Tuesday, May 06, 2008

My Memories Suite: Digital Scrapbooking Goodness

Per usual, I've been slacking. Well, sort of. My knitting and sewing projects have been put on the back burner, mostly due to the fact that Lucas and I's wedding is coming up next month! Yes, I can officially say that our wedding is next month. With that being said aloud, I feel like there are hundreds of things to do in a short amount of time even though I know the major things are taken care of. We officially purchased our wedding bands last night, the last BIG thing on the to do list. Favours have been ordered, my dress fitting is coming up in less than a week, we've ordered the personalized matching shirts we plan to wear after the wedding, and I've even found time to work on something secret and crafty for Lucas as a wedding gift. Unfortunately I cannot disclose that yet, but you can be sure it'll be posted and blogged about soon enough next month. Look out Vegas, here we come!

So what have I been doing crafty in the meantime? I've stumbled upon digital scrapbooking! Not just recently, but it was only recently I've had time to put into giving it a go. Back around Christmas I ordered some really awesome software that got me all excited about the prospects of digital scrapbooking: My Memories Suite by Polaroid. I've got several scrapbooks in the basement collecting dust because they're unfinished. Mostly due to lack of nifty embellishments that you've gotta shell out loads of cash for, not to mention several trips to the store to buy. I keep meaning to get back to them, but instead I keep photos and items like movie ticket stubs in a box for whenever I finally do get around to working on them again. Those boxes are collecting dust, too. Back just before Christmas when I was home one day I caught one of those infomercials. Now I know what you're thinking... BUT this one turned out to be a gem! I watched an hour long program about My Memories Suite and it got me really excited. The idea that I can scrapbook without messy glue and 348993639749574908 little things to have to keep organized (not to mention buy in the first place and then store somehow) on a computer seemed like a really fab idea, especially with as computer geeky as I am. And it is fab! I bought the software and used it to make an album of Lucas and I's holiday trip to Indiana to visit my family at Christmas. The program made it really easy and it's soooooo user friendly!

With the wedding coming up next month, I decided I'd try to make our own guest book, and of course I will be making a digital scrapbook album of the wedding itself. I started looking into digital scrapbooking more on the web and have found lots of great, creative resource sites out there. The best part about My Memories Suite (to me) is the fact that the software uses common image file types such as .jpg or .png, which means I am free to add all kinds of new images myself to the software's directories. Most of the other digital scrapbooking software I tested in comparison to My Memories Suite uses unique file types of their own, so that means you are limited and cannot "think outside the box" and add your own new stuff to use without having to pay the company for new products. This excites me because I'll be able to use our scanner and scan in images of movie ticket stubs and other items I'd normally glue into a regular scrapbook and add them digitally the same way, just with less mess.

Another thing I like that I haven't explored yet with the software is that you can export your digital pages in a huge variety of formats. Not only can you export them as a normal image file like .jpg (which I have done in order to add them to my scrapbook.com gallery) for use on websites, etc., but you can also make DVDs out of your albums and other interactive stuff such as iPod videos. The software lets you add video and sound clips to all of your album pages, making them truly interactive. Then you can export them to DVD and watch each page, including all of the video and sound clips, on your television or iPod. I can't wait to do an album on the dogs and send a DVD off to my parents, for example. You can ALSO export entire albums or selected pages to the My Memories Suite website and order a photobook from them. The software will export your pages to the Polaroid server and then you can pick and choose how you want them printed and bound into a hardcover or soft cover album that Polaroid will then physically ship to you. Alternatively, there are ways to export the pages in high resolution so that you can take them to a professional printer locally and have the same thing done if you wish. Check out what I have up so far at scrapbook.com: our Christmas 2007 album! It was my first time using My Memories Suite but it turned out great! The more I use it, the more creative I am and the better and better my pages turn out :)

It doesn't really matter what your computer knowledge or creativity limits are, you'll be able to use this software. It's very user-friendly and simple, and for those who aren't sure where to begin, it comes with loads of pre-created templates for various occasions. You can also download more layouts and completed templates from their website for a small fee. But then the beauty, as I mentioned earlier, is that if you're creative enough you can easily add more images and items to the software yourself since it's all done with .jpg and .png formatted images. For example, I found some awesome digital scrapbooking blogs and websites that offer free templates and kits -- a kit usually including various papers, embellishments, and word art or alphabets -- for download. There's lots of people out there making really awesome digital scrapbooking resources and making them available free or super cheap. With My Memories Suite, you can easily download freebies and add them to the software's directories and use them with the program just like any of the pre-loaded content. This makes the potential of My Memories Suite limitless to me because I'll always be able to add more. And I'm just starting to look into how I can make my own digital page kits and getting the hang of designing my own templates. It's so fun!

I mentioned I found some great resources and freebies, and so I'd like to share my favourites so far. First of all, scrapbook.com is a great resource. Their forums are full of helpful people, and then you can show off your scrapbooks there, too. And it's for all forms of scrapbooks, not just digital ones, though there is a handy digital scrappers section. Another great site is computerscrapbook.com -- focusing on digital scrapbookers. They have some freebies and some great designers working there, and their prices for kits are pretty good, too. I've purchased already from scrapgirls -- a Vegas themed digital kit to use next month for the wedding -- so I recommend them, too! Lots of fun stuff and good prices, plus you can immediately download your purchase :)

For freebie downloads, I love shabbyprincess.com! There are so many awesome free digital page kits available, and all of the designers are amazing! Lots of things you can purchase, too, but their freebie section is probably the best I've seen so far. High quality stuff! Via scrapbook.com I've come across several designers that have blogs here on blogspot where they share their freebie findings and produce freebies that they've created, too! Some of my favourites are Tripalee Talks, fresh brewed coffee, Happy Scrap Girl, Aprilmouse, and DigiFree so be sure to check them out!

Whew! Well that's it for now, sorry if my rambling post sounded a bit like an infomercial. I swear that Polaroid did not pay me to write good things about their software -- it really is awesome and I love it! I'm super excited about upcoming album ideas I have. I'm totally done with the old way of scrapbooking. It's too messy and expensive in comparison!


Anonymous said...

what a really nice site...thanskf or being out there:)
i stumbled in though a google for the "my memories Suite" Im looking forward to trying it....[actually have been lusting after it for months...lol]
keep up the good work and have a great weekend

pinktoque (Lesley) said...

Thank you so very much for your kind comment! I love My Memories Suite so much you'd think I worked for Polaroid or something, haha, but I swear I don't! It really is fantastic, and if you have any questions about getting started, let me know and I can try to help as best as I can with it! :)

Thank you again, and hope you have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this review....I found you on Google. I'm looking at this program but wanted something that used png files...that I could use later...and also capabilities to use "Freebies". I am brand new so I need an idiot-proof...easy program with unlimited capabilities!

Lesley said...

You are very welcome! Let me know if you have any troubles or need any help once you get it! My blog has moved (and this post has moved along with it) to http://craftblog.pinktoque.com so be sure to check it out over there and contact me via that blog :D

Take care and good luck!