September Photo Challenge: Day One

I can’t say that I have ever done a monthly Photo Challenge before, but it looked like fun and I thought I could incorporate my kids’ creative insights and see what we come up with for September.

September Photo Challenge

The Photo Challenge starts off with a self portrait, so I decided to show you one of my best features – my eyes.  I always thought they were different with the “Dutchman’s Gold” around the pupil.  And yes, I have freckles!  I never noticed them quite as much before now …

Photo Challenge Day One

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Summer Photo Tips Part 3

Summer Photo Tips from Your Personal Photo Organizer

(courtesy of

11.  Try an underwater camera! Buy a disposable underwater camera and take a plunge. Kids with goggles and bubbles underwater add a fun new twist to your summer memories.

12.  Hand the camera to someone else. There’s always someone that takes all the photos! Make sure to get included in some of even your own pictures!

13.  Create creative exposures using sparklers! Find a dark location with a distant background. Set your camera mode to “full manual exposure” and your aperture to a small opening for a sharp focus. Light your sparkler, open the shutter and begin your exposure. Move the sparkler repetitively in the pattern you want, and fire the flash right before the sparkler goes out- a very creative effect!

14.  Learn your camera settings. Use the ‘action’ setting on your camera and get the team in motion on the soccer field. You’ll love this effect!

15.  Simply remember to take pictures. Life happens- capture the moments you want to share and remember!

Read more Summer Photo Tips Part 1
and even more Summer Photo Tips Part 2

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The Perfect Time Myth

Have you ever talked with someone who seemed sincerely, even eagerly, interested in your products or business opportunity only to tell you when you pull out the order form that, “Now is not the right time”?  Yeah, I’ve been frustrated by that too! I should probably keep a stock of those Round Tuits in my bag.  You remember those, right?  Here’s one of your own:

So how can you help someone see that there will never be “the perfect time” to do anything?  Here’s one technique that can help you.

Ask, on a scale of 1 to 10 what their interest is in moving forward, where 1 is “No, this isn’t for me” and 10 is “Let’s get started now”.  If their answer is 7 or less, they are not yet committed and you will be carrying dead weight around trying to get them to move to action.

Option 1) Ask them to consider what it will take to move them to a 9 or 10.  Maybe they have a few unanswered questions.  Perhaps they need to seek additional advice from a spouse or friend. They know what their obstacles are, help them overcome what is in their way.

Option 2) Ask them why they didn’t pick a lower number.  Have them come up with all the good things they like about your product and business and positive begets positive so they may move up the scale and be ready to commit to action.

Which option do you prefer? You can comment at


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Water Damaged Photos Part 3

Sometimes you have to fight water with water but then you find that you do not have enough time to complete your photo recovery process. Find out how freezing your water damaged photos can actually help you preserve them!


• Use wax paper as separators and freezer bags for storage. Place prints in a container in your freezer for 24 hours or more; they can remain in the freezer indefinitely. If you have decided to try to freeze album pages, place them in a container with wax paper or butcher paper in-between pages and stand them vertically on their spine so that they freeze upright. Best results occur when removing pictures from pages, but you can freeze almost any document or book to delay damage.

Drying Newly Cleaned or Frozen Photos

• Prepare your work area. Make sure that your work area for drying photos has a clean surface, good ventilation and does not invite dust. Run a dehumidifier when your prints are thawing and drying. Use a fan to circulate the air. Keep the room below 68°F to reduce mold growth.

• Hang photos to dry. Dry your photos by hanging them on a clothesline with plastic clothespins, or clip them on rubber bands looped on a clothes-drying rack. Pick a safe corner of the photo border to secure to the drying location. The Superstorm Sandy photo recovery team in Union Beach, New Jersey used binder clips on the spokes of bicycles to dry pictures and clipped several pictures to shoes laces hung vertically from hangers. Magnets were also used to dry photos on the exterior of cars.

• Dry photos using window screens. Photos can also dry by placing them face up and flat on plastic or aluminum window screens, or on screening material mounted on a frame or between sawhorses. As well, you can dry photos on flat surfaces by laying them on photo blotting paper or unprinted newsprint that should be changed as it gets wet, or on plain, non-textured paper towels at least one inch larger than the photo.

• How to prevent curling. There are two recommended methods:
1) Use a moist sponge to dampen the backside (not the picture side) of the photo, then place the photo between two pieces of acid-free paper, or use photo blotters and put it under a flat, heavy object for a few days.
2) Dampen the back of the photo and place weights on the corner edges.

• Drying takes time. Air drying time may range from a few hours to a week depending on the paper quality. Because of the large volume of damaged photos, the Superstorm Sandy photo rescue team loosely placed small groups of dried photos standing vertically in buckets or shallow trays until they could be scanned.

See also Water Damaged Photos Part 1
See also Water Damaged Photos Part 2
See also Water Damaged Photos Part 4

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Summer Photo Tips Part 2

Summer Photo Tips from Your Personal Photo Organizer

(courtesy of 6.  All packed up? Take a snapshot! Luggage piled up, the car packed to the max – take a pic! Use these photos to help tell the story of your trip.

7.  Gather everyone for a group shot. Squeeze in and take a group shot of the whole family or all your friends when everyone is together. These pictures make for great memories of time spent together.

8.  Try a different perspective. Have the kids plop in the grass on their bellies. Take a picture from a low angle and get a really outdoorsy pic with blades of grass, and lots of smiling faces! 9.  Digitize your memorabilia! Ticket stubs and other memorabilia are fun to keep, but if you are trying to de-clutter, just snap a quick photo them and you have them digitized. 10.  Photograph signs. Take a picture of the campground, beach, or amusement park’s sign you are visiting. Years from now, you’ll remember the names of the places you’ve been.

Review here Summer Photo Tips Part 1
Read more here Summer Photo Tips Part 3

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Water Damaged Photos Part 2

Whether your photos have been damaged due to natural disaster, time deterioration or by accident, here are some helpful tips for dealing with water damage and your paper-based photos.

General Cleaning

• Try less invasive recovery methods first. Minor spills can be removed by applying uniform pressure with blotting paper, un-printed newsprint, or non-textured, plain paper towels.

• If necessary, place your dirty, wet photos in a tub of clean, cold water. Distilled or purified spring water is safest and preferred. Tap water can be used; the chlorine in it may prevent the growth of mold and fungus. Note: if the water that damaged your photos contained any chemicals or salt, it may react to the chlorine in tap water and further damage the photo. Test a photo of lesser importance to see how it reacts to the cleaning process. Avoid running water directly on the photos, since doing so can damage any photographic emulsions used to develop the print.

If stacks of photos are stuck together, do not try to pull them apart immediately. Place the entire stack in water.

• Photos in plastic sleeves or albums present several options. Remove the protective sleeves and treat each photo separately. Commercial adhesive solvents are available for prints that cannot be easily removed from pages.

You may also try to treat the whole page by rinsing it, gently cleaning the images and then freezing the page for future treatment. For album pages that have important information on them, consider cutting the pages from the album with the photos removed and air dry them for future reference when you remount your prints on a fresh album page.

Clean photos gently while in the water. Very gently agitate the photos to remove dirt from both sides—do not rub them! If needed, brush off dirt, mud and debris using a soft bristle brush, foam craft brush, a cotton ball, or soft cotton cloth. Be careful not to brush off the image. Note: If photos are deteriorating, do not attempt to remove dirt. Refresh the water as you clean. Place cleaned photos in another tank of clean cold water for final rinsing.

• Gently separate photos stuck together. Gently separate as many photos as you can while they are submerged, then return them to another water tub for more soaking. Repeat the separate/soak process as needed. You may find that the top and bottom prints in the stack are damaged, but the photos in-between will be fine. If some photos are still stuck together, you can freeze the stack and work on separating them another time.
For extended soaking, change water frequently. Keep water cold by using ice or placing the container in the refrigerator to reduce further softening. Check the prints often to see how they are responding. The less time they spend in water the better to avoid further deterioration.

• Remove cleaned, rinsed photos from the rinsing tub. Plan to remove and air-dry the photos as soon as possible. Otherwise, plan on placing them in freezer bags to dry them in the future. Touching only the photo edges or using film-developing tongs, allow excess water to drip off and get ready to freeze them or begin the drying process.

See also Water Damaged Photos Part 1
See also Water Damaged Photos Part 3
See also Water Damaged Photos Part 4

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The Butterfly Effect

I wonder if the caterpillar knows he’s really a butterfly-in-training.  Or is he blind to the potential to float on the breezes and assumes life is all about slinking to the next leaf for the next meal?

Aren’t we sometimes like the caterpillar?  We may not even know there is something better for us, waiting for us.  We allow the routine, the busyness of life to blind us from dreaming big dreams and stepping into something new.

The butterfly effect can be described as a small change at one place can result in large differences in a later state.

So how do we make the transition?  How can we transform from what is, into what we may become?  I listened to this podcast and thought it was filled with very fitting examples of how a direct sales company has been helping to make butterflies out of caterpillars. Listen here for stories of transformation:

For more details about Heritage Makers, visit

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Summer Photo Tips Part 1

Summer Photo Tips from Your Personal Photo Organizer

(courtesy of

1.  Keep your camera handy. Be ready for those unplanned moments!

2.  Keep the sun behind you. Harsh light can cast shadows and cause squinting.  Move into the shade or keep the sun behind you mid-day when the sun is most direct.

3.  Get creative! Capturing the drops of water on your little swimmers’ faces make for some fun summer photos.

4.  Garden close-ups. Early morning is best for dew, and at sunset for a golden glow. Get in close, increase your ISO & zoom in!

5.  Make digital memories. Spur of the moment plans are what summer is all about! Capture some of these casual get-togethers; getting ice cream, walking the dog, or a last minute BBQ!

Read more Summer Photo Tips Part 2
Read even more Summer Photo Tips Part 3

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Water Damaged Photos Part 1

Recently the area of southern Alberta, Canada experienced one of the worst floods in the history of the province.  The effects were wide spread and will be felt for months and years to come.  As a Personal Photo Organizer ( I began to think about all the photos, albums and memorabilia that most people tend to collect over the years to enjoy and share their memories and experiences with family and friends.  What can be done?

Here are some tips and resources to help you rescue your paper-based, water-damaged photos from Couragent Inc. who was involved with the recovery of over 20,000 damaged photos as a result of Hurricane Sandy.

 Prioritize and Organize

• Check for duplicate copies first. Do you have a relative or friend who has duplicates of the damaged photos that you can copy? Do you have undamaged negatives of the photos? Have you previously scanned the images and stored them either off-site on a flash drive, CD, DVD or online?

For damaged photos that are one of a kind, select your most important photos to recover and restore first.

• Get professional help. Consider contacting a professional conservator for immediate assistance as important irreplaceable historic photos, ambrotypes, daguerreotypes and tintypes require special handling; these directions on this blog are for paper-based prints only.

 Practice Safety

Before starting the photo cleaning process:

• Protect yourself. Use a surgical mask, disposable gloves and wear old clothing to protect against bacteria and moulds when cleaning and handling wet, dirty photos.

• Use good ventilation. Open windows and set up a fan for circulation in both the flood cleanup area and the work area where you will be cleaning and drying photos.


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Do you believe?

Last weekend my husband invited a couple over for lunch and I didn’t know either the husband or wife. That’s OK though, because I love meeting new people. Then it happened. He asked THE question. “So, what do you do?” How, as a direct seller or network marketer, do you respond to that? Do you go by your previous credentials first? “Oh, I used to be a teacher, but I’m not anymore.” Do you depreciate yourself by responding, “I’m just a mom”? Do you think this might be your next big sale and launch into salesperson mode letting them know about the current sales promotion? I have personally done all of these and have left the conversation thinking, “There has to be a better way.” And there is. Let me ask you some more questions. Do you really love what you are doing in your home business? Are you passionate about it? Do you really believe it has the ability to do all that your marketing department has said it can do? More time…more money…more fun? Do you BELIEVE in what you’re doing?

Here’s how I wanted to respond after the couple had left. “I have the best job ever! I get to stay at home and raise my children, which is a priority to our family, and I also benefit from a unique home business that allows me to inspire people by [fill in the blank with your company’s vision and mission].” Hopefully they’ll ask how you do that, the inspiring part, and then you can tell them you’re a Consultant/Rep/Distributor for your company and perhaps show a product or share a brochure with them that they can take home.

If you believe in your company wholeheartedly and you believe in what you’re doing then be sure that you’re opening your mouth and telling people about what a great opportunity you’ve found. If you aren’t talking it up, it might be time to go back to your personal WHY and discover what you do really believe, hope and dream. For me, my direct sales business has helped me to dream BIG! I BELIEVE!

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