Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Project Shoebox: You'll want to do this!

Have you heard of this? It's a photo-based movement, and I love it! It's about getting those old photos out of the shoebox and into the hearts of those you care about. Here's one of my favorite old photos. My brother and I are being pushed in my grandma's tire swing. (Yes, those are my cousins legs hiding behind ours. She's doing the pushing!)

Why Project Shoebox?

So many reasons. But the one I'm most fond of is the fact that it will bring you fulfillment. There's great power in shared images. When you scan an old photo and share that with loved ones, whether that's via Facebook, email, a photo sharing site (such as, or by printing and mailing the pic, you've now given the image and the memory new life.

Image courtesy of Studio 5.

Take this image, for example. It's one my cousin scanned and shared with me. At first glance, I see my Uncle Howard on a horse. That's where he can usually be found, so this comes as no surprise. Little did I know it's actually a postcard he did for the state of Colorado. How cool is that?!

And discovering this lead to more awesome tidbits. My handsome uncle was also featured in national commercials and in movies, and he's even trained Tom Cruise on how to ride a horse when he was filming Last Samurai. AI had no idea he was Mr. Hollywood. He's quiet and a hard worker, so he wouldn't be the one to boast about these facts. But this image holds the stories he's too modest to share. Giddy up!

How to Share

I've never met anyone as passionate or creative as Wendy Smedley. Ever. And when she puts her heart into something, as she's done with Project Shoebox, you know it's going to be good. She's done all the work for you, finding cool sharing apps for your smart phones, sites that will scan images for you, and more. Check out her article for all of this awesome info!

A Final Experience

Last year, I asked my loved ones to send me images of them in Montrose, Colorado. This town holds great significance for us, as it's where our grandparents lived and our parents grew up. I got so many fun shots. Here are just a few:

I ADORE any picture of my grandparents, but this one is extra sweet. They both look so happy. If it weren't for my request, I may have gone my whole life without experiencing this shot.

This is one of my mom's favorite Montrose pics. I'm the wee one, and that's my brother Jeff holding me. You'll see Curt, my other brother, in the background with a monkey puppet that our mom made. Both bros were always playing with me and making me happy, which this picture illustrates. I love the image, because it shows what the inside of my grandma's house looked like. Seeing it, I can remember the sound that phone made, the smell of that kitchen, and the sounds that filled that small house. It takes me right back there and actually brings tears to my eyes. In a good way. :)

Look at my cute mama with her older sister and their parents. It's not very often I see pictures from my mom's youth, so I loved it when relatives sent this one to me. More than that, I loved hearing the stories behind it. 

My Sharing

Once I received everyone's photos, I uploaded them a photo website and created a digital book. I then printed multiple copies and used them as a family reunion invitations. Last summer, we all met again in Montrose for the first time in years! It was wonderful. We shared memories and laughs. I know part of the excitement for this event came from the previous sharing of Montrose memories tied up in pictures.

Here's one of my cousin Cynthia at the "Hooray" (how we pronounce Ouray--you-ray) Pool. This is a special spot for our family and has been for years.

And here is Cynthia (on the left) in the same pool this summer, along with her sister, Cheryl, Cheryl's daughter, and our other cousin, Teri. So awesome to go back those childhood spots and create new stories.

Following the reunion, I uploaded all of the new pictures from the event and created a second photo book, which I printed and mailed to everyone. These small volumes of our Montrose memories are worth SO much! And it all started with a few old photos!

How You Can Be Involved

Like the Project Shoebox page on Facebook. Wendy and Studio 5 keep it loaded with ideas, support, and fun. And I'd love to hear any photo sharing stories you have, if you care to take a minute and share.

I'll leave you with a flick. It's Wendy on Studio 5, describing this movement. A good way to spend a couple of minutes. Hope to see you on the Project Shoebox FB page soon.


P.S. If the video below only shows half of the screen for some reason, you can watch it on the Studio 5 website instead. I appear to be having some technical difficulties. (Story of my life.) :)