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Genealogy is an absorbing hobby. Watching the show “Who Do You Think You Are” is like getting a history lesson. It’s full of the joys and sorrows faced by families throughout history. And it highlights celebrity’s ancestors in a way that makes you want to watch it more and more.

I was reading a blog about some of my ancestors: McCarty Family. There is a nice introduction to the Who Do You Think You Are TV show on NBC.

If you are a fan of genealogy, go read that post. Also, if you are searching for information about James McCarty of Virginia (in the 1700s) and his descendants, go check out the McCarty pages.

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By Elizabeth Gibson

As the leaves fall on a sunny autumn day, I am reminded of childhood moments watching maple seeds spin like a helicopter and fall to the ground. I don’t fully understand why, but there is a joyful feeling attached to those memories.


These moments of joy, once experienced, are imprinted in our memories in some wonderful way – always there to be retrieved when we most need to be uplifted. I think every time a child has one of these moments, their entire life is going to be better. The moments of joy I remember most often are associated, for me, with either seeing a beautiful landscape or sunset or from involvement in creative activities – playing guitar, singing, drawing or painting. Creativity – learning music or art – can bring a simple joy to your heart, as well as a sense of accomplishment.


This is at the heart of why I am determined to get more people to take time to stop and “smell the roses” or to participate in something creative, whether it be arts & crafts, painting or music. I write about these things often, because I truly believe these things are more than time-filling activities – they are soul fillers!


So, what kind of effort is required to make joyful memories? It isn’t really difficult, except for the very first thing – getting started. When you are in a state of inertia (not moving or changing from your usual path), it takes a lot more energy to get going into a new path. Imagine it this way – you are comfortably reclining in an armchair, and to get up onto your feet many muscles have to be engaged in order to stand up. Once on your feet with the necessary muscles in gear, walking takes little effort. Getting into motion takes a burst of energy, but once you are moving, walking, etc., it seems effortless.


This is how the transition works when someone starts to learn a new skill or art form. The first part takes some serious effort. Parts of the brain are being engaged that may not be used quite as often as others – and new information is flooding your mind – plus there may be physical coordination that has to be practiced and learned, such as how to hold a guitar and to make your fingers press the strings to make chords. But when you “get on your feet” with the new skill you are learning, you start to move more easily with it and things seem to start to “click” into place (like puzzle pieces fitting into place).


And eventually there may be an “aha” moment – or you may practice something over and over (not getting it quite right each time) and then suddenly it works as you always felt it should. This is the “eureka” moment that can bring a tremendous feeling of accomplishment and even a sense of joy. The key is to get started and practice so that it can become a part of your life that feels as effortless and free as a falling leaf.


I can recall one unforgettable “eureka” moment I had when in a pastel painting class. We had been warming up with drawings and doing several pastel portrait paintings. My painting was not going well and my finished work was just not good at all! So, as we started a new painting (with a different model) I tried to work through my disappointment and just started focusing on the colors and mixing them (which, by the way can be done with pastels almost as much as when oil painting), and I really worked on my drawing of the subject and then just started to enjoy working on the shading.


After a couple of classes working on this same portrait, I started to feel that everything I had tried in the past was coming together – I was in this magical zone where I could not fail – it was a feeling I will not forget. And it is amazing how that sense of accomplishment wipes away the frustrations from my former feeble or failed attempts. The outcome was that my painting turned out to be one of the most beautiful portraits I have ever completed. And to this day I am astounded and thrilled to have had that experience (which to me is far more valuable than the actual artwork I created).


If I could give everyone I know the best gift ever, it would be for them to have that feeling at least once in their lives. But an initial effort is usually required to get to that point, and there is no guarantee that everything we try to learn or do will be successful.


A vehicle to begin the process is needed, whether it is through taking painting lessons, guitar lessons, cooking classes – whatever can get you enthused and excited. The only way to know for sure is to try and see – make learning new things a kind of experiment to see if it will be something you want to keep as part of your life. Learning and creating as “experiments” can make it fun, too! They let us learn about new techniques, gain new skills, but best of all, they help us gain new insights about ourselves and can create new and lasting moments of joy.


E.R. Gibson is a believer in creativity and makes a living at it as a professional graphic designer and desktop publisher. When not working on graphics and design, she is engaged in blogging on the website Guitar Lessons for Beginners.

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If you are reading this article, chances are you have a creative soul and love to let your imagination soar – because – why else would you be visiting a site aimed at crafts, hobbies and other such creative pursuits?You may well be talented and artistic however, have your children inherited this creativeness and resourcefulness? And if they haven’t – are there ways you can stimulate an interest in them? Here are a few tips as to what you can do…

Encourage your children to be creative by providing them with the time, resources and the space for making art. Try to set aside interruption-free time for drawing, in a mess-proof zone – so that their creativity can run wild. Ensure that you cover all surfaces so that any splashes of paint or scribbles of crayon are ‘caught’ – because nothing squishes creativity more so than a parent saying “Don’t make a mess” every 2 minutes.

It is also very important to choose the right drawing materials as well. Many craft materials can be improvised, but when drawing tools and paper are required, opt for a small selection of good quality age-appropriate products, rather than loads of inferior products. Be sure to check safety information and follow instructions. During any ‘art-time’ children should always be supervised because many necessary materials – such as crayons – pose a choking hazard.

Surroundings: As with writing or working at a computer, good posture and a comfortable position are important for drawing. A child-size table and chair is actually preferable to an easel. If the chair is a little high, provide a phone book for a footrest. A coffee table and an inexpensive plastic chair work well. A small kitchen storage trolley is a perfect solution for containing supplies, or if space does not allow, a portable fishing tackle or tool box is a good option too. Untidy toddlers may need a drop-cloth and supervision to avoid ink-stained walls, as even ‘washable’ pens often don’t deliver on that promise!

Art Materials: Avoid cheap markers, too-hard pencils and thin paints – these types of materials are discouraging to the child and therefore  a waste of money. Provide many sheets of blank paper to inspire their crativity and occasionally invest in a canvas so that your child can paint something and chances are you’ll want to hang it on your wall!Also provide coloring books or coloring pages – of which you’ll find plenty online. Granted – coloring pages are not so great for creativity, however they do provide children with the chance to practice their fine motor skills and sometimes it’s very relaxing and just what they need to simply color in without the ‘pressure’ of thinking about WHAT to draw.

For example little girls may enjoy coloring images of Barbie and at sites like Barbie Coloring Pages you’ll find the best Barbie party invites

When it comes to drawing and coloring, at each age/stage of your child’s life provide….


  • Child-safe markers and wipe-off boards
  • Chalk boards and safe chalk
  • Plain paper and coloring pages


  • Sketchbook
  • Student colored pencils
  • Washable Markers
  • Oil pastels
  • Plain paper and coloring pages

Middle School

  • Sketchbook  or scrapbook
  • Graphite Pencils
  • Watercolor sketch paper
  • Watercolor pencils
  • Marker pens, marker paper
  • Plain paper and coloring pages

High School

  • Sketchbook  or scrapbook
  • Quality drawing papers and boards
  • Graphite Pencils
  • Artists’ quality colored pencils
  • Illustration markers, marker paper
  • Pastel paper and hard pastels if liked
  • Plain paper and canvases to work on

All ages

  • Safe sharpeners, erasers, dusters, stencils and rulers
  • A  folder for storing large pieces
  • Storage boxes for smaller pieces
  • Consider photographing or scanning pieces for a permanent record.
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Who doesn’t enjoy a soft glow of candlelight.  If you’ve made the candle yourself, the gentle light seems even more pleasant. It’s easier than you may think to start making your own candles and enjoying them regularly.

Making candles is a great hobby for a lot of reasons.  Few other hobbies are as accessible. You can start out with a very simple equipment. Beginners can make great candles right away yet there are advanced techniques that will provide continuing challenge as they grow in experience.

Another benefit of the hobby is at the final product is so useful and enjoyable.  Not only do you get to enjoy the process of making the candles and enjoy their beauty, you can light them to make any occasion special.

A very good beginner’s project starts with beeswax in a sheet form. The beeswax is soft enough that you can make a candle just by rolling it around a wick.

Making a container candle is another great starter project. A container candle is one where the candle is formed by pouring melted wax into a suitable container with a wick in place.

Making a candle this way eliminates working with and removing molds. The main thing to be aware of in making a container candle is to never use a flammable container or one that might crack under exposure to the heat of a candle flame. Sturdy glass containers and metal tins are good choices.

If you want to find out more about how to make your own candles, you can get on the information you need at: Candle Making Connection.

In fact, you can even sign up for a free mini course on candle making.

You definitely will be interested in checking out the page Candle Making Wax. After all wax is the primary ingredient of the candle. I think you’ll be surprised how involved it can be.

If you want to get the best possible results as quickly as possible, then I definitely recommend that you consider getting Home Candle Making Made Easy. This comprehensive e-book is as close as you can come to have an expert candle maker by your side giving you advice.

I hope you give candle making a try. It’s a great hobby and one it’s easy to start. And think of how much fun it would be to use and enjoy your own candles.

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