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Every Room Has a Story: Living Room Edition

June 12, 2024

Reading time: 4 minutes 

Among our ARTIcles by Artifcts with enduring appeal, at least according to Google, is Show Me the Favorite Moment in Your Home. The premise was simple: Interior designers know that to be able to help their clients design and decorate their spaces, they need to understand what makes them tick. And invariably what we keep says a lot about what matters most to us. Now, if only 'stuff' could talk! 

We’re picking back up on the ‘favorite moment’ theme through a multi-series installment that will take us room-by-room—yes, including the closets and bathrooms—and challenge us to consider why we have the items we do, what they mean to us, why we keep them, and ultimately for some things, what we want others to know about them as well.  

Through this process, we hope you’ll take a fresh look at the items you are toting around with you in life that be elevated displayed anew (reclutter not declutter) if you love them and they’ve been hidden away or perhaps retired or rehomed (yes, that's the declutter part), and consider what’s next for your space so you enjoy being in it.

Stories & Your Living Room 

We’re starting this series in the living room. Arguably this is the most social space of your home, everyone transits through it. How do we make it us and make it welcoming?  

We are not going to talk feng sui specifically, but there is certainly something to be said for at least a cursory understanding of the concept and trying out any number of the amazing online guides available to help you. Feng sui is a concept of Chinese origin that literally means wind-water. In the context of our homes, it’s about how we arrange and fill our spaces to promote health, harmony, and balance.  

Let’s get right into the nitty-gritty of the stuff of your space, because, of course, we’re Artifcts.  

WHY THIS LIGHTING?

Bear with us, because just like our ARTIcles story about decluttering for dementia, here, too, we must start with a nod to lighting. Surely you’re not surprised to learn that we should not live like cave trolls. Studies show that “uplighting,” meaning lights pointing upward at the walls, can literally uplift moods. We’re no experts on “chi,” but if this appeals to you, look into it! 

From the perspective of letting you and your stories shine, lighting can also be an opportunity to introduce a splash of personality, creativity, and color via the fixture itself or shade. Artifcts co-founder Ellen Goodwin brought a custom splash of nature and color into her space with a shade she found on Etsy. Great conversation piece that’s also Artifcted! 

 
 
Photo credit: Original image provided by seller on Etsy. Shop is now closed.

WHY THESE NATURAL OBJECTS?

Think about decorative rocks, plants, and other natural objects in your space. Don’t have any? Consider adding them in.

Rocks, minerals, and gemstones you’ve picked up on hikes and other travel adventures are a win-win: Memories meet decoration. But Artifct them! You’ll be surprised how fast you forget which came from where. 

Thinking back to lessons of feng sui, plants offer an element of air purification and research shows that pausing to care for them can give you a breath when you need one to de-stress from your day. Plants also “warm up” a cool space to welcome people in. 

Not up for keeping plants alive? Preserved green walls have become very popular for this reason and are another great Etsy find by Ellen, who is equally great at killing plants but loves the effect they have in a room. 

And don't forget wood in your space works, too, like shelves made locally from sustainably harvested trees!

wood shelves loaded with books in rainbow order 

WHY THIS "CLUTTER?"

Excuse me?! Not clutter, but decor. Okay, if it is all decor in your mind, prove it. Sweep through your living room this weekend, yank everything off its perch, and then purposefully re-clutter. Is that a word? We’re still not sure, but we’re going with it. 

We love this approach, because it’s like you are moving. You have to rearrange in your mind what you have, why you have it, and where you want it to live in your home. What amount is “too much” is entirely up to you. You must dust it and make room for it after all. 

If you want your decor to spark conversation, remind you of great stories, or maybe keep your loved ones closer to mind, then your objects on display should reflect those priorities! 

      • Photographs you or a friend took, enlarged and framed. 
      • A memento or two from a trip. 
      • Books from favorite authors, maybe you even met them or know them. 
      • Boxes, vases, and other vessels that are heirlooms or perhaps simply great finds or investments that are functional and make you happy.

 
 
This tea tin we featured in curator's choice last year is pretty and sentimental, and paired with modern vase from MOMA. View the Artifct >
      • Toys. No, not those that belong to a child. Think instead of a jar of colorful confetti, dominos in a bowl, a spinning top perched on the coasters. Introduce fun in your space and signal to those who may be feeling blue, uncomfortable, or stressed that you hope they can relax here. This tip is picked up from the book, “Joyful,” by Ingrid Fetell Lee.

What stories and moments make up your living room? Send them in to us at Editor@Artifcts.com or join the conversation on Instagram (@TheArtiLife) or Facebook (@Artifcts). We'd be delighted to hear from you!

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© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Have Passport. Willing to Travel.

Reading time: 4 minutes 
 
With summer travel on our minds, we had some fun recently looking up basic US passport facts available from the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, which is the issuing authority for U.S. passports:

      • There are approximately 160 million active US passports, including US territories. There’s some double counting in there for those with a passport book and card, but you get a sense of scale when we have a total population of roughly 340 million.
      • A state-by-state look at new passports issued as a percentage of each state’s population (est. July 2023) really got our attention. Top of the pile: Washington D.C., New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and New York. States with the most subdued interest in new passports: West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas, Alabama, and Kentucky.
      • Despite all the changes that COVID brought to travel, valid dates for those passports remain unchanged. A child’s passport is still good for 5 years, an adult’s for 10. Makes sense, too. Children under 16 years of age surely change a lot more, on average, than we adults do. And, let’s face it, this probably makes many adults happy if they prefer a younger them in their official passport photo.

Why do we care about passports at Artifcts? Clearly we’re not alone based on the numbers! And talking about the first trip you took on a new passport is a lot more fun than talking about the weather or the latest highway construction project! How old were you? Where did you go? HOW did it go? Scratch that, ask about a first or most recent trip on any passport. Think how different you and your life were 10 years ago and what was guiding you to pick one travel destination over another. 
 
Your passport stamps and visas can unlock so many memories and stories. 
 
Our co-founder Ellen got her first passport to study abroad in Sweden during her junior year of undergraduate studies. Contrast that to her most recent passport which she first used to travel to Israel to speak on a conference panel about technology innovation and human legacy.  
 
In contrast, our other co-founder, Heather, got her first passport to travel to France to study abroad her sophomore year in high school. Her most recent passport stamp? Well, she’s currently mid-trip in the Bahamas, accompanying her husband on his work trip and wrangling brownouts and bugs as she works remote. Oh the stories (and the Artifcts)!

Artifct That Passport!

We have a robust “How to Artifct {fill in the blank}” series that we’ve published over the years. We highly recommend putting it to the test as you Artifct.  
 
Today we’re expanding that series with our best tips to preserve your passports and the memories they hold. Why would you Artifct your passport? To remember and re-live and share all those great and not-so-great travel memories—come on, who has had PERFECT travel and no horror stories to share?  
 
Artifcting passports also makes it easy to pull up trip details to repeat those travels down the road or share with a friend who plans to travel to the same destination. No losing that information in Google Docs, email, or hardcopy only.  
 
See, Artifcts are both everything you can wish for in capturing your stories and memories and incredibly practical, too! 
 
Here's your recipe for Artifcting passports: 
 
1. Start each Artifct with a photo of a stamp and/or visa in your passport. It gets you the location and the date in one go!

2. Add videos and photo:

      • Picture of you in the country.  
      • Video you took out exploring.  
      • Photos of mementos you bought or collected (art, ceramics, t-shirts, pins and spoons, shells and rocks…).
      • Framed picture on your wall from a trip.

3. Don’t forget to add “Documentation” to your Artifct:

      • Travel itinerary (flights, hotels, reservations, museums etc.)
      • Original photo file in case you want to reprint it in the future
      • Receipts, certificates of authenticity, and/or appraisals for any valuable travel mementos you purchase and may need to insure, add to your will, or re-sell one day

4. Now add the story. Use 5 words or 5,000, it’s up to you. No story burden here. And you can choose to add the story in writing or by using voice-to-text or directly recording in the Artifcts app. 
 
 
Want the easy-bake recipe instead?  
 
If what you really want is to tell your favorite stories from the places you’ve been or simply keep track, you can create an Artifct featuring photos of pages of stamps (instead of a single stamp at a time). Then in the Artifct “Description or story,” list out the locations pictured in the stamps and the stories for each. Done!

passport open to show stamps and a visa

 
 
Each stamp has a story. Bonus! The dates make it simple to ensure your Artifct shows up in the right place in your timeline.

Connecting & Sharing Your Artifcted Travel Stories and Mementos

If you’re ready to step beyond the passport only, remember these great Artifcts features and services can help you along the way.

QR CODES

For most travel mementos, you can print or use an Artifcts QR code sticker to link the item, whether the expired passport itself or a ceramic vase you bought in a shop in Italy, with the Artifct. Now anyone who comes across it can scan to get the story.

An Artifcts QR code sticker on a music box from Switzerland

 
 
It's easy to link your Artifct to a QR code sticker - scan and up pops the story!

 
USE @ IN THE ARTIFCT STORY

You can also inter-link your Artifcted stories by typing @ into the story of an Artifct and choosing another related Artifct. That way, all your Italy stories can link together!

 
 
The story in this Artifct includes @ links to people and other Artifcts! Click the image to view the Artifct.

PUBLISH A CUSTOM BOOK WITH US

You may also want to share your stories in a good old fashion book. We know, books can take a lot of work to upload all the photos, lay them out, pick the fonts, fit the text, and so on. Not at Artifcts! Enjoy the memories, we can help with the rest.  
 
Simply purchase a book with our partner Akin, select all the Artifcts you want to publish to a book, and click share to privately send the Artifcts to Akin to layout in your book. You’ll receive a proof before the books are ordered and arrive on yours or a loved one’s doorstep. We have tips to enhance your Artifcts for publication available here, too.

An Artifct published in a book with its story and a QR code to access all the other photos and videos

 
 
Once you create your Artifcts, select any to create a custom book with our partner Akin.

We hope you're inspired to get Artifcting those travel moments hidden within your passport. Happy July to you all!

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© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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MassChallenge Invites Artifcts Into Early-Stage Accelerator

We interrupt your normal Wednesday ARTIcles story to offer you greetings from Boston, Massachusetts. The Artifcts co-founders flew to Boston yesterday to take part in a multi-day launch of the MassChallenge Early-Stage Accelerator program, one of the world’s top accelerator programs. What’s that? Read on!

As a self-funded, patented startup poised to become a household name—because, let’s face it, who doesn’t have stuff or stories—the team at Artifcts wants to ensure that we’re delivering to you not just the best product to capture the stories, history, and value of all you collect, accumulate, and inherit in life, but that we do so always with an eye toward the best in tech, the best in how we operate (lean!), and more.

MassChallenge is a global network for innovators working to solve massive challenges. MassChallenge connects startups, experts, corporations, and communities to grow and transform businesses and does not take any equity from companies who participate. According to Mass Challenge, the early-stage accelerator has facilitated a remarkable $9B+ in funding for its cohorts.

Of the 1,300+ companies to apply, Artifcts was selected along with approximately 120 others to work together over the next 3 months with industry mentors and partners to challenge how we operate, means to improve, and of course how to grow. While you won’t see any immediate change at Artifcts as we work through the program, we hope that we’ll come out stronger than ever and with new ideas for how to better connect with you and help you to enjoy all that Artifcts offers.

Opening session of MassChallenge, Boston, July 9

 
 
Andrew Bialecki, CEO & Founder of Klaviyo, shares his startup journey during the opening event.

In the meantime, please, continue to Artifct. Share Artifcts with friends and family. We may not have the marketing budget of a goliath corporation, but we have amazing community members who want to see Artifcts succeed. We’re so grateful. And, if you have ideas of what you’d like to see next at Artifcts, or even suggestions for what we could do to make your experience better, let us know! We love and take feedback from our ARTI community to heart.

Wish us luck as we roll up our sleeves and dive into the MassChallenge world!

###

Curious about what else we've been up to?

Explore some of Artifcts' other "As featured in" and awards through the years.

© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Preserving Your Best Travel Memories

As co-founders, Ellen and I are always meeting interesting people at Artifcts. We were very fortunate to be introduced this spring to Rainer Jenss, founder of the Family Travel Association, former senior executive with National Geographic, and an avid traveler. We loved talking with Rainer so much that we invited him to be our first guest author at ARTIcles. Read on to learn more about his story and experience using Artifcts to remember his 2022 travels in Africa.

_____________________

My wife Carol and I recently returned from a vacation we took to Africa with 25 other people, most of whom we’d never met before, but all who had some kind of connection to the tour’s organizers, Henry and Claire Kartagener. In my case, I’ve worked in the travel industry with Henry Kartagener for years. He’s also been directly responsible for getting Carol and me to Southern Africa several times already, including our first visit back in 1992 that took us on a safari during which we actually ended up getting engaged. Thirty years later, we found ourselves returning yet again, but this time as part of a “Friends of Henry” contingent, some of whom had been to the continent before, many of whom had not.

As I’ve noticed on other trips we’ve been on as part of a group, conversations between people often turn to sharing travel stories. Some just recount something that happened that day, while others recall experiences from previous adventures. It’s as though the act of sharing travel memories with others somehow reinforces their meaning – and all the while, hopefully inspiring those who are listening.

It’s as though the act of sharing travel memories with others somehow reinforces their meaning...

I can relate. For me personally the tales from my life’s adventures traversing the planet and displaying some of the things I picked up along the way represent some of my favorite memories and what I’m most fond of in my life. I think we all probably feel that way in some way no matter how much of the world we’ve traveled. Either way, this idea only strengthens my conviction that traveling is one of the most important things we can do in our lives.

...Travelling is one of the most important things we can do in our lives.

Taking it a step further, if I were asked to recall what our conversations were about, I’d say they usually revolved around the things most of us do while traveling, which include (in no particular order): visiting new places, trying new things, meeting new people, buying souvenirs, and of course, sharing pictures. In fact, it would be pretty easy to argue that thanks to the advances in cellphone technology, capturing and sharing the highlights of our journeys through pictures, whether they be bucket list vacations or just weekend getaways, seems to be the most common activity we almost all now seem to engage in.

 

Victoria falls at sunriseVictoria Falls at sunrise. Click the image to view the Artifct.

But while putting our best-looking pictures on social media has become such an integral part of what we do while traveling, we usually do so without telling the broader stories behind the images we post. Sure, the photos themselves may look great and often make those we share them with envious. But on their own, they rarely capture why the person took it or what it means to them personally.

 

The king protea, national flower of South AfricaThe national flora of South Africa is the King Protea, symbolizing diversity, change and courage. Click the image to view the Artifct.

After recently having discovered Artifcts, I’ve found that it’s now possible to not only preserve and organize the special moments from my travels, I can now do so by also documenting the stories behind them. The very same stories I just might share with fellow travelers somewhere down the road.

Which brings us to what happened when I returned home after spending more than two weeks in Africa with 25 of my new best friends. As usual, I had 100s of images to sort through and edit. But this time, I did so with a different purpose and perspective. Sure, I still tried to pick out the ones that were the most visually compelling. But this time I made sure to set aside some photos of things I usually wouldn’t display in an album or share on social media. Instead, I paid special attention to the photos and videos of those things that best told the story of our trip. Best of all, I used the Artifcts I created to produce a virtual album I shared with those I spent my vacation with. For the purpose of this story, I’ve also made it available to the public in hopes it might inspire others to give it a try. Just go to my Artifcts page to check it out.

Happy Trails . . . and Happy Artifcting!

- Rainer Jenss

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© 2024 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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