Archiving the Past

I've always had an affinity for personal histories and consider myself the family historian in our household.  I like to write down things people say; pen and mail correspondence; save old letters & photos; and jot things down before I forget on my blog or social media.  My love of office supplies and visual images easily support my habit.  Recently, I've acknowledged that this simple act of archiving my memories has become a big deal to me and I've been seeking out new ways to preserve my past.

The Salas siblings :: Tammi + Traci + Kevin circa 1978

The Salas siblings :: Tammi + Traci + Kevin circa 1978

When I started my annual home purge earlier this year, I ran across six round plastic cases of 8 mm films in the back of my garage.  These home movies were almost 40 years old and would serve as a link to my childhood and the family that once was.  The films have bounced around over the years and were subjected to extreme temperatures in my mom's attic in Arizona.  She left them with me a few years ago and I've been meaning to research ways to easily convert them.

I spotted an ad on Facebook and decided to give Legacybox a try.  They made it super simple to send in my home movies and after five short weeks, they arrived in a box (along with my original films) and my early childhood came flooding back to me in two hours' worth of silent films.  

I sat down with Grady and narrated who everyone was.  I thought this act of going back to the late 1970's might make me sad (and it did initially), but what I ended up with was a swell of good, positive, heartfelt emotions.  We were once a happy family and now I have the proof to show it.  Instead of dwelling on the chaos and heartbreak at the end of my parents' marriage, I could focus on the rock-solid foundation of our youth; the pool parties; the Dance Fever marathons; and our homes, which were well cared for and provided such a grounding effect on me as a young girl.  It was also made obvious to me that we spent a lot of time doing front yard gymnastic competitions and that my hula-hooping skills were honed at a very early age.  

Me + my canopied bed + display of dolls & stuffed animals circa 1975

Me + my canopied bed + display of dolls & stuffed animals circa 1975

This was the best $125 investment I've ever made.  I signed up for the small $75 box, but added three more films - upping it to $125.  They offer a 25% coupon right of the bat when you go to their website and the FedEx shipping is free both ways.  If I were to do it all over again, I'd sign up for the $250 box, which can convert up to 10 films or other media (negatives, photographs, audio, VHS tapes, slide, etc.).  

Steve burned four copies for me to send to my family this week.  I feel fairly confident that if there is a trophy for best-daughter-of-the-year, I'm going to bring it home this year for best Mother's Day gift.  No doubt about it.  (Did I mention we were competitive in our family home movies and I was a sore loser?  All evidenced and documented in the epic lawn race showdown of 1976).

Without realizing it, I think my archival tendencies are running amok this year.  I had previously discovered Chatbooks through a friend's post on Instagram.  The books are 6 x 6 inches square and filled with 60 pages of color images from my Instagram feed.  They have the date, location (if posted on IG) and whatever blurb I put in the comment section.  Shipping is free, too. 

For whatever reason, I've never been a scrapbooker and, as the family historian, this has always surprised me.  Something about the scrapbooking process loses me along the way.  Chatbooks was my answer to preserving the tiny bits of our daily life and taking the images off the screen and putting them into our hands.  I just received volumes 35 and 36 yesterday to add to our growing collection on my desk.  Ordering these books has also made me much more intentional with my Instagram posting.  Because I like to share, but I don't like to edit - being more intentional when it comes to social media is an area where I definitely could use the focus.  These books are so awesome!  I can't say enough good things about them.

To get your first book free, just click on over to their site, download the app to your phone and use my coupon code 6RAFN23N.

Last, but not least, I purchased a genealogy chart from i (chart) you.  Chatbooks featured their little company on Instagram earlier this week and offered a discount code.  i (chart) you emails you a link and you simply fill out the chart at you leisure - it never expires!  I'm working hard to fill in all of the proper family names and want to gift this to Steve for father's day.  I ordered this dreamy color combo of aqua + mustard (above), but they have so many more to choose from.  My love of circles + family history + graphic design made this a win-win choice for preserving the past in an artful way in our home.  You just tell them what size you want printed and they digitally format your chart for you, which is great for this technically challenged gal.  Since you will print your own, you can print as many as you like to gift to family members.  Total cost was $17.50.

I've also found another dreamy company called Framebridge.  High quality framing that makes it a breeze to mail in your artwork (free shipping both ways) and get it professionally framed.  I'll use this company to frame up the genealogy chart when I'm done, as well as a few small art prints and vintage family photos that have been languishing in my desk drawer.  Use my promo code SMALLTOWNGOODS10 during checkout and you will receive a $10 discount on your order.

Okay, I think that's all I've got to share on archiving the past.  I'm going to head out and enjoy today.

Happy Thursday, friends.