Monday, November 12, 2018

Heart & Soul LinkUp #2

Did you enjoy having all those great blog posts in one place last week at our first Heart & Soul LinkUp?  I did!  And I loved every post.  These are some of my favorite bloggers, and it's so convenient to just show up here at LifeTales Books and see them all together at once.  I'm sure you found your own favorite posts, and I'm excited to share my favorites and the readers' favorite with you, too!

Remember--if you know great bloggers who would be a great fit for our "good for the heart and soul" theme, you can invite them to share their blog posts here, too.

New to LinkUps and how they work?  Click {here}
Before we see what's in store at Heart & Soul LinkUp #2, let's highlight the favorites from last week!  I've picked three favorites, and the readers picked a favorite, too!

READER FAVORITE(S)
How about that--we have a 3-way tie this week!  Readers loved

from Alicia at My Plant Strong Family

from Michele and Shiree at Confessions of Parenting

from Cary at Cary MacArthur

MY FAVORITES

I really was impressed with so many of the posts that choosing 3 favorites was difficult.  And, yes, I expect it to be that way every week at the Heart & Soul LinkUp!  :)  The 3-way tie for reader favorites helped me a little, though, so thank you for that!  ;)  Here are my favorite posts from Heart & Soul LinkUp #1.

from Shannon at DeBord Studios
I love this post because as far as I can tell, everyone needs help in this area!  I see it a lot in my own work as a Heritage Makers consultant.  Shannon's three suggestions for slowing down are excellent. 

from Amy at Hampers & Hiccups
There are lots of sweet ideas here that I really loved and hadn't thought of before.

from Brittany and Andrea at The American Moms
These are so interactive!  I love that they're so fun that kids might not even realize they're educational.  The shine-a-light ones are a huge hit with kids. 

Bloggers, if you were one of the four favorites this week, copy
this image and show off on your blog and social media!
Were these some of your favorites, too, or did you miss them last time?  I always like seeing favorites at LinkUps just in case I missed something I'll love.

Now it's time for the second edition of the Heart & Soul LinkUp.  Hop around at this LinkUp and see what inspires you this week.  And if you know other bloggers whose posts are good for the heart and soul, invite them to participate in the Heart & Soul LinkUp!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:  At LifeTales Books, we believe in #familyfirst and #socialmediafourthorfifth.  ;)  The Heart & Soul LinkUp will take the week of Thanksgiving off, so favorites from this week will be posted in our next LinkUp on November 26 instead of November 19.  Enjoy your holiday and family time.

Bloggers:  Before posting, read the six rules for posting your content here--you'll find them down at the end of this post. 

And now here's Heart & Soul LinkUp #2:



We all love blog posts that are good for the heart and soul!  Sharing is caring,
so Pin this image to Pinterest and spread the joy.

RULES FOR BLOGGER PARTICIPATION (Rules for adding your blog post to today's linkup above.)  Participating bloggers MUST:
  1. FOLLOW THE THEME:  The theme of the Heart & Soul LinkUp is "what's good for the heart and soul."  Therefore, all blog posts added to the Heart & Soul LinkUp must be about something that's good for the heart and soul.  This can include posts related to the home and family such as recipes, DIY,  home decor, parenting, marriage, etc., or inspirational posts about hope, learning, growth, connections, etc.  Fashion bloggers, for example, would not be a good fit here.  ALL POSTS MUST BE FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND UPLIFTING.
  2. POST (when & how):  The LinkUp will open at 7:00am Mountain Time every Monday and close 24 hours later, 7:00am Tuesday.  Voting for favorites will open at 7:00am Tuesday and close at 7:00am Wednesday.  To add your blog post to the LinkUp, click the blue "add my link" button.  Remember to add a direct link to the specific post you want to share, not your blog's home page.
  3. OBSERVE THE LIMITS:  Let's save room for everybody--submissions are limited to 2 blog posts per person on each weekly LinkUp.  (This may change moving forward, but for now the limit is 2.)
  4. SHARE THE LOVE:  Read and comment on at least 3 other blog posts each week you submit your own post to the LinkUp.  This isn't a place to dump your links and run--we're here to help each other out and even make new friends.  When you comment, please use the hashtag #heartandsoullinkup at the end of your comment.  Voting on a favorite isn't required but is appreciated.
  5. INVITE OTHERS:  We need everyone's help in inviting others to see this LinkUp, so each participating blogger must do two things:  #1 Put a link to this LinkUp on your own blog so that others can find us--sidebar works best, but a tab works, too.  Something visible is ideal.  If you prefer, you can save the image at the top of this post and use it at the end of your own blog post saying, "Find me at the Heart and Soul LinkUp" with an included link.  #2 After posting your link in the LinkUp, you must share a link to this blog post at LifeTales Books on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+. 
  6. LET ME SHARE:  By participating in this LinkUp, you are giving me the right to share your blog posts on social media.  When you are chosen as a reader favorite or as one of my own favorite posts of the week, you allow me to share a link back to your blog post plus an image from your post here on my blog (which gives you additional visibility). 
Thanks, blogging friends, for sharing your fantastic blog posts that are good for the heart and soul!

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  

#dontletyourbabiesgrowuptobejpegs

Pin to Pinterest and share!

Monday, November 5, 2018

Celebrating 9 Years of Blogging with a LinkUp!

Yup, 9 years.  I've been blogging here for 9 whole years!  What started as a fun way to keep my Heritage Makers clients across the country updated and informed through tutorials and DIY ideas has expanded wide!  This blog now includes time management tips, inspiration on making connections through photos and stories, easy ways to preserve your memories, meaningful gift ideas, why memory-keeping matters so much, helps to get started writing your story, fun uses for Heritage Makers personal publishing, and much, much more.  My posts have changed a little over the years based on the needs I see and the inspiration I want to share, but there's always been an overall theme of taking time to do something special to make connections. 


One thing I learned this past blogging year is how much fun it is to share the love.  

There are some great blogs out there, and some great content.  A LinkUp is the perfect way to find fantastic posts all in one place.  I have participated in a few LinkUps this year and really enjoyed "meeting" new friends.  Something I really like about LinkUps is that they have a theme, so I always know what type of posts I'm getting when I explore a LinkUp.

In celebration of my 9 years here at LifeTales Books, I've decided to start my own Blog LinkUp here:  The Heart & Soul LinkUp.  If you're a reader, you'll be able to find a lot of fabulous blog posts here.  If you're a blogger who fits the parameters I'll outline below, you'll be able to leave links to your latest blog posts and let new readers find you.  Each week four favorite posts will be featured--my favorite three blog posts from the previous week, and the readers' favorite, too!


Here's how the Heart & Soul LinkUp will work for readers.  It's easy!  Just drop by this blog every Monday or Tuesday and read all the blog posts you like!  (Keep reading to find our very first Heart & Soul LinkUp TODAY!

It's nice to show the bloggers some love when you're done reading if you possibly can.  Here are a few ways to do that:
  • Comment!  Comments are so appreciated!  At the end of your comment leave the hashtag #heartandsoullinkup so our blogger knows you'd like her to post here at Heart & Soul LinkUp again. 
  • NOTE:  If you click a blog post you didn't mean to, our blogging friend will appreciate it if you could stay about 10 seconds so Google doesn't view it as a "bounce."  Among other things, Google uses bounce rates to determine the popularity and value of a blog to make "better" ones easier to find in searches.  Not required, just nice for our blogger friends.
  • Choose your favorite blog post and either tell me about it in the comments below or come back to this post on Tuesday (the next day) and mark the little heart in the right hand corner of the post you love.  The following week, the most popular blog post will be featured here!
  • If you'd like to show a little extra love to blog posts you really like, Pin to Pinterest, Tweet on Twitter, or share on Facebook. 
BLOGGERS sharing their blog posts here at the Heart & Soul LinkUp have six rules to follow.  If this is you, you must scroll down to the bottom of this post and read all the rules for participating BEFORE you post your link in the LinkUp.  
  
I have invited some great bloggers to be a part of the Heart & Soul LinkUp.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!  If you know a blogger who would be a good fit for this LinkUp, invite her, too!  We'd like to have a wide variety of blogs to read each week and are looking to include about 30-40 bloggers regularly!

*drum roll*  Presenting: Heart & Soul LinkUp #1!



SEE YOU NEXT WEEK FOR MORE GREAT BLOG POSTS.  

Pin and share!

Here's how the Heart & Soul LinkUp will work for bloggers who share their own blog posts here.  (These six rules will be posted each week as a reminder.)  Participating bloggers must:
  1. FOLLOW THE THEME:  The theme of the Heart & Soul LinkUp is "what's good for the heart and soul."  Therefore, all blog posts added to the Heart & Soul LinkUp must be about something that's good for the heart and soul.  This can include posts related to the home and family such as recipes, DIY, home decor, parenting, marriage, etc., or inspirational posts about hope, learning, growth, connections, etc.  Fashion bloggers, for example, would not be a good fit here.  ALL POSTS MUST BE FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND UPLIFTING.
  2. POST (when & how):  The LinkUp will open at 7:00am Mountain Time every Monday and close 24 hours later, 7:00am Tuesday.  Voting for favorites will open at 7:00am Tuesday and close at 7:00am Wednesday.  To add your blog post to the LinkUp, click the blue "add my link" button.  Remember to add a direct link to the specific post you want to share, not your blog's home page.
  3. OBSERVE THE LIMITS:  Let's save room for everybody--submissions are limited to 2 blog posts per person on each weekly LinkUp.  (This may change moving forward, but for now the limit is 2.)
  4. SHARE THE LOVE:  Read and comment on at least 3 other blog posts each week you submit your own post to the LinkUp.  This isn't a place to dump your links and run--we're here to help each other out and even make new friends.  When you comment, please use the hashtag #heartandsoullinkup at the end of your comment.  Voting on a favorite of the 3+ you read isn't required but is appreciated.
  5. INVITE OTHERS:  We need everyone's help in inviting others to see this LinkUp, so each participating blogger must do two things:  #1 Put a link to this LinkUp on your own blog so that others can find us--sidebar works best, but a tab works, too.  Something visible is ideal.  If you prefer, you can save an image from this post and use it at the end of your own blog post saying, "Find me at the Heart and Soul LinkUp" with an included link.  Whatever works for your particular blog.  #2 After posting your link in the LinkUp, the InLinkz program will let you share the blog post you just added on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Google+.  You must share on at least one of those platforms each time you post your link at the Heart & Soul LinkUp.
  6. LET ME SHARE:  By participating in this LinkUp, you are giving me the right to share your blog posts on social media.  When you are chosen as a reader favorite or as one of my own favorite posts of the week, you allow me to share a link back to your blog post plus an image from your post here on my blog (which gives you additional visibility). 
Two more suggestions for bloggers who participate in this Blog Hop:
  • It's gonna be Monday again before you know it.  If you'd like a reminder to participate each week, {follow LifeTales Books on Bloglovin'} and be sure you're signed up to receive e-mail notifications.  Or you can subscribe to this blog by e-mail--just scroll up and find "subscribe by e-mail" in the right sidebar. 
  • When your post is featured as a favorite, show it off!  Use the image below to celebrate--post it on your own blog with a link over here so your blog readers can see where you were featured.

Thanks, blogging friends, for sharing your fantastic blog posts that are good for the heart and soul!

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.

EASY BUTTON METHOD

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

SIMPLIFIED DIY METHOD

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.


DIY METHOD

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!

TWO WORDS OF ADVICE
  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!
Pin to save and share!