One Thing Leads to Ten

I started out just wanting to make a 3-dimensional family tree.  I had the stamp set from Martha Stewart.  I should have dropped the 3-dimensional part and I would have been fine, but nooooo, I couldn’t do that.  I had already had the idea.  I ordered some dies for my Big Shot thinking that will give me a nice flat cut on my name plates.  And it will.  Problem being the shape of one of the dies doesn’t fit the shape of the stamp in the kit.  Problem Number 1, uh-oh.  I still want the two line trim on the name tag, but I want to use my die.  Problem Number 2:  The circle dies are either too big or two small for the circle stamp.  I am beginning to feel like Goldilocks here.

So, I just spent an hour or more in Hobby Lobby, my one-stop shopping resource, and I think I have the solution.  At least a solution.  The very best solution would have been to buy a printer that takes card stock and printed my name tags and a Silhouette machine that would cut out my name tags exactly like I want them, but we’re talking close to $500 here and I am not going to spend that on a possible one time project.

I’m walking the aisles at Hobby Lobby with my problems well in hand and I come up with these solutions.  My first solution was the Martha Stewart circle cutter that will cut just about any size circle you want.  Then I spied a printing “kit” for a compression machine like my Big Shot.  That was nearly $70.  I don’t want to pay that for something I’m not sure will work with what I have so I begin to assemble what I will need to make my machine do the same thing.  Basically, what I’m going to do is my own offset printing.  And print just like Benjamin Franklin did.  I purchased a tube of ink, an ink brayer and a block of lino which I could use for printing, but I’m going to use to spread my ink on.  I already own a sheet of plastic which I can cut with an X-acto knife to make my printing surface.  And I will use tacky spray to attach that to one of my own plates.   Then roll the ink on top of the plastic surface, put the card stock on top of that and roll the whole thing through my Big Shot offset printing my borders on my card stock.  Then I will use my die to cut them out.  Voila’.  At least in theory it will work.

Supplies for 3-D Family Tree


I’ve been missing in action these past few days; or has it been a week or more?  I’ve had several things I absolutely had to do for my mother.  She is 90.  This can only get more intensive as time goes on.  We are in the process of getting her affairs in order so if anything happens I can step in and help her.  Not something I ever thought I would do, but it seems to be something a lot of my friends are doing right along with me.  This week we handled the Power of Attorney that will allow me to act as her agent.  I have to say it wasn’t one bit fun and I feel very odd taking the reins from my very independent mother.  If you ever speak with a lawyer in this situation you will find out this is a must have.  And if you don’t have one and something does happen, you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle.  I would hate for someone else to be making decisions for my mother.

However, there was a bright spot today.  I am working on my 3-dimensional family tree and my dies came today.  So, very soon I will be able to get back to playing with my “toys.”  I have the Sizzix Big Shot that I bought quite some time ago and hardly ever use because I’m not a scrape book person.  But it is going to help me tremendously to put together these trees for my family.  My plan is to make them with the names of my daughters and their husbands as the trunk of the tree.  Take it up three generations because that’s a lot of people right there.  30 people already on the tree.  Then I will add their children in color appropriate little birds at the base of the tree.

The fun thing is I’ve had to collect most of the ancestry myself because they don’t have any idea who their great-grandmothers were.  And that has been a lot of fun for me.  I love finding all the pictures and stories that appear on  I just love those little peeks into the lives of our ancestors.  Because one of my sons-in-law has a yet to be proved, but highly suspected, Cherokee woman in his tree I want to make special note of her by adding a feather onto her little card.  Of course, I will make sure she really is Cherokee before I do that.  Dawes Rolls, here I come!

This is a labor of love for me.  In this age of email and Facebook and digital photos, it is very important to me that we preserve our own family history.  I told my daughters that I am hoping they will cherish these trees and place them in a display of family pictures.  If I can find pictures of their grandparents beyond what I already have, I may copy those for them.  I’ve seen ancestry walls in other people’s homes and they are so fascinating.  I love to see if I can find a family resemblance among the prints.

Family Tree Stamp Set

Yesterday while I was wandering around Hobby Lobby looking for stickers and the like to decorate eggs with I stumbled across a stamp kit from Martha Stewart that  lets you create your own family tree.  I snatched it up!  How fun this will be to create a framed family tree  for each of my children.  The great thing is I can make the tree as big or as small as I want with the stamps.


The kit has the base of the tree, a forking branch and two other shapes for branches, two different leaves and two different name plaques.


I thought I would sit down with a piece of paper and write out the part of my family tree I want to include and then sketch out how I will do it before I begin.  Then I will make a trial run on paper and after I am sure I have what I want, I’ll do a permanent one on something sturdy enough to be mounted in a frame.  I thought it would be the best to keep it rather small so the tree could be placed in a grouping of family photos.  Since I happen to have been working on the books for the grandkids, I can use their own family tree adding in their fathers’ lines.  How cute would that be in a hall or somewhere?

When Your Family Tree doesn’t Fork

This used to be one of those sayings I heard all the time like the “he’s one brick shy of a load.”  People would say, “His family tree doesn’t fork.”  Well, I’m going to have to give that one up because I just proved that my family tree really doesn’t fork, to a point.  I love to research my genealogy. has made it so fun and so fruitful.  I started in the days of no Internet, yes, no Internet.  My mother-in-law loved to do genealogical research and she got me hooked.  In those days we had to write to the various court houses, request a copy of the document we wanted and send money to cover the cost.  Now, you just search the Internet.  Ancestry has tons of records online and they add more every day it seems.

But now, I need to stop.  I had known that I had a convergence in my family because I knew I had two brothers in one family that I had lines going back to.  What I didn’t know until yesterday is that one of the lines is an ancestral line for my mother and the other is an ancestral line for my father.  Ooops!  Turns out they were actually 8th cousins.  Of course, that didn’t make their marriage illegal or anything, but still I didn’t expect it.  And in many ways I find it kind of funny, but it does make me pause.

What I have seen in my family is that a lot of these families moved west, if they migrated, with each other.  Their children married each other.  So, this was bound to happen.  It makes me wonder if they ever compared their lineages.  Or did they just know them because they had lived in the same communities for a long time.  It’s fascinating.

I am fortunate because my family has been in this country for a very long time.  Most of my lines go back pre-1600s.  And that makes for a lot of fun finding Revolutionary soldiers, people that founded towns, pastors of the first church of whatever.  And even people that help found a nation besides the United States.  I have ancestors that were pioneer families in Texas and fought in the Texas Revolution against Mexico.  All of that is so fun to know and gives me, at least, a deep abiding love for my country.

With just a little information you can get started too.  Here’s a link to  Collect what you know about your family, names, birth dates, places of birth, marriages, places of marriage, places they’ve lived, et cetera.  Join Ancestry and plug them in.  It is a lot of fun and something to do during the long winter months.   One of the things I hope to accomplish are books of our genealogy printed out for each of my grandchildren.  Ancestry now provides that service too.  What a treasure it will be for them — someday.  I can’t even get them overly excited about being descendants of Mayflower passengers as yet.  But maybe someday when they have their own children they will want to know and there it will be for them.