 

*For another idea for your Tower of Terror pictures, check out my post in our February Blog Hop
A little fun with the digital Soiree art kit from Creative Memories

More fun with Soiree digital paper and embellishments! 

While this particular blog post is primarily about digital pages, I am definitely an "ambiscrapper" who loves traditional and digital scrapbooking, so I have also had fun with the paper versions of this kit. The cool thing for my readers is that you can get the Soiree sticker set  (an $8 value) for FREE throughout the entire month of April if you set up a new account at Creative Memories and place an order for traditional product. Get it now while it lasts - CM has been great about introducing new products but that often means "out with the old, in with the new!"  

Free stickers in April for new orders at Creative Memories!  

Have you had a chance to use Creative Memories' digital artwork yet? If so, we would love to see what you have done - feel free to share your work on the Creative Life Scrapbooking team's Facebook page! And what vacation scrapbook would you like to work on this week? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below. Please do enjoy the rest of the "hop" and until next time, keep scrappin' :)  

Next stop - Organized and Creative Mom with Noreen, enjoy! Fran

Here is a list of today's participants: 

Stop 1 Stefani Jones Crop with Stef
YOU ARE HERE! Stop 2 Fran Allen Smitherman CelebratingYourBeautifulLife
Stop 3 Noreen Smith Organized and Creative Mom
Stop 4 Candace Bouldin ScrapinJPEGs
Stop 5 Karyn McDermaid-Rolfe Karyn Crops
Stop 6 Lisa Brown Graham Lisa's Workshop
Stop 7 Diana Miller Brinsley D Brinsley's Blog