Thursday, January 17, 2019

One-of-a-Kind Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

If you're like most Valentine-givers, you are giving a gift or a card to someone special for a reason.  You want to show love and appreciation.  With a little planning, this year you can give your someone special an impressive and truly personal gift or card.  Ready to see FIVE one-of-a-kind Valentine's Day gift ideas?  Let's go!

The first three ideas I'll show you are all created online (with templates available) using {Heritage Makers}.  So even though they are different products, they all come with:
  • highest quality
  • free templates
  • fully-editable templates (so you're not restricted by using a template--you can add and remove and change and move any element on the page)
  • free digital art (that's all the "cute" stuff--the backgrounds, alphabets, and other embellishments)
  • nothing extra to download or buy (your account is free, use of the software is free, templates are free, and you don't buy or download digital art, either--all you pay for is whatever product you're buying)
  • private photo storage (surprisingly uncommon these days--many companies reserve rights to your photos and can use them!)
  • Heirloom Assurance (as long as your account is active, all projects are saved there forever, and if any project gets damaged you can order a replacement at half price)
  • a consultant--that's me!  I can help with any questions you have.
If you're new to Heritage Makers, you're going to love it!  It is so versatile and so personal.  (If you're "old" to Heritage Makers, I know you're nodding.) 

The last two ideas are things you just order without creating digitally.  They're from Anthology DIY, and they're really clever and fun!

So let's see these five fantastic ideas already!

5.75"x3.5" - 20 fully personalizable pages -  wirebound with clear protective front and back covers - about $12 - arrives about 10 days after you submit it for publishing
template 50462 at the Template Gallery at
I think "reasons I love you" gifts are some of the best kind you can give!  

not for Valentine's Day, but you can see the wire binding here
A written note listing reasons you love your special one would be wonderful, but imagine opening your own book with those reasons, complete with your own photos!  There's nothing like it!!

I made this video for beginners (anyone new to Heritage Makers), showing step by step how to make something lovely for Valentine's Day.  I show template ideas for the sweet little pink book above as well as card ideas which I'll talk about below.  It's actually a live class (recorded), so the attendees actually typed in questions for me to address, too.  

About the Video:  The beginning until minute 5 introduces the cards and book with product specifications and template numbers.  You'll want to skip 5:15-10:45 because that where I explain how to get the best prices.  That system is a tad outdated--the current system is very similar but has been modified, so {you can find best price information here} instead.  Then from 10:45 until the end you get THE WORKS.  I explain how to set up a free Heritage Makers account, how to upload the photos you want to use in your projects, how to use a template, and more.  Then I show in detail how to use the software (it's a drag & drop format) and how to access all the free digital art (thousands of pieces!) as I literally personalize (and change) a template while you watch me do it.  I walk you all the way through ordering, too.

The same basic idea of making the card as shown in the video will help you make the book, too, but if you'd prefer {a tutorial specifically making a flip book}, just click this link.

5"x7" (or 7"x5") - 4 fully personalizable panels - includes an envelope - direct shipping option available - about $2 - also available in 4"x6" (or 6"x4")  - arrives about 10 days after you submit it for publishing

template 25355 at the Template Gallery at
I really think one of my favorite things about this type of truly personal card is that it's the same price as one from Hallmark or Walmart!  Actually, a little cheaper!  And you can put your own picture, your own message, your own sentiment on it.  Isn't that amazing?

I can't even tell you how many templates there are available, either.  TONS.  This is one of the two cards I show in the video tutorial above, and I go into detail about how to make a card in the video, too.

54-card deck of 2.4"x3.5" cards - both sides fully customizable (backs all one design; fronts can be different) -  comes with a plastic case - high gloss finish with rounded corners - about $17 - arrives about 20 days after you submit it for publishing

template 6114 at the Template Gallery at
How cool is this?!  It's a little hard to tell from just this picture, but this is the back of a playing card deck that's been made into Love Coupons!  On the front side, there are sweet little coupons like "30 minute massage" and "candlelight dinner at home for the two of us."  

Because this is a template and because it's a Heritage Makers product, you can put your own picture there on the back and just submit the cards for publishing OR you can change things up.  Instead of "a gift from the heart" on the back, you can put your own message or none at all.  Instead of "candlelight dinner" you can put something else you'd prefer to give a coupon for.  

I LOVE how personal this gift is!

If you would like a little walk through making a playing card deck in order to personalize yours, {click here to see my very basic Heritage Makers playing card deck tutorial}.

The playing cards don't have to be Love Coupons, either.  If you want just a regular deck of playing cards with a picture on the back, you can do that, too!  (That's actually the kind I show in the playing card deck tutorial link above.)

And you can make them for friends instead of a sweetheart, if you prefer, like this:
playing card deck from Heritage Makers; back shown at left, other cards are the fronts

Remember I said there were a couple of non-digital items that are great one-of-a-kind Valentine's Day gift ideas?  These are kits that are almost done for you and make really fun gifts.  Here they are: 

everything (EVERYTHING!) you need to make 20 shaker cards - pre-cut pieces and directions so the cards are almost made for you - beautiful storage box with magnetic closure included - $49 - arrives in about 7-10 days

I have made cards from Anthology DIY card kits before, but not these shaker ones.  I need to try them!  Aren't they adorable? I absolutely adore the Anthology kits in general because it's like crafty card making without nearly so much time.  I get to be creative, but I don't have to cut or measure anything.

The price comes out to about $2.50 per card, and I think this would make such a fun Valentine for classmates, grandkids, girlfriends, etc.  

To order this set, go {to this website} and click "products" at the upper right.  From there, click "Anthology DIY."  This kit is under the Kits section, so you'll have to scroll down a bit.  It's called Valentine Make & Shake Card Kit.  (Don't confuse it with the regular Make & Shake Card Kit, although that's darling, too.)  Just put it in your shopping cart.

set of 3 sticky-backed canvas pieces with a Valentine theme for $15 - block kit including paint, paint brush, and sandpaper along with 3 unfinished pine 3"x4" blocks set, 1 with a finial, for $17 (optional) - arrives in about 7-10 days 

I think this would make such a fun home decor gift!  It doesn't take up a lot of space but is so cute!

The blocks themselves are a separate kit from the sticky-backed canvas pieces shown above.  I personally consider the block set (with the paint, etc.) optional, but it's certainly easier than cutting your own blocks.  

An extra bonus about this gift is that there are additional canvas sets for other holidays.  (Hence, the title "Canvas EXCHANGE.")  The canvas pieces can be stored flat on a plastic sheet (I use a 12x12 page protector) and can be used and reused about 100 times!  You can swap or exchange one canvas set for another while using the same set of wood blocks.  So if you give this for Valentine's Day, you can give additional canvas sets for birthdays and holidays!

To order this set, go {to this website} and click "products" at the upper right.  From there, click "Anthology DIY."  To complete this whole set, you'll want the Valentine Canvas Exchange ($15) and the wood block kit ($17), unless you'd prefer to cut your own blocks and buy your own paint and brush.  Both kits are under the Kits section, so you'll have to scroll down and look around.  Place them in your shopping cart and you've got a cute gift on the way!

How's that for five adorable, unique, personal, and creative Valentine's Day gift ideas that will make your recipients feel like they're one-of-a-kind?!  

Save for next year, too!  Pin to Pinterest.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Heart & Soul LinkUp #8

It's another Monday, but here at LifeTales Books that's good news!  Mondays are Heart & Soul LinkUp days, so we have a variety of bloggers leaving links to their blog posts all day long.  Keep reading and you'll find blog posts about growth, DIY, creativity, family, photos, and inspiration.

If you enjoy these weekly linkups, please share them with other bloggers and/or readers you know!  We would love to grow the field of participants so we have more great blog posts to read.

Before we get to this week's linkup, let's highlight the favorites from last week.

Believe it or not, we had a six-way tie for reader favorite!  So I'll forego sharing my own favorites and we'll stick with a whopping six favorites for the week.  If you missed any of these from last week, be sure you check them out--I included links below:

from Hilbert at Hilbert's Mazes

from Lori at Choosing Wisdom

from Michele at Confessions of Parenting

from Alicia at My Plant Strong Family

from Flossie at Super Mom Hacks

from Jamie at Momageddon 365

Thanks, bloggers, for sharing your posts with us!  If you were featured, celebrate by sharing on social media.  You can use this image.

So now let's dive right into Heart & Soul LinkUp #8 and find all new blog posts to love.  (Bloggers, you can find the rules for participating at the bottom of {this post}.)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Heart & Soul LinkUp #7

Happy New Year!  I'm excited to bring you the first Heart & Soul LinkUp of 2019.  This is the perfect place to find lovely blog posts that are good for the heart and soul.  Get inspired or have some fun.  Bloggers will be leaving links to their blog posts all day long.

We took some time off the last couple of weeks, so the Favorites today come from December--that was our most recent LinkUp.  Now that the holidays are over, we're back in the saddle and will continue our regular schedule with LinkUps every Monday (and voting for favorites every Tuesday).

I LOVE sharing favorites because sometimes they highlight something great you might have missed before.  And once again, we have a 3-way tie for Reader Favorite!  So instead of featuring 1 reader favorite and 3 of my favorites, we'll swap.  Here's what we loved from Heart & Soul LinkUp #6:


from Alicia at My Plant Strong Family

from Jamie at Mommageddon 365

from Jennifer at LifeTales Books


from Cary at Cary MacArthur
This is an inspiring read!  Cary speaks to the power of being yourself and focusing on YOUR strengths (not anyone else's), which is something I strongly believe in.  I loved how she said, "Do what you were born to do."  Amen, sister.

Thank you, wonderful bloggers, for sharing your posts with us.  If you were a favorite, show it off on social media with this image.

And now it's time for Heart & Soul LinkUp #7!  I can't wait to see what our blogger friends have in store for us this time.

Bloggers, find the rules for participating in the Heart & Soul LinkUp {right here} (at the bottom of the post).  

Thursday, January 3, 2019

What Memory-Keeping Has to do with Personal Growth

Are you a resolution maker?  Or are you a proponent of having a word for the year to focus on?  I'm definitely the latter.  In fact, my word for this past year was "prioritize," and I have changed up quite a few aspects of my Heritage Makers business.  I prefer small do-able changes over a giant proclamation at the beginning of the year (when, frankly, it's cold and dark and I just want to sip hot chocolate all day) about big changes I want to make.

Of all the goals or words for the year that may be crossing your mind, I'm guessing they have something to do with personal growth.  Whether it's taking the stairs instead of the elevator or increasing your random acts of kindness, most things we strive for are related in one way or another to personal growth and self-improvement.  We often want to do a little better at something.

In my years and years as a memory-keeper, and now sharing it as a business since 2005, I have discovered four truths about personal growth in relation to memory-keeping.  While we think about our goals and growth for the coming year, I'd like to offer these four truths for you to consider in coming days, weeks, and months.  The blog posts I'm sharing with each truth go into much more detail, so you'll definitely want to read each one!

Here are four truths I've learned about personal growth through memory-keeping.
  1. Making time to sit, feel, remember, and engage with your photos and your stories gives you peace, gratitude, and happiness in a way nothing else can.  Putting your photos and stories in something tangible gives credence to them is actually therapeutic.  Read more--including statistics and studies about the benefits of memory-keeping as well as advice on HOW to be a memory-keeper--at {Personal Growth through Memory-Keeping}.   
  2. Hobbies are not for people with too much time on their hands; they are for people who want to expand their minds and use or find their talents.  Hobbies challenge your brain, give a needed break from stress, and increase positivity while lowering depression.  (As you might guess, preserving my photos and memories is my favorite hobby because it combines the therapeutic benefits I mentioned in #1 with these benefits of a hobby.)  Read more on {The Importance of Hobbies to Personal Growth}.
  3. EVERYONE IS CREATIVE, and everyone needs to use their own creativity for personal growth, happiness, and satisfaction!  An understanding of what creativity actually is frees you to create.  If you want your heart to feel good right now, read the inspiring words at {The Importance of Creativity to Personal Growth}.  You'll come away knowing much more about yourself.
  4. Memories are important to personal growth!  At first glance, it seems strange--how can memories (looking back) mean so much to growth (going forward)?  Our memory, in fact, is wholly responsible for our connection to other people!  Memory is also what makes it possible for us to grow and change.  I had never thought of that.  I learned so much from the expertise in {The Importance of Memories to Personal Growth}.

So what DOES memory-keeping have to do with personal growth?  Actually , preserving your photos and memories by taking the time to engage with them and remember has EVERYTHING to do with personal growth!

And it would be the perfect goal for the coming year because {it's good for you and good for your family} at the same time!  Get started right now--there's even a "how to get started" tab (in purple) at the top of this blog.  There is (quite literally!) no time like the present!  This is gonna be SO good for you!

We all need these therapeutic benefits--so Pin and share!
Happy New Year!  See you there.