Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Enjoy December Card Party

December is a lot more enjoyable if you don't try to cram Everything Christmas into 24 days.  That's why every year at the beginning of November, I host an online card party called Enjoy December.

What's an online card party?!

It's a time to set aside on your calendar to create cards, letters, return address labels, etc., digitally using Heritage Makers.  The Enjoy December Card Party lasts all day.  You choose an hour or two --whatever fits into your schedule-- to create your greetings.  (There are LOTS of different sizes and styles to choose from, including some creative options like tri-fold brochures and flyers, plus pop-out cards and die cut cards!)

How do I attend?

There are 3 things you need to do BEFORE the Card Party.  They are listed here, but please know that if you are reading this post after the Card Party happens, you can do all this on your own at a convenient time for you!

1.  RSVP "yes" in the online Card Party.  It's a Facebook event, but it's public, so you don't even have to have a Facebook account to see what's going on there.  (If you don't have a Facebook account, you won't be able to post anything in the party, but that certainly doesn't keep you from attending, seeing what's posted, or creating your cards!)  You can find this year's {Enjoy December Card Party by clicking right here}.

2.  Look through all the posts at the Card Party and choose what kind of greetings you'd like to send this year.  You'll find all sorts of different Christmas (or other holiday) greetings in lots of price ranges and styles.  There is also a tutorial video posted there, too, if you're new to creating cards/greetings with Heritage Makers.  There are posts about Large Order Discounts and Direct Shipping, too.  All the information you need to attend the Cary Party is at the Facebook event in the posts.

3.  One of the posts in the Card Party on Facebook tells you how to set up your Heritage Makers account if you don't already have one.  The same information can be found {here}.  This is a big step before the Card Party so that you're ready to go when the Party starts.

What do I do AT the Card Party?

1.  Login to your Heritage Makers account.

2.  Open another tab in your internet browser.  Go to the Facebook event, Enjoy December Card Party.  It will be in your "events" (calendar) since you RSVPed.  Check in by posting "hello" and tell us what you're going to be working on.  Feel free to ask questions if you have them, too. 

3.  Go back to your Heritage Makers account.  Start your project--whether it's a traditional card, a Christmas letter from a flyer, matching return address labels, etc.  You can start with a template and edit at will, or you can start with a blank project.  If you're new to Heritage Makers, the tutorial video will help acquaint you with the Studio software you'll be using.  

Next, POST!!  Post in the Facebook event!  Post questions if you have them, post screenshots of what you're working on, and post your progress so we can all celebrate.  It's really just fun to see what everyone else is doing, get ideas, and get this checked off your to-do list way early!

LAST:  You'll place your order for your cards whenever you're ready.  Click "ready to publish" at the upper left and follow the instructions.  Your cards/letters/labels will be shipped to your door in about 7-10 business days.  If you choose the Direct Ship option (which is detailed in the Facebook event, too), you can do that any time you like as well.

It's SO GREAT to get cards behind you right at the beginning of November so that you can ENJOY DECEMBER!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

digital DIY wedding: table cards, favors, and bridesmaid gifts (part 2)

(This is part 2 of digital DIY wedding ideas.  See {last week's post} for information as well as ideas for save the date, invitations, and programs.)

Between last week's post and today's, I'm honestly just scratching the surface of what Heritage Makers can bring to your wedding, reception, dinner, or open house!

See the sign-in book, the wedding album, the cupcake wraps, and the "carry-out" sticker?


Today I want to show you three.  So let's get started.

Also called "table tents," these can be made from a 12x12 scrap page.  Obviously, these can match your wedding colors and your whole theme.  I know someone who had a burlap and lace theme and found the most darling burlap and lace digital art in the Heritage Makers Studio program.  It was perfect.  (If you missed last week's post, be sure you read it.  I mention using Studio and how it includes tons of digital art.)

I suggest starting with a template in the Template Gallery, just because it's already measured for you.  Then just replace the artwork, names, etc.  (Check out the "how to get started" tab at the top of this blog for instructions on using Studio.)

There's one design idea.  Here's another. 

When you submit it for printing, be sure you get the LITE option.  It's cheaper than the regular, thick scrapbook pages, yes, but it just folds a lot easier.

After you get the pages in the mail, cut the squares apart.

Then fold in half.  Done!

The lite version of the 12x12 scrap page is around $3.  Done this way, you get 16 place cards.  They stand 3" wide and 1 1/2" tall when folded.

FAVORS (and regular address labels)
This is one of my favorite things to do with Heritage Makers!!  The regular address labels from Heritage Makers are obviously fantastic to use as address labels.  You could even put a photo on them instead of the monogram.

But truth be told, the coolest, most impressive thing you can do with these labels is make chocolate favors out of them!

They wrap perfectly around Hershey Nuggets!  Get ready for your jaw to drop.

Address labels come in a set of 54 for about $3.  Create them however you like in your Heritage Makers account, then head off to Target and buy Hershey Nuggets!

Here are both styles (one with the monogram, one with the photo) together.  How perfect is this?

If you'd like, I have made a video tutorial on exactly how to make these little chocolate favors that you can watch.  It's a step-by-step guide, from making them in Heritage Makers Studio to actually peeling the labels off and wrapping them around the chocolates.

There are honestly too many ideas to list them all here, but I'll give you a couple.

First, you could create a sweet Bridesmaid Book.  This is an 8x8 softbound book, but there are hardbound and wirebound books of all sizes.  (See www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and click "products" then "storybooks."  You'll find sizes, specs, and prices.)

These are obviously very personal, and not your run-of-the-mill online photo book.  You can see all the pages in this book here, but remember that you aren't limited to any specific style, color, or design--even if you use a template.  I talked about that on last week's post.

Another idea is a keepsake mug.

These obviously don't have photos on them, but you can definitely add them.  Here's the one that says "bridesmaid" (instead of "maid of honor"):  http://www.heritagemakers.com/gallery/#/t/143723  There are even "mother of the bride," "mother of the groom," and "flower girl" mugs.  Of course, you can make your own design with your own wedding colors, too.  This is just an example.

To explore more options, go to www.heritagemakers.com/jenniferwise and click the "template gallery" link at the upper right.  Select the "wedding" option and find hundreds of ideas for creating your own wedding invitations, save-the-dates, favors, gifts, keepsakes, table decor, thank you cards, sign-in books, wedding albums, bridal shower ideas, and much more. Everything in Heritage Makers is fully customizable AND highest quality, so it's a win-win all around.  

It's a very special way to make your Special Day just that much more special!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

digital DIY wedding: save the date, invitations, and programs (part 1)

Many people are looking for ways to keep costs down as they plan a wedding.  If you haven't yet seen the creative options for digital DIY wedding items you can get from Heritage Makers, you are in for a treat! 

Sometimes, DIY means cheaper materials, but I love how Heritage Makers products are always high in quality without being expensive.

I have a bridal fair coming up, so I've ordered a few products from the Heritage Makers Template Gallery.  I haven't changed anything in the templates like you normally would when making something like this, so these photos are straight from the gallery.

When we're talking about templates, though, keep in mind these three fantastic things about Heritage Makers:
  1. There are 200,000+ pieces of digital art included with Heritage Makers.  You get access to backgrounds, word art, buttons, hearts, swirls, flowers, alphabets, and more.  You don't have to go searching for cute flowers to put on your wedding invitations or return address labels.  Everything is included in Heritage Makers Studio (where you make your projects or edit an already-created template).   
  2. Even templates are FULLY EDITABLE.  That means if you love the template the way it is, great.  Just change the names and dates and you're done.  BUT if you find a template that is pretty close to what you want but you'd like to change the backgrounds to your wedding colors or take off the flowers/buttons/hearts, YOU CAN.  Heritage Makers Studio allows you to change, swap, move, or delete any element.  Studio is a drag-and-drop system, similar to Publisher, Photoshop, and Canva.  Move anything anywhere.  Get exactly what you want.
  3. You don't have to use a template.  You can create from a "blank slate," placing text and photos and the included digital art anywhere.  You're only paying for the item you're publishing, so there are no limits on text or photos or how much digital art you use.  I'll say it again:  Get exactly what you want!
Today I want to share with you some creative ideas for wedding invitations, programs, and save-the-dates.  There are plenty of traditional options, but I'll show a few "think outside the box" ones, too.  Although I'll show several different styles, remember that you can make everything coordinate!!

Note:  Some items I'll show you (like programs) are straightforward to make in the Heritage Makers program.  You may have questions on others that are more DIY (like the "save the date" lip balms that need to be cut).  My contact information is at the "contact me" tab at the top of this blog.  I'm always happy to answer questions and help you come away with the PERFECT thing!  So ASK.  To make anything you see here, follow the "how to get started" steps in the tab at the top of this blog.  I do also hire out, if you prefer, for $35/hour.  I've been loving and using Heritage Makers for over 12 years, so I'm pretty fast.  :)

I love this clever idea to save the date.  These are Heritage Makers Large Address Labels.  Each label makes two stickers to wrap around lip balm!

Can you stand how cute this is?  One set includes 12 labels, but for the lip balms you actually make 2 per label so you'll get 24.  A set of 12 labels is about $4.

A traditional save the date card looks extra professional from Heritage Makers, I think.  This size is called a Photo Card.  It's 4x8 (and can be portrait or landscape orientation), and comes with an envelope.  They're nice, thick paper (feels more like a card than just a big photo). 

Photo Cards are around $1 each but are {discounted} when you order more than 25, with the discount increasing the more cards you order. (Check that link for specifics.)

Another really fun idea for save the date "cards" is this one.  The cards are actually made from a deck of playing cards!  So these little guys are the size of a standard playing card.  You could send them as-is in the mail, or punch a hole in the corner and tie with ribbon to some sort of gift or treat.

The picture of the couple is on one side of the card and the "forever and always" is the other side of the card.  You can see them here in the plastic case that the playing card decks come in.  Playing card decks come in a set of 54 for about $17, but you can also add individual cards if you like for around 35 cents each.

Regular invitations are double-sided.  They come with envelopes.  The 4x6 version is about $1.80 and the 5x7 version is about $2, but the {volume discounts} I mentioned previously save you 20-40%.

Your invitations can be landscape or portrait orientation.

You can also get creative with Heritage Makers Invitations.  Use them for an RSVP!

This particular template has two RSVPs on each Invitation, so you just cut them in half and mail them out with your regular wedding invitation.

(And you can delete that red dotted line before printing, if you want.)

One of my favorite options for invitations, though, is the tri-fold brochure.  This is the only one currently in the Template Gallery, but I think there is a lot of potential for this!  I love how impressive and different it is, but I also love that it's a cheaper option than the traditional invitations shown above.

Tri-fold brochures come in a pack of 20 for about $15.  Open the package and fold in thirds!

This is the back of this particular template--so pretty.

However, if you want to, you can just fold these babies up, tape them shut, and put a stamp right on them!  You would want to make one panel so that you could put an address, return address, and stamp on it.  I've made tri-fold brochures and sent them in the mail quite a few times, both for business and personal use (Christmas cards).  You can see what mine look like with the panel for mailing {by clicking right here}.

The 4x8 Photo Cards I introduced you to at the beginning make lovely programs as well.

You could certainly add a photo to the program if you like.

I'll have more ideas for you next week, including unforgettable favors, table decor, and bridesmaid gift ideas!  See you then!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Stop Saying You're Not Creative ~guest post by Dina Tibbs

I recently read an article that made me want to stand up and cheer!  It's called {Why You Should Stop Saying You're Not Creative}, written by Dina Tibbs.

Because I sometimes hear "I'm not creative" as a reason for not preserving memories and stories, this is a message that I clearly want my readers to know and understand.  You're losing so much when you let this idea stand in your way.  I asked Dina to write for LifeTalesBooks today and share with us why we need to stop saying, "I'm not creative."

About Dina
Dina is a certified Artist of the Spirit Coach, Warrior Goddess Training Facilitator, and Intentional Creativity Teacher in training.  She provides women with a safe and sacred space to be hear and to express their truths.  She works one-on-one with clients and teaches workshops that are an alchemical blend of modalities in the holistic, spiritual, and creative arts.  Dina teaches women to listen to their own wisdom and intuition, let go of perfection, discover their gifts, and find joy.  She has 15 years experience in corporate strategic planning and 20 years experience in the healing arts.  She can be found at www.dinatibbs.com.    

Stop Saying You're Not Creative
by Dina Tibbs

“I don’t have a creative bone in my body.” I cannot tell you how many times I hear those words. I myself said them for years.  This was an external influence that became ingrained as a soul agreement that I believed until 3 years ago, despite the fact that I was always a writer, a dancer, a fiber artist, had creative ideas, and happened to create another life along the journey.

As children, before we even find language, we pick up crayons, paint and pencils, and we make marks on the page. This is our language, our method of expression until we find words. We are born creative beings. And then once we find words, we also unfortunately find the inner critic, or someone outside of us tells us our creativity is no good, or it’s a waste of time. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“Creativity may be the nearest one-word definition we possess for the essence of our humanity, for the true meaning of soul.” -Matthew Fox

As humans we are, by our very nature, creative. Our entire lives are nothing but creations. Calling yourself creative is nothing but a shift in perspective and intention.


It is just simply not the truth. Everything we do is a creation, from creating a heart-centered dynamic business, to creating a nutritious meal for our family, creating a spiritual practice, creating the stories of your life in word, photos, or paint, or creating another human life! And when you look at your life as a creative experiment, your soul sings.

When you look at your life as a creation, and make time to express that creation using any medium you feel called to, you become more present and calm. You begin to get out of your own way, and make decisions from the present rather than the past. Using processes like telling your story through paint, words, or photos helps you to become aware of and acknowledge your stories, and through the process of telling the story you free up your mind and your energy for creating new stories.  You also have a visual representation of the joyful moments in your life, and there is no replacement for that.

So my challenge to you is to consider where you are creative in your life, or how you can approach aspects of your life with more creativity, shift your perspective on what you consider a creative act, and make time daily for creating and expressing what your soul has to say. Trust me, you have the time.  Making time for creative acts magically opens up more time to live your life in the present moment.  Journal your findings and let me know what you found. 

-Dina Tibbs- Founder and Inspiratrix
Amused Woman Studios LLC

To learn more, please visit Dina here.  Or, to dive further into discovering how to be more creative in your life, join Dina for Creativi-tea:  Meet Your Muse, a One Day Intentional Creativity painting process.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"You Can't Re-Read a Phone Call"

My mother was a writer, poet, playwright, and author, but she was also a letter writer.  She was a big believer in the written word and its power.  Although she was very outgoing and loved talking and socializing, I remember her telling me on more than one occasion:  "You can't re-read a phone call."

That's the truth.  As fantastic as our electronics and gadgets are, they don't give us anything tangible or lasting.  Texts and e-mails are fleeting.  Social media posts gets replaced by newer ones every minute.  The very nature of SnapChat means it's gone right after it's created.  We tend to lose the majority of communications we make.

What it Means to the Heart
Having some form of communication that you can hold in your hand is a precious thing.  A note, a photo, a card, or a recorded memory gives us the {power found in reminiscing}.  Phone calls are obviously wonderful--hearing someone's voice is like nothing else.  But the truth remains:  you can't re-read a phone call.

Whether separated by distance or even death, the ability to re-read a loved one's words to you can bring happiness, peace, and comfort.  Knowing someone loves and believes in me helps me through tough times.  It really does.  I've read love letters over and over again!  (Best love story ever.)  This ability to bring back words and messages from the past--even the recent past--can give us greater connections with those we love and can make us happier.

Three Ideas to Record Communication
Who needs a lift?  Who needs to know you love and believe in him/her?  Whose life could you touch through words of encouragement?  What communication have you received recently that meant a lot to you?  Do you still have it?

Here are three ways to make words tangible, something that could be read and remembered again and again.  
  1. Print and save e-mails.  This is certainly not something you want to do with every e-mail, but if someone's kind words or warmth touched you, print the e-mail so you can re-read it later.  Simply punching holes and keeping the pages in a binder is an easy way to do that.  Rather than mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest when you're feeling a little melancholy, pull out the binder of those words meant just for you!
  2. Send handwritten cards or letters instead of e-mails.  Even a short note of appreciation, encouragement, love, or support can make all the difference in the world to someone.
  3. Try creating book instead of just a note.  It's a little sturdier and more beautiful, and it's obvious you put some meaningful effort towards it.  From "100 reasons I love you" books to "You Are Loved" books like {this one}, there are some very personal possibilities that will be meaningful and heartfelt for years to come!  (To get started creating something that makes a difference, click the red "how to get started tab" at the top of this page.)

I've created a lot of heartfelt gifts using words!  I couldn't possibly tell you about everything I've done over the years, but I'll tell you about one.  For my husband's 40th birthday, my three kids and I wrote out 40 reasons we love him.  I put it in a digital book with a few pictures scattered throughout (similar to the one shown here).  He LOVED it.  It got more attention than the grill his parents bought him that year!  True story.  To this day, he keeps that little book on his closet shelf and stands it up so it's open to a new page each week.  He sees it every single day.  And that's what a gift of heartfelt words really does.

By the way, I've always used the Flip Books from {Heritage Makers} for these type of books--like the one pictured here.  Flip Books are 5.75"x3.5" and cost around $12.  The pages are really thick and have a wire binding (which is how my husband gets his to stand up open on the shelf).  There's a protective plastic (clear) cover.  It's just a bitty book, but it's worth its weight in gold.

Give the Heartfelt Gift of Words
Letter-writing has become a lost art, but that just makes the written word more precious.  Take some time to preserve the important communications you receive and sent out.  Or create a heartfelt gift with your words.  It makes the best gift in the world!

Need more ideas for heartfelt gifts?  These links have additional ideas: 
Words have so much power, and they can help and even heal in many ways.  Think of words the next time you think about giving a gift.  Don't underestimate what preserving or recording communication can do.