Thursday, July 12, 2007

Lost and Found

I didn't realize I'd been away so long. I'm a woman with a mission and completely lost track of time and place. I'm working on a genealogy project for an on-line acquaintance. She lost her mother last fall, and her father has been diagnosed as terminal with cancer. She's trying to find as much information as she can for him in the time he has left and trying to capture as many of his stories and memories as she possibly can. It's good for both of them. And it gave me the kind of mystery I can't refuse.

I hope, someday, to be accredited as a genealogist and have been working on a large project toward that end. I'll probably never work at it for pay - that would take all the fun out of it - but it's a personal goal. For my friend, it has had an immediate and very satisfactory outcome. Her family lines are included in this massive Cherokee family I have been researching. I have loads of information for her, all documented, nicely packaged, ready to go. The sad part about Native American research is this - unless you descend from one of the "famous" Cherokee like Attakullakulla, Ostenaco, The Ridge, etc., you won't find any information prior to about 1800. Maybe a little earlier, but not much more than 1780 or so. Even for the "famous" Native Americans, the line ends not long before the Revolution. The reason? There were no written Native American languages prior to the Cherokee syllabary's development by Sequoyah in the early 1800's. His was the first. Within 3 years of publishing the syllabary, the Cherokee Nation was mostly literate. Unlike most European languages, once the symbols, and the syllable sounds each of the 80 odd symbols stands for were memorized, Cherokee was completely readable and instantly understandable. It doesn't depend on spelling, but upon phonetics. Very clever. Most Cherokee learned the symbols and sounds in a month or less. Would that English were that easy! But for all that, Cherokee history was all oral, passed down generation to generation by the storytellers. They all died out at about the same time and, except for bits and pieces here and there, the oral histories have been lost, and the ancestors that went with them. And then there is the problem of lack of documentation. Proper genealogy demands a paper trail and "proof" of each event. Oral histories can't provide that. For most people, oral history is fine for our family history. I don't need a piece of paper to tell me who my Grandpa was, I have my father's word for it and I knew him personally. While my heart is happy and I KNOW the truth, it won't stand up in court.

My genealogy friend had little to go on, but in the space of a few hours with the help of some wonderful on-line resources and books I have at home, we were able to open her whole family up back to the beginning of recorded Cherokee history, with several hundred ancestors and collateral kinfolk, things her father never knew because the information just wasn't available - and for much of his life, it wasn't cool to be Cherokee, or any other Native American for that matter, so the information was suppressed. It's been so satisfying to watch the story unfold and help people connect. The next step will be to scrapbook some of it. She hails from a rich and interesting cultural background and it will make some wonderful layouts.

Speaking of layouts, I'm working on some military layouts. We have an unbroken line (that includes me) of military service in every generation and every war from the Revolution - and probably before - to today. I have 9 Revolutionary ancestors. I haven't counted my husband's yet. It's a proud tradition. Sadly, it's a necessary tradition. Maybe one of these days....In the meantime, there's still something about a man in uniform that really grabs my attention. Be on the look out for a series of layouts from all branches here soon. And while you're waiting, here's a layout I did using Bonnie Van Esch's wonderful Princess of Rock kit. I've always wished I'd been born during the Renaissance. I love the clothes, the culture, the knights and ladies. Alas, I can only live it in my dreams - or on a scrapbook page. You just never know where your face will show up!

Visit Bonnie at her blog from here or the sidebar. It's amazing, beautiful, fun - and includes freebies. You should also visit the Snap and Scrap blog. Not only are there some beautiful freebies, but you'll find all kinds of wonderful treats - yummy recipes, Bonnie's wonderful altered art crafts, tutorials and challenges. It's great fun!


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Are Boys Ever Quiet?

I don't think so. Mine don't seem to be. Well, that's not entirely true. Justin never made much noise when he was little. Even when he cried as a baby, there wasn't much volume to it. And he hardly ever had to be told to use his inside voice in preschool because he always did. Then Jason was born. Jason came into this world at full volume and he will exit this world at full volume. Soon after, Justin discovered, in self-defense, he had a voice and the volume has not decreased since. It was kind of like when Dill came home from the hospital and Tommy discovered what being a big brother was on Rugrats. I miss seeing that show every day. I like it - it's fun, funny, and really true to life in a quirky kind of way. But my boys will no longer admit they like the Rugrats. But just watch them when they don't think anyone's looking. They lap it up.

So it's been very loud around here. The 4th of July just made it worse. But I love my dear mother-in-law. She gave me a little peace in the midst of the storm. She made breakfast for the whole family yesterday. Yum - eggs, bacon, sausage, sausage gravy, homemade biscuits. All I had to do was sit down and enjoy it. John's brother, sister-in-law and their grown kids were there. It was so fun. We usually do this once a month, but it was extra fun because it was mid-week and out of the ordinary. After that, we just sort of hung around at home, took naps - or tried to. Mine disappeared when my parents called, but that's okay. And we did fireworks for the third time in as many days. Cool. It reminded me of when I was little in Orange County, California. We lived about a mile from Disneyland and there were fireworks every night of the week in the summer and almost an hours' worth on Independence Day. It was magical then - it's magical now. That's a part of my childhood I never outgrew. Pyrotechnics still fascinate and thrill me.

I got to do a little genealogy last night, but I didn't get to do any scrapping. Good thing I got a double dose the day before. This is one of those layouts that will be welcomed with joy long after I'm gone. A pure genealogy layout about a VERY distant cousin by marriage. Walter deserves to be chronicled and remembered. He made the ultimate sacrifice that others might be free of tyranny.

Brenda Kempf has allowed me the great privilege of being on her creative team and made the design templates for this layout. They are from her Template Time 1 Series available from Scrapbook Bytes. And two wonderful ladies, Anita of Anita Designs at Nana's Attic and Jannidee of JanniScrap Designs created the incredible Old Glory kit I used. It's available on their blogs for free, so go visit them. You'll have a great time and they have loads of freebies that are still up. I love to go see what they've been doing.

Brenda is also the owner of Addicted to Digital . She has some great freebies up there and previews of all my favorites kits - which is most of her kits - they are SOOO gorgeous!

Brenda hosts an AWESOME monthly members' sketch challenge at Scrapbook Bytes. You have to be a member to join this 4 part monthly challenge, but the cost is small and it is soooo worth it.
Hmmmm, there's no noise coming from the other room and we're having a little sleepover tonight. This cannot be a good thing. Keep your fingers crossed they've only finally gone to sleep and the house isn't burning!
Have a great tomorrow!

Monday, July 2, 2007

True Confession

I must make a confession - I am totally incapable of posting naked, unadorned pictures. Digi Scrap addicts just can't, you see. The pictures pout and brood and are, well, offended that they're about to be sent out starkers. So, I turned to another talented and wonderful friend, Nina of Ninascraps, who designed most of the beautiful elements in my blog picture layout. The beautiful papers are from her gorgeous Simple Pleasures kit and the template is from Unique Collection 3 which are both by Nina and the top ribbon border is from a most wonderful kit named Pink Lemonade by the NDISB design team. The proceeds of Pink Lemonade go to support Alex's Lemonade Stand which funds research into cures for childhood cancer. Nina has a super freebie called Wish Wash Paper Pack. You can grab it here.

Okay, now I've GOT to go feed my addiction and scrap something before I go into withdrawal. After all it's been at least 15 minutes! Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Welcome to the shade under the mulberry tree

I did it. I finally took the plunge and set up a blog. I can't really say why, but blogging intimidates me. Maybe it's because I don't do html. Maybe it's because I'm afraid I won't have a beautiful site. Mostly it's because I haven't a clue what I'm doing. But I'll learn. So bear with me while I get it all set the way I want it. It will get there although it may take some time. In the meantime, this will be my digiscrap and genealogy home. It will be the place where my friends can come play or just "set a spell" in the shade. I'm glad to count as friends some wonderful and talented digital scrapbook designers and I will share their work here. I'll also share their promotions and freebie information (although you will have to go to their sites to get the freebies, no hot-linking from here!) And I will be more than happy to share my layouts made from their beautiful kits.

First order of business - Thank you to Anita Stergiou of Natural Designs in Scrapbooking for the beautiful blog header and page element you see here. I am privileged to be on the Creative Team at NDISB and Anita was willing for me to use her banner and other goodies from the beautiful Floriade Collection - Blog Banner & Virtuals Pack and Floriade Collection Embellishment Pack. You can grab her Floriade Sampler here. And while you're at NDISB, check out The Amazing Digiscrapping Race, Round 2. The first round, which began in January 2007 was an absolute blast. Wonderful sponsors, wonderful prizes, super grand prize and loads of fun getting your scrapbook pages done and making new friends. Warning: the ADSR is totally, completely, unabashedly addictive. Just ask Bob.