Friday, February 8, 2013

On Curating Memories in Multiple Digital Places

I've been hearing lots of buzz recently on adding links and QR codes to scrapbook pages as a way to curate and combine the memories you may have in multiple places like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, personal blogs, Pinterest, etc. I know I've thought about it. Sometimes I'm better at keeping our memories up to date and detailed on my social media sites than I am at making scrapbook pages. What can I say? Social media sites have made it so easy for us.

The Digi Show (a weekly podcast about digital scrapbooking that I listen to) talked about it in this episode, and it resonated with me. I want to share a full story on my scrapbook pages, but sometimes the story goes beyond what I can put on the page.  I thought about a history project my son did recently. He wanted to make a stop motion video about the Battle of Gettysburg using his army men. He and I did it together! I knew it would be easy to record my feelings and perspective on the project in journaling, but half of the story was the actual video that I posted on YouTube! How was I going to have that represented? Same memory - recorded in 2 places....

Here's what I did...


I wrote my story and I added a QR code linked to the YouTube video in the journaling box. (If you want to scan the QR code, the best way to do it is to look at the full size version in flickr. It should be big enough to scan there.)

Here's how I did it...
1) I downloaded a QR code generator to my iPhone. There are bunches of them, but I chose one that did not have to be connected to the internet for it to work, and it was that's a plus.  When it generates the QR code, it is saved as a picture in my photo stream on my phone.

2) I transferred it to my computer. I used the flickr app to upload it, then downloaded it to my computer. But there are 100 ways to get a picture from your phone to a computer. Pick your fave.

3) I altered it in PSE. I used the magic wand tool with it set on "add to selection" and I continued to click the little black squares until they all had the marching ants around them.

magicwand tool

 I then chose Layer>New>Layer via cut. That puts all the black squares on their own layer.


I pulled the black squares layer onto its own canvas, and then I added a layer of solid light blue color above the dot layer, and then I clipped them together.  Check out this tutorial on clipping masks.
Then my ugly black and white QR code matched the cute kit that I wanted to use, and it's ready to go. (The kit is Retrospective by One Little Bird). I just put it on my page like any other element.

Here's some thoughts on using QR codes.
1) You need to make sure your code colors have enough contrast. A tone on tone QR code may look nice to you, but it will be hard for your scanner to read.
2) Make sure it's big enough. I'm actually afraid that when I go to print my page out the code will be too small to be read by my phone scanner. I usually print my pages out at 8x8. I definitely will make my code a little bigger next time.
3) Think about the longevity of your link. I've posted the video that goes with this layout in a few different places - YouTube, Facebook, Twitter - but I figured my YouTube account will be around the longest with the least amount of changes. Maybe I'm wrong....but that's what I went with. Think about connecting your layouts to sites you have the most control over - like a personal blog.
4) Think of it like a treasure hunt for the future. I know years ago, I would record myself and my students and children talking and singing on cassette tapes. I don't even own a cassette player now, but if I wanted to hear them, I could figure out how to do it. The same goes with old versions of film and video. There are services today that convert those film versions into DVD. I think its the same with QR readers. I don't think they're going anywhere, but if they do, someone will be converting them.

For me, this is the first of many layouts of this type that I'll be doing. The layout has merit and value on it's own because it records my thoughts about the experience. Adding the QR code that links to the video helps to tell the rest of the story.

Think of all the people who dig through newspaper archives, public records,  microfilm, and ancestry sites to find out about their personal history. This is like "leaving crumbs on the trail" for your loved ones in the future to find things about them on the ever-expanding internet. I know my kids, especially my son, will enjoy going on the journey to find all the links to his story.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

From Pinterest to Real Life - The Collage Wall

I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.
I love/hate finding good things that waste my time because I'm already soooo good at wasting my own time. I also love/hate finding so many good things that I get overwhelmed thinking about the awesome potential of it all. And then I do...nothing.
See... that's why I love/hate Pinterest, and that's why I resisted joining up for so long. So I'm determined to only (mostly) pin things that I will actually (might actually in the future) do. And today I'm celebrating something I actually did! Yea ME!


I'm a photo addict. I love taking pictures and having pictures taken. I like displaying them, and fortunately in our new house we have HUGE walls and TONS of wall space. So I decided to do a collage wall.
Now note, I had done a collage wall in our old house, and I liked how it turned out, but I didn't love it. It never quite looked right. So I went to Pinterest and looked for some help in this area. I found this...

I found all of the pictures in the boxes that we had that had silver frames and collected them all together. There were 15. I traced them all out on an old roll of wrapping paper.


I also labeled what picture I had traced, and I marked where the hangers were on the'll see why in a minute.


And then I cut them all out. It was tedious, and I wondered if it was worth the hard work...but I pressed on. I initially arranged all of the paper cut outs on the floor. It was a little easier for me to move them around and play with them like puzzle pieces.

Collage wall project

Then I used my handy blue painters tape and bullet level and started taping them to the walls.

Collage wall project

I kept putting up my little squares on the wall until I had this

Collage wall project

Then I had my Main Squeeze come in and start drilling screws and hanging pictures. I totally could have done this myself, but he's so good at it, and it went very fast. It would have taken me 2 or 3 times as long.  Remember where I marked the hangers on the paper? He just put the screw in the wall through the paper, then ripped the paper off the wall. We did a little measuring and leveling at this point just to make sure it looked the way we wanted it to.

Collage wall project

When we finished, it looked like this....

Collage wall project

A couple lessons from this project...
*If you're a perfectionist, this project will drive you crazy. It's hard to take a 3D object like a frame and transfer it to a 2D piece of paper then cut it out perfectly and hang it level. If you look closely, my results are not perfect, but I think they're pretty great!
*Frames with table top stands are hard to hang on a flat wall. Your frame will not sit flat on the wall and will not look level. We destroyed several stands by ripping them off the back of the frame in this project. That was fun!
*Command strips by 3M are one of my favorite products. We had frames that just didn't want to hang right with the screws and hangers, so we'd cut a command strip and put it on the corner and it would help it stay.
*If you have old frames that aren't all the same color, use silver craft paint to make them all the same color. It saved me a ton of money.
*It does take a lot of time to trace, cut out, lay out and hang all the paper cut outs. But when it comes to the actual hanging, the time flies by. This day, my main squeeze and I had hung 29 pictures. Most of them by using this method. Once I got all the paper cut outs taped up, it took him an hour to hang the 29 pictures. Boosh.

Have you ever tried doing something like this? How did it turn out? Do you love or hate the process of hanging pictures?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The 5 of us on the 5th of June 2012

This is us...
...after the last basketball game of the season.
...about to go to the store to get last minute supplies for Resonate Tour.
...glad that school's out for the summer!!!
...looking blurry because we don't stand still much these days!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Thoughts on taking photos of your kids sports seasons

Jan09Andysfirstbballgame, originally uploaded by sarahscrappin.
I'm working on my son's scrapbook when he was 5 years old. One of the big things he did that year was play on a basketball team for the first time. He had five games that season. Do you know how many pictures I have for that season? 246. Yes, 246. It was a 5 game season. That number does not include the pictures I took during practice. How on God's green earth am I going to scrap 246 pictures???
I'm not.
I thought of about 4 stories I wanted to tell about that season - the first game, watching him develop as a player, having dad as a coach and "Be strong with the ball" - and those are the pages I'm going to make. It won't take 246 pictures to tell those stories.
Honestly, as I look at the 246 pictures, I'm glad I took them. I shared many of them with the parents of the other children on the team. Many of them were blurry, but there were a few gems. But I'm not going to put each of them on a scrapbook page. And I'm not going to feel guilty about it.
I take pictures differently now (three years later) I don't take as many pictures per game. I watch it more. I make mental (and physical) notes of the stories I want to tell. Unless you plan to write out the story of each game - the score, the stats, the highlights - you really only need a good shot or 2 from each game. This year, during my son's baseball season, I think I only took 20-30 pictures all season. There were some games I didn't even bring my camera. Sometimes I just used my phone camera to share the game with friends and family. It's another way I share my stories.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Memory keeping for teenagers

It's no secret that I enjoy scrapbooking. Besides the fact that it gives me an outlet for my creativity, it gives my family a place to appreciate how truly good our life is. I love watching my kids pull out the scrapbooks and look at photos of themselves and ask what they were like when they were babies or toddlers. I love talking to them and sharing memories. They always laugh. Now that my oldest 2 are starting to read, they can read the stories I recorded on my pages. I didn't scrapbook much before I got married, although I do have one scrapbook of My Main Squeeze and I when we were dating. I have one scrapbook of us before kids too. Then the "scrapbooking industry" blew up!

I kinda wonder what my scrapbook would have looked like as a teenager, and I wonder if my memories of my teen years would be different if I had recorded memories as they happen. I tend to remember some of the things that were hurtful in my teenage years - nothing permanently scarring, just typical teenage drama. But I know the everyday stuff of my teenage years was not so dramatic, and some of it was fun and funny and enjoyable....I just can't remember the details (except the time I tricked my parents into thinking I had gotten my belly button pierced....boy were they ticked....that was hilarious. But I digress...) I think if I had journaled or scrapbooked, I may have a different outlook of my teen years. I think teens today will even have a different outlook because of recording the everyday on facebook and twitter. Have you ever stalked a teen's timeline? Full of pictures, funny bits of conversation, jokes, links, stories, and a fair bit of being snarky at each other.

Here's the bottom line...Live your life to the fullest and record it so that when you look back on it, it's not just the bad that stands out (because our minds, by nature, tend to remember that stuff).

If you want some more thoughts on this subject, check out this link from Becky Higgins (a world famous scrapbook person). The reason I wrote this post was because I read this blog post.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The end of Chemo and a Confession

On March 8th I had my sixth and final chemo. YEA! My hubby picked up my older 2 kids from school and had them bring me lunch and flowers to the lab. Neither of them had gotten to see what chemo was like, and they both had bunches of questions about how it all worked, but by the time that last hour had passed, they had seen enough and were glad they could take me home. I was glad to be done, and settled in for the 5 days of misery that I had endured 5 times before, knowing this would be the end of it.

The 5 days passed pretty uneventfully - I was sick; I slept; I took my meds just as usual.

Then Tuesday happened. I went to Bible Study as usual. #3 and I got lunch, and then I picked up some groceries before getting the older 2 kids from school. Then I started itching. I thought I had just gotten some bug bites while waiting outside to pick up the kids. By dinnertime, I mentioned to my sweet friend who brought dinner to our house that I needed to find the benadryl lotion to put on these crazy bug bites. By bedtime, I was covered in hives over 75% of my body. After taking some benadryl and waiting, the hives seemed to chill out, and I fell asleep thinking the worst was over.

When I woke Wednesday, I started breaking out in hives again, and a call to the doctor was in order, but just before the office opened, my throat started closing. I drove straight to the doctor's office, and they gave me IV benadryl and steroids and fluids (because my blood pressure tanked too). This helped, and the doc sent me home with more meds to take in case it happened again. And it did....ongoing....for the next 5 days. There were more hives, more trips to the doctor, lots of benadryl, lots of crying and worrying and frustration because we really couldn't put a finger on what was causing it and nothing really was making it stop.

I saw a friend at church, and she said to me, "What's up with the hives?"
"I wish I could figure it out," was my weak response.
"Like you need to deal with one more thing," she added.
"Right!" I responded, feeling a sense of anger, resentment and entitlement, because after all I've been through already, I didn't need one more thing. I wanted to be better. I wanted to be done.
I had a few conversations similar to the one above, and they all ended with that same feeling of anger and resentment and entitlement...It made me feel yukky inside.

I kinda stayed in that funk most of the weekend. I didn't realize how much it was affecting my viewpoint until I heard our Student Choir sing Blessed Be Your Name with our Worship Pastor. They sang....
Blessed be Your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's 'all as it should be'
Blessed be Your name

Blessed be Your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be Your name

You give and take away!
You give and take away!
My heart will choose to say
Lord, Blessed be your Name!

I don't know why I thought I was entitled to a quick and uneventful recovery, but I did, and I'm sorry. I was angry that I couldn't just feel good and be done with chemo. I wanted to celebrate being done. Maybe it's because God's not done with me. God gives. God takes away.   His Name is Blessed.
I'm sorry that in the past few days, I have forgotten that.   

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

February 2012 Roundup

1. What milestones did the kids have this month? What were they like? What were they into?
Nothing super duper exciting to record. They were full of funny things that they would talk about.
#1 was able to join a baseball team at the last minute. He's playing for the Cubs. Plays a lot of 3rd base, and he's a pretty solid hitter. One of his friends from school is on his team too. I think this is going to be a pretty good experience for him because he's the oldest kid on the team, and on of the only ones to have some prior baseball experience. He's definitely the biggest kid on the team too. I think he needs an experience where he's "top dog" because in so much of his life right now he's the "new kid" or the "smallest kid" (like he was in football this fall) or he's getting picked on because he's still trying to figure out where he fits in the grand scheme of life here.

They have all been into playing with the super heroes and the cars, and amazingly, they've liked playing together.

#2 is so excited b/c she got a new iPod for free! A few years ago, I gave her my old iPod nano. I had gotten a new iPod, and it was old - it hardly had any battery life, but it worked, and she could listen to music, and she thought it was cool. Then I got an email from Apple saying they were recalling 1st generation iPod nanos because of battery issues. So I filled out the online form, and Apple sent me a box to send my old iPod back and then they sent me a new one! #2 was so excited! She and I loaded it with music. Her first choice? TobyMac's Funky Jesus Music...what can I say? The girl knows what she likes!


2. What events happened this month?
In the beginning of the month, My Main Squeeze and I went to the Dare2Share conference with a van load of kids from the church. I was really excited because D2S is based out of Colorado, and doesn't come our way much. They didn't disappoint. Our students really got excited about sharing their faith, and they got several chances to practice. One of my favorites was when they said to start a text conversation with someone and ask them a question like "Do you think there's a heaven? What does it take to get there?" A lot of our kids realized they don't have very many friends that they are intentionally trying to reach out to in order to share Jesus with them. But a few of them had some really interesting starts of conversations.

We also got to hang out at an art fair. We walked around starting conversations with people. This chalk artist made this Rubix cube to look weird when you saw it in real life, but when you looked at it through your camera, it appears 3D! Really cool!

I know it has nothing to do with Jesus, but it was still cool. The best thing that came out of this conference is now there's a group of kids who really want to speak up for what's right and for God in their schools.

 On Feb 12, I saw a bunch of pictures showing up on my Facebook feed of people who had run a breast cancer half marathon in my honor. It was a cold and windy weekend! One of my dear friends called me later that week and told me her story from that day. It was one of the sweetest and most encouraging things of the month.

#1 participated in the Grandparent's Day program at his school. It was titled Arkeology, and was all about the animals in Noah's Ark learning to trust God. Cute, right?

My mom and dad came to visit to see #1 play baseball. We had a great day that Saturday - baseball game, then picnic lunch at the beach (subs courtesy of JimmyJohns), then we got to show them the house we put an offer on (more info on that below), and then we got to go to church and hear Chip Ingram speak. Busy, fun, packed day!

3. What did we do in our down time, just for fun?
Our family hosted a Super Bowl party. I usually don't care about the outcome of the game (this year was no exception), but I do enjoy having a house full of people and talking to new friends. Our house was so loud during the game but silent during the commercials.

Valentine's Day was fun. #1 and I made his Valentine box for school, and he won an award for the best box. We painted a Minute Maid Juice box box red (Minute Maid, not Capri Sun...The Minute Maid boxes are perforated to open like this - no additional cutting!); Cut the bottom of an egg carton and added googly eyes for the eyes; cut teeth out of a piece of white copy paper and taped it in the opening of the Minute Maid box; twist up some pipe cleaners for antennae. The kids put the valentines into the mouth of the love monster. Cute, right? Pin it to know you wanna!

We also made valentines for the class this year. I put candy inside a red balloon, blew it up, tied a string to it, and attached a card that said, "I hope your Valentines day is a BLAST!" Get it?  You have to pop the balloon -  make it blast? The kids thought it was funny....

MMS and I saw the sun set on the beach and went to PF Changs for dinner  :o)

4. What were we watching, listening to and reading?
I'm almost done with Generation iY...80 pages to go. I was hoping to finish it by the end of the month. Maybe if this month had 30 or 31 days like normal months....

I'm a big blog reader, and this post by Pete Wilson about "Christian Community" was short and noteworthy

This blog by Greg Stier "5 reasons Jesus would be fired if he was a youth leader" was funny and true and it resonated with us.

The kids have had a reading challenge at school, so they've been reading more around the house. #1 also reads #3 a story from his little devotional book every night before bed :o)

As far as TV watching goes, we don't watch a lot of stuff live consistently...but my DVR has been recording American Idol, House, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers. The kids watched Aladdin for the first time. They also watched Wall-E (one of their faves). I've recently discovered the pleasures of "On-Demand" (hello, where have you been all my life?) and I've watched episodes of Pan-Am, the Office (don't tell my mom), Parks and Rec, and the Pioneer Woman (I think she's funnier on her blog)

MMS has been reading a lot of resources about purity, love, sex and dating because in HSM we've been talking about making wise choices about dating and relationships. I've heard him talk on this topic quite a few times in the almost 13 years we've been doing student ministry, and I really think this is the best he's ever done in sharing the truths of God's word with students. I'm not just saying that because I think he's awesome either....

5. What were my disappointments?
This is a sorta - disappointment....We put an offer on a great house, and it's a short sale, and it's not moving as fast as I'd like. Now, granted, we're only like weeks into the process and not months like many people who are doing the short sale thing, but it just makes me mad at our economy that this is such an issue and such a problem....I'll get over it...

Our whole family has gotten sick for the first time since I've started chemo. Just a sneezy, runny nose, virus thingy, but it's hit all of us. It's been pretty mild for the kids. Harder for me and MMS. Hoping to get over it soon so chemo doesn't get postponed. That would stink!

6. What were my accomplishments?
I got to sing in "big church." I love getting the chance to do it. I sang He's Always Been Faithful by Sara Groves. I was so happy with how I sang. I've worked really hard to smooth the sound between my chest and my head voice, and I have to do that in this song a lot. I really love the message in this song. The 2nd verse says "I can't remember a trial or a pain He did not recycle to bring me gain. I can't remember one single regret in serving God only, in trusting His hand." Someone told me a long time ago, when God gives you a song, you've gotta sing it. That's what this song is about. Here's the link to the recording of the service. The message was great, and if you have a chance listen to it, but if you're strapped for time, I'm at the 1 hour and 7 minute mark.

I got a great deal on some photo prints, and I got a photo book for free (thank you groupon)

I got a gorgeous print of our kids from the photo shoot we did in December!

I finally got the beach pass for my car

I ate at new restaurants...Yogurt Mountain and Pei-Wei...loved them! Oh yeah, and Jimmy Johns - I had a sub from that place 18 months ago the day my niece was born, but we found one here, so we tried it, and liked it!

I finished chemo #5...only one more chemo to go!

I got a job as a substitute teacher at my kids' school. I'm starting after I finish my next chemo.

My hair is starting to grow's light...maybe even blonde. It's hard to see in this picture...I guess you'll just have to trust me.

I was able to complete a couple layouts too :o) Including my collage from last months layout.


What were the high points of your February?

My roundup was inspired by Katie the Scrapbook Lady as a way to record the details of each month while they are fresh. Click the badge to check it out for yourself.
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