Saturday, August 7, 2010

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Record Your Stories

Inside us, we all have a story to share, a story of triumph, a story of healing, a story of blessing or a dear memory that we don't want forgotten.  The most ordinary of lives can yield the most extraordinary of stories.  No one wants to read your stories, you say? Don't believe that hype! I read a book put together by a woman I've never met, about her grandparents, whom I've also never met and was moved to tears! She put together one of the most beautiful books of her grandparent's love story and it was entitled The Dress.  It wasn't fancy or heavily embellished but it's my most favorite Heritage Makers book to date.

My children read look at their books over and over again. I've found it to be a great way to encourage reading when my daughter was first learning to read. We would read about Grandpa and Gigi and her birth story. What child doesn't want to read a book that features them (or some one they know) as the main character? And even better...what better way to share the stories of our family heritage and keep the loved one that they don't see often visible in our daily lives? Yes, the photos and the stories behind them are an important part of who we are and yes, they need to be written down. So here are the top 10 reasons you should record your stories:

10.  The world will be a richer place for your having written your stories.
  9.   In telling how you survived painful times in your past, you teach useful coping skills to your descendants and come to a greater understanding and peace.
  8.  The things you did when you were young are as remote from children today as the Earth is from Mars.
  7.  You are part of the history of your city, state and country.
  6.  There are many pieces of information nobody else knows about you.
  5.  The stories you heard from your grandparents will die without you.
  4.  Let your descendants know that you were a real person and not just a name on a tree.
  3.  You owe it to yourself and to your family.
  2.  No one else knows the stories of your life quite like you do.

AND...the #1 reason you should record your stories is...
  1. No one has a better perspective of you than YOU!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's Christmas in July!!

We have an amazing deal going on now through the end of this month that I just had to share! I know for many out there, Christmas has the tendency to sneak up on you. Then you find yourself scrambling for the perfect gift.  For the past several years, I have had my Christmas shopping done, gifts wrapped and under the tree by Thanksgiving! It's such a great feeling too. Then I don't get caught in the holiday rush and the long lines and the perfect item being out of stock. I remember one year calling every Toys R Us in the state looking for a particular doll house that guessed it, on back order! Often times, I am just as surprised as the recipient when they open the gift because it's been wrapped and waiting for so long. At any rate, if you want to give something really special this season or have some other gift giving to do over the next few months, you will definitely want to take advantage of this special. Cards, invitations and all canvas sizes are at the lowest price of the season! And stay tuned for more exciting deals as the gift giving season draws near and new products are launched in the fall. This year give memories instead of gifts.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

What is a Crop?

A CROP is a planned quality time to work on your album or project without the interruptions of the phone ringing, the kids or husband calling, the housework or the other 19 other projects beckoning around the house! It is a time for exchanging ideas, learning new techniques and tricks, meeting new people who share your passion for preserving memories, laughter, stories and sometimes even tears! CROPS are a great deal of fun and wonderful for catching up on your pages and projects.

What do I bring?
All you really need to bring to a laptop crop is your laptop. However, if you have photos that you want to have digitized or traditional scrapbooks that you would like to have digitized, you may bring those to be scanned while you crop.

May I shop during the crop?
Absolutely! There are great specials available at crops, so by all means take advantage of the sales!

Can I bring a friend?
Absolutely! Seating is limited at crops, so make sure you call ahead to see if there is ample space.

Can I bring my children?
No. If for some reason your sitter falls through, we do ask that you reschedule. This is a time for you and the other ladies to get away from your children and responsibilities. However, storybookers in training that are over the age of 12 are welcome along and nursing moms may bring quiet infants.

Where can I find the crop schedule?
Join our fan page The Storybook Life to receive crop calendar notifications and view the schedule. If the crop schedule does not fit your needs, call or email us. We are happy to plan an unscheduled crop for you and 4 friends.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Creative Break Through

First let me say that there is nothing like operating under a deadline to get your juices flowing. HM is discontinuing the publishing of 12x18 posters. A few months ago I had come up with the idea of putting my daughter on the cover of 3 magazines and making them into posters to decorate her room. I did the first one and never completed the other 2. This past weekend, not only did I complete the other two, but I did two additional posters, a deck of cards and completed a first grade yearbook! Only 2 weeks left to get these published. For clients that still have 12x18 credits however, these will be transferred to the 18x24 poster size.

I love when I catch her in motion. Obviously she loves to dance. The lead photo used here was her doing the macarena in the rain. I don’t ever remember my parents letting us dance in the rain. Once in a while you just have to throw caution to the wind and live a little. It was actually kind of fun and your children think that you are the coolest ever! Anyone else ever danced in the rain?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Top 10 Signs of a Storybooking Addiction

10.  You're in a fender bender and your first thought is, "I wonder if there is an HM template for this event?"
9.  Your three year old wants to know if her coloring book is "archival quality."
8.  You decide to give your child piano lessons so you'll be able to use the musical instrument embellishments that are in the art gallery.
7.  You redecorate your family room to coordinate with your storybook covers.
6.  Your child is the only one in agriculture class who thinks "crop" is to cut your photos.
5.  You buy a new pink swimsuit because it coordinates with the new Cocoa Couture art collection.
4.  You try to claim your premier membership as a medical expense because storybooking is such good therapy.
3.  A regular sandwich is no longer acceptable--it must be cropped or cut with decorative edges.
2.  You are more likely to have a camera on your shoulder than your purse.
1.  You're the only one at a social gathering yelling, "Just one more photo; I don't have enough for a two page spread!

Hello everyone! My name is Yolanda and I'm a Storybooking Addict!

Monday, April 19, 2010

How I Became "The Memory Keeper"

Although the seed had been planted a few months before, it started in early 2002. I took a weekend trip to New York and decided that while I was there, I would visit Ground Zero. I'm not sure exactly why I wanted to go, but I felt it was something I needed to do while I was there. I came across a vendor selling brag books of photos from the attacks to the clean up as a fundraiser. He was uniformed, so I believed this to be true.

I had absolutely no idea what I would do with this photos. As I contemplated buying them, I thought, one day I will have a child that may be doing a report on this event in history. So, I purchased the photos and continued with my visit. I  have to say when I approached the wall of messages and memorials, I had a very emotional experience. I don't know that I can really put that into words. I came on home with that experience weighing on my heart.

A few weeks later, I was cleaning up my spare bedroom and found (underneath an unfinished project) a laundry basket full of envelopes of photos. There must have 20 or so envelopes! Anyone else out there take photos, get them printed, look through them and then stash them some where? Here they were, precious memories that I had captured, so excited to have them developed, and then toss them aside. I recalled a conversation I had with my friend The Hair Whisperer about scrapbooking. I was adamantly against doing anything crafty because I was not a crafty person. But I thought, I can make a scrapbook to preserve these photos.

A few months later, I found out I was pregnant with my first child. I decided I would have to give scrapbooking a try so that I could make a baby book when my daughter was born. So I went on a mission to find out what I could about scrapbooking so that I would be a pro by the time my daughter arrived. Let me just remind you here, that at this point in the story, I still had not started the 9-11 book yet. I walked into Michael's for the FIRST TIME EVER! I was overwhelmed, but I picked up a few kits and decided to scrapbook my entire life up to this point. I became a fanatic! I soon discovered the local scrapbook store, Scrapbook Plaza, which is no more, but it became my second home. I took classes, made friends and developed my skill. I even earned my Bachelor's and Master's in Scrapbooking from Scrapbook Design University!

In 2004, I took my first scrapbooking weekend retreat and finally completed my 9-11 commemorative album. The photos that launched my VERY FIRST HOBBY, my passion, and my business was finally completed 2 years later. 

Are there any other crafters out there? What's your craft and how did you get started?

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Bowling With My Boy

So, Zachary turned 4 last week. I can't believe he's already 4! They grow up so fast. We started the day with him opening his gift. If we are friends on Facebook, you probably already know how much he loves the movie Cars. So he got a Cars bicycle. Since he wanted Handy Manny tools (and costume) for Christmas, we thought he might enjoy putting it together. So he got dressed up in his hard hat and tool belt and went to work. One word~ADORABLE!

Times have been tight financially, so we didn't have a party. In retrospect it would have cost me less, if not the same amount of money to have a party. When exactly did bowling stop being an affordable family outing?!?! I was shocked at how much it cost for shoes, the lane (per person/per game) plus food and drink.

Ok, the cost aside, my little man had a blast! We asked him what he wanted to do for his big day and gave him 3 choices. Hannah and Lauren wanted skating or Monkey Joes. When we weren't around, I am pretty sure they tried to convince him to go somewhere else. However, when we all got in the car, I asked him one more time and he said he wanted to go bowling. He was so funny! I wished I had taken video because the lighting was so bad my pictures didn't come out very well. But I will forever remember the happy dances and the jumping around in excitement whenever he knocked some pins down! It was so worth it! I don't really bowl but I think he did pretty good; he bowled a 68.

We finished off the afternoon with a stop at dairy queen for blizzards. I selected a few pictures for this month's photo spotlight.

Monday, March 15, 2010

What’s in a Name?

I’m not certain, but I think my mother chose my name. She went high school in an area where there were a lot of Hispanics and liked the name Yolanda. While I have met several Hispanics named Yolanda, I wasn’t sure it was of Spanish origin. I recently did a little research. Most sites said it was of Greek origin or Greek and Spanish origin. They all agreed that the name meant violet flower. I also found out that it peaked in popularity in the early 1970s, which happens to be when I was born.

Growing up, I didn’t really like my name all that much. For one reason, most people butchered it, mispronouncing it all the time. Secondly, there were all these cool personalized items like key rings, zipper pulls, nameplates, stickers and the like, but there was never, ever a Yolanda. Lastly, I didn’t meet another Yolanda until I was in high school. The originality of my name in my circles may have been a good thing, but I didn’t recognize that until years later. I really, really wanted a “regular” name like Karen or Jennifer. I did try to have a little fun with it. At one point I would develop aliases and try them out, like when I met a guy I wasn’t really interested in-I’d give him a fake name.

There came a time when I was reading about how it was considered disrespectful to your parents to trash or change your given name. Apparently in some cultures and certainly in the Bible, the given name had significant meaning to the family or events in their life at that time. I have great parents, whom I love and honor, so I still have my name. However, my childhood isn’t without scarring.

For a nickname, I was called Gypsy. My great-grandmother called my Gypsy. She struggled with saying my given name and gave me this nickname. At the time, my parents lived out of state and traveled I-95 heavily. Great-grandma Ida likened us to gypsies and that’s how I got my nickname. As a child, it didn’t matter to me. I hadn’t known any different. As a teenager however, I would beg and plead to not be embarrassed in front of my friends by being called by “that” name.

I had long reconciled myself with my name when I began to meet other Yolanda’s. In fact, there were four Yolanda’s in my high school. Okay, this was confusing. You always had to ask “which Yolanda?” in conversations. With the embracing of my name came a little more research: what does it say about me? I found some interesting things for example; I am a person motivated by success. I am a joyful person. I have reasoning power and I am known for loyalty. I don’t like leaving things unfinished and I have inherent artistic qualities. I don’t even remember which site I found this stuff, and I don’t know how valid the information is, however, I did feel as though it was pretty factual about me. Perhaps, I just became inspired to be all those things.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Generation That Lost Their History

Almost everyone you meet these days owns a digital camera. It's always interesting to hear what people do with their photos after they take them. Some people storybook them, others scrapbook. Some people I meet actually keep their photos stored on their memory stick and just keep buying new ones. Others I meet, upload them to their computer and think that they are safe. I have run into so many people in my profession, who have lost precious photos because their computer crashed.

You should always have a back up of your irreplaceable files. Photos are the proof of our history, of the life and times and memories we've shared. If they are lost, no amount of insurance can replace them. Back your files up on CD or DVD and store them in a safe place, like a safety deposit box or in the home of another relative or friend. Even better, get online storage. Several companies, including Heritage Makers, offers online photo storage. Some are free for a limited amount of space and others are fee-based for an unlimited amount of space. Then if something happens to your computer, you can always download them back to your new computer or hard drive.

Don't be part of the generation that lost their history to a simple hard drive crash!

Yolanda Ventura~The Memory Keeper's Coach

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Scan Project HAITI

In the wake of the devastation that the people of Haiti are dealing with, I am reminded of the importance of preservation. So many people lost their lives and so many will NEVER be identified. This country so rich with history; a legacy of pride, of hope, of resilience...needs our help.

Many of us (or someone we know) still have pre-digital photos that if lost or destroyed in an unexpected disaster couldn’t be replaced. Those memories could be lost to our families forever.

I am organizing a Scan-A-Thon February 6th from 10am-5pm at the New World Café located 4112 Pleasant Valley Road Raleigh, NC 27612-2634. Patrons can bring in their shoebox of photos and have them scanned at high resolution and archived on CD or thumb drive. Fifty percent of the proceeds will be donated to the American Red Cross to aid in relief efforts for the people of Haiti.

You can help by letting your friends know about this event and/or bringing your own photos in to be scanned. The goal is to scan 10,000 photos. I intend to have 3 scanners on site so we can accommodate 1200-1500 photos per hour! I have also posted a video of the scanner in action, so you can see for yourself how this can be done so quickly.

Scan Pricing Details

1-99 photos 39 cents per scan

100-499 photos 29 cents per scan

500+ photos 19 cents per scan

Photos will be scanned to CD (Feel free to bring your own thumb drive)

**Scanner can accommodate up to 8" wide and 14" in length.

Help spread the word and Scan Your Memories for Haitian Relief!

Yolanda Ventura~The Memory Keeper's Coach

High-Speed photo scanning with Heritage Makers

Scan Your Memories for Haitian Relief February 6th at the New World Cafe. We will be there from 10am-5pm.