My Family Tree – An Ongoing Project


Another project that I took on during my months-long recovery from ankle surgery was completing more of my family tree.
I use Ancestry.com and their software program Family Tree Maker 2012. I really love the newest version because it automatically syncs the tree on my computer with my online tree. I like being able to connect to others’ family trees and making connections to those who are looking for the same ancestors. It underscores how we are all so interconnected.
Through some family information, but mostly through linking to other family trees online, I’ve been able to trace my mother’s paternal line of the family back to the late 1200s. I also found that many of those ancestors lived and died in the area of Lincolnshire, England, which we’ve guessed based on the fact that my mother’s family name is also the name of a town in that region. It’s thrilling to find some confirmation.

 It’s also thrilling to be able to use all these resources online without having to travel to remote places, especially since much of the time I was working on the family tree I could not even walk through my house without, first, a walker and then crutches!
My husband’s parents spent much time over the years traveling around their state and the country researching their genealogies. During my recuperation, I’ve slowly been inputting that information that my mother-in-law has been gathering about her and my father-in-law’s families. I’ve only scratched the surface of the information she has written down by hand on index cards. But, I’ve already received a couple of messages through my Ancestry.com account from other people researching my father-in-law’s family — one with a note asking how I’m related. It’s nice to know there are others out there who don’t see old names and dates as meaningless or boring. I really do heart Ancestry.com!
It seems there are more thrilling new connections to be made. I’m looking forward to it.
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Mommy, please make a flamingo for me!



My daughter has a love of flamingos. She’s asked for flamingos as decoration on her birthday cakes for the past three years. Her room is decorated (tastefully) in flamingos. We always have to start our visit to the zoo at the flamingos!


She asked me to make her a flamingo one day while I was crocheting another project. I said, “Sure!” And then I went on a search for a pattern. First stop: Ravelry.com (which is a free site for knitters and crocheters).


I searched for flamingos and was surprised how many Amigurumi patterns there were! There are some very clever people out, many of whom are willing to share their patterns. I chose “Floyd and Flora the Amigurumi Flamingos” by Pamela Nickerson (website is fiberartlady.blogger.com.) The pattern was well written, very clear and easy to follow. So, I ended up making the pair of flamingos. Doodle-Leigh loves them!

My Lenten Message

During my months-long recovery from ankle surgery, I missed all the activities I usually participate in, including MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) where I am the co-coordinator and all of the worship committee meetings at my church. I received a call letting me know I had been nominated at one of the committee’s meeting to speak at the first Wednesday night Lenten service about my faith journey.  I guess that’s what I get for missing the meetings!
I don’t usually get bothered too much by public speaking. My degree is in Communications/Public Relations. I had numerous public speaking classes in school and have given plenty of speeches in the past. But, when it comes to speaking about myself, I do get really nervous. 
Knowing that, I wrote out my full speech and practiced it several times to be certain it would be within my allotted time in the service. I had planned to speak and just glance down and refer to the written pages to keep track of my place as I was speaking. However, because it was an emotional topic and I started getting teary-eyed as I spoke, I ended up reading the last two-thirds. I was still pleased with what I had said and everyone assured me afterwards that it all turned out well.
My church records and posts the podcasts of each service on its website. Just found mine on the site and thought I’d post it, too. Click here to listen to my speech.


Overhaulin’

My current project is overhauling this blog. I’ve neglected it for so long because I felt that is was a selfish thing. I only started it as a way to document my crafting endeavors, to try to connect with like-minded crafters, and to have a spot to write since I’m now a stay-at-home mom and no longer working as a graphic designer & writer. But, just as my crafts are a hobby, so has been this blog. When life gets overwhelming and our schedule gets hectic, my crafting — and, subsequently, this blog — falls by the wayside. 
For the past three months, I’ve been recovering from having ankle surgery to repair a torn tendon and several ligaments. I could not walk or drive for months, so I have spent a lot of time on my laptop, cleaning up my computer files, researching organizational and home management systems/schedules, pinning on Pinterest, and reading blogs. There are some wonderfully creative, interesting and informative blogs out there. This has inspired me to think about my blog again and to work on overhauling it to be what I want it to be. Step One: Get started! So, here’s the start…with more to come. 

{Tutorial} Turning Pumpkins into Animals (& Gifts!)

My little one loves little pumpkins – the smaller, the better. So, we usually end up with a large collection of mini pumpkins at our house! : )

What to do with them besides sitting them in a bowl on the table? We have found they make wonderful teachers’ gifts. Here’s a craft Doodle-Leigh and I did together last year. And I’m sure we’ll be doing it again next week, though we’ll change our design up a little since she has the same classroom teachers in preschool this year!

We turned our pumpkins into cats, in honor of our two black cats (whose birthdays are Halloween week)!

First we added stick-on googley eyes from the craft store. For the nose, we glued on a triangle cut out of thin, black craft foam. Then we stuck black chenille sticks into the pumpkin for the whiskers. Next came the ears…

We decorated the ears two different ways:

  • The first was to let Doodle-Leigh color on white cardstock with orange and black crayons. She came up with a wonderful abstract design! We then cut triangles out of the cardstock.
  • I took a black permanent marker and drew scrolls randomly on thin, orange craft foam. We also cut triangles out of the orange foam. [You could always use some pretty scrapbooking papers instead.]

We layered those triangles on top of slightly larger triangles that we cut out of thin, black craft foam and more cardstock. After those dried, we glued the layered ears onto the tops of the pumpkins. We used heavy white craft glue (which you can see in the pictures that we took before the glue dried clear.) We curved the bottom edge of our triangles to fit the pumpkins better. Violà!

Doodle’s teachers really liked them and we even received a different animal-themed pumpkin the next week that she had created in class…a pumpkin spider.

Falling Behind & Catching Up

Pocket watch, savonette-type.Image via Wikipedia

So, it seems since fall has officially arrived, I have fallen so far behind — in everything! Looking back over my journal, I realized this happens to me during this time every year. I guess switching gears from laid-back summer mode messes with my equilibrium!

There are so many events happening during September and October. Add in the fact that I tend to over commit for all the groups and activities, and it makes for a crammed-to-the-hilt calendar. Now that my daughter is in preschool, it’s even worse! I’m definitely in a calendar overload crisis. As I’m sitting here looking at said calendar, I know that it won’t really get better until January, even if I make a concerted effort to curtail the activities and commitments. Doodle-Leigh’s & Mr. Project’s birthdays are both in November, plus my parents come to town for all the birthday celebrations, followed in close succession by Thanksgiving, and then the onslaught of December’s festivities. Eek, I may just have an anxiety attack just thinking of it all!!!! {Taking a few deep breaths and saying Ohm…}

So, I’m making every effort to get caught back up, which includes updating my blog. I’ll let you know how it goes!

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I WON!

I just received an email this morning with the list of winners from the photography contest I entered. I won second place for “A Bountiful Harvest” (a view of our church through a neighboring corn field) and third place for “A Sign of Faith” (the lion – one of the four different weathervanes on our church).

“A Bountiful Harvest” received a second place ribbon.
“A Sign of Faith” received a third place ribbon.

We had 25 photographers who submitted 57 photos to the contest. The photos were blind-judged by five professional photographers who have no ties to our church. I’m really pleased that both of my photos received recognition!

I think it is extra exciting since I didn’t even take those photos for the exhibit. They just happened to be some shots that I took while I was out on an adventure while my daughter was out-of-town visiting my parents. As I was going through the photo folders on my computer, I spotted them and thought they turned out well and I then decided to enter them in the contest.

While I had some hope of maybe placing in the art exhibit, I didn’t expect the photos to place at all. What a nice surprise.

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