Wednesday, January 12, 2022

How to Create Photo and Story Treasures

This blog has been dedicated to all things photo, memory, and story for well over a decade now!  Yes, we've had a sprinkling of crafting and DIY, too, but all-in-all, it's really about photo & story treasures.  It's about self-care, family connections, creating legacy and heritage in your home, and connecting with your own heart.  

If you're not sure how something as basic as a photo and a memory can do all that, it's definitely time to learn about the benefits of memory-keeping.

If you're like most people, you don't have a consistent memory-keeping solution that works for you.  You might be "behind on" your photos or your scrapbooking or your photobooks.  You might feel a lot of Photo Overwhelm.  Or you might have a desire to do something with your photos and memories but don't know where to start.  

So start something new in 2022!

Photo and Story Treasures is your go-to resource to make photos and memories into something meaningful.  Here's what Photo and Story Treasures can do for you, from permanent digital photo storage to printed treasures you can hold in your hands (and heart):

So that's what Photo and Story Treasures can do for you (or see a more detailed video at the end of this post), but let's look at why it matters to you in the first place.  It's so much more than you probably think.

Why You Take Photos

Taking photos these days is so commonplace that you've probably never stopped to think about why you do it.

A photographic image has power to unleash emotions, connect people, and bring back to our minds why we took the photo in the first place.  Photos connect us with our stories.  Photos let us see things or times or people that are gone. Photos have been shown in studies to boost mood (in other words, make us happier) as well as increase relaxation and lower stress.   

In fact, if you click that link, you can read about studies done on the effects of photos on your happiness level.  Spoiler: looking at your photos has been shown to make you *ten times* happier than eating chocolate!

And photos are about even more than happiness, especially when they're connected to your experiences.  

Kids who know their family stories have greater resiliency, higher self-esteem, and do better when faced with challenges.  This is especially true with stories of those who have gone before, but it's also true of the story those kiddos are living right now.  A current "family history" is the vacation you took to the beach last year and going to Grandma's 80th birthday celebration last weekend.  The photos and memories you record from events like those and other everyday events are your story!  And your child's story.

Having access to our own photos and stories makes a big difference.

What To Do With Them

We have precious pictures and meaningful memories, but they often don't make it off our phones or out of our heads.  The best thing you can do with a photo or a memory is preserve it.

Here's what I've discovered about why I take pictures and why I make sure I preserve them with my memories:

  1. I take pictures because I want to remember special moments.  I want my kids to have the benefits (listed above) of being the stars of their own photo-storybooks.  I want them to be able to sit down on their beds after a really hard day and be able to look back at happy times and get a little lost in better times for a few minutes. 
  2. I want that for myself, too.  My pictures on my phone don't tell the whole story.  Putting those pictures on actual pages I can thumb through and smile at later lifts my heart.  Being able to put down on those pages some descriptions and memories of why those photos mean something to me allows me some therapeutic time in my own head and heart that increases my gratitude and re-centers me as it gives me perspective.
Why It's So Much More Than Photos
In this busy world where we often feel like our life controls us instead of us controlling our lives, we often don't take opportunities to sit down and breathe, to connect with ourselves, to record our life experiences through photos and memories.  There is great power (and peace) in all these things.  Photo & Story Treasures will help you grasp it.

Yes, creating treasures from your photos and stories is meaningful for you and for kids and for loved ones and can directly affect your happiness and self-esteem and feelings of connection and capability.  But it's even more than that. 

One thing I love about the tools at Photo and Story Treasures is that you can do the important, meaningful work of creating photo-storybooks of vacations and weddings and everyday moments like first days of school--it's a great way to get into a regular habit of preserving your photos and memories, whether you consider yourself a digital scrapbooker or not--and it's also an important way to give heartfelt, irreplaceable gifts to people who might need a little extra boost.

But it's also perfect and beautiful for life storybooks to remember those who have passed on.

Photo & Story Treasures Can Do All That For You

This blog is an amazing resource, full of tips, strategies, solutions, ideas, and helps.  Click around (especially at the tabs along the top--accessible from a desktop but not mobile) and find plans and approaches that will work for you.  Above all, contact me with any questions or help you need!

Whether you want simple, easy-to-create photo-storybooks you can make in an hour or two, or you like the full digital-scrapbooking feel of creativity and flexibility and font options, Photo and Story Treasures has what you're looking for.

Whether you want to share your photos digitally with family members over a secure site, or you need media digitizing services (like VHS to DVD) for old family treasures, Photo and Story Treasures has what you're looking for.

There's no better gift.

There's no better option.

And there's no time like the present.

Why not get started right now?!  That blue "get started" link has all the details you'll need.

There aren't many things you can do with your time that you'll thank yourself for that your children and grandchildren will also thank you for.  

But Photo & Story Treasures are right at the top of the list.

(For a more detailed look at everything under the Photo & Story Treasures umbrella, watch this video.)

Pin to Pinterest to save for later.
Know someone looking for the best photo solutions, too?  Share this post!  

Friday, December 3, 2021

The Best Self-Care Method (that you've never even thought of)

It's a good thing that self-care is talked about and emphasized more these days.  It's a really good thing!  We have more on our plates than ever before, and I would venture to say that the information age (access to all known information in existence through a device in your pocket) puts more on our minds than ever before, too.

As you probably know, this blog is dedicated to Photo & Story Treasures:  all things photo, memory, and story.  I started my little Heritage Makers consultant business back in 2005, and at the time I was just encouraging people to record their stories in this brand-new, high quality product.  It didn't take long for people to start using Heritage Makers books as digital scrapbooks, and I've been amazed at how much my little "don't let your babies grow up to be jpegs" motto has evolved to include so many other aspects of life.

I had no idea, for example, that I would learn so much in the ensuing years of how much preserving your photos and stories is related to happiness and well-being.  I had no idea that it was studied and shown to have a grounding effect, improve self-esteem, and even be therapeutic 

Preserving your photos and memories is much more powerful than we realize!

A few years ago, this inspired me to write my short (free) ebook, The Secret Ingredient to Self-Care and Wellness.

And more recently, it inspired me to write

The Best Self-Care You've Never Thought Of

Click over there and read it right away!  

Because we can no longer think of preserving memories and photos as if  they don't matter, or that we're too busy, or that we'll do it some day.  It's self-care!  It's good for your heart and soul!  It's necessary now!  We spend a little time and money on manicures or a cute new pair of shoes, but the best time and money is spent on the best self-care there is.  

Be sure you can trust the company you use to preserve photos and memories!  The company should have a photo privacy policy (most don't, believe it or not--and here's why that matters), and it the books and other projects you create there should be heirloom-quality.  I recommend these companies.

Share this post on social media and tag someone amazing who could use a little higher-quality self-care!  Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 5, 2021

How to Put Videos in Photo-Storybooks and Digital Scrap Pages

Lately, I've been revisiting a cool trick I learned a few years ago for putting videos in printed pages such as photo-storybooks and digital scrap pages.  It's really fun, not very hard, and a pretty impressive addition to preserving photos and memories on pages.  

It's so cool that you should know about it, too.  

I just made a photo-storybook for my son and my niece who together went on a humanitarian service trip.  It was part hard work and part amazing play, so I wanted to save not only the pictures (like I always do) but the videos from the trip as well.  

To do this, you just need 3 things--but don't worry because I'll tell you how to get or use all of them if you don't already know.  You'll need:
  1. a YouTube account (free; already comes with a Gmail account--and I've got you covered on privacy issues)
  2. a QR code (You can make one in about 5 seconds with a free website.)
  3. an awesome, high-quality method for preserving photos and memories on pages (and I've got you covered here, too)
So let's get going and show you the goods!  This really is the coolest thing ever.  And I'll walk you right through, step by step.

STEP 1:  YouTube

All you need to do here is upload your videos to YouTube.  A YouTube channel is free, and if you've got a Gmail account, you can click the grid in the upper right next to your profile picture and then click the YouTube icon.  That's your YouTube channel, even if you've never used it before.

If you worry about random people being able to find and view your videos (which I do), just be sure to publish them as "unlisted."  The "unlisted" option means nobody can search and find your video (or find it by accident)--they have to actually have the link to it in order to have access to it.  Don't use the "private" setting (counterintuitive though it might be) because people have to be invited individually to see your video and it gets complicated.  "Unlisted" should do it.

Word to the wise on this--YouTube currently only lets you upload 10 videos per 24 hour period.  If you have a lot of little video clips (like my son did on this trip), you won't be able to do it all at once.  

STEP 2: QR Code

If you know nothing about making QR codes, then you're just where I was when I first started doing this a few years ago.  Luckily, it's both easy to do and free.  

If you're not familiar with QR codes, here are the basics.  QR stands for Quick Response, and it's a type of matrix barcode that can store a lot of information (like a website link).  QR codes are square and need to be read (scanned) with a QR code reader on your phone.  You'll need to download a QR code reader app on your phone.

You can try scanning this QR code to see how it works.  And you can like my Facebook page that way, too!

You can also scroll back up and scan the QR code in the picture I took of the photo-storybook page.  The video is less than a minute, but keep watching to see dolphins jumping out in the open ocean!

To make your own QR codes you need to find a QR code generator.  I only use free ones.  I think I've used all three of these in the past, and I'm sure there are others.
You'll need to make sure you can save your QR code as a JPG file.  (The top one listed does that, I know, but I haven't used the others in a while.)  When your QR code is a JPG file, your photo-storybook system or digital scrapbooking system just thinks it's a picture!  (If you use Heritage Makers, you can also use PNG files in addition to JPG files in your memory-keeping projects if you've got the Premier account.  Lately, I've loved using Forever for my digital scrapbooking, too--and I can even save my video there in my permanent digital storage.  If you haven't tried Forever before, open your new account right here and you'll get a $20 coupon toward an product!)  

STEP 3:  An Awesome, High-Quality Method for Preserving Photos and Memories

Quality is really important to me if I'm going to spend my limited time preserving my photos and memories.  Putting in the time, not to mention the money, is something I want to do only once!  I don't want my efforts to fall apart in a year or two because I went with a discount option.

I do preserve my photos, by the way, instead of just counting on them to be on my phone.  First, you never know what can happen to a phone, and phones aren't exactly heirlooms, either, so I don't count on the digital versions of my pictures being around forever.  Second, when you have the photos just by themselves, you have no details--no memories--to go with them.  

Memories fade so much faster than we think they will.  Photos without recorded memories are the 21st century version of a shoebox full of pictures.  If I'm going to really remember all the moments I take pictures of, I know I have to record the memories with the photos.

I highly recommend both Heritage Makers and Forever for high-quality memory-keeping and photo preservation.  Aside from these all-important perks, they're a little different, so check out both and see which you prefer.  You can see my comparison chart here, if that's helpful.  Again, these two are the highest quality out there while also maintaining your photo privacy and rights.

When you create your digital pages, you just treat the QR codes like a picture!  Put them onto your pages just like you would a picture.  This little video clip shows you what putting a picture on a page looks like in Heritage Makers.  If you use Forever's AutoPrint or Design & Print options, it's even simpler.  

And that's it!  You'll submit your digital book or scrapbook page for printing, and then when you and your loved ones look through your photo-storybook or digital scrap pages, you'll be able to just pull out your phone, scan the QR code, and see your videos, too!

How much fun is this idea?!  I hope you love doing this in your memory-keeping like I have in mine!

Share this post with someone you know who would love it, too.

Friday, October 1, 2021

How to Start Digital Scrapbooking

Feeling like there's got to be a better solution for photos than keeping them by the hundreds on your phone?

You're right.  There is.  

Digital scrapbooking is my favorite way to preserve photos and memories because it's fast, convenient, and cost-effective.  I recommend it to everyone I know (and everyone I don't), so if your photos need a home where they can be loved, you're in the right place.

It doesn't matter if you've ever scrapbooked before or not, and it doesn't matter how old you are or how busy you are or if you don't know what you think about the idea of digital scrapbooking.  

Before we get to the awesome details, let me just say that you should be sure you know what you're getting when you choose a digital scrapbooking company.  Quality matters!  And so does photo privacy.  It seems hard to believe that not all companies offer quality products for something as important as your pictures, and that some companies are willing to sell something as private as your pictures, but that's actually how it is these days.  I only recommend high-quality, photo-secure companies, and you can see my favorites here.

This article will walk you right through what you need to know.  We'll start off with the great news (the perks) of digital scrapbooking, then learn about it in three steps:  1- digital scrapbooking options (including important information about photo privacy when choosing your option), 2- getting ready (where to start) and photo organization, and 3- how to set aside time. 

Click on over to my new article,

Then share this post with someone who wants to put their photos into their hands, too!  No experience necessary.

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 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.

2022 UPDATE:  You can now find three alternative platforms to create fun gifts like these, plus others like mugs and magnets.  Get all the details at the how to get started tab!  All the options for creating shown at that tab are high-quality, so your gifts are designed to be amazing.

So let's jump right into the plan.  


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)

There are many more amazing, personal, and sweet gift ideas than what I'm showing you here, so be sure to check out the website itself to see the possibilities.  Check out mugs, magnets, ornaments, and more.  Read the details here.

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 by clicking “products” at the upper right, or if you've chosen Forever as your platform, go to and click "Create & Print" near the top at the center in blue. You’ll see product specs and prices.  UPDATE:  If you choose to publish your gifts with Forever, you can accrue publishing dollars in a similar manner to what's described here, only you'll get a 5% discount instead of the free publishing points.  See the Club comparisons hereKeep in mind that full prices on Heritage Makers and Forever products may seem pretty different.  Forever discounts are usually 20%-50% and vary by month, while Heritage Makers discounts are always 15%.  Taking that into consideration, prices are most often quite comparable.

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.)  UPDATE:  Forever Club is also free to join.  Get the details here.  It's also a way of pre-paying for your items by essentially "storing" away some money in your Forever account, to spread out the cost.  Forever Club levels are $25, $50, $100, and $250.  Any Forever Club level will save you 5% at checkout on all your items.

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 or Forever account and this link about the Club options (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 first 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.  UPDATE:  If you choose to create your gifts with Forever, there are not separate types of accounts tied to savings.  With Forever, there's just one type of account and it's free; 5% savings comes with Forever Club.

personalized chocolates using address labels from Heritage Makers


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 pretty fast since I’ve been creating gifts and photo-storybooks and digital scrap pages etc.) with Heritage Makers since 2005 and Forever since 2021.

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.  UPDATE:  This is the same if you joined Forever Club in order to create using Forever, except your publishing credit, Forever Dollars, don't expire.  

7x5 hardbound book

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


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.  UPDATE:  If you are on Forever Club, let it auto-renew with your chosen amount ($25, $50, $100, or $250).

2.      Check the sales (“Publishing Specials") November 1!  Sales depend on WHEN you submit something for publishing.  You’ll get the sale price when you submit something for publishing during the specified month/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 (cork-backed; set of 4)

3.    Last of all, place your order!  Place your order by Thanksgiving for delivery by Christmas.  All these gift ideas are professionally published and shipped to your door.  


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 Forever and Heritage Makers make 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.

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.  

UPDATE: Use either Heritage Makers or Forever for your card-making.
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!  

Share this post with someone who needs less stress, more time & money, and
impressive gifts in December! 
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share on Facebook.  

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.

2022 UPDATE:  For triple-backed-up permanent photo storage that's guaranteed for your lifetime + 100 years, check out our new option at that link!


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.

2021 UPDATE:  If you're having some technical trouble with Heritage Makers at the moment (a new platform is coming in 2022), click here to see another high-quality option for creating amazing family calendars!  There is a simple platform with lots of 12x18 calendars to choose from, and a fully-creative option with 4 sizes to choose from. Contact me if you have any questions!

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 for making a calendar using the Heritage Makers platform.  

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  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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