Thursday, February 28, 2019

What You're Really Signing Up For with Digital Photo Storage

A couple of years ago, a woman came to me wanting to know more about all this Heritage Makers stuff I've been talking about.  She said she had just learned that the online photobook company she'd been using for a couple of years reserves rights to all the photos uploaded to their site!  This means they could use pictures of this woman's baby in their advertising if they want.  Or sell them.  She was very concerned about photo privacy and dropped that company like a hot potato when she found out Heritage Makers does not reserve rights to your photos--they are completely private and solely yours.

The company this woman was dropping is, I believe, the most popular online photobook company out there.  Because of that (and probably because I'm a 14-year user of Heritage Makers and am quite accustomed to how they do things), I will admit that in the back of my mind I kind of didn't believe this gal.

I thought:  A company using your photos without your permission?!  How can that possibly be?!?

Guess what.  It's true.  

This scary article, {Those Cloud Photo Services... What's the Risk?} confirms it, along with several others linked there.  According to Darla at HeartWork Organizing, many public services take the rights to your photos when you upload them to their site.  This includes Google Photos, Facebook, iCloud, Flickr, and really any social media platform.  Once you upload your photos to their site, you are giving them your photosThey own them.

As just one example, Darla quotes the Google terms of use--what you are signing up for when you click "I accept."
"When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display, and distribute such content."
 "This license continues even if you stop using our service."
"Google may also stop providing Services to you, or add or create new limits to our services at any time." 
Okay, then.  Are your eyes as wide as mine are right now?

Darla's article also includes four links to stories of people's photos being used without their knowledge, including one where a family in Pennsylvania finds out that their picture had been used on a political ad flyer.

In talking with Caren Osborne, a {professional photo organizer at Memory Lane Photo Solutions}, I learned a few more things that I didn't know about Google and iCloud.  Many people sync their phones to one of these "photo storage" methods, so they think their photos are safe up there in the cloud.  However, what most people don't know is that once you delete a photo from your phone, it's deleted from Google or from iCloud, too.  That's what syncing with your phone does--it connects the two, so whatever happens on your phone happens in the cloud, too.  

And I can't even tell you how many people have told me that they can't ever find their photos when they use iPhoto.  But that's another story.

Let me give you a way to avoid this, a way to keep your photos private and secure!  This is what I personally use for online digital photo storage.  I would NEVER use anything else.

Since its inception in 2004, {Heritage Makers} provides PRIVATE full-resolution digital photo storage for FREE.  I can download *my own photos* back to my computer for free (some companies charge a fee for this).  If my computer crashes, I can get all my photos back (for free).  These are just some of the many reasons Heritage Makers is my top choice for digital photo storage.  Hands down.

A Basic Heritage Makers account allows you to store 2 GB of photos for free, but here's the great news!  {As you know, photos were never meant to be stored; they were meant to be seen.}  So Heritage Makers offers lots of options for not just storing but actually publishing your photos, such as hardbound books, digital scrap pages, calendars, canvases, softbound books, and much more.  The great news I alluded to earlier is this:  Every single photo you print through Heritage Makers publish in a Heritage Makers project (book, scrap page, etc.) doesn't count toward your photo storage limit.  That 2 GB limit is only for unused photos--photos you haven't yet put into a book, scrap page, etc.  That's essentially UNLIMITED, FREE DIGITAL PHOTO STORAGE.  Let me give you my personal experience, which is now going on 14 years!

(I will say, too, that you can buy extra digital photo storage in your Heritage Makers account if you want to--if, for example, you haven't published your photos in any projects yet--but since {photos are meant to be seen, not stored}, I always encourage people to just print their photos in a book or scrap page.  That way they get to SEE their pictures and they get free digital photo storage, too.)

Here's my story.  I have been using Heritage Makers since 2005.  What that means is that I have been uploading my photos to their site for 14 years.  All my photos.  Remember--my photos stay private in my private account; Heritage Makers claim no rights to my photos and I didn't sign away my rights when {I opened my free account} with them.  Anyway, I take a lot of photos and I have {an awesome, consistent system for preserving them with Heritage Makers digital scrap pages}, so I literally have thousands upon thousands of photos saved in my account since 2005.  Because every one of the pictures I store there is used in a Heritage Makers project, I have something like 20 GB of completely free, secure, private digital photo storage.  And did I mention that's for free?!   

And it gets better.

Heritage Makers actually goes a step further.  And it's a big step

If you do a web search for the best ways to store your digital photos, you'll find suggestions to store them two ways digitally and one way in print.  Have you ever thought of having your photos in a book or album as photo storage?  Well, it is!

Print continues to be a largely overlooked and much more useful and satisfying form of photo storage.  You're still storing (preserving, really) your photos when you print them in a book or scrap page, and it's better than digital storage because photos are usually easier to find and easier to enjoy.  A page provides a place to record memories that belong to those photos, too, which is what makes the photo worth anything at all!

Here's what Heritage Makers does better.  

They don't just preserve my photos at full resolution (for free) for me to download any time (for free), while reserving zero rights to them (my pictures remain mine), but they also store all of the projects I've used those pictures in, too.  Some companies save photo books or projects for 6 months or a year, but Heritage Makers saves them forever, privately in my personal Heritage Makers account.  That means I have a digital backup of not just my photos but also the beautiful, heirloom-quality project I created with them.  So if I want another copy of something next year to give away as Christmas gifts, that project is still there.  Or if my dog chews up my Heritage Makers photo storybook 5 years from now, I can reorder it (at {half price through Heirloom Assurance}!!)

All you have to do to get ALL OF THIS is use {your Heritage Makers account} once every 18 months--make a storybook, a simple {family yearbook}, create a {playing card deck} for your Mom's birthday, publish graduation or wedding announcements, make Christmas cards, etc.  Using your Heritage Makers account once every 18 months just keeps it active (open).  And you get free, private digital photo storage that way.  Pretty cool.

So if this isn't what you currently get with your digital photo storage, you may want to drop your current choice like a hot potato.  

If you want to join me using Heritage Makers for private photo storage, here's what else you'll get:
  • You'll get options for three ways to preserve your photos, just like experts suggest.  The three ways you can store your photos at {Heritage Makers} are:  1. digitally (the jpeg file), 2. in a printed version like a scrap page or digital book, and 3. on a Millenniata CD that will last 1,000 years!  (That's what I do.  I upload my favorite photos to my Heritage Makers account regularly, create scrap pages or books with them, then at the end of the year I order a CD right in my Heritage Makers account with all the pictures from the year on it.)
  • Free photo storage for all pictures published in a Heritage Makers product.  (I currently have 13 years' worth of pictures stored in my Heritage Makers account, and then some.  All for free.)
  • Free downloads of my pictures at full resolution any time.  Great back up in case of a hard drive crash.  This is also, surprisingly, an usual perk.  The company that the woman I mentioned at the beginning used to use actually charges people a fee to download THEIR OWN PHOTOS back at full resolution.  (I get free downloads of my own pictures at full resolution from my Heritage Makers account any time I want them.  I can save them to any computer.)
  • Heirloom-quality products for your published photos and memories, not bargain bin-type products often seen in popular online photobook companies.
  • Thousands of free templates to use.  Templates are fully editable, so you can even change templates.  Or, design your own from a blank page if you prefer.
  • Hundreds of thousands of pieces of FREE digital art--backgrounds, alphabets, embellishments, etc.  
  • You don't have to download anything to your computer--no software program, no digital art collections.  Everything you need to create a project, from a book to a canvas or a playing card deck, is right in the program.  All you need is a computer (any computer) and an internet connection.  The art and the software are already there. 
  • A Heritage Makers account is free.
  • Use of the Heritage Makers software program, Studio, is free.
  • All products created with Heritage Makers are saved in your account forever (as long as your account is active--used at least once a year).  You can reorder something special to give as gifts later on.  Storage of your projects in your account never expires.  
  • All your precious projects are protected by Heirloom Assurance.  If your project is ever damaged (water damage, fire, anything), you can get a replacement at half price.  (This means everything to me!)
Can you believe all these perks?

There is nothing like Heritage Makers!  I have asked around, and I have looked.  The longer I use it and the more I see what some other people use, the more I realize that there is truly nothing like Heritage Makers.

So forget the cloud.  Store your photos privately with Heritage Makers.  {Get started right here}.

Share this important information!  Tweet, Pin, e-mail, or share this article on Facebook.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Heart & Soul LinkUp #14

It's Monday, so it's time for another edition of Heart & Soul LinkUp!  If you've never been to a LinkUp before, here's how it works.  At the end of this post, bloggers will be leaving links to great blog posts they've written and would like to share.  Blog posts will follow the theme "what's good for the heart and soul." Bloggers can leave their links any time on Monday, so the full collection of blog posts for Heart & Soul LinkUp #14 might not be complete until Tuesday morning.   (Bloggers, the rules for leaving your links to participate in this LinkUp are {at the end of this post}.) 

Readers can visit any or all of the posts shared by our blogger friends--find them all the way down to the bottom of this post.  It's more fun than you've ever had.  ;)

But first we highlight favorites from last week.  If you missed any of these posts last week, I'm including links so you can click on over to these great posts before you read the new ones shared at today's LinkUp.


Here we highlight the top favorite as voted on by readers.  Last week we had a 4-way tie, and this week we actually don't have a Reader Favorite because zero votes came in.  (That's okay, we'll get to my 3 favorites in a minute.)  Readers, I know this is due in large part InLinkz not yet allowing a voting option in their new version.  Hopefully they will bring that back soon, but in the meantime, let's do this:

As you read blog posts for today's LinkUp down at the bottom of this post, you can let me know about your favorites in one of two ways:  1. Comment on this post (the one called Heart & Soul LinkUp #14) to let me know your favorites (1, 2, or 3) OR 2. E-mail me at to let me know the favorites.  Let me know before 7:00am Mountain Time each Wednesday--that's when voting closes.  Thank you!  :) 

All right, now on to my favorites from last time.  Again, there were many very lovely posts to choose from, but I finally picked 3.


from Marsha at Markets of Sunshine
I think heartfelt communication is becoming a lost art, so I really enjoyed this post about making efforts to use old-fashioned snail mail to let loved ones know you are thinking of them.  I think getting something in the mail has always been special, but I think that's especially true (and especially appreciated) in our high-tech world.  I think this is a great reminder.  And Marsha even has snail mail kits like this one in her Etsy shop!   

from Kristie at Love My Little Cottage
I always enjoy getting to know what drives other people and what their stories are.  Because Kristie is fairly new to the Heart & Soul LinkUp, I especially appreciated being able to learn about her background.  I know all moms go through hard things for their kiddos; I loved what Kristie's journey was, and I really respect her humble goals to do what was best even when it was hard.  Thanks for sharing your story, Kristie!

from Alicia at My Plant Strong Family
I felt like I could taste this salsa just from the pictures, so I wanted to share this post from Alicia with you today.  Nothing like fresh and healthy!!  Try it and then go post in the comments at Alicia's blog post to let her know how much you liked it.  :) 

Thanks, blogger friends, for sharing your ideas, enthusiasm, and thoughts with us.  If you were a featured favorite this week, share the good news on your blog or social media using this image:

And if you know other bloggers who write great posts that fit with our "what's good for the heart and soul theme," invite them to our weekly LinkUp!  The more, the merrier!

Now let's see what's to love this week. 

Inlinkz Link Party

Monday, February 18, 2019

Heart & Soul LinkUp #13

Welcome to another edition of the Heart & Soul LinkUp.  A linkup is nothing more than a way to share blog posts.  All the bloggers who leave links to their posts today will be following our theme of "what's good for the heart and soul."  That means you might find motivational and inspirational posts about growth, or posts with recipes, DIY, preserving pictures, home decor, and more.

Readers can explore the posts that tickle their fancy, and bloggers can share their own posts below!  (Rules for participating bloggers are {at the bottom of this post}, so be sure to check them out before leaving your links, bloggers.  We're thrilled to have new bloggers come share!)

Each Monday at the linkup, we highlight favorite posts from the previous week , so before we get to what's new this week, let's see what was most popular last week.  I include links to the posts, too, so if you missed them before you can catch them now.


Gosh, there was so much to love this week (again) that I'm not surprised we had another tie for Reader Favorite.  This time, though, there were FOUR favorites.  So for featured favorite posts today, let's just stick with these four without me adding any of my own.  I did love these posts!

from Shannon at DeBord Studios

from Nylse at Life Notes Encouragement

from Debbie at Debbie-Dabble Blog

from Jennifer at LifeTales Books

Thanks, bloggers, for sharing your fabulous posts with us.  Celebrate on your blog or social media using this image:

Heart & Soul LinkUp #13 will have more blog posts to love.  Remember, bloggers leave their links all day on Mondays, so the collection isn't complete until Tuesday mornings.  You can vote for your favorites, too, to determine the Reader Favorite for next week.  Comment on this post to tell me your favorite from this LinkUp below (up to 3).  Here it is:

Inlinkz Link Party

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Storybook Charities--and How to Donate

Heritage Makers believes--correctly--that everyone has a story.  Since publishing the {first personal storybook} well over a decade ago, Heritage Makers has recognized not only the need for a storybook in every home but the needs of two extra special groups of people.

Both of the programs I'll be telling you about today are managed by {My Story Matters.  Please visit their website for more information.

They provide sweet Heritage Makers (heirloom-quality) storybooks as needed keepsakes for families who face early infant loss.  These books are a treasured memory.

This cause is very personal to me.  You can read about how early infant loss has touched my family here:  {Healing From Grief through Family Stories}.  Unfortunately, many families lose little ones, so you may know one.  To nominate a family to receive a free book through this charitable program, or to donate to it, find more information at {this link}.

My Story Matters also provides personalized Heritage Makers storybooks for children living in homeless shelters.  In some cases, these books are the only photos the children have of themselves, and these storybooks raise self-esteem while providing positive reinforcement and hope.

To nominate a child to receive a free book through this charitable program, or to donate to it, find more information at {this link}.

You may donate unexpired Heritage Makes publishing points, cash, or your own time to create books for both of these causes.  

"To be doing good deeds is man's most glorious task."  -Sophocles

Please pin to share this important cause.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Heart & Soul LinkUp #12

Welcome to our newest linkup--a place where bloggers leave their latest and greatest blog posts (and sometimes #throwbacks, too).  You'll be able to find a variety of posts that are good for the heart and soul as bloggers leave their links all day today.

ANNOUNCEMENT:  The linkup program I use, InLinkz, has made some changes.  Unfortunately, we can no longer vote on favorites by clicking the little heart in the top right corner on Tuesdays.  InLinkz says they are working to bring back this feature, but from now on, in order to vote for your favorite blog posts (which determines the Reader Favorite to be highlighted the following week), you will need to comment on THIS blog post to tell me which of the posts left today are your favorites (up to 3).  I think the Reader Favorite is an important feature, so let's give it a go!  We love your votes.

Before diving in to new blog posts to love, here are the favorites from last week's linkup.


We again had a 2-way tie for Reader Favorite this week!  I can see why--these are both fantastic posts.  As usual, I'm adding links directly to the posts here so you can read them today if you missed them last week.

from Flossie at Super Mom Hacks

from Cary at Cary MacArthur: Personal Power Coach


from Marsha at Markets of Sunshine
I love Marsha's Adult Reward System.  I'm doing her Organizational Challenge this year but I need to better incorporate this reward system that goes with it!  I had never thought of something as simple as spices and citrus boiling in a pan to fill my house with lovely smells.  Aromatherapy goes a long way for me.  :)  

from Lori at Choosing Wisdom
We all have one, don't we?  I think sometimes that must be the way God intended it so that we can learn some things!  Lori asked 7 of her blogger friends to write a little something about how they overcome this difficulty, and I thought there were some great suggestions here.

from Penelope at Penelope Silvers: Writer
There are some great quotes and suggestions for fueling your inspiration through creativity.  This post spoke to me because I believe very strongly in the power of creativity and that EVERY PERSON is creative!  In my own work, some people think they can't preserve their photos and memories if they're "not creative," and not only is the thought false but the premise is, too.  I loved the suggestion here at Penelope's blog post about "cross pollination" and how learning a new skill or trying something new boosts creativity.  

Thanks to everyone who shared their posts last time.  If you were a favorite, celebrate on social media (or your blog) using this image.

Are you a blogger who would like to share your posts here?  You're welcome to--just check out the rules for participating (leaving your own links below) at the bottom of {this post}.

Let's see what our blogger friends have to share this week!  It's time for Heart & Soul LinkUp #12!  Don't forget to vote for your favorite posts in the comments below.  

Inlinkz Link Party

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Celebrating 100,000 Blog Visits with a photo yearbook giveaway!


Today we're celebrating passing the 100,000 blog visits milestone at LifeTales Books!  To thank you for all those visits, we're going to celebrate with a giveaway!

We don't often scroll through the digital images we have on our phones or computers, and when we do they are lacking the most important part of them--the STORY!  Or you might call them the memories.  One of my favorite ways to get those cherished snapshots into lives and hearts is with a yearbook.

yearbooks photo credit:  Denise Pehrson
I have 3 big reasons for loving yearbooks:
  1. The layout helps you out of Photo Overwhelm by encouraging you to choose 4-10 of your FAVORITE photos each month.  So often, we clog up our phones/cameras with photos we don't really need.  (Do you have 8 photos of essentially the same thing?  Do you have photos that were fun for the moment but wouldn't miss if they were gone?)  Just choose favorites!!  (Don't have 4 photos from a given month?  That's okay, too.)
  2. The yearbook is so well-organized!  You'll preserve your favorite photos and memories from one year in one slim book.  No mess, no hassle, no confusion.
  3. Because you're just focusing on ONE year instead of all the photos you own, you avoid additional Photo Overwhelm by staying laser-focused.
Of course, these are Heritage Makers yearbooks, so they're completely personal (no getting stuck in a template that doesn't fit you) and they're top-quality!  You're welcome to read {all the reasons I choose Heritage Makers} right there.  

Did you know that PRINT is one of the best photo storage methods there is!?  If you search "best photo storage methods," you'll get varying opinions, but the one thing they'll have in common is a recommendation to make sure you print your photos.  Print allows you to add the story (memories), yes, but it's also the least risky photo storage method.  (Ever had your computer crash?  Ever had a file become unreadable?  Remember floppy disks?  I rest my case.)

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!!

So let's enter the photo yearbook giveaway already!  Hurry and enter--it only runs from February 5-12, 2019.  There are multiple ways you can enter, and a couple of them you can do once a day!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are chosen as the winner, keep reading so you'll know what you will need to do.  

If you are not the winner, you have two similarly fantastic options!  Option #1 is to check out this video, "How to Stop Being Overwhelmed by Your Pictures: a yearbook tutorial."  Everything you'll need to know is there, including ideas for going from an overwhelming amount of photos to a manageable amount.  And, of course, I show you how simple it is to create a yearbook!

Option #2 is to use my Digital Scrapbooking For Hire services.  I can be your memory-keeping partner, rolling up my sleeves to do all the work.

Now here's what the giveaway 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'd really like a different style, I can work with you, so let me know.  
  3. E-mail me 4-10 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 (highest quality).
  4. I do the work, you get the benefits.  :)  It doesn't get any easier than that!
Good luck!  And from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU for all the blog visits, comments, pins, shares, tweets, and general support at LifeTales Books.

Monday, February 4, 2019

Heart & Soul LinkUp #11

Happy Monday!  Mondays are good days here at LifeTales Books because it's linkup day.  That means several bloggers will be sharing their blog posts here today.  All the blog posts follow our theme, so they relate to something that's good for the heart and soul.  And who doesn't need a little more of that?!

The goal of the Heart & Soul LinkUp is to create a little community of like-minded bloggers who can get to know and support each other so that all bloggers and readers to come away uplifted.  Our linkup is still new and small, so we invite other bloggers to join us and share their blog posts below.  Everyone is welcome to read these great posts, of course, but bloggers can find the rules for participating (leaving your own links below) at the bottom of {this post}.

Before we find new blog posts to enjoy, let's highlight the favorites from last week!  If you missed them before, there's a link to each one.


We had a 2-way tie for Reader Favorite this week!  Favorites were:

from Jennifer at LifeTales Books

from Lori at Choosing Wisdom


from Shannon at DeBord Studios
Maybe it's just because I've been to what I'd call a mini-class on calligraphy from Shannon that I really liked this post.  Calligraphy is intentional and calming, and I always think that's a good idea!  :)  I thought this Q&A was interesting.  Shannon does amazing custom pieces and envelope addressing, too.

from Penelope at Penelope Silvers
I've been focusing lately on the power of my thoughts and noticing how often they are negative (and how willing I am, apparently, to let my negative thoughts keep going for a long time).  So this post on managing and improving thoughts really spoke to me this week.

from Chloe at Celebrate and Decorate
I enjoyed this peek into the tablescape Chloe created for a romantic dinner at home.  I love the Paris theme and the splashes of red, and I love the lighting, too.  What a fun creation to make an occasion extra special.  

Thanks for sharing your lovely blog posts with us!  If your post was one of this week's favorites, but sure to celebrate on social media using this image.

Now let's find out what new blog posts we're going to love this week at Heart & Soul LinkUp #11!