Shutterfly Book

my 50 for 50 book cover

I received a free 8×8 hardcover book coupon for Shutterfly recently and decided I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try it out. I’ve never even been the Shutterfly site before so things were a bit rough to start. After a few false starts I figured out how to get a book started and upload photos for the book. Even though I choose their customized book path I found myself wanting more control over what I could do. But then I’m used to have complete control over my projects in Adobe InDesign. I spent 4 or 5 hours putting together a 20 page book. Having done it once it would probably take about half that time the second time around.

I was able to export it to a pdf but as you can see from above (and below) it has a watermark on each page. The link below will take you to Shutterfly’s preview of the book.

I can see how Shutterfly would be a good option for many people. They have lots of ways to share your photos and they are geared to really put together projects without too much thought on the customer’s part. I can’t see me ever using them as my primary source for books though. I’m too picky about wanting things the way I want them. I’m looking forward to getting the book and see what it looks like. I’ll post again after in comes.

Click here to view this photo book larger



50 for 50 #50 – Time Capsule

inside my time capsule

The year has gone by so quickly. It has been lots of fun doing something almost every week to celebrate turning 50 years old. I think I will miss it. But I’m excited to been done – that I’ve accomplished the goal I set out to do a year ago. For my last thing I gathered together a bunch of small items I had kicking around and photos and images clipped from magazines over the last couple of years. I thought about getting a something fancy to put my time capsule in but a decided in the end on an empty peanut container. There is nothing archival about it but there isn’t anything of historical value in my time capsule either. My plan is to open it in 10 years. I guessing it will be very interesting to see this odd collection of items when I’m 60 years old.

my time capsule

outside of my time capsule

Pupdate – Yakira & Zodiac

Yakira – photo by Lisa Thompson

I was concerned that with the Christmas Holiday, Yakira might not move on to phase 5 this week but she did! If you are interested in what Yakira is learning in phase 5 go to this post on Casey. Two of Yakira’s littermates, Yancey and Yasmine showed up on the phase report last week. They are now in phase 1. Her sister Yumi was recently dropped from breeder evals and should show up soon. That just leaves Yuma out there somewhere.

It has been an interesting week here. We were puppy sitting Beacon for Christmas. Our new club leader took him on Wednesday for an evaluation. Zodiac had lots of fun playing with Beacon most of the time but sometimes it seemed that Zodiac was done playing and Beacon wanted more. Even though they are only a few days apart in age, Zodiac comes across as much more mature in most ways. Zodiac was exhausted when Beacon left and so was I. We will be puppy sitting Kai starting tomorrow until next Wednesday.

Bill & Zodiac on Temple Square

Tonight we took Trax downtown to see the Christmas lights on Temple Square. It was a good socializing opportunity for Zodiac. There were a surprising number of people doing the same thing we were and Zodiac did great. He can be a bit distracted by wanting to socialize with people but he did very well tonight. We couldn’t find his head collar so he had to do it on his own, with just the flat collar. He really is starting to grow-up and gain a lot more self-control.

Zodiac on the Trax train


More Illustration for the Mary Book

Sleeping in big round tent

Kimberli has been busy get more illustrations done for the Mary book. I’ve worked hard the last few days on the text and I’ve narrowed things down so the book isn’t so long. With these four new illustration we just have five to go plus the cover. My mom turns 90 the end of March so we have to have it done by then. She is going to love this book. The text is evolving in what I hope is a good way. I’m sure it still needs lots more work, but I’m going to work on some other projects for a few days and let it sit. Then I’ll look at it again with fresh eyes. I don’t consider myself a writer and I’ve prayed that someone else would come along to write this book. But no one has come along so I’m forging ahead, hoping for inspiration and a miracle so this book can really share the story of my great-great-grandmother.

Mary being nursed back to health

children playing in the river

Mary with a mob threatening

My 2013 Calendar

I got my 2013 Calendar finished last week. Now I’m finally getting around to posting about it. It evolved during the process and although I’m happy with the results it isn’t what I thought it would be when I started. I thought I would do something that could be printed in black and white but in the end it looked better with the colored backgrounds. I wish I had made the backgrounds myself but I didn’t. I didn’t have enough time for that. It was fun working with paper a pencil and I think I’ll find reason to mix some more of that in with all the computer stuff in the future. Feel free to make copies of the calendar for your personal use. I hope you have a great year in 2013.

2013 Calendar PDF


Gift Idea #50 – Surprise Balls

idea numbers50I came across this idea via Design Mom. The basic idea is to take small gifts and brightly colored crape paper strips. You start with the largest item and wrap it with the crape paper and then add another item and repeat until all the items are wrapped in the ball. Here are detailed instructions on how to make a surprise ball.

These surprise balls remind me if some gifts I gave my nieces when they were young. I wrapped their gifts in yarn. I took a small item and wrapped yarn around it until it was the size of a volleyball. I like the idea of having a series of small gifts to discover along the way.

I think it would be fun to have a series of small trinkets and photos that relate to a family member. It could focus on a single story with the items in the surprise ball help to tell the story. This idea has some great possibilities, I can’t wait to try this out.

Surprise Balls – photo by HonestlyWTF

Gift Idea #49 – Memory Jar

idea numbers49The idea behind a memory jar is to gather little things that remind you of a person or an event. There are so many ways to put together a memory jar but they fall into two basic categories or a combination of both. You can put stuff inside the jar or you can decorate the outside of the jar. Most jars are both with decorative elements on the outside put on in such a way that you can still see what is on the inside. But there are memory jars that cover the entire jar with trinkets and odds and ends. A memory jar could also just have slips of paper with short memories written on them.

I like the idea of mostly putting things in a sturdy wide-mouth jar with minimal decoration on the outside. I think a memory jar would be a great way to share some of the little odds and ends that we collect over a lifetime but no one knows what to do with after we are gone. You could also put together a memory jar for a more distant ancestor with items that are symbolic of the person if you don’t have anything that was actually theirs.

How To Make a Memory Jar

Vacation Memory Jar

Save memories on a Jar – Not in it

Memory Jars or Jugs



Gift Idea #48 – Ancestor Handwriting Font

idea numbers48My grandmother has distinctive handwriting and I’d love to turn it into a handwriting font. There are online services that will take your handwriting and convert it into a font for you. Some are free and some charge for their services. I have yet to try this even for my handwriting but it is on my list of things I want to do. It will be a little more difficult to do it for someone who has passed on because you will either need to trace their handwriting or else do some scanning and cut and paste to get the needed characters. Below are a few links to guide you along the process.

Handwriting Font Creator

Make Your Own Handwriting Fonts

Tips on making a handwriting font

Writing Fonts



Gift Idea #47 – Travel to Family History Site

idea numbers47How about planning a trip to a place where your family came from. It could be across the ocean or just across town. The distance isn’t so important as having the purpose of the trip to learn about your family’s past. Just pick a place, do some research and plan an itinerary. One word of advice, be flexible and don’t over schedule your trip. This isn’t about packing it so full that you can’t enjoy the time with family members and learning about the past.

So you have something to wrap up, you could print up your itinerary with a map and some images of your destination and the ancestor(s) associated with this site.

Gift Idea #46 – Story Box

idea numbers46This gift idea was inspired by this post on Design Mom. Guest Aunt Kelly Wilkinson made a story box for her sister as a gift before her first baby was born. I think this could be adapted for other situations. What Kelly did was take a wooden cigar box and decorate the outside with pretty images. A wooden box would be wonderful but other types of containers could be used also.

Inside she and a few friends put handwritten cards with story prompts. This cards can be used by her sister or in the future her sister’s children to start stories from their mother’s life. Children love to hear stories about their parents lives. This idea could also be used with grandparents or other extended family. The story prompts could also be generic and then the story box could be used by anyone to generated memories of their lives. The story box could be the start of a new family tradition that will be enjoyed for years to come.