Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Take a Picture, Tell a Story!

This is one of my favorite family pictures. I love the homespun quality of the clothing. I love the practicality of the woman's hairstyle. I love the stoic stance of the little man huddled close to his mother. I love every last button on the baby boots. (How did they get them buttoned?) Only problem was that we didn't know who was in the picture. We poured over family records trying to match the hairstyle and clothing to a family with a little boy who was around four year's old and his sister...maybe two? Nothing matched. Little did we know that it was common in the 1800's for little boys to be dressed, well, in dresses. That fact, along with a helpful uncle at a family reunion led us to identify this picture as Kevin's Great-great-grandmother, Mary Christina Israelson, born 1 July 1832 in Christvalle Sogen, Sweden. A great-granddaughter, Ardelle Hogan Mills beautifully completes the memory of GreatX2 Gamma.
"Grandma was not a beautiful woman, if one judges only features. Her nose was a bit too broad, her eyes rather pale and a bit dreamy, but oh so kind, and her cheeks bones a trifle high. She combed her white hair straight back. Her little old bent shoulders had gradually slumped with hard work and trouble. Although small and nonofficiousl, her influence of love, kindness, and patience were felt by young and old. Never was there a more grateful person than Grandma. Those who knew her loved her, and to them her dear old face was beautiful because her soul was beautiful."

Did you know that in the nineteenth century, a smile was considered a frivolous expression and therefore, inappropriate for a formal portrait? Or that holding a book in the photograph indicated that the subject was well-educated? And sometimes little boys wore dresses? Every portrait tells a story. Search old family photographs for clues about your ancestors. How did they want to be remembered?

Capture your life experiences for future posterity. Plan for a family portrait. Have each family member include an object that reflects their personality. Pick clothing that reflects your ethnic heritage or the current fashion. Give careful consideration to the location of the photo shoot. Above all...don't forget to include the date, subject(s) and location on the back of the picture!

Oh, the cute little 'girl' on the woman's lap...that's Kevin's great-grandfather.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Scanning - Made Easy!

Who doesn't have boxes (and boxes) of pictures needing to be preserved? I know I do...and I'm in the business of preserving memories! It doesn't matter that I have the equipment and know-how to get it done. I still find myself short on time and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of pictures needing preservation! (I am the proud keeper of all of our family's photographs.)

We have all heard stories of ruined memories due to unexpected flooding, hurricanes, tornadoes, fire...the list goes on. And natural catastrophes aren't the only thing we need to worry about. There are a million reasons to digitize our physical memories, and I've come across the perfect solution for making this a reality! [Sorry to everyone living outside the Salt Lake area. Check this out and then see if you have a local service in your own corner of the world.]

At the recent South Davis Family History fair, I came across the company Preservation Scanning. For as little as twelve cents a picture (yes, that's right, for 1000 photos they only charge .12 per scan) this company will COME TO YOUR HOME and help you unbury from your pile of photographs. Have fewer photographs? Cost starts at .18 cents a scan...and they'll still come to your home! Check out their website for all the specifics, but I can promise you that we'll be setting up appointments soon. We also plan to coordinate efforts for our local class participants. No more panic trying to get pictures ready for a class project. We hope to invite them to some of our classes! How would that be? While you're creating a memory, someone is sitting onsite preserving all of your other memories. Love it!

If pictures are worth a thousand words, 12-18 cents for Preservation Scanning is a screaming deal!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ladies Night

Each year during the LDS General Conference, Deseret Book Company hosts a Ladies Night. It's held Saturday evening while the men attend the Priesthood session of Conference. We found this picture of October '08's Ladies Night in the Fort Union store on the web. That's Suni in the lower left corner! If you've never attended a L.N. here's a couple things to keep in mind:
  1. You gotta be a lady! We've seen a few of the male species, but they are typically accompanied by their mothers.
  2. Don't be late! This is a busy day and we are always cutting it close by arriving 30 minutes before starting time. By then lines have formed for the freebies and don't even think about parking close to the store!
  3. You have to go home with something! We know...we're in a recession, but with everything in the store on sale, it's ok to pick up an item or two for that upcoming birthday or holiday gift.

We will be at the Ft. Union location of Deseret Book from 6pm - 8pm Saturday, April 4th. And new for this year, we will be at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building ALL DAY on Saturday!!

If you can't get over to the Joseph Smith Memorial Building, we'll also be at the Church History Museum doing demonstrations throughout the day as well.

We would love to meet you and hear what you think of our new products. Stop by and say hi!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Definition of Irony

I would like to share my definition of irony. We have three boys...all cub scouts. That's nine pinewood derby's between 'em. I also have one husband who spends a good part of the year on business travel. We get that he has to travel, but it always seems to coincide when we need him here. Take the pinewood derby. We're not gung-ho derby enthusiasts. We always wait until the week of the race to start our kits. We never use tools the way they're meant to be used. Why use a jig saw when miter saw will get the job done...sort of. I can't think of a single time that we entered a car with dry paint. Our car always has pennies (and sometimes nickles and quarters) taped to it in an effort to meet the weight requirements.

We can deal with having the ugliest car in the race. But how do you console a child when they have the ugliest and SLOWEST car? Ours have literally stopped on the tracks and had to be prodded down to the finish line. I get that Dad couldn't have done much at this point, but it sure would have been nice to have him around pretending to know exactly where to apply the grease lightening!

Guess what. Our local Pack's Pinewood Derby is this week. My husband is town! The irony? Our youngest is now a boy scout and too old to participate. Go figure!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Violinist in the Metro

We know that this story has made the rounds via email. Maybe you've already seen it. We felt it was a story worth repeating!

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.

A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.

A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.

The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.

In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.

Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats average $100.

Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?

One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things are we missing?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Snow Day!

Ok, who ordered the snow? Didn't we just celebrate the first day of spring? We've been wearing shorts and flip-flops. It was 70 degrees last week, for crying out loud. Kids are out of school today - some sort of teacher prep day. We're going to pretend that it's really a snow day! No school! No schedules! No need to go out and shovel the stuff... it will melt tomorrow. I'll cozy up to a cup of hot cocoa. I'm sure the kids will toast their brains in front of the XBox!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Photo Fun

Wow! Scrapbook USA was like nothing we have seen before. I took all sorts of fun pictures trying to capture the sights and sounds of the event. Not sure if everyone was moving too fast, or I was just moving too slow, but I got nothing but blurs!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth. We are grateful for your kind words of encouragement. A HUGE thank you also goes out to Patty at LDS Scrap. She was so committed to sharing our products, you would never have guessed that she spent most of the weekend under the weather. We hope that if you are ever in need of Stories by Me products that you'll consider visiting her at www.ldsscrap.com.

We also had fun meeting many of our neighbor vendors. We loved sharing corners with All Occasions Photo Booths. What a fun idea! For a nominal charge, AOPB will come to your event, set up their portable photo booth and let your guests go home with a party favor to be enjoyed for years. Of course Suni and I had to to check it out. Here we are moments after primping in an attempt to straighten our wind-blown hair. The screen flashes a warning that the camera is about to take a picture. I thought I heard the shutter click and get caught making a goofy face. We start laughing and, of course, we get caught in that pose. We finally figure out the system in frame three. Who can resist hamming it up in front of the camera? Not us. We use our last picture making faces. Our boys would be proud...well, maybe not.

Think of the possiblities! Definately worth checking out.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Easiest Journaling Strategy

We recently stumbled across a new blog written by the multi-faceted and, in our eyes, extremely talented writer, Angie Lucus. You're SO going to want to follow her blog, Yeah, Right. She recently offered the following advice:

Easiest Journaling Strategy in the World
I, Angie Lucas, hereby present the easiest journaling strategy ever imagined by woman:
Have someone else write it!

She goes on to detail her efforts in organizing a two-volume tribute album. And here's the best part, she only wrote a 4x6 card full of text herself! Gotta check it out..

We also highly recommend An Album for Grandma.

Summer is right around the corner and hopefully reunions are in your forecast. What a perfect way to highlight the event! Thanks for sharing Angie!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Running on Empty

I think that I might have lost the final few brain cells rattling around in the abyss known as my head. Today, I completely forgot to pick up my afternoon carpool. There I was, dashing around Salt Lake City and my middle child called. "Hey Mom. Where are you." Me "In my car. Where are you?" Never once did it register that I was supposed to be in my car picking up children! I also forgot to take a child to his weekly scout meeting and give a very important message to the third child. YIKES! Gratefully, I have wonderful friends and family who are helping me cling to sanity. Suni rescued the carpool. Suni, I owe you big time! My dear sistend (that's a friend who's more sister than friend) Karen kept my oldest on track and dear sweet hubby raced home to play the role of chauffeur to our scout.

Ok, so I'm a little frazzled. Shows have a way of doing that to me. I'll include a few pictures of our booth to prove that the day wasn't totally wasted. The good news (yes, there is ALWAYS good news if you dig deep enough) is that Monday is a few short days away and everything should be calm and peaceful by Monday!

Made myself laugh labeling this blog under 'Remembering Family'. Forgetting family is more like it!

Swiss Days, 2009

It's official! We're going to Swiss Days!!! We had such a blast last year we really, REALLY wanted to do it again. Thanks selection committee for selecting lil 'ol us. We'll do our best to make you proud!

To all of our wonderful friends; you can be sure we'll be asking what's on your calendar September 4th and 5th. Don't you want to spend part of a day in our hot-hot-hot booth?

See you in September.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ode to a Bicycle

Last night, I received an invitation to attend a local performance to the ballet “Sleeping Beauty.” I have a sweet husband who, from time-to-time, will humor me with an evening at the ballet, but as the mother of all boys, I have never before experienced the electrical buzz that accompanies a throng of coifed and tutu’d ballerinas awaiting their moment in the spotlight. It was amazing to watch the youngest of dance students Grand Pas d'action across the stage. Two minutes of fame for a year (or more) of ballet study.

I’ve always wanted to be a dancer. Growing up, I had many opportunities to expand my ‘talents’. I’ve taken piano lessons, sewing lessons, gymnastics and art lessons. I tried my hand at learning the trumpet and guitar. Can’t forget the knitting lessons, swimming lessons and etiquette lessons. The closest thing I ever got to a dance lesson is a disco class I took in the 80’s. What can I say? Disco was king!

I might not have had formal lessons, but in my heart, I was a prima ballerina! Sometimes, on beautiful spring days I am reminded of my own moment in the spotlight. It was a lot like today. The promise of spring was in the air. After a long, hard winter, this was something to celebrate! What better way than with an impromptu dance recital? My bicycle sat in the backyard, neglected due to months of cold weather. I broke into fouettes and grand jetes, the likes of which had never been seen (nor should they be seen!). I joyfully twirled and swirled around that bicycle with such energy that when I finally lost my footing I became so entangled in that bicycle that I needed help to be extricated. Of course, this was after my mother finally stopped laughing from her perch at the kitchen window.

Gratefully, Jess, our benefactor of last evening, was much more magical as the Lady of Fire. Thanks for sharing your unbelievable talent!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Check Us Out...

2009 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Stories by Me. We're branching out, trying new things and meeting fun people on this amazing journey. The next couple of weeks promise to be crazy as we participate in several local events, not to mention continue to work on our new ideas and fill store orders. Oh, and of course, we can't forget our full-time roles as Head Chefs, Chauffeurs and Masters of the Family's Schedule.

Next Friday and Saturday (March 20 and 21) we're off to Scrapbook USA in Sandy, Utah. Look for us in the LDS Scrap booth. We're bringing our new Memory Calendar's, so be sure to come by and check them out!

April 4-5 is a big weekend in the Salt Lake valley. We'll share more about our schedules as soon as we figure out exactly where we'll be and when we'll be there!

We're excited to announce that we will be participating in several Time Out for Women events through Deseret Book in 2009. Suni is heading to the Bay area to support the Pleasanton, CA event. Lauri is going home to Logan, UT. (I say home, because the Hyer history is deeply rooted in the area). Both are thrilled to be with friends and family during these exciting events.

Before we know it, we'll be back in the dog-days of summer. Hard to imagine with the recent blast of winter that has returned to our little corner of the world. Still waiting to hear if we'll be invited to return to Swiss Days. Fingers are crossed and we hope to have something positive to report in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Another giveaway is in full gear! Head on over to Elegance Redefined for the details. You've got a week so get on it! (And get 5 extra entries when you blog about it.) Who doesn't love free stuff?! (And the chance to win our newest product!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I was browsing over at Design Mom today and she posted this fabulous idea. I just had to share!! What a great way to preserve stories and get your family talking! Go take a look.