Thursday, November 15, 2018

What is Memory-Keeping? (and why does it matter?)

{For centuries now, people have kept scrapbooks}--books with scraps and mementos in their pages.  In fact, the first scrapbooks were usually the family Bible.  It was where people kept important documents, recorded marriages and births and deaths, and even stored keepsakes like locks of hair and eventually photographs.


In the 1980s, a paper-crafting method of preserving photos and memories came on the scene, known as scrapbooking.  ScrapbookING differed from traditional scrapbooks because it was more of an art form or a craft than just jotting a few notes and making sure important things were kept in one place.

Storybooks from Heritage Makers come in 7 sizes and hundreds of styles
(or design your own!)  Digital books can be stories or photo books.  Find all
the perks of using Heritage Makers {here}.
Today, preserving photos and memories can come in many forms.  From {digital scrapbooking} to {simple photo books} to {scrapbooking kits} and {pocket scrapbooking}, memory-keeping has come a long way.  Quality is better, convenience has improved, and availability is common.

Memory-keeping is nothing more than holding on to what's important.  It's making sure photos of graduation don't just sit on a phone or computer until the files are unreadable.  It's writing down some details and memories next to the photo in a book or page so you can be reminded when your memory dims.  Because it will.

Scrapbooking Layout Kits, already designed and quick to assemble.
Available {here} by clicking "products" then "Anthology DIY."
Memory-keeping is how we make connections.  As we learned so beautifully from {Carol Stewart} this past May, "Memories connect us and help us understand who we are."  Memory-keeping is how we re-live the best times in life.  It's how we better remember what we want to remember.  I passionately believe that we can't afford to pass up {the benefits} of preserving photos and their stories--benefits like increased happiness, stress reduction, increased self-esteem (especially in children), a sense of belonging, and other therapeutic benefits like healing and coping.

High-quality digital scrapbook pages come in three sizes and are protected
by {Heirloom Assurance} from {Heritage Makers}.  
Storing photos digitally is good, but the only meaningful way to store photos is in print.  A printed photo can be seen, interacted with, and loved.  A printed photo has a place to record memories.  That's the whole purpose behind and value of a photograph!  Remember that digital photo storage is still just storage.  And storage, as we all know, is putting something away that you won't see or use.  Sticking a digital photo in storage...  well, why even have it?

Pocket Scrapbooking, with pocket pages to slide pictures, cards with text, or decorative papers into.
Available {here} by clicking "products" then "Anthology DIY."
Photos stored in print can last upwards of 200 years!  Digital photos may or may not last until the next change in technology.  Files can be corrupted and become unreadable.  Computers crash.  One big advantage of printed photos is that their stories can be told.  With digital photo files, there isn't a place to record memories and details.  When you print a photo and put it in a book or page, you have space next to it to record what makes the photo important and why you love it.

A photo without a story is only worth half as much.


There is great power in photos and their stories (your memories), which most people leave largely untapped.  We are drawing further and further away from connections these days because technology, video games, and phones are so overused.  Conversations, reminiscing, and connections are becoming old-fashioned.

If you're looking for deeper connections, a greater sense of purpose, and something you can sit down with for 10 minutes for {instant happiness}, it's time for you to make time for memory-keeping.  Get started {right here}.  Find time management tips {here} if you need them.  #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs


Monday, November 12, 2018

Heart & Soul LinkUp #2

Did you enjoy having all those great blog posts in one place last week at our first Heart & Soul LinkUp?  I did!  And I loved every post.  These are some of my favorite bloggers, and it's so convenient to just show up here at LifeTales Books and see them all together at once.  I'm sure you found your own favorite posts, and I'm excited to share my favorites and the readers' favorite with you, too!

Remember--if you know great bloggers who would be a great fit for our "good for the heart and soul" theme, you can invite them to share their blog posts here, too.

New to LinkUps and how they work?  Click {here}
Before we see what's in store at Heart & Soul LinkUp #2, let's highlight the favorites from last week!  I've picked three favorites, and the readers picked a favorite, too!

READER FAVORITE(S)
How about that--we have a 3-way tie this week!  Readers loved

from Alicia at My Plant Strong Family

from Michele and Shiree at Confessions of Parenting

from Cary at Cary MacArthur

MY FAVORITES

I really was impressed with so many of the posts that choosing 3 favorites was difficult.  And, yes, I expect it to be that way every week at the Heart & Soul LinkUp!  :)  The 3-way tie for reader favorites helped me a little, though, so thank you for that!  ;)  Here are my favorite posts from Heart & Soul LinkUp #1.

from Shannon at DeBord Studios
I love this post because as far as I can tell, everyone needs help in this area!  I see it a lot in my own work as a Heritage Makers consultant.  Shannon's three suggestions for slowing down are excellent. 

from Amy at Hampers & Hiccups
There are lots of sweet ideas here that I really loved and hadn't thought of before.

from Brittany and Andrea at The American Moms
These are so interactive!  I love that they're so fun that kids might not even realize they're educational.  The shine-a-light ones are a huge hit with kids. 

Bloggers, if you were one of the four favorites this week, copy
this image and show off on your blog and social media!
Were these some of your favorites, too, or did you miss them last time?  I always like seeing favorites at LinkUps just in case I missed something I'll love.

Now it's time for the second edition of the Heart & Soul LinkUp.  Hop around at this LinkUp and see what inspires you this week.  And if you know other bloggers whose posts are good for the heart and soul, invite them to participate in the Heart & Soul LinkUp!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  At LifeTales Books, we believe in #familyfirst and #socialmediafourthorfifth.  ;)  The Heart & Soul LinkUp will take the week of Thanksgiving off, so favorites from this week will be posted in our next LinkUp on November 26 instead of November 19.  Enjoy your holiday and family time.

Bloggers:  Before posting, read the six rules for posting your content here--you'll find them down at the end of this post. 

And now here's Heart & Soul LinkUp #2:



We all love blog posts that are good for the heart and soul!  Sharing is caring,
so Pin this image to Pinterest and spread the joy.

RULES FOR BLOGGER PARTICIPATION (Rules for adding your blog post to today's linkup above.)  Participating bloggers MUST:
  1. FOLLOW THE THEME:  The theme of the Heart & Soul LinkUp is "what's good for the heart and soul."  Therefore, all blog posts added to the Heart & Soul LinkUp must be about something that's good for the heart and soul.  This can include posts related to the home and family such as recipes, DIY,  home decor, parenting, marriage, etc., or inspirational posts about hope, learning, growth, connections, etc.  Fashion bloggers, for example, would not be a good fit here.  ALL POSTS MUST BE FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND UPLIFTING.
  2. POST (when & how):  The LinkUp will open at 7:00am Mountain Time every Monday and close 24 hours later, 7:00am Tuesday.  Voting for favorites will open at 7:00am Tuesday and close at 7:00am Wednesday.  To add your blog post to the LinkUp, click the blue "add my link" button.  Remember to add a direct link to the specific post you want to share, not your blog's home page.
  3. OBSERVE THE LIMITS:  Let's save room for everybody--submissions are limited to 2 blog posts per person on each weekly LinkUp.  (This may change moving forward, but for now the limit is 2.)
  4. SHARE THE LOVE:  Read and comment on at least 3 other blog posts each week you submit your own post to the LinkUp.  This isn't a place to dump your links and run--we're here to help each other out and even make new friends.  When you comment, please use the hashtag #heartandsoullinkup at the end of your comment.  Voting on a favorite isn't required but is appreciated.
  5. INVITE OTHERS:  We need everyone's help in inviting others to see this LinkUp, so each participating blogger must do two things:  #1 Put a link to this LinkUp on your own blog so that others can find us--sidebar works best, but a tab works, too.  Something visible is ideal.  If you prefer, you can save the image at the top of this post and use it at the end of your own blog post saying, "Find me at the Heart and Soul LinkUp" with an included link.  #2 After posting your link in the LinkUp, you must share a link to this blog post at LifeTales Books on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. 
  6. LET ME SHARE:  By participating in this LinkUp, you are giving me the right to share your blog posts on social media.  When you are chosen as a reader favorite or as one of my own favorite posts of the week, you allow me to share a link back to your blog post plus an image from your post here on my blog (which gives you additional visibility). 
Thanks, blogging friends, for sharing your fantastic blog posts that are good for the heart and soul!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Year's Worth of Your Photos Preserved FOR YOU: my 9-year blogiversary giveaway

I can hardly believe it.  I've been blogging here at LifeTales Books for NINE WHOLE YEARS, writing about photos and memories and stories and connections and DIY and creative gifts and ways to make something meaningful, with some time management and photo organization tips along the way.  So let's celebrate!

As you can probably tell by now, I'm passionate about helping you preserve your pictures, memories, and stories.  The {process of it all}--sitting down and going through your life's experiences--is so good for the heart and soul!  It has {therapeutic benefits and even lowers stress}!  We need our photos and memories and stories far more than we realize.  It's the medicine for all the ills of the day, such as busyness, {overwhelm}, FOMO, and more.


So I'd like to help you get started!  If you haven't done any memory-keeping for a while, I know it can feel a little daunting.  To celebrate my 9-year blogiversary, I'm giving away a 12x12 Family Yearbook which I will put together for you!!  This will help you see, hold, love, and enjoy your photos and memories from the past year (or any year of your choosing).  It can be the boost you need to start memory-keeping on your own, and {Heritage Makers family yearbooks make it so easy}!

What's a Family Yearbook?

Only the best way ever to get your photos off your phone or camera and into your hands and heart, that's all!

Did you know that {storing your photos in print is one of the very best ways} to store them?  It's true!  And a Family Yearbook is organized well, so it's easy to know where any given picture goes.  Not only that, but with the overabundance of photos these days, a Family Yearbook is designed to help you choose your favorites and just preserve those in print.  Heritage Makers is top-quality, too, which is a big reason it's my choice for memory-keeping.  Books have a library binding with metal stitching (not glue, which yellows and cracks over time, causing pages to fall out).  Not only that, but the digital art (which is included!) is absolutely unparalleled, so you're getting something jaw-droppingly beautiful, too.

It's amazing!  

photo credit:  Denise Pehrson
Which makes a Family Yearbook by Heritage Makers an AWESOME blogiversary giveaway, right??

Here's what the winner will do:
  1. Choose the year's worth of pictures you'd like to have preserved.  (2018, 2012, whatever)  (If you need photo organization tips so you can find all your pictures, {this video tutorial} will be your new best friend.)
  2. Choose from three styles of yearbooks.  There are actually lots of family yearbooks by Heritage Makers, but I've just picked three to simplify things for me.  You can see them {right here}, including page-by-page previews so you can choose the book that fits your style best.  If you're not the winner of this giveaway, that link gives information to still come away with a family yearbook.  :)   If you'd really like a different style, I can work with you, so let me know.  
  3. E-mail me 6-10 of your favorite pictures from each month of that year, along with a little description of who is in the photos, where they were taken, what memories you have of them, etc.  So, for example, the first e-mail you'll send me might say "January 2016  Jane's birthday party was so fun because..."  You'll need to e-mail pictures to me in full resolution.
  4. I do the work, you get the benefits.  :)
Without the additional charge of my hourly rate for creating books, this prize would be a $52 value.  However, since I'm putting it all together for you (bonus!), this comes out to be a $180+ prize!!


Note:  If you aren't a winner or if you come across this blog post too late to enter, check out {Digital Scrapbooking for Hire} and you can still come away with a year's worth of photos preserved FOR YOU!

And now I know you're wondering:  SO HOW DO I WIN?!

The winner will be selected at random on November 30.  There must be 10 entries for this prize in order for it to qualify to be given away, so you might want to share this post with friends!  

To enter the drawing, here's what you need to do:
  • Comment on this blog post.  You can tell me why you'd like to win this giveaway, or you can tell me something you've liked about other blog posts here at LifeTales Books over the last 9 years.
  • Tweet, Pin, or share on Facebook any blog post from LifeTales Books of your choosing.  
  • E-mail me just a hello so I have your e-mail address so I can notify you if you win.  I will not use your e-mail for any other purpose (because, hello, that's rude).
I'm SO excited to help you get a leg up on your memory-keeping and help you enjoy the good-for-the-soul by-products of preserving your memories and photos in one accessible, lovable place.  Good luck!  And don't forget to share this post so we're sure to have 10 entries for this giveaway.  The winner will be chosen November 30 and contacted via e-mail.
"My mother made me a scrapbook because I was once too young to remember; I am making scrapbooks for my family because one day I may be too old to remember."            -unknown  

#dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Pin to Pinterest and share!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Celebrating 9 Years of Blogging with a LinkUp!

Yup, 9 years.  I've been blogging here for 9 whole years!  What started as a fun way to keep my Heritage Makers clients across the country updated and informed through tutorials and DIY ideas has expanded wide!  This blog now includes time management tips, inspiration on making connections through photos and stories, easy ways to preserve your memories, meaningful gift ideas, why memory-keeping matters so much, helps to get started writing your story, fun uses for Heritage Makers personal publishing, and much, much more.  My posts have changed a little over the years based on the needs I see and the inspiration I want to share, but there's always been an overall theme of taking time to do something special to make connections. 


One thing I learned this past blogging year is how much fun it is to share the love.  

There are some great blogs out there, and some great content.  A LinkUp is the perfect way to find fantastic posts all in one place.  I have participated in a few LinkUps this year and really enjoyed "meeting" new friends.  Something I really like about LinkUps is that they have a theme, so I always know what type of posts I'm getting when I explore a LinkUp.

In celebration of my 9 years here at LifeTales Books, I've decided to start my own Blog LinkUp here:  The Heart & Soul LinkUp.  If you're a reader, you'll be able to find a lot of fabulous blog posts here.  If you're a blogger who fits the parameters I'll outline below, you'll be able to leave links to your latest blog posts and let new readers find you.  Each week four favorite posts will be featured--my favorite three blog posts from the previous week, and the readers' favorite, too!


Here's how the Heart & Soul LinkUp will work for readers.  It's easy!  Just drop by this blog every Monday or Tuesday and read all the blog posts you like!  (Keep reading to find our very first Heart & Soul LinkUp TODAY!

It's nice to show the bloggers some love when you're done reading if you possibly can.  Here are a few ways to do that:
  • Comment!  Comments are so appreciated!  At the end of your comment leave the hashtag #heartandsoullinkup so our blogger knows you'd like her to post here at Heart & Soul LinkUp again. 
  • NOTE:  If you click a blog post you didn't mean to, our blogging friend will appreciate it if you could stay about 10 seconds so Google doesn't view it as a "bounce."  Among other things, Google uses bounce rates to determine the popularity and value of a blog to make "better" ones easier to find in searches.  Not required, just nice for our blogger friends.
  • Choose your favorite blog post and either tell me about it in the comments below or come back to this post on Tuesday (the next day) and mark the little heart in the right hand corner of the post you love.  The following week, the most popular blog post will be featured here!
  • If you'd like to show a little extra love to blog posts you really like, Pin to Pinterest, Tweet on Twitter, or share on Facebook. 
BLOGGERS sharing their blog posts here at the Heart & Soul LinkUp have six rules to follow.  If this is you, you must scroll down to the bottom of this post and read all the rules for participating BEFORE you post your link in the LinkUp.  
  
I have invited some great bloggers to be a part of the Heart & Soul LinkUp.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  If you know a blogger who would be a good fit for this LinkUp, invite her, too!  We'd like to have a wide variety of blogs to read each week and are looking to include about 30-40 bloggers regularly!

*drum roll*  Presenting: Heart & Soul LinkUp #1!



SEE YOU NEXT WEEK FOR MORE GREAT BLOG POSTS.  

Pin and share!

Here's how the Heart & Soul LinkUp will work for bloggers who share their own blog posts here.  (These six rules will be posted each week as a reminder.)  Participating bloggers must:
  1. FOLLOW THE THEME:  The theme of the Heart & Soul LinkUp is "what's good for the heart and soul."  Therefore, all blog posts added to the Heart & Soul LinkUp must be about something that's good for the heart and soul.  This can include posts related to the home and family such as recipes, DIY, home decor, parenting, marriage, etc., or inspirational posts about hope, learning, growth, connections, etc.  Fashion bloggers, for example, would not be a good fit here.  ALL POSTS MUST BE FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND UPLIFTING.
  2. POST (when & how):  The LinkUp will open at 7:00am Mountain Time every Monday and close 24 hours later, 7:00am Tuesday.  Voting for favorites will open at 7:00am Tuesday and close at 7:00am Wednesday.  To add your blog post to the LinkUp, click the blue "add my link" button.  Remember to add a direct link to the specific post you want to share, not your blog's home page.
  3. OBSERVE THE LIMITS:  Let's save room for everybody--submissions are limited to 2 blog posts per person on each weekly LinkUp.  (This may change moving forward, but for now the limit is 2.)
  4. SHARE THE LOVE:  Read and comment on at least 3 other blog posts each week you submit your own post to the LinkUp.  This isn't a place to dump your links and run--we're here to help each other out and even make new friends.  When you comment, please use the hashtag #heartandsoullinkup at the end of your comment.  Voting on a favorite of the 3+ you read isn't required but is appreciated.
  5. INVITE OTHERS:  We need everyone's help in inviting others to see this LinkUp, so each participating blogger must do two things:  #1 Put a link to this LinkUp on your own blog so that others can find us--sidebar works best, but a tab works, too.  Something visible is ideal.  If you prefer, you can save an image from this post and use it at the end of your own blog post saying, "Find me at the Heart and Soul LinkUp" with an included link.  Whatever works for your particular blog.  #2 After posting your link in the LinkUp, the InLinkz program will let you share the blog post you just added on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+.  You must share on at least one of those platforms each time you post your link at the Heart & Soul LinkUp.
  6. LET ME SHARE:  By participating in this LinkUp, you are giving me the right to share your blog posts on social media.  When you are chosen as a reader favorite or as one of my own favorite posts of the week, you allow me to share a link back to your blog post plus an image from your post here on my blog (which gives you additional visibility). 
Two more suggestions for bloggers who participate in this Blog Hop:
  • It's gonna be Monday again before you know it.  If you'd like a reminder to participate each week, {follow LifeTales Books on Bloglovin'} and be sure you're signed up to receive e-mail notifications.  Or you can subscribe to this blog by e-mail--just scroll up and find "subscribe by e-mail" in the right sidebar. 
  • When your post is featured as a favorite, show it off!  Use the image below to celebrate--post it on your own blog with a link over here so your blog readers can see where you were featured.

Thanks, blogging friends, for sharing your fantastic blog posts that are good for the heart and soul!

Friday, November 2, 2018

#friyay from Ladies Who Love Heritage Makers

Welcome to #friyay -- our monthly feature on the first Fridays of the month during 2018.  It's a chance to find out what people are saying about Heritage Makers!

We'll start by hearing what Katie has to say.  She has been a Heritage Makers user for about 4 years now.  I have loved seeing what she does with her beautiful books.  She copies and pastes photos and entries from her blog into gorgeous Heritage Makers books that her family will always have and cherish.  I love her dedication to creating heritage.


Our second #friyay shout-out comes from Elin who has created gorgeous wall canvases for her home.  I love how she has made them match the decor of each room while showing off family pictures or inspirational words.


For more reasons Heritage Makers is the best, click the "What Makes Heritage Makers the Best" tab along the top!  You will be amazed.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

The Cutest Chocolate Christmas Countdown Ever (tutorial + easy-button versions)

Today I made a simple Christmas advent calendar from Hershey Nuggets and Heritage Makers labels, and I'm quite convinced that it's the cutest thing EVER!  See if you don't agree.


Let me show you three ways to get it:  DIY, Simplified DIY, and the Easy Button way.


This is an adorable Christmas countdown that has the extra perks of being easy to make and being, you know, chocolate.  

Let's start with the Easy Button way of getting this cutest ever countdown, then move on to the two DIY methods.

EASY BUTTON METHOD

This is so easy peasy.  I have four of these countdowns already made, so just {contact me} and let me know you'd like one.  Each countdown is $10 + shipping.

See?!  Easy!

Now let's look at the two DIY methods.  To make The Cutest Chocolate Christmas Countdown Ever, you'll need:
  • 27 Hershey Nuggets (flavor of your choosing)
  • 1 piece of cardboard about 8.5x11.  The size can vary, but it shouldn't be smaller than 6.5-7" wide and 10" tall.
  • wrapping paper to cover the cardboard
  • 1 set of Heritage Makers pre-designed address labels (as shown; stay tuned for how to get them)
  • double-sided tape

SIMPLIFIED DIY METHOD

Step 1:  First, order the labels.  I created these Heritage Makers labels myself.  I LOVE that the digital art is free to use, and I love how creative you can be with Heritage Makers.  Bonus:  using the software is free, too, and so is a {Heritage Makers} account.   So grab a set of these pre-made labels from me for $4--just {contact me} and give me your mailing address and I'll get them on their way.  The labels will come blank as shown above.  There will be 27 green labels with white circles, 1 label with a star, and 1 label with presents on a wood ("tree trunk") style background.  While you're waiting for them arrive in the mail, gather the other items listed in the bullet points above.  


Step 2:  Next, number the labels in exactly this way.  It's important to label 1-5 SIDEWAYS.  You can see why in the photo below.  Then number 6-25 with the page portrait orientation as shown above.   There are 2 "oops" labels in case you need them, too.

Step 3:  Now just wrap the labels around your Hershey Nuggets.



This is pretty straightforward, but if you're having a hard time picturing it, I show you in less than a minute in this video--just start at 17:10 and end around 17:53 or so.

Step 4:  Wrap your cardboard piece in wrapping paper.  I personally prefer more neutral paper, but go with what you love.


This is obviously the back of the cardboard piece.

Step 5:  Place your wrapped Nuggets on the front of the cardboard piece, centering as you like.  Then use small pieces of double-sided tape to stick each of the chocolates on the board.


That's it!!  This whole project takes me about 15-20 minutes.  

Now, if you want to go full-on DIY, here's what you do.


DIY METHOD

Follow all 5 steps as described in the previous method, only order the labels from your own Heritage Makers account instead of from me already printed.  I can transfer the labels I've made to your account (and you can have access to them from year to year that way)!  You can edit the labels, too, if you'd like a different style or some type of personalization.  All you have to do is follow the basic idea shown in the video above.  

No matter your chosen method of getting this darling countdown for yourself or a family or a kiddo you know and love, you'll want to put it on an easel starting December 1!

TWO WORDS OF ADVICE
  1. You may have noticed that there are 25 chocolates to eat as you count down to Christmas and two extras (the star and the tree trunk with the presents) that aren't technically a part of the countdown.  Those are for Mom to eat.  Just sayin'.  
  2. Do your friends a favor and share this post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or via mail using the little buttons below.  Then Pin this big ol' image to Pinterest so you can find it again next year!  Because this is the cutest chocolate Christmas countdown EVER!
Pin to save and share!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Four Meaningful Christmas Gift Ideas Under $35

There's something great--and I mean GREAT--about getting started on Christmas gifts before Thanksgiving.  If you think about it, it's really the perfect activity to do while you're thinking about being thankful.  But mainly it makes December a whole lot easier.

I love bringing meaningful gift ideas to you every November at LifeTales Books!  Rather than being desperate on December 22, I'm arming you with ideas that you'll be excited to give and that recipients will absolutely love.  Gifts from the heart are always that way.  Truly personal gifts are always that way.


So today I'm sharing four meaningful Christmas gift ideas--and they're all under $35, too!  Everything I'll show you is top quality.  Where you purchase it matters.  It's great to have an inexpensive gift, but you don't really want a CHEAP gift.

Because these products are all created first and then ordered, I always suggest submitting these items for publishing before December 5 or so.  (If you'd like to hire me to make any of these items for you, I can do that, too.  Details are here.)

If you're looking for simple neighbor gifts, visit my two 12 Days Of Christmas Gift Idea posts from last year:  {part one here} and {part two here}.  Or if you're looking for a creative gift for a crafty friend or family member, {this post has 10 crafty gift ideas} that are pretty out-of-the-ordinary.

#1:  Photo Puzzle ($19)


I made puzzles this year for my father and father-in-law for their birthdays.  All it takes is a favorite picture and about 4 minutes.  These are 8x10 100-piece puzzles from Snap2Finish, and I love that this is a fun, meaningful gift that can be enjoyed over and over!

To make your high-quality Snap2Finish puzzle, follow the directions at the bottom of {this post}.  You can use more than one photo, add text, and more.

#2:  Playing Card Deck ($23)

I know I've posted this before, but I just can't get over the playing card deck from Heritage Makers!  It continues to be one of my favorite gifts EVER.  Peruse the Template Gallery {at Heritage Makers}, too, because there are family matching decks, traditional playing card decks, Go Fish decks, and all sorts of creative, unique possibilities.  Use pictures of lots of family members for the front, or just use one favorite photo on the back.

Since you probably have zero experience making a playing card deck, I've recorded a video tutorial for you that walks you through step by step!

As with all Heritage Makers products, the software is free to use, the digital art ("stickers" and "papers") is free, and use of templates is free!

#3:  Family Calendar ($21)

I have made a family calendar for my extended family members every Christmas for about the last 6 years!  These calendars by Heritage Makers are printed on 100-lb. coverstock archival quality paper, so the pictures are really beautiful!  There are lots of templates in the Template Gallery to choose from, or you can create your own--like all Heritage Makers products.  There's a nifty "swap" feature if you want to use a template.  I show you how that works {right here}.

By the way, there are five sizes of calendars (at varying prices), so if this isn't the size or style for you, not to worry.  There are larger ones that don't fold in the middle like this one, desktop ones, even a Now and Later one where you can tear off the photo section and it will become a 12x12 scrap page!  Look at "products" then "photo gifts" at the {Heritage Makers} website.

#4:  Cork-Backed Photo Coasters ($33)


Yeah, COASTERS!  If you're looking for a clever, unusual gift, this is it.  They come in a set of 4, and each coaster can be created differently.  Because these are Heritage Makers coasters, all the same great things I mentioned in #2 and #3 apply:  you don't pay for all that adorable digital art, you can customize it 100%, etc.  The Coasters are glossy with a cork bottom, and each one measures 3.75 square (with rounded corners).  Get started making your coasters {right here}.

I've made one set of coasters, and guess what--I didn't actually use them as coasters!  I saw a clever craft project using these personalized coasters and made a beach-themed wall hanging for my bathroom from my coasters.  (You can see my {DIY project step by step} at that link.) 


Having never seen Heritage Makers coasters before, I should tell you how very impressed I was with the quality of the photos when I got my coasters back in the mail.  They are SO sharp and beautiful!  I obviously didn't do anything with digital art for my coasters, but that's the beauty of Heritage Makers--you get exactly what you want!

Pin and save!
So which one is your favorite?  Which meaningful (but still inexpensive) gift do you like the best?  Comment below and let me know.  Happy gift-giving!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Unique Christmas Card Ideas (and an Invitation to My Annual Online Card Party)

If you want to step up your Christmas card greetings a little this year and go beyond the usual family picture inside a store-bought card, do I have a treat for you!  Yes, there are lots of online companies where you can choose a template and print up your Christmas greetings, but if you'd really like to stand out, Heritage Makers is it.


I've been creating Heritage Makers Christmas cards for at least 10 years, I think, and one of my favorite things is that I can be SO creative with it!  My cards aren't always cards.  I mean, yes, you can create ultra-personal greeting cards with Heritage Makers, but you can do so much more!  One year I made regular cards and then made notepads to match so I could add a personal note in with some of the cards.  This year I'm going to be creating what I call "Christmas news on a notepad" using Heritage Makers 5.5x8.5 notepads!  (My Christmas letters will come to 19 cents that way and be full-color, professionally printed.  Can't beat that!)

Would you like a sneak peek?  I normally make my Christmas greetings at my Enjoy December Card Party in November (keep reading to find out what it is and how you can join me), but I got so excited about this Christmas News on a Notepad idea that I have already designed it.  If you can keep a secret, here's my greeting this year--well, one of them.
This is just a screen shot, so you see the cut marks and guiding lines
from Heritage Makers' editor, Studio.  They won't show on my printed
notepads.  And neither will the "blued-out" names.  ;)

For me, cost and quality are a big deal, but I ABSOLUTELY LOVE how creative you can be with any Heritage Makers product.  Everything, from cards to letters to what I'm about to show you, is truly personal and unique.


As if that Christmas News on a Notepad weren't clever enough, I'm making one other thing for my Christmas greetings this year.  I call it an "add-in."  It's basically just something small to throw in the card/letter.  Almost like a tiny gift.

My add-in this year is going to be a recipe for my favorite gingerbread cookies!  I'll be making it at the Enjoy December Card Party in a few weeks, so you'll have to use your imagination for now.  For this project, I'll use the playing card deck, creating the same card 54 times.  (You can add cards individually, too, so I can get just the right amount for my Christmas card list of 112.)  On the cards I'll type up the recipe--similar to these that I made for another purpose last year:


Only I'll use the gingerbread digital art collection like someone used for these cute bookmarks made from a 12x12 Heritage Makers scrap page.


So if you can envision a combination of the playing card deck and the gingerbread digital art, you've got the idea.  That's what's going to be the fun surprise gift inside my Christmas cards/letter this year.

By the way, you don't buy digital art with Heritage Makers!  Everything you see in this post is using Heritage Makers digital art (except the top header and bottom Pinterest graphic).  And I don't download it or pay one cent to use it.  It's pretty darn awesome.

Here's one more fun add-in idea using a playing card deck--these are mini lay-flat nativities!  I haven't submitted them for printing with Heritage Makers yet, so you'll have to use your imagination again.  This image below is just a screen shot of the preview.  The playing cards will look like the photo above, but the backs will have that Bethlehem scene you see at the left.


This little nativity scene will be three cards tied together with ribbon.  They'll stand up like a little triptych.  The shepherds will be at the left, the stable scene in the center, and the wise men at the right.  And, of course, these are playing card size so it will be a small nativity.  And it stores flat, so it hardly takes up any room.

I will actually have few individual sets for purchase for $3 over at my {Crafts with Heritage Makers Shop}.  OR if you would like to create your own sets, I can actually transfer this Mini Lay-Flat Nativity Playing Card Deck I created from my Heritage Makers account to yours!!  (Another Heritage Makers bonus.)  Just {contact me}.  Then you can submit the deck for publishing with Heritage Makers and put these little sets together on your own.  One deck makes 18 sets.

Now isn't all this CREATIVE, CLEVER, AND UNFORGETTABLE?  What amazing Christmas greetings (or gifts) would you like to make?

You can always create on your own following {these steps}, but I'd love to have you join me at my Enjoy December Card Party to make it extra fun.  I hold this event every year online during the first week or two of November so we can get our cards DONE and then enjoy December!  They'll take about 7-10 days to be professionally printed at Heritage Makers then shipped to your door, so I always get them before Thanksgiving.  Which rocks.  (Or you can always choose the direct ship option, if you prefer.  Don't even lick an envelope!)


So join me for my "Enjoy December" Card Party!  It's a public Facebook event, and you'll find lots of card/greetings ideas and video tutorials there.  Trust me--there's some cool stuff posted over there already.  And there's information on how this (free) online party works, too.  You can check it out from now through November 8, then set aside an hour or so of your choosing on November 9 to show up at the Facebook party and make your gorgeous, clever, Heritage Makers-made Christmas cards, letters, or recipe card "add-in" gifts like mine!  Join the event right here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/736053190072263/

Once you've joined the event, you'll want to be ready to use Heritage Makers by November 9, so if you don't already have a (free) account,  just follow {the basic steps here}.  There are also some videos at that link so you can familiarize yourself with the Heritage Makers program, Studio, if you want.  It's a drag-and-drop system, much like Canva, and all Heritage Makers products are top-notch.  Let me know if you have questions, too.  My contact information is at the top of this blog in the "about me/contact me" tab.

Join the Facebook party, then share this post with everyone you know who is looking for unique Christmas greetings this year!

I can't wait for the Card Party!  It's my favorite way to ENJOY DECEMBER!

If you want to be invited to the Card Party next year, too, {join my Facebook group}.

NOTE:  I do hire out to make any Heritage Makers project, so if you'd like me to do the creating for you, contact me ASAP.  Details are {here}.  Keep in mind that the last day I will make Christmas projects is Dec. 1.
Save for next year by Pinning to Pinterest!