Author Archives: Diane

Three Pioneer Families: Patterson, Plumb, McLennan

Since the copies of my book have been delivered to special family members and the Belle Plaine Historical Museum, I wanted to share my first book with my readers. It was a labor of love that resulted from hundreds of hours between 2010-2013. First I scanned over 1,500 images and documents from my Grandmother Geneva’s scrapbooks. Then I was asked by a friend from my hometown community of Belle Plaine, Iowa to create an update for the community’s 2012 Sesquicentennial. It hit me earlier this year that I wanted to make sure that the effort that I placed in the DVD was not lost to family members who had not purchased the DVD. Thus, the perfect impetus presented itself for bringing it to print form. Alas, what better timing than when I was just discovering the world of print-on-demand publishing. I opted to use Lulu.com.

Three Pioneer Families: Patterson, Plumb, McLennan

Three Pioneer Families: Patterson, Plumb, McLennan

The cover photo features a view from my brother and sister-in-law’s driveway. They now reside in the farmhouse where my grandparent’s McLennan lived during the mid-1950s until the early-1960s. The farmland was in the McLennan family for about 70 years, until it was recently sold. Nevertheless, the photo represents fairly “virgin” Iowa farmland. We do not recollect a plow being used in this pastureland.  What we do recall though, are the collective memories of mushroom hunting, counting cattle to assure they were “all there,” hickory nut and walnut gathering, apple picking, taking city cousins on a tour by wagon of the farm, using machetes to rid the pasture of persistent Canadian thistles, sledding parties, and warming cold toes around bonfires with friends. The significance of the photo is that in some respects it depicts what the land may have looked like in the 1850s when the pioneers from the East began to settle in the area.

Back cover of my book.

Back cover of my book.

While only a few dozen photos are featured in this book, they are photos that best highlight my pioneer ancestry from these three branches. My book goes back to 1854 with the Patterson’s arrival in Benton County from Ohio. The Plumbs arrived in 1867 from Indiana, but orginally from Canada. Lastly, great-great grandmother, Catherine McKay McLennan, and her son, Lachlan McLennan, arrived in 1869 from the Highlands of Scotland. Generation by generation, the book features the changes in the family and the times, until I bring in the latest generation through photos.

What was it like to be a pioneer during the times of westward expansion? For me, I am much like my mother, as I love to read accounts of brave souls encountering the elements, river crossings, and forging for food. I am mindful of the commitment that it took to make such a drastic change in one’s life. In some ways it is reminiscent of what Steve and I did when we left the Midwest in 2010 to engage in a simplified lifestyle. However, I also acknowledge that movement to the west and across the wide spans of land also meant that infringement occurred on Native Americans. So, I stop to consider what impact we bore on our Native friends during this part of our country’s history.

Now it is time to journey onward through my family archives! Will it be the Vale’s, McClester’s, Carmitchel’s, or Stratton’s? These are branches of my Mom’s heritage, so I look forward to another adventure in saved photos and the genealogy pages of family Bibles!

 

 

 

 

An Easter Memory

It's Easter! My sister, Charlene, and I share in Easter as little girls. We've finished our egg hunt and slipped the eggs into our baskets.

It’s Easter on the farm in Iowa. My younger sister, Charlene, and I share in Easter as little girls. I see a couple of colorful eggs in our basket!

Whenever I open a bottle of vinegar, the scent immediately draws me back to our annual Easter egg coloring. While our two children were young, it was great fun to enjoy a tradition that has been savored across the generations.

With the hard-boiled eggs resting in their cardboard carton, excitement was in the air as our two children sat on their knees upon chairs at our kitchen table. Newspaper covered the table and a row of small clear bowls was placed within reach of our little artists! Each bowl received its portion of hot water and vinegar. Deftly, parental grips squeezed the plastic McCormick-brand food coloring bottles while our son and daughter counted the drops, drip…by…drip. Big smiles appeared when almost like magic the colors came to life, much like a rainbow: blue, red, yellow, and green. Then carefully calculated color mixtures provided purple, orange, pink, spring green, and teal.

Crayola crayons were strewn across the table where chubby fingers reached for them to write a name, draw a bunny, or create patterns. There was nothing quite like using the special metal dipper to create an egg of two colors as one half of the egg was dipped for a period of time and then the egg was switched around for the additional color. Another favorite technique requiring extra patience was to dunk the egg a little longer to achieve a deeper color.

Each child had their allotment of eggs to color, yet despite this arrangement, it seemed there were never enough eggs, for they could have dyed eggs the whole day long. At the end of our artful session, the egg carton was filled again, but with beautifully decorated eggs. Then the carton was slipped into the refrigerator, awaiting the Easter Bunny’s innate ability to hide them in places only a special hare could manage.

The next morning, a cheer of “Happy Easter!” rang through the house as my husband and I were pulled from our slumber.  With pajamas still on and little feet slipped into shoes, baskets swung from eager hands. Squeals and shouts filled the air as the race began around the yard, with our two little ones peering beneath bushes, stepping among blooming crocuses, or balancing on tippy-toes to reach into branches.

Almost as quickly as the egg hunt began, it was finished. In the morning chill, we ushered the children back into the kitchen, where one by one the eggs were returned to the carton. Alas, the moment arrived where we each selected an egg, cracked the shell, slipped it off, shook a little salt onto the egg, and ate it! The rest made great egg-salad sandwiches or deviled eggs! What great memories of Easter with our kids. What are some of your favorite memories? Feel free to share them in the comment box below or by contacting me through the “Contact Diane” button above.

Happy Easter!

Snapfish Review

Have you heard of Snapfish? I thought it was time to review one of my favorite products that I have been using since 2006. Using Picasa as my primary photo editor, I can easily download photos into my Snapfish account to organize albums, order prints, create a range of photo-inspired items, and share photo book drafts to be previewed by clients prior to placing their order.  Using Snapfish, I’ve created 15 photo books to date. As I am not a scrapbook hobbyist, Snapfish is a wonderful option.

I also have made several gift books featuring some of my favorite photos.  The most recent gift book is pictured below and entitled, My Book of Colors. I gave this to expectant parents last week, knowing that they were hoping for books for their little one. As an amateur photographer, I have an extensive digital photo collection from which I selected photos of objects, animals, flowers, food, and scenery. I introduced the concept of colors with a photo of a rainbow followed by a page each for yellow, orange, red, green, blue, purple, white, gray, brown, and black. There were additional pages with several colors represented, encouraging the young reader to find the colors and name their favorites. It is my hope that as the child grows and experiences his or her surroundings, they will be more apt to look for colors in the world around them.

My Book of Colors © 2013 Diane Felt

My Book of Colors
© 2013 Diane Felt

 

My Book of Colors © 2013 Diane Felt

My Book of Colors
© 2013 Diane Felt

I’ve made travel books such as, Scotland: 2010, a 120-page book of our two-week trip to Scotland pictured below. Because it was a heritage tour of my Scottish roots, I also included excerpts of my great-grandfather’s journal as well as scanned photos of past generations. One of my sister’s ordered a copy as well, thanks to the option of keeping a saved copy under my Snapfish account.

 

Scotland 2010 © 2010 Diane Felt Travel Book Cover, Book is 120 pages of photos, heritage tour notes, Great-Grandfather's journal entries

Scotland: 2010
© 2010 Diane Felt
Book is 120 pages of photos, heritage tour notes, and Great-Grandfather’s journal entries

Scotland 2010 © 2010 Diane Felt Added a scanned photo of Great-Grandfather playing his fiddle. Included an entry from his hand-written journal that I transcribed.

Scotland: 2010
© 2010 Diane Felt
I added a scanned photo of Great-Grandfather playing his fiddle and transcribed an entry from his hand-written journal to add richness to our Scottish heritage tour photo book.

Scotland 2010 © 2010 Diane Felt Sample page of travel book from my Scottish Heritage tour that I arranged for my husband and me. We used Great-Grandfather's journal entries to build our itinerary and visit key Highland locations where the MacLennan and MacKay families once lived and worked.

Scotland: 2010
© 2010 Diane Felt
Sample page of travel book from my Scottish Heritage tour that I arranged for my husband and me. We used Great-Grandfather’s journal entries to build our itinerary and visit key Highland locations where the MacLennan and MacKay families once lived and worked.

For a trip to Maine with friends, I made a travel book for them and us as a souvenir. Surprising people out of the blue gives me great enjoyment, such as the 50th birthday book for my sister! When an aunt passed away, I designed an “In Memorium” book for the family, which also featured old family photos that I scanned. In the back of the book, I included photos from the memorial folder, the service, and the gathering afterwards.

Snapfish is my go-to for invitations, Christmas cards, and souvenir calendars. I use it to order prints and enlargements, requesting the option to use my local Walgreen’s for processing. While I am very pleased with Snapfish, I’d be up for giving another company a try to explore the possibilities. In the meantime, you may want to check out the features of Snapfish at www.snapfish.com.

What type of print-on-demand, on-line service do you use for creating photo books? I’d appreciate any suggestions that you might have.

 

 

My Pruning Stage

As I walked along the heavily mulched trail on the east side of Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, I could see my breath on a chilly February day in 2010. The silence which I typically cherished on these afternoon walks was broken by a very shrill burst of sound. “GRRRRRRRRR!!” went the limb shredding machine. Several arborists were carefully pruning the shrubs and trees along the paved road. February is a perfect time to tackle this annual task before the warmer days of spring and prior to the sap again flowing, rekindling the plant back to life after winter’s long, cold slumber.

Now fast forward to a recent February afternoon in 2013 and in my new state of Colorado.  I was lost in thought on my walk in Louisville, Colorado, along a flat sandy trail with stately and barren cottonwoods lining a dry creek bed. It was a stark contrast to the arboretum’s lushness and wide variety of trees. However, what really hit me on this walk was the whole notion of pruning. This time though there was no loud whining coming from a machine to abruptly snap me out of my thought-induced state. Rather it was my own need to gain a perspective on my life at this stage of the game.

As I saw the brown overgrowth of winter vegetation beneath the cottonwoods, I felt like I could relate. My reaction, “Gosh, that certainly needs to be cleared. If someone would prune those shrubs, I bet they would have some new growth this spring.” Within minutes of considering a good pruning job on the shrubs, I realized this is what I also needed in my own life.

“Hmmmm….how does one prune oneself?” I paused to consider. Feeling a sudden burst of inspiration, I noted that I too could use a good dose of pruning. Over the past 4 ½ years, our household possessions have been sorted, donated, given to family and friends, sold, or have been kept. The cycle has repeated itself five times due to our move from Illinois and through the return-to-college years! We have packed and unpacked. We have loaded and unloaded. We have stored items in three different locations. We have moved and schlepped or hired movers to do this chore. The costs have been dramatic: financially, time wise, and emotionally as move after move becomes “heavy on the soul” and the burden of doing more in the future becomes unfathomable. In fact, it feels much like the overgrown vegetation or a shrub loaded with crisscrossing twigs and rubbing branches, not promoting the usual spring blossoms or tender leaves.

Alas, I hit on something. Reflecting back on my human development classes in college, I remember the various stages and resulting transitions that one typically negotiates through life based on Erik Erickson’s theory of development. For me, my self-proclaimed pruning stage is my call to action bringing me more in line with Erickson’s idea of generativity, a time to be fully-engaged in my life, feeling liberated for my future.

What my pruning stage is asking of me requires letting go of more possessions. I want a life filled with possibilities and opportunities without the dread of dealing with the extraneous possessions again. I am after essential, simple, and modest living. Now that we’re in a one-bedroom apartment, we are on our way to realizing this lifestyle. I intend to relish the extra time away from the burden of possessions to spend with my husband, grown children, family, and friends. Plus I desire time to fully participate in my passions and interests. I will take photos of the possessions that hold the most memories and take joy in finding new homes for these former treasures which only now clutter my soul and space.

This is not downsizing. It is a more meaningful process for me personally — it is time to prune and promote new growth! My first step? Off to the hardware store for a sturdy pair of pruning shears! Tell me how you can relate to a good pruning!

Be My Valentine: It’s All about Love ❤

“Will you be my Valentine?” is a popular question that is posed to those we love on this particular day. While many people think that the Hallmark card company had a hand in creating Valentine’s Day, it has actually been in existence for centuries in many forms and legends. Perhaps check out this link to read more about it: http://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day  In the 21st century, Valentine’s Day continues to be observed on February 14 as a day to express one’s love and affection towards another.  Hearts, flowers, chocolates, candles, dinner dates, cards with touching sentiments, or quiet evenings at home all flow through my store of memories.

My Grandparents, Horace and Geneva, were married on Valentine’s Day in 1918. They married at the home of my Grandmother’s parents, which was customary at the time. I often thought Valentine’s Day would be a special day to be married. As part of our first Valentine’s Day together in 1974, Steve and I dressed up, joining another couple to go to the Joffrey Ballet which had a performance at Iowa State University. Steve and I met only three months prior at a dorm party and the chemistry between us became more evident on that special evening as we went out to dinner and watched a beautiful ballet.

On our first Valentine’s Day as newlyweds in 1977, I recall how Steve walked past countless storefronts through downtown Des Moines until he found Fannie May Chocolates. He carefully selected a red cardboard heart-shaped box filled with melt-in-your-mouth chocolates, each candy identified on the inside of the lid. On the top of the box was a small black stuffed-animal Scottish terrier. As I had grown up with a brood of Scotties as part of my mother’s kennel business, Steve sensed this was just the box for me.

A particular Valentine’s dinner will always be a treasured memory for Steve and me. We arranged for a babysitter to watch our six-month old son while we went out to dinner at Red Lobster. Unfortunately, Red Lobster did not take reservations, so we soon discovered after our arrival that we would have an hour’s wait on this very popular evening. Fretting about the time we gave our sitter for returning home, we discussed whether or not to stay. Within ear shot was a couple, probably the age of our parents at the time. They approached us and asked, “Would you like to join us at our table? We’re next on the list. In fact, we insist.” Amazed, Steve and I accepted their offer. It turned out to be one of our more memorable Valentine’s dinners as we became acquainted with this kind couple. When the check came, Steve reached for his billfold, but the gentleman put his hand out and said, “Please. We would be honored to have you as our guests tonight. Our children live out-of-state. It has been such a pleasure to have you join us tonight.” We didn’t exchange addresses or phone numbers, so we never saw them again. But, we will never forget their graciousness that evening.

One Valentine’s morning as a child, I awoke to a surprise at my bedroom door. Mom had knitted royal blue slippers with pom-pom tassels, leaving them at the bedroom doorway and placing a couple of chocolates in each slipper. The night before we siblings sat circled around the kitchen table carefully writing the name of each classmate on a Valentine and signing our names. I reserved the most sentimental card in the packet  for the cutest boy in class, hoping that it would affirm to him how special I thought he was. I imagine, though, that I wasn’t alone with my heart-throb crush, since many of the girls in my class had similar affections for him. And, always, there was the “teacher” card, although a couple of my teachers really didn’t match the verse on the card, posing a dilemma on which card to give!

When our son and daughter were in grade school, it was fun to watch them make their Valentine mailboxes out of shoeboxes that were reserved in the garage attic for the occasion. They eagerly set to work using the tools of the trade before them: colorful construction paper, Elmer’s glue, Reynolds aluminum foil, heart-shaped stickers, and a rainbow assortment of markers. Most importantly was creating the mail slot on the lid for their classmates to easily slip their cards into the box. It was always fun to have them sit with me at the end of the school day and go through their Valentine’s cards from their classmates and have them tell me about their Valentine’s parties at school.

As a preschool teacher in recent years, it was fun to relive some of my memories and those of my children while my little 3- and 4-year old charges carefully crafted their boxes or heart-shaped pouches with handles. Pink cupcakes or heart-shaped cookies were coveted treats for the classes, thanks to generous parents who loved to bake. I hope the children have memories of their first Valentine celebrations in a classroom setting.

Valentine’s Day brings many stories to mind for us. May we stop to consider that it would really be lovely to focus on loving one another every day of the year, not just on February 14. What memories of Valentine’s Day do you have? Feel free to share your story in the comment section or contact me directly through the “Contact Diane” tab on the website.

 

 

 

 

A Book Review: Across the Savage Sea

Across the Savage Sea

Across the Savage Sea

Always looking for an inspirational story, I couldn’t help but purchase Across the Savage Sea by Maude Fontenoy, copyright 2004, from a local library’s used bookstore. For the price of $1, I eagerly paid for this book and added it to the autobiographical section of my bookcase.

Maude Fontenoy is a French woman who at the age of 25 set a personal goal to be the first woman to successfully row a boat across the Atlantic Ocean. She managed this as a solo voyager, unsupported except for weather and navigation reports via phone contact. What makes her feat even more intriguing is that she opted not to take the route considered easier, the southern route, but rather to cross the Atlantic along the daunting northern route, notorious for its brutal storms. Even more unconventional, she decided to row from west to east.

Maude took a leave from her Paris real estate agency business, gained some financial support through sponsors to supplement her personal funds, and traveled to Newfoundland, joining her boat that was shipped in a freight crate. Maude’s boat had been christened back in France as, Pilot, for one of her sponsors was the Pilot pen company. Once the Pilot was meticulously assembled to its 24-foot length and her four-months of provisions carefully stowed, Maude’s final preparations revolved around tracking favorable weather conditions, earmarking the day to begin her journey, and savoring the last hot meal, comfy night’s slumber, and warm shower that she’d dearly miss for an extended time.

On June 13, 2003, Maude shoved off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada, from Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, not to set foot on terra firma again for nearly four months. In her book she shares captivating details about the insurmountable strength, both physically and mentally, that were absolute necessities to remain focused and ultimately succeed. Amazingly, just in one storm of the many that she encountered, she and her boat withstood 17 capsizings!  Finally, 117 days after leaving Newfoundland, she stepped foot onto land at La Coruna, Spain, on October 9, 2003 to be welcomed by her family, friends, and supporters.

While Across the Savage Sea is a quick read of 149 pages, I found it thrilling. What I appreciate the most was learning of Maude’s tenacity, courage, and very determined will. In some fashion I can relate to her story. My husband, Steve, rode his bicycle across the United States in 2005 over a 79-day journey. While riding a bicycle with two wheels in contact with the land beneath him was extremely different than rowing across an ocean, I still witnessed his tenacity, courage, and very determined will to accomplish his personal goal, electing to enjoy his journey mainly solo and unsupported.

What I am reminded in reading this book, is that we are all on a journey! Perhaps not rowing across the Atlantic, but we each have our own unique journey through life and our very own story!

I’d love to hear about your favorite autobiography or even better about your own personal journey. Go to the “Contact Diane” tab on this website and send me a note.

The Lincoln Highway Turns 100

Did you know that the Lincoln Highway turns 100 during 2013? This great highway shares a deep legacy with me. Of course, many people likely have similar sentiments, since it is the former work-horse highway that stretched from coast to coast across 12 states. It was the super-highway of its era, perhaps matching in fascination to the railroads of the time.

In 1913, it began in New York City’s Time Square at Broadway and 42nd Street. It continued through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California, where it ended at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park. The length was roughly 3,400 miles!

Route 30 across Iowa now is a seemingly straight shot across the land of verdant crops. However, when the Lincoln Highway was first laid out through Benton County, Iowa and due to the steep hills and ridges to the west of what is the U.S. 30 and State Highway 131 crossroads, the planners decided to take the route south (State Highway 131) about 4 1/2 miles and then west on what is now 13th Street through my hometown of Belle Plaine. Our family farm rested on the east side of Lincoln Highway and was located just over 2 miles south of Route 30.

Growing up along the Lincoln Highway was special. My Grandpa Horace was always especially fond of the old route as well as the railroad that went through town. When anyone referred to the Lincoln Highway, we knew exactly which route they were referencing. As Belle Plaine was also a railroad hub for the Chicago Northwestern and a popular stop, we also found our farm a straight route north and an easy walk for hobos needing a hot meal. There were marks made on telephone posts along Lincoln Highway, giving clues to these men that our farmhouse was a good stop. Mom would shoo us kids to the 2nd floor of the house while she fixed a quick, yet hot meal for many a grateful train-hitching fellow. Grandma Geneva, who formerly lived in the home, alerted Mom to the custom of providing meals.

When I think of the Lincoln Highway, I also pause to ask, “How many people experienced cattle drives on Lincoln Highway?” My Dad would have 60 head or so of cattle at the West Farm (the farm of my grandparents’ McLennan). After the cattle had grazed the pasture down, Dad would recruit Mom, the five of us kids, Grandpa Horace, and often a few of our fun-loving friends. We would drive the cattle by walking behind them, coaxing and scolding them, along the gravel road from the West Farm to our farm along busy 131. The cattle drive was about three miles long and took a couple of hours. What we discovered each time we did this was that cattle are innately stubborn, especially when they see a bridge to cross, where they lose their senses and become skittish. It would take Dad saying, “Come Boss” as he shook a pail of oats or corn. Once one cow took the bait and followed Dad across the bridge, the rest of these bovines followed suit. I guess we could credit it to their “herd mentality.”

Alas, the pace would change once the highway was in view. Dad would alert the Benton County sheriff ahead of time, so the sheriff could help stop or slow the traffic on the Lincoln Highway. Once we successfully drove the cattle from the gravel to the pavement, we would drive them north, just under a mile, to an open gate into the pasture by the grove of trees where deep grass awaited them.

As I check out the route of the Lincoln Highway, I also realize the many ties that I have to it. In Pennsylvania, it goes through Ligonier and Pittsburg, the area where my Grandaddy John Vale and his family of origin lived. When I went to college at Iowa State in Ames, I often walked along the Lincoln Highway en route to class. Finishing my bachelors degree at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb, Illinois, I also drove Lincoln Highway to get to school from the western suburb of Batavia. My husband, son, daughter, and I lived in Batavia, Illinois for 20 years. The Lincoln Highway went right past our church where I worked as a preschool teacher also. The Highway went through North Aurora, Batavia, and Geneva, where we drove hundreds of miles over the years. On a special note, my husband, Steve, rode parts of the Lincoln Highway on his bicycle ride across the U.S. in 2005.

Needless to say, the Lincoln Highway deserves to be recognized as it turns a century. It was an integral force behind the transportation history of the United States. Many communities thrived because of the route passing through town, from diners to barber shops and full-service filling stations to motels, businesses welcomed many a traveler into their midst. I’d love to hear what memories you have of the Lincoln Highway. Perhaps you’d like to help the Lincoln Highway celebrate its Centennial. If so, I urge you to pay a visit to its website to see how you can participate in an area along the route near you: http://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/

Heartfelt Services

Heartfelt Legacies, LLC offers several professional services that ultimately help preserve one’s legacy.

Personal Historian Services

  • Interviewing individuals, families, or organizations by capturing interviews via audio recording
  • Transcribing audio into manuscript form
  • Editing, researching
  • Inserting photos into manuscript if desired
  • Creating a lovely written history as final product

 Photo Organization Services

  • Guiding clients in organizing collection
  • Digitizing photos, slides, documents, albums
  • Captioning as needed
  • Helping to create a more meaningful photo collection

 Photo Legacy Books

  • Using a digital print-on-demand service
  • Album possibilities include: Family, Pets, Travels, Career, Military Service, Milestone Occasions, Memorial, and others.
  • Resulting in new heirlooms to be shared for generations

Heirloom Legacies

  • Taking photographs of treasured possessions
  • Capturing the heirloom’s vital history
  • Sharing a wonderfully organized gift to succeeding generations
  • Creating a vital inventory for household insurance purposes

Custom Photography and Genealogy Services

  • Using my Nikon 35MM camera, taking photos of you and your family or reunions and celebration gatherings along the Front Range of Colorado.
  • Providing initial genealogy searches to get you on your way to researching your heritage.

 

 

The Process of Creating a Personal History

The process of creating your personal history begins with a free consultation, preferably in person. Having this consultation provides a time for us to get better acquainted and allows me to describe the services that I offer.

When you have determined what type of project on which you would like to embark, then I provide a letter of engagement with details of the project and the costs.

Each project is unique. However, based on the project and the scope involved, our work together could take as little as a few weeks or as much as a year to finish.

Here is a general timeline:

  •  Interviews are conducted in sessions of no more than two-hours in length, during which the audio interview is recorded on a digital audio recorder.  Interviews are conducted in the comfort of your home or at a mutually agreed upon place with little to no background noise.
  •  Interviews are transcribed verbatim.
  •  The rough draft is created. Rearranging of text is done to create an enjoyable flow to your story. Transitions are written as needed. Additional research is done to ascertain accurate spellings of cities, companies, schools, etc. If there are historical events or figures mentioned, additional research and text may be included to further enrich your story. Editing and proofreading are conducted.
  •  Rough draft goes to you for up to a 30-day review. At the end of that time period or earlier if you wish, we meet to discuss the revisions that you desired.
  •  Revisions are completed based on your input.
  •  Final draft goes to you for up to a 30-day review. At the end of that time period or earlier if you wish, we meet again to discuss any final revisions.
  •  If final revisions are indicated, these are completed based on your input.
  •  A photocopied final manuscript goes to you for up to a 14-day review. At the end of that time period or earlier if you wish, we meet again for you to sign a release form indicating the satisfactory completion of the project.
  •  At this point, you will be asked if you wish to create a final product beyond a photocopied manuscript i.e. additional copies, adding digital photo files to the manuscript, using print-on-demand publishing to create a coil-bound booklet or a perfect-bound paperback book. If you so choose, then we would enter into a second phase, known as Product Phase.

Please note that the scope and timeline of the project will increase if you request additional interview time beyond what has been originally determined.

 

Testimonials

Regarding a 22,000-word biography that was completed in October 2012

“Over the years I used to tell my ten grandchildren stories about my experiences during my working career. I also told them about their ancestors and their trip to Minnesota by covered wagon. I had a number of requests to write about these things so they would have a record of them when I was gone. I am ninety-two years old at the present.

Our church has a group of very senior members who meet weekly with our pastor. It was decided that the group had such varied and interesting lives that it might be interesting to document and number of them with biographies that outlined their backgrounds and working experience.

We had a church member, Diane Felt, who had some time available and some wonderful talent who volunteered to document the stories dictated by the senior members. I was one of the lucky ones to be invited to document my story. Diane and I had a conference and decided we could add family data and photographs to make it suitable for the grandchildren requirement.

My story started with me dictating my life story to Diane. She then typed it up and let me review it. We decided to put a number of pictures in the write-up to illustrate the items we were discussing. This included relatives, places where we lived, schools I went to and projects I worked on during my career.

During the production of this project I developed the highest regard for Diane Felt. She understood the requirements of the project thoroughly. She had all of the equipment necessary to produce the work. She knew how to use the equipment. She was very good at correcting spelling and sentence structure. During the final stages she got the best estimates for producing copies and brought the twenty finished copies to my home. I have now got twenty copies of my biography ready to send. These will be Christmas presents. ”

Russ C., Colorado

Regarding a photo organization project that was completed in October 2012

Top qualities: Great Results, Personable, Creative

“Not only is Diane a pleasure to work with but her expertise in photo organization shone through as we developed a plan to tackle my pile of family photos. Her attention to detail and ability to press on as we organized, scanned, and labeled led us to get an amazing amount done as we worked together. Now my jumbled mass of photos is in order and I have a system to handle future photos and mementos. I would highly recommend Diane in the area of photo organization!”

Tracy B., Illinois