Thursday, February 25, 2016

Business Owners - Show Gratitude & Send a Thank You Note

In this day and age where everybody is looking for the next shiny object to improve business, there is a simple solution available to every business owner and entrepreneur that can have an immediate and positive effect on your business! And get this, EVERYBODY reading this can implement and use this strategy in their business today!

It’s expressing your appreciation and gratitude to friends, customers, clients, and colleagues by sending handwritten thank you notes.

When was the last time that you wrote or received a handwritten thank you note?  Remember how it made you feel? This is the emotional connection you want to make with your prospects and customers!

Taking 5-10 minutes out of your day to send a handwritten thank you letter and sending it via the Postal Service seems to have become an anomaly in today’s world as our inboxes are constantly clogged with the next sale, promotion, or reminder.

Today, when 99% of people complain of too many emails, text messages, advertisements and intrusions, NOBODY is complaining about receiving too many personalized thank you notes or letters!

Showing that you are grateful can help attract new clients, customers, or associates. It can easily improve the relationships you have with existing clients, customers, or partners and reduce any negative or doubtful emotions people may have about you or your company.

I know business owners who use thank you cards as a primary marketing strategy and the results are phenomenal! Who doesn’t like to be appreciated and thought of?

Gratitude is an extremely powerful emotion you should be tapping into regularly and while there are many generic ways and services to send a thank you, I like the personal touch of a handwritten custom thank you card because it allows the reader to connect with you on an emotional level.
When should you send out a business thank you?
  • When you get a new client/customer
  • When an existing client/customer gives you a new project
  • When someone who makes a referral to your company
  • When a peer who gives you helpful advice
  • As a follow-up after a meeting or phone call
  • For a job well done by an employee, vendor, or associate
  • When someone shows you a kindness

Thank you letter and note tips:

  • Handwrite your message
  • Timing is important – make sure you send out your thank you as soon as possible
  • Begin with the two most important words: Thank you.
Sales and advertising will always have its place within online and offline business marketing, but using thank you notes as a relationship-based strategy is essential to long-term success for entrepreneurs and business owners.

And don't forget to check my shop for handmade thank you greeting cards.  They are coming soon!

*I'd like to thank Mike Capuzzi, the author of this article, for his helpful insights!

Monday, February 22, 2016

March Holidays

It's the last week of February already, and it is time to get prepared for the March holidays.  As always, time if flying by in 2016!  Here are the holidays, special and wacky days you need to be prepared for:

1 National Pig Day
1 Peanut Butter Lovers' Day
2 Old Stuff Day
3 I Want You to be Happy Day
3 If Pets Had Thumbs Day
3 National Anthem Day
3 Peach Blossom Day
4 Employee Appreciation Day first Friday in March
4 Holy Experiment Day
4 Hug a GI Day
4 National Salesperson Day - first Friday in the month
5 Multiple Personality Day
6 Dentist's Day
6 National Frozen Food Day
7 National Crown Roast of Pork Day
8 Be Nasty Day
8 International (Working) Women's Day
9 Panic Day
10 Middle Name Pride Day
10 Popcorn Lover's Day second Thursday
11 Johnny Appleseed Day
11 Worship of Tools Day - guys, you can relate
12 Girl Scouts Day
12 Plant a Flower Day
13 Ear Muff Day
13 Jewel Day
14 Learn about Butterflies Day
14 National Potato Chip Day
14 National Pi Day- Why today? Because today is 3.14, the value of Pi.
15 Dumbstruck Day
15 Everything You Think is Wrong Day
15 Ides of March
16 Freedom of Information Day
15 Incredible Kid Day - date varies
15 National Agriculture Day - date varies
16 Everything You Do is Right Day
17 Submarine Day - the hero sandwich or the boat??
17 Saint Patrick's Day
18 Goddess of Fertility Day
18 National Agriculture Day (date varies)
18 Supreme Sacrifice Day
19 National Quilting Day - third Saturday of month
19 Poultry Day
20 International Earth Day
Extraterrestrial Abductions Day
20 Proposal Day
21 Credit Card Reduction Day
21 Fragrance Day
22 National Goof Off Day
23 Melba Toast Day
23 National Chip and Dip Day
23 Near Miss Day
24 National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day
25 Good Friday - date varies
25 Pecan Day
25 Waffle Day
26 Make Up Your Own Holiday Day
26 National Spinach Day
27 Easter Date varies
27 National "Joe" Day
28 Dyngus Day always the Monday after Easter
28 Something on a Stick Day
29 National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day
29 Smoke and Mirrors Day
30 National Doctor's Day
30 I am in Control Day
30 Take a Walk in the Park Day
31 Bunsen Burner Day
31 National Clam on the Half Shell Day

March is also:
  • Irish American Month
  • Music in Our Schools Month
  • National Craft Month
  • National Frozen Food Month
  • National Irish American Heritage Month- designated by Congress in 1995.
  • National Nutrition Month
  • National Peanut Month
  • National Women's History Month
  • Red Cross Month
  • Social Workers Month 
And don't forget to celebrate these special weeks:

  • 2nd Week National Bubble Week
  • 2nd Week Crochet Week
Be on the lookout for some special cards hitting my store before these holidays roll around!


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Why Memory Preservation? Caring for your History Part III

In today's post, we are going to focus on preserving your photographs:


Photographs have long been used to capture family memories. Every photographic process, however, is subject to decay and self-destruction.

Understanding the Problem
Photographs employ a process in which a medium which has been coated with various chemicals that react to light is first exposed to a light source to "take" the picture and then is processed using other chemicals that fix and stabilize the image. The negative is then used to create prints on paper that has been coated with even more chemicals. Given the number of chemicals involved, it should not be surprising that no photograph is completely stable. Although in the short run it is insignificant, a small amount of sensitivity to light is always present. Photographs can also react rapidly and unpredictably in the presence of other chemicals.

All photographs fade over time. Traditionally processed black and white photographic prints may last a century or more. Color photographs, because of the various dyes used to create the color, are very susceptible to color change and fading. In particular color photos that are exhibited, may experience noticeable color change after only ten to fifteen years. Polaroid or other "instant" developing photographs are also likely to be chemically unstable and as a result fade very quickly.

The Enemies of Photographs

Photographs are vulnerable to the same enemies as is paper; heat, humidity, light, and mishandling. Because of their chemical nature, photographs also often react negatively to the presence of other chemicals. Even the oils from a person's hands, if left on a photographic print or negative, can eventually cause finger prints to become permanently embedded in the image. Because photographic images are found on light sensitive materials that cannot be made completely stable, bright light is particularly destructive to photographs.

Preserving Photographs

Ideally, photographs should be stored in an extremely cool environment, with color filming lasting longest at a temperature of about forty degrees fahrenheit. Few people are willing to go through the expense and trouble of purchasing a refrigerator solely to store their film. More practical suggestions include:
  • Store photographs in the coolest place in a home that is not subject to high or rapid changes in humidity. Avoid the basement of most homes.
  • Always handle photographic prints and particularly photographic negatives by the edges. An even better option, is to wear light gloves made of a lint free material while handling photographic images.
  • Do not expose photographic prints or negatives to bright light for extended periods of time unless the negative from which the photograph was made can be found and is properly stored. If a negative is not available, a copy negative should be made prior to exhibiting the photographic print.
  • Use high quality color negative film and paper to take and print color photographs. After conducting independent tests for long-term durability, Henry Wilhelm, in The Permanence and Care of Color Photographs (1992) recommends among the negative film marketed for the amateur market the use of Fujicolor Super G 200, Konica Color Super SR 200 3M ScotchColor 200 Film or Polaroid OneFilm Color Print Film (ISO 200) in the medium speed range (ISO 160-200). Wilhelm's more surprising finding was that there was great variability in the fading quality of the paper upon which photos were printed. Fujicolor Super FA Type 3 and Fujicolor SFA3 papers could be exposed for fifty years without color fade.
By way of comparison Kokak's most popular papers began to fade after slightly more than ten years. Wilhelm is, in fact, critical of Kodak both for the company's practice of refusing to release data regarding the longevity of color prints printed on the firm's paper (Wilhelm states other companies routinely release this data) and for marketing papers to the public through ads that "suggested that the Ektacolor prints of the time would 'last a lifetime'" while knowing that the papers actually began to fade noticeably in less than a decade. When interviewing professional photographers who will take family photos at weddings or for studio shots it is wise to inquire about the kind of paper upon which they will print the photos.

Photographs: a Checklist

  • Store photographs in a cool place that is not subject to high humidity.
  • Store photographs away from bright light. If you choose to display family photographs use UV filtering glass.
  • Always handle photographs by their edges. Better yet, wear gloves when handling photographic items.
  • Select film with longevity in mind.
  • When employing a professional photographer ask that he or she print photos on long-lived paper.
  • Treat color photographs as a temporary medium and assume you will have to have them copied.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Why Memory Preservation? Caring for your History Part II

Back on January 3rd, I posted a first in a series about preserving your family history and the importance of it.  In this post, we will explore paper and understanding the make up of it and how to preserve and care for it.  I would like to thank the Central Michigan University for the data they share in this article.

Letters, Diaries, Books and other Paper Items

Many families preserve letters, diaries, or other written documents in which family members discuss their life and times. World War II fiftieth anniversary remembrances have led many families to look for a relative's carefully stored letters home from the European theater. Other families have saved newspaper clippings of important family events, such as the announcements of births, marriages, or obituaries. The family bible can often be an heirloom handed from one generation to the next. Often when the letters are brought down from the attic or the clippings retrieved from the back of the closet, family members are upset to see the items are desintegrating.

Understanding the Problem

Since the 1860s all but the most expensive paper has been made from wood pulp. Manufacturers used wood pulp because it was much more plentiful and much less expensive than the cotton fibers they had previously used. Thus manufacturers could sell paper to consumers at a fraction of the former cost. However, paper made of wood included chemicals that had not been found in paper made in the earlier era. The most important change was the introduction of acid. Acid is what causes paper to slowly turn brown and become brittle. Eventually acidic paper will disintegrate into small pieces of confetti.

Exactly how long it takes for a specific piece of paper to self-destruct depends on the exact nature of the chemicals used to make the product and the way in which paper is stored. Newsprint is usually the cheapest paper available and tends to be the first to decay. Newspaper clippings can often show a significant amount of aging in ten to twenty-five years. Other paper will decay more slowly, but any paper over fifty years of age may have developed significant problems.

A second problem created by acid is acid migration. Acid migration is a term used to explain the phenomena in which acid from low quality paper tends to bleed out onto neighboring pieces of paper. A typical example of acid migration occurs when a newspaper clipping that had been enclosed with a letter is allowed to remain in contact with it for many years. When the letter is re-opened a brown stain in the outline of the clipping has often discolored the paper on which the letter was written. That stain is an example of acid migration. Acid migration not only discolors paper, it increases the acidic content in the area of the stain thus shortening the paper's lifespan.

The Enemies of Paper

The best way to minimize damage to your family records is to properly store your papers away from four hazards that measurably shorten paper's lifespan: heat, humidity, light, and careless handling by people.

Heat speeds chemical reactions and causes paper to decay more quickly. The rate of change is dramatic; doubling with every ten degree (fahrenheit) increase in temperature. Humidity can also destroy paper. Humidity does its harm in two ways. Humidity levels above seventy percent promotes mold growth. Rapid changes in humidity can also damage paper. Wide variations in humidity causes paper to "cycle," expanding and contracting as water is drawn from and goes back into the paper fibers. Bright light, particularly sunlight and fluorescent light, can also injure records. Like heat, ultra-violet radiation can speed chemical reactions that harm paper. However, damage from light usually shows up first in ink which fades and eventually disappears. Careless handling is probably the most frequent cause of harm to paper. Particularly as paper ages and becomes brittle, it will easily rip if it is not handled very gently.

Preserving Paper

Storing loose papers properly is an important step in preserving your family records. Proper storage can lengthen the useful life of any piece of paper. Some helpful ideas include:

  • Store family papers in a cool, dry place, where the humidity stays relatively constant. A bedroom closet is often a good choice particularly if the bedroom or the whole house, is air conditioned. A room where the temperature remains between sixty-five and seventy degrees fahrenheit with a constant relative humidity of about forty-five percent is an ideal environment. Uninsulated attics or damp basements are very poor places to store valuable family papers.

  • Do not expose paper to bright light for extended periods of time. If you feel strongly that you must frame and display a particular document, mat it in acid-free material, leave a small gap between the item and the glass of the frame, and spend a few extra dollars to purchase glass that filters out ultra-violet radiation. When hanging the item avoid a location where direct sunlight from a window or another source of light will reach it.

  • Do not store particularly bad pieces of paper touching higher quality paper. If you desire to store a poor quality piece of paper place it between two blank sheets of high quality paper. Acid will migrate into the blank paper, which can be thrown away, rather than into family letters or other heirlooms.

  • Do store papers opened (not folded), and flat. Fold lines place great stress on paper fiber. As paper ages and becomes brittle folds are the place were paper usually first cracks.

Paper Restoration - A Word of Caution

Over the years, professional conservators have developed a sophisticated array of tools and techniques that can be used to clean, restore and mend documents or books. Successfully using these procedures, however, frequently requires considerable skill, the use of toxic chemicals, and some good luck. Restoration of damaged paper is often expensive, frequently risky, and sometimes doesn't work. In most cases it should only be done by a professional conservator.

The best advice to most do-it-yourself restorers is to do nothing. Home remedies often not only fail to fix the problem but introduce new problems that are even more difficult to fix. It is usually better to store a partially damaged document under good conditions than to try to fix it without professional help. Perhaps the most destructive "home remedy" professional conservators face are repairs done with self-adhesive tape.

Self-adhesive tape should never be used to repair torn or ripped paper, or in an attempt to refasten torn covers to a book. Most tape sticks for only five to ten years. Eventually the tape fall offs, leaving behind a tear or rip imbedded with a sticky adhesive mess that discolors the paper. Even a trained conservator, who could fix the rip or tear in a way that is permanent, will find it difficult and probably impossible, to remove the adhesive and the discoloration from the paper.

Close behind tape in its destructive effect is the practice of lamination. Lamination does not lengthen the natural life of paper and its sticky plastic is virtually impossible to remove. Lamination should not be confused with the professional practice of "encapsulation." Encapsuled documents are placed between two sheets of inert plastic. However the "sandwich" that is created is sealed only around the edges, thus the document is not attached to the plastic in any way.

In general, the best advice for preserving your family papers is to store papers opened, flat, and in a cool, dry place and to restrain yourself and your family from attempting any kind of home repairs to damaged items.

Paper Care - A Checklist

  • Always store paper records in a cool, dry place.

  • Do not store paper in uninsulated attics or damp basements.

  • Always store paper away from bright light.

  • If you choose to frame and display a paper item, always use glass which filters out UV radiation in front of the document.

  • Store papers opened, rather than folded, and flat.

  • Separate "bad" pieces of paper from other items by sandwiching "bad" paper between two, blank sheets of quality paper.

  • Never put pressure sensitive tape on a document.

  • Never laminate a document.

Friday, February 12, 2016

New Website - Nope

Ok, so I now I promised a new website, and I was working on it, but I have to be real.  One thing I can say about blogging and my style is I like to be real.  No fake Jan here - just my life as it unfolds.  Anyways, building a website is a lot of work and I do have a full-time job AND I work for my husband at least 2 nights per week, so guess what?  There isn't a whole bunch of time for everything else I'm trying to do.

All that to say - I'm not going to build a website.  This blogging platform is slowly building momentum and I already have an established Etsy shop that I am building so why add another aspect to it?  Here is the link to my Etsy shop:  ScrapSupplies

I try to add 3-5 products each week so keep checking back.

Happy Scrapping!

Helping You Create Meaningful Memories