Gift Idea #45 – Music CD

idea numbers45With today’s technology, putting together a CD with someones favorite songs is fairly simple. My idea is to gather the favorite songs of an ancestor or family member and then make copies to share. It would be fun to add a few short stories about the person. If you know the background of why a particular song was their favorite that would be very fitting to add to the CD. If you have some audio of the person’s voice that would also make a nice addition to the gift.

If you don’t already have these songs, there are lots of sources to download audio files on the internet. Just do a search by song title and/or artist and you will find them. So will be free and others will cost a small amount for each song.

This idea could also be share as mp3 files via an email, link on a website or through dropbox or another file sharing service. A custom CD would also be a perfect to include in a gift basket (see gift idea #41).

Pupdate – Yakira, Casey, Puppy Club and #7

Yakira – photo by Lisa Thompson

Yakira is continuing her stead pace through training. She is in phase 4 this week. Keep it up sweet girl, we are cheering for you.

Guide Dog News, a quarterly publication of Guide Dogs for the Blind, in its News of Our Graduates section listed Casey’s handler, Carrie as this years recipient of Reach for the Stars Scholarship. Congrats to Carrie on this accomplishment.

Our local puppy club has gotten too big and this week was our last meeting together. We meet at the Cold Stone in South Jordan to see Frosty and the other candy windows along with enjoying a tasty ice cream treat. It was a wet evening but lots of fun.A new club is being formed and we will be part of it. It is going to be fun to see what it takes to organize a new puppy raising club. We need to pick a name for our club. Any suggestions?

Right now the new club only has 5 puppies but more our expected soon. It seems that GDB has too many puppies in the kennels and they are looking for raisers. So we decided yesterday to apply for our next puppy, #7! He/she may be a co-raise with my friend Lisa, but we decided it was a good time to add another puppy to the household even if she decides now is not the best time to co-raise a puppy. So puppy #7 could arrive, by plane, in just a few weeks.

Gift Idea #44 – Shadow Box

idea numbers44Many years ago I worked as a picture framer. One of the most challenging things I did but also the most rewarding was putting together shadow boxes for customers. Shadow boxes are a wonderful way to display and protect a treasure historical object. I’ve framed everything from china to dresses to locks of hair to military medals.

There are pre-made shadow box frames available at many craft and hobby stores but you might want to consult a custom framing shop before you tackle this project. Depending on what you are framing it can be tricky to figure out how to mount the object without causing permanent damage. Make sure the object is protected by using acid free materials and glass which will block out UV rays to prevent damage from light.

Gift Idea #43 – History Kit

idea numbers43Would someone on your gift list like to start writing down their own history or help someone else get started on their history? Then how about putting together everything they need to get started?

It could be as simple as a journal or a three-ring binder and paper along with a list of questions and a pen or pencil. Or it could be high-tech. I found software that will help you write your history. Another approach would be a digital recorder in place of the journal.

There are a bunch of sources for questions or journaling prompts. I’ve gathered a few of them below to get you started.

Life Story Printables

Get to Know Your Family and Friends Better

The 50 Best Life Story Questions

Personal History

Tips for Doing Your Personal History

Personal History in Depth




Gift Idea #42 – Family Coloring Book

idea numbers42I got this idea from a neighbor of my parents. They put together simple coloring books to tell the story of an ancestor. They have done one every year to share at their annual family reunion. They now have nine coloring books. Each book tell a simple story with clip art for the kids to color that goes along with the story. I love this idea. I can’t wait to put a coloring book together too. I’ll have to add it to my list of future projects.

If you would like to see their coloring books you can find them here.

Gift Idea #41 – Gift Basket

idea numbers41We all know all about gift baskets but this one has a little twist. The theme is an ancestor or a family story. To start pick your focus. Then think of things to go in the basket that will help tell about your focus. Photos would be great. Maybe some object about the person or the story. Write up something about your focus. If you happen to have a book about the subject this would be a fun way to give it to your family. If you are lucky enough to have a video that would be great to include. Something to eat would be a must. If there is food involved in the story, that would be perfect. Or if the person has any favorite foods include those. You could add a few things just to make the basket look pretty too. The idea is to fill the basket with things that can create an environment that will help the story or person feel real.



50 for 50 # 49 – Clam Chowder

My Clam Chowder

My Clam Chowder

I can’t believe the year is almost over and I’m down to my second to the last 50 for 50 to celebrate my 50th year. This week I made a batch of clam chowder in memory of the few months we lived in the Boston area. I made a healthier version than usual. My husband is working hard to lose some weight and so I cut back a lot of the fat and cream from the recipe. Plus the carrots I used came in several colors from yellow to orange and even a couple of purple carrots. Between not using cream and the colorful carrots it looks a bit different from your traditional clam chowder. But it still tasted good and we enjoyed it, just as we enjoyed our time in Boston.

My favorite memories of Boston include walks by the ocean. I love the ocean, that is the one bad thing about living in Utah, no ocean. I also loved the parks in the area we lived south of Boston. They were in a very natural state with lots of fun paths and the most interesting colors of mushrooms. I enjoyed the accent of the locals and all the wonderful trees. It is so green compared to the desert climate here. We had lots of fun going to antique auctions and came home with so much more stuff than we left with.

Gift Idea #40 – Memory Wreaths

idea numbers40There are lots of other ways to put together a wreath than the one featured in Gift Idea #39. These are not so much geared to Christmas decoration but to share stories and memories about your family year round. There are lots of options for this project ranging from elegant to modern to shabby chic. Below are example using everything from clothes pins to canvas to lots of tiny picture frames.

The focus of your wreath could be vintage photos to photos you took last week. It could include just one person or grandparents or an entire family. Think of a story you would like to tell using photos and/or objects and gather what you have to work with and see where your creativity takes you. The examples below are just a jumping off point for your personal project.

Heirloom Wreath

Burlap and Canvas Family Heirloom Wreath

Canvas Collage Wreath

Canvas Collage Wreath

Family Tree Wreath

Family Tree Wreath

Picture Frame Memory Wreath

Picture Frame Memory Wreath

Clothespins Memory Wreath

Family Tree

This idea could be adapted to a wreath but I like it just the way it is too.

Gift Idea #39 – Christmas Wreath with Memorablia

idea numbers39

Simple put this idea is to decorate a wreath with old family photos and other objects from your families past. This gives you the opportunity to share with others the stories about your ancestor.

I learned about this idea at a genealogy conference a couple of years ago. I went to a class by Lisa Louise Cooke. She opened my eyes to the possibilities of ways to share family stories. Lisa has put together four videos with detailed step by step instructions on how to make a family history Christmas wreath. You will find the links below. Have fun with this. Use these videos as a starting point and adapt the idea to your own taste situation.

Family History Christmas Wreath – part 1

Family History Christmas Wreath – part 2

Family History Christmas Wreath – part 3

Family History Christmas Wreath – part 4

Pupdate – Yakira, Zodiac and Apex

Yakira – photo by Lisa Thompson

First off, Yakira is in phase 3! Way to keep it up girl. I think she is going to make someone an amazing guide dog. More on what she is learning in phase 3 here.

sunset from Apex’s cruise

Next up, Apex and Sue just got back from a cruise! He is such a lucky pup. Here are a few photos from their trip.

Apex enjoying his cruise

Apex’s litterbox on the cruise

Last up is Zodiac. We went to the Eye Institute of Utah this week. They were so generous and donated a generous amount to our puppy club. Plus the pups each got a fleece blanket and a dog toy. It was so much fun to stop by so that the employees could get a little puppy love.

Nairobi, Zodiac, Sony, Yanni and Savoy at the Eye Institute of Utah – photo by Karen Fuller

Zodiac and Sony – photo by Karen Fuller

pups with their toys and blankets from the Eye Institute