Mary Book Update

cover illustration by Kimberli Johnson

We are so close to being ready to print a proof copy of our Mary Taylor story book. In a perfect world we will be doing that the end of the week. Since the world isn’t usually perfect it might be a few days later than that. Kim got me two more illustrations done. The one above will do double duty as the cover and one of the middle illustration. On the cover I cropped the image in to show just Mary.

The illustration below will be the first one in the book and then we will crop it down as tight as we can for the last image in the book. I’ve got at least one more edit on the text to do. And if a friend who teaches writing classes has time there will be another one before the we print the proof. The plan is to present the proof copy to my mom on her 90th birthday at the end of the month. I know she is going to love it even if no one else does.

first and last illustration by Kimberli Johnson

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Book of the Week – “The Significant Lineage of Miss Lottie May Pataw”

This is a quirky little book about a rather dysfunctional family and town, but I think I like it.  There is a short paragraph about each person along with a rustic illustration drawn by the last surviving member of the Pataw family. The stories were compiled and edited by Lindsey Marie Fenderson. I especially like the way it tells the story of this family in a very approachable and interesting way. How could this book be an inspiration in telling one of your family’s stories? I’m filing this idea away for future reference.

Another Illustration for the Mary Book

I thought I would share the latest illustration for our Mary book project. This illustration is of Brigham Young telling the people in the Salt Lake Valley about the handcart pioneer in need of help. It is exciting to be making steady progress on getting this book finished. My mom turns 90 in a couple of months and this will be a major part of her birthday.

I’ve been working on the text and made some major changes to it which I think will make it more interesting. Plus during a brainstorming session we came up with the idea of having an image to search for in each illustration which relates to another story from the Martin Handcart company. The back of the book will give the images to search for and the little story. I think I’ll post the text on my next update.


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

Gift Idea #7 – Children’s Story Book

If you have followed my blog you know how excited I am about the illustrated children’s story book we are working on about my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor. Even though we won’t have this project finished for Christmas it would make a great gift. (Our deadline is actually for my mom’s 90th birthday in March.) With the Mary book I try to imagine it being used as a bed time story for Mary’s many descendants.

Do you have a family story that would lend itself to a story with illustrations? The pictures could be simple drawings or you could set up a photo shoot and have “actors” dress up to illustrate the story. The text doesn’t have to be complicated or long, the illustrations will help tell the story. Publishing could be as simple as printing it on your computer and/or taking it to your local copy center to make copies and have it bound. Of course a print on demand service such as Blurb or Lulu would also work. I think this project would be a perfect way to share one of your family stories with the next generation. Plus I think that even the older members of your family will take the time to read a short illustrated story when they would never take the time to read a long family history book.

Print Aid NYC

We Are NYC by Micah Heiselt

I came across this project via DesignMom this morning. Besides being a great way to do something positive and raise much needed money for the victims of Sandy I was struck as I looked at the poster how they tell a story about New York and it many people and personalities. We spent part of a year living in Brooklyn and I have fond memories of the people and the place. Click on over to Print Aid NYC and see all the poster. All proceeds go to the Mayor’s Fund for Hurricane Relief. Even the site and the printing are being donated. I love it when groups and individuals work together to accomplish such worthwhile purposes.

Here Comes The Sun by Linsey Laidlaw


Mary – two more illustrations

Indians along the trail

It has been a while since I posted an update on the project to put together and illustrated book about my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor’s early life and experience crossing the planes. My niece has done two more illustrations. The image above is illustration #10 and the text will cover  Mary walked all day pushing and pulling a handcart with her mother, father, husband and cousin in the Martin Handcart Company. One day, Indians rode by the handcarts. The Indians did not hurt the pioneers.

Six illustrations down and about 18 to go. We are past the 25% mark on the illustrations. Realistically I can’t see getting to the text until December at the earliest. I have too many other things on my plate until then.

Burt Simons with his loaded carriage

This is illustration #16 showing Mary’s rescuer, Burt Simmons, who had a stout carriage full of food. He was ready and left to save the pioneers before the other wagons. It is exciting to see more illustration getting finished for this project.


Mary – three more illustrations

I’m past due for an update on how the illustrated children’s book of my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor, is coming. Kim has completed 4 illustrations now and I’m happy with how they all look. I decided that I might as well start the actually book document now that I have 4 of the images.

Crossing the Platte River

We are planning to use to publish this book. I love the 7×7 format that I’ve used for several other projects and we are using that again for this one. The blurb plug-in for InDesign is great. I put in the book size and the number of pages and it creates my blank document and then a second document for the cover. It is a much nicer system then the old templates. I took my outline for the book, (you can read it here in the original post about this project) and placed it on the pasteboard. The pasteboard is a handy area outside the page in InDesign. It is a great place to gather the items for a page until you know where you want them to go. It really helps me to get things organized without cluttering up the page. Then it was easy to make sure I was putting the illustrations in the right place. Plus I have a reminder there of what the text for that page should cover. It feels good to have the actually document started. I hope it will inspire me to get started on the text soon.

Fog and Icebergs Crossing the Atlantic

I recently finished a book about the Willie and Martin handcart companies called “The Price We Paid” by Andrew Olsen. Several of the missionaries when we were at Martin’s Cove recommended it. I skipped the section on the Willie company but it really gave me a much clearer understanding of the timeline and how everything happened, especially around the rescue. If you are looking to learn more about either of these handcart companies, you should read this book.

Mary’s Baptism

I have a lot of things on my plate now so I’m not sure when I can fit it in but at the same time I hate to put it off too long. I’d really like to have the text mostly written by the time Kim finishes the illustrations. Then I can quickly put the finishing touches on the project and get it printed. I think I’ll talk to Kim and see if we can figure out a timeline. Now that she has a few of the illustrations done, she should have a better feel for how much time she needs to get this project complete. I do best with deadlines, otherwise my projects can stretch out for ever and never get done.

Finished Illustration of Mary’s Childhood

My Current Projects: goals and progress

Is it Monday already? Where did last week go? Oh, I know the new puppy (Zodiac) took all of it.

Mother’s Day Project: Infographic inspired sheet about the mother’s in my life.

Due Date: May 13th

I got one done for my mom. I’ll post about it this week, probably tomorrow.

  • 8 x 10 frames
  • info on Bill’s mom
  • print
  • frame
  • wrap

If I don’t get the info I need for Bill’s mom before Mother’s Day I think I could show her what I’m doing and she could help me figure out what she would like on her sheet.

In the Navy – Key West Chapter: project about my dad’s 20 years in the U.S. Navy. The priority is the chapter on Key West so he can pass it on to the Under Water Swimmer School website to include in their history page.

Due Date: asap but no hurry either

  • Listen to audio tape & transcribe

No progress here. Procrastination and Zodiac are my only excuses

Mary: a small (7×7) book about Mary Taylor’s childhood and her journey to the Salt Lake Valley with the Martin Handcart Company for children under 12 to learn about their pioneer ancestor.

Due Date: flexible – would love to have at least a draft for July Reunion

  • write text
  • get illustrations from Kim

I took a thumb drive to Kim but she was sick so I haven’t gotten the first illustration yet, but I did leave her a check. I figure it is good to pay her as she completes each illustration.

Journal for Martin’s Cove Reunion: a half sheet size journal to help make the trek experience at Martin’s Cove more meaningful. Have time line of handcart company with info about Mary Taylor and her family along with space for journaling and possible adding photos or sketches.

Due Date: July 2012

  • Decide on Binding – in process
  • Logo for Reunion
  • edits – waiting for mom to proof read

Still on hold. My mom is coming down this week so I’ll check with her on proof reading.

Goals for this week:

  1. Finish Mother’s Day Project
  2. Continue transcribing “Key West”
  3. Improvements to my Blog site

The big challenge I have this week is figuring out how to get things done with a new puppy on board. How do you deal with new changes to your life and still get things done? This is an ongoing struggle for me and I have to find better ways to tackle the goals and projects of my life.