Family Trees: tree of hearts

Family Tree of Hearts from

This Family Tree of Hearts is customizable from 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.



Gift Idea #4 – Personalized Planner

Last year I made one of‘s weekly planners for a friend. It turned out really nice with a photo for each month and the front and back covers. This year they have even more options and with their BookSmart tool it is an afternoon or evening project. There are other planners out there that you can customize with photos but in my searching I didn’t find one that will let you add important dates.

Of course you can design your own planner from top to bottom in Adobe InDesign but that isn’t an afternoon project and BookSmart gives a surprising amount of control. Which ever route you take I think it would be fun to put together a family planner with historic photos and important dates from the past. Click on the image below to a Blurberati Blog post about their weekly planner.

Gift Idea #2 – Family History Conference

If someone in you family would love to expand their knowledge on how to do family history why not give register them for a conference or a class on family history. If you are the one, then why not give it to yourself for Christmas! There is a great one here in Utah in March called RootsTech. I went last year and loved it because it has so many different kinds of classes from the technology side to traditional research. They have added a new “Getting Started” that is only $19 for a one-day pass. Full 3-day Passes are now $149 with the early bird discount. If Salt Lake is too far away for the budget, then do some research and find a local class or conference you can give. What better way to help tell your families tales than to learn how to find more family members to tell stories about. Maybe I’ll see you at RootsTech.


Gift Idea #1 – Have an Ancestor to Dinner

This idea is inspired by the tradition of having a special birthday plate that is only used on birthdays by the person whose birthday it is. In my version wrap a special plate, either one you already have or one that you make or buy just for this purpose. Then you have a family dinner and set an extra place at the table with this plate. During the meal you talk about the ancestor or family member that is the special guest for dinner. Someone could be ready with stories about you special guest or family members could share memories about that person, depending on the situation. You could even invite someone to come in costume as the ancestor and play the role for the night.

These special dinners could be held monthly or on or near the birthday of the ancestor or whatever works for your family. You could place card by the special plate with the guest of honors name and a photo would be a nice touch. If you know a favorite food of the guest, it would be fun to serve that as part of the meal. This is just a starting point. The same idea would work for living members of your family and use it as a way to honor the talents and accomplishments of the guest of honor.

If you Google custom plates there are tons of options of plates you can buy with a family name or other images. There are many ways to decorate a glass or ceramic plate yourself. Below are a few links to give you some ideas and get you started on this project.

Glass Plate Craft

How to Use Porcelain Paint Pens

Decoupage Dinner Plate

Family Name Platter

Etched Glass Dinner Plate

Personalized Melamine Plate

My 2013 Calender

I’ve decided to do a Calender for 2013. While I haven’t done a Calender every year I’ve done one for family and friends more years than I haven’t. This years Calender started out as a wish to do something beautiful with the phrase “keep the faith”. I like the idea of a Calender because it is useful and if someone really likes the image for a particular month they can keep it after the Calender is finished.

Once I’d decided that the project was going to be a Calender I had to come up with short phrases for each month. After some brainstorming I asked Bill to help me pick which ones we would use. Then it was time to get to work. I originally started laying out “keep the faith” in InDesign using Before the Rain by font designer Mans Greback but as I thought of all the months I needed to layout and I didn’t want to use the same font on all of them but I wanted them to be beautiful I decided that I would change things up and do each phrase by hand. I hope I won’t regret this but so far I’m having fun working with pencil and paper instead of my computer for a change of pace. I keep telling myself that I’m looking for an organic look not something precise and perfect so it lends itself to being hand drawn. But I’m lacking in confidence that I can pull this off.

I have sketched out each of the 13 phrases that I’ll be using on my calendar and I’ve continued to use Mans Greback’s fonts as inspiration to help me have a good variety of styles from image to image. I’d love some feedback on what I have so far. So fire away.


Blurb Savings

I got a new blurb discount today. This is as good as it gets, 25% off with no minimum! It is a great time to take care of any books you want to put together for Christmas gifts. One idea if you don’t have another project in the works is to do planners. Blurb has customizable planners. I did one for a friend last year and it turned out really nice. I am going to look at my projects and see how I can take advantage of this discount. It would be perfect for the new addition of the Waffle Book. The offer is good until November 20th. Use the code IMAGINATION at check out.*

*Offer valid through November 20, 2012 (11:59 p.m. local time). Valid for printed books only. A 25% discount is applied to your product total. Maximum discount is USD $150, GBP £95, EUR €115, CAD $150, or AUD $150 off product total. This offer is good for one-time use, and cannot be combined with volume discounts, other promotional codes, gift cards, or used for adjustments on previous orders.