Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Dress & Tiara from Somewhere Over the Rhine

My 1963 First Wedding
Adjusting Dad's Bowtie
Page Layout from my Somewhere Over the Rhine: One Family's Memoir

I got up yesterday later than I'd planned.  Instead of 4 am, the clock's digital reading of 5:30 jolted me out of bed.  Yikes!!  Kate and William were probably already hitched. 

I was right.  And I so wanted to see the first glimpse of "The Dress!" 

Of course, they re-ran the scenes over and over throughout the day, and I did get to see in "real time" the rest of the ceremony, but I felt a little let down because I lingered in slumberland too long.

I loved the dress, by the way.  The more I saw it, the more perfect it became.  And the tiara--how simple and elegant was that?

I've had two weddings.  The first one was in 1963 and took place in St. Monica's Catholic Cathedral, a high mass ceremony.  No royalty certainly associated, but high tradition. 

Yesterday reminded me of that long-ago July morning as I watched the awe and splendor inside Westminster Abby.  The "Lord's Prayer," was even in the old Catholic tradition, using the original words.

I enjoyed the wedding.  Even made a royal fruitcake for the occasion, though the only fruit was oranges.  Had two oranges that I used for zest and thought it logical to slice the fruit later for an Orange Upside Down Cake. 

I've given all of the first wedding photos to my oldest daughter except for the few including my own family. The above image of me and my father is special, and while memories of the actual marriage have faded, sweet, heartfelt events from the past have grown in importance.

I wore the long, flowing gown, the tiara and veil in '63.  In 1987, I wore an ivory silk suit.  Instead of a veil, a strand of seed pearls in my hair.  The second marriage took. 

I hope Prince William and his beautiful bride's wedding takes too.  I want them to be happy. 

History in the making yesterday, and I witnessed it.  Another memory of my life on this earth.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Yesterday was a Creations Day.  Rainy and dreary, not a good garden day.

A good day to work on my Spring "Poppy Beanie," I've shown here several times. I'm working on the flowers now.  So far, I've created four and used my pearl pins to stick them various places until I get to the craft store to buy sequins and beads.  I kinda like the pearls though, yes? 

I used lightweight yarns in lavender, green, and blue, and a fluorescent-like green silk ribbon.  The pattern calls for an antique type beaded flower, and I own several from my vintage-costume-jewelry phase some years back.  I'm also considering beading a flower myself. 

Yesterday was also Create-a-Cookie Day here.  Of course, all foods are Gluten-Free in this house because of son Jeff.  I found a Linzer Torte GF cookie recipe online and made a batch of them, using my husband Gary's homemade strawberry jam.  Yummy.  These turned out so deliciously good!

Today I'm switching knitting needles to the ones holding the soft white cotton bedspread I've been dying to knit for years.  When it's finished, I'll embroider some flowers atop and finally enjoy it on my bed.  Unless I give it to someone of course.  That usually always happens here.

Also today, I'm working on an old-fashioned Sunday Chicken Supper, which is doing nicely in the oven. 

Later this evening I'll work on my Family History Book.  I've got new ideas for stories to write.  

Life here is all about creating.   

What have you been creating?  Got pictures? 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Showers Scrapbook Layout

Good news today from Cottage Arts on their 8th Anniversary Sale.  When I got the email this morning, I remembered last year's Easter Egg Hunt at my sister-in-law's home--the pictures I haven't yet got in an album.

Cottage Arts has a 33% off sale for their birthday plus an additional 10% off on orders over $40. 

Plus a chance to win a $50 gift certificate.

Plus there are freebies every day until Monday, April 18th, when the Birthday Promo ends.

I am not an affiliate for Cottage Arts and receive nothing for guiding you to their site.  I'm just a happy customer and use their digital products. 

They were one of the first digital scrapbook sites I found when I finally took the digi leap.   I fell in love with their paper packs, kits, and templates.  I started off back then downloading free stuff, and I loved their freebies. 

Today I purchased "Spring Showers," which included some awesome Easter themed goodies.

For software, I use Picasa 3, which is a free download from Google, and ACDsee, (see link in sidebar for a free 30-day trial).  I love these two programs and have finally settled on what I think are the best deals on the market.  I've tried them all over the past two years.  I'm a frugal scrapbooker. 

Hope you find this info helpful.  Leave a comment with any questions or if you need help. 

Also let me know if you've created some Springtime Crafty Arts.  I'm thinking of some awesome egg coloring and decorating tips.  Anybody got any?  With pictures?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wanderings Wednesday

In the mood today to just wander around the online neighborhood, dropping in on some of my favorite sites.  I usually do this when I'm tired and not up to doing anything too hard.  Window Shopping!

Actually, first good thing this morning came in my email, a note from Jill Evans, a scrapbook and craft designer, and founder of Jill Evans Design International Ltd., who I guess thought I was still writing for Bella Online, and asked that I review the nifty mobile scanner, Flip-Pal. 

She said this product received the 2010 CHA Innovation Award.  I checked it out of course, and agree this is a great tool for scrapbookers and people like me who scan a lot of vintage family photos.  I haven't tried it out yet but I plan on doing just that in the near future.  I'll let everyone know how it works for me.  You can check it out for yourself by going to  And I believe you'll land on a Facebook link as well on their site.

Then I ambled over to where I saw an ad for Scrapping Spring, an eBook with a beautiful cover.  You can see the projects included in the ebook on the site I've provided.  I was inspired by the Flying Birds mobile especially and the Vintage Jewelry Flowers, so I went ahead and downloaded the book.  I will mention that I am not an affilliate for this site and have no monetary interest involved.  I just thought others would like to have a look at it.  It's $14.99, and I'm reall happy with the download. 

I also was influenced by Debbie Hodge's review of the book, as she is one of my favorite, very talented scrap ladies.

Next, I wanted to search for some Family History Scrapbooking products to go with my current work-in-progress, my family memoir book, and was surprised to see that K&Company had joined up with to sponsor a cool Ancestry Collection. 

 In this collection, there's also an old string-tied, leather-look Scrapbook! 
I'm sure the old-look scrapbook album by K&Company is photosafe and archival quality, like their other products.  Thinking this would be a great gift.
From antique-looking metal frames and dies to beautiful paper and charts, this is an awesome kit to scrap your family history. 

For the book I'm writing, I'm using digital scrap layouts, but I still like to use the physical paper and embellishments for my family albums, now that I've acquired quite a collection of vintage pictures from my cousin. 

One of my favorite digi stores is Cottage Arts, because I like the grunge - shabby chic look for the vintage products. 

This layout of my Grandma was created with Cottage Arts' Vintage Blues Page Pack.

Finally, but not insignificant, is the word on Amazon of a new Kindle with Special Offers for a reduced price of $114.  The Special Offers are sponsored ads and screensavers. In other words, sponsors are helping pay the Kindle price for you.

Amazon is now taking pre-orders for the special Kindle coming in May.

If you've been waiting to get your Kindle, now might be the time.


Monday, April 11, 2011

The Farm in Spring

Every spring I wait for the dogwoods.  They're original to the farm, not been planted by human hands.  Some of the lovliest are in the deep woods, but the ones I can see from my windows are the best.  Their non-showy, understated and quiet beauty make me feel peaceful.  They remind me, in case I've forgotten over the long, bereft winter, of the small, simple beauties of this world.

I had to share these today.

Now back to writing. 

Also check out my new website Scrapbook Life, or

Yes, I have my own url.  Had it for some time, but the second book will be finished by this fall (saying this with conviction), and now is the time to get the site up and going. 

Scrapbook Life is about scrapbooking and writing your family history, your life story, or your memoir.  It will feature resources to help with genealogy and family history searches, forms to use such as family trees and charts, samples of writing styles, layouts to copy, even help with having your book bound and published.

Now I really have to get back to writing.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Memory in the Minds of Others

The above is a page from my Family History Scrapbook. Two women who influenced my life in a huge way. A mother and daughter who knew what was most important about living life and taught me, both with their stories and by their examples.

Yesterday, my Women's Devotional message hit on my life's topic. "A Role Model," by Samantha McGarrity, talks about The Queen of Sheba, explaining that an arheological dig gives evidence that the queen actually did exist. She then ponders, from the story of the queen's visit to King Solomon, what kind of woman this queen must have been.

She sounded like a very independent woman with a healthy curiosity...she didn't mind hitting the road occasionally to seek out answers.  And she was honest, straightforward, in telling King Solomon just what she thought of him, after she'd tested his knowledge.  She was also a woman who gave credit where credit was due--something I often forget to do myself.  She praised Solomon's God for the spendor of his kingdom.  That may have been the reason, after all these centuries, the Queen of Sheba is still remembered.
McGarrity finishes by saying the queen is a good role model for keeping one "a nice memory in the minds of others."

That's the greatest reason for doing what I do--preserving my family history.  Not to remind my relatives that I was a super good person, but that I did the work of keeping the people who were important in our family "in the minds of others."  I don't want anyone to forget about the people who've came before us in our family, wo laid a foundation and changed our lives. 

When my family history book is written and bound, and in the hands of my children, grandchildren, cousins, and nieces and nephews, I'll return to the work of finishing my Memories in Order: How to Scrapbook Family History, so others will be able to do this.  My blog readers here will be the first to take advantage of a free pre-publication download sample, so click to follow here in the sidebar, either by email, Google Friend, or Networked Blogs.  Any method you choose to follow will work, so that you'll be notified when the book is available.

Somewhere Over the Rhine, my Family History Book, is my project for the time being, but I'm happy to share some of my pages with you here.  I'm creating the scrapbook layouts for this book digitally, which for me, is easiest for the sake of publishing the book. 

I still like to do create physical scrapbooks, with the touch and feel of cardstock, designer papers, and decorative elements.  And sometimes I'll take pictures of these and post them for you.  If you have any questions, or if there's something you want to know about how to get started with your own Family History Scrapbook, just leave a comment below.  I always look forward to hearing from you.

I just happen to believe that writing family histories is a way to change the world!

As Ophrah would say, here is what I know:  My family history has changed me.  It's made me appreciate who I am and where I come from.

To get started right now creating your own Family History Scrapbook, visit Women's Memoirs and click to download a free ebook especially for my blog readers, normally a $7.50 value:  ScrapMoir:  Seven Tips for Saving Your Photos, Your Stories, and Your Memories. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

LifeWriting Layouts

Why is documenting your family history, your ancestry, so important?  The Church of Latter Day Saints in Utah believes it is of such high importance that they've devoted themselves to assist everyone on earth in tracking their heritage.

"Who Do You Think You Are," the TV show sponsored by, is now a Friday family favorite in many households. 

Studies have proven that learning about your roots, your ancestors, gives you a greater sense of self-worth.
•Part of self-esteem is feeling that you have a place in the world where you belong—that you are part of a family where you matter.

◦It is knowing about your roots and having confidence in your future.

◦This can be a problem for children who have come from other countries and lost touch with their ‘roots’.

◦It can also be a problem for children who have been part of a family break-up, if they are split off from part of their family and the history of that part of the family  (

What if your family ancestry doesn't include Mayflower descendents but a lot of closet skeletons instead?  That doesn't seem to affect the discovery of the soil your tree is planted in.  I've learned this personally in my in-depth ancestry search.  When my Dad was just a young boy, he threw his father out of the home because of his abusive treatment of my grandmother.  My grandfather on my mother's side was no winner either.

However, the fact that both my parents survived extremely dark times in their lives and managed to survive and raise a family means more to me than a few bad apples on my family tree. 

I come from amazingly resilient people.  Some of them crossed the Atlantic during the great German immigration, where voyages lasted months and sickness and death abounded.  They held onto their goal through everything to set foot on American soil. 

This knowledge has taught me I have the power to remain steadfast in my goals and to never to give up when life gets hard.

Digital Book Pages ~~ Because I'm writing my family history using photos in book form, I find it's easier to go digital.  I still love scrapbooking with my cardstock and paper elements and seeing my albums stand proudly on bookshelves, but for this current project which I will have bound and published, digital is the way.

I've used a variety of software for this purpose, from free to expensive, and I may have finally settled on the one that fits my bill:  ACDsee Photo Editor

I also have PhotoShop Elements on my husband's desktop computer, and I have  Picasa 3, Google's photo organizing and editing program, a free download, on my hardworking laptop. 

I posted recently a link to a Picasa Scrapbooking tutorial I came across, written by a talented girl on her Clover Lane blog.  Picasa uses photo collages for scrapbook pages, and you can also see at Clover Lane how to create your own blog banner.  The only drawback to Picasa is the inability to properly use elements with the png file extension, which most other software uses, along with some jpg files.  Picasa does use jpg formats.

Creative Memories has a super easy software program for both organizing and editing as well as their Storybook Maker package.  On their site, click "digital scrapbooking."  I used both these programs for several years.  The Storybook Maker recognizes all digital files that PhotoShop uses.

While PhotoShop is at the top of the list, and I'm sure the best selling digital program in this niche, something just clicked with me when I tried my free trial of ACDsee.  The best of both worlds are wrapped in this tidy package for me--ease of use as with Creative Memories and the sophistication of PhotoShop.  All at a reasonal price. 

Free digital and downloadable scrapbook templates, background papers and elements are available on the web.  One of my favorites is Cottage Arts; I like the grunge-shabby chic look, and they also have some beautiful heritage packages for sale.  You can start with some free products and move up as you go.

Here's a good post by Tammy Murks on Free Digital Scrapbooking Templates that will give you more sites to try.

Digital Ancestry Add-Ons: 

This family tree is a free downloadable PDF from About.com_Genealogy, and can be filled in and printed or inserted into your digi book.

Below is also a "pedigree chart" which you can only print out and fill in by hand.  It's not too hard to create one of these yourself on your word processor and copy as a page in your book. provides a number of forms for you to use in this regard. 

About LifeWriting: When creating your layouts, whether digital or physical, aim for enough space on your page for writing. It's the stories that will live on forever. The stories your family will cherish.

As with genealogy and family trees, start with yourself and work backwards.  Do this with your scrapbook writing too.  Start with your present life, who you are, who you've become, your day-to-day life, what you value, the things that drive you, the places you visit, and on and on.  Give a good picture of yourself.

Then, genealogical style, introduce your father, or significant male perhaps.  Your mother, your siblings if any.  Then work backwards to grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins.

See how far back you can go.  You don't have to have pictures for everyone.  Paint a word picture if you have any stories passed down to you.  Make this a family project, involving your children if they're old enough, or your parents, your siblings.  Creating the history itself is an awesome family memory!
 We all grow up with the weight of history on us. Our ancestors dwell in the attics of our brains as they do in the spiraling chains of knowledge hidden in every cell of our bodies. ~Shirley Abbott

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Still True Journey

Originally, I think back in 1997 or so, I'd named this blog "Journey to Faith," and the entirety of those early posts are here in the archives.  I was even contacted last year about permission to post one of the very early ones I'd written on Running the Good Race."  I was overjoyed. 

It is still about a journey.

I've learned so many new crafts since I started this blog.  I've taken my writing and actually started doing something with it.  I've met so many awesome people online throug my blog, and I've been honored to see and read creative works of art from other bloggers. 

And my faith has grown as I've journey towards it.

Today I'm interested in working in my spring, rather still chilly, garden...if I can.  I've been sick this past week, in the midst of helping my granddaughter prepare for her wedding, which I can't even attend.  Multiple issues.

If warm sun rays come over my home, I may be able to go outside for a bit and tinker a little.  Healing power right in my own back yard.

If not, I'm knitting one of the most amazing pieces I've ever seen.  Actually, I've got three projects on the needles, so I can go back and forth at will.  (A bedspread made of huge white cotton triangles that when sewn together will have delicate embroidery on some of the triangles.  And a pair of light green summer socks.

Poppy Beanie
Louisa Harding
Originally published in
Knitting in the Details
(Interweave, 2010)
I love this Spring Hat.  My colors are just a little different than the pattern, but close.  I'm using a silky lavender, a soft mossy green, and a blend of like colors in a silky sports yarn.  Probably Berroco in my stash.
Writing is also on the slate for today, having not had the energy to do much the last couple of days.  Somewhere Over the Rhine's deadline is looming, and I've still got a ton to do, including taking a trip to the well known downtown Cincinnati Public Library, in my home town.  For ancestry searches, this place rocks.
Also have a post due next week for Women's Memoirs
Oh, I'm not finished.  A half-year's worth of digitals to send for print, some updates to scrapbooks, two books for review...which means finish reading them.  And those seeds are just sitting there staring at me, wondering if I will get them into their trays to start for summer planting.

Women's Memoirs

Women's Memoirs
Women's Memoirs