Meet Us Monday: Andrea Stransky

Hi All –

My name is Andrea Stransky and I have spent the last 10 years working at CM.  I started off in a temporary position in the Digital Customer Service Department helping with the Digital Center and software.  A short time later, I was offered a permanent position in the Consultant Services Department.  From there, I became a Trainer for other CSR’s helping them to deliver excellent service to all of our Consultants and Customers.  Like many of you, I have been alongside CM throughout the many changes over the years.  I took, what I like to call, a 6-month “vacation” from CM as Ahni & Zoe was shutting down.  I enrolled back into college to finish my degree in Business Management.

Continue reading Meet Us Monday: Andrea Stransky

Photo Tips – Halloween Photography

Fall is my favourite time for photography!  I love all of the colours in the fall palette!  Along with fall comes Halloween and all of the photo opportunities surrounding this time of the year.

Pumpkins to Jack-o-lanterns

Leading up to Halloween I like to get photos of the children carving their pumpkins and what designs they come up with every year.


Lauren’s jack-o-lantern is always very creative and usually has a theme – The Walking Dead this year!


Grant deep in thought about what he will design this year!


Twins?  He is trying to make the same face!

It is always fun to get a photo their masterpieces  when they are finished.


I like to get photos in the dark and the daylight of our pumpkins.


And there is always fun to be had when they pose with their jack-o-lanterns!


One of my favourite jack-o-lantern shots is of Grant looking into the pumpkin and he is glowing like the inside of the pumpkin.


My settings to achieve this shot were f4.5 at 1/3 sec shutter speed, ISO 100.  I used a tripod for this photo because at 1/3 of a second it would be very difficult to capture this hand held.

Staged Photos

I am not against grabbing a few staged photos before the big night.  I find Halloween night so busy, trying to get supper, get the costumes on and have the treats ready for the trick or treaters.  Usually the afternoon of Halloween I get the children to put their  costumes on and we do a few photos in the yard.  This saves me from getting cranky when they don’t want to pose for photos when they are excited and ready to head out the door to get CANDY!


Turn on your flash!

When the trick or treaters are leaving for the evening in the dark turn on the flash to get a good photo of them.  It is just too difficult to capture that moment without your flash on!


This is one of my best ones without my flash.  It is not bad but it is not great either.  You get the idea of the costumes but they are bit blurry.  The flash would definitely help this!

untitled-5807untitled-5813These ones are much better with the flash on!

Sometimes you get lucky though and get a fun effect when you turn your flash off and have a slow shutter speed.

untitled-1116.jpgOr are they ghosts?

Trick or Treaters

I like to get photos of the children in our neighbourhood because they are cousins and friends of our children.  I recommend turning your flash on for these ones because they are in a hurry to get to the next house and aren’t going to stand still long!


And don’t forget our furry friends who like to dress up for treats too!

The Loot!

Get a photo of all of the candy at the end of the trick or treating!


Time to Play!

While my children are out Trick or Treating I usually have time between children arriving at the door so it is a fun chance to play with my camera.


I used my tripod and my zoom lens for this photo experiment.  My settings were f4.5, 1.3 sec and 100 ISO.  How I achieved this projector effect was by moving the zoom lens out or in depending on where you started from when you set up the photo.  In the top photo the lights were on in the house so any point of light was also affected in the photo.  I turned the lights out and tried again which gave a dark background.

Have fun with your Halloween photos and always have your camera ready for anything strange or spooky!


Happy Haunting!


Halloween Paper Craft Medallions

I see them everywhere.  Medallions.  Paper Medallions!

They are adorable and so easy to make!  You can create small ones, or very large ones all dependent on the width paper you use.

But, how do you make these adorable paper medallions?

Using our Bats in the Belfry Collection will add to the spookiness of your holiday decor.

Let me show you how to create these adorable pieces, so you can add to your Halloween decor, or perhaps even a birthday or Christmas!

Tools you will need:  Paper, Trimmer, Adhesive (Glue Gun), Multi-Purpose Tool

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Meet Us Monday: Alison Dutton

I can track my love for paper and photography back to high school, when I joined the yearbook staff at East Chapel Hill High School in North Carolina. Digital photography was in its beginning stages and most of our page layouts were still created like a scrapbook, cropping printed photos and laying out pages to mail into the yearbook company to print.

From Left: Diane Lampert, me and Melissa Ullmann with my first Project Recipe.

Continue reading Meet Us Monday: Alison Dutton

Halloween Treat Bags

When I think of Halloween, I think of the cute little adorable ways in which you can gift candy or trinkets!

What I love most about this treat bag is that you can create it any size you would like.  From small to big!

Step 1:  Cut a piece of paper into a rectangle.  (I cut mine to 6″ x 10″)

Step 2:  Fold one side in about 1/3 of the way.  Place adhesive on the edge of the folded piece.  Fold the other side of the paper over to cover the adhesive.

Step 3:  Fold the bottom over.  (This will be the thickness of the bag-I folded mine over 1-1/2″)


Step 4:  Open the bottom of the bag as shown, creasing the edges of the bottom.


Step 5:  Fold one side of the bottom, so it is just past the halfway crease on the bottom. Add adhesive to the edge of this flap.

Step 6:  Fold the other flap on the bottom over the top of the adhesive.


Step 7:  Open the bag.  Fill with goodies.


Step 8:  Create a page topper to fit over the top. Adhere to the top.

Step 9:  Punch holes, add tag, and tie with ribbon.


Maybe you create a special treat bag for your kids or grandkids, or maybe you give special treats to your co-workers at the office.  Whoever your recipients are, they will feel more than loved when they receive a treat bag in which you put your love and special touch into.

Happy Creating!!


Meet Us Monday: Amy Crandall

Hi all!  My name is Amy Crandall and I am a distribution specialist, which consists of being a machine operator, bookmaker, shipper, and miscellaneous office duties.  I joined Creative Memories in 2002, Valentine’s day to be exact.

Picking, packing, and shipping your orders is one of my daily duties.  I also run a few of the machines that create the components of your albums before we put them together with tender loving care.  We have a small crew, but we go where the work is, flexing to different areas to get the work done.  It’s my “at work family” and I wouldn’t trade them for anything!  My twin sister, Beth, also works within our small team.  And we actually get along…lol!

I have a daughter who is finishing her last semester at the University of Minnesota in the graphic design program.  (Very proud mom moment!!!)  My significant other, Dean, has a son who started 9th grade this year.  Bryant is the typical 14-year-old, always testing us. Soon he will be driving…YIKES!  We also have 2 dogs, a Shih Tzu Bichon named Jasper and a Black Lab named Girl.  Oh, and don’t forget the chickens. I love our whole family!

Dean and I met almost 3 years ago on a blind date.  His twin sister set us up and it’s been perfect ever since.  So perfect that I was able to donate one of my kidneys to him this past April.  It was a match made in heaven!  We are both doing well, he is feeling so much better with his new kidney.  Soul mate?  Yes, I believe in that!


Camping, gardening, fishing, bowling, casino road trips, and just hanging out at home are some of my favorite things to do when I’m not at work. This summer, we took a week long family trip hauling our pop up camper through Yellowstone, Devil’s Tower and Mt. Rushmore.  The scenery was beautiful.  There’s something about the great outdoors, right?  We live on a lake so we try to get out fishing as much as we can.  I don’t like to eat fish; I just like to catch them!


CM has been a big part of my life the last 15 years, and it will be a big part many years to come. I’m very excited to see where the future takes us!


Meet the Painted Harvest Scrapbook Collection

I am still mopping up the drool.

Did you see the new collection that we just launched last week?

Painted Harvest.

Creative Memories Painted Harvest Collection

Its title describes it perfectly!  The collection has a very warm palette using earthy tones.  While there are a few leaf embellishments, the overall palette leans too much more than just fall.  Think about photos from a day at the park, a trip abroad, or even a family reunion.  The Painted Harvest collection will suit all of those scrapbooking needs.

Continue reading Meet the Painted Harvest Scrapbook Collection

How to Make a Baby’s First Year Scrapbook

The first 12 months of a baby’s life are filled with precious moments that need to be photographed and saved. You may have noticed the wonderful photo trend that’s encouraging moms and dads to document a baby’s first 12 months in creative ways.

I’m going to share with you how you can create a baby’s first year album as a gift for a friend or family member. As an avid scrapbooker, I absolutely love sharing my completed albums with those I love. Not everyone in my life shares my passion for paper-crafting, but they all see the value in having memories preserved. Plus, they love spending time looking through the photos and reading the journaling. As you can imagine, when a completed album is gifted to them the response of appreciation is overwhelming!

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Painted Harvest Thanksgiving Tablescape

In Canada we are looking forward to turkey, pumpkin pie, and special time spent with family and friends this upcoming weekend!

Painted Harvest is such a stunning product collection, I couldn’t help but use some to spruce up my kitchen table for Thanksgiving.

I enjoy adding a personal touch into my home decor. I find a very easy and economical way to do it is through papercrafting! With a small amount of designer paper, some cardstock, a punch or two, a few ABC/123 stickers, and adhesive you’re all set! You can change your decor from beachy to autumn inspired, to a Christmas wonderland.

Continue reading Painted Harvest Thanksgiving Tablescape