Thursday, January 31, 2013

Step 1: A Work Space

I decided that my first step toward organization should be to create a space where I can work with a minimum of distraction. We had a small table in our bedroom that my husband made. At various times it has been a computer station and a television stand. Right now its just messy. That makes it a huge distraction.

See the box lid full of papers? They need to be sorted and put away.  The stuff under the table....most of that is my husband's. He's not here right now to defend himself so I can talk about him.  This messy corner was a joint effort.

Princess is offering to help. She says she will put everything in "cat-egories".  At her suggestion
I divided the papers into 3 piles: Scan and Toss, File, and Trash Can.

I grabbed an antique canning jar from the kitchen for my pens and borrowed a lamp from the living room.  The top of the table is looking better but the stuff underneath it is still bugging me.  What I need is some kind of table skirt to hide it.  Lurking in the back of my closet I found a bolt of fabric I bought years ago to make new curtains. Never happened. Not likely to anytime soon.
I measured around the two sides of the table that are showing and cut a piece of the fabric a little longer than that measurement.  Actually "cut" is not accurate.  I ripped it.  If I stopped to find my sewing scissors I would lose momentum. Ditto the sewing machine. So.....

I folded the fabric in half lengthwise and then folded the top over that to make it the right length from the floor. Did I bother to hem it? No I did not. The selvedge edge works just fine.  Then I got out my hammer and some upholstery tacks. I tacked the two ends first and then worked my way to the corner where I made a small pleat.

I also got some help from my trusty glue gun.  Of course I burnt my fingers!  Small price to pay.

Yes my carpet is ugly.  Don't judge. We'll get around to it eventually.

And here is the finished project. The milk crate of files to the right will be replaced with a new filing cabinet soon.  Realistically, this desk will probably be too small and I will have to commandeer the dining table when I start to inventory all my inherited "stuff".  But for now, I feel good about what I've accomplished in a couple of hours.  It's a start.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Organization...The Impossible Dream?

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, the time has come, the Walrus said, to talk of getting organized.

As you may have noticed, the blogging has been pretty sparse here lately. That is partly due to some family issues that took priority over blogging. But if I'm also honest with myself it is partly due to some procrastination on my part.  So the question I have to ask is this: why am I procrastinating?

After some introspection, I've decided that I procrastinate writing about my research (i.e. blogging) because I haven't been doing much of it! And why am I not researching?  Because I can't find it!
It's scattered all over my desk. And my house. And my car. It's in notebooks.  And boxes. And envelopes.

 I'm in dire need of some organization.  And not just of my research but of all the family history documents, photos, and artifacts.  You see I have this fear.  I blame it on my mother of course.  Mom was a genuine, PhD carrying historian. She knew the value of primary sources. She was also raised in the Depression. This combination meant that she saved everything.  And I mean everything.  Some of it was organized and some not.  Sadly, Mom died relatively young at age 57.  I am now 56. (See where I'm going with this?)  So I've been thinking a lot about what would happen to my family archives after I'm gone.  Would my children even be able to find everything, let alone know its value?  Probably not.

Enter Denise Levenick and her new book How to Archive Family Keepsakes. I love this book. Its so practical and easy to read even I...the Queen of Chaos...should be able to implement it. I've given myself a year to work through it and impose some order.  And hopefully by the time I am also 57 my family history work will be able to stand on its own, ready for the next generation of caretakers.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

RootsTech Giveaway!

One of the perks of being a Rootstech 2013 official blogger is that I get to play fairy godmother and give away a FREE registration to Rootstech!  Here's how to win:

  1. Go to the schedule on the Rootstech website and pick two sessions that you would like to attend.
  2. Leave a comment below stating your sessions and why you chose them.
  3. Don't forget to include your email!
The winning entry will be chosen at random.  You must enter before midnight CST on Saturday, Feb. 2.  If you are chosen you will receive one free registration to Rootstech 2013.  You will be responsible for your own transportation, lodging, etc.

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Family History Writing Challenge

I so wish I could say that writing is easy for me.  But is it really easy for anyone? If it was easy wouldn't we all be doing it?  The reality is that I apparently need a gun to my head to be motivated to write my family story.

Meet the gun:

The Family History Writing Challenge

I wanted to do this last year.  In fact I signed up for it. But RootsTech pretty much rocked my world last February and it never happened.  Never mind that Lynn Palermo managed to RUN the challenge from RootsTech but whatever.  This year RootsTech is in March and I am determined to do the Challenge.  So now that I have documented my intention to the entire interwebs I'm really stuck.  I guess that makes you a gun too.

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