Monday, November 26, 2007

Another Place and Time: Mayan and Oriental

Who's got Mayan ancestors? ...raise your hand.

I'm not seeing any hands go up. Hmm.

I guess there aren't many of you who have traced your family history back that far, eh? Well, if there should come a time when you do, I have just the digital scrapbooking kit for you!

Here's a kit called, Mayan Delights, by Lesley at the Nutkintails Designs blog. Don't you just love the bold, rich colors? Terrific! You can download this kit here.

If you have Asian ancestry, perhaps the Let's Go Oriental kit would be more to your liking. This wonderful kit was designed by Snowraven and is available here on her Snowraven's Cave blog.

I hope you enjoy these kits offered for free by these talented and generous designers. Don't forget to let them know you appreciate their efforts!

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Time to Make Your Custom Christmas Gifts!

Only 35 more days until Christmas! I know you don't want to hear about it yet but the time will fly by quicker than you think. If you're planning to make custom gifts for Christmas the time to start is now! I know you may be thinking that a family history book or family cookbook would take too long to put together. Calendars... you can never find enough of the right photos? Here's an idea that's quick to create, inexpensive, very personal, and is sure to get you oohs and ahhhs.

Remember your loved one with a photo Christmas ornament!

Custom Christmas ornaments are a snap to create at CafePress. All you have to do is go the site, click on "Make Your Own Stuff", then "Fun Stuff", then scroll down till you see the ornaments (round or oval) and click on one. The web site will take you step-by-step through uploading your photo and ordering your ornaments. You can literally do this start to finish in less than 15 minutes! And the price can't be beat... $5.99 per ornament! (Plus a small charge for shipping.) These aren't tacky-looking plastic ornaments, they're ceramic. And they are beautiful.

These are the ones I created just last week. Aren't they lovely? I collect Christmas ornaments and I add new ones to my personal collection each year. So these I made for myself, not as gifts. These are remembrance ornaments. I lost my mother this year, and my cat and cousin last year. I created an ornament for each of them that will hang on my tree. On the backs of each, I wrote a short message in permanent marker. I've made some photo ornaments in the past inserting photos into photo-frame ornaments I bought at the store, only to find that the photos had faded by the next year. These photos ornaments won't do that!

Here are some custom Christmas ornament ideas for all you genealogists and family historians.

  • If you attended a wedding this year and took pictures of the bride and groom (you did take your camera didn't you?) you can make the most unique and appreciated "First Christmas Together" ornament they will ever see! A great Christmas gift!

  • How about set of 4 ornaments on a common theme for a friend... say the two of you together over the years. They will love it!

  • If you have vintage family photos you could make a fabulous set of ornaments that will have visitors to your home asking, "Where ever did you get these?". I'm planning to do this with some of my period family photos... one from each decade.

  • Got teenagers in your house? Surprise them with one of these in their Christmas stocking. They'll treasure a photo ornament of themselves with their boyfriend/girlfriend!

  • Never know what to get for your elderly aunt, mother, father, neighbor? Make them a set of four ornaments featuring the faces of their loved ones! Even if they don't put up a Christmas tree they'll find a place to hang them!

  • Even younger children and preteens will get a kick out of receiving a photo ornament with them and their BFF (best friend forever)!

  • You could do a set of travel photos from places you've visited. You can enjoy them on your tree now and pass them down to your children or grandchildren as a remembrance of you in years to come!
The possibilities are endless. The pleasure they bring will be as well.

A bit of advice if you decide to create your own custom ornament. Keep to simple photos. Close-up portraits with solid backgrounds work very well. You can use an image that has a whole scene in it but people will have to lean in close to see what it is.

Ready to get started? Here's the place...

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

My Veteran Uncle

Here is a layout I did today to honor my uncle. Sigmund Lisowski was in the United States Air Corps during WWII. I used Sindiego's Lest We Forget kit (for U.S. veterans) along with a paper from digidiva's Autumn Essentials Papers (sorry, I don't have the link).

Remembering the Veterans

In honor of Veteran's Day here in the U.S., Remembrance Day in Canada, and Poppy Day in the UK, I am sharing with you some free digital scrapbooking kits on that theme this week instead of the usual Era/Ethnic kits.

The first and second kits are offered by Sindiego at the Sindiego's Scraps blog. Here is Lest We Forget for American veterans. You can download it here.

And here is Lest We Forget for Canadian veterans. You can download it here (same link).

And here is a kit for UK veterans called Poppy Day by Snowraven on the Snowraven's Cave blog. You can download it here.

Let's all take a moment on this special day to remember those who fought for freedom. If you can make the time to create a scrapbook page of a veteran using one of these beautiful kits, even better. If you do, be sure and drop a line or leave a comment for the ladies who created the kits. They would love to see your creation! (And of course we want to thank them for their generosity too!)

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Another Place and Time: London

The freebie kit I'd like to show you today comes from Jane at This one is called National Geoscraps: London. This kit looks really wonderful! Jane has created the kit in 3 parts and so far only Part I is available for download. Part I is the background papers and they look terrific! You can download Part I here. Here's a preview of the kit.

You'll have to check back on Jane's blog to get parts 2 & 3 when they are released. You don't want to miss out on this really neat kit!

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Another Place and Time: Art Deco

I've been showcasing a lot of ethnic kits lately. That's because I haven't come across any era kits to share with you. That is until I came across this really neat Art Deco kit by the lovely and charming Kyra. It's called, "A Simple Art Deco Kit", and the name says it all!

This is a nice kit for those of you looking to capture the era of the 1920s and 1930s. Kyra has done a great job of including period pieces. I love this era and I wish I would see more kits offered for it. It was such an exciting time with gangsters and flappers! If you liked the musical "Chicago" you know what I'm talking about.

You can get Kyra's kit here. Be sure and remember to say thank you to her for sharing her kit with us!

Whew! 5 posts today... a whole week's worth in one day! I'm caught up for now :-)

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Quirky Scrapbooking

Here's the latest style of scrapbooking that has caught my interest. It's commonly referred to as "quirky". I stumbled upon it several months back when I first discovered digital scrapbooking. Or should I say I stumbled on a web site with a gallery of this type of scrapbooking and I fell in love with it. I didn't realize then that it was it's own style. I just knew I liked it better than most of the other stuff I was seeing. I remember bookmarking the site but now I can't find it :-(

Anyway, here's a site about "quirky" scrapbook design, It bills itself as, "a brand new home to an ever growing community of digital artists and computer crafters, exploring and expressing themselves through art forms such as Art Journaling, Collage, Art Trading Cards, Altered Art and even scrapbooking that digs a little deeper or steps outside of the box."

The idea is that instead of creating a scrapbook page of say Aunt Lizzie as a flapper back in the 1920s (using classic photos and standard kit "doo-dads"), you create a page with Aunt Lizzie's image incorporated in a series of symbols and images of the Roaring Twenties. This style uses a lot of blending modes and targeted lighting. The best way I can think of to describe it is to say it looks more like a work of art as opposed to a craft project, with different levels of symbolism and meanings.

From the Studio Matters blog:

Most of us scrap the good times: the birthday parties, the holidays, and the family vacations. But as wonderful as those layouts are, what do they really say about us as individuals? About our values? Our heartaches? Our day-to-day struggles?

For the Quirk, working in Photoshop can be therapy. Quirks scrap about their illnesses, their divorces, their relationships with their spouses and parents. Sometimes, they‘ll scrap about day-to-day frustrations, such as housework, bills, and hair.

Creating art allows the Quirk to make statements about things they feel strongly about. They create art based on their views about religion, politics, and yes, even sex.

For the Quirk, art can also be a means of exploring “big” thoughts and ideas. The Quirk will take a favorite quote or a favorite song, and add imagery that conveys what those words mean to them.

Here's what I mean. This example is from the gallery at The page was created by Marretje.

Isn't this a wonderful piece? It's about the games people play.

So how does this relate to genealogy? It's a different angle on creating a show piece of your ancestors. It's a way to say more about the times in which they lived instead of about them personally. Let's face it, we all have names on our family tree that we can't find any personal information on. But we can always come up with information on the times in which they lived. Think about it. Scrap it.

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

More About

I was going to do a review of the new web site for creating a family scrapbook but it's already been done so well by some of my fellow genea-bloggers that I'm inclined not to do it again. Instead, I'll just supply the links to their well written articles.

Randy wrote, Using AncestryPress to Create a Book, and Using AncestryPress to make a book - Post 2.0.

Kimberly Powell wrote, Ancestry Press: A First Look.

Personally, I was pretty impressed with what you were able to do on the site. But there weren't enough options for adding your own backgrounds, changing colors, etc. to suit me. I'm a little more creative than the site allows for. Still, if you don't want to invest in learning software (Photoshop Elements 6.0) and finding just the right kit to use for your purposes, this could be a good option.

November 3rd is Almost Here!

Just a reminder that this Saturday, November 3rd is a very special day. Not only is it my birthday, and the day of the great gridiron battle between Michigan and Michigan State, but it is also "Digital Scrapbooking Day"!

This is the perfect opportunity to sit at your computer guilt-free and create some wonderful scrapbook pages of your old family photos. (Can't feel guilty when it's the official day!) If you haven't tried digital scrapbooking before, this is the perfect time to start. Load up your software if you need to, download one of the many kits I've shown on this blog, and start playing! You'll have a great time being creative!!!

If you're looking for more ideas check out the official web site for Digital Scrapbooking Day.

Now go get creative with your genealogy!

Another Place and Time: Bavaria

I'm way behind on the freebie ethnic and era kits so let's start off there. I know many of you will appreciate this kit is called "Bavaria". It has a lot of charm!Those of you with German/Bavarian ancestry will appreciate this one.
It's it great? And doesn't it make you hungry??? It's making my mouth water right now.

You can pick this kit up on Gerti's blog here. Thanks for sharing your talent with us Gerti!