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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.

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.

Bob

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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