Celebrating Your Graduate

It’s time to celebrate! Are you having a party or an open house? Yay!

Set up the party area.

IMG_1745-Make decorating easy! Use things you already have that feature your graduate.

-Place memorabilia such as trophies, awards, achievements around the party area.

-Did you make a senior tribute collage or project? Use the tribute at the party!

A slideshow that is on a continuous loop to play on your TV or computer display is always fun for the guests to watch

What’s the graduate’s next step?

Acknowledge their future plans such as college, military, travel or an internship. Most colleges have school logo items such as pennants, hats or clothing that you can put on a table to display their next step. If they have enlisted into the military a camouflage table cloth can work. For travel, use maps or travel guides as display items to highlight this milestone.

Are you ready? Or are you realizing you do not have the time to honor your graduate the way you want? I can help! From a celebration album to a beautiful slideshow, I’ll work alongside you to help you create meaningful gifts that also make great decorations at your party! Shoot me an email if you are interested in a free 30 minute consultation and I’ll help you with this milestone event.

Creating the Graduation Album Project in 4 Simple Steps

4916269_lYou’ve decided to create an album for your graduate, have a deadline and are ready to get started.  In this phase, you will be gathering everything that’s important to your graduate. Then digitizing anything that’s in paper or 3-dimensional form. You will develop a workable plan to complete your project in time. And finally, design your project.

Step One: Create a Timeline

A timeline can be a useful tool to complete a goal. With a breakdown of each phase, you can stay on task. The best way to approach this is to look at your deadline and work backwards.

  • Album publishing: 2 weeks
  • Album creation: 4-8 weeks. Depends upon the number of photos.
  • Digitizing: 2-3 weeks. Also depends upon number of photos.
  • Gathering: 1-2 weeks. This depends upon the organization of your collection and the number of photos you have.
  • Set daily goals.
  • If all you have is 15 minutes, you can use it to start going through pictures or albums. Use a journal, post-its, or a log to keep track of where to start next time you have time. You’re already farther along than you were 15 minutes ago!

 Now start from the beginning and mark your timeline on your calendar.

 Step Two: Gather

  • Grab their photos, artwork and memorabilia and put everything into one central location. A large bin or box that can hold letter or legal size handing file folder works well for keeping photos, documents and memorabilia organized.
  • Consider sub-themes. School years, holidays, birthdays, sports, activities, and vacations are typical sub-themes.
  • Mementos. Set aside artwork or awards to be considered for your project.  Anything three-dimensional can be photographed and incorporated into your book.

 Step Three: Digitize

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADigitize what’s in paper form. Scanning can be time intensive, so if you’re short on time, check for local scanning services or contact us if you are in the Denver area.

Photography is another option. Use the best camera you have making sure you have good lighting and a simple background. Once everything is in digital format, you can start designing your senior project.

Step Four: Album Design

For album design ideas, check out our blog post “9 Easy Steps to Designing A Themed Album

Making an album for your graduate should be fun! If you are feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to help. Email me today and I’m happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

Three Simple Steps to Honor Your Graduate this Spring!

The school year is winding down. With every school request for a photo collage or tribute, you wonder how to personally honor your graduate.
You might be feeling discouraged by what you haven’t done so far.
Or overwhelmed about what to do with their memorabilia.

Don’t panic!

In this three part series, you’ll have the tools to honor your graduate in a way that works for you.

27430394_lStep One: What’s the goal?

Let’s assume you have dreamed about making your grateful graduate a photo book. This can be as inclusive as their whole life, from diapers to graduation. An album of this type is called a life book.

If that feels overwhelming, you can reduce the scope and create a theme book. Some easy themes are High School, Hobbies or Activities. Keep in mind: this book should be as unique as your graduate.

Step Two: Get Real

At this busy time you need think realistically about what you can accomplish. Is it truly possible to have this project completed in time for graduation? Would it be more realistic to wait until your graduate flies the coop in the fall?

Step Three: Availability

How much time can you devote? An hour, all day, or just a little here and there? This will help to determine the project scope: a life tribute which takes more time or a themed project. Once you’ve determined the scope of the project, it’s time to think about its contents.

Making an album for your graduate should be fun! If you are feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to help. Email me today and I’m happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.

This is Part One of the Honoring your Graduate series. Part Two covers Creating the Graduation Album Project.


9 Easy Steps to Designing a Themed Photo Album

Designing and creating a photo album can be a daunting task. There are ways to keep it simple and manageable. A themed album can help to keep it to a reasonable project and with this approach, you can get an album finished in no time.

Canvas album cover sampleStep One – Select your theme

What’s the topic or reason for this album? Keep the focus narrow such as Our Hawaii Vacation rather than Every Vacation I’ve Ever Taken in My Life.
If you try to do too much you will feel overwhelmed.
Then what felt easy becomes impossible.
You’ll find yourself devoting your efforts and attention to everything but completing the album!

Step Two – Choose the album type & size

Scrapbook or digital album? My preference is digital because it’s faster, you can duplicate your efforts and easier to achieve. Choosing the album size is an important decision at this point in the process because it is tied to the number of photos to be used. Some common sizes are 8×8, 11×8 and 12×12. There are many photo book sites where you can create and publish your own album. Some of our favorites are Picaboo & Mixbook. Pick the best quality album you can afford.

Step Three – Select the photos

If this is your first attempt, think small and manageable. The optimum quantity is about 100 photos. Plan on putting 4-5 photos onto a page. If you want to do a collage, we suggest no more than 9 photos on a page.
The more photos on a side, the smaller each will need to be. You want each photo to be noticed so the page doesn’t appear too busy. Look for photos that tell the story. Capture people looking their best – be kind!

Step Four – Layout

Use sub-themes to plan the sequencing of your album and its layout.
For example, if you were making a Christmas album, the main theme would be the year and sub-theme is the activity such as opening presents, dinner and decorations.

Step Five – Designing and Production

Drag photos into the pages using pre-designed templates. Don’t let perfectionism get hold. Just get pictures onto the pages. You will feel a huge sense of accomplishment from just getting this part done! Then you can tidy up the pages later.

Step Six – Captions and Stories

This is where you can get friends and family involved. You could have them email their stories to you.

Then just cut and paste the text into your album. Upload photos to a sharing site like Flickr so they can look at them and add comments. A caption can be as simple as just identifying the year, the person or the event. Or you can add a catchy phrase – but only if that’s your personality. If not, don’t fret about it. Remember this is your story and if writing isn’t your thing – just add quick captions and dates if you can!

Step Seven – Drafts

Plan to do this in drafts. Remember when you were in school and wrote drafts of that English paper? This is loads more fun – because it’s your story. You’ll be thanking yourself for doing that second pass through, especially when you inevitably find those typos you missed on the first one. Step back from this project for a bit and return to it after a few days. You’ll be surprised by what you find and the clarity you gain with some breathing room.

Step Eight – Pretty and Tidy

It’s time to take a look at some details. Once I’ve selected my favorite photos I can’t enjoy how they look on the album page if the margins aren’t neat and balanced. That’s my preference for a timeless design. But I’ll admit this is where my perfectionism can slow things down. If that’s not you (or you truly don’t care), then pay no attention to me! But if you have customized the page layouts and you’re picky, then you’ll be glad you spent the extra time to make it right. And in keeping with the clean and tidy concept, I prefer a background that’s simple so it doesn’t detract from the photos I’ve so carefully selected.

Step Nine – Place the Order!

Congrats! You’ve worked hard & now have a beautiful album to be enjoyed by generations. Consider ordering extra copies for family and friends. And if your album design software allows, save a copy on your computer and another copy on a backup drive. Then if something happens to the original copy you can order it again. This album style could be a template for future albums!

Making an album should be fun! If you are feeling overwhelmed, I’m here to help. Email me today and I’m happy to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.



Are Your Photos Safe from Disaster?

If you were faced with evacuating your home because of an impending natural disaster, what would be the most important items to take with you? Experts recommend thinking of the 4 P’s: People, Pets, Papers and Photos. For most people just taking care of the people, creatures and pets is more than they can fathom. Then planning for how to evacuate their photo collection is just overwhelming. With a plan, your precious family photos could be safely secured and out of harms way. Your collection could be organized, digitized and safely secured. But what if the thought of accomplishing this goal seems overwhelming? Don’t despair; help is in your neighborhood through Save Your Photos Day,  “Save Your Photos Day is dedicated to offering individuals the opportunity to connect through local community events, activities and resources that highlight what they can do to safeguard their photos and treasured memorabilia before disasters or accidents occur. “

A Colorado member of the Save Your Photos Alliance, Picture This Organized is participating in a free community event on September 27, held at 2 locations in the Denver Metro area, that includes workshops and free on-site scanning. For details on this event, click here for press release. “The planning and organizing that goes into these preservation activities actually allows people to enjoy their photos and other memorabilia in the process of preparing the preservation plan-it’s a win-win” says Colorado SYPA member Deena Coutant of DigiDeena Consulting.

For our Denver-based readers, if you’re feeling anxious about the safety of your photo collection, stop by the Save Your Photos Alliance event on September 27. You’ll go home inspired and encouraged with a plan to protect your photos and memorabilia.  If you live outside the Denver area, visit SaveYourPhotos.org to find the community event nearest you.


Keeping With Tradition

Mom taking picture of family holiday dinner.
Holiday dinner.

Have you put all your decorations away and untrimmed your house for 2014? I know some people take their tree down the day after Christmas while others keep it up through the new year to maximize their enjoyment of the festive holiday season. Whether you do it early or late, now is a great time to jot down your favorite traditions!

Traditions are defined by a group of related ideas that have lasted for a long time. They are important to remind us of where we came from and give us a sense of belonging. During the holidays our food, gifts, music and even our households showcase our spiritual beliefs, family history and are reminders of what’s important to us. Traditions are a part of our family legacy. They reflect our upbringing and provide opportunity to share and honor treasured relationships.

As you reflect upon this past holiday season, think about the traditions you enjoy and document them. Make that one of your resolutions for this new year. Jot down your favorites and take pictures of the memorabilia and keepsakes. Recipes, ticket stubs, holiday cards and letters from friends can all be useful to share these traditions.

Then make a themed slideshow or album to highlight them. Bob Green’s book, “To Our Children’s Children” has a chapter on holidays and celebrations. He shares some thought provoking questions to help initiate conversations with family and friends. Traditions become like habits to those continuing them. Sharing their origin and the stories of how they got started are important for passing along their role in family legacy. For example, one year our family decided to look at Christmas lights after church. We didn’t have any extended family and were looking for an activity to fill the time till bedtime. It was so much fun that we decided to continue the tradition and have been enjoying this tradition for several years.

Tell the stories of how your family traditions began. Are they from your childhood? Did you create new ones once you moved out on your own? Ask your children what their favorite traditions are. Reading these stories each year can become a new tradition for next Christmas! If you want some help getting started contact me. We can create a plan for sharing your traditions.

Holiday Photo Gifts from the Heart

Collage Calendar

  “The best gifts come from the heart, not the store.” ― Sarah Dessen, Lock and Key

If you’ve ever received the gift of a drawing, a hand written poem, or framed photo from a special event, you know the truth of that statement first hand. As the year comes to a close, we spend time with family and friends reminiscing about our adventures together. What better way to enhance the sharing of those times than with a gift that remains a visual reminder of your time together?

Here are some ideas that may just fit perfectly with someone on your list:

  1. Wall Calendar: This personalized gift is a lasting reminder of special people and events from the the past. Use photos from the current year, or go back in time and pull memories from long ago to add to the nostalgia of the calendar. Leave notes of love and encouragement throughout the year by personalizing specific days. You can even add small photos to special days, like birthdays and anniversaries, or just to share more photos.
  2. Collage Calendar: Select a handful of photos to use as the background collage to be displayed all year. Pick a special event to commemorate or a celebrate the life of a loved one with a favorite picture from each decade.
  3. Themed Photo Album: Using 50 of your favorite photos, relive memories from a recent family reunion or milestone in a beautiful book. Remember to include memorabilia like ticket stubs, invitations, or pictures of small tokens collected during the event along with the stories that will really make the album come to life.
  4. Playing Cards: If you’re in a Bunco or poker group, surprise the host with a deck of cards sporting a group photo or pick their favorite mascot or motto and put that image on the deck.xmas playing cards - Page 001
  5. Water Bottles: Isn’t it amazing where you can put a photo anymore? Use this fun gift to encourage a special friend who has changed their life by incorporating daily exercise or give one with a family photo so your loved one can smile every day at the memory invoked by the photo.
  6. Coasters: Using no more than four photos, in just a few minutes you can create and order coasters to celebrate a newly married couple, a couple celebrating a milestone anniversary, a family welcoming a new addition, your child’s favorite teacher or coach, or a neighbor who coordinates the annual block party. If you like crafts, consider making some photo coasters out of ceramic tiles from your local hardware store. Check out my Pinterest page for some instructions.

Whichever idea you choose, there’s still time! Take advantage of seasonal discounts and create your personalized gifts this weekend! If you love the idea of giving something personal but you just can’t fit the creative piece of the project in to your already busy schedule, contact me. I’d be happy to help. Happy Holidays!