Monday, May 30, 2016

make your own board book for kids!

Hey, remember a couple of months ago when I told you about Heritage Makers' newest product, the Board Book?  And I gave you some info and showed you a bunch of pictures {here}?

Well, I'm very happy to say that I now have photos of my own board book.  This one is actually very special to me and very meaningful.

My mom passed away last year.  My brother's daughter was almost 2.  He and his wife have been concerned about her not really remembering my mom, and not having a chance to get to know her.  We talked about making a Heritage Makers book for her.  I am already making a book of my mom's life for all of us, but I couldn't really figure out how to summarize everything my mom was into something a toddler would understand and appreciate.

And then the board books came out.  And I decided that the main message we want my niece to know is that her grandma loves her.

Throughout the book, my niece can read about all the things that her grandma loved.

And it concludes with how Grandma loved her grandchildren the very most.
This is going to be an invaluable gift to my niece.

I was really impressed by the binding.  I mean, a board book that's intended to be used by kids has to be sturdy.  The pages are nice and thick, and the binding is a black material that looks like a backpack strap.  (I'm at a loss for what that material is--nylon maybe?)  Anyway, it's sturdy stuff. 

It's really AMAZING to be able to make your own board book!  

I designed my board book myself, but you can use a template if you prefer.  There are more and more templates for board books being added to our fabulous Template Gallery all the time.  Here's "I Love You Because You Are You."  

And this cute little Book Of Family Faces! 

This one is "What I Love About You From A to Z".  I love this one, too.

A book is an incredible gift for a child anyway, but THIS kind of book is just so meaningful and can make SUCH an impact!!

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Friday, May 27, 2016

ENJOY your photos

Do you enjoy your photos?  I hope so!

In my work, I speak with many people about their photos.  Most of the time, people talk about their photos with a sense of guilt.  Some of them--without realizing it, I think--even hang their heads a little.

I hear things like
  • "I don't know how to get my photos off my phone."
  • "I have years worth of pictures I really need to do something with."
  • "I don't do anything with my pictures."
  • "I need to do something with my photos."
It makes me a little sad when I hear this, and when I see guilt on people's faces.  Photos should bring you JOY!  You should love them.  They should not be eating away at you.  They are a powerful gift for recalling happy moments, seeing faces you haven't seen for a long time, even healing hearts.  Photos are a gift! 

So if you're one of those people who feels shame when you think about your photos, let's stop that right now.  Let's get a SOLUTION.

Photos left in digital form aren't the ones that get loved; published photos are.  Published photos can be held and loved and shared and remembered.  They're the ones your memories are attached to because when you publish them, you can preserve their stories (memories) and details right along with them. 

First, find out what's stopping you--what's in your way of publishing your photos.  

Is it time?  Money?  Not knowing where to start?  Read through these tips and find something that will help your particular roadblock, and some ideas for getting past it.

Second, find a high-quality memory-keeping option that works for you.  

Something that's just the right fit will make it much more doable than trying to use something you don't love.  These three options are heirloom quality, and they range from easy-button style to quick pre-designed templates to full creative flexibility.  Which one fits your needs best?

And, as always, don't hesitate to contact me.  I'm here to help and support and get you on your way to a SOLUTION--something that works for YOU as your cherished memory-keeping tool so you don't hang your head ever again!

Get started right here, and you're on your way to enjoying your photos!

Friday, May 20, 2016

my memory-keeping consultant story

I dedicate a lot of time and energy to inspiring people to tell their stories, and giving them an avenue with which to do it.  That's because I believe in it so much.

And that is true. 

I was challenged recently to share MY story here--my Heritage Makers story.  I've told my personal story in many ways, in several hardbound Heritage Makers books (including my personal history) and scrap pages that are scattered throughout my home, but here I'll share my Heritage Makers story.  

I would say my Heritage Makers story starts pretty much at birth.  I was born with a desire to connect and remember.  I have always loved journaling, writing,  reminiscing, photos, personal histories, and family stories.  I find those connections strengthening; they increase both peace and happiness to me personally.  

My sister recently read an old letter I wrote when my brother and my mom were visiting my grandparents a few states away.  I think I couldn't have been older than about 13 or 14 at the time.  In the letter, I spent an entire paragraph (of a fairly short letter) admonishing them to TAKE PICTURES of everything they did.  I told them if they didn't take pictures, it's like it never happened.

I have always kept scrapbooks.  And by that I mean:  For my entire life, I have kept scrapbooks.  I've always seen their value and purpose. 

When I was introduced to Heritage Makers in 2005, I was a busy mom of three.  If you promise not to tell them I posted this (because they're sensitive, private teenagers now), you can be privy to this sweetness:

These were my littles when Heritage Makers came my way.  I was already a memory-keeper.  I wasn't about to let my babies grow up to be jpegs.  

I scrapbooked because I wanted them to know that their lives matter to me.  I wanted for them the self-esteem and the sense of belonging that comes from memory-keeping and making family connections.  I wanted them to feel secure in who they are, where they fit in our family, the talents I see in them, and their importance in many lives.  I wanted them to have something to look back at to remember good times when life's tough moments show up.

In 2005, I worked full time for these three, and I wasn't looking for anything else to put on my plate, let alone a job.  One of my friends who introduced me to Heritage Makers said, "It's like a company made for YOU!"  And I knew she was right.  

I kept thinking about the possibilities Heritage Makers would provide for families.  I knew that I wasn't the only one who wanted to gift self-esteem and a sense of belonging to my children--or my parents and siblings, for that matter.  

I also knew that not everybody loves to scrapbook.  But Heritage Makers was digital, and it went beyond scrapbooking.  It was memory-keeping, yes, but it was the ability to tell a life story or to make a little "10 things I love about you" book.  

I realized that the ability to record a family photo history or a life story or a love story went far beyond what we knew as "scrapbooking."  I knew that it could be a powerful tool for many people, including the many people who aren't "scrapbookers."  

Despite some real introvert tendencies, I knew this was something I could step out of my comfort zone for, something I would be excited to get out and tell people about.

And I was right.  I've never looked back.  There's nothing better than spending my time changing lives through the power of story and the power of the connections that come from it.

UPDATE 2021:  16 1/2 years after I started, I still love sharing the power of photos and stories.  I have expanded to now recommend two companies for heirloom-quality photo books and guaranteed photo privacy:  Heritage Makers and Forever.  

I love offering additional possibilities because it means there's something for everyone, from quick and easy pre-designed templates to fully creative digital scrapbooking.  

See the differences here, choose the best fit for you, and start bringing the power of photos, stories, and connections into your life!

Friday, May 13, 2016

personalized notepads and candy bar wraps for teacher thank-yous

I'm so excited about the teacher gifts I've made this year!!  Heritage Makers is such a fantastic resource for things like this!  Personal publishing just can't be beat.

This year I chose to make personalized notepads with matching candy bar wraps (from a "lite" scrap page).

I found a template for the candy bar wraps from the amazing Template Gallery.   I changed the design some, but I liked using a template because I didn't have to measure or figure out the right size to cover a candy bar.  I also ordered the page in "lite" instead of our regular thicker scrap pages.  I figured it's a little cheaper and would fold more easily around the candy bar anyway.  (I used template 124408.)

I used a template for the notepads, too (template 128889--I changed it around to match the candy bar wraps).

I just cut the wraps out of the scrap page and taped them around a Hershey bar.  I had left space on the wrap for my daughter to write a personal message, which ends up on the back.  She wrote on them before I wrapped.

It's SO simple and yet so fancy-looking! 

I also changed the image at the top of each notepad to make them fit what the teacher teaches--a globe for the history teacher, books for the English teacher, etc.  Isn't this a fun gift?!?!

Just one more reason Heritage Makers personal publishing is amazing!!

Here's a video tutorial showing how to make the notepads!

UPDATE 2022:  All these items shown were made with Heritage Makers.  However, Heritage Makers is currently being updated to a new software platform that doesn't require Adobe Flash to run (which Adobe has discontinued).  For the time being, it's easier for you to order these items from me--meaning I make them for you--than it will be for you to make them in your own Heritage Makers account.  Just contact me with questions and/or to order these great items!

Friday, May 6, 2016

don't lose your history

Have you had one of those life experiences that teaches you that life is short?

If you haven't yet, you will.  Trust me.  

Don't lose your history.  Make the memories and record them.  Get in the photos even if you are getting a double chin.  Be present.  And then give a gift to your loved ones.  Calendar some time each week and tell YOUR story.  Record it.  It's an irreplaceable gift. 

If your story isn't told, it's lost to your family forever.  Only YOU are what you are to your family.  Our stories make us who we are.  Our lives and our stories connect people together.  

Here are some great resources to help you tell your story.

Be sure you tell and preserve your story in high-quality products that will protect the time you've invested in it!  

For a straightforward, simple way to preserve your history--your life story--try using this template:

Remember:  our stories bind us and make us who we are.  The time to record your story is now!