Pupdate: Emma

Emma at her last puppy class on September 2nd 2014

Emma at her last puppy class on September 2nd 2014

We found out this week that our 8th puppy that we raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind has been adopted. Remember back in November they discovered that she has a bad back so she couldn’t be a guide dog. So they have been looking for just the right situation for her and her luxating lumbar. Emma’s mom’s family wanted to take her but their life style was too active for Emma. On December’s update they said that another family was considering her. I don’t think that worked out either. But when we got the latest update they said that a long-time volunteer at GDB has adopted Emma. This person is retired to Emma isn’t home alone much and they are doing well together. I think that after 30 days we will get the official paper work on Emma’s adoption. Hopefully they will want to keep in touch. I have a hard time imagining a volunteer at Guide Dogs for the Blind not being willing to keep in touch with a puppy raiser, so I’m hopeful.

Today also marks 6 years since our very first puppy, Apex, graduated as a guide dog with his handler Sue. He will be 8 years only in May. The age that the “R” word starts to creep into the picture. We hope he will enjoy working for another year or two but it is a rare dog who works past 10 years old. So far he is a happy and healthy guide dog. Since he is very well-loved and taken care of, I think he will be working for a while yet.


Family Photo Books and Blurb Discount Code

I got an email from Blurb.com that I thought I’d share. Along with a 20% discount code “MYVALENTINE” (no minimum and up to $50 off – good through January 31st 2015 local time) They had some good ideas on making family photos books. Here are a few of their favorite ideas:

If you have an epic tale to tell, do it in a custom family history book. Do a little research (you don’t have to be a historian—just be curious) and share your family’s story.
Lucky enough to have a large family? See how you can make a family yearbook (just like a school’s yearbook) to get everyone into the picture.
Time flies, babies become toddlers, and before you know it they’re out of the nest. Simple photo books documenting their growth likewise become treasured reminders—use pre-designed templates or create your own layouts.
Not sure where to start?
Watch our series of short, handy Book Camp videos and see how to put your book together, from organizing your photos to hitting Order.
You can even check out our step-by-simple-step tutorial about how to make a family photo book.

50 Button Crafts: idea #4 – button bookmarks

button bookmarks from iheartnaptime.net

Got a box or jar full of buttons carefully saved by your mother or grandmother? For 2015 I’m in search of great ways to put those buttons to use. Here is this week’s idea:

A big chunk of the button crafts I’ve found are jewelry so I thought this idea would be a nice change of pace. Plus it is super simple. All you need is buttons, paper clips, hot glue and some scraps of felt. Click on the photo above for I Heart Nap Time’s tutorial. If you have buttons from someone who loved to read these bookmarks would make the perfect opportunity to share a story about that person’s favorite book. I might just make a few of these for the kids I tutor in reading at the local elementary school. I think they would love them.

It would be a good idea to document where the buttons for your project came from and any relevant stories or information about that person or family. If you are looking for more button crafts, check out my Pinterest board.

Family Trees: a colorful clan – InDesign Template

Apex panaramic clan family treeversion of the colorful clan for Apex (the first puppy we raised for GDB)

A couple of weeks ago I did a post on colorful clan family tree for a 4″ x 12″ panoramic frame. I’ve put together a simple Adobe InDesign template to recreate the one from Parents.com. As I was working on it I realized that I didn’t need to have different colors of paper. With a color printer I could just print my background color.

For a sample I decided to show Apex’s (the first puppy we raised for Guide Dogs for the Blind) family tree. As you can see I don’t have all the birth dates and I don’t have any death date though some of these dogs have certainly passed away. But I though it would work to show what the template is like. Of course when you open the template up in InDesign you will be able to customize anything you would like from the fonts to the background colors.

You can download the Panoramic Clan Template here from Dropbox. When you open it up in Dropbox it will look like crazy gobbledegook. But once you save it to you computer and open it in InDesign it will work fine. I made this template in InDesign CS6. Let me know if you have problems or suggestions. I’m hoping to make more templates this coming year.

SCUBA Discovery Class: part 2

So I obviously survived my SCUBA experience. Yeah! I tried not to feel too nervous about it but only partially succeeded. About half way there I realized I forgot the paperwork. But I figured they had copies on hand that I could fill out again so I didn’t go back. And they did.I was the first student to arrive. And after waiting for more to show up they figure out that I was the only one. There had been six at one point but they all dropped out the last few because they were sick. You wouldn’t want your first SCUBA experience to be with congested sinuses. So I ended up with a private lesson for the group price! Plus there was a second instructor in training. It was great being the only one because everything happened at my speed. The only down side was having no one to gauge against how I was grasping the concepts.

The equipment is so much nicer than what my Dad worked with. It was really cool. I want to take him to the Dive Addicts store so he can see how things have evolved in the last 60 years. I had a hard time breathing until the instructor reminded me to focus on inhaling and the exhale will take care of its self. I just learned the very basics of clearing the face mask of water and getting my ears to adjust to the change in water pressure as we went into the deep end. It is hard to do with the mouthpiece in but I did succeed in getting pretty far down in the deep end. I had a hard time controlling my body underwater. It was my first time in swim fins too.

It was kind of fun but mostly hard work. I figure it is probably a lot like skiing for the first time, the learning curve is steep and it only gets better as you master some of the basic skills. By the time I got out I was exhausted. As I drove home I realized I was a bit sick to my stomach. Lunch helped that but my head of off the rest of the day. I think I had a bit of motion sickness. At first it was the same feeling I have when I’m on the verge of getting car sick. Later in the day I realized it was the same feeling I get after taking a couple of airplane flights.

I’m really glad I took the class. In my older age it feels like it is important to try new things and not get complacent about life and learning. I doubt I’ll do it again. But I wonder if my Dad would like to try the new equipment and see what it is like. If he wants to do that I want to be there with him. Then he could show me some of the ways he taught SCUBA.

(The took a couple of pictures during the class but they haven’t put them up on their Facebook page yet. I’ll add them here when they do.)

Family Trees: tree of hearts

Family Tree of Hearts from PersonalCreations.com

This Family Tree of Hearts is customizable from PersonalCreations.com. Though you have no control over the arrangement of the hearts on the tree or which heart the names appear on, this would make a lovely addition to any home. Click on the image above to get the details.

If you have the time and desire you can paint your own version. Theirs is on canvas so you could pick up a pre-stretched canvas and get to work. Or you could use wooden planks to replicate the look of the background. Doing it your self you could put the hearts in a more traditional family tree arrangement, though I can see some advantages of the random approach. Doing it yourself would make it possible to add more hearts as new members join the family.


50 Button Crafts: idea #3 – simple button bracelet

button bracelet by Hope Studios

Got a box or jar full of buttons carefully saved by your mother or grandmother? For 2015 I’m in search of great ways to put those buttons to use. Here is this week’s idea:

This button bracelet would be so much fun to do at a family gathering. Have the supplies gathered and enjoy some storytellling, chating and bonding while everyone creates a one of a kind bracelet with ties to their family through the buttons and memories of making them together. Click on the photo for Hope Studios’ step by step tutorial.

It would be a good idea to document where the buttons for your project came from and any relevant stories or information about that person or family. If you are looking for more button crafts, check out my Pinterest board.

SCUBA Discovery Class

image from diveaddicts.com

On Saturday I’m taking an introductory class to SCUBA diving. The idea makes me a bit nervous. I’m not all that comfortable in the water and not a great swimmer. But my Dad suggested it would help me write about his time as a SCUBA instructor and I think he is right. I planned to take it in November but when I broke my hand a couple of weeks before they class that just wasn’t going to work. So I got to put it off. But now the day of reckoning is almost upon me. I’m sure it will be a learning experience and who knows maybe I’ll really enjoy it. I’ll let you know next week how it went.

Have you ever done something just so you could better understand a person or a subject? Are you glad you did?

The Family History Writing Challenge: 2015

I realized this morning that we are almost half way through the first month of the new year. Feels like I’m not getting enough done each day. How about you? After taking a long break from working on my Dad’s Key West history I need to get back into it. I’m thinking Lynn Palermo’s Family History Writing Challenge might be just the perfect motivator. If you’ve done it before jump on board again this year. February is just around the corner. If not check out her website, register and then get set to more writing done this year.

Family Trees: a colorful clan

photo by Aaron Dyer from parents.com

A project doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. This idea from parents.com is easy to put together with a panoramic frame, your printer and some colored paper. Click the photo above for more detailed directions. If you register on their site they have a cutting template too. But I’ll make it my goal to put together an InDesign template to make it super easy to put in your families names. Watch for it on Thursday.

I think this format would also lend its self to putting photos in place of the colored paper. Maybe all in black and white or sepia tone. It could be fun with tightly cropped photos too. Some great possibilities with this. I’ve got to try this out asap.