Tag Archives: DIY

Monday’s Link Roundup.

In this week’s Monday’s Link Roundup, don’t miss I Will always be there with you. If you teach Ethical Will writing or are thinking of composing your own, this letter from an American soldier is a must read.  Given the recent destruction brought on by Hurricane Sandy, you’ll find some timely advice in Emergency Salvage of Flood Damaged Family Papers. Finally, someone has touched on what is missing for me with an e-reader. If you feel the same, take a moment to read Out of Touch: E-reading isn’t reading.

  • Joan Didion on Keeping a Notebook. “As a lover — and keeper — of diaries and notebooks, I find myself returning again and again to the question of what compels us — what propels us — to record our impressions of the present moment in all their fragile subjectivity. From Joan Didion’s 1968 anthology Slouching Towards Bethlehem (public library — the same volume that gave us her timeless meditation on self-respect — comes a wonderful essay titled “On Keeping a Notebook,” in which Didion considers precisely that.”
  • Social Media Isn’t Dead: It’s Boring. “Social media are a set of tools. They’re not all that interesting to talk about in and of themselves. The “gee whiz” has left the station. We want to talk about action– or if you’ll pardon the self-reference, impact. There are details and technologies you must master if you want to succeed. But that’s the keyboard-level and tactical part of what you’ll do. We wanted to give you something more encompassing.The strategies around and behind The Impact Equation boil down to 5 Cs.”
  • Emergency Salvage of Flood Damaged Family Papers. [National Archives] “During the mid-west floods of 1993, the staff of the National Archives developed some technical tips to guide individuals in emergency stabilization and salvage of damaged documents, photographs, books, and other personal papers. It is important to note that flood damage to some items may be irreversible. The treatment of objects of high monetary, historic, or sentimental value should only be performed in consultation with a conservator.”
  • New eBook: Bring Your Ancestors to Life Using Newspapers. “EasyFamilyHistory.com has announced a new e-book by Paul Larsen called Bring Your Ancestors to Life Using Newspapers. The announcement for the new book states, “Archived newspapers allow you to tap into a reliable source of hundreds of years of history, and give you the remarkable ability to see it through eyewitness accounts. You can easily explore your family tree and bring your family history to life for free using historical newspapers… if you know where to look.”
  • Out of Touch: E-reading isn’t reading. “Amid the seemingly endless debates today about the future of reading, there remains one salient, yet often overlooked fact: Reading isn’t only a matter of our brains; it’s something that we do with our bodies.”
  • Google engineer builds $1,500 page-turning scanner out of sheet metal and a vacuum. “For the past eight years, Google has been working on digitizing the world’s 130 million or so unique books. While the pace of new additions to the Google Books initiative has been slowing down, members of the team have come up with a new automated scanner design that could both make the project much more cost efficient and give everyone with $1,500 and a little know-how access to a page-turning scanner of their very own. In the video below, Google Books engineer Dany Qumsiyeh presents the prototype design that he and other teammates created during the “20 percent time” that Google (and now Apple, among others) allocates for personal projects, showing the design challenges he overcame along the way.”
  • I Will always be there with you. On May 1st of 2003, just weeks after being deployed to Iraq, Army Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, of Springfield, Missouri was killed when his tank fell into the Euphrates river. He was 34-years-old. Shortly after his death, the following farewell letter was delivered to his bereaved wife, Melissa, and his 6-year-old stepson, Dakota (“Toad”).

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

This Monday’s Link Roundup has its usual collection of eclectic gems. One of my favorites is The QWERTY Effect: How Typing May Shape the Meaning of Words. I’m wondering if this effect only applies to touch typists. What about those of us who peck away with a couple of fingers? ;-) Another story I love because it’s absolutely serendipitous is MacDonald clan photos found by great-great grandson in antique shop. 

  • This Is My Home: Inside Anthony’s Parlor of Curiosities. [Video]“…a friend and I were strolling down a street in the East Village when we stumbled upon a whimsical place — a kind of curiosities parlor that stretched, narrow and full of unusual objects and private memories, from the street site of the building to the backyard. Inside it was Anthony Pisano … We, it turns out, we not the only ones mesmerized by Anthony’s curiosities and unusual lens on the world. This Is My Home by filmmakers Kelsey Holtaway and Mark Cersosimo is a beautiful short film, in the vein of This Must Be The Place, that captures Anthony’s singular character through the contents of his home and his heart.”
  • Tiny Libraries, DIY Reading Rooms, and Other Micro Book Depots. “We wanted to venture into DIY territory and visit some of the tiniest — but gutsiest — libraries around the world. These are unusual places where lit lovers ventured to create a mini community athenaeum, and guerrilla librarians have set up camp in the face of budget cuts and closing institutions. Each micro library’s aim is different, but whether they’re promoting independent/alternative presses, or simply trying to encourage reading, these plucky, little libraries deserve your attention.”
  • Parting Words. “When Brenda Wineapple closed her laptop on “Sister Brother,” her dual biography of the siblings Gertrude and Leo Stein, she cried. Stacy Schiff, having written the final words of “Cleopatra,” was still worried. “I lived a little bit in fear of her,” she explains. When Doris Kearns Goodwin finished “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln,” she built more shelves in her library annex (once the family garage) to hold all the books she had acquired. Each of these distinguished, prizewinning, best-selling biographers was saying goodbye to a subject with whom she had been living for a long time. For authors of biographies, this intimacy is normal, almost inevitable.”
  • MacDonald clan photos found by great-great grandson in antique shop. ““If you are an antique collector and somebody asks would you like to look in the back, you jump at it, because it is where the treasures are hiding.” Alas, the backroom was more disappointing than the front. That is, until Mr. MacDonald spotted a stack of black and white photographs in Edwardian and Victorian frames. He was intrigued. And then astonished. The faces staring up at him belonged to his long dead relatives, an influential Halifax clan of MacDonalds bound by marriage, friendship and political alliance to Sir Charles Tupper.
  • Finding Your Book Interrupted … By the Tablet You Read It On. “Can you concentrate on Flaubert when Facebook is only a swipe away, or give your true devotion to Mr. Darcy while Twitter beckons? People who read e-books on tablets like the iPad are realizing that while a book in print or on a black-and-white Kindle is straightforward and immersive, a tablet offers a menu of distractions that can fragment the reading experience, or stop it in its tracks.”
  • The QWERTY Effect: How Typing May Shape the Meaning of Words. “A keyboard’s arrangement could have a small but significant impact on how we perceive the meaning of words we type. Specifically, the QWERTY keyboard may gradually attach more positive meanings to words with more letters located on the right side of the layout (everything to the right of T, G and B).”
  • The 10 Best Movies Adapted from Memoirs. “Though hundreds of movies made each year are adapted from novels and short stories, relatively few are built from memoir — despite the fact that the form has been at least as popular as novels in the last two decades, and may be more beloved by the general public…we got to thinking about the few really great films adapted from memoirs. Click through to see our picks, and let us know if we’ve missed any of your favorites.”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

Monday’s Link Roundup.

It’s Monday and another Link Roundup. This week I was struck by the wisdom in Post Secret. For those who’ve faced the challenge of interviewing some reserved older clients, this article is for you.  More food for thought in The Counter-Intuitive Benefits of Small Time Blocks. The author suggests there is a  way to get larger creative projects done by making the best use of small chunks of time.

  • Family Tree University’s Spring 2012 Virtual Conference. “At this weekend workshop, you’ll learn strategies and resources to boost your research—and because it’s web-based, you can participate from anywhere! Dates: 9 a.m. Friday, March 9, to 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 11, 2012″
  • Writing With All Your Senses — A Learnable Skill. “…writing dazzling descriptions is a learnable skill. It takes practice and dedication and seeps into remote corners of life, but the results are worth the effort. In my experience, a three-pronged approach has worked well to hone description skills to a keen edge. One prong involves reading, another involves awareness of surroundings, and the third is deliberation.”
  • Post Secret. “After my mother died, my sister kept discovering fascinating things she had left behind, one being a do-it-yourself autobiography that must have been given to her.”
  • Five Tips on How to Write Biographies. “What does it take to be a successful writer of biographies? How do you choose a subject? Does it matter if the subject is dead or alive? Must you be objective? Should you even try?” [Thanks to Pat McNees of Writers and Editors for alerting me to this item.]
  • Five Steps to Doing Genealogy Research Like A Pro. “I’ve been doing genealogy research professionally for almost a decade now. When clients are paying you by the hour, you learn lots of really great shortcuts to keep you moving along and focused. The big tip I shared on Thursday’s episode of The Barefoot Genealogist? (Drumroll, please.)”
  • The Counter-Intuitive Benefits of Small Time Blocks. “It’s a common assertion that doing hard, creative work requires long stretches of concentrated attention. And if you have the luxury of big, open blocks of time, it is a great way to get things done. But what if you don’t? What if you get interrupted left and right by clients and co-workers? Is there a way to push creative projects forward in this non-optimal environment?”

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.

From The Archives: Holiday Gifts With a Personal (Historian) Touch.

Holiday Gifts With a Personal (Historian) Touch. Last December I wrote about some low cost or no cost gift ideas. And with the holiday season quickly approaching, I thought it was time to suggest some gifts that have a personal touch. DIY bookmarks. Here’s something for the bibliophile in your family. It could also be a nice little gift to include in a card to your clients. There are several sources that can help you with this project. Fabio Sirna has created four charming downloadable template … Read More


Holiday Gifts With a Personal (Historian) Touch.

Last December I wrote about some low cost or no cost gift ideas. And with the holiday season quickly approaching, I thought it was time to suggest some gifts that have a personal touch.

DIY bookmarks. Here’s something for the bibliophile in your family. It could also be a nice little gift to include in a card to your clients. There are several sources that can help you with this project. Fabio Sirna has created four charming downloadable templates that you can run off on your printer. Check them out here. In addition you can go to e.m. papers and for US$5.00 download ten printable bookmarks. Each has a reminder of one of the “10 factors recent science has identified that lead to feeling more happy and satisfied with life”  such as  Have an attitude of gratitude and Make friends and treasure family. Be sure to check out Bookmark Craft Projects. There’s a list of sixteen different bookmarks you can make.

One of a kind blank cards. “I use semi-colons.” Here’s a great set of cards for any aspiring writer. They’re available from Etsy for US$2.50.The  product description says  “Show off your semicolon skills; your friends will be so impressed. The card measures 4 by 6 inches, comes with a lovely blue envelope, and is blank inside so you can write a whole lot of complicated sentences.”

Online writing courses. Give a gift certificate to a friend or family member who’s been talking about writing a memoir. An online course could be just the ticket to get them going. Check out a previous post I wrote, Get Started on Your Memoir by Taking an Online Course. In the article I’ve listed four sites offering writing courses.

Instructional DVDs for the videomaker. Videomaker magazine has put together a comprehensive series of instructional DVDs. You can find out more here.

Family heirloom recipe. For those  of you who have a special family recipe,  print it up on some good quality paper stock and include with it the actual cooked item. For example, my mother makes the most wonderful oatmeal raisin cookies. Anyone who’s eaten one claims they’re the best in the world. And I think they’re right. So, I’m thinking of getting the recipe from Mom and baking up several batches of cookies. My friends at Christmas will get a family heirloom recipe and some cookies to match.

Photo by iStockphoto

If you enjoyed this post, get free updates by email.