Friday, December 31, 2010

11 for 2011

My Top 11 or 2011!

It's that time of year when we want to face the New Year with a fresh start. We think a to-do list of sorts will give us the direction or plan we need to make these things happen over the next 365 days. Usually this comes in the form of New Year's Resolutions.

I've read that people often fail because we make too many resolutions and say all we can tackle is three tops. Others suggest choosing one 3-word mantra to live by all year long.

Well, I like the idea of a Top 10 List but that just seems so...well, 2010! So this is my 11 for 2011!

1. Send more cards (at least one per month).
We all love to get snail mail, even more so these days with the dominance of e-mail. Wouldn't it be nice to get/give cards more than once a year during the holiday hubbub? How about birthdays, anniversaries, new babies, graduations, Mother's/Father's Day, Valentine's Day, etc? Or all those times we think we should say congrats, thanks, thinking of you, get well, or whatever?

Sure you can stop by the store and get an off-the-shelf card to sign, stamp & mail. But why not take 15 minutes in your HM Studio to create a totally custom version that's directly mailed to them? Wow! You can even use a photo of them in it?! Talk about personal and meaningful! My mission for 2011 is to send all my family & friends a custom card for birthdays and anniversaries this year (plus my annual holiday greeting).

2. Take a photo every day (Project 365).
I embarked on a photography challenge called "Project 365" for 2010, which involved taking a picture every day of the year. I thought it would be no problem as I tend to take a lot of pics anyway but there were several days when I had to search for something (or "force" myself to do it just for the cause!).

But the results can be incredible -a whole year's diary in photos! And I've been putting them into a storybook template with a quick caption and monthly summary highlight notes. So after New Year's Eve ends, I'll have an entire record of our past year. Sure, some photos are as mundane but many are those "everyday" type photos you don't think to take...but now that I have them, I'm grateful I did!

3. Read a chapter or two daily (from an inspirational source).
Another project I attempted (confession: never finished) last year was being consistent with my reading. I enjoy reading and learning and know how much it benefits me, but I allowed it to not be a priority. This year I want to start off strong and continue all year long.

4. Publish an annual album or Year in the Life storybook.
You may think I do this every year religiously but I have not in the past. I did once and am just now doing my next one for 2010! I always felt like I took too many photos to fit in a "year summary" style storybook. I was overwhelmed by the thought of poring over so many photos & memories to capsulize it into the pages of an annual album.

But as I took the newest 12x12 "year in the life" template and began to plunk in my photos, I realized it was super easy & so fast! And I could click to add more pages to fit in more big events like birthdays, holidays and such. I didn't have to stick to just a 2-page spread for each month! Woohoo! I'm having a blast putting our whole year into a single storybook.

One way to capture it is with Oh Life ( which makes it super easy to record your life! You set it up to email you at a specific time of day (I picked just before my usual bedtime). Then you just need to reply to that email with a quick summary of the day, or your thoughts or whatever. You can even attach a photo & hit send. Done deal. It archives all your entries on a private, secure site that you can view at any time. Plus, you can even EXPORT the text so I can cut & paste it into my HM storybooks and family albums to save more time!

5. Make at least one "special & specific" storybook per child per year.
Sure I publish plenty of books each year and my kids and grandson are in them but I don't often make them a specific and special storybook. I did it last year when I created a Life to Date book for Tracie who turned 40. This year my son turns 40 so you can guess what I’ll be doing for him.
My grandosn Ayden is definitely the most published 10 year old but it is so important to help self-esteem.
Telling them you love them is important but showing them in a lasting way is too. This is how I can do that!

6. Publish at least one project every other month for someone else.
My greeting cards (see #1) can't count. This has to be a storybook, a gorgeous gallery-wrapped canvas print, a fun flip book, a cookbook, a deck of playing cards, or something. That's just 6 gifts per year and definitely do-able. While a storybook may take a little longer to create, I can crank out a canvas print or poster in less than 30 minutes. Or even just a cute scrapbook page that I can put in a frame and give to someone special so they get to enjoy the memory-lasting power of Heritage Makers.

7. Write my "Before I Was Your Mom" storybook.
Confession: This has been on my list before. I keep putting it off. I make excuses like I have to find more photos from my childhood so I can scan them. Or I want to take my time reminiscing so I don't leave anything important out. And I'm just not sure how to address certain aspects of my life.

As a writer, I think of all the things I want to say and share with my family. Or just include it all and let them learn about me along the way? See my struggles? But instead of just hemming & hawing about it in my head, I'm going to find a template and start putting in the ideas and photos so it will begin to take shape.

8. Scan all my old print photos.
Then upload them into albums on my HM site so I can safely archive them & use them in my projects. Despite having my own high-speed scanner, I have not yet done ALL my old print photos! I keep finding another box of pre-digital pics or mementos I want to turn into JPGs. If you have shoeboxes and Rubbermaid totes of old photos, you may want to use my scanning low as 19 cents each for 500 or more scans! I can even do double-sided so you can capture the writing on the back!

9. Learn and Grow
I started courses at Renegade University last year to learn and implement Attraction Marketing. I got started and then ‘stalled’. It is so GOOD that I have to put it on my list to plug back in and get caught up. I’ve never met so many ‘top people’ that have their finger on the pulse. Click on this link which will take you through to the huge selection of learning.

10. Set aside ME time!
Take time to smell the roses! I can get so caught up in business, and busy that I have to MAKE time for my own downtime. I so enjoy nature, blue skies, azure waters and the beautiful scenery we have here but after two years I have yet to MAKE a picnic by the beach. So 2011….get ready I’m coming. I'll be taking consistent care of ME with good RBC Life Supplements, my Wii Fit and great walks, strolls and appreciation for some great friendships. I've already started my annual New Year's Colovada Cleanse since I'll be on the Oasis of the Seas in two weeks from today.

11. Take the pics then take care of them!
We've all heard from (or been) someone who has had it happen to them...the phone dies, the camera card (or CD) is suddenly unreadable, the camera gets lost, the computer crashes. All shocking losses to think of all those photos (& videos) gone for good! Our memories are priceless and need to be protected.

So I will get the photos off my phone & camera memory cards ASAP. I will immediately upload them into albums on my HM publishing account where they are safely and securely archived. You may also choose to use an additional back-up resource but beware that many of the online photo sites do NOT keep your photos in high resolution quality. Or they may charge you to get the high-res version back!

You can download your full high-res photo to any computer that you use to log into your HM Studio account. You can also share photo albums with friends and family. Remember, as much as well all love Facebook, it should NOT be your only photo sharing/saving resource!

That's it! My 11 Resolutions for 2011! Personal Publishing is a way to capture and record your life's memories in an easier way that is more fun than work. Think about your photos from 2010. Where are they? What have you done with them? Why did you take them if you were just going to hold them hostage on your hard drive?

Let me help you turn those JPGs into amazing, incredible keepsakes that your family and friends will cherish forever after. It doesn't have to be expensive, complicated or confusing. I'll be your Personal Publishing Consultant in 2011 (& beyond) to teach you tips & tricks, guide you, motivate you, and make the whole process a ton of fun!

I'm very thankful for my 2010's published projects.

And I'm even more excited about my 2011 that will be told in photos and stories.

Will you publish more of your memories from 2010?

Start fresh and focused in 2011.

Decide today.

YOU are your family's Heritage Maker!

"Yesterday's memories. Today's technology. Tomorrow's treasures."
From Shoebox to Showpiece
Barb Ashcroft

This blog post was inspired by the handiworks of Brenda Kruse..thanks Brenda!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Those Christmas Photos

Ok I know y0u must have done it. Or at least someone in your family did. Someone took some great Christmas family photos.....right!!! Well what are you going to do with all of them?

This is one GREAT idea!
A Canvas Collection for that bare wall that always looks like it's missing something. The different sized canvases surround a 20x20 canvas with a saying on it that you love as your family creed.
You can even start from a template at this website in the template gallery.
My help is always provided along the way....
Don't let your babies grow up to be only jpegs...........
Here's your photo problem solution..
Happy New Year from the Digital Diva

Friday, December 3, 2010

Say it with Sign Language

One of my most special times was when my friend Lynn taught a group of us ladies how to 'sign'. I felt so expressive and loved it. We were learning songs that our worship team performed at church. That year we signed the Millenium Prayer for our church's New Year's Eve celebration.
Lynn is a special needs teacher's aid and so talented. We have moved away and I don't get a chance to use my signing as much as I'd like; but it still brings back so many special memories.
Who do you know that uses the gift of signing?
Right now only till Dec 11th you can order this 8x8 canvas gallery wrapped print and save 10%.
This could be a wonderful "Gift of Appreciation" to someone in your life.
Blessings to you and yours,
Barb Ashcroft