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Another series of family events has just been completed!

As an avid family scrapbooker and family documentarian I love big family events.  I sit down at my handy dandy lil’ computer, boot up my Heritage Maker’s page and start digi scrapping.  I get a lot of comments from people after I finish my projects.  Words like “Of course you got your pages done, you’re so good at that” (thanks for stroking the ole’ ego), and ‘If I had time I would do it too”.  Most commonly though I get a comment of ” I just don’t know where to start.”

So, I’m here to give you some tips of what to do…how to stay on top of your family events.

First off, I am NOT saying you have to scrapbook them.  As a an avid scrapbooker I find people often misinterpret my enthusiasm for all things scrapbook to mean that I think THEY should also scrapbook.  While I would NEVER urge anyone away from scrapbooking (as I do love it), I realize that non-scrapbookers feel overwhelmed and even excluded  as if they are somehow failures on some odd level.  One of the reasons I love being a Heritage Maker consultant is because if a person wants to have a scrapbooky look but doesn’t posses the skills they can access our truly amazing template gallery and use the designs to create original & beautiful finished projects.  BUT for some even that is overkill.  For this reason I am writing this post.  Perhaps it will be appreciated, perhaps not.

So, you have just finished taking pictures or have received pictures from a big family event.  In my case it was a trip/wedding & baby shower all in one.   You could have hundreds of photos.  What do you do?

Step 1:  Take some time to organize your photos.
Your photos will come pre-named by your camera (for example P249).  Pleeeeease change that name.  Here’s what I do (use it if you have a more effective method yourself  please let me know.)First I create a folder in my pictures (I am a PC user, adapt for MAC) with the year, so this year is 2011.  Then, I create subfolders for each following event using the date and then name of the event.  For example 06052011 babyshower.  This automatically files each event numerically while still keeping events separate.  Inside that file I then re-name the pictures by selecting all of the pictures and selecting re-name from the drop down menu.   You can even create separate subcategories within that folder, for example 06052011giftpics. It is especially helpful if you have an event such as a trip that occurs over several days.  It can help you to keep the different events separated by date while allowing all of your trip pictures to remain in one photo album.

Step 2:  Save your photos
Whenever you upload a lot of pictures onto your computer you do need to make sure you do a backup on an external hard drive,  zip drive or other external storage.  I always upload mine to my Heritage Maker’s account as well as onto my external hard drive.  It takes minutes but can save you a lot of grief.

May I also add SHARE your photos.  e-mail them, blog them, upload them to Picasa, dropbox or a similar engine for family and friends to access.  Pool your pictures with others at the event or on the trip.  This serves 2 purposes.  One you may get better photos (as someone might have a better camera or be a better photographer), 2 other people will then be saving your photos in case something happens to them.  Share, Share, Share!!!

If you have done steps 1 & 2  you are doing great.  Please don’t stop there.

Step 3:  SAVE & SCAN
Was it a baby shower?  Was there a paper invite?  Scan it!  Wedding Invite?  Scan it?  Tickets to a play?  Scan them?  Lable them and put them in the photo files with your other photos .  Make sure you back them up and then you can either save them in your journal or recycle them.  Personally I find that those little paper reminders floating around make me feel cluttered and undone.  So scan them and move on.  (on a side note:  e-vites are a fun new part of life but they also drive me bonkers… but now I take a screen shot of the evite and still get that paper invite feel.  Save the screen shot as a photo.  For those of you who don’t know what a screen shot is…it is a fabulous way to essentially take pictures of what’s going on on your computer.  Many newer computers come with the ability to do screen shots, sometimes it’s called ‘a snipping tool’.  If not you can download a product called Jing that will allow you to capture these kinds of things. )

Step 4:  Journal it!

For my blogging friends out there.  Keep it up.  Print out the fabulous blog books!  So much fun!  Blogging is such a fantastic way to document our lives.  However—-  many people choose to limit either photos or personal information on blogs since it is so public.  I choose to reveal some but not too much so I would never use my blog as my personal journal but I do use it as a jumping off point.

I write down whatever I can and save it as a word document inside my photo files.  Did you know you can do that?  YES YOU CAN!  That way when I get around to doing with the pictures I have my journaling and notes to go along with the scrapbooking, or whatever.

what to journal?

NAMES!  What was the name of the friend that threw the party?  What was the name of that fantastic photographer?  How old are your nieces and nephews?  What is the dog’s name. What is the name of that place? Information we think we will always remember slides to the side over the years and is essentially useless to further generations unless we write it down.

Funny factoids.  Try to keep your information detailed and upbeat.  Try to write information about as many people as you can.   After all you would never want to write 30 glowing things about 1 person in your family, 5 semi interesting things about another and then just mention that the last person was there.    You do not need a lot of information.  Just keep it real to you and to the situation.

Feelings.  How did you feel while at that event?  How did you feel seeing your cousins again after 10 years?  How did you feel about the weather?

Ok- so you may not have a scrapbook but you are caught up!  Now you can upload your pictures to your favorite digital picture frames, or get them printed off, go the Heritage Makers and make a book or whatever you want!   Take your time because you’ve got everything ready.  When you have it all ready it’s a fast, easy, FUN project!

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