Thursday, December 27, 2018

How to Make Rewards Cards from a Playing Card Deck!

One of my favorite things about Heritage Makers personal publishing is that EVERY product is fully editable.  That means I can get really creative with anything I want.

For example, a playing card deck can be used as a playing card deck, personalized with family photos and such.  Or a playing card deck can be used for "Mom Bucks" that kids can earn.  Or a playing card deck can be used for recipes!  Your imagination is the limit because you're starting with a blank slate, so to speak.

Another creative use for the Heritage Makers playing card deck is referral rewards cards or loyalty cards for business.  This is a stand-out size for a punch card for your favorite customers.  You can make them complete with your photo, contact information, and even logo.  Follow along as I show you how:

If you're looking to make recipes, coupons, or Mom Bucks for kiddo rewards, this video will help you with that, too!

Pin this and share it with a small business owner you know!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Simple Ways to Connect with Your Kids

It's strange, I think, how "connected" we are these days, while we're actually making fewer and fewer real connections.  We sometimes text more than we hear the voices of the people we're texting.  Most families don't sit down all together even once during the day.  With varying personalities, the din and distraction of social media, and days scheduled to the max, it can be difficult to feel like you're really connecting with your kids.  So today I'm excited to share with you some simple ways to connect.

I'm pleased to bring you three articles I wrote that will help get some ideas flowing about connection.  As you read at each link, look for ways to use the information and inspiration there to better connect with your kids.

In {The Power of Place and Family Traditions}, you'll learn about the strength of home, of "happy places," and of belonging.  If you haven't heard the amazing story of Bobbie the Wonder Dog, you can read about it there and appreciate the pull of home.  There's also an outside-the-box idea of creating a neat family tradition with the photos of your family traditions (holidays, birthdays, vacations, etc.)!

In {Building Bridges between Generations using Photos and Memories} you'll learn about the power of looking to the past to strengthen families now.  "Bridges built between generations are not built by accident."  Photos and memories are an easy way to connect generations, to help children (or you!) know grandparents and great-grandparents better, which fosters a deep sense of belonging and connection.  "Here's why the past is infinitely important to me:  My grandparents lived there.  I learned lessons there.  I fell in love, got married, and had babies there."  Connecting generations with stories and photos is great for you, and but it's an especially fantastic way to connect with your kids, too.

By the way, did you know that kids who know family stories have higher self-esteem, greater resilience, and a better ability to cope with life's problems?  It's true!  (Bruce Feiler's studies on family stories, alluded to in the previous article, are found {here}.)

In {Why Taking Photos is So Important--And What to Do With Them} you'll read some first-hand examples of what photos really mean to our hearts.  Photos are more important than most people realize, but that's really only the case if we SEE our photos.  You'll find nine ways to be able to see--not just store--your digital photos so that they can be a powerful way for connecting family members.  Kids need the validation that comes from telling their stories and preserving their photos.  Gifting that to them creates connections, too.

These are fairly simple ways to connect, using things you already have--photos and stories--but the impact these simple things have on kids and relationships is powerful and long-lasting!

What did you find in these articles that you can use to connect with your kids?  What changes your thinking or gives you a new perspective?  Tell me your thoughts in the comments--I'd love to hear them!

All products shown were made {here}.  Some directions to get started creating a Heritage Home can be {found here}.

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Friday, December 7, 2018

What to Love About Heritage Makers this #friyay

Happy #friyay!!  We have spent the first Fridays of each month of 2018 with shout-outs about Heritage Makers.  This blog has been shouting out to Heritage Makers for 9 years now, but on #friyays we learn from other users why they chose Heritage Makers and what they love about it.  In some cases, people mention what it's like working with me as their Heritage Makers consultant (OR hiring me to make their Heritage Makers projects for them), but everybody tells you what's great about Heritage Makers.

For our last #friyay of 2018, we'll go out with a bang--with THREE shout-outs.  It's important (and fun!) to find out why people use and love Heritage Makers, and come back again and again.

First we hear from Heidi who has been using Heritage Makers for about 12 years--almost as long as I have!  She has made lots of special things for her family, but one of Heidi's major Heritage Makers projects each year is to compile the photos and memories of the drill team she coaches.  It's almost like a personal yearbook just for the team!  I wish you could see one--it's an AMAZING keepsake!!

Emily has done so many sweet and wonderful things with Heritage Makers.  From baby announcements to books that help her loved ones in the military stay connected to her little ones, Emily has created absolute family treasures using Heritage Makers.

Let's send our last #friyay out with a bang!  Here's a bonus shout-out from Carol.  Carol is a member of my Heritage Makers team, and this gal knows to her core how vitally important memories, photos, connections and keepsakes are to the heart and soul.  You might remember Carol from her guest post here at LifeTales Books:  Memories Connect Us.  If you haven't "met" Carol yet, go back to that post and be inspired by her heart.

Are you passionate about memories, photos, and connections?  If you would like to make memory-keeping your business, you will be interested to know what Carol had to say about my help as her mentor when she started her Heritage Makers business. 

There's absolutely nothing like doing something so important to kids, to families, and to your own heart.  

Get started making something meaningful right here.

Happy Heritage Making!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

How Do You Treat Your Pictures?

Have you ever thought about that?  I bet you've never asked yourself how you treat your pictures.  Have you ever thought about why you take a picture in the first place?  Go look at the last 5 pictures on your phone or camera.  WHY did you take them?  What would happen if you lost them?  What would happen if you lost all the pictures on your phone?

I thought about this the other day as I was writing a blog post.  This is what came into my head:  "We take pictures because we want to remember.  And then we treat them like we want to forget."  Isn't that the truth?

And isn't it sad?  Think about it.  We take pictures BECAUSE we want to remember an event, a moment, a person, a sunrise.  And then what do we do with the picture?  Usually, nothing.  It stays on the phone or camera, or maybe if it's lucky you back it up on a computer or hard drive.  Usually, photos just live somewhere as a jpeg file, and they're never really seen or looked at again.  Why would we do that?  Why would we treat something we created to remember as if we actually didn't care about it and preferred to forget it?

I read a {great blog post} recently where the blogger asserted that pictures in today's society are seen as frivolous and even vain.  But I love the conclusion she came to:  If the moment or the event makes you happy right now, why WOULDN'T you capture it so it can make you happy again later?  The ability to look back on a moment, or see a person again, is {good for the heart and the soul}.

One of the main purposes of this blog is to help our actions toward our pictures be more in line with their real value. My hashtag #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs is a real goal here at LifeTales Books!

There's something more.  Your pictures can be something more!  Rather than files to scroll through, back up, and possibly lose, your pictures can be seen and preserved in a high-quality way that will allow you to add meaning to the photos by writing details.  Let me give you an example.

This is a really special photo.  And you have no idea why.  You don't know who is in this photo, where it was taken, why it was taken, or what makes this photo special.  This is how someone else (maybe your kids, grandkids, spouse, friend) will look at your photos.  Over time, you may even look at your own photos the way you're looking at my photo here. 

If you're not careful, your photos will be as useless and meaningless to someone else as this one of mine is to you.  

But at least this is a photo.  Most of our "photos" today aren't even photos--they're just files.  They need to be brought out of file form and into a tactile form that can be held and seen, even if the computer has crashed or the cell phone has been stolen.  (There are some astonishing statistics of the likelihood of these {at this link}.)

This blog has a lot of great resources for doing just that.  Everything you'll find here (especially at the purple tabs across the top of the blog, under the header) are better quality than the vast majority of photo books you find online.  There are lots of perks, too, such as no hidden cost (no buying digital art, for example), private photo storage (shockingly unusual these days), and Heirloom Assurance.  You can {read more here}.

While I always encourage people to {find a memory-keeping method they will love} so that they're more likely to do it, I'll share two of my favorite ideas here, plus one super speedy option.

This is the one I always recommend to people who have so many photos that they don't even know what to do with them or where to start.  This video gives a fantastic solution, but it also goes over some strategies for getting a handle on many, many photos.

This is the method I personally use, and in the video I go over why I love it so much and how this method is responsible for allowing me to be consistently caught up preserving my photos and memories.  This method is sort of the extended version of the method above (yearbook).

2021 UPDATE:  Find three more heirloom-quality options--a simple auto-fill, a pretty adjustable template, and fully creative and flexible digital scrapbooking--at that link. 

Although the videos give you pretty much everything you need to know, you can {find additional tutorials here as well as here} if you'd like.

What will you do today towards treating your pictures as treasures, treating like them as if you want to see them and remember the moments they have captured for you?

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Thursday, November 22, 2018

Best of LifeTales Books - blog post collection (Happy Thanksgiving!)

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope you have had an enjoyable day in the ways that make you happiest, and I hope you've taken time to count your blessings.

If you're ready for some inspiring, fun, and interesting reading, you've come to the right place.  You'll find the Best of LifeTales Books today--the top five blog posts of all time.  And since this blog is nine years old, that's actually saying a lot.  Here are the most-read blog posts at LifeTales Books:

#5 Special Family Days: DIY birthday and anniversary board
I gave this as a gift and it is well-loved!  I love seeing it when I visit.  :)  Read this blog post here:

#4 12 (Days of) Christmas Gift Ideas - part 1
These are some of the funnest gift ideas, and they can be combined for 12 Days of Christmas or you can just choose your favorites to give to neighbors/teachers/friends.  Read this blog post here:

#3 Two Impressive Ideas for Swag Bags
I wrote this post with small business owners in mind, but these ideas can be used for anything from birthday party bags to open houses or anything!  If you love this idea (shown), wait until you see the next one.  I think it's my very favorite.  Read this blog post here:

#2 Clever Christmas Card/Letter Idea!
I'm not surprised that my readers are Christmas fans just like I am!  This clever Christmas card/letter idea is so much fun, and it's the second most popular blog post EVER at LifeTales Books!  There's even a video tutorial to show you how to get some fancy and impressive Christmas greetings that will really stand out but not break the bank.  Read this blog post here:

And now for the #1 most popular post at LifeTales Books over the last 9 years...

#1 Teacher Appreciation Gifts that will Knock Their Socks Off
I love these creative, stand-out teacher appreciation gifts.  They're so clever and so personal.  There's also a video tutorial at this link about how to make your own notepads (they're professionally published) for this fun gift of thanks.  Read this blog post here:

Happy reading!  Since several of these posts are time-specific, remember you can Pin each post to Pinterest so you can find it again next spring (for teachers) or at Christmastime or whenever you're looking for gift ideas or swag bag fun.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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.

Today, preserving photos and memories can come in many forms, and 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.

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.

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?

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

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  


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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.


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


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.


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!

  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!
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Friday, October 26, 2018

How to Increase Happiness and Relaxation

Two things that seem to be in high demand and short supply these days are happiness and relaxation.  Stress seems to be taking their place. Today I’m going to show you how to find increased happiness and relaxation in some surprising places from some unexpected sources.  It’s funny how easily they could be had but how elusive they are until we get a few hints.

The Surprising Sources for Happiness

Something we all have (and sometimes have too much of!) is pictures.  They’re on phones, cameras, computers, and social media.  I believe this leads to an all too common way of thinking about pictures:  big deal.  But pictures and memories are a much bigger deal than we think.

In fact, pictures have been shown to increase happiness!  Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” says {pictures make us happy for many reasons}, including:
  • They help us remember people, places, and activities we love.
  • Pictures help us remember happy times from the past, which makes us happier in the present.
  • A photo can sometimes replace a thing we love.  (Think about something that was broken or old or impractical to keep–a photo lets it live forever with you.)
  • Taking photos increases {creativity}.
Dr. Peter Naish did a study on {how viewing photographs lifts your mood} when compared to other common ways to do so like eating or drinking.  Looking at photos increased mood by 11%, whereas eating, drinking, watching TV/movies, or listening to music increased mood only 1%.  He found, too, that looking at pictures even helped people relax more!  After viewing photos, people reported a 22% increase in relaxation!  (Incidentally, drinking wine came in at 14% and eating chocolate came in at 8%.)

And it’s more than just pictures–it’s what’s behind them.  In the mid-1990s, Dr. Marshall Duke from Emory University took a close look at the American family.  Dr. Duke’s wife, Sara, had noticed something about the children she worked with:  the ones who knew a lot about their families did better when challenges arose.  

So Dr. Duke and a colleague, Dr. Robyn Fivush, decided to further examine this theory.  Through their {“Do You Know?” study}, they found that kids who were connected to their families by knowing family stories were more resilient and had higher self-esteem.  They also had a greater sense of control over their own lives, {even in the face of crisis}.

Another thing that working with our photos and memories does is develop a stronger sense of self, more gratitude, and a sense of purpose.  Our perspective gets better.
"The secret to having it all is knowing you already do." -anonymous
The Trick to Tapping Into Happiness, Relaxation, and Strength

The only trick to using photos and memories and family stories for increased happiness, relaxation, connection, resilience, and strength is that you have to have a way to access them.  If I sit back and try to remember family stories, none come to mind all that quickly (especially when I need them).  When I brainstorm (either alone or with others) and then write them down, I have a place to go to when I need my family stories.  Same goes for pictures.  If they’re unorganized or in too many places, they’re just overwhelming–they’re not useful for happiness, relaxation, or strength.  But if I put them into a book or scrap page and write my memories with them, they’re there the instant I need a lift.

Many people don’t do much with their photos these days because of {overwhelm} and {too little time}.  There’s also a pervading false notion that you have to be a scrapbooker in order to do something with your photos.  

I’ve been a memory-keeper, preserving my photos and memories and stories, for as long as I can remember.  Since 2005, I’ve been helping other people do the same.  So today I’ll share with you the best time hacks I know of for making time for your photos and memories so you can get all the fabulous side-effects of memory-keeping.

Before I share my three favorite time hacks, here are two helps: 
  • If disorganized and cluttered photos makes getting started difficult, there are several {photo organization tools and resources (including a video)} right there at that link.
  • If the idea of doing anything at all with your photos is overwhelming,  you might want to try {Scrapbooking For Hire}.  This service can be anything you want it to be, from basic tips on where to even start to helping you with photo organization or the actual creating of {digital books or scrap pages}.  Sometimes you just need ideas and directions, and sometimes you need a partner.

My Three Favorite Time Hacks to Make Memory-Keeping Doable for Increased Happiness and Relaxation

One requirement for memory-keeping is time.  That’s true of everything, right?  Learning something, helping someone, Christmas shopping, reading, cooking.  Everything requires time.  Because of busy schedules as well as {the pervading sense of and idealization of busy-ness in our culture}, it’s more important than ever to make time for something as important as our photos and memories.  

I have a whole collection of {ideas and time management helps from experts} at that link, but one of my favorite ways to “find” time for memory-keeping is called a Digi-Crop.  I’ve been doing this for years and years.  Here’s what a Digi-Crop is and how it can help you:

2021 UPDATE:  Digi-Crops are now called Photo Rodeo: Rein in Your Photos.  All information for Photo Rodeos and other events like them are found in the our community tab along the top of this blog.

Another great time-saver hack for getting memory-keeping done is to ask for help!  If you’re writing a family story, the fabulous gals at {} can help!  If you’re trying to get some photos and memories preserved in books or scrap pages, check out {Scrapbooking For Hire}.  

My number one favorite memory-keeping time hack is shown in this video.  The idea of a Yearbook broken down by month means that you already know where all the photos go!  (Halloween 2015 pictures go in the 2015 book on the October pages.)  These beautiful templates make your yearbook come together so quickly!

If you'd like more flexibility than the templates offer, I highly recommend Artisan digital scrapbooking software.  It's what I use because I love the flexibility and creativity.  Learning the Design & Print platform (above) takes about 2 minutes, so it's much simpler to use, but I know a lot of people who love all the design capabilities in Artisan (below) even though you do have to learn the program.  (Plus, I have a whole bunch of Artisan Quick Tip videos for you!)

There’s No Time Like THIS Time

Pictures seem to be one of the easiest things to put off.  They pile up on cameras and phones, and before you know it, you’re {swimming in them} But memories fade far faster than we think they will, and digital photos left in digital form are always at the mercy of technology.  

If you’re serious about increasing your own happiness, relaxation, strength, and well-being, there’s no time like this time.  Why on earth would you wait?  Take advantage of the hacks I’ve shared, or {contact me} with your specific needs and questions.  

Whatever you do, #dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs  {Get started here.}

Who do you know who needs more happiness and relaxation?  Share this post via
email, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, or your favorite social media.

This post was originally published at on October 26, 2018, by Jennifer Wise as part of the #familyhistoryfriday series that ran for a year and a half.  Although this is the last post in the series, you can go back and find many, many more posts about family, photos, memories, stories, and connections!  Just click the #familyhistoryfriday hashtag below next to Labels.  This entire blog is dedicated to the same theme, so explore and enjoy!

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.

UPDATE:  Here's my finished project!  I love how they turned out.  I hope my friends enjoy my favorite soft gingerbread cookie recipe.  :)

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.

UPDATE:  I got these back in the mail yesterday and created them in no time!  I love how they turned out.

I actually have few individual sets for purchase for $3.50 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:

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!