By Stacy Thomas | Photo by Tony Bennett
MICHELLE BAZELEY has always had an interest in memory keeping and creating handmade art. Her business Hot Wheels and Glue Guns, a modern memory-keeping service, originally started as a blog.
“The blog was a mix of my personal life as a wheelchair user and my personal DIY projects. At that time, I was working in the disabilities field and creating art in my free time,” Bazeley said. “Two years ago, I decided to turn my blog into a proper business, and I opened an Etsy shop selling my handmade paper goods and stationery, as well as taking custom scrapbook orders. Around the same time, I started doing a few event gigs. I am always coming up with way to expand my services. … Anything that has to do with combining pictures, paper and glue – I’m your girl.”
As a child Bazeley kept notebooks full of pictures and words that reflected her interests. “I would cut up magazines and add pictures of me and my friends. The media I used changed as time went on. When modern day scrapbooking became a thing, I jumped right on the bandwagon… making traditional scrapbooks full of pictures of people I loved and places I went.”
In her senior year of college, Bazeley lost her mother and an aunt to cancer. That same year, her first nephew was bon along with her burgeoning interest to tell family stories.
When most p e ople hear the w ord “scrapbooking,” they tend to think of the artsy-craftsy books filled with stickers and glitter. Bazeley had a different idea. “Memory keeping is a universal desire to tell your story and preserve it for yourself and generations to come,” she said. “I started Hot Wheels and Glue Guns as a way to help other people preserve their memories and tell their story. I can set up at a special event – birthday, wedding, bar mitzvah – and create a guest book with photos I take with my instant camera.”
Think of Bazeley’s work as a traditional guest book, but take it up a notch. The guests get involved in making the book by posing for photos and writing a few words. At the end of the night, the hosts have a memento that is unique, special and really reflects the spirit of the day. In addition to her on-site event work, Bazeley also creates custom order books using old photos you already have.
“I love hearing family stories, seeing old photos and hearing my clients talk about the memories they spark. I try to make each project special. I combine the pictures and the details into a tangible keepsake your family can hold in their hands, flip through, and enjoy forever. All of the supplies and techniques I use are archival quality, so your book will last for years to come.”
Bazeley admits that although she enjoys the process of memory making, the best part is the finished product. “When a book or a project is done, that’s when the best part of the process happens. When I see my clients relive the memories, smile at the pictures, and just maybe shed a nostalgic tear, that’s the best part of my job, hands down.”
KEEP MEMORIES LIKE MICHELLE
- Try the Fuji Instax Camera, which prints out instant prints.
- Go for the Canon Selphy Printer. It hooks wirelessly to your cell phone.
- Use Sharpie Fine Point acid free pens.
- Artifact Uprising and Persnickety Prints allow you to easily order prints from your social media accounts or your camera’s memory card.
- Google “Project Life,” a company that sells memory-keeping products that are easy to use and great
- Always make sure the products you use (albums, adhesives, papers, etc.) are marked “acid free” or “photo safe.” This ensures the photo prints will last a long time.
WANT TO LEAVE MEMORY KEEPING UP TO THE EXPERT?