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January 2010
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10 for 2010 – Heritage Making New Year’s Resolutions – #5 and #6

January 12, 2010   

By: Brenda Kruse


I know this is a lot like #4 but it’s more current and the problem is compounded by my children’s creative efforts at this age. I love that they want to color, draw, paint, write and such both in and out of school but the volume of paper is overwhelming me. I plan to schedule a monthly “Scan Saturday Session” where I will choose the best to scan, take a picture of them holding the larger or non-scannable ones, and digitize them right away.

After I label the folder on my computer and upload them into my HM Studio albums, I’ll know that these are preserved pieces of their childhood that they (and I) will treasure more in years to come. Best of all, I can pitch the originals with NO guilt! Sure, I’ll still keep a pizza-box worth of special papers for nostalgic reasons but I won’t be as heartbroken if something happens to those pieces of art, writings, and the like.


While I’ve waffled on my views of both writing and date stamps on photos, the sheer point is…it’s nice to know who, what, when, where, why and how for photos. You think you’ll remember but you don’t. And it doesn’t take long to forget the details either. I need to find a consistent way to capture those stories that are part of the pictures and put them into a format I can easily find, use and keep safe. I tend to have too many places and processes for recording those…some of the stories are written on photo captions and descriptions in my online photo albums. Others are journaled on email, Facebook or my blog. Some are scribbled notes on the calendar or in the kids’ quotes journal I keep.

I need to be more on top of preserving the priceless reasons behind the photos…not just the pictures themselves. Although the famous quote says a photo is worth 1000 words, that doesn’t ring true when you are facing a pile of old photos from your heritage that you can’t identify and the people who could tell you those stories are no longer here or able to share them with you. In the end, I’d like to have at least 100 words for every photo so those snippets could help me piece together “the rest of the story” as famed radio personality Paul Harvey often said on air.

Hobby #2: Child Size

January 11, 2010   

Child-size your storybooks. You can add making storybooks just for you little ones to cuddle with to your list. A board book is the answer for your toddlers. And the swatch book is the perfect storybook companion for your diaper bag. And we have some great designs you can modify to fit your style right in the Template Gallery. Take a look at what  fun child-size books you can put together.

Make your child a super hero and the main character in their own book. Super Joe designed by Melissa Navratil (Template ID: 21102) shows just what you can do with great photos and a little art.

We all know how much kids love animals, especially pictures of animals. If you have a pet, or even just animal pictures, make a fun pictures book for your child. Dogs are Special designed by Margaret Barrett (Template ID: 20845) has a fun design your kids will love looking at over and over.

Make your child’s storybooking fun a time for learning. You can make an alphabet book like the ABC Kids Board Book designed by Kim Terry (Template ID: 21674).

Make a board book superhero book. You’re child can be the star of their own comic. A Boy Called Super Jake designed by Jennifer Stratton (Template ID: 22065) would make every child feel special.

Photo of the Week

January 8, 2010   

From Jeri Lange


Day 1. A winter storm like no other has hit Omaha, NE. While gazing out my back door, I noticed the ice that had formed on my flowering crab tree that still had the red berries on it. I thought it looked pretty.

10 for 2010 – Heritage Making New Year’s Resolutions – #4

January 8, 2010   

By: Brenda Kruse


I have no excuse because I personally own the high-speed photo-safe scanner that amazingly whizzes through paper photographs and turns them into JPGs in just minutes. While I’ve scanned a large portion of my pre-digital pics already, I still haven’t dug out ALL of them and scanned them quite yet. And I really don’t have a great excuse because it doesn’t take a ton of time. It doesn’t cost me a lot of money.

What AM I waiting for? A natural disaster to destroy them? Mice to eat them up? A water leak to ruin the whole lot? Age to slowly fade and ruin these treasures? I’ve heard clients tell me the sad tales of when they waited too long and now it truly IS too late as their photos have been destroyed and are gone for good. I have to practice what I preach. Pronto!

Hobby #1: Storybooking Fun

January 7, 2010   

It’s always nice to cuddle up to a good story. But, as we know, the best stories are the ones of families—our own, personal families.

You can make a hobby out of recording and designing these stories. All it takes is a camera, an internet connection, and a Studio account. Once you have all these tools, you can easily go into your Studio editor and create fun, inviting, cuddle-friendly stories.

Here are just a few examples of stories you can add to your hobby list this year:

Create a baby book for your little ones or even for your older ones. Cherry Blossom Baby designed by Darcie Toom (Template ID: 19079) is a great example of cute design and photography for just such a story.

Make your child a superstar with Pocket Full of Sunshine designed by Jenita Varela (Template ID: 17447). You can combine photography and story in a story that fits right inside your purse.

Your child’s sports team always needs highlighting. We have some fun art and templates perfect for you child’s football, soccer, and baseball pics. HM Football Coach 8×8 designed by Roxanne Buchholz (Template ID: 20872) is a great example.

Don’t forget to storybook your trips. Ski book 1 designed by Holly Hunter (Template ID: 12132) is perfect for showing off vacation photos.

You can record a year’s worth of memories and include all the silly, fun, and precious moments. Take a look at Family Year-End Album designed by Lynda Angelastro (Template ID: 24019) to see what you can do with a yearbook.

Haven’t preserved your wedding memories yet? Create a Wedding album. The Template Gallery has many wedding templates to choose from and you can find the perfect art to fit your wedding theme in our art collections. Mallory Wedding designed by Mallory Beinborn (Template ID: 20216) is a beautiful example of a wedding album.

Have a bunch of photos of landscapes and nature? Put them in a book perfect for you coffee table. Classic Leather Bound Book designed by Bianca Szyperski (Template ID: 20526) is a perfect template for your ocean, mountains, flowers, and animal pictures.

Basic Tips for All Projects

January 7, 2010   

Leave 1/8” Margin Around Page – Many times, when we have a lot of content, we are tempted to put as much on the page as we can. And if we have a huge amount of text, we think getting the text as close to the edge of the page as possible will help preserve room for more pictures and such. And then we find ourselves putting our pictures as close to the edge as possible, too.


But, did you know that you need to leave a 1/8 margin between the edge of the page and anything you don’t want to get cut off? Yes, the gray box around the page shows you where your page should be cut off in production. But the page cutters can sometimes go slightly over that marked spot. To be safe, make sure you have a 1/8 inch margin around your entire page.


Use Ctrl Button for Swapping – I’m sure we have all had our amount of frustration trying to swap out a paper or photo. Just as we have been told, we keep the element locked in place, make sure it is highlighted, and drag the wanted element onto the page but that “drop art/photo here to swap” box does not appear. We drop it anyway in hope that it will magically work and… it doesn’t. We have a new element on the page with the old one still in the place we want it.


There is a solution. As you drag an element onto the page, hold down the ctrl key (or if you have a Mac hold down the Cmd. key). The element, then, should swap without any problems.

Tic Tac Toe

January 7, 2010   

Make something fun for the kids, or even yourself. Make a Tic-Tac-Toe board to go on your fridge. All the pieces are magnetic and big enough that they shouldn’t get lost. Plus, it’s a great décor piece for you kitchen. Just customize it to match your style.

Here’s what you need:

  • The Tic-Tac-Toe template, template ID: 24129.
  • Magnet sheets (found at an office supply store in the printer paper section)
  • Mounting tape (found at an office supply store)

Once you have all the supplies, or even before you have all the supplies, you can get started.

  1. Open the Tic-Tac-Toe template in Studio editor and modify it to fit your style.
    1. To replace papers and photos, keep the element you want to replace locked in place, click it so it is highlighted, and drag the replacement element over the “drop here to swap” window that will appear.
    2. You can replace the Xs and Os with pictures of your children to personalize it.
  2. Publish and order your project. Note, this project comes with an extra page, which will increase the price.
  3. Once you have all the needed supplies and your Heritage Makers project you can begin putting the project together.  Using mounting tape, attach the Tic-Tac-Toe board and game pieces on a magnet sheet.
  4. Cut out the board and the game pieces.
  5. Stick the board and game pieces on your fridge and begin playing.

And viola, you have a Tic-Tac-Toe game ready to play.


10 for 2010 – Heritage Making New Year’s Resolutions – #3

January 6, 2010   

By: Brenda Kruse


Whether I bravely ask others to snap a pic of me WITH my kids or I figure out how to work the self-timer setting on my camera, I vow to be in more pictures this year. Looking back at my life as a Mom, I don’t want there to be just a handful of good pics. I know I haven’t seen very many photos of my mom or grandmas during their early parenting days — how sad! I want my kids to remember me, not just that I was the one who took them to the cool things, paid for it, and took pictures of them at it! I wasn’t just CAPTURING the memories, I was LIVING the memories in the moment too. So snap away but pass the camera around…don’t be shy!

Another aspect of this goal is to be better at taking shots of identifying details of places we go. Instead of simply taking the pretty scenic shots that every tourist takes, I want to also shoot the signs that explain and offer details. I want to pose us all in front of the pretty scene too so I have proof that I didn’t just buy a generic postcard but I really was there in person! Looking back at my pre-digital photos from an epic trip to Italy, for example, I’m disappointed to see so many more photos of places than people.

HM Project 365

January 6, 2010   

We’ve got a new goal here at Heritage Makers and we want you to join in all the fun. And the best part, all it takes is a camera and a computer. And… the reward at the end of the projects will be worth all the effort.

Here’s the scoop. We are starting our own Project 365. What is a project 365, you ask? It’s capturing the moments, the memories, the little events. It’s exactly what Peter Cary with Digital Photography School describes it to be. The idea is to take a picture ever day for 365 days… a whole year.

Peter says the goal is to “make photography an every day event, with hopes of improving the art.” But we’re going to change our goal to something a little more helpful for preserving, not just the image of the memory, but the entire picture.

So, here’s how to begin:

  • Start a blog with a free blog site such as Blogspot or WordPress.
  • Start Project 365 by taking at least one picture with you camera everyday. You can take pictures of your kids, your pets, nature, your home, anything.
  • Upload your photos to your computer and post one photo everyday on your blog.
  • Write a caption or story to go with it.

(See examples of Project 365 on Peter Cary’s article at Digital Photography School.)

Now, how does this help you in the long run? Sometimes making your heritage storybooks can be frustrating. Maybe you get to the end of the year and wish you had more pictures. Maybe you have some really good photos but you don’t remember the significance. Maybe you wish you had remembered to take that picture of your son falling asleep in his dinner.

As you continue with Project 365, you will develop a habit of preserving your memories that will make storybooking that much easier.

But, there’s another part to Project 365 that we want you to participate in. Send us your pictures and every week we will post the top photo for that week. Plus, we want to see your blog and how you are preserving memories. We’ll put your blog link on our blogroll. Send blogs and photos to or Also on the blogroll, you’ll find links to home office staff blogs that are also participating in Project 365.

And don’t forget to share your photos on Twitter (use the hashtag #hm365 when posting), Facebook (post on the HM fan page), and flickr (join HM Project 365 group). You can take a look at our flickr photos at

Now is the time to make a great new year’s resolution and preserve your memories everyday.

10 for 2010 – Heritage Making New Year’s Resolutions

January 5, 2010   

By: Brenda Kruse


I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like to get a card in the mail. Especially as we’ve moved to an easy-out email society, the snail mail card is in danger of distinction. And yet store-bought cards just don’t have that truly personal touch either, even if I handwrite a note inside. What does accomplish both the personal touch of getting a card in the mail AND having it be custom, creative and personal is a greeting card sent from Heritage Studio. I create and design it with love (using a quick template in favor of time or going all out with a truly custom design). I can even put the recipient’s photo on it and then it’s not likely to just be thrown in the trash a few days later. In fact, it may become something for their keepsake box. Isn’t that worth doing? I know I sure enjoy receiving HM greeting cards in MY mailbox…hint, hint!

More to come!