Genealogy-Gencrafts Getting your genealogy assets out of the file cabinets and onto your walls

Chinese Pedigree Chart Art

May 7


When Chinese married, it was most often a prearranged marriage, and the first time the bride and groom saw each other was when she was carried from her fathers village in a sedan chair and arrived at the door of the grooms house in a sedan chair and he opened the curtain after throwing firecrackers at the sedan chair to ward off any evil spirits.

If you are VERY, VERY LUCKY your parents or grandparents may be in possession of the three generational chart that would have been exchanged by the families prior to marriage to make sure they were not to closely related.

If not, I have painted several Chinese themed Pedigree Charts.

Image of Chinese Pedigree Chart

Note: I am not Chinese, this is merely a Chinese “Themed” Pedigree Chart available in High Resolution on Etsy without the words “Wong Family Tree” at the top.



Each village had one primary family all related to each other. Everybody in the village thus had the same family name. Chinese naming traditions dictate the Family Name comes first, then the individuals name, and then (to aid in the confusion of everybody having the same family name, each generation of a particular family, all had the same third name.


Family Name: Wong

Individual’s name: Hung

Therefore “Wong Hung Yin” and ALL of his brothers middle name was Yin. All his sisters would have the same generational name also but may not be exactly the same middle name as their brothers.

So any individual in a village whose name was Wong Something Yin, would be siblings. No question about it. And all the men whose generational name was Yin had fathers, whose third name was the same. So you could group generations but not necessarily figure out whose son they were.

Each family had an 8 generation “Family Poem” So they knew 8 generations in advance what first letter they would use to pick the generational name for their children.

Prior to the 1930 each village had an “Ancestral Hall” that housed all the generations information, however the Communist did there best to destroy all of those records to break familial ties.

The Chinese have a complicated structure as to how they address their family members and ancestors based on whether the person is from their father’s side, mothers side, whether the person is older or younger than their parent, grand parents etc.

Many Chinese individuals never know or learn their ancestors actual names because they refer to them by these names. If you have old photographs, these nomenclature may require you to determine WHO wrote the name on the back of the photo.

For more information read further explanations on

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Using Dirty Pour Acrylic backgrounds for Chinese Monogram Ornaments

May 7
Photos of 3" Ornaments with the Wong and Leo Family monogram on them.

3″ Ornaments with the Wong and Leo Family monogram on them.

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Chinese Lantern Photo Cube w/free printables !

May 7

This post is still a work in progress.

Photo of Basic Red Chinese Lantern Photo Cube

Basic Red Chinese Lantern Photo Cube


Whether you make the basic Chinese Lantern or embellish yours with tassels or dragons, this photo cube is simple to put together and versatile. And if you don’t have any Chinese ancestors all you have to do is change the color scheme and embellishments and you can make this lovely “Mothers Day Tulip” shaped photo cube.

Photo of Female Ancestor Tulip Photo Cube


Photo of Lantern

Simple lantern decorated with Dragon Heads, A Tassel and the Chinese Character for “Wong”.


    Photo of Chinese Lantern template. Drop your favorite photos into the Chinese Lantern Template in your preferred photo manipulation program. If you don’t have a photo manipulation program you can print the FREE PRINTABLE (link below) as is, cut out the squares for the photos, print the photos separately and tape them behind the template. (Example Below). Use photos of all the same person or multiple generations. For this lantern I hand colored photos of all the same person at different ages, in Photoshop. I also put the Character for “Wong” above each picture, and the characters for his first and generational name below the photos. I also replaced the bright red background from the Free Printable with an acrylic dirty pour that I made using Red and gold and black acrylic paint. I had the Chinese Lantern art printed at a commercial printer on Luster Photo Paper. Gloss ends up with hard to remove fingerprints. I also printed several on 50lb coated paper on a laser printer at home and the results were quite pleasing


For Bright Red Chinese Lantern template CLICK HERE

For Dirty Pour Chinese Lantern template CLICK HERE

For Tulip Lantern template CLICK HERE

I would recommend printing several copies at home on your printer if you have one to practice your cutting and folding.


Photo of cutting out the lantern

Cut out the Chinese Lantern Template.


Photo of folding the Chinese Lantern

Fold each section of the Chinese Lantern template and press crisply.


Photo of folding the template

Repeat the folding process at the bottom of the photos and press crisply.


Photo of pressing the fold.

Lay on the table and press firmly with your finger.


Photo of flattening the template.

Gently flatten the Chinese Lantern Template.


Photo of folding all of the Vertical lines of the template.

Fold all of the Vertical lines of the template.


Photo of pinching the vertical lines crisply.

Pinch the vertical lines crisply.


Photo of folding and pressing crisply all of the glue tabs.

Fold each of the glue tabs.


Photo of folding and pinching the template crisply.

It is important that the fold is pinched crisply.



Photo of double sided tape.

Use double sided tape on all of the glue tabs and the side tab. It is important that the tape cover the entire tab. Either use glue tape which I found worked best or hot glue. Trying to use contact cement was frustrating (for me) and it was next to impossible to hold position while regular craft glue set up.


Examples Of  Various Embellishments

Photo of embellished Chinese Lantern

Chinese knots and tassels make great embellishments for the Chinese Lanterns.

Photo of more complex tassle.

More complex tassels are easy to assemble.














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Chinese Character Generators and Caligraphy Generators

February 12


Sample of Chinese Characters

Sample of Chinese Characters


You have documents with your Chinese ancestors signatures on them but don’t have a clue how to get them typed . . . much less change the fonts as easy as any Roman style type.

The solution is easier than you might imagine.

Do they have an app for that?

Better than an app, translation into other languages and their appropriate fonts are built into the operating system of Iphones, I don’t know about other brands.  You can write in almost any language. Just switch keyboards to any language you want. Settings/General/Keyboards/Add New Keyboard.

Then when you want to compose a Chinese character –

  • Open your email program.
  • Click on the little globe.
  • On the screen that comes up, use your finger to draw the character.
  • A selection of characters that the Chinese translator thinks you may have drawn comes up.
  • Compare the characters to what you were trying to draw.
  • Tap the correct character and it pops up to the email message box.
  • Do the next character you want.
  • When you have all of the characters you plan to do, email the message to yourself.
  • Now you can copy, cut and paste the character into many programs.
  • Make a file/page that has all your characters on it so it is easy to copy for future projects, instead of having to go find them in your email.

All without a Chinese keyboard.. I did not say it was easy or fast, but it works.

It does help if your ancestor had decent handwriting, was not in a hurry, and you have several samples to compare.


What can you do with your new found ability to turn your Chinese ancestors names into something modifiable?

If you want to have a wide selection of Chinese font opportunities, check out . . .

where you will find 384 different fonts for you to download, including: 44 Cute; 41 Calligraphy; 33 Handwriting; 7 Elegant; 124 Simplified Chinese; 25 Pop; 15 Headline; 2 Song Ti; 51 Traditional Chinese; 29 Modern and 8 Rounded. 21 of which are specifically tagged in “Commercial-use OK”


Example of HanWangKanDaYan Font

The “Cute” type styles really made me smile . .


Example of S2G Love Font

There is even a font with lots of hearts in the characters.


If you don’t want to download and install fonts, has 14 different fonts built in, and all you have to do is paste the word or words into the box, pick your font and size and download the finished calligraphy.

This site has links to a multitude of interesting tools including: A Chinese calligraphy generator; Stroke order where you put in the character and it shows you the order you should use to write the character yourself; Chinese Family Relationship Titles; Characters for Chinese Tatoos with their meanings; A Character Decomposition tool ; A Chinese Calendar that you can convert any date from the Julian Calendar into the equivalent Chinese date, once you get to the proper month and year calendar it shows the Chinese holidays in that month; A love calculator based on both persons birth dates and Chinese Astrology; and MANY more tools. Some work better than others. You need to make sure the type style is Simplified Chinese. There is also a converter for Traditional to Simplified Chinese.

Here are some of my favorite tools at this site.

Screenshot from the Calligraphy Generator

Screenshot from the Calligraphy Generator


Wong Character

This Character and the ones below, are the Surname “Wong” in different Chinese Typestyles. It was generated at


Wong Character

This font is very much like many of the family “Chop”s. A Stamp usually carved into soapstone, most often pressed into a red stamp pad to print on artwork or stamp at the bottom of letters and documents. It was generated at


Wong Character

This style is also a traditional font used for Chop’s. It was generated at:


Wong Character

This font looks a lot like it is imitating bamboo. It was generated at:

Wong Character

Wong Character

I have seen these fonts embroidered on Chines hats and robes. This font looks a lot like it is imitating bamboo. They are perfect for bold art. They were generated at:

Wong Character

JACKIE - Example of Word Art from

JACKIE – Example of Word Art from

Enter your name or any word, pick from one of 14 fonts, pick from one of 35 Chinese Paintings and it will generate same as Chinese Art including the name and a chop.

Examples of two of the pieces of art you can put any Chinese characters you want on.

Examples of two of the pieces of art you can put any Chinese characters you want on.

You may download it and print as you desire from their website at:

Enter Chinese characters and it will turn it into a Chop Seal in either red with white background or white with red background, in one of several different fonts.

You need to convert your character to Simplified Chinese, there is a link to a tool to do that.

Enter Chinese Character onto page. Choose the size of the Chinese calligraphy model. Pick one of 10 Chinese fonts. Choose the orientation of the characters and generate the calligraphy.

Besides the Chinese Calligraphy Generator the site also has Traditional>Simple Character converter and a Pinyin-Converter

There are other great sites, but these are the ones I have been using.

Examples of Chinese Monogram Ornaments

Examples of Chinese Monogram Ornaments with Acrylic Dirty Pour backgrounds and 3D puff paint Chinese characters that I made of the Wong and Leo family names to add to the family Chinese New Years Decorations.


Photo of Hung Bow Photo Lanterns

Traditional Hung Bow Lantern designs modified to celebrate Chinese Ancestors


Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart

Chinese Themed Pedigree Chart


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Family Memory Game – For all ages – Easy and Fast

November 19
Finished Cards

Playing your customized “Family Memory Game” is the perfect opportunity to get the elders in your family to tell stories from their past and or teach your children about their family.

  • You might consider producing extra pairs of cards so that you can customize the game any time you play it.
  • Use more photos small children would recognize if they are playing
  • Adding a few pairs of cards that start the elders telling stories when they participate.
  • Using less pairs at a time makes the game easier for children.
  • More pairs at a time makes the game more challenging for adults.
Photos face up

The absolute simplest way to make a memory game is to pick 10, 15 or 20 pictures and have 2 prints each printed at your favorite 1 hour commercial printer. You can even use current photos out of your phone, or use your phone’s camera to quickly take pictures from portraits on the wall or out of albums.

Scanning photos is best,

Getting it done before the family shows up is better : )

Photos face down on the table

    Put them face down on the table.


Turn over the cards

Each person turns over 2 cards.

  • If the photo matches they keep the set.
  • If not they return the photo face down and the next person turns over 2 cards, until somebody remembers where 2 matching cards were and picks them up.
  • You keep taking turns until all the photos have been picked up.
  • The “Winner” is the person with the most pairs after all the photos have been picked up.
  • Telling stories about the events in the photos as you turn them over is the perfect way to introduce children to relatives and ancestors that they may have never met.

A Little More Time – A Nicer Game

If you want to “Kick It Up A Notch” and avoid the word KODAK on the back of your playing cards, (or whatever other watermark is on the back of their photo paper) you can either create your own art for the back of your cards or download this piece of free downloadable art.

Art for back of Family Memory Game

Have an equal number of backs printed for the number of photos you choose to make for your game.


Cutting out the photos.

I chose to do my set of memory cards at wallet size which meant I had to trim the photos myself (because of where I had them printed) It is preferable to find a printer that prints the photos individually if you are in a hurry and want the cards to look perfect.


Cut out the matching number of backs to go with your photos.


Rubber Cement

I chose to glue my fronts to backs with rubber cement. It is repositionable until it dries if you put the two photographs together while it is still wet. If you let either side dry before you put them together the rubber cement behaves like contact cement and will not let you slide the two cards into alignment.

Align front and back cards

Align cards by holding the back art card face down between your thumb and fingers and placing the memory card face up over the back. Align them, press together and it should be an easy fit.



If you did not get your photos printed to size and have a little white showing from the back of the opposite card, trim with a sharp pair of scissors.


Cutting the corners round

Using a corner cutter makes your cards look professional.


Cutting the corners

Cutting through 2 pieces of photo paper takes some extra strength, but is definitely worth the time and effort.


Rounded corners

A simple rounded corner is adequate.


Photos Face Up

Rounded corners also show less ware and tear.


Finished Card Set

You can make this professional looking set of cards in just a few hours, including the time it takes to have the photos printed. If you print the cards at home on photo paper or card stock it will take even less time !!

I have designed some Photoshop templates to add boarders to photos that would be printed 2 up on 4×6 prints. Leave a comment if you are interested in seeing a more advanced version of this project.


for more great Family Genealogy Craft Ideas



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Present your Mexican Lineage on an Antiqued Sugar Skull

November 8







See a wide variety of Family based arts and crafts


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Using Vintage Postcards in Framing and Scrapbooking your Ancestors

November 5

How I use a vintage postcard to make this custom matte for a Civil War Ancestor.


Photo of GAR Postcard

I found this vintage GAR postcard on ebay for $3 plus $1 postage


Picture of vintage GAR Card

You could use the original, but I have another project in mind for it, so I scanned the card and deleted the area where the soldier was.

Step 2

Then using the clone tool to keep the original color and texture, I deleted the words “To My Comrades” on the banner


Adding the name on the banner

I added D. McArthur on the banner in a color I picked up from the eagle.


Adding photo of David McArthur

I put the photo of David McArthur in the opening where the soldier had been.


Finished picture of David McArther

Instead of enlarging the card to fit a 5×7″ frame, I put a matte behind the photo in the shade that was in the shadows under the banner and put a drop shadow on the card layer to make it pop. Now it is ready to print and frame.

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Celebrating the Veterans in your family with Military Collages

November 4

A military tribute to your families veterans makes a memorable addition to your family history scrapbooks.

I cannot believe I passed my high school history classes. I remembered just enough to pass the test and the dates and events flew out the back side of my head faster than the chapter on the next war. Now with those date put in relationship to each generation of my ancestors, I cannot believe that my brother fought in Vietnam, my father in WWII, my grandfather got out of fighting in WWI somehow (I wish I knew the answer to that), and my great grandfather was a cook in the Civil War because of a bad back and his brother died in Andersonville Prison (a very bad place where most died of disease.

Somehow that puts war in another light. I think if they had all the students make a chart that showed which generation of their own families fought in which war, maybe they would pay more attention in class.


John Whedbee's Honorable Discharge Page

Even if they did not do anything heroic or get wounded, any individual who served during any conflict or war would have received a Campaign Medal or Commendation that are a colorful addition to a military collage. If the collage is for a page in a family history book and you don’t have the actual medals, photographs can be found online. If you are doing a shadow box it is possible to order replacement medals online.

Military Page of John L Whedbee

A Timeline is a great way to show military service. If a person were in the Navy it is a simple process to search for the name of the ship and get photos (for personal use) and list of dates of where the ship was and the conflicts it engaged.


Mikels Military page is your one stop internet site (for a fee) for millitary records, Revolutionary War through current conflicts and among other thing it has photos from “Cruse Books” from the Vietnam conflict that has unit photos and information on the various Navy ships of the era. It is a simple matter to find information on the internet regarding a given ship after you narrow down the dates your ancestor was on it.


For a fee you can get your ancestors entire military file from the National Archives online at: which will list everything you need for timelines and searches for appropriate photographs if you don’t have any. If you are lucky enough to already have discharge papers or any other documentation regarding your ancestors service, there is huge amounts of data that you can find for free online to add spice and variety to your collage.


Photo of GAR Medal

There were and are also many veterans organizations for veterans of every war, starting with Daughters of the Revolution, The GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) and currently Amvets that retain many records and photographs.


Photo of David McArthur.

For step by step instructions on how I turned a vintage postcard into a personalized photo mount – CLICK HERE

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Making A Unique Ofrenda from a Shutter Frame

October 19

Celebrate your Mexican ancestors with this Simple Shutter Frame Ofrenda

Photograph of simple but unique Ofrenda

Perfect addition to your table top family alter.


Photo of matterials to make shadow box Ofrenda

To make the shadow box Ofrenda, I started with a Plaid brand Shutter Frame, a wooden laser cut oval frame and some packing material that came with a small hard drive.


Photo of painted frame.

I wanted the shutters to look like “Papal Picado” so I painted each one different tissue paper colors. I painted the shadow box black, so I painted the frame in front a contrasting bright color.


Photo of the frame and Day of the Dead notions.

I pulled out all of my Day of the Dead themed notions.


Photo of oval frame.

The oval frame needed a way to float in front of the shadow box so I used hot glue to glue a couple tin flowers on the front of the frame.

Photo of oval frame.

I used hot glue to suspend the oval frame over the shadow box hole.

Photo showing the placement of the oval frame.

Center the oval frame in the space where the photo usually goes.


Photo showing the oval frame in place.

Oval frame in place.


Photo of my great grandfather

I glued a photograph of my great grandfather onto a piece of scrap cardboard I painted black to give it a stiff support to suspend behind the oval frame. I wanted a 1/4 setback between the photo and the oval frame but it would have been simple to just hot glue or tape the photograph behind the oval frame.


Photo showing gluing beads on the back of the photo.

I glued 4 beads onto the back of the photo to space the photo away from the back wall of the the shadow box, but keeping it 1/4″ from the oval frame.


Photo of portrait placement in the shadow box.

I was happy with the placement of the photo, but I did not glue the shadow box to the back of the frame yet.


Photo of decorated frame.

I used my assorted notions to decorate the frame.


Photo of close up of skull candle holder.

I used a small plastic cross and glued a skull to the cross to make a candle holder. Then I melted a one inch section from the top of a gold birthday candle, using a bit of hot glue.


Photo of decorative tape used as Papel Picado.

I had originally thought I would make tiny cut tissue paper Papel Picado for the shutters, but I found and used decorative tape to make the shutters look like Papel Picado. This was much easier and far more intricate than I would have ended up with had I followed my original plan.


Photo of Ofrenda

I made miniature Papel Picado banners to hang across the open Ofrenda.


Photo of side view

Side view



Photo of finished Ofrenda

I had intended on tucking paper marigolds in the shadowbox behind the picture but I decided the black was much more dramatic and so I left it flat black and glued the shadow box with the photo behind the frame.

I hope my tutorial has inspired you to create one of your own. Please leave any comments or questions below. I would love to hear about your genealogy crafts. If you need any of the supplies from Amazon, please click through using the Genalogy-GenCraft affiliate links below.



If you are interested in ordering from, please click on any of these ads to be directed to their site. Any purchases, while there, will give us a small bonus, at no extra cost to you. This will help fund the Genealogy-GenCrafts here on the web. Thanks ~ Jackie

Supplies for this Project


Other “Day of the Dead” themed items you may be interested in…

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“Day of the Dead” – Traditional Celebration of Mexican Ancestors and the Art those Ancestors

October 11

Because of the overlapping dates, “The Day of the Dead” decorations have become very popular recently for use while decorating for Halloween, without the people using the boldly colorful skeletons and skulls being aware of the true meaning of the holiday.

“The Day of the Dead” originated in Mexico 2000-3000 years ago. It was originally a month long celebration around August by the Aztec Indians, and is currently also celebrated in other parts of Latin America and the United States but is not part of any Halloween tradition. Instead it is a fusion of Spanish Catholic and Mexican traditions and beliefs, to honor ancestors, family, friends and sometimes even pets, who have died.


Mexican traditions hold that each individual dies three times. Once when their bodies quit functioning. Once when their bodies are put into the ground or cremated. And once when they are forgotten.

Unlike it’s spooky cousin Halloween, The Day of the Dead is a joyous holiday celebrating the ancestors, family and friends who have passed on to their next lives.

People from Mexico believe souls have the ability to travel back and forth between this world and the next and during the Day of the Dead celebration their souls come back and visit. So there must be preparations and accommodations made for the returning spirits.

The Day of the Dead is Celebrated on October 31st, November 1 and November 2.

On October 31st the food is cooked, the home alters are constructed (see below), the cemeteries cleaned and the graves decorated with Ofrendas, or offerings. These decorations include wreaths of marigolds, which are thought to attract the souls of the dead toward the offerings, and toys brought for dead children (los angelitos, or little angels) and bottles of tequila, mezcal, etc. for adults.. After cleaning all day, they party all night long at the cemeteries where stories of the deceased are told and excess of food and the alcohol consumed. On November 1st while the Roman Catholics celebrate All Saints Day, the Mexicans celebrate “Dia de los Santos” to honor the children which is called “Dia de los Inocentes” or “Day of Little Angels”. November 2nd “All Souls Day”, “Dia de los Fielles Difuntos” is celebrated by the Roman Catholics and in Mexico they celebrate “Dia de los Muertos” or “Day of the Dead”

As a part of the Day of the Dead celebration, families build altars in their homes for loved ones who have died.

“Day of the Dead” altars have many traditional elements representing the elements of nature. Water, Wind, Fire (candies) and Earth (food and marigold flowers which are yellow or gold like the sun, representing life and hope.) are represented, photos, candy and chocolate or sugar skulls, skeletons of all kinds, mementos and cut paper decorations called papel picado.

Photo of Ofrenda

At only 5.5″ x 8″ this little Ofrenda packs quite the punch of Day of the Dead Symbolism.

  Sugar Skull

  • Calaveras: Brightly decorated skulls, made of sugar, paper machie or ceramic and can represent specific ancestors, family or departed friends, inscribed with the names of the deceased on the forehead. They can be used alone or with other traditional decorations to embellish Day of the Dead altars.
Photos of Sugar Skull Cookies

Sugar Skull Cookies

  • Food: particular favorites of the ancestors, including tamales, empanyadas, candies,  pumpkin seeds and amaranth seeds which were used by the Aztecs to make the skulls instead of sugar.

  • Monarch Butterflies: Monarch Butterflies migrate to Mexico in the fall and are believed to be the spirits coming to visit.
  • Candles: Representing fire, candles are burnt on the family alter to guide the spirits back from the afterlife.
  • Alcoholic beverages: Used to toast the departed. The Aztecs had a beverage called pulque made from the sap of agave that they served for special spiritual ceremonies.
  • Papel Picados: Hand cut tissue paper represents the wind and how fragile life is.
  • Dogs: Believed to guide the ancestors spirits to the afterlife.
  • Milagros:  The flaming heart, is a popular symbol for expressing love and passion on the home altar. Milagros translates to “little miracles”.

Photo of ofredas

This simple 10″ tall ofredas was simple to make using a “Shuttered Picture Frame”.

For complete instructions/inspiration

Click Here

You can take these traditions one step further by incorporating entire pedigrees of your ancestors into traditional Day of the Dead art projects.

Photo of the Color it yourself, Day of the Dead Pedigree Chart

Day of the Dead 4 Generation Pedigree Chart

Help support the blog by downloading a copy of the 4 generation Adult Coloring Page


Here is a short video of my Alter Display at the Anchorage Dia De Los Muertos Event.

UNESCO has declared the indigenous festivity dedicated to the dead as an intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (

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Pedigree Chart Art – Make it your own

June 23

NOTE: I am not Tlinget. This art project is to demonstrate making a pedigree chart based on family tradition and/or art created by one of your ancestors. I am just lucky enough to have offered to help a friend with her genealogy and do a pedigree chart for her, only to find that she possessed the most fabulous tunic created by her mother.

A similar project could just as easily be done using the fabric of your mother or grandmothers apron or favorite dress and bits and scraps out of their jewelry box or junk drawer.

I sat down with my friend Julia, and started asking her all the standard questions to fill out a pedigree chart to the best of her abilities, as far as she knew so I could continue and confirm the information.

Then I asked her if she had any photographs of her parents, grandparents, etc and she produced this incredible portrait of her parents.

Photograph of Rachel "Dixie" Johnson and Peter Charles Johnson Sr.

Rachel “Dixie” Johnson and Peter Charles Johnson Sr.

I commented how cool it would have been if the photo were in color and she said she owned the tunic that her mother was wearing in the picture.

Photo of Front of Julia's mother's tunic

Front of Julia’s mother’s tunic

Photo of Back of Julia's mother's tunic

Back of Julia’s mother’s tunic

I set to work taking lots of photographs with my iphone of all the detailing as well as a large solid area of felt on the back. Here are only a few of them.

Photo of Bead work on tunic

Bead work on tunic


Photo of Bead work and fringe on tunic

Bead work and fringe on tunic

Photograph of Large solid area of felt on back of tunic © 2017

Large solid area of felt on back of tunic

Photograph of Button boarder on sides of tunic

Button boarder on sides of tunic

Color swatches from the photos of Julia's mother's tunic

First I made color swatches from the photos of Julia’s mother’s tunic

Photo of One of the first things I did was replicate sections of the bead work and make Julia some scrapbooking paper using the colors and textures found in the tunic

One of the first things I did was replicate sections of the bead work and make Julia some scrapbooking paper using the colors and textures found in the tunic


Photograph of digital scrapbooking papers based on the bead work and colors found on the tunic made by Julia's mother

Using Photoshop filters I made more abstract digital scrapbooking papers based on the bead work and colors found on the tunic made by Julia’s mother.

Photo of Using a traditional Tlinget Button Blanket shape, I copied buttons and beads off of the tunic to make a simple Pedigree Chart for Julia using the digital scrapbook papers I made in Photoshop using the colors and textures from her mothers tunic.

Using a traditional Tlinget Button Blanket shape, I copied buttons and beads off of the tunic to make a simple Pedigree Chart for Julia using the digital scrapbook papers I made in Photoshop using the colors and textures from her mothers tunic.

But the project that exploded in my mind when I first saw the tunic was this chart, using more of the elements from the tunic. The felt from the tunic, the fringe on the bottom with the button borders, the beaded flowers, and the beaded eagle head.

Every element on this artwork, turned pedigree chart, was created by Julia’s mother, Rachel “Dixie” Johnson, I just rearranged it and included the portrait that led me down the path to this finished product.

I did the entire project using digital images in Photoshop. There was no fabric, bead work or eagles, damaged to create this artwork.

Photo of Final artwork designed using elements of fabric and bead work from Julia's mother's tunic.

Final artwork designed using elements of fabric and bead work from Julia’s mother’s tunic.

I hope this inspires you to create a pedigree chart that jumps out of the frame instead of the same old, same old, chart they have been photocopying down the ages.

Get Inspired !

Jackie Whedbee-Mattingly

The bead work designs above were created by Peter Charles Johnson Sr and executed by Rachel “Dixie” Johnson. I received permission to put the photographs on this post, and to do the pedigree charts. Please respect their creative copywrite and mine and do not reproduce without written permission. © 2017


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Making A Tote Using Your Family Names in Word Clouds

March 19

Making a word cloud is simple, weather you do it yourself or use one of the automatic word cloud programs.

I Googled making word clouds and found auto generators at, . . .and the list goes on.

I found a little frustrating, I could not make the names I wanted to be larger. I found easier to use

On the first tote I made the current generation the largest, our grandparents and children the next size down, Great Grandparents and Grandchildren the next size down, etc. On the second tote I made my mother and fathers surnames the largest, my husband(s) names next, same size as grandparents, great grandparents a little smaller and great great grandparents the smallest.

Over the years I have transferred line art to fabric using every method I could find and finally arrived on a product that is simple to use, and irons onto the fabric in the colors I wanted and possibly could have left “As Is”, but I wanted some texture and left the transfer light enough to color over it. My favorite transfer pen ever is the Silky Iron-On Transfer Pens, available in eight colors.





Fabric Tote


Favorite Transfer Pen ever:

Some of my favorite medium that did not run or bleed on the course tote fabric:

Uchida 122-6A Fabric Ball and Brush Marker, Set of 6

Went down creamy and rich. Ironed permenant.

Pentel Arts Fabric Fun Kit, Pastel Dye Sticks (PTS15BNABP)


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Your Pedigree – A Long Line Of Love

January 30

Particularly well suited for Valentines cards and decorations, the concept behind these projects are taking the initials from your pedigree, and carving the initials in a tree and interpreting them into Valentines Art.

Carved initials on a box of Chocolates

Carved initials on a box of Chocolates

Colors, Initials and embellishments to suite your style.

Colors, Initials and embellishments to suite your style.


Tiny alphabet stamps

I started by purchasing a set of alphabet stamps that were suitably small enough to stamp the wooden hearts.

Stamping the symbols on the wooden hearts

I stamped the “&” symbol first on each heart

Finished hearts

They don’t have to be perfect, but even if you have not painted the hearts you still have 2 chances to get the perfect look . . . if you don’t like it turn it over and try again.

Embellish your stamped hearts

Either before or after stamping you can color and or embellish the hearts any way you please. Or trace over the stamped initials in alternative colors.

Position your hearts

Hot glue your hearts onto the chocolate box or Valentine . . . .

Connect your hearts with bits of twigs.

Snip some pieces of twigs to go between your hearts and hot glue in place. If you don’t like their color you can paint them either before or after glueing in place.

Photo of Valentines Card

This same style of “Carved Initials” Pedigree makes a great Valentines Card

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Scrapbooking the Love Stories of Your Family

January 25

Everybody has their own style of scrapbooking, and it is easy to translate that style into decorating the top of boxes of chocolates making them suitable for anything from Valentines decorations to holding trinkets and memorabilia.

Does your family have a love story?

The most romantic story in our family is that of my Uncle Everett and Aunt Velda’s 50th wedding anniversary. Their children sent them to Hawaii, since they had never went on a honeymoon. Mid-flight, my uncle talked to the stewardess and she let him have the microphone where, at 32,000 feet, on a plane full of people, he beautifully sang, “Let Me Call You Sweet Heart” to his blushing bride . . .

Photo of box of chocholates.

Here I used tissue paper and doodles, with a rosette made from cupcake liners to embellish this small box of chocolates that I picked up at Walmart for $1.


Vintage Crazy Quilt Box Of Chocolates

I featured my grandmother, Anne Bethel Hoyt, on a Crazy-Quilt-styled piece of scrapbook art on the cover of a box of chocolates. I used a variety of textured papers, as well as lace and pearl embellishments, to create this chocolate box with a vintage touch.


Photo of Digital Scrapbooking on top of a box of chocholates

After the love of my mother’s life (my dad) she loved anything Glittery, Gold, Red, Hearts, Roses and Elvis Presley. This box top is a wonderful combination of all of those in a digital scrapbooking style, without any additional embellishments.

Base Art for Chocholate Box Lid

Here is the art which I used as the base layer to create my moms “Box of Chocolates”.

Notes for the Digital Scrapbooked Heart…

  • I used Photoshop to assemble this digital scrapbook image.
  • I started by putting my box of chocolates in the scanner to get the precise size and shape of the top of the box.
  • I added interest by having the photos going in different directions.
  • I got “texture” photos by searching the internet for Gold and Red Fabric (for personal use only)
  • I put a copy of her marriage certificate as a top layer, at 70% opacity. Erased wherever there was a body/faces or other important images.
  • I used a bevel and drop shadow on the marriage license newspaper clipping and the rose and crochet hearts.
  • To add variety to the photos, I used “photo filter” to shift the tone of several of the black and white photos, some warm, some cool, and hand-colored one of the black and white photos.
  • I was able to put 2 completed hearts on an 8×10″ file (that I then had a high quality commercial print of) so I could keep one box and give my sister the other.
  • Between New Years and Valentines day, I found small boxes of chocolates at Walmart costing as little as $1-$3. That is less than an empty heart-shaped box from a craft store.




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Displaying Genealogy Crafts Year Round

December 20

Merry Everything and a Happy Always

Photo of genealogy crafts hanging on the left side of kitchen archeway

20 years later the decorations are still hanging. Some old some new.

One for Christmas I decorated the archway into my kitchen. I used 2 simple expandable curtain rods (the kind with a spring you just squeeze and put in place) I wrapped one string of 50 tiny red lights that are so cheap at Christmas and a string of 50 multi-color lights around the rod and plugged them in behind the refrigerator.

First I wrapped clear and white beaded garland around the rods. I hung up some non specific ornaments, including little pictures like ones I have tutorials on found Here and Here Then I tucked white garland loosely around the curtain rod, and then red garland was added. . . super festive . . and yes, dare I say, Christmasy.

After Christmas I left everything up except a couple definite Christmas items, and replaced them with Hearts. Not even fancy hearts, just red and pink paper hearts. And I unplugged the multi Color lights, but left them in place.

Shortly after Valentines day I took down the hearts and red garland (note –  I put the white garland up first so removing the red garland was easy.) I unplugged the red lights and plugged the multi-colored lights back in. It was almost like I had a plan. I made and hung some family egg panoramas across the rod. (family egg panoramas are found on the blog here) note – I did not remove the other items on the rod.

After Easter I was at a partial loss. .  .Next Holiday was 4th of July . . . even the white garland was a bit much so I took it down along with the Easter Egg panoramas.

Ironically I had gotten use to the lights framing the kitchen door arch .. . I could navigate upstairs without turning on any lights.

That was over 20 years ago . . .I never have taken down the rods . . .and the lights stay on. Sometimes I unplug them in the summer but most years I don’t. . . .

I had one 4th of July item that I can’t really call an ornament, added to the menagerie and it still hangs there.

Hope everyone has a Merry.


Jackie Whedbee-Mattingly

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Simple Cookie Cutter Photo Ornaments

December 19
A photograph of a Cookie Cutter Ornament featuring a photo of David Anthony Whedbee

Cookie Cutter Ornament featuring a photo of David Anthony Whedbee

A Cookie Cutter Ornament featuring a photograph of Paul Benton Hoyt

A Cookie Cutter Ornament featuring a photograph of Paul Benton Hoyt

Christmas Ornament featuring Audrey Hoyt and John Whedbee in 1947

Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornament featuring a photograph of Audrey Hoyt and John Whedbee 1947

Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornament featuring a photograph of John L Whedbee Jr. when he was 6 years old.

Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornament featuring a photograph of John L Whedbee Jr. when he was 6 years old.

Photo of Tools and Supplies for this project. Listed below.

Tools and Supplies needed for this project; Dremel tool or other drill; Cookie Cutter; Photo to fit; 1/4″ adhesive squares; Silver 3 dimensional paint; Glitter or fine glass beads; Embellishments of your choice.

Photograph of drill going through the cookie cutter

First thing to do is drill a hole in the top center of the cookie cutter. If you don’t have access to a drill you could place it on a board and use a nail and hammer to make the hole.

Photo pointing to the front edge of the cookie cutter.

The edge of the cookie cutter with the rolled edge should be established as the front of the Christmas Ornament.

Tracing around the photograph.

If the cookie cutter has fairly straight edges you can just place the cookie cutter on top of your photograph and trace around it. Using this method you will cut to the inside of the line to make it fit the best.

Making a template from the cookie cutter.

A different method is to place the rolled edge on a piece of paper, trace around it and use that piece of paper as a template after you make sure it fits into the cookie cutter well.

Cutting out the template

Cut out your template and make sure it fits well.

Making sure the template fits.

Once you make sure your template fits well it is easy to lay it over the photo, trace around it and cut out the photo. Like a carpenter who measures twice and cuts once, it is easier to cut a new template than have to get a new print if you have ruined your photograph.

Photo showing 2 - 1/4" squares of foam adhisive squares.

You are going to place the 1/4″ adhesive foam squares, 2 deep on the back edge of the cookie cutter

Photo of row of 1/4" adhisive squares.

Place the first row of 1/4″ adhesive squares flush to the back edge of the cookie cutter. There is no exact measure between the squares but make sure there is one at every corner or sharp turn to make an even platform to place the photo.

Showing placing the second row of adhisive squares.

Then go back and put another row of the 1/4″ foam squares around the cookie cutter. If the cookie cutter does not have many details you could use 1/2″ adhesive squares and skip the second row.

Photo of the photograph placed inside of the cookie cutter on top of the foam squares.

Make sure the photo fits properly.

Putting the glue on the top edge of the 1/4" adhesive squares.

You can use any clear glue you want and dab a little on the top edge of each adhesive square, or do as I am here and using silver 3 dimensional paint since that is what I am going to use to finish the front edge.

Place the photo on top of the adhesive squares.

Place the photo on top of the adhesive squares.

If the photo does not lay flat put something light enough to press it flat but not so heavy that it bows down. I used the bottle of 3 dimensional paint. Let it dry thoroughly.

If the photo does not lay flat put something light enough to press it flat but not so heavy that it bows down. I used the bottle of 3 dimensional paint. Let it dry thoroughly.

Run a thin but even line of silver 3 dimensional paint around the picture. It will be a close color to the cookie cutter.

Run a thin but even line of silver 3 dimensional paint around the picture. It will be a close color to the cookie cutter. If your cookie cutter is not tin, pick a paint that matches the color of the cookie cutter.

You could consider it finished at this point.

You could consider it finished at this point and put the hanger on it along with any embellishments you prefer.

I sprinkled clear iridescent glass beads on the front while the paint was still wet and rolled the cookie cutter around to distribute them evenly.

I sprinkled clear iridescent glass beads on the front while the paint was still wet and rolled the cookie cutter around to distribute them evenly.

You could also use any kind of glitter that suits your fancy.

You could also use any kind of glitter that suits your fancy.

Descide how you are going to hang the ornament.

I am starting with a ornament hanger from the craft store and need to straighten the end before sliding it through the top of the ornament. You could simply run a ribbon through the hole if it were large enough.

Push the wire or ribbon through the top of the ornament and either bend a loop on the inside or tie a knot.

Push the wire or ribbon through the top of the ornament and either bend a loop on the inside or tie a knot.

Putting information regarding the picture on the front of the ornament on the back

Print information about the person on the front of the ornament and cut it out to fit the back of the ornament using the same template that you used to cut out the photograph. Use a little glue on the back side of the foam squares and finish the back of the ornament.

Photo of back of ornament with the personal information on it.

You can finish the back edge and fill in any gaps with your silver 3 dimensional paint

Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornament featuring a photograph of John L Whedbee Jr. when he was 6 years old.

Put any embellishments you desire on the ornament and hang on the tree : )

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Using Coffee Cups for Photo Albums

December 13

When you are lucky enough to have photographs of multiple generations you need to show them off in ways that get the most mileage.

And Coffee Cups often fit the bill.

Unlike whipping out your smart phone to show your latest selfies to people who don’t care, having your family photos on your coffee cups inspire people interested in genealogy to perk up and ask questions. Or not.

This cup shows photos of my sisters grand children, her daughter, her, our mother, our mothers mother, and her mother . . . and her mother . . . . .

Some layouts are handy because at a certain point you can swap out the younger generations and use the same design for sisters and cousins like I did here.


Susan’s Mothers Day, Coffee Cup


Noma’s Mothers Day Coffee Cup

The first layout being my sister’s cup and the second cup being for a cousin. I had to change out their moms, them and their children and grandchildren, but the grandmothers, great grandmothers and great great grandmothers remained the same.

Mothers Day Coffee Cup to show off Genealogy Crafts

Mothers, Mothers, Mother

Since I had one printed and mailed and the other cup was printed locally I had to change the dimensions. This is something you have to be careful about. Even between cups from the same company the dimensions are different for 11 oz cups vs 15 oz cups etc.


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Transferring Photographs to Tin Ornaments

November 28

Tin Ornament with the photograph of John L Whedbee Sr and his grandson Charles in approximately 1930, in Arkansas.

Creating Beautiful Vintage Looking Ornaments

Supplies for transfering photo to tin

Supplies Needed:

  • Tin Ornament
  • Mod Podge
  • Paint Brush
  • Photo Printed on LASER PRINTER
  • Desired Embellishments
Coat Tin with a generous layer of Matte Mod Podge

Coat Tin with a generous layer of Matte Mod Podge

Place photo toner side down onto the tin.

Carefully place photo or art, toner side down onto the tin.


Starting at the center, gently press the paper against the tin, working out wrinkles and excess Mod Podge.









Press out from the center until it is as smooth as possible.

Set ornament aside to dry

Once you have pressed out the wrinkles to the best of your abilities, set the ornament aside for 3 to 4 hours or overnight to dry. The longer the better.

Put ornament in water.

After the ornament is completely dry submerge in water for about 30 seconds.

Tin Ornament

After 30 seconds gently rub the paper, if it starts rolling off, continue gently rubbing, if it does not dip back in water for a few seconds at a time until it does start rolling off.


Rub the paper away.

Tin Ornament

Dip back in the water.

Tin Ornament

Continue Rubbing the paper away.

Tin Ornament

You are going to want to get all of the paper to rub away, just keep dipping and rubbing, this takes patience.

Tin Ornament

When you have rubbed all of the paper away let it dry. if you see any paper fibers left you can use wet fingers to get the last of the fibers to roll away.




Hand color the photo

I decided to slightly color the photograph with pearlescent watercolors.

Hand colored photo on tin.

I painted a little peach on the skin, blue on the shirt and green in the trees.

Tin Ornament

After I was happy with the color I dabbed another layer of Mod Podge over the entire ornament, dabbing instead of brushing so I did not move the watercolor paint around. Then I sprinkled on some gold Mica Chips and glitter to sparkle it up a bit.

Tin Ornament with the photograph of John L Whedbee Sr and his grandson Charles in aproximately 1934, Arkansas

I tied a piece of ribbon around the top of the ornament and it was ready for the tree.

Other Examples


Paul Benton Hoyt and his first wife Amelia Long

Albert Mattingly, husband of Louise Catherine Ryan

Albert Mattingly, husband of Louise Catherine Ryan


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Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornaments

November 21


Make the most of grandmothers cookie cutters or make new family treasures from thrift store finds !



Tools and Supplies

Tools and Supplies


  • Drill to put a hole in the top of the cookie cutter. You could use a nail and hammer.
  • Block of wood to drill into
  • Scissors
  • Hot Glue Gun and Glue


  • Cookie Cutters
  • Photo Prints
  • Pen and Paper
  • Glue squares
  • Jump Ring and Ribbon to hang the ornament, options below.
  • 3 dimentional paint, I used a glitter color on this ornament, works as both glue and grout to cover any mistakes. Tin cookie cutters I use a pewter color that looks good with the silver cookie cutter.
  • Whatever Embellishments you desire
Sizing your photographs.

Trace around your cookie Cutters and then scan the page so you can use it for sizing your photographs to make them the perfect size. If that is to complicated, get 4 x 6 prints of your photos and pick a cookie cutter to fit the picture instead of the other way around.


Final print to make 9 cookie cutter ornaments.

I used the scan of the cookie cutters as the bottom layer in Photoshop and made sure the pictures I wanted for the cookie cutter ornaments fit. Then I sent one 8×10 print to have a matte print made. Glossy printes end up with fingerprints on them. The final print I was able to make 9 cookie cutter ornaments.


Measure Twice, Print Once.

Make sure your photos fit the cookie cutters by making a print at home before sending to get a photo quality print.

Drilling the hole to put the ribbon through

Drilled a small hole in the top of the cookie cutter to put a ribbon through. You could also epoxy a loop of some sort to hang from or tie a ribbon to.










Perfect Placement

Hold the cookie cutter behind the photo to get perfect placement.


Trace around the cookie cutter









Cut out your picture.

Since the sides of this cookie cutter are tapered, i drew a second line 1/8 of an inch smaller than the outside so the picture would be perfectly positioned.

Make sure your photo fits perfectly.

Make sure your photo fits perfectly.

This was a very shallow cookie cutter so I only used the 1/4" x 14" mounting squares.

This was a very shallow cookie cutter so I only used the 1/4″ x 14″ mounting squares.


Placing mounting squares

Place the mounting squares all the way around the cookie cutter.



Once you get the mounting squares in, but before you put the picture it you must install the ribbon hanger. I tied the ribbon securely to a jump ring.

Install the ribbon

I put the ribbon down through the hole I drilled at the top of the tree and then hot glued the ribbon to the back of the cookie cutter.

Place the photo in the cookie cutter

Place the photo in the cookie cutter where it sets nicely on the mounting squares.

Make sure it fits perfectly.

Make sure it fits perfectly.

Put a small amount of glue on the mounting squares to adhere to the picture.

Put a tiny amount of glitter glue or 3 dimensional paint on the edges of the mounting squares to adhere the photo to. You could also use any simple paper glue.

Secure photo with glitter glue.

Put your photo in position and run another line of glitter glue around the edge of the cookie cutter and embellish as you please.

The tiny Christmas lite strand make this tree even more festive !

The tiny Christmas lite strand make this tree even more festive !


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Pass Down The Family Recipes On Useful And Decorative Pot Holders

November 16


A grand way to pass down the family recipes are to turn them into practical kitchen artifacts.

When I was a child, I thought “salad dressing” was this recipe. The recipe was on a 3 x 5 card in my moms recipe box, it said “Lois’s French Dressing” at the top of the card. I was a teenager before I learned there were other kinds.  And not being a fan of salad in general, I did not think much about it over the years unless I was in a situation that I had a plate of lettuce put in front of me. When my mother passed away one of my disappointments was that this recipe was no longer in the recipe box.

When I decided to do a post about handing down recipe’s I was reminded of this tangy memory of my aunt Lois and I called my sister and asked her if she could go through moms recipe boxes and look again for me, to no avail. I even contacted Lois’s daughter.

You were almost reading a post about the worlds best pecan pie, made out of walnuts, but that is a long story in itself.

You have to consider the fact that I have moved several times over the years since mom passed away, and to my knowledge I have never had a copy of the recipe. About 2 weeks ago I moved a box in my dining room and a piece of paper fell out. While I do believe in miracles I doubt that they get wasted on salad dressing recipe’s, but there it was. A very old xerox copy . . . Aunt Lois’s French Dressing . .

Pecan Pie will be on a dish towel. . .

Step OneDesign your Pot Holder in your choice of layout programs and print the design on some cotton fabric with a laser printer or write out the recipe directly onto fabric with a waterproof pen.



8″ x 8″ is a practical size.

I made a salad and poured on the dressing, and took a photo and printed it, to put on the back side of the pot holder. You could do similar or use any cotton fabric of your choice. Maybe even use some fabric from a heavy cotton item belonging to the recipe owner?


Step 2 – Assemble your pot holder. You will need some padding. I used 2 layers of an older towel but you could purchase some fusible fleece for padding. I have not sewn in years so I sprayed the back sides of the front and back fabric with some spray basting. A shot to both pieces of towel and stacked them appropriately. Then used some 3/8″ heat bond to iron on the hem tape. In the top left corner I added a loop to hang the pot holder.


Step 3 – Embellish. Depending on how durable you want your pot holder to be you should either use a sewing machine to secure the pot holder together or do as I did and use a blanket stitch to go around the edges.


The perfect gift for children moving away from home !

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