Thursday, September 13, 2018

Three Easy Halloween and Fall Decor Ideas

Sometimes it's fun to take on a creative DIY project to create fun home decor, but sometimes it's just as fun not to.  Today I'll show you three easy Halloween (and fall) home decor ideas that take little to no effort to create.

The first is a cute little magnetic countdown to Halloween.  I made this from a Heritage Makers scrap page, then cut it in pieces, attached magnets on the back, and mounted the main scrap page on a cookie sheet.  It's got a ribbon attached for hanging on a wall, pantry door, etc.

I've made these as fun group Make & Takes before (before Pinterest Nights were cool!), so although I could give you directions and a tutorial on making this, we're talking about EASY today!  I've sold these over at my {Crafts with Heritage Makers} Facebook page, and there is ONE LEFT.  If you'd like me to get this in the mail for you, it's $8 plus shipping.  Just {contact me} to snap it up.

See?  How's that for ZERO effort to create?!

This is one of my very favorite projects for DIY home decor because it's adorable AND ridiculously simple!  Plus, {this one set} gives you three seasons' worth of decor--Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Winter, all on one set of blocks!  The blocks are small enough to not take up a lot of space but just give the right little seasonally-decorative touch.

Bonus!  Not just for Halloween!

Here's the creative genius behind these fun Canvas Exchange Blocks, Lisa Bearnson, showing how the "exchange" part works.  Watch this!!

Isn't that so much FUN?!

All you do is order the block set and the canvas exchange set #4.  Order them both {right here} by clicking "products" then "Anthology DIY."  From there, scroll down in the "Kits" section (I know--there's a lot there!) until you find Canvas Exchange Set #4.  It will look like this (without the blocks):

Once that's in your shopping cart, find the Wood Block Kit (also under "Kits")  It will look like this, and includes everything you see here:

(Remember--only order ONE set of wood blocks.  You can exchange the various canvas pieces using the same block set, just like Lisa showed you in the video.)

Once you receive the wood blocks and the canvas exchange pieces in the mail, all you need to do is paint the blocks (sanding them a little if needed).  Then you're done!  Exchange the pieces out during each part of the fall season going into winter.  Adorable!

Halloween isn't a gory, scary thing at our house.  It's all about the candy.  So I made this cute hanging print for our Halloween decor.  It's obviously a tame, kid-friendly Halloween decoration!  :)

Like the magnetic Halloween countdown, I've made these in Make & Take groups and sold them over at my {Crafts with Heritage Makers} Facebook page.  I also wrote up a step-by-step tutorial about how to take a print (a Heritage Makers scrap page) and make it into a wall hanging, which you can {see right here}--there are so many possibilities beyond Halloween!

I have just ONE "It's All About the Candy" hanging prints left.  This is only $8 plus shipping, so {contact me} to grab it.  I'll get it in the mail to you right away!

Easiest home decor ever, right?  It's already made for you!

All three of these options are simple and fun ways to dress up your house for Halloween and fall!  Get the countdown and the candy print before they're gone, but be sure to share those adorable Canvas Exchange Blocks with a friend!

Pin and share.

Friday, September 7, 2018

#friyay -- What Heritage Makers Can Do For Your Family

Does it feel like fall where you are?  The first Friday of the month at LifeTalesBooks is #friyay where hear from Heritage Makers users.  So welcome to our first fall #friyay!

First, we hear from my dear friend Cary, who has been using Heritage Makers as long as I have!  Cary truly embraces the idea of telling your story because she knows how powerful it is.  From items to encourage her children and their talents to storybooks with photos and much more, Cary knows what a Heritage MAKER is!

Get started filling your own home with family photos and memories at the "how to get started" tab at the upper right.

Next, we hear from another TRUE Heritage MAKER, Sandy.  I met Sandy about six or seven years ago, and I am always amazed with the next brilliant idea she has for publishing with Heritage Makers.  Everything she does is from the heart, and she uses her personal publishing to really make a difference.  Sandy first made cookbooks for her family, passing down time-honored, cherished family recipes and has gone on to make countless, PRICELESS gifts using Heritage Makers.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

What a Digi-Crop Can Do for Your Pictures

Do you have lots of pictures you've been meaning to do something with?  A digi-crop can help you turn your good intentions into something real!  If you're struggling to find time to do something with your pictures, try a digi-crop!

So what IS a digi-crop and how exactly does it help?

I've been holding online digi-crops for several years now, and I love how it allows me to help people no matter where they live.  The only catch is this:  you have to know what on earth a digi-crop is and how to participate.  So in this video I sit down and chat with you to explain what it is and how it works, plus answer questions I've gotten, too.  (spoiler:  Digi-Crops are free!)

Digi-Crops are my way of gifting you TIME!

So please join me at my next digi-crop from the comfort of your own pajamas!  Take advantage of this opportunity to put "work on my pictures and albums" on your calendar and then follow through to make something meaningful!  Memory-keeping can honestly change your life.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

The Tricks to Catching Up Preserving Your Pictures

Are you one of the millions of people who are behind in preserving your photos?  You take lots of pictures, capturing life's great moments, but you feel a little bad that those precious images are still on your phone or camera.  To make matters worse, you naturally keep taking more pictures , so you feel a little more hopeless about ever catching up on memory-keeping or scrapbooking as time goes on.

Well, no more!

Today I'm sharing a series of four articles I wrote to help you find your way out of overwhelm and into actually being a regular memory-keeper.  It really is possible to stay caught up preserving your photos You just need a few little tricks.

Let me share all the tricks I know with you so you can get going on this important goal!  Click each of the 4 links to learn more.

  • This post {How to Be Successful with Your Goal to Catch Up Preserving Your Photos} is an introduction, with some motivational and perspective-granting links about why preserving your photos is actually really important.
  • Next, {Making a Plan to Catch Up on Your Photos} gives some ideas for how to make time for your pictures and offers some actual helps (I love these!) for making time.  You'll also learn why memory-keeping is worth the time.
  • It doesn't help anything to just talk about it!  Even with a worthy goal and a great plan, you actually need some {Tools For Conquering Your Photos}.  This post includes a 40-minute video class (free) with a Two-in-One Plan for catching up preserving your photos so you can actually get ahead!!  There's even a (free) printable so that you can have the Two-in-One Plan and some helpful tips to refer to as you start getting caught up!
  • You'll find some organization tips at {Photos to Conquer?  Start With Organization!}--for organizing both physical (printed) photos as well as digital photos.  I even made a video so you can peek over my shoulder to see how I organize my digital photos on my computer so that I can find anything quickly and so I know what I've already preserved in a digital scrap page or book.  (This, honestly, is really key to how I stay consistently caught up preserving my pictures.)
These 4 articles will help you make memory-keeping a doable goal!  You can finally stop feeling overwhelmed by your photos!  There's really nothing like sitting down and re-living some good times you've preserved in a book or scrap page.  You'll be so glad you prioritized your pictures!


Pin and share!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Five Quick Ways to Manage Overwhelm - guest post by Brooke Davis

If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, I have a great gift for you today.  I am absolutely thrilled to bring you a brilliant post today from guest blogger Brooke Davis.  Brooke is the CCO of Roots of Abundance, and she helps empower people to take a heart-centered approach to figuring out what they really need so they can truly enjoy life.  I asked Brooke to write for LifeTales Books because one of the things she helps people through is overwhelm.  I've stopped counting the number of people who tell me they can't do anything with their pictures because they're so overwhelmed.  While I have lots of tips, articles, and video tutorials about {how to stop swimming in your photos}, if there's more overwhelming you than just your number of photos, it's best to start there.  

Brooke has an impressive, thorough guide to managing overwhelm which you won't want to miss!  You can download the guide free {right here}.  (In fact, it's so thorough and amazing that I'm honestly a little shocked she gives it away!)  Below the free download to manage overwhelm you'll find a link to Brooke's online class "How to Manage Overwhelm and Do What Matters Most" if you'd like to "go whole-hog," as she calls it.  :)   Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom, Miss Brooke!  

I like to think I'm fairly good at managing overwhelm, but I learned a lot from this post!  So I won't keep you from it any longer.  Here are Five Quick Ways to Manage Overwhelm by Brooke Davis

Do you rush through each day feeling swamped by too much to do and too little time to do it?  Are you so worn down by the end of the week that you just want to collapse in front of the TV or  do something mindless to relax? If so, you’re probably living in a constant state of overwhelm.

Given the pressures you may feel at home and work, it's not surprising that you believe you'll
never be “caught up” or have a moment to call your own. It's during these times that you need
surefire ways to cut through the noise of the world (and the messages you tell yourself) so you
can make progress on projects with the least amount of stress and worry. Here are five quick
ways you can manage overwhelm and start taking action today.

1.  Manage Expectations - Or Others Will Manage Them For You

Nothing can derail progress faster than setting unrealistic expectations. And when you're
overwhelmed, it can be easy to misjudge the time and energy you need to not only get going on a
project but also to complete it. Managing expectations starts by getting real: with yourself, with
others, and with your situation. What do you expect of yourself? Are your expectations realistic
or are you setting yourself up to fail through taking on too much too soon? Who needs to be “in
the know” about what you're doing and why? What type of support do you need from others and
how can you ask for that support? Lastly, think about your situation or project and what would
satisfy you without getting lost in perfectionism and overthinking. Setting reasonable
expectations, communicating them, and then taking small steps toward your satisfactory (but not
necessarily perfect) outcome will help you make progress without getting discouraged.

2.  Notice Your Focus by Prioritizing

Overwhelm is often caused by writing down everything you need to do and then thinking you
need to complete every task RIGHT NOW. You dive into Get It Done mode without reflecting
on what must be done now vs. what can be held for later. You can escape the trap (and the
panic) of RIGHT NOW by developing the habit of prioritizing; what must be done immediately
and what can wait? By prioritizing your focus, you move from a place of scattered chaos to a
place where you can literally see the way forward. This allows you to confidently work through
your list with a sense of purpose which will leave you feeling productive instead of like you're
spinning your wheels.

3. Organize To-Do’s by Should and Must

As you go about prioritizing your list (and hence your time and energy), it's critical to make the
distinction between what you “should” do and what you “must” do. Shoulds are things that you
and others expect you to do; musts are non-negotiable. Musts compel you to take action; they
speak to your soul. Musts have to come first. Your focus and your musts work together as a
beacon of light that leads you out of overwhelm and into a sense of purpose and fulfillment.
Cross your musts off your list first and then look at your shoulds. Examine every should and ask
yourself what would happen if you didn't do it. Be honest with yourself with your answer. Your
feelings will guide you to what is a must and what is a should. Let those feelings help you
decide if something absolutely has to be done and what may not need to be done at all.

4.  Learn to Set Limits and Boundaries

One of the main reasons many people stay stuck in overwhelm is that we don't take time to set
limits and boundaries first with ourselves, and then with others. By setting limits with ourselves,
we honor our time and energy, two of our most precious resources. This helps keep us healthy
mentally, emotionally, and physically. We are then able to set limits with others through our
own choices and conversations around what we do each day. Limits with others help us build
and honor a foundation of mutual respect, commitment, and strong self-esteem and self-worth.
By asking yourself where you can set better boundaries with yourself and others each time you
feel overwhelmed, you reclaim your power to choose not only how you live your life, but also
how you can maintain your health, which benefits not only you but others as well.

5.  Use Your Precious Energy Wisely

The first four directives all lead up to this one; use your precious energy wisely. Each of us has
the same 24 hours in a day, and each of us will use those hours differently. To get the most bang
per buck out of your time, think about where and how it can be best used. Where can you do
something that will save you time in the future? How can you take one action that accomplishes
several purposes? How can you simplify a task so it can be done more efficiently? Where can
you get creative and use outside the box thinking to solve a problem? Lastly, take time to look at
what you must do and ask what would happen if you only spent a minimum amount of time on it.
If you really want to be bold, ask what would happen if you eliminated tasks altogether.

If you find yourself dealing with overwhelm, take heart in knowing those feelings are normal and can be managed. By setting realistic expectations, focusing on the right things, sorting tasks as
must and should, setting healthy and effective boundaries, and using energy wisely, you can cut
through chaos and regain a sense of influence and control over your life.

Pin to save and share!

Don't miss my video tutorial on the simplest way I know of to stop photo overwhelm:  {How to Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Pictures}.  Find more tips on how to stop feeling overwhelmed by your photos {here}, then find a memory-keeping method that will work for your time and budget {here}. There's no time like right now!  #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Thursday, August 16, 2018

New 5.5x5.5 Softbound Book from Heritage Makers (perfect for Instagram photos)

I honestly love telling you about new things at Heritage Makers.  And this one is no exception because it's so much fun.

Drum roll, please!  Heritage Makers now has a 5.5" x 5.5" softbound book.  And it's only $9!

All Heritage Makers products can have a simple look or a digital-scrapbook look.  They are high-quality and come with {a lot of additional perks}.   (I *adore* that all the digital art is included with the purchase of your book!!  You don't buy OR have to upload digital art with Heritage Makers!)

By the way, this same size book is also offered by our sister company, Snap2Finish, which has an auto-fill option so you can put pictures in a book with the push of a button.  You can {learn more about Snap2Finish right here} which includes a video introducing you to the Snap2Finish program (which is free).  To learn how to auto-fill a book with Snap2Finish, {this 4-minute} video will guide you right through.  

Heritage Makers uses a {drag-and-drop tool called Studio} (which is free) to design each page and the front and back covers of a book.  There are LOTS of tools, shortcuts, and creative options.  You can {use a template} (which is still completely editable) or start from scratch, a blank page and design away.  Either way, you'll get exactly what you want.

The 5.5x5.5 book is a bit different than the other books offered by Heritage Makers.
  • For one, it's a softbound book.  While other Heritage Makers books have a metal stitching, these pages are glued using the {PUR method}, the most durable book binding available for softbound books.
  • Another difference is that this new book comes with 50 pages (no more and no fewer).  All other Heritage Makers books come with 21 pages and you can remove pages to 17 or add pages to 99.  So choose your favorite 50 photos for this darling book, or add quotes or word art from the Heritage Makers art collection if you have a few pages to fill . 
  • And it's $9!!  Can you believe it?!  (That's one more difference about this book than the others Heritage Makers offers--this one has been priced so low that there isn't an additional discount for {HM Club} members like there are for other books and products.  This book is $9 across the board.) 

That's one more example of a Heritage Makers 5.5x5.5 softbound book.  I love the summer memories theme.  You can see the whole page-by-page preview here:

Right after this book came out, I knew exactly what I wanted to use it for.  I collect Christmas ornaments, and have for years.  I have wanted to document my collection because the majority of the ornaments have special meaning, and I want to make sure their stories are recorded.  The tiny size and the tiny price of this new 5x5 Softbound book made it just perfect for this.  And from making Christmas cards and greetings with Heritage Makers before, I knew that there were some digital art collections that would be just perfect for my book.

And I just love how it turned out!!  See what I mean?  Just perfect.

I went for a fairly simple design since I wanted to showcase the ornaments more.  There's a small description of the origin of the ornament next to each one.

I wasn't used to being limited by the page numbers since pages in other Heritage Makers books are so flexible, but I have about 200 ornaments, so I thought it would work well, and it did.  I'm now working on my fourth volume of my Christmas Ornament Collection books--and did I mention how much I like the $9 price tag?! 

Because Heritage Makers' Studio is a drag-and-drop tool, you'll upload your photos into your Heritage Makers account and place them wherever you want on any page.  You can have an Instagram look with one picture per page, or you can create your own look with multiple photos per page.  It's up to you.  And there aren't limits on the amount of text or digital art you can use, either.  There are lots of fonts to choose from (about 25 new ones were added last summer!), so you're sure to find the style that is YOU.  That's one of the reasons I LOVE doing all my memory-keeping with Heritage Makers.

To open your Heritage Makers account (it's free), click the {"how to get started"} tab at the upper right of this page.  You're really going to have fun with this sweet, tiny book.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Why Digital Photos Aren't Good Enough

There are few things in the world with the power a photo has.  It can instantly draw you back to a place, a time, an event.  It can bring back the memory of someone dear who is long-gone.  It can even allow you to "be at" events you weren't around for or "meet" people who died before you were born.

There's just one caveat.

You have to see it.

How many photos do you have on your phone right now?  How many on your camera?  Have you seen them since you've taken them?  

If you're like most people, you have so many photos you haven't done anything with that you're a little embarrassed to answer the question.  Here's the truth:  you're normal.  You're average.  You're in the majority.

But, as they say, if all your friends jumped off a cliff, would you?

Just because everyone does it that way doesn't mean it's for you.  Photos do so much good for the heart and soul that we actually NEED them.  Have you heard of the scientifically-proven benefits of preserving photos and memories?  I fly through them pretty quickly here, but this should help you think about your photos a little differently.

Have you ever thought about how your life would change if you {unleashed the power in your photos}?  Photos weren't meant to be stored in the cloud or on a computer, they were meant to be seen.  The only way that can happen is if we print them somehow.  {You don't keep something as powerful as photos in a box.}  

I know that some people say, "But I look at them on my computer."  Most people don't, and I would wager that it doesn't happen very often.  The main issue with just digital photos, though, is that they have no information with them.  They are missing their story--the whole reason they were taken.  Who is in the photo?  Where was it taken?  Was it a special event or an everyday one?  What happened before or after the photo was taken?  What made it a photo-worthy moment?

Photos with their stories have the power I outline in that video clip.  If you prefer the traditional print method, just make sure you're using {high-quality products} to put those photos in--and don't forget to record the memories and details that go with them!  If your photos are already digital, it makes sense to print them in {a digital book or digital scrap pages}.  

These days we have too many photos to be able to see and appreciate them without some actual time and effort.

But that effort pays great dividends!  Many things {don't produce immediate rewards, but memory-keeping isn't one of them!}  You'll feel happiness, satisfaction, a sense of belonging, and even gratitude as you start preserving your life's story through photos and memories.

Don't wait.  Get started with high quality memory-keeping {right here.}  If you haven't preserved your photos and memories for a while, click the "how to catch up on your photos" tab in purple along the top of this blog (under the header).  There are two video tutorials there which include step-by-step helps but also some strategies to make your photos manageable.


Friday, August 3, 2018

#friyay -- What People Love About Heritage Makers

It's the first Friday of the month!  That means it's #friyay here at LifeTales Books--the day we hear from Heritage Makers users/lovers!  We're going to see a couple this month so we can finish our #friyay feature by the end of 2018!

Our first #friyay today comes from one of the sweetest people I've ever met, Karin.  I've quoted Karin here on the blog before as saying, "I've decided it's important for me to do the things only *I* can do."  She had 20 years' worth of photos ready to go into digital photo and memory books, and she knew it was important to do the important things.  I used to live near Karin, and I loved seeing her completed books!

Our second #friyay is from Cassie, who suffered a stroke several years ago (and she's young!).  She's doing fine but has trouble with some of the fine motor things that she'd always been used to doing like card-making, gifts, etc.  I love how much she LOVES Heritage Makers and the difference it has made for her, allowing her to do the things she loves in a different (digital) way.