Tuesday, May 22, 2018

guest post: Women Who Rock

Do you know any women who rock?  This year Dr. Ruxandra LeMay started an inspiring series on her blog looking at women of influence.  (If you are a woman, you are a woman of influence--trust me!)  I "met" Dr. LeMay through a bloggers Facebook group, and I was so honored when she asked to interview me for her series!

I talk about stepping outside your comfort zone, motherhood, running with YOUR strengths, balancing responsibilities, why being over 40 is great, and why pictures and memories really matter--basically what I've learned from life and business!

I hope this article is inspiring to many women in many stages of life!  I hope you find some great nuggets from it that you can use every day.  Enjoy!  You can find the article here:



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Snap2Finish: Making a Photo or Memory Book in a Snap

One of the reasons I'm a die-hard Heritage Makers user/lover is because of the high quality of the photo products (books and scrap pages).  It makes a big difference to me that my photos and memories are preserved in something that is going to last for generations.  I don't trust my precious story and pictures to anything wimpy.

So when Heritage Makers' parent company added an additional digital option, Snap2Finish, to their YGY Photo offerings, I admit I wasn't really enticed.  I love what I can do with Heritage Makers, from digital scrapbooking to beautiful books commemorating special events and family times.  But when I learned that the quality is the same as Heritage Makers (printed with the same process, actually, including the library binding in hardbound books), I decided it was time to get to know Snap2Finish.

Here's why:
  • Snap2Finish has some fun products not available in the Heritage Makers line.  Although Heritage Makers offers really cool things like making your own {playing card deck} and {car magnet} and {computer/messenger bag} and {cookbooks}, Snap2Finish offers puzzles and pillowcases and towels, which are kinda cool!
  • For someone looking for a really quick way to get their photos off their phone and into their hands and hearts, Snap2Finish is simple photo publishing and memory-keeping without anything complicated.  But the quality is so much better than your run-of-the-mill "free photobook" you find online sometimes.
  • Snap2Finish also offers photo prints in several sizes (including square ones) for traditional scrapbookers, too!
So although I had printed up several photos (just prints) for framing through Snap2Finish, I decided it was time to make a book!  As I mentioned, I *adore* Heritage Makers for ALL my digital publishing needs, from memory-keeping to magnet calendars and rockin' gifts, so I admit I went into Snap2Finish with a little bit of a bias.  

Truth be told, I was pleasantly surprised!  Making a photo book with Snap2Finish really was fun and easy!  It really comes together in a fast, uncomplicated way for a clean and simple look. 

And here's my finished book!  I love it.  The quality is definitely up-to-snuff and on par with Heritage Makers, which is a big deal to me.

The metal stitching in the library binding is the same as Heritage Makers.  (No glue that can crack over time!)  And the vellum page in the front is the same, too.

Snap2Finish has lots of fonts to choose from, and the page layouts are really simple.

Because it took a little trial and error (and asking my consultant) to learn where the buttons are and what everything does, I really wanted to make a tutorial video for you to help you get a fast start using Snap2Finish!  With just a few pointers, you can get your photos off your phone and bring them to life!

So see what Snap2Finish can do for you!  To get started:
  1. Go to www.snap2finish.com
  2. Click "register" at the upper right to open your free account.  IMPORTANT:  If you are a Heritage Makers user, you already have a YGY # assigned to you.  Ask me for it so you can enter it here--that way you can use Heritage Makers publishing points when you order anything from Snap2Finish.  If you are not a Heritage Makers user, you will need to enter my distributor ID # so that we are connected.  It's 101124153.  
  3. Learn your way around the website and the program at the video.
  4. Let me know if you have questions.  That's the whole point of us being connected.  :)  My contact information is at the "contact me" tab at the top of this blog.
This is really a fun way to ENJOY your pictures...  in a snap!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Memories Connect Us - guest post by Carol Stewart

Today's post comes from Carol Stewart of Capture by Carol.  I was fortunate enough to "meet" Carol online a year or so ago.  We are definitely kindred spirits!  Carol has a passion for family stories and history.  She is the Family Historian in her family.  Carol is an advanced amateur photographer who loves to capture moments in the lives of her family and friends.  She has been using those captured moments (aka: pictures!) to create beautiful storybooks, home decor, etc., for over 20 years.  

In 2009, she discovered Heritage Makers and was in awe of its creative power.  In 2017, as she was approaching the prospect of an empty nest, she decided to take the next step and become a Heritage Makers Independent Consultant.  She has over 9 years of experience using Heritage Makers.  Her two most favorite creations are both storybooks:  a 60+ page storybook of her parents' history she made for their 50th anniversary and a 90+ page storybook she made for her children's high school theatre director upon her retirement.  Carol has experience in most of the products that Heritage Makers offers and can create anything for you!  Contact her through her website (link at the bottom of this post.)   

I love Carol's perspective on memories here.  They really are what make up our humanity, and we really do need help making them last.  Read and be inspired!

We are not who we are simply because we think. We are who we are because we can remember what we have thought about. ~Larry R. Squire & Eric R. Kandel from “Memory, From Mind to Molecules.”

Memories are what connect us.  Think about it.  What if you didn’t have a memory of the people you loved?  Or the people who loved you didn’t have a memory of you? What kind of relationship can be sustained without memories?  Not much of a relationship. Think Groundhog Day, the movie, where Bill Murray is forced to re-live the same day over and over again.  He remembers every day he re-lived while everyone else is living that same day for the very first time, every time! It’s a very lonely existence as he has to start his relationships over and over again without any growth retained beyond 24 hours.

In a relationship of two people, both need to have memory to grow the relationship.  A solid relationship foundation is built on memories.  That’s why memory diseases like Alzheimer’s are so devastating.  When one person loses the ability to remember, or worse, starts losing existing memories of their relationship with the other person, it is devastating.  I have experienced the effects of this awful disease in my own life and it is truly devastating for all parties involved.

Relationship and community are why we exist in the first place!  God created us for relationships and community.  This is how we glorify Him; through our relationships with Him and others.  Can you imagine how hard it would be to try to fulfill our purpose without memories?    That’s because memories connect us to each other.

Memories are so important even our country has a day set aside for remembering:  Memorial Day.  On Memorial Day, we remember those men and women who gave their lives protecting our country and the rights we enjoy as free people.  Christmas and Easter are set aside to remember the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. 

 “Every thought we have, every word we speak, every action we engage in- indeed, our very sense of self and our sense of connectedness to otherswe owe to our memory, to the ability of our brains to record and store our experiences.  Memory is the glue that binds our mental life, the scaffolding that holds our personal history and that makes it possible to grow and change throughout life. When memory is lost, as in Alzheimer’s disease, we lose the ability to re-create our past, and as a result, we lose our connection with ourselves and with others.”  ~Larry R. Squire & Eric R. Kandel from “Memory, From Mind to Molecules.”

Memories connect us by helping us to understand who we are.  I think it's important to understand your placement in history in the context of your family and your ancestors.  Understanding your context brings clarity to who you are and how you came to be.  I did a project in 10th grade on my family genealogy.  The assignment was to do a family tree. My grandma gave me a lot of her family records which I still have to this day. When I completed the project it was a huge poster board.  When I brought it into class, I was the only one holding a huge poster board. I stuck out.   (What 10th grader wants to stick out?  J ) Everybody else had one 8 ½ by 11 sheet of paper. Needless to say my teacher talked about my project till the end of that school year as he was so impressed with how much work I did. (Honestly, I did all that work because I thought that was the assignment!) I gained a love for genealogy and family history through that project.

When my mom's cousin learned of what I did she sent me a huge genealogy record of our family. She gave me panels and panels of 8 ½ by 11 sheets of paper taped together to make up a poster bigger than a queen size sheet. Through this project I learned many stories about my ancestors; who they were, what their temperament was, the struggles they overcame, etc.  It helped me understand where I came from and helped me to better understand who I was and gave me a sense of pride and belonging.   This documentation of my family history brought me closer to those that had come before me, even those I had never met in person.  It gave me a sense of security. (I’m currently in the process of documenting all those memories and will eventually put together a Heritage Makers storybook and include some old photos my aunt found).

Here is another blog post I wrote on the importance of remembering the past: www.capturebycarol.com/blog/5-remind-remember/

Memories connect us by deepening the existing bonds.  When my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary was approaching, I was inspired by my 10th grade project to put together a Heritage Makers legacy storybook for my parents.  It took me a year to gather all the stories and photos (I had to scan most of them as they were film photos) but it was the most rewarding storybook I have created to date. It was the story of their lives together.  Watching my parents bond as they read the storybook together and re-lived all their memories together was priceless! My parents loved it and read it over and over again.  I gave that storybook to each of my siblings as a Christmas present.  That’s the beauty of making a storybook in Heritage Makers; you can order multiple copies with no additional work other than to hit the button “add to cart!” Easy Peasy!

When my mother passed away in January 2018, we had a picture table at her memorial with a lot of my mom’s pictures displayed and a slide show running on a loop, plus the 50th wedding anniversary storybook.  When people walked over to the table the first thing most people did was to pick up that storybook and read through it.  The slide show was nice but the storybook was tangible and could be picked up and read at ones’ own pace. And it contained the history and the memories in the form of written words that went along with the photos.  The most compliments I received from the display were about the storybook.  People loved looking through that beautiful Heritage Makers storybook.

At my daughter’s school, we just completed our production of the musical “She Loves Me!”  Among other duties, one of the items I am tasked with is to document the production through photos.  I took photos at four dress rehearsals and printed 120 photos for display on opening night.  I also had a slideshow.  While the slideshow was enjoyed, those printed pictures received the most attention, especially among the teenagers in the cast.  They just don’t see printed pictures like we did growing up!  I assured them that they would be getting a link to all my pictures but they still competed for those printed versions!  They wanted to hang them in their room to remember the special bonding that occurred during the preparations for the production.  I suspect that a lot of those teenagers might not know how to even print the pictures by their reaction when I told them that they can just print more! My, how things have changed since I was younger!  And it convinces me more that printed versions of our memories are more treasured and enjoyed then digital versions.

Memories connect us by rekindling old bonds.  When I was younger my cousins were my best friends. On both sides of my family were lots and lots of cousins. They were like my siblings.  We have lots of pictures from different family trips and events. Growing up I took it all for granted. I thought everyone had this same experience.  There was a time that we were all inseparable but as we grew up and started having children of our own, life got busy and the gatherings were less and less.

Then my aunt died. We all gathered at her funeral and there were pictures displayed and a slideshow of a lot of our family gatherings.  Seeing those photos again reconnected us and reminded us of our history together.  It brought us all closer and we made a commitment to keep in touch. Seeing our memories in the form of photos together rekindled our bond.  I only wished I had a hard copy of the slide show to take home so I could look at those slideshow pictures again.

Then, two years later in November 2017, another aunt died. Then her husband, my dad’s brother, died a month and a half later. A week and a half after my uncle’s passing, my mom passed away. It was a tragic season of loss.   What did we, my cousins and I, all do?   We went through picture after picture after picture and gathered them all up and displayed them at each of the funeral services in the form of slideshows and framed photos and even some Heritage Makers storybooks.  Why did we do that? The funeral services were held to honor our loved ones’ lives and photos were a huge part of that goal. Those photos represented their beautiful lives.  Those photos represented our memories, our history with our loved ones and each other and it connected us and it honored our loved ones.  Those pictures represented the deep bonds our loved ones had cultivated and that we continue to enjoy today. Those are the bonds that contribute to our health and wellbeing and keep us mentally healthy.  I am so very thankful that my mom and my aunts knew the importance of maintaining a photographic history.

My mom and my aunts were good at keeping family albums and even writing on or near the photos.  I am so thankful for the history and legacy they leave behind.  Because they were so careful to record our photographic history, we have a legacy to pass on to the generations that follow us.  If you don’t have this kind of history recorded in your own family I highly encourage you to start today.  Future generations will be impacted by it and will be thankful for your efforts.  Let Heritage Makers help you create a lasting legacy.  Start with your free Heritage Makers account today at www.heritagemakers.com/carolstewart.

Sometimes our memories are not accurate It’s important to re-visit photos you may not have initially liked or may not have understood the importance of at the time.  Different perspectives can change the recall experience of a photo, so going through old photos every few years can be helpful to your health and well-being. 

I remember when I was young, probably 8 or 9 years old; there was a picture of me with my siblings, friends and cousins in our backyard.  We had just gotten out of the pool.  I remember the bad feeling I had when the picture was developed and my mom put it into our family album.  I remember at the time feeling like “oh my goodness I'm so fat.” But I look back on that picture now and think what a ridiculous thought that was!  I wasn't fat! I was just right. And now when I look at that picture my focus is not on my body image but on the relationships in that picture.  I see the beautiful day I had with my friends and family!  When time passes and I look back on those pictures, I am seeing them almost for the first time from a different perspective.  I’m so thankful to have a more accurate perspective and more accurate memory of that day because I have a photo to jog my memory. Reflecting on those photos and the memories that go with them deepens my bond with my family and friends.  A photo I once hated looking at is now one of my most favorites!  (I try to remind my children of this concept when they give me grief over some of the pictures I take of them today!)

Memories Connect Us:  Memories connect us by helping us to understand who we are, by deepening our bonds with others and by rekindling old bonds. Heritage Makers can help you stay connected to those memories with a beautiful storybook.  Start your connection today at www.heritagemakers.com/carolstewart.

How to protect those memories that connect us:

Record your memories in a Heritage Makers Storybook:  Photos and the memories that go with those photos help facilitate retaining those memories and as a result, those relationships are deepened and grow.  Photos and the memories that go with those photos help keep an accurate picture of our history.  Memory isn’t always reliable so it’s important to record the memories as soon as possible for a more accurate history.

Once you have recorded your memories and created a beautiful Heritage Makers storybook, order one for yourself and give away multiple copies as gifts!  The boost in self-esteem you will have generated in the person who receives your lovely gift will be well worth the reasonable cost!

Two + ways to store your memories:  The beauty of publishing a storybook in Heritage Makers is that your photos are stored in your account and in your storybook which means that you have a backup copy online in your account and a beautiful hard copy in your hands.  Win-win!  And, if you want a third way, Heritage Makers offers a high quality Photosafe Archival Disc to store all your photos.  It is a disc that will last over 100 years (compared to a normal disc which will only last about 5 years).

Heritage Makers Heirloom Assurance Program: Although the slideshows and digital display of photos are nice, they aren’t as fulfilling as a hard copy storybook in your hands!  Hard copies of your family history are important for your health and well-being.  Being able to pick up a hard copy of your family history is so rewarding and brings a sense of security and stability.  It also guarantees your history will be passed on to generations to come. Not only can you order multiple copies of your storybook but Heritage Makers also has the Heirloom Assurance program.  If any damage happens to your Heritage Makers storybook just order another one at half price!

Some of the advantages of using Heritage Makers to publish your storybooks and other products:

Quality:  Heritage Makers is unsurpassed in quality.  From the quality of their products to the quality of their image processing, you will not find another company that even comes close to Heritage Makers quality.  My memories deserve the best and Heritage Makers fits the bill!

Art Selection & Templates:   Heritage Makers is 100% customizable.  You can create your own products from scratch or start with a template.  There are 1,000’s of artwork and templates to choose from.

Studio online all the time:  Heritage Makers is 100% on the go!  No software to download.  Everything is created online in Studio.  No risk of losing your work due to your computer crashing.  Work from anywhere you have a computer and internet.
Learn More:  www.capturebycarol.com or start creating today by opening your free account:  www.heritagemakers.com/carolstewart

Friday, May 4, 2018

Fantastic #friyay

It's the first Friday of the month again, so it's time for another fantastic #friyay post!  This post comes to us from a friend I made because she's family!  Janna has been making {family yearbooks} with Heritage Makers for about 8 years now.  She makes a lot of other great things with Heritage Makers (like her daughter's high school graduation announcements--they were SO beautiful), but her main draw to Heritage Makers was the family yearbook. I remember her telling me after her fourth child was born that she would hold the sleeping baby while sitting at the computer--she worked on her family yearbook during baby naps!  Let's see why Janna loves using Heritage Makers.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How to Order Photo Prints from your Phone

If you are a traditional scrapbooker or if you use simple photo albums, there's a quick new way to order prints straight from your iPhone!

It's called Snap2Finish.  It's a new line from Heritage Makers' parent company.  Opening a Snap2Finish account is, well, a snap.

At www.snap2finish.com click "register."  When you're asked for the referring distributor ID# at the bottom, enter 101124153 and you'll be connected with me.

This 3-minute video shows you how to order prints straight from your phone!

And if you are a paper-lover and enjoy hands-on memory-keeping BUT ARE SHORT ON TIME, I suggest the Pocket Pages and the Scrapbooking Kits from our Anthology DIY line.

You can see all the products at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY."  Pocket Pages have page protectors with picture-size pockets, so creating a page of preserved photos is a cinch!  Scrapbooking Kits are 12x12 layouts that have the look of traditional scrapbooking, but everything is already measured, cut, and coordinating, so you just assemble and add your photos and journaling.

Printing photos is the most important way to preserve them.  PRINT is how photos get seen and loved!  So whether you print photos physically and scrapbook them, or you print them in digital photo albums or storybooks, you are truly PRESERVING them!


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The HOW and WHY of Getting Your Photos out of Digital Form

We're well into the 21st century now, so most of us only know photos as something digital.  Unfortunately, we've lost sight of an important fact:  digital photos are photos in storage.  They're essentially film negatives, only you can see them a little better.

I say this because most people don't just sit down and scroll through jpeg files.  If you do-- if they're your screen saver, for example --that fantastic, but they are incomplete.  Jpeg files are lacking details, names, dates, memories, and stories.  So jpegs are really only half of what they could be.

I wrote a series several months ago (on a blog I'm a regular contributor for) on getting your photos out of digital form--not just the WHY, but the HOW.  I want to share with you the MANY tips and ideas you can find here: 
What's the best tip you found from these articles?  What's going to be your game-changer?


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Teacher Appreciation Gifts that will Knock Their Socks Off

There are so many teachers who give so much, going above and beyond to make sure their students learn and love learning--and are happy at the same time.  I love giving truly meaningful gifts to those special people, beyond flowers or a gift card that will be gone and forgotten in no time.

With a little planning, you can give teacher appreciation gifts that will knock their socks off!

I've been thinking lately about what kind of teacher appreciation gifts might fit the bill this year.  For quite a few years now, I've created gifts using Heritage Makers because they're so personal, and many times I spend less than I would on flowers or a gift card.

When my kids were in elementary school, we gave their teachers little books.  You can {see a few of them here}, page by page.  I would have my kids help me write the books--they would write something they loved about the teacher, something they learned in class, something they improved at with the teacher's help, etc.  We sprinkled some photos in, too.  We LOVED giving those books to those special teachers because we knew they really showed the depth of our appreciation, and we knew they would be cherished for years.

Now that my kids are older, my mind keeps going back to the gifts I made for their teachers more recently:  personalized candy bar wraps and notepads.  I'm thinking this might be just the thing this year, too.

The candy bar wraps (underneath the scissors there) are nothing more than a 12x12 scrapbook page from Heritage Makers, printed on lite paper so that it's easily wrapped around a Hershey bar (after it's cut).  You can make four wraps from one page.

You can always create your own design from scratch using the thousands of pieces of (included) digital art, or you can use templates like these:
I know those last two aren't school-themed, but you can always edit any Heritage Makers template 100% so you'll get just what you want.  (Or click the "contact me" tab at the upper left if you want me to send these candy bar wraps that I made to you--I can transfer them from my Heritage Makers account to yours!  Then you just personalize.)

Then I made matching notepads, to go along with the candy bars!  They come in a set of 4, and each one can be a different style or name. Here's a fun school-themed notepad set.  Click on each of the 4 thumbnails underneath so you can see each of the 4 notepads included in that template.
I really love how personal these are!

Creating anything using Heritage Makers means you create it digitally online (like you would in programs such as Canva or Publisher) and then submit it for publishing with Heritage Makers.  It's shipped to you in about 7-10 days.  

I actually made you a little tutorial video about how to make notepads, so you can see it for yourself!  

You can learn about sizes and product specifications (like how many papers per pad) plus learn how to quickly personalize a template in the first 22 minutes or so.  Stick around another 15 minutes and you'll see how to create notepads from scratch--the sky is the limit!

Just follow the video or {these steps} to start creating something those special teachers in your life will always remember!

Then Pin this for next year!  :) 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Celebrating National Scrapbooking Day with a Sale!

Did you know that National Scrapbooking Day is always the first Saturday in May?  It's true!  In 2018, it will be Saturday May 5.  So let's celebrate!

Here at LifeTales Books, we know photos and memories do miraculous good for the heart and soul, no matter how exactly that memory-keeping is done.  It all counts.  You've probably noticed that most of the focus here is on digital storybooking and digital scrapbooking through Heritage Makers, but for this day of national celebration of our photos and memories we're sharing some sales on hands-on (paper) scrapbooking and memory-keeping--plus some fun bonuses sprinkled in that aren't necessarily scrapbooking-related.

Everything you see below is on sale from April 1 - May 31, 2018.  (Click the "sales" tab in red along the top of this blog to find monthly Heritage Makers publishing specials.)  All these items can be purchased at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking "products."  After clicking "products," click either "Our Memories For Life" or "Anthology DIY," depending on which brand the item comes from.  

READY?!  Let's celebrate!  There are 30% off specials, 40% off specials, and even 50% off specials!

30% OFF

All Border Maker System Cartridges from Our Memories For Life are 30% off.  There are 15 to choose from.  (The Border Maker System itself is sold separately.)  These are so much fun and can be used for scrap pages, cardmaking, or even decorating gift bags.

Perpetual Birthday Calendar Kits from Anthology DIY are also 30% off.
This kit includes everything you need to make the perpetual birthday calendar.  Never forget a birthday!  I think this would make such a great Mother's Day gift!

40% OFF

All Canvas Exchange Sets from Anthology DIY are 40% off.   This sale is on the exchange-able canvas pieces only.  And the wooden blocks themselves are also on sale, so look for them in the 50% off section.  If you aren't familiar with Canvas Exchange Blocks, you are in for a treat!

You can get a better idea of how these Canvas Exchange Blocks work at this little 2-minute video from Lisa Bearnson who is the creative brain behind these sets.  They are the most darling and the most simple home decor!

All those canvas sets can be exchanged on just one set of wooden blocks for rotating seasonal decor!

Also 40% off are the Anthology DIY Scrapbooking Layout Kits.  These are scrapbooking pages that are practically done for you.  Everything you need is already included in the kits.  They come together in no time!  Just assemble the pages and add photos and journaling.

There are lots of different styles to choose from, too.

The last 40% off deal is paper scrapbooking collections from Our Memories For Life:  the Creme de la Creme collection

as well as the It's a Kid's World collection.

Remember, all these items can be purchased at www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise by clicking "products."  After clicking "products," click either "Our Memories For Life" or "Anthology DIY," depending on which brand the item comes from.  Sale runs April 1 - May 31.  

50% OFF

The block pieces that go with the Canvas Exchange pieces shown before are also on sale!  The blocks are already cut--you just sand a little and paint.  Everything is included, including the sandpaper and paint brush.

The 7" Personal Trimmer from Our Memories For Life is on sale 50% off, too!

Happy National Scrapbooking Day!  Don't forget--these sales end May 31!  Share with someone who will love you for it.  :)