At the Personal Digital Archiving Conference, Again

Personal Digital Archiving Conference at NYU by Natalie Parker

On my way home from my month in London, I put on my grad student hat and stopped in New York City to attend the 2015 Personal Digital Archiving Conference.

This is the second year I’ve attended (see my thoughts from last year here).  In addition to being a huge boost to listen to people studying the same issues I am, I always hear so many good thoughts applicable to scrapbookers.

I’ve gone over my notes and picked out some interesting things.

Big Thoughts

These are paraphrased from my notes and are not actual quotes.

Don Perry: We need to be considering the archives we are creating now as things people in the future will look to to understand the past.  The impetus for taking the photograph today is the same as in 1840 when someone sat in a studio to make a daguerreotype. It is to capture something.  The photograph is a distilled version of one persons heart.

Jessica Bushey: The smartphone is the preferred device for taking photos. The function of photos is shifting from a snapshot to remember or to create a permanent record to a digital trace that communicates an experience that is quickly consumed and forgotten.

While on the surface it seems like Perry and Bushey disagree with each other, I don’t think that’s the case.  While I do think that more of today’s photos are ephemeral (do you want the picture I took of a price tag at Target?), I think at least some of the photos we take today will fit Perry’s definition as we age.

Julie Swierczek: There is too much emphasis on big data and not enough small scale description.  It doesn’t matter how many millions of women describe themselves as mothers on Facebook.  But, if you talked to a handful of mothers, that would be interesting.  Don’t forget the personal.

Swierczek’s comments about small scale really resonated with me.  Sometimes I wonder what’s the point of my scrapbooking when I’m just one person in this huge world.  She reminded me that stories on a small scale matter.

Other Bits

Todd Wemmer emphasized audio in memory keeping.  He played a clip of his kids playing at the beach that he said he wouldn’t trade for all his photos.  They weren’t even my kids and I was very moved by the experience of listening to them.  Listen to clips he’s collected of all sorts of people here.  It’s amazing to hear people tell their stories.

Sarah Severson showed us how she used Picasa and WordPress to create an online family archive.  I was totally blown away and need to get on this!

Joel Neville Anderson shared the Photohoku project with us, an effort to provide photographs and albums to people who lost everything in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan.  The idea is to help people restart their family albums.

So much good stuff here!

In addition to being a scrapbooker and a traveler, I’m also studying to be an archivist.  I’m currently researching what regular people do with their photos.  To read more of my posts about archives for scrapbookers, click here.

London: Afternoon Tea at the Langham

Afternoon Tea at the Langham Hotel by Natalie Parker

Afternoon Tea at the Langham Hotel by Natalie Parker

Afternoon Tea at the Langham Hotel by Natalie Parker

Afternoon Tea at the Langham Hotel by Natalie Parker

Afternoon Tea at the Langham Hotel by Natalie Parker

Continuing my tour of things in London my husband doesn’t appreciate so I’ll do them because he’s not with me on this trip, it was time for afternoon tea.

I love afternoon tea.  Love love love.

My coworker wanted to take more for an ultra-traditional afternoon tea, so we headed to the Palm Court at the Langham.  Reservations are recommended, especially if you are going on a weekend.  We went on a weeknight at the last sitting, so we didn’t have to worry about being rushed.  We had a lovely time!

I’ve come to understand from my coworkers that one is either a sandwich person or a sweets person at tea.  I’m firmly in the latter camp, so I can’t say much about the sandwiches.  The sweets were good and the scones were ahhhh-mazing.

I ordered a glass of champagne with my tea because, champagne.  That was before I knew that Champagne Charlie appears at 7pm and hands out free champagne to everyone (a daily tradition at the Langham).  More champagne!  It was really cute.

My coworker is very into the atmosphere when she has tea.  The grand piano player definitely helped pass muster, but the tearoom itself was a little dated.  I’m not set in my tea preferences yet (as in, I don’t have my tea-legs, ha!), but I liked the art-deco interior of the Wolseley much better.

Service was lovely and the tea itself was delicious.  Afternoon tea is one of my favorite ways to relax, indulge, escape, and watch the world go by.

Palm Court at the Langham, 1c Portland Place, Regent street, London W1B 1JA

I’m in London solo for the month of April on a business trip.  I’m keeping myself busy during the downtime and I’ll be sharing with you here.

How to Color Correct Craft Photos

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

Editing craft photos is always challenging.  I’m not talking about making pictures look better than real life.  I just want my pictures to show what things look like in person — not that easy!

Even with my fancy pants DSLR and trying my best to use natural light, my photos still come out dark and a bit off color.

The darkness I can fix.  I use Picasa to turn up the exposure and add a little more contrast to compensate.  Even then, the pictures are still tinted a bit — they’re either too blue or too warm.  Even more challenging, if I fix the temperature on the photos, it’s hard to get a series of photos looking the same.

Here’s the trick: add a piece of white paper to your photos.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

I use a small square of white cardstock and position it in my photo so it’s on the side where I can easily crop it out later.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

See what I mean?  I took that photo in natural light in my living room.

In Picasa, use the eyedropper tool and the white paper to correct the photo.  Simply select the eydropper and click on the white paper.  Boom!  The color is instantly corrected.  I’m not an expert, but I think it has something to do with telling the program that the paper is a true white and it adjusts the rest of the colors accordingly.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

I do this step first, then I play with the brightness and contrast.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

When I’m done, I crop the white paper out and get my finished product:

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

As a reminder, Picasa is a free photo editing tool.  I’ve written about my favorite Picasa editing tools here, and how to make photo collages in Picasa here.

Color Correcting Craft Photos by Natalie Parker

Dublin: Seeing Live Music

Dublin Live Irish Music by Natalie Parker

I was pretty psyched to experience some live Irish music during our trip to Dublin.  I read so many bar reviews that said “live music” — right on!  But, I quickly learned that live music can mean many many different things.

The Different Types of Live Music in Dublin

Honestly, I felt like Goldilocks figuring this all out.  I wanted to go to a bar where performers were singing Irish music and I could hear it, but come and go as I pleased and not buy a ticket.

1. Live contemporary/popular music.  This means people playing instruments, maybe singing, and the songs are current/pop.  We saw this often walking by the pubs in Temple Bar.

2. Live, un-amplified Irish music.  We visited a neighborhood pub that had “live music nightly,” which was 2-3 guys playing traditional instruments.  This was meant to sort of compliment the scene at the bar and wasn’t a “main event.”  At this particular place, you had to be sitting close to the instruments to hear them and there was no singing.

3. Live, amplified Irish music with singing.  This was “just right” for us, exactly what I was looking for!  We visited a couple of bars that had 2-3 people playing instruments and singing with microphones.  The music was an “event” rather than just a din.  You could still go to the bar to have a drink without purposefully going for the music.  The music could be heard throughout the bar but it wasn’t the only thing going on.  This may be hard to understand, but it’s not what’s described below, which should help.

4. Live Irish show with or without dinner/dancing.  This is what the guide at the Tourist Information center tried to steer us to.  Forgive the mental picture, but this is what you would probably do if you were older, in a tour group, and wanted to see some Irish music — kind of like paying to go to a tango show in Buenos Aires.  I’m sure it’s great, it’s just not what we wanted.

Thinking in Goldilocks terms, option 3 is just right.  Not too little music, not a huge production.  Just right!

Stay tuned next week and I’ll give you a rundown of all the bars/pubs we visited and which type of live music they had.

Mr. P and I recently spent a long weekend in Dublin and I’m writing a bunch of posts about the trip.  Click here to see a summary of our trip and for links to all the posts.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Dublin: Visiting Guinness & Jameson

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

The Old Jameson Distillery and The Guinness Storehouse are two of Ireland’s most popular tourist attractions.  When I asked Mr. P what he wanted to do in Dublin, he said “Guinness and Jameson.”  Noted.

Here’s everything you need to know before you go, including some things I wish we’d known!

Important: you will not actually see alcoholic beverages being made at either of these places.  More details below, but I’m mentioning it here in case it’s a deal breaker.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

Both places are very centrally located in Dublin.  We did both in one day but I would not recommend that (read on for why).  We did the basic ticket for each — both offer an enhanced tasting experience for an extra fee.

The Old Jameson Distillery

I think it’s called the “old” distillery because Jameson is no longer made on site.  It’s manufactured in a larger facility in County Cork.

Guided Tour: a ticket to the Distillery gets you a guided tour by an actual human.  The guide shows you equipment that used to be used at the facility, explains how Jameson is made, and answers questions.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

Tickets: tickets are €15.00 for adults at the door or €13.50 purchased online in advance.  Tickets sell out, so I recommend booking in advance.

Whiskey Tasting: the tour includes a quick whiskey tasting to compare an American whiskey, Jameson, and a scotch.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

Free Drink & Certificate: After the tour, you get a free Jameson neat or a Jameson with ginger ale and lime.  You have the option to print a whiskey taster certificate.

The Shop, Restaurant, and Bar: These are all accessible without a ticket.  There’s a neat bar in the lobby of the distillery, which has glass floors to show the old foundation.

Jameson Thoughts

We preferred Jameson to Guinness.  I’ll explain more below but I liked the personalization of the guided tour.  Our guide knew the word for barley in an obscene number of languages.  I will say that if our guide hadn’t been great, the tour might not have been worth it.

Tour was a bit fast.  The website says that the tour lasts just under an hour but it felt a lot faster.  Our guide was awesome but it did feel like we were being moved along quickly.  The tasting was lightening fast.  I can understand that they need to set up the tasting for the next group, but it’s worth noting.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

Glad we bought our tickets early.  Really glad.  When we got there, the tours for the entire morning were sold out already.

Get there about 10 minutes early.  If you buy your tickets online, you still need to check in so they can print them for you.

If you’re not really into Jameson, maybe skip the tour.  Here’s the thing — we know how whiskey is made.  But Mr. P was really into seeing the whole thing and the tour was fun, if a little light.  But, if you just want to see the building and say you’ve been there, you can just as easily visit and get a drink at the bar, which looked cool.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness is actually made on site in Dublin, but you will not get to see that during your visit.

Tickets: €16.20 online for adults, €18.00 at the door.  There is no set date or time for the tickets, so you can visit whenever you want.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

Not a tour, an “experience.”  The whole shebang is seven massive floors each with a different thing, such as how Guinness is made, advertising, the barrels, and more.  You kind of file along at your own pace.  There are things to read and TV monitors that explain things.

Free Drink: Your ticket gets you a free drink either at the Gravity Bar at the top of the Storehouse or you can use it to practice pouring yourself a pint.  You can’t do both.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

The Shop, Restaurants, and Bar:  You must have a ticket to access these.  You can’t simply go for a drink or dinner without a ticket.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

Guinness Thoughts

How do I put this . . . overkill?  Artificial?  The place is a huge temple to Guinness, but it was almost like it lacked substance.  Different than Jameson, it’s all new and modern on the inside.  Maybe it just wasn’t our thing, but I don’t find it really interesting to watch a monitor explain things to me or just read a bunch of placards.

Go for the Gravity Bar.  The Gravity Bar at the top makes the ticket worth it.  If it were me, I’d head straight there to get a good seat and my free Guinness, then head downstairs to look at the other stuff.  The bar has the best views of the city.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

It can get crowded.  This is where we should have done things differently.  I recommend getting there early.  It was crowded working through the “experience” and it was shoulder to shoulder in the Gravity Bar.  There were long lines for all of the hands-on stuff.  If we did it over again, we’d do Jameson and Guinness on two separate days, each in the morning.

Guinness and Jameson Visit by Natalie Parker

I’m not saying I don’t recommend it.  It would be hard to be in Dublin and not go.  But, know what you’re getting yourself into and enjoy it for what it is.

I hope this helps you plan your trip!  Have you been before?  I’m interested to hear if anyone else had a different experience.

The Old Jameson Distillery, Bow Street, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7
Guinness Storehouse, St James’s Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland

Mr. P and I recently spent a long weekend in Dublin and I’m writing a bunch of posts about the trip.  Click here to see a summary of our trip and for links to all the posts.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

London: the Lounge at the Odeon, or, the Introvert’s Saturday Night

Odeon Luxury Movie Theater by Natalie Parker

I’m sure business travelers have this problem all the time:  keeping themselves entertained during downtime.  I don’t usually have this issue because Mr. P is either with me or the trip is short and jam-packed.

But, last weekend, I had a Saturday night with no plans.  It was a holiday weekend so most of my coworkers were busy.  And, I’m an introvert so I’m not terribly keen on going out to dinner by myself.

Enter: the Lounge at the Odeon Whiteleys.  It’s a luxury movie theater.  Going out to dinner, getting drinks, and seeing a movie and not having to make small talk with people I don’t know?  Sign me up!


I bought my ticket online, then printed it at the theater.  Full disclosure: it ain’t cheap.  My weekend peak price ticket was £25.00, about $36 at today’s exchange rates.

You select a seat when you book.  If you’re a couple, they have love seats available.  The setup looks like this.

Odeon Luxury Movie Theater by Natalie Parker

I checked in at the host desk.  There’s a waiting area/lobby outside the theaters with a bar.  It reminded me of a nightclub with the couches and low lighting — probably what they were going for.

Food and drinks are extra (see here for a drink menu and here for the food menu).  Everything goes on your tab, just tell them your seat number.  I ordered a prosecco while I was waiting for the theater to open.

Odeon Luxury Movie Theater by Natalie Parker

Once the theater was open, they carry your drink and escort you to your seat.  The server explained how everything worked (since I was a newb).

The seats are huge and comfortable.  They have built-in controls.

Odeon Luxury Movie Theater by Natalie Parker

There’s a tray that swivels to hold your drinks and food.

There’s no set ordering time for food or drinks.  Anytime you want something before or during the film, just press the blue button and someone comes to your seat.  A lot of people ordered stuff before the movie.  I waited until just before the movie started to order dinner.

They bring the bill and charge your credit card before the movie is over.


I’ll be honest, this was a splurge and I don’t know if I’d do it again.  If I lived here I’d go out to a restaurant and then see the movie.  If I was on vacation, I’d never do this because I don’t want to waste precious vacation time on a movie.  Being on a business trip was the perfect confluence of factors.

Food and drinks were good.  I had the fish and chips, a glass of prosecco before the movie, and a glass of wine during the movie.  All were good and generally reasonably priced (I expected the food to be a gouge).  I don’t know if I missed something, but I kept seeing people ordering popcorn but it wasn’t on the menu.

Eating dinner does distract.  The place is set up so you can see your food but still have that movie theater atmosphere.  Still, I found that I was distracted from the movie while trying to eat my dinner.  I guess that’s why popcorn is still a thing?  Then again, I’m easily distracted.

The seats are nice.  This was great.  I felt like I could curl up or stretch out like I was at home.

Odeon Luxury Movie Theater by Natalie Parker

Service was great.  The servers were all very attentive.  I kind of wonder how this business is sustainable given the amount of people they had (there are 40 seats in the the theater and I think they have 2 or 3 theaters at the venue).

Paying was distracting.  Since most people were paying by credit card, the servers were tapping away on the credit card machines (“beep beep beep”), which was a bit noisy and distracted from the film.  Not a huge deal, but worth mentioning if you are paying for this experience.

Overall, I’m happy I went.  Again, I don’t think I’d go again, but this was a great way to pass the time, try something new, and see a movie I really wanted to see (and that wasn’t on Mr. P’s list to see anyway).

The Lounge at the Odeon Whiteleys, 151 Queensway, London W2 4YT (inside the Whiteleys shopping center).

I’m in London solo for the month of April on a business trip.  I’m keeping myself busy during the downtime and I’ll be sharing with you here.

Scrapbook Layout: Giants Games

San Francisco Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerSan Francisco Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerSan Francisco Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerSan Francisco Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerSan Francisco Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

It’s baseball season y’all!  I’m still sitting over here in kind-of-actually-sunny London but my social media feeds are abuzz in baseball.  I’m also finding myself trying to explain the appeal of baseball to my British coworkers.

Side note – I’m amused when the page I have to blog about actually comes up at the right time of the year to show it.  I’m not a seasonal scrapbooker, as you know.

The Story: Cataloging the Giants games Mr. P and I went to in 2007.  This includes the always-important magnet schedule (learn about how I use magnets in scrapbooks here).

Number 750 / Lift-Up Tickets: Just by chance, we ended up at the game where Barry Bonds hit his 750th home run.  We took our tickets to the Giants Dugout Store to get a special pin a few days later and they stamped the back of the tickets.  I wanted to show the stamp and didn’t want to glue down either side of the tickets.  I hinged them just by gluing a strip at the top so they lift up.

Lots of Tickets: I love using tickets in my scrapbooks.  Want some tips about how to include them in your layouts?  I did a roundup of all sorts of examples here.

Previously: 2004 Baseball Layouts, 2005 Baseball Layouts, 2006 Baseball Layout

Got enough baseball yet?  No?  See: New York Trip/Yankee Game Layout, New York Trip/Baseball Hall of Fame Layouts.

San Francisco Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie ParkerSan Francisco Giants Baseball Scrapbook Layout by Natalie Parker

Fonts: Klinic Slab | Tools: Silhouette SD (headline), Epson Stylus R2000 (photos) | Supplies: Pioneer SJ-100 Jumbo Scrapbook (scrapbook & pages), Epson Semigloss Photo Paper (photos) | Ephemera Included: baseball tickets, baseball magnet schedule.