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

Cookie Cutter Christmas Ornaments

November 21

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

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Tools and Supplies

Tools and Supplies

Tools:

  • 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

Supplies

  • 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.

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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.

 

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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

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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.

 

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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?

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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.

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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.

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The perfect gift for children moving away from home !

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Bible Journaling – It’s Not Like Your Grandmas’s Bible Any More!

November 11

Family history has often been found in the pages of your ancestors Bibles, but today’s Bibles are becoming tomorrows treasures in their own rights. Bible Journaling has become a common past time that has become as common as the adult coloring books that fly off the shelves.

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  •  This page, which illustrates Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 has been pushed a step further than simple illustration.  It has pressed and dried ferns, the same kind of fern picked and pressed, over the entire month of September . . .
  • Ecclesiastes 3 King James Version (KJV) , To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die. etc. The words to Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 have the distinction of being the oldest lyrics to every make it to #1 on the pop charts, sung by The Byrds in 1965.
  • The photos are all of my Great Great Grandmother, Anna Theresa (Downs) Freund.

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  • The effect that I achieved was, that in Spring when the ferns were bright green, she is on gloss paper with wings for dreams, and then she got married and was printed on practical 20 pound bond surrounded with flowers and maturing ferns that were starting to turn, and then as the color faded from both the ferns and Anna, the ferns curled and there was snow on the ferns.
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  • At the top, Anna is 90 years old, she is kind of faded, as is her portrait, on purpose, by the way I transferred it to the Bible using a blender pen. The curled up brown leaves that have fiber paste on them that made nice snow.
  • Assembling the art on this page I used the least amount of Mod Podge possible for each item since I knew there was more to follow. I brushed up all that squeezed out each time with a dry brush until I was finished and then put one light coat over all of the flowers and leaves just to seal the edges down.
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Use Ancestor’s Cemetery Headstone Information To Create A Unique Necklace

November 2

 

Simple Headston Necklace

Whether you choose to make this simple and inexpensive version of my creative Headstone Necklace . . . . with typed data. . .

More involved neclace made from reduced headstone rubbings.

Or this version, with actual headstone rubbings reduced down to a fraction of their original size, with extra embellishments and photos. . . . Either one is made more special by the information being from your own ancestors !

Supplies you are going to need for the headstones are:

  • Paper and or towel to protect your work surface
  • Small wooden tags (half again more than the number of headstones you need)
  • Pens and Acrylic Paint to color headstone
  • Print of the information you want of the headstones
  • Mod Podge
  • 2 chains – plastic or metal
  • connectors or jump rings and extra links of chain

Tools you will use.

  • Soft Paint Brush
  • Bowl of water
  • Jewelers pliers.

Making Your Headstones –

Start with wooden blanks for your headstones.

You need to pick small wooden tags available in most craft and many department stores with the hole already drilled, or find tiny headstone shaped wood blanks (available during Halloween craft season) that you will need to drill later on. The small wooden tags come in a reasonable variety of shapes. I would recommend doing several extra in case you are not happy with the results of a given headstone you can do it over.

Step One

For the Mod Podge to work properly you need to have at least a basic layer of paint or primer on the wood. . . What I did was start by saturating the wood with water on a soft bristle paint brush.

Color to suit your pleasure.

You can paint your headstones any way that suits you. . . I outlined each headstone with a Gelly Roll pen which is water-soluble and has a ink which was a lot faster than a layer of paint since I did not just want plain white or grey headstones.

Paint all your headstones the same.

However you choose to paint your headstones, do all of them the same way, here I put red on top left, purple bottom left, blue top right and green bottom right. . . some a little more, some a little less, but primarily the same.

Ink up each headstone.

The ink on each little headstone bled from the water, and I exaggerated this action by adding more water and swirling the brush around immediately after I inked up each one.

Dry the water off your headstones.

I wiped each piece with a piece of tissue. . . rubbing the center a little extra to stop the bleeding of color, and let them dry.

Swirl watered down acrylic in the center of the headstone.

To lighten the center a little more I swirled a watered down brush with just a little antique white acrylic paint on each headstone to lighten up the center. The color bled up through the wet acrylic paint.

Colorful Headstones

Color added some fun to my headstones, but I believe grey would look more spooky for Halloween. . . . The more unique your color scheme, the more extra headstone you should paint.

Print your headstone information in reverse

Type the information you want on your headstones to fit and then flip your print when you print the information.

Cut to fit your headstones

Cut to fit your headstones

Put a nice layer of Mod Podge on your print.

Put a nice layer of Mod Podge on your print.

Center your prints on each headstone.

Center your prints on each headstone.

Smooth bubbles out from under prints.

Use an outdated credit card to smooth any air bubbles under the paper. Don’t get any Mod Podge on top of the paper if you can help it.

Soak little headstones about 2 minutes each.

Toss 2 headstones in a bowl of water. As you pull one of the headstones out of the water put another one in so they get a head start wetting the paper good. . . you should be working fast enough that they should not be in the water more than a couple of minutes each.

Rub the paper off of the headstone.

As you pick each headstone out of the water soak, rub it with your thumb, and the paper will roll right off. . . rub in all directions.

Get all the paper off the headstones.

Get all the paper off but don’t rub so hard the type comes up.

See your words apear.

This is where you start mumbling about needing to have painted more blanks.

You can re-wet the paper to remove remaining paper.

Even after the headstone dries you can re-wet and rub off remaining paper.

After all the paper is up dry with a soft cloth.

After all the paper is up dry with a soft cloth.

Here are the headstones of Susanna Fields Whedbee, William T. Whedbee and all of their children.

Here are the headstones of Susanna Fields Whedbee, William T. Whedbee and all of their children.

Drill your headstones.

After the headstones have dried, you can put a 1/8″ hole in each one with a drill, if the wooden blank does not already have a hole in it. . . I don’t drill the headstones before this because the paint goes on easier, the Mod Podge does not build up in the hole and until now you don’t even know that you are going to be happy with each individual headstone.

Assembling the Necklace –

This low budget version I used plastic chains and connectors.

For this low budget version I used 2 packages of plastic chains and 1 package of connectors (total $3).

Cut off 2 or more inches of one chain.

Cut off 2 or more inches of one of the 2 chains so your headstones have plenty of room to hang.

Connect 1 end of both chains together.

Connect one end of both chains together.

Connect the other ends.

Connect the other ends.

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If you want to add a center photo to the simple necklace you can do it using the same method that you used to put the words on the headstones. Here I put a photo of Susanna on a wooden tag that I had prepared with the same colors as the headstones. I then doodled around her picture with gold and silver metallic markers and black fine line Sharpie.

The plastic connectors do not require any tools to connect to the plastic chains.

The plastic connectors do not require any tools to connect to the plastic chains.

Improved dangling.

I found the little headstones hung from the chains much better if there was an extra link and jump ring connector between the chain and the headstone.

Improved dangling.

Hints –

You are going to want to lay out the necklace chains and figure out where you want your little headstones before you put them on the chains, but don’t be surprised if you have to adjust them once you try it on.

Add extra embellishments to make your “cemetery” more interesting

Finished Simple Headstone Necklace –

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Advanced Headstone Necklace –

Three comments and I will do a tutorial on making this necklace.

Three comments and I will do a tutorial on making this necklace.

Hope You have a creatively blessed day !

Jackie Whedbee-Mattingly

 

 

 

 

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Creating a Family Word Cloud Pumpkin

October 28

Creating a Family Word Cloud Pumpkin

 

Our own version of a word cloud celebrating family.

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I went to my sisters house with a plan. I brought 2 pumpkins that I had already painted to choose from and a word cloud I created in photoshop as a starting point. But like many plans some just take on a life of their own, and this cloud changed in the wind.

Word Clouds change in the wind.

Susan had a large selection of letter stickers to choose from and we decided we wanted every name to be different. While that sounds great, it is more challenging than you would think. Even if you choose to make all the fonts the same style I would recommend using different colors alternately over the pumpkin to make each name stand out. For our pumpkin we tried to have a half and half mix of all one color fonts and mixed color fonts.

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Right off the bat (yes Halloween pun) it was determined if we wanted my sisters first and maiden name and her husbands full name to be the largest words on the pumpkin, that if we were going to even attempt to start the word cloud like I had designed in photoshop, that we would have to shorten Robert to Bob . . . and besides I liked the way “BOB” looked in those stickers.

Work out from the first word.

After getting the first name on the pumpkin you have a starting point to work out from. For the second name (Susan) we started with the “N” and worked backwards so we would not have to figure out letter spacing.

Use a guide to keep your names level.

For longer names it helps to use something as a guideline to keep the names straight. Here we set a ruler on the table and turned the pumpkin as the name wrapped around the pumpkin.

Sizing the words

Once the word cloud that I had designed was thrown out the window we worked from the largest names down in order of importance (or perceived importance).

Convienience

We positioned each name on a pencil or ruler so we could move it around on the pumpkin to decide where we wanted it to go. And have the letters convenient as we placed them on the pumpkin.

Fill in the spaces with the smaller names

After placing all the larger names we started filling in the spaces with the smaller names. It helps to use a poker or spatula to place the smaller stickers.

Choose flexible stickers

You need to only choose letter stickers that are flexible enough to stick to the contours of the pumpkin.

We added 2016 to commemorate the date.

We added 2016 to commemorate the date.

 

Add embelishments

After putting all the names on the list there was some room left so we added a couple more peoples names ( Including mine ! ) and still had 2 blank holes which we filled with some Halloween stickers. I especially liked the wiggly eyes.

Jackie's name on the pumpkin

My name ( Jackie ) being one of the last names added to the pumpkin had to be in a letter sticker rejected because the style was already used for Whedbee.  The letters were black which made it harder to see at the bottom of the pumpkin, so we were going to have to do something to spice it up and make it fit my personality, like we attempted to do with all of the other names.

Magic Puff Pens

This is how we finished my name with Magic Puff Pens –

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DIY Halloween Jewelry featuring your ancestors !

October 27

Halloween is upon us !

The thoughts of cemeteries and photos of dead relatives are at hands reach for most genealogist so why not take advantage of our genealogy files to create fun and classy Halloween Jewelry that we can identify with!

This is a project that can be done in one afternoon if you have a craft store that carries Tim Holtz scrapbooking accessories near by, or with Amazon Prime you can get ready for next year early.

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SUPPLIES –

Supplies

Here are the supplies you need: A) Photo B) Chain, either bulk or one ready made chain that will go over your head and a second 4 inches longer C) Glue that is photo safe but strong enough to hold embellishments D) Photo frame, here I am using a round frame that the picture is 1 1/8′ with the frame wide enough to hold spiders E) 4 very small red rhinestones F) Jim Holtz spider embellishments G) Eye Pin long enough to hold the word you are going to spell.

TOOLS –

Tools needed for this project

Here are the tools you might use: A) Small scissors B) Jewelry Pliers C) Tweezers D) Tooth pick E) Pen F) End Cutters.

PRINT –

I recommend White Metallic Cardstock.

If you are going to print your photo instead of using a commercially processed print, I would recommend White Metallic Cardstock. It gives the print an unusual sparkle that makes old photos look great.

ASSEMBLY OF PENDANT –

Measure image

Measure the area that the picture needs to fit or use the template that comes with many frames.

Trace around template

Trace around template

Cut out the photo

Cut out the photo

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Put a small amount of adhesive in frame

Put a small amount of adhesive in frame and spread it out very thin.

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Place photo in frame

Carefully place photo in frame

Different Finishes for Photo

If your frame came with a plastic or glass bevel you can put it on now or you may desire to use Ice Resin or another three dimensional sealer if you want your pendant to have a more finished appearance. BEWARE you need to do a test on a scrap piece of the picture before you use any type of paper sealer, decoupage or crackle finish to make sure it will not blur or pull up the finish of the picture. This comes from experience. Not all finishes work on all photo paper !

Use a tooth pick and put a dot of glue where you want your first gem to go

Use a tooth pick and put a dot of glue where you want your first gem to go.

Place the gem.

Place the gem.

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Continue embellishing the frame with your gems.

Continue embellishing the frame with your gems.

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Prepare to embellish pendant.

Prepare to embellish pendant.

Your going to have to remove the ring from the spider.

Your going to have to remove the ring from the spider.

The end cutters are good to remove the ring from the spider.

The end cutters are good to remove the ring from the spider.

If the end cutters do not leave a clean cut, the jewelry pliers can be used to nibble off any bits remaining.

If the end cutters do not leave a clean cut, the jewelry pliers can be used to nibble off any bits remaining.

Look Ma . . . clean bottom : )

Look Ma . . . clean bottom : )

Put a dab of glue on the frame for your spider

Put a dab of glue on the frame for your spider.

Put spider in position.

Put spider in position.

The second spider will look best if it is symmetrical in placement as possible.

The second spider will look best if it is symmetrical in placement as possible.

At this point you have multiple options. Follow my directions or use the finished pendant any way you can imagine.

At this point you have multiple options. Follow my directions or use the finished pendant any way you can imagine.

ATTACHING PENDENT TO CHAIN –

Cut chain to appropriate length

If you are cutting the chain yourself and don’t want to use a clasp measure one chain that will go over your head. Cut another chain 4″ longer than the first if you have not purchased 2 ready made chains (one 4 inches longer that the first),

Spread the link from one end of the longest chain and slide it into loop on the frame.

Spread the link from one end of the longest chain and slide it into loop on the frame.

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Repeat for the other end of the long chain.

Repeat for the other end of the long chain.

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ASSEMBLING THE NAME CHAIN –

Connect an eye pin that is long enough hold the name you want to spell onto one end of the shorter chain.

Connect an eye pin that is long enough hold the name you want to spell onto one end of the shorter chain.

Crimp the eye pin to the chain.

Crimp the eye pin to the chain.

Slide the letter beads onto the eye pin.

Slide the letter beads onto the eye pin.

Cut the eye pin, 1/4" longer than the name and make a loop that you can connect to the other end of the short chain.

Cut the eye pin, 1/4″ longer than the name and make a loop that you can connect to the other end of the short chain.

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Embelish your chain with spiders

I counted 6 links out from both ends of the name and placed a spider embellishment to the chain using a spare link left over when I cut my chains to length. Alternately a jump ring of the same color as the chain could be used. Then I counted another 8 links out in both directions and connected another pair of spiders. Depending on the size of the links on your chain

Name chain with 4 spider embellishment.

Name chain with 4 spider embellishment.

Completed Necklace featuring my Great Grandfather as a young man. Just in time for Halloween !

I opened the center back link of the pendant chain and connected it to the name chain so they would always remain centered together. Here is the completed necklace featuring my Great Grandfather as a young man. Just in time for Halloween !

Hope you have a Happy Halloween

Jackie Mattingly

 

 

 

 

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Family Monograms for Upscale DIY Halloween Pumpkins

October 19

If you need help with the design concept for your own monogram go to my post on monogram resources HERE

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Upscale Family Monogram Pumpkin

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Supply list: Pumpkin (I used recycled foam pumpkin from last year), Monogram, Acrylic Paint, Graphite Pencil, Paint Brushes Scissors Painters Masking Tape, Ball Point Pen. Optional: Foil Glue, Gold Leaf, Silver Foil

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Clean the pumpkin with a steel wool scrubby to both clean it and rough up the surface to prepare for painting and then gave it a prime coat of one of the colors you are going to paint the pumpkin with and let it dry thoroughly.

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Once dry continue painting the pumpkin until you are satisfied with the results. Let this coat dry over night.

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Have a monogram sized to fit the pumpkin. Pryor to taping the monogram to the pumpkin use a graphite pencil and THOROUGHLY coat the back of the paper with graphite using a graphite pencil.

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Tape the monogram to the pumpkin with painters masking tape so that the fresh paint will not pull up when removed.

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After positioning the monogram on the pumpkin using the painters tape to make sure it will not move, use a ball point pen and firmly go over the lines that need to be transferred to the pumpkin.

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Make sure all of the lines have been FIRMLY traced.

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After you have traced all of the lines, remain patient.  Only pull up one side of the paper to make sure that you can see the lines well.

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If you will not be able to paint within the lines, tape it back down and go over it again a little harder.

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To be honest, I could see the lines ok, but they did not photograph well so I went over them with a fine tipped black marker.

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At this point you can paint your monogram any way, in any color, that makes you happy.

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It may take 2 coats of acrylic paint to make solid lines solid.

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I wanted to use gold leaf to fill in the outline lettering to make it really shiny but I did not have the gold leaf adhesive so I figured the Deco Foil Adhesive should work.

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Instructions said to hold the bottle at a 45% angle.

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The Deco Foil Adhesive went on REAL THICK so I had to let it dry/set up over night to get to the dry but still sticky point that you can put the gold foil on it.

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I placed a sheet of the gold leaf over the sticky area I wanted foiled and used a soft dry paint brush to both press the gold leaf into the adhesive and brush away the leaf were it was not suppose to be.

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The thick adhesive made for lumpy gold. If it were anything besides a Halloween pumpkin I would have been starting over. But on a Halloween pumpkin it looked pretty cool.

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I did not want the silver foil eyes to be as lumpy as the gold so I tried something different. I used rubber cement and carefully put a thin coat where I wanted the silver foil and let it dry completely. The important issue is to use a glue that when it is totally dry is still tacky.

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Foil works different than leaf. It is as thin as leaf but it is on a substrate that keeps it from tearing and floating away, so once the rubber cement is completely dry you place the foil over the area and rub it firmly.

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Once you are sure you have rubbed every area you gently pull back the substrait and leaving the foil where it sticks to the glue or adhisive. The rubber cement worked as well as I had hoped.

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Once I had finished putting the gold leaf and silver foil onto the pumpkin I went back with the fine paintbrush and cleaned it up a bit with the black acrylic paint.

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Finished pumpkin !

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Pumpkin on display


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“Genealogy-Gencrafts.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking from/to amazon.com.”

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DIY Light weight Photo Cube Decorations

September 14

Aunt Mary turned 90 and had a birthday party in August.

I made her 6 of the 6 sided photo cubes which were lightweight enough to hang from the wire armatures of a balloon weight.

Each cube was different so we were able to display 36 photos on what became a table centerpiece at the party.

The instructions for making the 6 sided cubes are at my previous post “How to make 6 sided photo cube” Click HERE

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My Favorite Monogram Resources

September 8

Even our ancestors were proud of their names and heritage and were probably decorating their clothing and home decor with their initials and family crest since before first set of guest towels were hung on a rod.

Seriously, the wealthy families had crest rings and medallions since before the average man had two names.

Today monograms still give us a sense of family identity. If it belongs to you, you can put your mark on it. Even if it is just your annual pumpkin. Click HERE for the pumpkin tutorial.

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Decorative monograms can be incredibly intricate and designing your own can be quite a task. The simple solution is to not re-invent the wheel and use one of the many reference books available to either scan straight from the books (for personal use only) or use as a starting point.

While it has numerous Art Nouveau Initials in it “The Treasury of Authentic Art Nouveau Alphabets, Decorative Initials, Monograms, Frames and Ornaments” Edited by Ludwig Petzendorfer only has five complete sets of Monograms, every combination of two letters possible. However they have a Art Nouveau flare while still being simple enough for any craft project straight out of the book. This is my go to book as a jump off point when designing my own monographs.

I highly recommend The “Compendium of Ancient Artistic Initials For Vintage Style Monograms“,  well described in their Amazon description as “a collection of over 3400 intricate artistic initials largely drawn from Victorian, Art Nouveau and Edwardian eras”. Initials and designs are in larger format (most are 2 inches high or greater) to preserve detail.” With multiple monograms styles from between 1840 and 1850. Most of which are suitable for sewing and craft projects straight out of the book.

5000 Decorative Monograms for Artist and Craftspeople, Edited by J. O’Kane is filled with 2 and 3 letter monograms that have a Victorian (or older) feel and are well suited for embroidery as well as a nice way to add art to pedigree charts and family group sheets in family history books when photographs are not an option.

Monograms and Alphabetic Devices are to quote the preface are “Unabridged republication of the plates from the Dictionnaire du Chiffre-monogramme” published in Paris in 1881. They are ornate but the printing is clear and well suited for the family history book when photos are not an option and with minimal work, suitable for embroidery and craft projects.

The Encyclopedia of Monograms by Leonard G. Lee are elaborate monograms with a renaissance flair. most suited for inclusion in family history books or decoupage.

You can see inside of these books using the Amazon.com links.

I hope you find my reviews helpful.

Jackie

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How To Make A Cherished Family Heritage Bracelet – Easier Than You can Imagine

August 23

This may be one of my favorite, quick, go-to gift projects of all time. I keep a half dozen of the photo bracelet kits in the craft drawer in the event I need a quick gift, especially when a relative shows up unexpected during the holidays. I can excuse myself and go resize a half dozen pictures, print them and have the project done before anybody knows I am gone. The bracelets make great presents for grandmothers when you include all of the grandchildren. The photo selection is only limited by your imagination.

There are a number of photo frame kits available with different numbers of frames including square, round, and charm frames.

There are Amazon.com links at the bottom of this post to go directly to several choices. There are numerous styles but they all assemble about the same.

Photo Heritage Bracelet

The intent of this post is to show you the simplest version possible with no additional embellishments or bling. If you are a creative person there are endless ways to embellish the bracelets

The first step is to choose and size your photographs. The photo bracelet kits come with templates and dimensions so you can size the photos properly.

A Template

You lay this template over the photo and if it fits a particular whole you know how much you have to reduce that photo. Or you can just size it to fit the 100% hole.

Genealogy-Gencraft-Simple-photo-Bracelet-tutorial-step-1

I chose a simple 6 frame bracelet that already has several beads between each frame, to include photos of myself, my mother, her mother (my grandmother), her mother (my great grandmother) her mother (my 2x great grandmother), her mother (my 3x great grandmother) and her mother (my 4 times great grandmother). I feel very fortunate to have portraits of 6 generations including myself of my matriarchal line.

Genealogy-Gencraft-Simple-photo-Bracelet-tutorial-step-3

The first step after having your photos sized to fit the template and either printing them on high quality photo paper or having prints made at your favorite photo developer is to take the paper clip or tooth pick and gently press the back of the sample photos and press them and the plastic photo protector out of the frame.

Genealogy-Gencraft-Simple-photo-Bracelet-tutorial-step-4

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Cut out your chosen photographs.

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You can see here that my photos were a tiny bit to large. Use the little plastic cover to size your photos and trim off any additional image necessary.

Genealogy-Gencraft-Simple-photo-Bracelet-tutorial-step-12

Genealogy-Gencraft-Simple-photo-Bracelet-tutorial-step-13

Slide in the bottom of the photo.

Genealogy-Gencraft-Simple-photo-Bracelet-tutorial-step-14

Bend the photo enough to get the top of the photo to slip into the top of the frame.

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Then put the plastic cover over the photos in the same manor.

Genealogy-Gencraft-Simple-photo-Bracelet-tutorial-step-17

Repeat these procedures until all of the frames have photographs.

If you need additional frames you may need to buy an extra bracelet and take your bracelets apart and restring them with the required number of frames.

Finished-bracelet

I have taken the above style of bracelet apart and put more colorful glass beads between the frames and I have taken the bracelet apart, added another frame and left the beads out so that the bracelet was still the correct size.

Finished-Bracelet-Elizabeth-Ann-Mary

This project is moderately simple to complete once you get your photos sized and printed.

You can change the photos as often as you choose, whether you are finding additional photos of your ancestors or the grandchildren are growing up.

Please remember that clicking on the link below does not cost you any extra but does help me pay the expenses of this blog. If you decide to go back later to purchase please come and click through from the log. It also helps me know if people are enjoying and doing the projects.

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How to Make Panorama Eggs with Ancestors and Family Photos

August 3

 

Panorama Egg Display featuring eggs with photographs of Ancestors and Family

Panorama Egg Display featuring eggs with photographs of Ancestors and Family

Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-43


Eggs have been traditional decorations of spring, Easter in particular, for centuries  but don’t let that limit your imagination.  The egg shape is an elegant design, and these panorama eggs can be displayed as a single ornament, included in flower arrangements or even hung as Christmas tree ornaments.

Consider the pictures when you decide how to embellish the eggs. This tree includes my parents and ancestors, so I went with lacy trim and delicate silk and plastic flowers. But it would be easy to make a more modern set of eggs with a more Dr Suess feel, or Funky or maybe use sea shells instead of flowers and have it commemorate a family trip to the ocean and make a driftwood pile to glue them to.

So grab a beverage and contemplate how you would modify these little gems to represent your life and family…

The supply list is at the bottom of the post.

 

A small shot glass makes it easy to imagine the exact positioning you want the opening to be to be. A compass can be used also. Draw around the glass with a marker.

A small shot glass makes it easy to imagine the exact positioning you want the opening to be to be. A compass can be used also.
Draw around the glass with a marker.

 

Carefully cut out the opening of the egg

Carefully cut out the opening of the egg

 

To hang the eggs I have used a 6mm Jump Ring and an Eyepin. There are multiple other ways you could use to hang the eggs, but this method looks very nice

To hang the eggs I have used a 6mm Jump Ring and an Eye pin.
There are multiple other ways you could use to hang the eggs, but this method looks very nice

 

Cut the eye pin to about an inch. Use a sharp tool to put a hole in the top of the egg

Cut the eye pin to about an inch.
Use a sharp tool to put a hole in the top of the egg

 

Push the eye pin through the plastic eggs

Push the eye pin through the plastic eggs

 

After pushing the eye pin through the egg use a small needle nose pliers to bend a knot so it will not pull out

After pushing the eye pin through the egg use a small needle nose pliers to bend a knot so it will not pull out

 

Carefully cut around your photograph

Carefully cut around your photograph

 

you are going to need to take a CLEAN steal wool and rough up the inside of the egg so that the hot glue will stick

You are going to need to take a CLEAN steal wool and rough up the inside of the egg so that the hot glue will stick

 

The small flowers in the egg are multi-purpose. First, They should look nice and be appropriate colors to go with your pictures. Additionally the flowers are used to help position the photos.

The small flowers in the egg are multi-purpose.
First, They should look nice and be appropriate colors to go with your pictures.
Additionally the flowers are used to help position the photos.

 

After making sure the photograph fits in the egg to your satisfaction run some hot glue around the bottom and place in the egg. Using your pokey tool (I know that is a technical description) position the photo where it is standing up straight and hold till the glue gets cold.

After making sure the photograph fits in the egg to your satisfaction run some hot glue around the bottom and place in the egg.
Using your pokey tool (I know that is a technical description) position the photo where it is standing up straight and hold till the glue gets cold.

 

Additional instructions for Panarama Egg

Once the photo is in place you may decide you need additional flowers behind the pictures, now is the time to make sure you are happy.
After you decide what a nice small item to put in front of the photo is (Does not necessarily have to be a flower) put a bit of hot glue in front of the picture

 

Place another flower in front of the photo

Press a small flower or flowers into the hot glue in front of the picture. this serves to cover the bottom edge of the photo as well as adding another element.

 

Using a hot glue gun start putting the trim around the outside of the opening. It usually (but not always) looks better to have the trim extend beyond the egg just a little bit. Slowly go around the egg placing the trim. Do not use any more hot glue than you absolutely have to.

Using a hot glue gun start putting the trim around the outside of the opening.
It usually (but not always) looks better to have the trim extend beyond the egg just a little bit.
Slowly go around the egg placing the trim. Do not use any more hot glue than you absolutely have to.

 

As you are coming around the egg with the trim consider stretching the trim or giving it some ease so that the trim meets in a pleasing way. If you started at exactly the center and end at exactly the center and the trim does not frey it should not matter. If it does not work out quite right you can either consider where you are going to display/hang it. Does it really matter? Or for those picky among us . . .consider a flower or other embellishment.

As you are coming around the egg with the trim consider stretching the trim or giving it some ease so that the trim meets in a pleasing way.
If you started at exactly the center and end at exactly the center and the trim does not frey it should not matter.
If it does not work out quite right you can either consider where you are going to display/hang it. Does it really matter? Or for those picky among us . . .consider a flower or other embellishment.

 

It looks real nice, but is not necessary to put a complimentary bit of lace around the egg also. Make sure the trim around the back tucks under the trim in the front.

It looks real nice, but is not necessary to put a complimentary bit of lace around the egg also.
Make sure the trim around the back tucks under the trim in the front.

 

Finished panorama Egg

Finished Egg featuring the wedding photo of Jackie Whedbee and Larry Mattingly

 

Finished Panorama Egg Tree

Finished Panorama Egg Tree featuring photographs of the family and Ancestors of Jackie Whhedbee-Mattingly

 

Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-George-Bethel

Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-Mary-Applegate

Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-Ann-John

Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-John-Stella

 

Your supplies will include:

  • Eggs, here I used the soft plastic eggs that are just soft enough to cut with an craft knife.
  • A Pen, for drawing the opening of the egg.
  • Shot glass or compass to make circle for opening on egg.
  • Craft knife for cutting hole in front of egg.
  • Pokey thing . . ok . . It is actually called a “weeder” by Circut (see why I call it the pokey tool) or a multi purpose pick.
  • Eye Pin and Jump Ring to hang the egg from. Ribbon or other hanger may be used.
  • A pair of manicure or embroidery scissors suitable of cutting tiny details of photograph.
  • Small need nose craft pliers.
  • Hot Glue gun and glue sticks.
  • Selection of tiny silk flowers or other small flowers, items of bling, The smaller the better.
  • Trim. It is possible to buy selections of small color coordinated trim at craft stores. you will need less than 6″ per egg.
  • An Ornament Hanger to display the finished egg.

 

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Make a Mother’s Day Coffee Cup for Any Day With Your Genealogy Information and Vintage Photos

July 27
Genealogy-Gencracts-Simple-Mothers-Day-Cup

Mother’s Day Coffee Cup displaying pedigree and pictures of all the women ancestors


There are so many places that will print your favorite photo jpeg onto a cup there is no excuse not to display your genealogy and admire your photo collection.

Genealogy-Gencracts-Simple-Mothers-Day-Cup-3

One Mothers Day I made a pedigree chart with my sister and I at the bottom. And included one photo each of ourselves, our mother, our grandmothers on both sides, as well as a picture of my mothers grandmother and great grandmother.

Genealogy-Gencracts-Simple-Mothers-Day-Cup-2

I had 3 cups made . . . one for myself, one for my sister and one for myself, for Mother’s Day. They are a fabulous reminder of the women in our family tree.

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How to make 6 sided photo cubes using free printable template

July 26

 

Jackie and Larry's Photo Cube

DIY Paper Photo Cube Ornament

Paper photo cubes are easy to do and are so light weight you can hang them almost anywhere !


In todays world of selfies and digital files being thrown away to make room for more it is a great way to prolong the memories of the good times. . . . and or enjoy photos scanned from the photo albums currently collecting dust in the closet.

They are great to use for everything from adding to floral arrangements at family reunions to hanging from the coffee cup holder in the kitchen.

Not to mention the beginning of a family tradition of each person picking their 6 favorite pictures of themselves for the family Christmas tree ornament collection.

Whether you are using vintage family photos or the latest selfies out of your cell phones the hardest part is picking your favorite 6 pictures. After that you do need a photo editing program to use the following directions.

I recommend reading all the directions before diving in.

  • Open and Print Tips for Laying Out/Designing Your Photo Cube.

Cube Template.jpg

  • Click image for full sized PDF
  • Select 6 pictures that will crop well and fit the theme of your cube.
  • For each picture you will rotate the photo 45% if possible.
  • Crop it to 2.3″ @ 300 dpi
  • Open New and Improved Template
Genealogy-Gencrafts Cube Template

Click on Image of New and Improved Genealogy-Gencrafts Cube Template for Free Printable Template

  • With the “Tips for Laying Out/Designing Your Photo Cube close” at hand, depending on whether you are using photoshop or a different photo editing software, place the photos in the direction shown on the Tip Sheet.
  • The Cube looks best when the majority of photos have been rotated 45 degrees before cropping to 2.3″. However sometimes the subjects in the photo makes this impossible. Try different placements, refer to Tip Sheet for direction to place pictures and print your cube on standard paper before you commit to expensive paper or sending file to a photo processor.

Larry-&-Jackie

  • Once you get the cube art done to your satisfaction and printed it on standard paper, cut it out and fold it to make sure everything falls where you wanted and or expected it to. At this point you can print it on a heavy weight satin photo paper or have it printed to an 8×10 at your favorite photo processor. A Satin or Luster finish works much better than gloss because finger prints will show less.
  • Then you need to figure out how to hang your cube. For this example I simple ran a ribbon through a button and tied a knot so it would not pull out if somebody pulled on it.

Genealogy-Gencrafts-3

  • Cut out around your cube art

Genealogy-Gencrafts-4-Cutting-out-Photo-Cube

  • If you have a 1/8 in paper punch you can punch a small hole where the ribbon comes out through the cube.

Genealogy-Gencrafts-5-Cutting-out-Photo-Cube

Genealogy-Gencrafts6-Folding-Photo-Cube

  • Fold all the panels and tabs.
  • If you are going to use rubber cement as I am here you have to put some rubber cement on the back side of the paper where you will be pressing the flaps that have glue on the front side of the paper. As well as gluing the front of the flaps. Let the rubber cement/contact cement dry until it is tacky.
  • Hot glue applied sparingly works the best to assemble the cubes.

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Genealogy-Gencrafts-11-glueing-flaps-of-paper-photo-cube

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  • Before you start assembling your cube put the ribbon/button in the corner it belongs. Refer to tip sheet. Glue tab 1 first. Tab 2 next. Followed by tab 3.

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Genealogy-Gencrafts-16-Assembling-Photo-Cube

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  • Glue Tabs 5, 6 and 7 all at the same time.
  • Gluing in this order is the most efficient.

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Enjoy !
See Also – Modified 6 panel Chinese Hung Bow Lantern
More versatile and even easier to put together than the 6 panel, 1 sheet photo cube. CLICK HERE

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How To Create Your Own Word Search Puzzle For Your Family Album Or Family Reunion

July 23

Genealogy-Gencraft-Wheatly-Word-Find-Example

Even easier than doing the family crossword puzzle is a word find. Whether it is all the surnames in the family or the names of all the countries, villages and cities your ancestors came from it is a simple task with the free word find creators you can find online.

Another great addition to Family History and Photo Albums or the Family Reunion notebooks or invitations they are something young and old find fun and challenging.

Again, while they are easy to create yourself, an even simpler way to format them is to use one of the many online Word Find Creators.

At Discovery Educations Puzzle Maker found at http://puzzlemaker.discoveryeducation.com/WordSearchSetupForm.asp you have the option of adding a title, deciding the number of letters across and down, whether to use each letter only once, share letters occasionally or to share letters as much as possible. You can output the puzzle in HTML or text in either upper or lower case letters. They do have a licensing statement that their generator is for classroom use only, but as long as you are not selling copies I would think personal use only would slide by.

At Instant Online Word Search Puzzle Maker, found at

http://www.puzzle-maker.com/wordsearch_Entry

They have the interesting option of making the word search puzzle more complicated by listing clues, like a crossword puzzle instead of the words themselves that you have to find.

At ABCya.com they have a 5 step puzzle creator at http://www.abcya.com/make_a_word_search.htm

that is so simple a child could create their own word search.

Additional Word Search creators offer a wide variety of options including adding back grounds, different shapes etc.

Word find puzzles are a great thing to hand out for quiet time or maybe when a little quiet time is needed !

GGC-Word-Find-Preview

GGC-Word-Find-Solution

Make sure and include the solution key to the back of your book to help the frustrated few who don’t have the patience to finish the puzzle on their own.

 

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How to make easy Crossword Puzzles for Family Reunions or Family History Books

July 23

Genealogy-Gencrafts-Crossword-Puzzle-Example

CROSSWORD PUZZLES IN YOUR HISTORY & PHOTO BOOKS

One interesting way to get past the “Same Ole – Same Ole” in your family history and photo albums is to add a crossword puzzle whose clues must be gleaned from the content of the book.

In a family history book I did a crossword puzzle that used surnames as the answers. For the clues I went through and used everything from occupations, birth dates and locations and even the color of a shirt. Where people were married and what kind of pets they enjoyed (based on pictures found in the book) as well as who they were the father of, for example: the father of David. While the were numerous Davids in the book only one surname fit the number puzzle.

You definitely want to put the answer key in the back of the book.

 

CROSSWORD PUZZLES FOR FAMILY REUNIONS

Another great use for Crossword puzzles is an ice breaker at a family reunion. Depending on how co-operative your family is the questions could be anything from occupations, to get people talking to each other to physical traits, tall or red hair for example. If you are 100 percent sure of attendance you could have a clue of the oldest person or youngest person in attendance, who traveled the farthest to attend or where somebody graduated college. If you intend on wearing a polka dot shirt that could be your clue ! The possibility for clues are endless.

Since the odds are there will be lots of people with the same surname you might consider using first names and nick names also. Remembering you CAN use the same word more than once since the object will be to put the names in the right spots to work with the other words in the puzzle.

THE TOTALLY EASY WAY TO CREATE YOUR CROSSWORD PUZZLE

Once you come up with the Answer/Clue list all you have to do is go to one of the many free online crossword creators. Most often directed towards teachers they are all basically the same. Fill in the answer and the clue for each word and hit “Create” and they generate both the puzzle and the key to download. Some have different options, but they are all basically the same.

 

FREE CROSSWORD PUZZLE GENERATORS

Here are four, that I have used.

The Teacher’s Corner Puzzle Generator

Crossword Hobbist Generator

Education.com Crossword Generator

Discovery Education Generator

 

EXAMPLES OF CROSSWORDS I HAVE DONE

In my examples below, I typed in the questions directly on the page to make the columns fit perfectly, and used Photoshop to knock out the back ground of the puzzle and saved it as a transparent png file so that when I uploaded it you could see the background of the page. But I am a picky artist and if you don’t have the programs to manipulate the graphics it still looks great and is an interesting addition.

Crossword Puzzle from the Wheatley Family History and Photo Album

Crossword puzzle from the Wheatley Family History and Photo Album created by Jackie Whedbee

Crossword Puzzle Answer Page

Example of crossword puzzle answer page from the Wheatley Family History and Photo Album created by Jackie Whedbee

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The Family Tree, Christmas Tree

June 23

The-Christmas-Family-Tree

A fabulous use for family photos is to make simple cubes to put on your Christmas tree or even dangle from your rear view mirror.

With the smart phones in hand filed with selfies that seem to get deleted when your phone gets filled or uploaded to social media. A great tradition would be to create a photo cube Christmas Ornament for each family member, each year, with the date on it . . . Printed on heavy photo paper or at any discount printer. They could even be mailed flat and assembled by the recipient.

Depending on the number of vintage photos in your collection you can put all of one person on one cube or all of one family on a cube.

You can use one of the panels to put the names, dates or information regarding the photos on the cube on one of the panels that will hang to the back or bottom.

Either left as the simple folded box tucked among the branches as shown here on this small coffee table tree or embellished to suit each person your imagination is your only limitation.

For Complete Tutorial on making your own photo Cube Boxes . . .Click here for precise instructions

Jackie and Larry Cube

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Panorama Easter Eggs as a way to Display Family Photos

June 22

 

 

Family-Tree-Easter-Egg-Tree

Panorama Easter Eggs Family Tree

 

The Egg is such a perfect shape. Optically it is heavier on the bottom. Has room to decorate inside and out and whether you plan on using real eggs or plastic are readily available. They are light weight and can be stored easily in a commercial egg carton.

 

For complete directions on making your own family tree panorama eggs, click here.

 

Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-Ann-John   Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-Bob-Sue Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-John-Stella Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-John-Audrey Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-George-Bethel Genealogy-gencraft-Panorama-Egg-Tree-Mary-Applegate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Other uses for Headstone Rubbings

June 21

Larry standing beside HC Mattingly Headstone

Some times you go to a cemetery, find an ancestors headstone, and no matter what you do you can’t get a good photograph because of light, erosion or a myriad of other problems.

In this case the headstone had multiple problems. It was made of sugar dolomite which was horribly eroded and was back lit on a beautiful sunny afternoon.  It was lit so poorly that we had to run our hands across the lettering just to make sure it was the headstone we were looking for.  1500 miles away from home in a cemetery I might never get back to.

So I took a photo of Larry standing next to it .. . a plain greyish swirl of nothingness.

The solution to the problem was a grave stone rubbing.

  • After doing the grave stone rubbing we returned home and went to a copy center where I was able to have the original reduced to an 8 x 10″ copy.
  •   HC Mattingly Headstone dk small HC Mattingly Headstone Small
  • I took the 8 x 10 copy home and scanned it.
  • Then opened it in Photoshop, although I am sure there are many other photo manipulation programs that would have worked.
  • I cleaned up the headstone rubbing getting rid of crayon lines where they did not belong.
  • I used the magic wand (in Photoshop) to capture just the black crayon from the print.
  • I layered that over the digital image of Larry standing by the grey headstone.
  • I used the dodge tool to lighten just the headstone.
  • Sized it to fit the headstone
  • Used “skew” to make it fit perfectly
  • Set the opacity to 50% so the swirly grey of the stone showed through and the black looked more realistic.
  • Collapsed the layers
  • And now have a better picture of Henry Clay Mattingly’s headstone than is realistically possible.
  • I have never posted the picture without the entire story so I am not trying to fool anybody
  • Unfortunately nobody who has copied it and posted it to their own page has ever posted the story – or given me credit for taking the picture . . . oh well . . .

 

Larry & HC Headstone Without Rubbing Larry & HC Headstone With Rubbing

Here is the before and after … .may not be authentic but it shows the information as it was intended without any alteration to the original headstone.

 

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Making your own Rubbing Wax Muffin

June 19

Rubbing Wax Kit

While it is fine to use a Jumbo Crayola if you are only going to do one headstone rubbing, if you are going to do more than one or two rubbings it is easy to make your own Rubbing Wax Muffin that is much easier to hold.

What you need to make your own Rubbing Wax Muffin

  • Muffin Pan
  • Foil Muffin liner
  • Black Lumber Crayon, Crayola’s or Crayons or other colors of your choice.
  • Oven preheated to 250

Step 1, what you need to make your own Rubbing Wax Muffin for head stone rubbings

Muffin tin, Foil liner, lumber crayons.

Heat oven to 250 degrees to melt your crayons for making your Rubbing Wax Muffin

Heat oven to 250 degrees to melt your crayons for making your Rubbing Wax Muffin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put the foil muffin liner in the pan. Take off labels from the crayons and fill the muffin tin liner with the crayons.

Put the foil muffin liner in the pan.
Take off labels from the crayons and
fill the muffin tin liner with the crayons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keep an eye on your melting wax. Stir gently until it is melted. Be careful not to spill wax when you remove pan from oven.

Keep an eye on your melting wax. Stir gently until it is melted. Be careful not to spill wax when you remove pan from oven.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don't worry about impurities that float to the top of your Rubbing Wax muffin

Don’t worry about impurities that float to the top of your Rubbing Wax muffin. After the wax is cooled scrape off impurities. This example is from Lumber Crayons which ended up with a thin layer of softer white wax that floated to the top.

 

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Preparing for your first Headstone Rubbing Adventure

June 16

One Genealogy Art Project that can truly be an adventure is doing head stone rubbings.

While a photo of your ancestors headstone can be informative, a good headstone rubbing is art that says “I went there – and I connected with the past”.

Basil Mattingly Headstone Rubbing

To find the cemetery your ancestor is located in can be as easy as asking other family members where they are or if you are lucky you can find the location at Findagrave.com where if you are lucky you may find a picture of the headstone in question so you have a better idea of the size and condition of the headstone. Other sources of information regarding the cemetery can be found from the mortuary which is often listed in obituaries or on the death certificate. If you know the town where they died the public library often has cemetery list or the local Genealogy or History Society may be able to help you.

It can take a fair amount of planning or traveling but once you know where your ancestors headstones are, the battle is half fought.

Before you head to the cemetery you will need to put together your to-go bag with some basic supplies and while it may seem cumbersome, I can tell you from personal experience that it is easier to track your supplies down at home than to waste your valuable travel time trying to track down wide white paper.

Some items you will need include:

Jumbo Crayola Crayons

  • Wide White Paper . . . it does help to know the size of the headstone or grave marker but you have several options. Wide freezer paper works well if it is going to be damp because you can put the wax side down or against the head stone. White wrapping paper from the dollar store or from the shipping supply department of a department store works well. For an extra large headstone white muslin may be your answer, it also folds and packs well if the finished product will have to go in a suitcase.
  • Rubbing Wax . . . Most times I use black. You have the option of using jumbo crayons (package of 8 colors) or lumber crayons (available in black, blue or red at home improvement stores) or purchasing a cupcake size block of rubbing wax made specifically for the purpose (also available in black, red, brown or green).  Wax Rubbing Kit
  • Tape . . . to hold the paper to the headstone. Something that will not leave residue on the stone. Wide blue painters tape is a good choice.
  • Soft Brush, Spray Bottle and Towel . . . to clean dirt, debris and bird poo off of the headstone. The towel to dry stone if it is raining or possibly kneel on.
  • Mailing Tube and Rubber bands . . .  large enough to protect your project. If all else fails you can wrap your finished product back around the roll the paper came on facing inward.
  • Map to the cemetery and of the cemetery, available at the cemetery office to help locate the grave site.
  • Mosquito/bug repellent, Sunscreen and knee pads . . . for your comfort

Call ahead to the cemetery office and make sure it is ok to make rubbings in the particular cemetery and then hope for good weather.

Never use any type of cleaning solution or stiff brush on the headstones for it may cause deterioration.

Once you arrive and have found the headstone, take note of the other graves in the immediate area. I cannot count the times that I found other relatives that I had no clue what happened to . .

Rubbing---John-Robert-Buckman-1893---1896

With supplies in hand cut a piece of paper large enough to wrap around the face of the headstone, tape it well and using the side of the crayon or rubbing wax create your image.

 

When you are done I highly recommend taking the rubbings to a copy center to have copies made for other family members or reduced to a manageable size for framing, scanning or inclusion in family histories before framing the original.

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