Friday, September 3, 2021

Perfect Gifts with a Budget-Friendly Plan: Christmas in September

You’ve probably heard of Christmas in July, but if you’ve never heard of Christmas in September, today’s your lucky day.  Get ready for a mind-blowing, life-changing approach to completely annihilate the stress and expense of gift-giving in December while giving impressive and amazing gifts which I promise you will be the best gifts ever.

I’ll give you a month-by-month guide (use it as a checklist, if you like) along with memorable, personal, and unique gift options to choose from.  You’ll have everything completed by Thanksgiving, your expenses will be spread out, you won’t be scrambling for gift ideas, and you will have very happy recipients.  Christmas in September is basically the best thing ever.

All these gifts are created digitally with a drag-and-drop system (sort of like canva.com or Photoshop) and then submitted for professional publishing by a company called Heritage Makers.  A basic Heritage Makers account is free (with an optional upgrade), the software is free to use, and all the "cute" (the backgrounds, bows, flowers, etc.) are also free to use.  You just need an internet connection and don't have to download anything to your computer.   You can use a wide variety of fully-editable templates, or you can create from scratch.  It's fantastic.

If you've never made anything with Heritage Makers before, don't worry--I’ve got lots of video tutorials walking you through the process.

So let's jump right into the plan.  

SEPTEMBER

The first steps happen in September.  This gives you time to choose the gifts and budget for them.  These particular gifts will be personal (and delightful, I happen to know from experience), and I’ll include a lot of details here to help you make them that way, such as video tutorials.  The links will have more pictures, too.  This month, you’ll only need to set aside a portion of the cost.

DIY conversation cards made from a playing card deck from Heritage Makers

In September, you’ll just need to do these 4 things: 

1.      Make your recipient gift list:  Grandparents, parents, friends, siblings, spouse, children, neighbors, grandchildren, everyone.

DIY calendar from Heritage Makers

2.      Explore these personal and unique gift ideas, listed below, which can fit a variety of ages and interests (and price ranges for you).  Make a budget first if you like.  Click the links to get the prices and details.  Don’t worry about not knowing yet how to actually get/create these items—that’s another step later.  This part is just having fun and picking gifts for loved ones.  Keep in mind, too, that these are just items I’ve made before—if you have another idea, you can switch it up!

·       personalized playing card decks (scroll down to idea #2 – I don’t have a lot of pictures of these because I’ve given so many away!)

·      personalized board books for kids (These are amazing!)

·      Quick Cakes recipe cards from a playing card deck (great as neighbor/friend gifts)—I gave these with a box cake mix, and my girlfriends loved them!

·       personalized family calendars (step-by-step tutorial video also at that link)

·      personalized books for teenagers and grown-ups such as “10 reasons I love you” or favorite memories together (video tutorial at this link)

·      dinner conversation starter cards (video tutorial for playing cards here)

·      personalized chocolate wraps, with a video tutorial included (really simple and inexpensive!)

·      personalized cork-backed coasters (set of 4; scroll down to idea #2)

·      Chocolate Countdown to Christmas made from labels (fun for kids)

·      tiny tri-fold Nativity Christmas décor (great as neighbor/friend gifts)

·      recipe books or recipe cards (great for sharing family favorites)


Quick Cakes recipe cards made from a DIY playing card deck from Heritage Makers

3.      Make a price list of how much these sweet items cost, but keep in mind that by following this Christmas in September approach, you’ll hit some sales as well as have a chance to get some freebies.  (I’ll detail this in a minute, but here’s the basic rundown:  Although holiday sales vary each year, almost every product is 15% off when published in November.  Plus, you can get $30 free if you’re in the free-to-join Club HM program from September-November, and if you upgrade to a Preferred Account, you save an additional 10%.  More under #4.)  Tally up the total number of dollars.  (If the all the links I listed don’t mention prices, you can check prices at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking “products” at the upper right.  You’ll see product specs and prices.

Board Book from Heritage Makers

4.      Once you’ve determined how much your amazing gifts will cost, I suggest (if they total at least $50), you join Club HM.  It’s free to join.  It’s a way of pre-paying for your items, and as a bonus you get $10 in free publishing each month that you’re on it.  If you have enough gifts to publish that you’ll be spending $150 or more, you can join Club HM in September (paying $50 for $60 worth of products), stay on it in October, stay on it in November, and quit it before December (if you want) and get $30 worth of your gifts for free.  (If your total gifts are around $100, I suggest waiting to join until October, then staying on for November so you have the Premier perks while you’re creating these items digitally.)

examples of chocolate wraps made from Heritage Makers address labels

I know I’ve used a lot of unfamiliar terminology here, so you’ll definitely want to visit this link where you’ll find ALL the details about opening a Heritage Makers account and about Club HM (which I LOVE for gift-giving!)  Joining Club HM is completely optional—you can make any of these sweet and beautiful gifts without it—but since it’s free and has so many perks, it just makes sense to me to join.  I love the freebies and the free Premier access.  (You can see what I’m talking about at that link.)  That link also has some information about upgrading your account to Preferred Customer, which is entirely optional as well.  It’s $19.99 and gives you an extra 10% off for everything you order for an entire year.  You’ll have to do the math, based on what your total price is going to be for these sweet gifts, to see if the Preferred upgrade makes sense or not.  Again, check out that link above for details.

personalized chocolates using address labels from Heritage Makers

OCTOBER:

In October, you get to start creating!  Woo hoo! (Certainly, you can start on this earlier if you want).  This is the fun part.  If there aren’t specific videos for the items you want to gift—or if you just have questions—you can contact me here.  I have been known to hire out to make projects for people, too, so if that’s your preferred option, let me know.  I’m happy to do it if I have time (I’m in grad school right now), and I’m pretty fast since I’ve been creating gifts and photo-storybooks and digital scrap pages etc.) with Heritage Makers since 2005.

Chocolate Countdown to Christmas using address labels from Heritage Makers

In October, you’ll need to do these 2 things: 

1.      This one is easy!  If you’re on Club HM, let it auto-renew this month, putting $60 worth of publishing credit in your account for $50.  That publishing credit (called Publishing Points) doesn’t expire for a full two years, so stocking up like this is brilliant.  If you joined in September, you’ll have $120 worth of Publishing Points (so $20 of it free) this month, waiting to be used when you’re ready. If you didn’t need enough Publishing Points to warrant joining Club HM in September, join now.  Again, this is optional but has the benefit of giving you a few freebies.

7x5 hardbound book from Heritage Makers

2.      Instead of going shopping for hours in November or December, you’ll use that time now to create your special gifts, following the instructions in the links listed under September.  In October, you should make most (if not all) of the gifts you’ll be ordering.  Again, contact me if you have any questions!

tiny tri-fold nativity made from DIY playing cards from Heritage Makers

NOVEMBER:

You have 3 things to do in November.

1.     If you’re on Club HM, let it auto-renew this month, putting $60 worth of publishing credit in your account for $50.  If you joined in September, you’ll have $180 worth of Publishing Points (so $30 of it free) by now.  If you have extra Publishing Points, you can save them for next year.  Or, if you didn’t join Club HM, just pay for your items at checkout instead of using Publishing Points.

6x6 wirebound book from Heritage Makers

2.      Check the sales (“Publishing Specials) November 1!  Sales depend on WHEN you submit something for publishing.  Normally, something different is on sale every week of November.  You’ll save 15% when you submit something for publishing during the specified week.  If you haven’t finished creating (digitally) some of your gift items, the Publishing Specials will help you determine what you need to finish first.  I post updated specials here, and I send them out in my monthly newsletter also.

coasters from Heritage Makers (cork-backed; set of 4)

3.    Last of all, place your order!  (You have to close out the project before you can order it, so I walk you through everything right here if you need directions.)  Place your order by Thanksgiving for delivery by Christmas.  All these gift ideas are professionally published and shipped to your door.  

ENJOY DECEMBER!

I love being *done* with Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving, steering clear of malls and big box stores at that time of year, and spreading out my gift-giving budget over a few months.  More than that, though, I love giving high-quality, unique, and personal gifts that are always loved.  I feel like Heritage Makers makes me the best gift-giver in the family/neighborhood.  Christmas in September has so many perks, and I hope you enjoy this plan as much as I do.

DIY postcards from Heritage Makers

As a bonus way to enjoy December, you’re welcome to join the yearly online event I host called the Enjoy December Card Party.  It’s only $5 (or free if you bring a friend), and it’s the most fun you’ll ever have getting Christmas greetings done.  It’s normally the first Friday of November, but you can find details (including date & times) at this link.  

The annual online Card Party is held at the beginning of November.

We “meet” online and work individually to create our digital cards (or newsletters, or any number of other creative greetings), then submit them for publishing!  Again, you’ll get them back before Thanksgiving, so you can enjoy December.  Be sure to check out (at the link above) the creative ideas (personalized postcards, anyone?) and bargain options as well as the tutorial video I made showing how exactly you create Christmas greetings online with Heritage Makers. 

DIY traditional greeting card from Heritage Makers

And then you get to just enjoy December!  Sip hot chocolate in front of twinkling lights.  Give service to those in need.  Go to some parties.  You might even have enough energy now to host one!  

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Friday, July 2, 2021

Why Your Photos Shouldn't Be on Your Phone

Since we take so many photos with our phones these days, a phone seems like a good home for photos.  Believe it or not, this deceiving thought can get us in trouble--but most of all it can deprive us of our photos and what they can really be and really do for us.  

There are five big reasons your photos don't belong on your phone, and I delve into each of them at this guest post over at OneStopForMom.  


Photos can be so much more when they're not on your phone and when they're connected to their stories (your memories).  They can contribute to emotional well-being (including self-esteem and a sense of purpose), increase gratitude, connect family members, and even increase your level of happiness!!  So find out more by clicking over to read 


and don't forget to share this article with someone who needs it as much as you and I do!  There are share buttons over at the left.

#dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Friday, May 7, 2021

How Photos, Memories, and Stories Improve Emotional Well-Being

 If you've been around the blog a time or two (well, this one, anyway), you've certainly learned that photos, memories, and stories aren't just cute little extras that some people like to play with.  They are actually crucial parts of self-care and well-being, play an important part in stress relief and happiness, and have actually been shown in studies to be the best thing you can do for your kids.


If you'd like to know exactly how photos, memories, and stories improve emotional well-being, provide perspective for your life's events, and even help in healing from grief, you can spend several hours here at the blog reading.  And you're welcome to!  

Or, you can peek in at this presentation I was asked to give at a Photos & Memories Boot Camp a few weeks ago.  


Based on the comments I received afterwards, I think you're going to love what you learn here in only 27 minutes.  So sit back with a yummy drink and learn how photos, memories, and stories improve emotional well-being.  Then leave a comment about what you learned here that has encouraged you.

When you're ready to make this a reality in your life, click here to get started.  I'm here to help!

Friday, March 5, 2021

"Your photos matter. Your stories matter. When you preserve them, it has the power to change you."

If you're new here, let me introduce you to... me!  I'm the heart behind the blog, and I'm thrilled to share with you my recent interview with Voyage Denver so that you can get to know me a little.  

You'll see why your photos matter, why your stories matter, and why I'm so passionate about helping you preserve them.

Read the article here:

Meet Jennifer Wise - Storybooking & Digital Scrapbooking Consultant

And when you're ready to make your inspiration into action and get your photos off your phone and the memories out of your head, click here to get started.  I'm here to help you all along the way!

Friday, January 8, 2021

DIY Family Calendars Like No Others

For years and years, my father-in-law has put together a family calendar showcasing family photos from the previous year.  He has it printed up at Kinko's, and it has been fun for well over a decade now to hang that on our wall.

On my side of the family, my sister-in-law brought the same tradition from her family when she married my brother.  Her tradition is to highlight (via photos) each person in the family on the month of his/her birthday, which is so fun.  She, too, had it printed at Kinko's.  And then we had two family calendars hanging on our wall side-by-side.

About the time my sister went to working nights full-time as a nurse, Heritage Makers added calendars to their product line.  I knew she was swamped and exhausted, and I had a little more time, so I asked her if she wanted me to do the calendar.  She was so relieved!  And I gave Heritage Makers calendars a try.  The result was GORGEOUS.  I've been the calendar-maker of the family ever since.  She loves being on the receiving end now.

Plus, I have a go-to Christmas gift now for my whole side of the family every year!  Win-win.

Then I had an amazing idea inspired by Family Search for my 2020 calendar.  I can't wait to show you!  But first let me tell you my favorite thing about making calendars with Heritage Makers.

The thing I love the most about Heritage Makers calendars--aside from the quality--is that there are so many possibilities!  There are 5 sizes to choose from, including one that doubles as a scrap page for the next year.  

The largest calendar is 11x16.

This Now & Later Calendar comes in 12x18 or 8x12,
and the top tears off to save as a scrapbook page!

No matter which size I choose, I can make it exactly what I want it to be--no template-caused restrictions (even when I choose to use one) and so much gorgeous digital art ("clip art") available right in the program for me to use at no cost!

This little Desktop Calendar is 10x4.

The 11x8.5 calendar has a coil wire in the middle.

The 11x8.5 calendar, closed.

Here's what I did for 2020:  I added ancestor birthdays and anniversaries (back 4 generations) on the calendar dates.  

My family LOVED this!  I think it is especially neat for us older ones to see parents and grandparents who have passed away.  It's also inspiring to see who else we came from--especially when we know their stories.

And so, when I made my 2021 calendar, I had to keep our sweet ancestors there.  Here are some shots of the calendar.  TA-DA!!



The large pictures at the top show pictures of those who have birthdays in that given month.  (We don't have any February birthdays, so I chose the new babies we added to our family in 2020.)


And then the small pictures on the actual dates show ancestor photos with birthdays and anniversaries.


This Dia De Los Muertos digital art was new this year and I just HAD to try it!


Did you know some people make Perpetual Calendars?  They don't assign Mondays & Thursdays (etc.) to the dates, but just list out birthdays and anniversaries (January 12:  Pam).  That way, they can keep the calendar every year.  I like updating the pictures every year, but I think a Perpetual Calendar would be super cool for ancestors.


This is really one of the very best gifts I could give my family each year!  The addition of ancestor birthdays just makes these calendars that much more special.

Wanna make your own?  I've got you covered!  I made this video to walk you through the steps.  


Keep in mind that there are 5 different styles of calendars.  I'll just show one, but it's basically the same idea for the other types.

These DIY Family Calendars from Heritage Makers are truly like no others!  Follow the directions in the video and make your own, and you'll see what I mean.  Not to mention, you'll be the coolest gift-giver in the family!

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Saturday, November 14, 2020

How to Create Unique (Professional!) Holiday Cards without Breaking the Bank

Here's the usual Christmas card quandary:  How do you send out beautiful holiday greetings that are inexpensive without looking cheap?  How do you find something impressive to share with loved ones that doesn't break the bank?

Welcome to the solution to your dilemma.

If you've been around this blog a time or two, you've certainly seen some of the creative, heirloom-quality ways you can preserve your photos, memories, and stories.  And I'm sure you've also see that those same high-quality Heritage Makers products can be turned into something else entirely!  For example, address labels can become chocolate party favors, and scrapbook pages can become nativity sets, and a DIY playing card deck can become recipe cards to share!

Today I'm going to show you a fun and creative use for DIY Heritage Makers notepads!  

That's right!  We're going to take personalized DIY notepads like this:


And turn them into something like this:




Here's what you'll love about Newsletters on DIY Notepads from Heritage Makers:
  • COMPLETELY personalize-able!
  • The quality is stunning.
  • The price is tiny.  (14-19 cents each for 120, plus shipping)
  • Your style.  (Not a locked-in template you're stuck with.)
  • Create them online using any computer without having to download anything!
  • All the creative elements you see (wreaths, background papers, etc.) are included right in the program.  
  • The notepads are professionally printed and shipped to your door.
Note:  Notepads are printed by Heritage Makers' specialty printer and can take 2-3 weeks to print and arrive at your door, so plan ahead.

I came up with this idea to use notepads as newsletters 3 years ago, and it is BY FAR my favorite method of Christmas card.  It's gorgeous and impressive, and nobody would guess they cost me very little!

I made you a step-by-step video so you can do it, too!

You're going to love sending unique and impressive holiday cards and greetings this way.  

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Thursday, August 27, 2020

You're invited to the annual *online* "Enjoy December" Card Party!

I prefer to enjoy December.  I don't want to feel stressed or like I have too much to do and not enough time.  I like sipping hot chocolate in front of twinkling lights, not scrambling to check things off my list.  So my favorite way to enjoy December is to do a lot of things in November!  

And that's how the "Enjoy December" Card Party was born more than a decade ago!

NOTE:  This blog post will be updated each year with the latest dates/times for this annual online party!  Up now: 2021.


So if you don't have oodles of time for everything you want to do in December, let me help you check "Christmas cards" (or other holiday greetings) off your list!  

There are traditional options and a bunch of clever ones, too, like this Newsletter on a Notepad I made in 2018.  (Believe it or not, the price was 17c a page!  And I love sending stand-out Christmas greetings that impressed everyone!)  This was seriously so cool.  I even made a video tutorial showing how to make newsletters from notepads, so if this particular option sounds great to you, click over to read "How to Create Unique (Professional!) Holiday Cards Without Breaking the Bank."

Newsletter on a Notepad

And all you need to make any of the darling things I'm about to show you is:  a computer!  (Even a borrowed one from the library, if need be.)  Think you're not creative?  Keep on reading because there are quick & easy options, too.  

It's everything you'd ever want.

"What's a Card Party?"

I'm glad you asked.  It's just a time to get together with friends (even some new ones) and create your Christmas cards digitally.  Since the party is in early November, you'll get your cards created and ordered and back before Thanksgiving so you can enjoy December!  (Not like this cute Heritage Makers-YPhoto template below.  ha ha) 

4x8 Photo Card

All we do is get on our own computers--wherever we are in the country--at the party date & time, then create together.  Well, technically we create individually, but we're "together" over the internet.  I work on my cards (or my postcards or my add-in recipe cards) on my computer while you work on your cards (or your notepad newsletter) on your computer.  Instead of sitting around signing cards on your own, you get to create with others!  It's the best way I know to make sending Christmas cards a lot more fun.

For those of you familiar with the "Enjoy December" Card Party, it's moving!  Instead of being an all-day Facebook event, it's now being held live via Zoom.  There will be 3 sessions (in an attempt to find a time for everyone), and you can attend the morning session, the afternoon session, or the evening session--or all 3!  


"What's so great about this Card Party?  And how will I know if this is something I want to do?"

Aside from being held early enough to enjoy December and being held online with friends (it's fun!), you'll be creating your cards using Heritage Makers-YPhoto which means you get:
  • clever and creative ideas outside the run-of-the-mill holiday cards we see floating around, so your cards really stand out (Keep reading!  They're so cool!)
  • high quality
  • thousands of options
  • ability to create yourself or use a fully-editable template that you can change however you want
  • a free, self-contained online system (nothing extra to buy or to download to your computer)
  • your own Heritage Makers consultant (me!) at the Card Party with you to answer questions you may have as you create your cards digitally
  • possibilities for every budget

"Sounds amazing.  What kind of cards are available to make?  What do I have to choose from?  And what are all these creative 'card' ideas you're talking about, anyway?"

Let me show you!  You're going to love all the fun, unique, and clever possibilities in this video I've put together for you, from traditional cards to out-of-the box ideas that aren't technically cards.  One of my favorites is the recipes made from DIY playing cards that I included in my traditional cards one year.  Huge hit.

It's a detailed video, so it's 35 minutes long, but also skippable!  Feel free to skip around so you're getting just the information you need.  Here's the breakdown of the video:
  • 0:01-3:55 the (free) program we'll use to create
  • 3:55-28:42 the 8 out-of-the-box holiday greetings ideas, including some video tutorials for the creating the more unique ones
  • 28:43-30:56  pointers for creating these on your own OR at the "Enjoy December" Card Party
  • 30:57-35:06  need-to-know stuff about opening an account (if you don't already have one) and best price options, large order discounts for cards, etc.


"If I'm new to Heritage Makers-YPhoto, how will I know if I'm computer-savvy enough to use the free software?"

Don't forget I'll be there to help, and Zoom features a screen-share feature we can use if needed, but if you want a quick overview of making cards (although you aren't limited to traditional cards by any means--see the video above with all the fantastic, creative possibilities), check out this 5-minute video.  You'll see the software program in use.

"Okay, this is pretty cool.  When is the party and how do I attend?"

The 2021 Enjoy December Card Party will be held Friday, November 5 in three 1-hour sessions.  Choose one, two, or all of them.  
  • The morning session will be 8:00-9:00am.
  • The afternoon session will be 12:00-1:00pm.
  • The evening session will be 5:00-6:00pm.  
  • All times shown are Mountain Time, so adjust accordingly if needed.

Address Label -- use for anything!

You should be able to complete your oh-so-personalized Cards (or Newsletters or Add-ins or Labels or whatever you choose) in about an hour, but there's no limit on which session(s) you attend.

Personalized Card (Invitation) or Postcard from Santa

To register for the "Enjoy December" Card Party, all you need to do is email me at jenniferwise4heritagemakers@gmail.com and just tell me you want to attend.  I will reply giving you two options to complete the $5 payment (Venmo or snail-mail check) for this Card Party.  All payments must be complete by November 1, after which I will email you the Zoom links for all 3 of the sessions using the same email you first contacted me with.  Easy, peasy.

Plus, there's a way to waive the $5 payment, too!  

(The address labels are fantastic! ...Though once you block out
the address, there's not too much left.  ha ha)

"The $5 attendance fee isn't much, but you're saying I could attend for free?"

Absolutely!  If you bring along a friend who is new to Heritage Makers-YPhoto to our "Enjoy December" Card Party, your fee for the party is waived!  Your friend just needs to let me know that you invited her/him, then once your friend registers and pays, there's no fee for you!  (The same goes for your friend, by the way--if SHE/HE invites someone who is new to Heritage Makers-YPhoto and attends the Card Party, she/he doesn't pay, either.  Payment is only required for those attending on their own without a new guest.)

The Card Party is free for all Heritage Makers consultants on my Heritage Makers team, too!

5x5 Greeting Card

"This sounds perfect.  I'll be emailing you to register!  What's the deadline again?"

I'm so glad!  You'll adore Heritage Makers cards/invitations/labels/newsletters, and it's so much fun to work together with friends, too.  Registration (via email to jenniferwise4heritagemakers@gmail.com) and payment are both due November 1, 2021.  

See you Friday, November 5, 2021 at the annual online "Enjoy December" Card Party.  

Then go enjoy December.  


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Thursday, May 28, 2020

5 Scrapbooking Hacks to Make Memory-Keeping Doable

Whether you love or hate the thought of scrapbooking, this post is for you!  That's because you have pictures, and you have memories to go with them.  And they need a home--a place to LIVE.

Photos that sit on phones, computers, or in the cloud are not living up to their full potential, so to speak.  In fact, they aren't even photos yet--they're just files.  You might not even know what you have or where it is.  Unless you have some wicked {good photo organization} of those files, you might not even be able to find something you know you have.  Knowing what you have and where it is and then giving those photos a tactile home, next to the written memories of them, has some powerful effects.  You can read about those effects {here}.  Our photos are much more powerful than we give them credit for.

And that's all well and good until you don't have a lot of time to spend scrapbooking--in which case, you need some time-saving scrapbooking hacks.


The first thing to know is that "scrapbooking" doesn't have to be fancy and time-consuming.

Did you know that "scrapbooking" in the layered, embellished sense of the word goes back to about 1980, with heightened popularity in the 1990s?  Before that, though, people still put "scraps" or mementos in blank-page books with their photos!  They did! (You can read a brief version of the interesting history of scrapbooking {here}--I learned a lot of cool stuff I didn't know before.)  The reason for this is to keep the photos protected.  They couldn't just leave them in a drawer or a stack on a shelf.  The photos needed a place to be kept so that they could be seen, and wise photograph owners would write next to the photo a description of who was in the photo and where it was taken.

Obviously, the paper-crafting modern version of "scrapbooking" is definitely not the only way to preserve photos and memories.  In fact, given the history of photography, it's a relatively recent invention and isn't used by the majority of photograph owners.  So just do whatever works for you.

You need your photos and memories!  They're good for the heart and soul.  In fact, they're {the secret ingredient to self-care and wellness}!

So let's make it a little easier to DO!  Here are 5 scrapbooking hacks that can help!

#1  MAKE THE TIME ON YOUR CALENDAR
If you struggle to find time, you'll probably have to make it.  There are a lot of really fantastic tips and suggestions for how to do that {here}-- from the concept of "time creation" to making memory-keeping a regular family tradition!  There are suggestions there for streamlining your responsibilities to give yourself more time as well as how to pare down your photos.  Making time and actually blocking out on your calendar--like an appointment with yourself--is one of the biggest hacks that I use to help me actually stay caught up preserving my pictures!

#2  MAKE YOUR PHOTOS MANAGEABLE
If you are overwhelmed with the amount of photos you have, you definitely need to read {When Photo Overload Becomes Photo Overwhelm}.  This is a very real thing these days, and a very real problem.  The tips there can help you get your photos into a manageable state so that you even WANT to scrapbook, let alone CAN.  The biggest tip is to not preserve every photo you take.  If you're overwhelmed with your photos, just choose your favorites to preserve in print.

#3  EASY POCKET SCRAPBOOKING AND KITS
If you prefer hands-on memory keeping with physical (printed) photos but don't have a lot of time, you've got to try this!  It's so much simpler than traditional "build a page" scrapbooking, but it's just as darling.  You can {learn more about Pocket Scrapbooking here}, but basically the pages have pockets to slide photos and journaling cards into as well as a strip at the outside edge of each page. I LOVE this idea!!



#4  GO DIGITAL
This has saved my bacon.  Heritage Makers digital scrapbooking is what's FULLY responsible for me staying caught up on my own memory-keeping. 

I was a paper scrapbooker for probably 10+ years, but for the last 10 I've been digital.  I love that I can just replicate the design of an entire page with a couple of clicks of the mouse instead of having to re-create it by hand.  I love that I can get multiple copies for multiple kids with zero extra work/time.  I love the Heirloom Assurance benefit from Heritage Makers along with the fact that the whole program is self-contained so I don't have to buy digital art pieces or anything.

I could go on and on about the merits of Heritage Makers digital scrapbooking--in fact I raved about it {in this article} if you want to know ALL the reasons I adore digital scrapbooking with Heritage Makers.

If you're new to digital memory-keeping, you can actually watch me do it at this video so you get a better understanding of what it's all about.  It's so cool!

By the way, you can either create individual scrapbook pages or hardbound books with Heritage Makers.  You would create pages the same way--as I show in the video--but you would just choose a different product at the beginning of the process (book vs. pages).  And whichever you choose, you'd create them {at this website}.  Here are {five steps to walk you through getting started}, too!

It has changed my life.  No kidding!

#5 YEARBOOKS
Another fabulous scrapbooking hack is Yearbooks.  I can't even tell you how much I love this idea, and if I weren't doing method #4 up there and loving it, this would be my go-to.  This is what I always recommend to people who are overwhelmed with their photos and really just don't know what to do with them.  A Yearbook is a product, but it's also a METHOD, which really helps you make your photos manageable again.  I go over the method and the whole how-to right here:
(Fast forward from 27:11-34:05 when I have technical difficulties.  I forgot to switch the screen share!)

AS A BONUS, I'LL GIVE YOU ONE ADDITIONAL SCRAPBOOKING HACK THAT CAN REALLY HELP!

I've been a digital scrapbooker with Heritage Makers for so long that I work pretty fast!  If you'd like to hire me to do the physical work of putting together your books or scrap pages, click the "contact me" tab at the upper left at the top of this blog.  Having a partner and a scrapbooker-for-hire is a pretty big, helpful scrapbooking hack!


Choose one of these great methods, prioritize time on your calendar, and make your photos manageable... and you've just hacked scrapbooking!

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