Monday, March 4, 2013

DIY Memory Box, Custom Phone Background, Calendar, Vase + SOFTWARE GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to all of you for allowing me the week off to grieve the loss of my last natural grandparent. I've been feeling John Mayer's "Stop This Train" a lot lately, it's striking a chord. However, it's time to get back to blogger world. Most of my inspiration has been coming from my grandparents this week. I really, really miss them. In the past, I've always done tributes to lost friends and family members, but this was just too hard to write. Instead I made a few projects inspired by my grandma that I know she would love.
This post also includes a GIVEAWAY! MyMemories  gave me their software for free and also gave me another to give away to one lucky winner.
Technically it's scrapbooking software, but I'm not a scrapbooker (too lazy? yes.), so I used it for other things instead. I really like using it to design with and plan on using it to design my logos, blog themes and more from now on. Previously I was using PowerPoint because I don't want to buy Publisher and this is a *major* improvement. Obviously.
I also used it to design these remembrances for my grandparents this week.
I've written an homage to my grandpa who passed away 2 days shy of exactly 2 years before his wife, my grandma. They were so in love. We all knew that when he lost his battle to cancer two years ago, she wouldn't be far behind. If you ask me, she died of a broken heart. She just didn't want to be in this world any longer without him. 
My grandma was a really interesting woman. She was a "neat lady" as my dad would say. I've said before that my creativity came from my mom, but really we both got it from my grandma. She was a wonderful seamstress who made wedding dresses for a few of the girls in our family. She was also very talented in arts- and there are paintings to prove it. She was an author who had a book published about half pin dolls when she realized that none existed on the market (antique dolls were both her passion and career later in life after she retired from practicing as a Doctor of Psychology). And lastly, she was totally into crafting. She constantly made jewelry for us and other little things. 
I thought based on her lovely creativity that never judged and always praised, it would be nice to make a little something that she would love. So, I made this little memento box first and then a couple of vases below.
She always sent cards- for Easter, Valentine's Day, birthdays, Christmas... everything. And I have saved them since I was a small girl, always knowing this day would come and they would be treasures. My other grandma writes novels in her cards (which is fantastic, she uses every bit of space!) but this grandma instead had a habit of underlining the parts of the card which she felt most strongly. Sometimes a sentence or particular part even got two or three underlines :)
I miss her excessively.
Anyway, I kept them all and wanted to create a special little box for them. Originally it was going to only feature my Grandma, but it only seemed right and natural to put both of them on the box. They were a match set in life. Always in love. Always together.
First I took an old Whitman's Chocolate box and painted it. John always gives me a box of Whitman's chocolate for our anniversary, since his dad has always given the same to his mom for theirs. So sweet. I mixed a shade of light chocolate acrylic paint and applied it to the box. In the end, it needed about two coats to cover it. Remember if you're using a chocolate box to paint over the inside as well, since they often list the chocolate flavors there. I had photos, but they somehow deleted. I did the other side of the box in beige. This way it's reversible.
Next I designed my logo in MyMemories Suite (version 4). Obviously you could use any design/publishing program that you'd like to. I don't have any, so I really loved getting this one for free! I used some frame images from all-free-download.com and imported them into the program. The vintage banners also came from the same site and I imported old photographs of my grandparents to fill the frame. 

For the back of the box, I used one of MyMemories background papers (corrugated light khaki) and imported more photos of my grandparents. I used their shape feature to make the edges of my grandparents photos scalloped and printed that out, cutting the shapes and modpodging it on.
The H S L P H was their secret code to each other, a list of promises my grandpa made to my grandma when he asked her to be his wife.
For the vase, I printed out a background paper that I LOVE and have used a lot- the large stripes in buttercream. Then I used the the same photo paper from the memento box above as well. First, I painted the inside of the jar (more on that HERE) with an acrylic in a light beige color.
Next I modpodged on the background paper and lastly I modpodged on the photos of my grandparents.
For the threads, I covered them using ribbon. I just kept looping it around to cover the threading, knotting it off cutting the ends.
And then I made another, more simple vase with modpodge + a printout. The adhesive dries clear, but leaves glass foggy. If that bothers you, clean the excess off with a damp cloth while still wet, OR just do the whole jar in modpodge so that it's consistent.
I also made this really great calendar using the program. I love that you can print without borders easily. You could use the program to make custom calendars with photos of your family (or whatever the receiver is interested in) and easily print them as a gift. 
I'll use mine for my DIY BUDGET FOLDER each month. MyMemories was much easier to use than the online program I originally used in that project. Also, I loved how easy it was to completely customize the calendar. If you like the calendar, feel free to use it! The flower is my logo and protected property, so it cannot be removed from the calendar and used (online, etc.) :)
I also used the calendar as a lock screen and background for my phone! And I created another lock screen for my phone on the program, too. The calendar looks very sharp and clear on my phone, it's perfect.
So there are the projects I've made so far using the program! I made a list of pros and cons about the software for you to read below...
POSITIVES
1) Easy to use, lots of options to customize. Really, that's the best part. You can customize every last detail.
2) There are options to purchase background sets of different "paper"/kits for around $5. This can also be a con ;)
3) The program is set up as a graph with coordinates, so you can line everything up perfectly.
4) Some of the free templates/elements are trendy and quite cute. For example, I love the striped backgrounds and also the scalloped frame shapes + silhouettes. There are also a lot of pretty flourishes which I didn't use and should have.
5) I also liked the "color" match tool and used it to pick up colors from my la vie flower to use in the fonts of the calendar.
6) The photo shapes feature is cool, I changed the shape of a lot of the photos I used. 
CONCERNS
1) The program runs slowly, and it does take a long time to download. It took us a couple of hours on John's relatively new, super fast mac mini. Alternatively, you can order the software as a disk, but I have no experience with that and can't say how it will download.
2) It saves files in multiple places, so you'll need to be diligent about combining them and deleting what you don't need if you like to keep a tidy hard drive. If you choose not to save a project, there will still be a "ghost file" that needs to be deleted. That drove John crazy, he doesn't like anything extra on his computer.
3) Some of the backgrounds that you can buy (or even some of the free papers) are a little bit kitschy, but that's a taste preference and I won't elaborate so as not to offend :)
4) Not a full screen app for Mac. I don't understand this, but John says Mac people will want to know. So, there you go.
John felt that overall it was a great deal, and I would agree. I really like that you can make and print photobooks using the software. I've done a few books from Shutterfly and actually, this program is better. You can make them completely 100% customized or can follow a template. Also, the pricing is slightly better than Shutterfly, even though Shutterfly offers 30% off coupons half of the time. They also have more options (leather bound!) for books than Shutterfly. I'm going to use MyMemories Suite from now on to print my photobooks. Of course, it's free to use Shutterfly and you'd have to buy this program, so that takes some of the deal aspect away. If you often print photobooks, the software cost probably won't be a concern, especially because there's a free photobook included right now with the purchase of version 4. 
Want to win your own copy?? GOOD! Because they gave me a free copy for one of YOU to win! All you have to do is comment below telling me how you see yourself using the program. Don't forget to leave your e-mail address so that I can contact you! Feel free to VISIT THE SITE here for more inspiration. I recently changed my comment section, hopefully making it easier to use. I'm always hearing that a person tried to leave a comment multiple times and couldn't. If that happens to you, just e-mail me at la.vie@aol.com and I'll leave the comment for you.
The giveaway will run for two weeks, closing Monday, March 18. 
**MyMemories Suite offered money from every software purchase made by my readers. I chose to decline the offer, as I'd like to give you an unbiased review.**
Thanks for reading today! All the best, looking forward to being creative with you again this week. 

9 comments:

  1. I love that you made keepsakes that were so personal and have real meaning to you. Thinking of you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. thank you- none of them were perfect, but the whole "trash to treasure" thing was so my grandma. And her creativity always seemed to be bent toward using things that seemed like junk. Love her. And thank you, warm thoughts go so far <3

      Delete
  2. Wow! I came across your blog just now and love everything on here. Would love to win the software as I like to get crafty and love to hear this is easy and potentially free <3 I would use this for photobooks and whatever else I can find on pinterst to make. igurbisz1@comcast.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm *really* excited about the photobook aspect, too! Good luck!

      Delete
  3. Love your ideas <3
    I would use the software for similar photo editing purposes.
    I also have a free lance baking job I do on the side, this software would come in handy for business cards, photo editing etc. As well as creating scarpbook pages that will be easy to print out!
    xo floressterese@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is fantastic! Thanks for entering and good luck :)

      Delete
  4. I love the things you made with this software, very pretty, I'm not much a scrapbooker, myself, I would probably use it for some of the same things that you made:)

    ReplyDelete

I love reading + responding to comments! Keep in mind that comments are moderated and spam will never be approved :)