Over the last few weeks the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reshaped many of our lives. A lot of us are working from home, our children are dismissed from school, shops and stores we customarily frequent are either closed or understocked, and even a lot of outdoor venues, such as parks and playgrounds, are also off limits. As a society, we have had to pull ourselves together and come up with creative ways to continue doing the things that need to get done and to live life.
At Close To My Heart, we are committed to helping the storyteller in you share and preserve all of your new and unique experiences. Late last month, we created and released the Let’s Stay Home stamp set, which reflects these strange and unparalleled times.
In the video below, you will see how some of our Home Office friends used the Let’s Stay Home stamp set to create engaging scrapbook pages reflecting how the lives of their families have been impacted by our current events.
As this “alone together” journey continues, we’ve designed two Let’s Stay Home coordinating SVG images that you can download FREE for use with your favorite design software. (An SVG image is resolution independent and infinitely scalable, meaning it will look clear and crisp at any size.) Click on the images below and save them for your own personal use.
Seamlessly cut these timely titles out of cardstock to use on a scrapbook page, as shown below, along with the Let’s Stay Home stamp set.
These titles, when paired with vinyl, also make great album covers, providing a beautiful place to collect all of the memories you are making right now.
Keep documenting how life has changed for you and yours. Collect news stories, memes, photos, and, most importantly, collect your own personal experiences and stories. We wish you all love, joy, happiness, and health, today and every day. ❤️
We’re pulling out all the stops this National Scrapbooking Month with a visit from one of our all-time favorite story tellers! Stacy Julian is here today to share with us the newest addition to the Story by Stacy™ line, Storyteller. Click on the video below to learn about this impressive guidebook from none other than Stacy herself! Pay extra close attention and you might just find that she is offering a little more than just two new story telling techniques! 😉
Thanks for stopping by Stacy! <3
THIS CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. PLEASE MAKE SURE TO CHECK YOUR EMAIL TO FIND OUT IF YOU’RE ONE OF THE LUCKY WINNERS!
We all have photos that hold a special place in our hearts. They remind us of something or someone, and they often have detailed, personal stories that go with them. Stories I Love, the newest program from Story by Stacy™, gives you permission to bring your most treasured photos together in one album and teaches you how to write the unique stories that go along with them.
Your favorite photos may not be the ones that are the most pretty. They may not have the best lighting. They could be candid or staged. They could be from a special occasion or from everyday life. What makes them important are the memories they represent and what you feel when you look at them. That’s what Stories I Love is all about. Each Stories I Love workshop kit comes with a 6″ x 8″ album, ten 6″ x 8″ Memory Protectors™, one title page, one closing page, story pages, base pages, and two sticker sheets. The workbook included in the kit walks you through the steps of exploring the story behind one photo, writing that story, and then creating a 6″ x 8″ layout with just that story and photo.
Are you ready to make your own Stories I Love album? Watch the video below to hear directly from Stacy about this new program and to find out how you can win your very own Stories I Love workshop kit!
You have until 11 a.m. (MST) Thursday, January 17, to enter in the giveaway. Winners will be notified by email on Thursday.
The memories behind the photos you cherish are stories only YOU can tell. Recording your thoughts and feelings transforms every layout you make into a treasured keepsake. We can’t wait to see what you create with Stories I Love!
When it comes to memory keeping, especially if you’ve never done it before, the biggest obstacle for most people is knowing where to get started. With moments happening and getting captured quicker than they can be documented, memory keeping can easily become an overwhelming task that, as the memories pile up, we tend to ignore and simply feel anxious and guilty about.
Today we’re going to alleviate some of those feelings and help you navigate through the heaps of memories you are making. It is never too late to tell your story, so let’s get started!
Why is memory keeping important to you?
The very first thing you need to consider before pulling out old photos or any scrapbooking supplies is what is memory keeping and why is it important to you? There is no right or wrong answer here, and everyone’s motivation will be different, but motivation it will be. Really think about the why of your memory keeping.
Why do you take so many photos and videos with that fancy smart phone?
Who and what are you taking photos of?
Do you keep a journal? What do you write about?
Do you collect things because of their association with certain people or events?
Our current social climate is very instant and in the moment. You can take a photo, caption it, and quickly share it with friends across the world by posting to Facebook or Instagram. For some people, this is all the memory keeping they need. The downside is that if you only post to social media and never do anything else with those stories, you are only documenting your story in a format where it only lives for a moment. And then, what happens to your story?
The question again is: why is memory keeping important to you?
Sorting Through Memories
Once you’ve figured out why you want to preserve your memories, you can begin sorting through them and decide which ones to preserve. Chances are you’ve got a hard-drive, or perhaps several boxes, full of photos from the years past that you want to put into albums but just aren’t quite sure where to begin. If your photos aren’t organized, check out our post on How to Organize Years of Photos without Getting Overwhelmed for some great tips and ideas.
The truth is, not all of our moments carry the same weight, so not every single second of our lives is worth documenting. This is the step where you decide which memories you want to (and will!) preserve. And remember, it’s okay to let some things go!
Make a list of past stories and stories to come that you want to keep in an album. Some possible ideas may include:
Milestones in the life of a baby or child
A specific year
Choose a Format
Whatever you choose to preserve, choose to do it your way. Decide on a format of memory keeping that works best for you and your memories. If you’re new to the scrapbooking scene and the thought of memory keeping is overwhelming, we’ve got a few products for you to explore.
If you like the look of complete scrapbook albums but don’t think you have the time or know-how to make them happen for you, the Cut Above® layout kits are a great solution! These kits come complete with pre-printed base pages, stickers, and die-cuts (cut paper shapes) ready to make coordinating 2-page scrapbook layouts. All you need to bring to the table, aside from your kit, is photos, adhesive, and a journaling pen!
The Story Begins layout kit shown above (also available for baby boys) is one of our many Cut Above® scrapbooking options. This particular kit comes with enough materials to make 10 coordinating 2-page scrapbook layouts. That’s an entire baby book! And if you have more photos that you want to include than the kits allow for, you can add coordinating pages with Picture My Life™ cards and pocket scrapbookingMemory Protectors™. Always make the room to tell your whole story.
With the help of easy-to-follow instructions, trimming tools, and adhesive, you can use any of our Workshop Your Way® kits to create three coordinating scrapbook layouts. Unlike the Cut Above® kits, in Workshops Your Way® you trim your own paper and are given extras like, ribbons and sequins, to embellish your pages.
The last example of memory keeping we’re going to share is with pocket scrapbooking in a smaller, Everyday Life™, album.
Maybe this type of memory keeping is more your style. Less patterned paper and more memorabilia turned into accents and pocket cards to enhance the memories of your experiences. Whether you’re cutting things up, attaching them on a pocket card, or creating a pocket for a group of items—there is no wrong way to tell your story.
Making the Time
This last part of the memory keeping process is the most crucial because without it memory keeping will not happen. You need to decide how much time you will invest into preserving your memories. If memory keeping isn’t already part of your routine, make the conscious decision to include it. (A half-an-hour a week is better than doing nothing at all.)
To be a successful memory keeper you must be honest with yourself about your creative habits. Take an approach that works for you and your memories, and that you will actually do. Once you get started you will find so much joy and satisfaction in knowing that your memories are safely documented and preserved.
Since we’re in the memory-keeping business and it’s National Scrapbooking Month, we thought it would be fun to gather up a bunch of feel-good stories about lost memories (in the form of photos, letters, and videos) miraculously being returned to their owners. These stories are a great reminder of just how valuable our memories are—and how important it is to preserve them and keep them safe. Grab a few tissues, and enjoy! 🙂
1. Long-lost Letter and Photo from Dying Mom Found in Used Book
A used bookstore owner finds a letter and photo from a dying woman in an old book, and returns them to her daughter. Read more.
2. Family Finds Lost Wedding Photo at Salvation Army
A woman loses a priceless family wedding photo when her car is repossessed. Four years later, her daughter finds the photo at a Salvation Army. Read more.
3. Reporter Finds Old Family Album Discarded on Street and Returns to Relatives
A reporter finds an old family album discarded on a street in Brooklyn, New York. She traces the album back to the owner’s family, and in the process, uncovers a rich history of what it was like to be African American during the mid-1900s. Read more.
4. Mom Reunited with Lost Family VHS Tape
A 23-year-old purchases a VHS player at Goodwill and finds a VHS tape inside with footage of a little girl’s first steps, Halloween, and Christmas. He finds the owner through social media. Read more.
5. Man Finds Trunks of Photos and Documents Hidden in Home and Returns to Family
A man discovers a secret room in his old Michigan home with two steamer trunks of photos and documents. He returns the priceless memories to the family’s 70-year-old daughter. Read more.
6. Stranger Re-unites Family with Photo Album 20 Years Later
A man finds a family album under the seat of his second-hand armchair. After posting about it on Facebook, he finds the owners within 24 hours. Read more.
7. Photo Reveals Adopted Son Has Twin Sister
After learning he was adopted, an 18-year-old eventually stumbles across a photo from his birth mom depicting his siblings. This photo helps reunite him with his twin. Read more.
8. Woman Returns Photos to Families After Superstorm Sandy
A woman collects photos from the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and starts a Facebook group to return the photos to their owners. She’s now uploaded over 2,000 photos and helped over 60 families reconnect with their priceless photos. Read more.
9. Article Connects Homeless Man with Family Album
After publishing an article about a homeless street comic, a journalist receives an email from a stockbroker. He says the homeless man had worked on his home, prior to being let go for drug use on the premises, and left behind a family photo album. The journalist receives the album from the stockbroker and returns it to the homeless man. Read more.
10. Social Media Connects Man with Photo Lost in 9/11 Attacks
A professor posts a picture of a photo found at Ground Zero on social media year after year, hoping to find the owner. 13 years later, she connects with the man who had the photo sitting on his desk on the 77th floor of the World Trade Center. Read more.
Which story is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below! 🙂
It’s one thing to understand the importance of memory keeping…and it’s another thing entirely to find time to make it happen. Here are some tips to help you out. 🙂
1. Write It in Your Planner
Just writing down a reminder will increase your chances of making it happen.
2. Do It with A Friend
You know how people talk about having a workout buddy to hold yourself accountable? Why not have a scrappin’ buddy? You can keep each other accountable and have fun along the way!
3. Attend a Monthly Crop, Workshop, or Club
Or…you can have a BUNCH of scrappin’ buddies! By committing to a regular crop, workshop, or club, you hold yourself accountable to make memory keeping happen. Plus, it’s nice to get out of the house and away from any distractions. 😉
4. Divide Up Tasks
Sometimes it’s hard to work on preserving your memories because it seems like such an overwhelming task, especially if you’re new to the game. Breaking it into manageable steps will make it much more approachable: For example, organize a box of photos today, start working on some layouts tomorrow, and attach the photos to your layouts next week. Baby steps are just fine, folks!
5. Commit to a Specific Amount of Time Each Day
Committing to 10, 20, or 30 minutes of memory keeping each day might be better suited for your lifestyle, so try it out! And remember, spending time sorting photos or cutting paper totally counts if that’s what step you need to do next—you don’t have to finish anything.
6. Scrap Early in the Morning or Late at Night
If your kiddos or spouse keep interrupting you whenever you sit down to start working, try working early in the morning or late at night for maximum productivity.
7. Make It a Habit
Whatever actions you’ve taken to implement other habits into your life, apply those same actions to memory keeping. Once it’s a habit, you’ll save time and energy just by having a rhythm. You won’t even have to think about it anymore.
8. Simplify Your Schedule
Sometimes making room for something in your life simply means cutting something else out. See if there’s anything of less value you can cut from your schedule to make way for memory keeping.
9. Look Into Quicker Options
The great thing about memory keeping nowadays is that there are a million different options for how to do it. Some of our favorite time-savers include pocket scrapbooking, our Pocket Plus™ Memory Protectors™ for adding more photos between your layouts, and our Cut Above™ layout kits, which come with pre-cut pieces for easy assembly. Even if you’re a die-hard decorative scrapbooker who loves those intricate frills—maybe even just on some layouts—there are lots of great products that make getting that fancy look take less time.
10. Set Goals
Setting goals is always a good idea when you need to motivate yourself to make time for something. Maybe you want to get that Christmas album done by the end of summer vacation, or maybe you want to finish organizing your 1995 photos by the end of the month—just having a specific goal in mind will make you more likely to take steps to reach that goal.
11. Replace Social Media Time
If we were to actually keep track of how much time we spend on Facebook, Pinterest (and Farmville and Candy Crush, etc., etc.), we’d probably be very surprised. Try replacing your social media time (or at least part of it) with memory keeping…we know you won’t regret it!
12. Scrap Whenever You Watch TV
Another great way to get something done is to pair it with an activity you enjoy. Make a commitment to work on preserving your memories anytime you sit down to watch TV.
13. Dedicate a Space to Memory Keeping
Productivity can often be improved just by dedicating a space for a certain task. Dedicate a space to memory keeping (ideally a place where you can leave projects you’re in the middle of), and decorate it with things that inspire you, like a vision board.
How do you find time for memory keeping? Tell us in the comments below.
Preserving memories is my life’s work. It’s at the heart of everything I do, from my own personal scrapbooking to the vision I have for this company. The milestones, the every day routines, the light in a child’s eye as they discover the world—these are the moments, stories, and images I seek to capture. And when I do, I carefully place them in scrapbook albums for safekeeping. Though they may just look like pretty paper and photos to someone else, they are my most prized possessions. The stories they tell are my personal history and the history of my family.
It is because of my passion for memory keeping that I’m excited to launch a new series of blog posts called “Stories from the Heart.” I want you, my readers and dear friends, to look through your old scrapbooks, find a page or layout with a story you want to tell, and then share that story with the world through our blog.
Stories from the Heart is a celebration of memory keeping, a reminder of why we do what we do, an opportunity to share the beautiful stories that fill our scrapbooks.
To launch this series, I want to share the story behind one of my favorite scrapbook layouts. 🙂
We were doing a photos shoot for the 1998 September & October edition of I Love Remembering, a magazine subscription we published back in the day.
The photo shoot was in western Utah (basically in the middle of the desert!), and we were taking pictures of my daughters, Aubrey and Rachel, in an abandoned pioneer schoolhouse. They had on these adorable matching outfits, including hand-stamped sweaters and backpacks, which were back-to-school crafting projects we’d be featuring in the magazine article.
The two photos on the right page of my scrapbook layout are some additional photos taken from this photo shoot. I loved all the pictures we took that day, and I wanted to preserve some of them in my own scrapbook.
The photo of the girls hugging absolutely melts my heart. It perfectly captures the love these sisters have for each other to this day. No matter how different they may be, they always have each other’s back.
In contrast to these professionally staged photos, the big photo on the left page was completely unplanned! It was a scorching hot day, and after wearing those hand-stamped sweaters, Aubrey and Rachel were melting like popsicles! They went to find some shade in the schoolhouse, and when they came back out, they had taken off their little sweaters, and this beautiful scene appeared: The rustic blue door, the sunflowers Rachel was still holding from the shoot, the sweet, tired looks on their faces—it was such a perfect moment, so I had to take a picture.
I think part of the reason I loved this shot was because it captured their cute little personalities. Rachael is staring at the camera head-on with confidence, holding the bouquet of flowers like a professional model. My sweet Aubrey is more shy and subdued, and you can see that in this photo by the way she is holding herself, legs turned in, arms tucked behind her back. She is my gentle, darling girl.
It’s still amazing to me how grown up they look in this photo. I remember being there and thinking, “I can already picture what they will look like as young women…my goodness.”
Those are the stories behind these scrapbook photos, and I hope you enjoyed hearing them. I know I loved going down memory lane as I remembered the stories of how these photos came to be.
I want to hear your stories now. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, and I want to hear your thousand words! Your stories are beautiful and deserve to be shared. Help me celebrate memory keeping—and help others realize the full value of this art—by submitting your stories to us. Read the bottom of this post to find out how.
Before I sign off, I just want to take a moment to thank you all for your friendship. One of the beautiful things about memory keeping is that it brings people together, and I’m so grateful for all the wonderful stories and memories I have with you.
Wishing you my love as you tell your stories,
If you would like a chance to share your story on our blog, here’s what you’ll need to do:
Find one scrapbook page or layout (please just one!) that you’d like to share.
Tell us the story behind the photo. What was happening? Who is in the photo? Is there something funny that happened before or after the photo was taken? Why is this photo meaningful to you?
Take a high-resolution photo of yourself (you can even be holding the pages or your entire scrapbook!).
Take a high-resolution photo of the layout or page on a flat surface (use natural lighting to improve the quality, and take the pages out of the protectors so they don’t reflect in the flash).
Email the photos and story to us at email@example.com with the subject “Stories from the Heart.” If we decide to share your story on the blog, we will contact you!
We can’t wait to start reading all your stories! 🙂
I’m a big fan of “I Love Lucy.” I watch it almost every day, and regardless of whether I’m having a good day or a bad day, it always lifts my spirits. I have wonderful memories of watching this show and of how it became part of my family’s life, too. My youngest daughter, Aubrey, has grown to love it as well. It’s something we share, and I love that.
Today is National “I Love Lucy” Day, so I thought it would be a great time to share about how this television show is a part of my life, and how even trivial things like the TV shows we watch can become cherished memories.
We often think about scrapbooking as a way to document important life events: births, graduations, weddings, holidays, and so on. These are the natural moments and milestones to scrapbook, especially for beginners who need a place to start. However, it’s important to remember that scrapbooking is so much more than documenting a series of events: It’s about creating a personal record, so when your children and their children look through your albums, they get to know what you were like—your personality, your habits, your likes and dislikes, and your stories.
That’s why I especially love scrapbooking as a form of memory keeping. Even the beautiful artwork you create is a reflection of who you are! You’re unique, and so are the ways you choose to document your stories with paper and ink.
“I Love Lucy” is a part of who I am, and I want my children and their children to think of me each time they come across an episode.
So how about you? What TV shows, books, or other forms of entertainment are a part of your life to the point that telling your story would be incomplete without them? Write those things down and consider adding them to your scrapbooks! Then take it another step further and try writing down a list of other objects, routines, likes, dislikes, and stories that are a part of who you are. Start documenting these things in your scrapbooks to preserve your memory. I know this will bring you and future generations so much happiness.
Wishing you love as you tell your stories,
P.S. I’ve love to see your list, the photos you take, and your scrapbook pages. Share them on social media by using the hashtag #memorykeepingmatters.
In only a few short days, Seasonal Expressions 1 will go live to the public! You’re going to love what this idea book has to offer. It’s chock-full of fresh products and inspiration that are a whole lot of fun. We’re excited to see what you create!
As a special treat to celebrate this upcoming release, we asked Chief Communications Officer Monica Wihongi to share the story behind the Seasonal Expressions 1 cover photo—it’s a behind-the-scenes glance with a sweet little twist!
As many of you may already know, my son Jonah is the cover model on Seasonal Expressions 1. We had been planning on using Jonah as the cover model for a while, but when the day finally came to bring him to the photo shoot, he was being less than enthusiastic about the whole thing. We pulled up to the model home and rushed upstairs to change him into his dress clothes. After we were inside the house, his attitude improved a little because of how much he loved the beautiful model home. (Let’s be honest, everyone loved it!)
But he was still acting a little reluctant, so before we went back downstairs, I told him if he did his best during the photo shoot, I would buy him any treat he wanted. He was suddenly much more enthusiastic! After we finished the shoot, he said, “Mom! I figured out what I want for my treat!” “What?” I said, expecting him to say something like ice cream or a candy bar. “I want this house!” he said.
A house?! Where does he come up with this stuff? I didn’t want to dash his dreams, but a house?! I decided to play it cool, so I said, “Why don’t we just get you ice cream or something?” “Ok!” he said, and then we hopped in the car. Phew! That was easy. I drove home grateful that a successful photo shoot was something I could buy at the price of an ice cream cone.
But what I loved the most about the whole experience is that just before the photographer snapped what would become the cover photo, he said, “Jonah, look at your mom.” Jonah’s brown eyes glanced sideways at me and immediately his whole face melted into that mischievous and adorable grin. Oh, Jonah—he always brings the cute factor!