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!

UPDATE:  These blocks are now on clearance!!  You can get the 3 wooden blocks kit (paint and paint brush included) and each of the canvas exchange sets for a few dollars each!!  Order them at  You may need to set up a (free) account first if you don't already have one, but it's easy--just click "sign up" at the upper right and you're good to go.  These are such fun and simple home decor, but they are a great gift idea, too!

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!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Family-Centered Gift Ideas for Grown-Ups

Gift ideas for grown-ups can be hard to come by.  Many of the adults I know (like my in-laws, for example) have pretty much everything they need.  If new tools or new cookware doesn’t seem like THE THING this year, read on for some meaningful gift ideas.  Many adults appreciate family-centered activities, games, and books.  I’ve gathered lots of possibilities for your gift-giving pleasure this year.

Experiences and Activities
Several of the experiences and activities I shared last week {for teenagers} and the week before {for kids} are really family activities, so they may be great gifts for adults as well.  Many of the ideas you saw here a few weeks ago, {gift ideas for the whole family}, are excellent for grown-ups, too.  The key to a great family-centered gift is to choose something you don’t normally do, and make sure you do it together.

I’ve already mentioned {Heather Lynne’s ideas at Raising Memories}, and several would be great for grown-ups, such as:
  • overnight getaway
  • hot air balloon ride
  • pottery class
  • road trip
When my husband’s grandmother was in her 80s, she had ALS.  We picked her name for the family gift exchange one year, and we really wanted to give her something she could do without the use of her hands.  We found a lovely little game that I now can’t remember the name of that was absolutely perfect!  The game was just about telling your story and talking about memories.  Reminiscing was something she liked to do anyway, and it was a nice way to start family conversations and find out new parts of her life story.

That game for Grandma reminds me a lot of a new game called {Roots & Branches} by The Connections Games.  It’s a board game with questions in four categories:  Your Family, Your Ancestors, About You, and Nice to Know.  As players move and answer questions, they have a chance to share experiences and learn about their family.  This is a great game for making connections between generations.

From the Heart
Gifts from the heart are pretty much a shoe-in for grown-ups.
This 6x9 wirebound book was made {here} using a fully-editable template.
Here are 4 more heartfelt gift ideas I love for adults:
  • I love this sweet idea from The Gifty Girl:  {kid-crafted dish towels}.  This is such a heartfelt gift from grandkids that they can DIY–older kids can write or draw and younger kids can paint or stamp.
  • I think {family cookbooks} like the one shown here are a heartfelt gift grown-ups can enjoy, too.  Family meals and special recipes are full of memories and comfort.  (That link shows just one style of family cookbooks that can be personalized with photos, different from the one shown above, but there are a lot more styles and sizes {here}.)
  • Rhonda Lauritzen and Rachel Trotter at just wrote a {great little booklet of thoughtful questions} to ask someone who is writing their life story or wants to interview someone for their life story.  I think this would be a lovely gift for someone with an aging parent.
  • I’m guessing I’m not the only tired adult out there, so I will say that the simple act of telling someone what you love and appreciate about him/her is a great gift.  A {“Reasons I Love You”gift is inexpensive but literally lasts forever!
Incorporate Family Traditions
Like my husband’s grandmother, adults sometimes like to reminisce about the good old days.  A great way to preserve those warm, fuzzy memories is through recording family traditions.  What do you do at Thanksgiving?  What is your Christmas Eve tradition?  What is your favorite holiday and why?

See my Christmas ornament collection book {here}--I made the $9 style!
Here are two ideas I really love for recording traditions:

Does the adult you’re searching for a gift for have a lot of Christmas tree ornaments?  If so, were they inherited, or are they part of a collection?  I love this idea for making a record of all your ornaments in a {Little Book of Christmas Ornaments}!  

This darling book was made {here} using a template!
What about gathering a collection of photos and memories from past holidays to make a record of your favorite family traditions?  What special foods do you have every year?  I love this {“How We Keep Christmas”} book!  I’ve made a similar one, and it’s neat to see our family grow from Christmas to Christmas. 

Special Ideas
What special ideas did you find on this month’s #familyhistoryfriday posts?  I hope you found great gift ideas that will be heartfelt, make memories, and/or make connections.  Be sure to Pin them to save for next year, too!

Here’s one more thought for the road:  In my family, we keep an “I’d Like” list on our fridge all year round.  When you think of something you’d like to receive as a gift, you write it on the list.  As the giver, it can come in handy when you aren’t sure what someone would like as a gift.

What was your favorite suggestion from this collection of ideas?  Tell me in the comments below!

Pin to share and save for next year, too!
This post was originally published at on November 24, 2017, by Jennifer Wise.  You'll find more #familyhistoryfriday posts at the hashtag link below next to Labels.

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!