Feb 052014

Craft Squad Love is in the Air Blog Hop When we think about romance, we think about young love—star-crossed lovers and all that. We often forget to honor the enduring relationships. When you remember the romance, don’t forget to remember the long-term love affairs of older family members.

Today’s post is part of the Craft Squad’s “Love is in the Air” February Blog Hop. To start at the beginning of the hop, please visit The Crafty Neighbor where you can learn how you can win cool crafting prizes. If you’re coming from Stamp-Patty’s, you’re in the right place. Continue reading »

Jan 282014

story behind the smiles is unknownPhotos of people laughing—especially group shots of people laughing—are jewels for memory keepers. A picture tells a thousand words; we love seeing the happiness and camaraderie. However, many times there’s a story behind the smiles and we still need words to tell the story.

Story behind the Smiles

It annoys me to no end that I can’t remember what we were laughing about in the photo to the left. At the time that I took it (with a remote), I thought I would always remember what the joke was. But I don’t. Although the joke is frozen in time on our faces, the story behind the smiles is currently lost to me. Continue reading »

Sep 202013

Make a Wish blog hop icon Today’s post is part of the Creative Crafters’ Make a Wish Blog Hop.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your hop so far and I’m glad you’re here.
If you’re coming from Connie Umstead’s blog, you are in the right place! (If you want to start at the beginning, go to http://www.craftyneighbor.blogspot.com/2013/09/september-blog-hop.html.


This month, each of us will be offering a prize. My prize is up to $5 in scrapbook layouts or embellishments from gingersnaps.net.  To win, you just need to comment and/or sign up for my newsletter (left). Each comment as well as each new subscriber will be entered to win. Continue reading »

Sep 192013

Fashion history flower childWhat’s your personal fashion history? As fashion trends have come and gone, which ones have resonated with you over the years? (That might not be the same question as which ones actually looked good on you.)

Which ones did you wear gladly? Which ones did you wear that you shouldn’t have worn. What fashion history do you fervently hope does not repeat itself? “Big hair” of the 80’s comes to my mind.

It can be fun(ny) to provide others with a personal fashion history or retrospective. I’m not talking about just cutting out old magazine covers, though they can provide inspiration.  (See M. Howsom’s Vogue Cover Pinterest Board) Write yourself into the story. What did you wear? What were you required to wear? Did you think you were “all that” at the time? What do you think now? Continue reading »

Aug 222013
Keeping up appearances don't make for good stories

Dignity is overrated

We all want to look our best and present ourselves in a positive light whenever we can. Keeping up appearances and putting your best foot forward is great advice going into a job interview, but it’s not the legacy you want to leave for your loved ones in your writing.

Keeping up Appearances is Boring

Perfection is boring, which is why I avoid it so ardently. All kidding aside, perfection does little to connect you with others. Continue reading »

Aug 202013

When you’re writing, journaling, or scrapping your family’s  history, historic images, like pictures of your past, offer something other illustrations can’t.

Historic images include immigration and naturalization records

Just think how cool it would be to include an immigration record like this with the story of your ancestor.

Historic images don’t just increase visual appeal; they offer evidence of the footsteps of the past, bringing texture and meaning to your narratives. Continue reading »

Jun 152013

Blog Hop Scrapbook Tutorial

Today’s post is part of the LinkedIn June Blog Hop and offers a scrapbook tutorial for my interpretation of our “What June Means to Me…” theme. Continue reading »

May 152013

LinkedIn Blog Hop Today’s post is part of the LinkedIn “May Flowers” Two-Day Blog Hop.

I hope you’ve enjoyed your hop so far and I’m glad you’re here.
If you’re on Day 1 of the hop and are coming from Krysthle Poitras’ blog Krysthle’s Designs you are in the right place! (If you landed here first and want to do the full hop, start here.) Deb Waterhouse is our prize winner.  Congratulations Deb!

Remember the Family Gardener

Memories about a gardener or garden really need photos or illustrations of some sort. A scrapbook layout (digital or paper) is a great way to remember or honor the gardener in your life. Mine is digital, but yours doesn’t have to be.

Family Gardner Layout

This layout was inspired in part by  gift to my father-in-law: his neighbor, Sharon Van Leeuwen gave him a ShutterFly photo book with a season’s worth of photos of his garden.  He absolutely loves that book.  I decided to see if I could utilize photos of his flowers in a scrapbook layout.


Digital 12 x 12 pageThese instructions are for PhotoShop Elements, but most softwares will have similar functions. I started with a blank 12 x 12” page. Because I anticipate printing it, I set the resolution to 300. For online displays, 72 pixels per inch is sufficient.

To add the backdrop for my text, I created a new, 8 ½” x 11” sized document, then imported it into my larger 12” x 12” page. (You can size it later.)Narrative placed on paper
As always, I started with my narrative. In this case, I kept it short. I edited my 100 word text in Word, then copied and pasted it into my digital layout. Pay attention to your font size.Text that is smaller than 12 pt will get lost. Text bigger than 24 pt will seem more like a headline than a narrative.
Adding the Picture:  I had better, higher quality pictures of my father-in law, Larry, but I wanted to use one of him in his garden. To get the text to wrap around the photo, I divided it into separate text boxes. Hint: Once you have your photo and text situated on your “paper,” lock those layers, so you can move them around together.

Framing the narrative with flowers:  You can use flowers from a kit—digital or paper. The “Natural Breeze” kit from Digidesignresort.com has some nice realistic flower options.
Inspired by (feeling competitive with?) the photo book idea, I decided to use actual photos from Larry’s garden, which I admit was pretty labor intensive.I didn’t like how the flowers alone looked as a frame, so I used this one that was included in the Natural Breeze kit.
Magic Extractor
For each flower close-up I had, I used the Adobe PSE Magic Extractor tool. (Tip: Always Preview before you hit OK.  It can save you tons of frustration.

After I had several flowers isolated, I started placing them around the frame. As I placed individual blooms, I fine-tuned the background removal with the magic eraser tool.
Once the majority of my flowers were placed, I choose my background. I used a stock background called “Kimono” that came with PSE8. Ironically, I found it a tad too green for this garden theme, so I adjusted the color (Enhance -> Adjust Color ->Replace color).

After all the flowers and embellishments were added, I selected each layer and added a drop shadow (Layer -> Layer Style -> Style Settings).

Next Hop:

Go on over to Connie Umstead Walsh‘s blog and see what beautiful project she has prepared for you.

May 132013

My Time Capsule When we’re anticipating a milestone event, we focus on the event itself, not what is going on in the world around us.  Later on, however, it’s fun to look back in context of what was happening in the world around us. For those that read about our memories decades later, such a written time capsule can increase understanding of the event itself. An understanding of the historical context will definitely help readers visualize the days surrounding the event.

Some people enjoy making an actual time capsule. If you have the time and inclination, a simple Google search will yield many instructions like this one from the Library of Congress. Another good idea is to use a Pinterest board to illustrate the circumstances surrounding the event. (See Pinterest Primer.)

You don’t necessarily need to find time to write or journal about current events while you’re planning your wedding or in between Lamaze classes. You may have to wrack your brain a little more if you’re writing to fill in historical context later, but constructing a written time capsule with the benefit of hindsight also gives you an idea of what trends and devices have become iconic. Hint: Internet search engines can be a big help if you can’t quite remember something.

Format: Of course, beautifully written, logically constructed paragraphs will always be appreciated, but this is a time when bullet lists will also work nicely.

What to include in your Time Capsule on a Page

In the newsConsider headlines in news magazines. What important events are going on in the world? Who is in office? Are there any major stories breaking locally?

Mention a couple of status quo’s. What’s the price of gasoline? How much does it cost to fly or buy a Coca-cola? What has the weather been like?


A glimpse of my mother’s kitchen.

What’s your home like? Who lives there? If you look around in your living room or kitchen, what do you see? Is it immaculate? Cozy? Uncluttered? Give others a taste.

Include fashion trends.This is easier in hindsight because we know what has really gone out of style. Just think of the 1980’s for example—big hair, big glasses, shoulder pads, etc. What styles do you favor? Is there a particular style that is absolute torture for you?

Write about friendships. We think we’ll always be close to all of our friends, but the truth is friendships ebb and flow. Who do (did) you lean on? Rant to? With whom do (did) you share secrets? Drink? Play sports? Commiserate?

Include photos if you can. Though I looked (and probably was) totally peeved at my mother taking a picture of me with a hair dryer on my head and green gook on my face on the morning of my wedding day, I like having it now (not enough to share it though). Snap a few photos or dig through your archives to shed light on the days around your big event. You can also pose some shots, like one of yourself surrounded by your favorite things (or people).

Try jotting down some notes about what was happening when you were born, graduated from high school or college, got married, or had your first child.

Add Comment Icon Do You Have Other Ideas or Comments? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013

May 062013


Rainy outdor wedding

Seating with umbrellas

In her post today, Staci Troilio points out that unseasonal weather makes an intriguing backdrop for fiction stories. Since life is so frequently stranger than fiction, that goes double to those of us writing about and collecting family memories. Continue reading »

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