Monday, May 14, 2012

Using animoto.com to make a photo/video slidshow

I've been working on a special project but had to keep my lips zipped so a certain mother wouldn't see it before Mother's Day! (If you know my mom, she's notorious for trying to open presents early. There was one Christmas where we opened presents at midnight ... because mom couldn't wait!!)

I've made several slideshows over the years using various programs. Of course as technology advances there are more and more options. My latest video was made using a website called animoto.com. This is a great option if you want stunning videos without a ton of work and technical knowledge. The price is either $5 per month or $30 for the year. Use this link and you can get the year subscription for only $25: Animoto $5 off.

Okay, on to the meat. If you didn't already guess, the video I compiled was a Mother's Day present for my own mom. It's the perfect present for the mom who has everything and is on the other side of the country. Take a look and tell me what you think.

Look tricky? It's not, I promise. Once you've created your Animoto account, just go to "create video" and choose from a pre-made theme:

There are several different themes to choose from. You can view a preview of that theme by clicking on it. Once you have the one you want, just click "create video".
Now that you have your theme, you can add music (either use music from Animoto or upload your own), add pictures or video or add text. Make sure to also click on the "Advanced Settings" so that you can change the title, description and thumbnail (this is the picture that will show as a preview before you play the video).

Use the tools on the right-side to rotate, shuffle & delete the files. One last useful tool, Right next to the timing (here it's 3:17), there is a pull down that let's you edit how quickly the pictures change. Play around with the settings until you are happy with the result.

When you have everything in order, just click the big green "produce now" button. You can wait for it to load, or Animoto will email you with the link when it is done. Voila, you've got a profession-looking video. And everyone will think you are a technical genius!!

Since Mom is still in Ohio after NGS, we had a family webinar using "GoToMeeting". All 4 families were online using webcams. After the grandchildren sang "HappyMother's Day" to all the moms, we showed the video to Grandma Pat. It was awesome ... she cried. A LOT. Score!!

Imagine taking your ancestor photos & stories and making videos that your kids and family will want to watch ...

Carrie Keele
(a.k.a. "DearMYRTLE's daughter)
www.NotYourMothersGenealogy.com

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Organizing your office space

I've got this great office space in my basement. It's painted a creative shade of lavendar. I've added vinyl words in different fonts around the walls (imagine, be, inspire, style, create). My mom bought me an amazing desk and cabinets from Ikea a few years back (I think it was birthday, Christmas, Mother's Day and then some!). My father-in-law even added some shelving into the closet last summer.

But for some reason, my office is like the magnetic center of the house for all things that don't have a place. The result is I end up working anywhere else, using just my laptop. Instead of using my amazing office, I work at the kitchen table, from my couch, even in bed. Now that I have added genealogy to my list of interests (jewelry making, crafts, sewing, photography, fitness coaching, etc.) ... I realize that I NEED to have a separate space. Did I mention I work from home? Yeah, I need an office.

Last week I decided enough was enough and I started de-junking. After removing 4 bags of garbage (don't judge) and 3 bags for donation I'm ready to start organizing. The room I use, was originally a bedroom and the closet already had some great built in shelves. I asked my father-in-law, Gordon Erickson (he loves woodworking almost as much as he loves genealogy), to add shelves on the other side.
Here's the (almost) before pix. The open part of the closet had a rod (you can see it poking into the pix!!) to hang clothes. Gordon has already added the supports, up next shelves.

Gordon hard at work!!

The finished project (minus paint of course, that's my job!!)
This is where I got stuck. After I painted the shelves, I started adding stuff. But there was no rhyme or reason. Most of my stuff was still in boxes or big Rubbermaid containers. The result: I still can never find what I'm looking for. My mission (should I choose to accept it ...) is to organize it once and for all. Now I don't have the after pictures yet, but here's the progress so far. Oh and P.S. I'm a mom on a budget, so while I drool over many Pinterest organization pictures, I've got to do with what I have (or is very cheap).
I have lots of BIGGER containers, but the problem is it becomes a collect-all. I got a TON of these 6 qt. containers from Wallyworld (Wal-Mart) for $.97 each. I'm using the Post-it notes for now until I make the permanent labels.

Ikea sells these magazine holders (I believe it's like 5 for 2 bucks). I'll put the label on with scrapbook paper for the background & some clear contact paper ('cause I like to add some style!!)

These are just some of our (me and Bree's) beads, I've slowly acquired the containers over time as they are on sale from Robert's or Michael's. 
I LOVE baskets. And cute boxes. But man, they are SO expensive. Imagine my delight when I saw these beauties on clearance at Joanne Fabric yesterday (baskets were 9 bucks each and the boxes were 3 bucks each). We went there for 2 yards of fabric and I left with 2 baskets and 2 boxes. I quickly returned for the 3rd basket and 2 more boxes. The boxes are 12 by 12 and I envision having a current project in each one that I can easily put away and pull out as needed. LOVE!!!

My house was built in 1979 and I think they didn't believe in lighting. Or they were vampires. Either way, my office has always been dim (not me, the office!!). It has an overhead light that can only have a 60 watt bulb and though it has 2 windows, it is the basement so it's not direct light. While at Ikea yesterday I found this cute lampshade on sale for 4 bucks. the chord with light bulb attachment was 3 bucks. I picked up 2 hooks for another buck at Wallyworld. Let there be light!! $8 total and I installed it myself!!
Okay, enough talk time for some more work!! Mom, I'll be ready for our big summer project including taking a look at those 117 4-inch binders full of genealogy research!! (Glad I'm not trying to fit that in here!!)

Carrie Keele
(a.k.a. "DearMYRTLE's daughter)
www.NotYourMothersGenealogy.com