Tuesday, October 17, 2017

digital DIY wedding: save the date, invitations, and programs (part 1)

Many people are looking for ways to keep costs down as they plan a wedding.  If you haven't yet seen the creative options for digital DIY wedding items you can get from Heritage Makers, you are in for a treat! 

Sometimes, DIY means cheaper materials, but I love how Heritage Makers products are always high in quality without being expensive.

I have a bridal fair coming up, so I've ordered a few products from the Heritage Makers Template Gallery.  I haven't changed anything in the templates like you normally would when making something like this, so these photos are straight from the gallery.

When we're talking about templates, though, keep in mind these three fantastic things about Heritage Makers:
  1. There are 200,000+ pieces of digital art included with Heritage Makers.  You get access to backgrounds, word art, buttons, hearts, swirls, flowers, alphabets, and more.  You don't have to go searching for cute flowers to put on your wedding invitations or return address labels.  Everything is included in Heritage Makers Studio (where you make your projects or edit an already-created template).   
  2. Even templates are FULLY EDITABLE.  That means if you love the template the way it is, great.  Just change the names and dates and you're done.  BUT if you find a template that is pretty close to what you want but you'd like to change the backgrounds to your wedding colors or take off the flowers/buttons/hearts, YOU CAN.  Heritage Makers Studio allows you to change, swap, move, or delete any element.  Studio is a drag-and-drop system, similar to Publisher, Photoshop, and Canva.  Move anything anywhere.  Get exactly what you want.
  3. You don't have to use a template.  You can create from a "blank slate," placing text and photos and the included digital art anywhere.  You're only paying for the item you're publishing, so there are no limits on text or photos or how much digital art you use.  I'll say it again:  Get exactly what you want!
Today I want to share with you some creative ideas for wedding invitations, programs, and save-the-dates.  There are plenty of traditional options, but I'll show a few "think outside the box" ones, too.  Although I'll show several different styles, remember that you can make everything coordinate!!

Note:  Some items I'll show you (like programs) are straightforward to make in the Heritage Makers program.  You may have questions on others that are more DIY (like the "save the date" lip balms that need to be cut).  My contact information is at the "contact me" tab at the top of this blog.  I'm always happy to answer questions and help you come away with the PERFECT thing!  So ASK.  To make anything you see here, follow the "how to get started" steps in the tab at the top of this blog.  I do also hire out, if you prefer, for $35/hour.  I've been loving and using Heritage Makers for over 12 years, so I'm pretty fast.  :)

I love this clever idea to save the date.  These are Heritage Makers Large Address Labels.  Each label makes two stickers to wrap around lip balm!

Can you stand how cute this is?  One set includes 12 labels, but for the lip balms you actually make 2 per label so you'll get 24.  A set of 12 labels is about $4.

A traditional save the date card looks extra professional from Heritage Makers, I think.  This size is called a Photo Card.  It's 4x8 (and can be portrait or landscape orientation), and comes with an envelope.  They're nice, thick paper (feels more like a card than just a big photo). 

Photo Cards are around $1 each but are {discounted} when you order more than 25, with the discount increasing the more cards you order. (Check that link for specifics.)

Another really fun idea for save the date "cards" is this one.  The cards are actually made from a deck of playing cards!  So these little guys are the size of a standard playing card.  You could send them as-is in the mail, or punch a hole in the corner and tie with ribbon to some sort of gift or treat.

The picture of the couple is on one side of the card and the "forever and always" is the other side of the card.  You can see them here in the plastic case that the playing card decks come in.  Playing card decks come in a set of 54 for about $17, but you can also add individual cards if you like for around 35 cents each.

Regular invitations are double-sided.  They come with envelopes.  The 4x6 version is about $1.80 and the 5x7 version is about $2, but the {volume discounts} I mentioned previously save you 20-40%.

Your invitations can be landscape or portrait orientation.

You can also get creative with Heritage Makers Invitations.  Use them for an RSVP!

This particular template has two RSVPs on each Invitation, so you just cut them in half and mail them out with your regular wedding invitation.

(And you can delete that red dotted line before printing, if you want.)

One of my favorite options for invitations, though, is the tri-fold brochure.  This is the only one currently in the Template Gallery, but I think there is a lot of potential for this!  I love how impressive and different it is, but I also love that it's a cheaper option than the traditional invitations shown above.

Tri-fold brochures come in a pack of 20 for about $15.  Open the package and fold in thirds!

This is the back of this particular template--so pretty.

However, if you want to, you can just fold these babies up, tape them shut, and put a stamp right on them!  You would want to make one panel so that you could put an address, return address, and stamp on it.  I've made tri-fold brochures and sent them in the mail quite a few times, both for business and personal use (Christmas cards).  You can see what mine look like with the panel for mailing {by clicking right here}.

The 4x8 Photo Cards I introduced you to at the beginning make lovely programs as well.

You could certainly add a photo to the program if you like.

I'll have more ideas for you next week, including unforgettable favors, table decor, and bridesmaid gift ideas!  See you then!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stop Saying You're Not Creative ~guest post by Dina Tibbs

I recently read an article that made me want to stand up and cheer!  It's called {Why You Should Stop Saying You're Not Creative}, written by Dina Tibbs.

Because I sometimes hear "I'm not creative" as a reason for not preserving memories and stories, this is a message that I clearly want my readers to know and understand.  You're losing so much when you let this idea stand in your way.  I asked Dina to write for LifeTalesBooks today and share with us why we need to stop saying, "I'm not creative."

About Dina
Dina is a certified Artist of the Spirit Coach, Warrior Goddess Training Facilitator, and Intentional Creativity Teacher in training.  She provides women with a safe and sacred space to be hear and to express their truths.  She works one-on-one with clients and teaches workshops that are an alchemical blend of modalities in the holistic, spiritual, and creative arts.  Dina teaches women to listen to their own wisdom and intuition, let go of perfection, discover their gifts, and find joy.  She has 15 years experience in corporate strategic planning and 20 years experience in the healing arts.  She can be found at www.dinatibbs.com.    

Stop Saying You're Not Creative
by Dina Tibbs

“I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” I cannot tell you how many times I hear those words. I myself said them for years.  This was an external influence that became ingrained as a soul agreement that I believed until 3 years ago, despite the fact that I was always a writer, a dancer, a fiber artist, had creative ideas, and happened to create another life along the journey.

As children, before we even find language, we pick up crayons, paint and pencils, and we make marks on the page. This is our language, our method of expression until we find words. We are born creative beings. And then once we find words, we also unfortunately find the inner critic, or someone outside of us tells us our creativity is no good, or it’s a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Creativity may be the nearest one-word definition we possess for the essence of our humanity, for the true meaning of soul.” -Matthew Fox

As humans we are, by our very nature, creative. Our entire lives are nothing but creations. Calling yourself creative is nothing but a shift in perspective and intention.


It is just simply not the truth. Everything we do is a creation, from creating a heart-centered dynamic business, to creating a nutritious meal for our family, creating a spiritual practice, creating the stories of your life in word, photos, or paint, or creating another human life! And when you look at your life as a creative experiment, your soul sings.

When you look at your life as a creation, and make time to express that creation using any medium you feel called to, you become more present and calm. You begin to get out of your own way, and make decisions from the present rather than the past. Using processes like telling your story through paint, words, or photos helps you to become aware of and acknowledge your stories, and through the process of telling the story you free up your mind and your energy for creating new stories.  You also have a visual representation of the joyful moments in your life, and there is no replacement for that.

So my challenge to you is to consider where you are creative in your life, or how you can approach aspects of your life with more creativity, shift your perspective on what you consider a creative act, and make time daily for creating and expressing what your soul has to say. Trust me, you have the time.  Making time for creative acts magically opens up more time to live your life in the present moment.  Journal your findings and let me know what you found. 

-Dina Tibbs- Founder and Inspiratrix
Amused Woman Studios LLC

To learn more, please visit Dina here.  Or, to dive further into discovering how to be more creative in your life, join Dina for Creativi-tea:  Meet Your Muse, a One Day Intentional Creativity painting process.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"You Can't Re-Read a Phone Call"

My mother was a writer, poet, playwright, and author, but she was also a letter writer.  She was a big believer in the written word and its power.  Although she was very outgoing and loved talking and socializing, I remember her telling me on more than one occasion:  "You can't re-read a phone call."

That's the truth.  As fantastic as our electronics and gadgets are, they don't give us anything tangible or lasting.  Texts and e-mails are fleeting.  Social media posts gets replaced by newer ones every minute.  The very nature of SnapChat means it's gone right after it's created.  We tend to lose the majority of communications we make.

What it Means to the Heart
Having some form of communication that you can hold in your hand is a precious thing.  A note, a photo, a card, or a recorded memory gives us the {power found in reminiscing}.  Phone calls are obviously wonderful--hearing someone's voice is like nothing else.  But the truth remains:  you can't re-read a phone call.

Whether separated by distance or even death, the ability to re-read a loved one's words to you can bring happiness, peace, and comfort.  Knowing someone loves and believes in me helps me through tough times.  It really does.  I've read love letters over and over again!  (Best love story ever.)  This ability to bring back words and messages from the past--even the recent past--can give us greater connections with those we love and can make us happier.

Three Ideas to Record Communication
Who needs a lift?  Who needs to know you love and believe in him/her?  Whose life could you touch through words of encouragement?  What communication have you received recently that meant a lot to you?  Do you still have it?

Here are three ways to make words tangible, something that could be read and remembered again and again.  
  1. Print and save e-mails.  This is certainly not something you want to do with every e-mail, but if someone's kind words or warmth touched you, print the e-mail so you can re-read it later.  Simply punching holes and keeping the pages in a binder is an easy way to do that.  Rather than mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest when you're feeling a little melancholy, pull out the binder of those words meant just for you!
  2. Send handwritten cards or letters instead of e-mails.  Even a short note of appreciation, encouragement, love, or support can make all the difference in the world to someone.
  3. Try creating book instead of just a note.  It's a little sturdier and more beautiful, and it's obvious you put some meaningful effort towards it.  From "100 reasons I love you" books to "You Are Loved" books like {this one}, there are some very personal possibilities that will be meaningful and heartfelt for years to come!  (To get started creating something that makes a difference, click the red "how to get started tab" at the top of this page.)

I've created a lot of heartfelt gifts using words!  I couldn't possibly tell you about everything I've done over the years, but I'll tell you about one.  For my husband's 40th birthday, my three kids and I wrote out 40 reasons we love him.  I put it in a digital book with a few pictures scattered throughout (similar to the one shown here).  He LOVED it.  It got more attention than the grill his parents bought him that year!  True story.  To this day, he keeps that little book on his closet shelf and stands it up so it's open to a new page each week.  He sees it every single day.  And that's what a gift of heartfelt words really does.

By the way, I've always used the Flip Books from {Heritage Makers} for these type of books--like the one pictured here.  Flip Books are 5.75"x3.5" and cost around $12.  The pages are really thick and have a wire binding (which is how my husband gets his to stand up open on the shelf).  There's a protective plastic (clear) cover.  It's just a bitty book, but it's worth its weight in gold.

Give the Heartfelt Gift of Words
Letter-writing has become a lost art, but that just makes the written word more precious.  Take some time to preserve the important communications you receive and sent out.  Or create a heartfelt gift with your words.  It makes the best gift in the world!

Need more ideas for heartfelt gifts?  These links have additional ideas: 
Words have so much power, and they can help and even heal in many ways.  Think of words the next time you think about giving a gift.  Don't underestimate what preserving or recording communication can do.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

video tutorial: DIY chocolate label favors

If you are looking for an impressive, affordable, unique way to make a celebration spectacular, you have come to the right place.

Whether you have an upcoming wedding, baby shower, graduation, retirement, birthday, holiday, or thank you, creating PERSONALIZED labels for chocolates fits any occasion and makes it UNFORGETTABLE.

You'll see *exactly* what I mean at this tutorial!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

why your family needs its stories

What is the story of your family?  How does the story line go?  Have you ever thought of life as a story?

If you were a historian, you could probably go through the year and summarize it in a story.  In fact, you probably already do that once a year if you do a {family letter at Christmastime}.

Did you know that our brains are actually wired for storytelling?  Our brains process facts, sure, but what they really love is STORIES.  Our brains want connections, and stories actually create them.

Rachel Gillette wrote an article for {Fast Company called "Why Our Brains Crave Storytelling in Marketing."}  Here's what she said about the difference between data and story:

"When reading straight data, only the language parts of our brains work to decode the meaning. But when we read a story, not only do the language parts of our brains light up, but any other part of the brain that we would use if we were actually experiencing what we’re reading about becomes activated as well."  (italics added)

Did you catch that?  We're talking about LITERALLY preserving memories!!  

Recording your story allows you to re-live experiences!  And I know from my own experience that if there's any part of the story you don't particularly want to remember, you won't remember it if you don't record it.  When we go on family vacations, I don't take pictures of meltdowns, so when we look back at the pictures and our story later, it's like it never happened!  ;)

And that "you won't remember it if you don't record it" truth is a double-edged sword.  It works out nicely if you don't want to remember the meltdown, but it should make you think twice if you're not recording your family's story and preserving your photos and memories.

Because, truthfully:  it's gone.

So much of what we take pictures of is part of our family story.  We take pictures of special events like first days of school and family vacations, of the new house or the new car.  This is what makes our story.

Rachel Trotter wrote a great article called {Family Vacations Create Great Family Stories} which emphasizes how many fantastic memories and bonding moments come out of vacations.  She lists 5 ways to make your vacations "storyful," from food to music, which you can find at the link.

I've experienced it, too--family vacations are some of the best sources for family stories.  They make some of the best memories!

Two years ago we went to Mexico as a family.  (Yes, the water really IS that color!)  As it turned out, my mom passed away two weeks before our trip.  When I got on the plane, it didn't feel like the time for a fun getaway, but it didn't take me long to realize that it was the perfect time for it.  Aside from the peace of sitting at the turquoise water's edge, we made lots of amazing memories that are part of our family's narrative.  Hilarious things happened.  Miraculous things happened.  Weird and therefore funny things happened.  Really, really cool things happened.  And we STILL talk about it.  We look back on that shared experience with great fondness.

And that's what a family story is:  a shared experience.

And that's why we need them. 

So when you make the memories and take the pictures, don't forget to record the story!  Your family needs its stories.  And the process of telling them--recording photos and memories--is cathartic!

If you need some helps in telling or recording your family stories, here are three:
Every family needs its stories because it needs the connections and the sense of belonging that come from them.  Family stories have a lot of power.  In a world struggling for connections these days, the solution is much closer than we think.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Heritage Makers Studio 101 - video tutorial for beginners

Heritage Makers digital personal publishing is a powerful tool for memory-keeping, creating high-quality family yearbooks, digital scrapbooking, giving unforgettable gifts, and even creating your own business products!  The program you use is called Studio.  It's similar to other drag-n-drop programs like Photoshop, Canva, or Publisher, only with many more tools and included (free) digital art.

Using Heritage Makers is a lot of fun!  A tour through Studio can be helpful as you create storybooks, scrap pages, cook books, playing cards, calendars, canvases, and all the rest of the products available at Heritage Makers.  I've created the video tutorial below for beginners who would like a tour of the website ("How do I find out when my publishing points expire?" or "How do I change my password?") as well as a guided walk through Studio itself ("How do I upload pictures to my account?" or "How do I rotate a photo?")

Happy Heritage Making!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Be True To Yourself: podcast with Jennifer Wise

I was interviewed recently by Krista Palo of Evolve! for her Podcast series, "Real Life, Real Passion."  The series asks real people how they use their passion in real life.

We talked about the importance of being yourself, having courage to be yourself, and embracing that you are the expert.  We also talked about personalities, overcoming challenges, and how compassion for your own self is an important part of happiness. 

I hope you will enjoy this inspiring podcast!  Put in your earphones and listen as you're vacuuming or walking, and come away feeling better about yourself and life. 


The link to the podcast can also be found at Krista's written summary of the interview {here}.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

interview questions to help write a life story

Did you know Heritage Makers started with a life story?  It's true.  Founder Candy May lived far from her grandfather and was looking for a way for her children to get to know him like she did.  She decided to interview her grandpa and write his life story in the form of a kid's storybook.  And THAT is where the magic happens.

All Heritage Makers consultants know the story:  Grandpa Wozniak didn't think his story was anything special.  He was a little reticent when Candy approached him about writing his story.  All the same, he let Candy interview him.  The resulting story (written in storybook style for her kids) became their favorite story.  They could quote from it, and they developed a relationship with and love for their great grandpa who lived 1,000 miles away.

Because here's the truth:  Grandpa Wozney's story WAS something special.  It was and continues to be special to every single person who loves him.

And for the rest of us, the moral of the story is this:  EVERY story matters.  Everyone has a story.  Everyone has a story worth telling.

Whether writing your own life story or the life story of a parent, grandparent, or other family member, the project can be somewhat daunting if you don't know where to start.  Having a list of questions to follow or just use as a jumping off point can be very helpful. 

Three Resources with Questions to Help You Write a Life Story

Here are some very helpful resources as you begin writing a life story, whether it's yours or someone else's.  These will get your thoughts rolling. 
  1.   {60 Questions} from OneFam
  2.   {Creating Family Stories} from Evolve 
  3.   {#52stories} from FamilySearch

You can use these exactly or see what thoughts come into your mind while you read them.  You'll probably get other thoughts and ideas during the process.  Listen to your intuition and inspiration.  While these questions are a great place to start, you may think of questions that are more specific to the person, questions that shouldn't be missed.  Get started and your heart will give you additional questions and points to document.

When You Should Write YOUR Life Story

If you're wondering when you should write YOUR life story, {this post} outlines the benefits of life stories--to the writer and to the reader--as well as an easy option for creating it right in the publishing program so you don't have to write it twice.

Who do you need to get to know a little better?  Whose legacy shouldn't be forgotten?  Who needs to get to know you a little better?  A life story is the key.

It's a treasured gift now and for years and generations to come.