Sunday, November 25, 2007

The hidden dangers of digital photography

No, digital photography does not cause cancer or any other horrible illness. The dangers I want to warn you of have more of an effect on your history than your health.

The digital revolution has had a tremendous impact on the way that we view photography. More people than ever are taking more pictures than ever. However, just taking the pictures does not mean that more people are preserving their memories.

Sharon Cooke, of the Scrapbook Clubhouse in Westbrook, wrote in an article for Creative Leisure News:

A woman used to film 36 shots of her child's birthday party and then send or
drop off the film at the photo shop, only to eagerly await its return when she
could relive the party and, if she was a scrapbooker, could begin to preserve
the memories the pictures help her recall.
Today, however, she sees the
photos she's taken immediately on the camera and then once again when she dumps
them to her computer. It's all so easy, all so reliable. She can always look at
those photos, she can always decide which of the 300 shots she made that day are
out of focus or repetitive or too dark or too light, and she can always edit the
photos down to a manageable dozen that she might someday put together as a story
of the day itself. Only she doesn't.
You shoot your first 200 pictures on
your digital camera and download them. Then you shoot hundreds more. They are
building up with automatic ease on your computer. The task of evaluating them
and editing them looms more and more daunting every time you download another
bunch. It's much easier just to take more pictures and put off sorting
But you can't scrapbook them until you sort them (this is true for both
traditional and digital photographers). Until you decide which ones are the
best, until you decide which ones help you tell the story, which ones would make
good focal points, which ones should be enlarged, which ones reduced – you can't
possibly decide how to scrapbook them.
Meanwhile how safe are these photos?
Not safe at all. A computer can lose years of photos (none of which have
negatives) in a nanosecond. A backup drive can fail too. CD-ROMS and DVDs are
only good for a limited amount of time, if at all, as many downloads to disks
will fail when you go to look at them, even though the computer did not warn you
of that at the time. The only way those pictures can be safe is if they are
backed-up immediately to a secondary hard disk, then uploaded to a remote site.
Of course traditional photos are in danger too. They can be destroyed by flood
or fire, for example, but floods and fires are far less likely to occur than
fatal hard drive crashes, which happen to everyone – frequently.

So how can you avoid losing you precious memories?

Get into the habit of uploading your photos to your computer immediately after each event. You can then delete them from your camera and free up the memory card for more photos.

When you upload your photos to your hard drive, give each event its own file folder and name it with specific information. For example, In my documents folder I have a folder labeled “My Photos”. When I open that folder I have sub-folders for each year. Within that year, I have sub-folders – monthly, for generic photos, and specific titles for events like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Justin & Rachel’s wedding, etc. This allows me to quickly find any photo I am looking for whenever I want to print it.

• Edit your photos as soon as possible. Delete the ones that are blurry and unusable. You will never print them, don’t waste space on you hard drive and add to the clutter.
Print your favorites immediately. You are far more likely to show off the great pictures if you have them in your hand rather than on a computer. When you get the urge to scrapbook, they will be there for you.

Back up your entire photo collection regularly. I would suggest at least once a month, but definitely after each major event. There are several ways to back up photos and I suggest using more than one method. Copy the files to CD, upload to a photo site that stores your collection, or copy them to a portable drive. Keep portable drives and cds in a safe deposit box or location other than your home. You never know when disaster can strike.

Your photos are precious to you. They are your connection with the past and to the future. If they were not important to you, you wouldn’t bother taking them. So don’t risk losing them because digital has made it so easy to ignore them. Get them off of your camera and onto your scrapbook pages.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I would like to tell you how thankful I am for your support and friendship during this past year. I am always amazed at how lucky I am to have such wonderful people come into my store on a daily basis. Without you there would be no Inspiration Station. Thank you for inspiring me to inspire others!

I am also thankful for my terrific staff who also make everything possible. Thank you Terry, Donna, Michelle, Dawn and Adine - and my loyal pinch hitting crew for big events Lu (Grammy), Kaylee (my not so little girl) and Jackie (who I miss dearly)!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cards for Soldiers Card Drive

Cards for Soldiers
Card Drive
A Statewide Effort Sponsored by your Local Stamp & Scrap Stores

Help our Soldiers communicate with loved ones back home. Create handmade cards that will be sent around the world so our Soldiers can pick up cards free of charge at their local military stores and send notes home.

Stamp on the outside of the cards, leaving the inside blank for special notes. Helpful themes include: Miss you, Anniversary, Happy Birthday, Children, Mother‘s/Father‘s Day and so on. Any age can participate!
Submit in sets of 10 handmade cards/envelopes. Volunteers divide up the handmade cards so making ten of the same card is perfectly fine.
Drop off at The Inspiration Station.
Participating card makers can get a bonus in return. Submit 10 or more cards in any one month and receive a one-time 10% discount off your regular priced purchase for that month. Submit 30 or more handmade cards in any one month and receive a one-time 15% discount off your regular priced purchase for that month.

Please call or stop in with questions! Thank you in advance!

The Inspiration Station
13 Furnace Ave
Stafford Springs, CT 06076
(860) 684-2641

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I finally got some samples from Donna

If you've ever asked us what Donna is doing for a particular class you know that most of the time we are clueless. She is an amazing teacher that comes up with the best class projects, but... she tends to do them at the last minute. I have been after her for years to get her samples in so we can show people what she is doing (and so we don't look like clueless idiots when people ask!)-but it has been an uphill battle. Well this week I finally got her to bring a few samples in. YAY!!!! I think you'll agree - they are gorgeous!

Speaking of classes -

Dawn has been cranking out the projects and has even started bring in samples for January! (I Love Her!) Her cookie book for this weekend is sold out but she added another class on December 1st for those that were not able to get in. There are, however, a few spots left in her Winter Tags, Bags & Boxes class this Saturday. I cannot believe how much product she has packed into this class. You will be doing a ton of projects.

You will decorate 3 bags, 3 boxes and 3 tags PLUS you will get lots of extras to take home with you.

Decorate a metal lunch tin using alcohol inks and Basic Grey Figgy Pudding Papers & matching chipboard tag
Gable box with an adorable snowman with top hat
Circle paper mache box & matching chipboard tag using Inkadinkadoo stamps
Bonus: 1 extra box for your own creation
3 gift bags using foam, rubber wooden and clear stamps with inks and paints
Bonus: 2 extra bags for your own creations
3 chipboard tags will be made during class (1 to coordinate to the lunch tin, 1 to match the paper mache box using Inkadinkadoo snowflake and snowman stamps - not shown in picture, but adorable...and another one to coordinate with one of the bags (Santa theme)
Bonus: 5 extra chipboard tags for your own creations

Supplies needed for class: Distress Ink: Vintage photo & Aged Mahogany, Black ink pad, glue dots, glue pen, adhesive (glue stick, tape runner or double sided tape), fine point black marker, pencil. Optional supplies for class: colored pencils

Monday, November 12, 2007

No time to blog or write the newsletter this past week.

Sorry everyone,
I had no time for writing at all this week, I was too busy tracking down merchandise from manufacturers who can't seem to get their act together. It is so frustrating to order things MONTHS in advance of classes only to spend the week of class calling and emailing repeatedly to find out where the stuff is. We had major problems with two different companies in the past month where we either got the class materials on the day of the class or not at all. One of the orders was placed in August the other in September. That should have been plenty of time but no, we got the run around constantly. I would say I'll never order from them again but unfortunately, people really like their product - too bad their service stinks.

Anyway, if you have asked us to order something and it hasn't arrived, please know that I am doing everything in my power to get the stuff here. In fact most of my day is spent placing and tracking orders.

On the brighter side - some companies are very good at shipping. Those companies will definately be getting more business. So far the one that impressed me the most was a stamp company called Inkadinkado. They have been around forever and I never really paid much attention to them because some of their older stuff in sold in the big box stores. But they started a program a few months ago that allows you to buy 2 get one free. If you buy 2 stamps from a particular collection you get the third free. They send us merchandise boards with all of the stamps in each collection and show very nice samples. The program has been quite successful for us. So successful in fact, that we have had to reorder several designs numerous times. This past week, Donna used one of the stamps in a class and everyone had to have it. Of course it sold out and we had several people ask to have it ordered. I faxed my order to them on Wednesday morning and the shipment ARRIVED on Friday!!! Can you believe that? After dealing with all of the other nonsense from the other companies I was astounded. I guess there are still some companies willing to go the extra mile.

Store Calendar

Class sample slideshow