Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What to Do With all Those Photographs

Family photos are truly heirlooms that can't be replaced. It's wise to care for them as such.

Creative Memories and other companies (no, I'm not a dealer and don't hold stock in any company) offer a line of products to display and preserve those memories. As I look at old albums of fading color photographs of my children, I wish the scientists who developed these archival products had done so long ago!

I'm rather appalled at the lack of care given my grandfather's priceless photographs and have spent many hours restoring some of them.
It's never too late. Get your old photos out of those albums, off the glue and out from under the PVC covering that eat away at the archival properties of your photographs! Do it soon before any further degeneration occurs. Put them away in a shoe box in a dry, dark place at least for the time being. And store all your precious photographs in one easy to get to place so in the event of a fire, flood, tornado or hurricane you can grab them on the fly and take them with you. Let's face it, clothing, furniture and dishes can be replaced. Photographs cannot. Sentimental junk is just that. Photographs are living memories.

Remember the days of film, when you took countless photos of places you visited and most of them were pretty horrible but you could never bear to throw them out because of the investment in processing and printing? That's my story anyway. Thank God for digital! I no longer have that problem. I still take a thousand or more pictures on every journey but now I download them into my computer and discard those that are junk without any guilt at all. Those images don't cost me a thing if I don't print them.

But what about the ones that are good enough to print? What should we do with them? Well I'll tell you what I do with mine, as well as all the old prints that are good shots. I use them to create greeting cards for my friends and family. Why not bless others with your lovely images?

You can buy blank card stock with envelopes at any craft store like Michael's or Hobby Lobby. Or you can be really creative and make your own cards from cover stock which can be purchased in a variety of colors and hues from paper stores or office supply retailers. Most greeting card stores end up with lots of envelopes of various sizes leftover which they sell in bundles for little money.

I write my own verses, use Scripture or favorite quotes for the inside of the cards to bless those I'm writing to. It's also fun to add embellishments to the photo on the cover or inside the card that match the theme. For instance for a beautiful mountain scene I'll glue some small dried pressed wildflowers in a corner to add dimension. Sometimes I used stickers with phrases or applicable decorations that go with the occasion or the image. Be sure to use approved photo safe glues, stickers and papers that are acid and lignin free. There's a good article on the subject here.

Another way to use that boxful of old scenic photos is to create your own coffee table book out of scrapbooking materials. So much better than what you order online for thirty or forty dollars! Be creative!

How about using the old images as postcards?

Some photos may have only an element or two that are worth keeping. Perhaps it was a terribly bright day and everything is washed out but there's a great flower or building in the shadows that's redeemable. Cut it out and use it for an embellishment in your memory album or card.

With all my talk about old photos on this rainy day, I'm just itching to go rifle through some!

Happy Crafting,

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