Excellent Phone Apps for Family History

I am super excited to share with you an excellent presentation on phone apps for doing your family history!

One of my friends, Crystal Beutler, taught a class at RootsTech a few weekends ago called Family History on the Go.  Fortunately for us, they recorded the class and have shared it online for FREE.  I love FREE!  Crystal co-taught the class with creative app developer Rhonna Farrer.  I use her app Rhonna Designs to create fun Instagrams with quotes and designs.  If you go into my Instagram feed(@familybringsjoy) you will see what I am referring to.

Family History is the perfect activity during snow days like today!  It’s Saturday, so the kids wouldn’t normally have school, but the roads have iced over.  It’s not too safe for us to be going anywhere.  I’m excited to show my kids what I learned.  I believe this class completely revolutionized my way of doing Family History.  Genealogy can bring family unity like nothing else.

Learning brings joy,

Grandparent’s LOVE – A Valentine’s Day Mantel

Valentines Mantel 2013 familybringsjoy.com

As usual it’s been a work in progress.  Meaning I finally added the finishing touch yesterday.

I’d like to call this “Grandparent’s LOVE.”  I decided to add photos of our grandparents in the window frames to feature them.  This is a great opportunity for family history discussion within our family.  Two couples represented are my grandparents.  One couple is my husband’s grandparents.  The other two couples are my great grandparents. {Just for the record, I’m not playing favorites. 😉 I found these photos quickly and they were the right size to fit on the heart doily} The legacy of enduring love exudes from these grandparents.

Great Grandparents familybringsjoy.com

I am blessed to have one of these grandmother’s living in Arkansas looking and acting as young as ever.  I am grateful our children are able to spend time with her.  There’s nothing like the love of a grandma.  We love you so much Oma!

Valentine Mantel collage1 familybringsjoy.com

I also wanted to feature some of my kids previous handmade gifts of love.  My son made the clay heart with the arrow going through it years ago.  My youngest daughter made the clay heart inside the small lantern.  I think it’s important to display items our kids have made us.  This shows them how grateful we are for their works of art, but also encourages their creativity.  I’d much rather have a handmade gift than a store bought gift from them.

I found the 2 free printables on Pinterest.  You can find them on my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board.  I added them to frames I had on hand.  The heart photo album is the one I have blogged about in the past.  And of course you can see my Stringed Heart Sculpture I just blogged about in the previous post.

Valentines Mantel collage2 familybringsjoy.com

I added the wood “You are the…” board I gave my husband as an anniversary gift one year.  The Generosity board I purchased in the past and felt it went with the theme. {I’m also trying to teach this concept to my family. ;)}  Last, but certainly not least, is the Christus I glazed at a church activity around 18 years ago.  Christ is the epitome of LOVE.  He almost always is on my mantel, if not there, then somewhere in our living room where I can see him.  The only money spent on this mantel was for the heart doilies and supplies for the Stringed Heart Sculpture.  It’s so much fun shopping from home and using what I already have.  You should try it.

Celebrating enduring love,

Mixed Media Chipboard Album

Forgot to take a photo of what it looked like in the beginning. This is similar to the one I used. Mine is a different font & was white instead of brown.

I have always wanted to do a mixed media scrapbook.  I planned on making one of Paper Coterie’s Mother’s Albums but had difficulty with the site.  I found this blank MOTHER chipboard album in a stash of supplies a friend gave me.  I kept the title of the one I was going to make on the previous mentioned site: Because Of You.

Mixed media is a fancy term for using lots of different supplies and lots of layering.  I will highlight the ones I used.  I found my color scheme of blue, green and brown in a 12×12 piece of scrapbook paper.  It had all the patterns you will see in the album on that one piece of 12×12 paper.  I even had some paper left over.

Above {back of  M} I used a stamp to make the background of squigglies with regular stamp ink.  Next, I stamped the bird with acrylic paint.  Here comes the fun part, I dabbed my finger in the green acrylic paint to make the border…smeared it some to make a smudgy look.  The smudgy look is IN with mixed media…I LOVE that!  Plus it is all about being creative…no right or wrong way.  Later I decided I didn’t like the stark white background and added blue chalk with a cotton swab.

Above {front of O} I traced the O on the piece of scrapbook paper and adhered it with Mod Podge.  That is how I adhered everything on this album, by using Mod Podge.  Important tip: when using Mod Podge make sure you apply a somewhat even amount of it with a foam brush on the back of the media first.  Then take a Popsicle stick, ruler or whatever you have handy to smooth out the bubbles.  I found some blue acrylic paint with some shimmer and lightly dabbed it across the paper with my fingers to add some depth.

Below {back of O} I did the same as what I did on the back of the M but used brown chalk instead of blue.  You will see that I ended up stamping the bird upside down, but it didn’t matter.  I covered it up with photos.

Below {front of T} I used more of the scrapbook paper and a paint swatch.  Again I added the shimmer blue with my fingers across the top of both.

Above {back of T} I used the paper, took the green acrylic paint and smudged it on the lines in between remember this and (note worthy) with my finger.  I took a darker teal blue acrylic paint and finger painted over some of the lines in the paper’s pattern.  Next, I added a little more depth with a border of blue chalk around the top edges.

Above {front of H} I adhered fabric (left over from an earlier project) and part of a map.  Finger painted on top of both with a shimmery tan acrylic paint.

Above {back of H} Used a strip of paper for the top part, added blue paint to accentuate the line.  Blue chalked the white part again and added green dots with my finger.  Topped it all off with the shimmery tan acrylic paint.

Above {front of E} Used another strip of the same scrapbook paper to go down the middle.  Accentuated the lines on the paper with coordinating paints to the stripes.  Finger painted the top & bottom white areas with green and blue paint with a layer of shimmery blue paint all over the page.

Bottom {back of E} Had to use a book page.  This page has significance to my Mom & I as it comes from New Moon.  We share the love of the Twilight series. 😉  To the right of the book page is crumpled tissue paper with blue and green paint rubbed on top.  {So much fun!}

Bottom {front of R} I used several different mediums here: burlap, part of paint swatch, fabric, map, scraps of same paper and a ticket from my scrapbook embellishment stash.  Finger painted the green dots with the acrylic paint.

Above {back of R} Stamped on blue hearts with the same shimmery blue paint on top of a strip of the scrapbook paper.

The categories I began with were:

Because Of You

  • I am creative
  • I love crab legs
  • I love photography
  • I love to laugh
  • I appreciate beauty
  • I love
  • I love my family
  • My children have a Grandmother
  • I am

I used my label maker to print out the category labels for each page.  Made things super simple for me instead of printing them out on the computer and cutting them all out.  You’ll notice I changed the categories a little in the end.

I put all the photos I wanted to use on a jump drive.  The nice man at Staples printed them all in wallet and contact sheet format {for the small size.}  If I have a laser printer I could have printed these at home.  Since I only have ink jet I needed to have them printed at Staples.  WHY?  Because when you brush the Mod Podge over a photo printed with an ink jet printer, the ink will run and ruin your photo.  Everything in this album has a coat of Mod Podge on top of it.  I like the matte finish Mod Podge.  Another tip about using Mod Podge on top of your laser photos…I learned this the hard way.  Don’t press too hard on the photo with your Popsicle stick to get the air bubbles off.  It will take some of the color off.

After cutting out the photos I organized them by using post-it tags.  This is how I figured out what photos to put on what page.  For example, the least amount of photos per category were placed on the smaller pages.

Here is the finished album:


Above {back of M} I appreciate beauty: Added word stickers and a flower rub on.

Above {front of O} I am a Daughter: On the wedding photo of my Mom & I…you will see where I pressed too hard on the photo and it took some of the color off.  I decided it didn’t look too bad.  The main reason this happened is because I didn’t spread the Mod Podge evenly over the photo before adhering it.  It left a lot of bubbles and I was trying to smooth them out.  Anyway, I added the Here comes the bride sticker, some filigree cord and lightly dabbed the edge of the page with Annie Sloan’s Old White chalk paint.  If I had the time I would have done this to every page.  I like the dimension it brings.

Above {back of O} I am creative: Added word stickers and a vellum saying, “What one loves in childhood stays in the heart forever.”  My Mom made the cute outfits for my Daughter’s Bitty Baby (American Girl) twins shown in the photo.  I’m the little tap dancer which is 3rd from the right.  I took dance from a little girl until high school.

Below {back of T} We love to play games: I found a scrap of the cross word paper in my scrap bin.  Mom & I play Words With Friends.

Below {front of H} I love to laugh: I added the photo booth photo because my Mom and I laughed so hard playing with the photo booth software on her new laptop.  The photo is from that laugh session.  Makes me smile to think of it. 😀  I added a caption to the bottom left photo.  It says, “Taken when we told you I was pregnant with K.”  The words Laughter and Giggle are rub ons.  Last but not least, I added the metal word smile.

Above {back of H} We love crab legs: Added one simple word sticker.  It is because of my Mom that I love Crab legs.  I have passed that love onto my own Daughters.

Above {front of E} My children have a Grandmother: I found photos of my Mom holding each of our kids after they were born & added their names using the label maker.  Besides the photos, I added more word stickers and a cloth label saying bundle of JOY.

Below {back of E} I love my family: This category went for both pages, back of E and front of R.  I made a label of “Where there is a will, there is a way.” I placed on the front of the R.  It is the one saying my Mom said I have incorporated into my own life in a BIG WAY!  It’s all about perseverance.  Thank you, Mom, for teaching me this. 🙂  Besides photos & word stickers I added flower stickers that have buttons in the middle.

Above {back of R} I am here: Found a cool newspaper article about my great grandpa in my baby book.  I made a color copy of it and incorporated it as part of the background. {It’s not the whole article.}  I added our family history beginning with me to my Mom then to grandparents and great grandparents with their information. {blurred the info for privacy}  Added a special scripture at the top, “Her Children arise up, and call her blessed. Proverbs 31:28”  Attached ribbon & filigree cord to the bottom right with vellum My Family History over it.  Last but not least, I took the front of a pretty note card {bird} my Mom sent me, cut it in strips and added it to the back ground.

Below {front of M} Because of you: Nothing is complete without ribbon…attached this soft, white, velvet ribbon on top of the burlap.  Next came a blue felt flower and a metal C which is her initial.  My Brother took the professional photo of her placed at the top.  Don’t think I mentioned earlier how I added the blue shimmery paint to the front of the M as well.

I had so much fun making this album for my Mom for Mother’s Day.  This would be a great gift for any occasion.  Hope you enjoyed this, probably too thorough, tutorial.  Let me know if you have any questions, though. 😉

Tip Junkie handmade projects
Crafts bring JOY,

Make A FREE Mother’s Day Book {not a giveaway}

This is what I will be working on today:

Did you notice it is FREE?!

I wanted to share this incredible offer to you as well.  Mother’s Day is exactly a month from today, Sunday, May 13, 2012.

I’m saying “NO” to the procrastination monster with the help of Paper Coterie by making a book for my Mom. {Ooops, sorry Mom, you’ll know what you’re getting for Mother’s Day…I know you’ll LOVE it, though.}

Paper Coterie is celebrating Motherhood by giving everyone 1 FREE book/journal.  It expires this Monday, April 16, 2012.  So you only have a few days for your FREE book.  Enter the code CAPTUREMOM at check out and your book is FREE.  {You still have to pay shipping & handling}

I might have to make one for myself, too.

Why not?  I’m worth it and so are you.

These offers are always good motivation to make something that will stand the test of time and sure to melt anyone’s heart who looks at it.

Thank you, Paper Coterie for celebrating Moms!

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any form or fashion to write this post.  All photos & clip art are from Paper Coterie.

Mom’s Rock,

Memory Project: Places We’ve Lived Boards

I’m so excited to share with you a project I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks!

How many places have you lived?  Us…in our married life we have lived in 5 places.  It’s our family history.  Why not memorialize those places, pay tribute, so to speak? You can purchase these from L.L.Bean for $34.95 each.  Yikes!  I didn’t want to spend that much!

I was up for the challenge to make my own, but as usual tweaked it a bit.  I immediately thought of the perfect place for them to go.  My entry way needed something special and I’m thrilled with the results.

Want to know how I did it?  I was able to use all supplies I currently had on hand, so there weren’t any out of pocket expenses…score!

First, remember the barn door shutters I made?

I had left over board pieces from making the Barn Door Shutters.  I pulled those out to begin.  They were already painted with my Annie Sloan’s Old White Chalk Paint.  This helped me skip the painting step.  Next, I decided to add a little black border similar to the L.L.Bean signs.

I used a little pouncer sponge brush to lightly brush the edges with black acrylic paint.

I used QuicKutz’s Revolution to cut out the letters of the city names {12×12 Black Card stock}.  The font is Blossom.

I used the Cricut to cut out the state names and numbers.  The Cricut cartridge is Plantin SchoolBook. {1 & 1/4″}

I absolutely LOVE re-positionable dot glue.  I use it for almost all of my craft projects.  I took the letters and added a small amount of glue.  I would then get a ruler and position them straight.  It takes a lot of moving around to get it just right, but since the glue is re-positionable it doesn’t hurt anything.

Once I had the letters the way I wanted them, I added the Mod Podge.  Since the re-positionable glue is mainly for placement, the best way to add the Mod Podge is to take your foam brush {get a pack of these for a $1 at your dollar store} and dab it gently on top of the letter.  This will ensure some of the Mod Podge seeps underneath the letter a tad.  Once you have dabbed all over the letter with Mod Podge then you can wipe the Mod Podge gently across the letters without the letters wiggling and getting out of place.  I’m sure if you are a pro at using the Cricut with vinyl, there is probably a much easier way to do this, maybe without using Mod Podge.  I haven’t expanded my knowledge on cutting vinyl yet.  Therefore, this is the method I chose to use.

Using Maps for home decor is really popular now and I really like it.  I decided to incorporate the map of the city we lived in on the boards.  This is how you can take advantage of old maps, now that most of us have GPS.  I found it’s a good idea to paint on the Mod Podge before adding the map.  I would then take a tool and spread it over the map to get out any bubbles under the map.

I just tore out the page and cut the map in a rectangle around the city.  Instead of using Latitude and Longitude I wanted to have the dates from when we lived in the particular cities.  Some of the dates were not exactly centered because I didn’t want to cover up the name of the city on the map with the number.  Doesn’t bother me to have it that way.  Let the Mod Podge dry on the map before adding the numbers.  Dab on the Mod Podge over the numbers just like on the letters.  Make sure to spread the Mod Podge over the whole sign in the end.

I used Picture & Frame Hanging Command strips to attach the boards to the wall.  I LOVE those Command strips.  SO much easier than nails…take your level and put it on top of the board and makes for level hanging every time.  The last board which represents where we live now was not completed when the photos were taken.  I’m adding it to the bottom today.  From Pinterest pin to reality.  {Doesn’t accomplishment feel GOOD!?}

Here they are in my entry way.  Seems like they were meant to be in this space.  It was worth the time and effort.  🙂  What do you think?

Linking Up:
The DIY Show Off

Celebrate where you live,

Treasure-Trove Thursday {Perseverance}

There is a reason I chose to write about the value of perseverance today.

My sophomore daughter will be auditioning for a spot on her high school’s varsity color guard team for next year this afternoon.  This is not her first time to try out for the varsity team.  This will be her third.  I am in awe of her determination, persistence and perseverance.  It is heart wrenching to see your child in tears over the loss of such a worthy goal.  For two years I have witnessed her devastation at finding out not making the varsity team.  Fortunately, the first year she tried out, there were so many students auditioning, they began a junior varsity team.  So she has been a valiant member of the junior varsity team the last two years.  Junior varsity color guard only performs during the pre-game show of the football games instead of during the half time show.  However, the junior varsity members assist the varsity members by moving their equipment for the half time show.  When the marching band and varsity color guard goes to competitions, the junior varsity is still required to attend and assist the varsity, even though they do not perform.  After my daughter’s  first year of junior varsity she received the most improved award at the end of the year band banquet.  So it was quite a blow when she did not make the varsity team last year.  I wasn’t sure if she would continue to try out for varsity upon not being chosen for two years.  However, she is.  This whole last year she has practiced and practiced.  I admire her perseverance and hope for a successful outcome at today’s audition.  Will you please join me in saying a prayer for her today.  Please pray for her to remember her routine confidently and with a smile on her face.

Perseverance is demonstrated by those who keep going when the going gets tough, who don’t give up even when others say it can’t be done.” James E. Faust

There is a strong presence of perseverance in my family history.  Let me share an inspiring story about my paternal great grandparents from my Grandpa’s memoir.

Harley & Aurilla's Family

Harley, whose parents had both died by the time he was nine years old, worked for the Canadian Pacific Railroad.  One night he worked as a switch man to assist the switch engine crew moving train cars.  “He signaled for the engine to go forward, but instead the crew backed up, and he was knocked down between the rails.  When the engine stopped, he tried to get up.  He put his right hand on one rail to push off.  His legs had fallen on the other rail.  Then the train started up again and ran over him.  The engineer and fireman were both drunk and left him there to die.  Luckily, however, someone heard him moaning and got him to the hospital.  The accident fractured his skull, dislocated his left shoulder, cut off the fingers of his right hand except for a stub of a little finger and a stub of a thumb, cut off his right leg a few inches below the knee and took the heel of his left leg and part of his foot.”

Aurilla, my great grandmother of Iowa, bumped her left leg on a bench and bruised the shin bone.  This accident led to gangrene and an amputate leg within 8″ of her hip.  “She was only eight years old at the time, and the operation was performed without the benefit of anesthesia.  After the leg healed, she wore a peg leg fashioned by her father.  In spite of this handicap, her main ambition was to run up the stairs.  She still managed to do most everything that a young girl could do.”  Later in life, Aurilla was blessed to purchase the first artificial leg made by the Erickson Limb Company of Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The company asked Aurilla to write Harley of Canada and recommend their artificial legs.  Erickson Limb Company sent her the address of the hospital where Harley had been taken after his train accident.

Harley’s nurse wrote his reply to Aurilla because he had lost most of his fingers on his right hand. “Dad {My grandpa speaking of my great grandpa, Harley} thought it was odd that a woman should write to him about such a thing as an artificial leg.”  Aurilla and Harley corresponded for about a year while he was in the hospital.

Harley then traveled to Minneapolis where Aurilla and Harley met and became engaged.  After they were married they moved back to Canada.  “Harley decided he would like to go to college and learn about raising pure-blood chicken.  He enrolled at the college with a special stipulation.  Since he was not yet able to write, he talked them into letting Aurilla go with him to take notes for him at no extra tuition.”  My grandpa says, “I can just see it now, these two cripples going to college and only one real, ‘good’ leg between them.”

The story of my Grandpa Harley and Grandma Aurilla does not end there, of course.  There are many other instances where this family, which eventually became 6, displayed perseverance.  For the sake of not writing the longest blog post in history, I must postpone the rest of their story for now.  I am eternally grateful that my Grandpa wrote down the story of his parents and their life together.  I never met my Great Grandpa Harley & Great Grandma Aurilla.  They both passed away before I was born.  Nevertheless, I am able to relay their legacy of perseverance {thanks to my Grandpa who has now joined his parents on the other side} to my children, their great, great grandchildren.

My Maternal Grandparents

My maternal Grandfather valued perseverance as well when he wrote, “The most important thing to me, is to be a survivor.  Your Grandma is a strong example of a survivor.”  She most certainly is!  {Hi, Oma…love you}

Something to ponder: What is something that you hope to still achieve in your life and what and who will support you along the way as you persevere to the end? {You can also use this as a writing prompt for a journal entry}

Perseverance pays,