Thursday, November 30, 2017

Canvas Exchange Blocks: simple home decor (#tbt)

It's our last Throw-back Thursday (#tbt) post in November!  This is probably the simplest home decor you'll ever see!  I love mine!

Canvas Exchange Blocks come in various holiday and seasonal themes.  You swap all the canvas pieces using the same 3 wooden blocks.  The blocks shown above have the canvas pieces from Kit 2.  The blocks below show all the canvas pieces from Kit 4.

This #tbt post shows Set 4 of the Canvas Exchange Blocks, which includes Winter, Thanksgiving, and Halloween pieces.  There's even a short video tutorial showing how the canvas exchange pieces work, demonstrated by Lisa Bearnson (the creator of the Canvas Exchange Blocks).  You'll love this post:

Happy decorating!  These make super fun gifts, too.  Pin and save!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

10 Creative Gift Ideas for the Crafter

We all have that one crafty friend/sister/mom/aunt/cousin/grandma who would love a creative gift!  Here are 10 creative gift ideas for THAT ONE FRIEND.  (And, yes, it's okay, if your "friend" *wink, wink* is YOU!)

Unlike most of the products you see posted here at LifeTalesBooks, these aren't digitally-made items from Heritage Makers.  These are paper items for crafting or scrapbooking or home decor items from our sister companies, Anthology DIY by Lisa Bearnson and Our Memories For Life by Rhonda Anderson.  These make really great gifts for crafty friends because you give an amazing gift and they get to be creative.

#1 Sign It Card Kit
 This is my favorite card kit from Anthology DIY by Lisa Bearnson!! The kit includes EVERYTHING you need to make 20 adorable cards that stand up sandwich board-style! There are 20 different chalkboard messages included, plus the sign-style cards, chipboard pieces, buttons, bakers twine, and die cuts. Oh, and envelopes, too!
 Everything is already cut, measured,and ready for you to put together. It's all the fun of being a creative card-maker with only a fraction of the work. :)  
The kit is $49 (so, $2.45 per card) and can be ordered at
by clicking "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY." Scroll down a little to find "Sign It Card Kit."

#2 Border Maker
For paper crafters, card makers, or paper scrapbookers, this fun Border Maker from Our Memories For Life is perfect! The Border Maker is $30 and comes with one cartridge (butterfly lace), but there are 21 additional cartridges to choose from, including the scallop heart one shown here.
There are trees, balloons, music notes, pumpkins, and much more. Additional cartridges are $15 each.
 I love how versatile this tool is!  The bag decor and card were made using the Border Maker.
To purchase, go to
and click "products" at the upper right, then "Our Memories For Life." Scroll down a little and you'll see the Border Maker and all the Cartridges.

If you're local, I have one in my inventory if you want to save on shipping.

#3  Canvas Exchange Blocks
I LOVE the Canvas Exchange Blocks by Anthology DIY! The little canvas pieces are sticky on the back and can be removed and applied over and over, so you can swap out pieces each month or holiday for super cute home decor. (If you want, you can actually see Lisa Bearnson demonstrate at this little video:
The wood block kit comes with the three wooden blocks, sand paper, a paint brush, and paint for $16. The Canvas Exchange Kits have three sets of canvas pieces and are $28. 

Those two are from Canvas Exchange Kit 4 in the two photos below, which includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Winter.  This "be awesome today" is from Canvas Exchange Kit 2.
To purchase, go to and click "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY." You'll find these under the "Kits" heading, but there are a lot of kits! The Wood Block Kit is on the seventh row down, and the Canvas Exchange Kit 4 is on the 5th row down. I love these kits because they make me feel (and look) crafty, and all I had to do was paint the blocks and then take 1 1/2 minutes to put the canvas pieces on. Perfect!

#4 Perpetual Birthday Calendar
I am serious about remembering and celebrating family birthdays, and I love giving gifts that keep on giving, so this Perpetual Birthday Calendar Kit really speaks to me! This desktop calendar comes with chipboard month pieces, interior pages to write down birthdays, photo frames, paper flowers, and more, plus assembly instructions. It's the brainchild of creators Lisa Bearnson and Heidi Swapp, whom your crafty friend will probably recognize. 

I love that it's a perpetual calendar, so it can be used year after year. The kit is $49 and can be purchased at
by clicking "products" then "Anthology DIY." It's under "Kits," fourth row down. I love that it's both a practical and beautiful gift.

#5 Holiday Stamp Sets
For the stampers or card-makers you know, this darling winter-themed stamp set is $15! It's a limited edition, so when they're gone, they're gone. (Acrylic blocks to put the stamps on not included, but they can be purchased at the same link for $9.80 if you want.) This cute stamp set can be ordered by going to
and clicking "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY." Scroll down--it's on the 9th row down--to find "November Stamp Set." (Acrylic blocks are way down at the bottom in the "tools" section, very last row.)

And if you're local, I have two of these sets available plus one set of acrylic blocks if you want to save on shipping. 

#6  Wall Organization Kit
Your creative, crafty friend probably has some Cutesy she likes to display. This trendy, versatile Wall Organization Kit includes a corkboard frame, a storage frame with cubbies, and a clip frame for hanging items. Purchase at
by clicking "products" then "Anthology DIY." It's on the second row down under "Kits." This kit is $49. I love how easy it is to change out what you are displaying--this could be used for anything!

If you'd like to see the Wall Organization Kit in use, Lisa Bearnson shows off hers in her grandbaby room:

#7 Quick Scrapbook Page Kits
The Scrapbook Page Layout Kits from Anthology are a scrapbooker's dream come true!! These are KITS, so they are basically 12x12 scrapbook pages that are mostly done for you! This is the Happy Spring Layout Kit, but there are 4 other Layout Kits as well.

 Each Layout Kit has 16 backgrounds (to make 8 two-page layouts). There are even "recipe cards" that show you exactly where to put all the chipboard pieces, die cuts, and other embellishments--all of which are included in the Kit.
I've made these pages before and they literally take about 3 1/2 minutes to make. It's scrapbooking for paper-lovers who are busy! 
 The Layout Kits are $49 (so about $3 per page with all the papers and embellishments included). Everything you need to make the pages is included except your photos! To order, go to and click "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY." You'll see Layout Kits scattered throughout the Kits section, but this Happy Spring is on the 7th row down.  A fun way to help your crafty scrapbooking friend scrapbook faster.

And if you're local, I have several 2-page spreads from this Happy Spring Kit that I'm selling separately (not as a Kit).  They are $7 for the DIY sets or $9 for the sets I've already put together that just need pictures. 

#8 Holiday Nifty Gifty Card Kit for Christmas
I absolutely adore this Holiday Nifty Gifty Card Kit! If your crafty friend is big into Christmas like I am, this kit will be just the thing! It is a big box full of pre-cut, pre-measured pieces so you can make 25 fancy gift card holders and 50 more small, simple cards to go with plates of cookies or any other holiday gift-giving.

 There are even instructions included for each type of gift card holder, so they really come together fast but look SUPER impressive when you give them!
 These can be used for cards (naturally!), but you might recognize them from my {Christmas in July post where I used them to create a Christmas Countdown}!

 The Holiday Nifty Gifty Card Kit is $49 (for 75 cards!!) and can be purchased at by clicking "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY." Under the "Kits" heading, scroll down to the 9th row. 

 And if you're local, I have a Holiday Nifty Gifty Kit on hand in my inventory if you want to save on shipping.  I also have individual gift card cards that I've made from this kit (like the photos you see above) for $1-$2, depending on the card(s).

#9 Pocket Scrapbooking from Anthology DIY
Some people really love a hands-on method of preserving their pictures but don't have time for traditional scrapbooking. Pocket Scrapbooking is the perfect thing!
 I love this method! This is Pocket Scrapbooking by Anthology. There are nice faux-leather albums with Pocket Protectors inside. Pocket Protectors have pockets, so you literally just slide your photos in. They have 4x6 pockets for photos and smaller (3x4, I think) for little journaling cards so you can record the story of your photos.  Don't forget the story!
BONUS!  The Pocket Pages and Faux-Leather Albums on sale right now!!  50% off while supplies last!  (Order information at the bottom of this section.)
This is GREAT if you want to use up paper you already have, OR you can try the Pocket Kits. EVERYTHING in Pocket Kits is already cut to size to go in the Pocket Protectors. The Pocket Kits also include things like chipboard pieces and twine for extra embellishing.
 There are even little stamps in there!
 One thing I LOVE about the Pocket Kits is that all the pieces are contained in this sturdy magnetic-closure case that looks like a book, so it essentially comes with its own storage!  This kit pictured, the Family Time Kit, is $49. At, click "products" at the upper right then "Anthology DIY." Under "Kits," scroll down to find the Family Time Kit. Keep scrolling to find the Albums and Pocket Protectors.

This is a fantastic solution for your creative friend who is a little behind in her memory-keeping and wants a fun, hands-on way to catch up.

 #10 Make & Shake Card Kits
Here's another adorable, crafty card kit from Anthology DIY by Lisa Bearnson.  I love that this Kit includes everything you need to make 20 darling cards, from card bases and envelopes to shaker windows and sequins and die cut pieces and sentiments. 

There's even a Valentine version of the Make & Shake Card Kit, too.
Are these not the cutest Valentines??
Either kit (regular or valentine) is $49 (so, $2.45 per card) and can be ordered at
by clicking "products" at the upper right, then "Anthology DIY." Scroll down a little to find "Make & Shake Card Kit" or "Valentine Make & Shake Card Kit."  Both come in a really nice magnetic-closure box to keep all the craftiness contained as you make your cards.  And instructions, too!

So.  Your ONE FRIEND.  The creative & crafty one.  What did you find that you can't live without?  I mean, that SHE can't live without?

Order now, then pin and save!

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Unique Christmas Cards and Letters: ideas with a video tutorial (#tbt)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I don't know about you, but I kinda have to multitask when football is on.  Probably because I'm a college football gal, not a pro football one.  So today I have a great idea that works on a couch with a laptop while football is on!

I LOVE digitally creating very unique Christmas greetings with Heritage Makers.  There's so much to choose from, in every price range, using some unusual styles/types that your friends won't ever have seen before (and, yes, some usual ones, too).

This #tbt post has six great ideas (and prices included) to help you choose something spectacular.  It also includes a video tutorial about creating greetings using Heritage Makers, the queen of digital personal publishing.  Enjoy!

You can have the cards created and ordered by halftime!  :)

Pin for next year, too!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

5 Amazing Gift Ideas Under $35

Pretty much everyone I know wants to give an amazing gift without spending a lot.  Today I'm excited to share with you five amazing gift ideas for $35 or less.

If you want to give a unique and unforgettable gift, you have come to the right place!  All of these fun items are created digitally in your own Heritage Makers account, then printed on highest-quality products and shipped to your door (or to your recipient's door).  These items I've picked for you have very little altering (personalizing, usually) needed, so you can make them quickly.  For instructions on using Heritage Makers to create these impressive gifts, see {the end of last week's post} for details and information, including how to get the lower price of the price range indicated.

One last thing before I show you the good stuff.  You can use Heritage Makers' templates if you like, or you take your own idea and run with it if you prefer by creating from scratch.  All the digital art work you see here (all the "pretty stuff") is included in the Heritage Makers program.  Keep in mind that all Heritage Makers templates are fully customizable, so you can change any little thing you want to.   

18"x12" magnets.  $30.  The surface is writable with a dry-erase marker, so it's reusable.  (I suggest cleaning it with dry erase board cleaner because it doesn't wipe off without help after it's been on there a week.)  I *love* mine!

To make a magnet, go to and click "products," then "home and office" then "car magnet."  Scroll down a little to find the "get started" button if you want to create something from scratch, or click the link in "we've got templates" to find templates for magnets.

2- COASTERS (set of 4)
Gloss square coasters with a cork bottom, 3.75".  $31.  Each of the 4 coasters can be designed differently.  I was so impressed with how sharp my photos looked on these!

To make coasters, go to and click "products," then "photo gifts" then "coasters."  Scroll down a little to find the "get started" button if you want to create something from scratch, or click the link in "we've got templates" to find templates for coasters.

3- ORNAMENTS (4 shapes)
$19.  These make a great keepsake from a special event from the previous year, and they make a great family gift, too.  They are made from white coated aluminum and come with a ribbon for hanging.  Both sides are customizable!  I have loved giving this as gifts to grandparents!

To make ornaments, go to and click "products," then "photo gifts" then "ornaments."  Scroll down a little to find the "get started" button if you want to create something from scratch, or click the link in "we've got templates" to find templates for ornaments.

8.5"x11" wirebound one-year planner.  $20 (includes 4 extra pages).  Blank planners customized with pictures on each page.  (Click here to see all the pages inside.)  Edit by adding the year, name if desired, and photos.  I love how personal these planners are!

To make this planner, go to and click "template gallery" at the upper right, choosing "browse the gallery."  Type 60624 in the search field to find this template.  There are other templates available, but keep an eye out for the year (the calendars may be different in previous-year planners) and the price as some have a lot of extra pages (like the weekly planners).

Deck of 54 playing cards.  $16.  You'll need to add one of your favorite photos to the backs of the card, to replace the one shown here.  (You may remove the word art "family" and replace with a name if you like.)  Playing card decks are one of my all-time favorite gifts to give.

Here are a couple more photos to show what the actual deck looks like since it's hard to tell from just seeing the back of the cards (above):

To make this deck of playing cards, go to and click "template gallery" at the upper right, choosing "browse the gallery."  Type 115395 in the search field to find this template.  There are other templates available, but keep in mind that some of them require you to adjust the front of each of the 54 cards.  This one I've chosen for you has regular card fronts (like Ace of diamonds, King of diamonds, etc.) and only requires adjustment on the back--replacing this one photo.  All the backs of the cards print the same, and you just create the back once in the Heritage Makers program.

BONUS:  I created a step-by-step video tutorial for making a playing card deck!  I show you how to make two other very basic card decks as well.  

So which is YOUR favorite gift?  Which ones would your friends and family adore?  Get started right away--all Heritage Makers products take about 2 weeks to receive around the holidays.

You'll love being the best gift-giver in the family!

Pin and share!