Welcome to my studio

Welcome to the workspace of My Beautiful Life Story.

Here’s a look at the projects created and equipment used. Here you will get a glimpse too of the materials used for legacy folk art and workshops under development.

Every project starts with photos, slides, film and collecting details about the materials

 After curating a collection, the archive process is begun. Photos, memorabilia and interviews are conducted. Using a scanner and other tech gadgets, images and stories are collected then digitized.

Once digitized images and stories are SAFE. At this point, originals can be stored, images can be reproduced and interviews or journals can be transcribed.

Business or individual projects

According to the client’s project scope My Beautiful Life story will produce business brag books or short business explainer videos. An individual’s project may include visual memoirs, photo books, personal history webpages, legacy folk art, and more.

A photo and transparency scanner is used for cataloging most collections. This equipment digitizes slides, film, negatives, images & memorabilia. Important document storage is recommended and this scanner can be used to create digital copies for safe keeping, a good idea in the event of an unforeseen emergency.

For book drafts or the beginning stages of artwork a Laserjet printer is used.

With this printer images are ouput for photo transfer. This is also where the book editing stage or design layout begins

Reclaimed materials are frequent building blocks

Reclaimed materials are used for much of the legacy art created. Recycled magazines are used for mosaic tile photo projects and reclaimed cigar boxes are used for commemorative boxes. Hand-made papers can be imcorporated which are composed of recycled materials or natural materials like plants or fabrics.

Workshop Materials

For commemorative art project magnetic backed canvas is one surface that can be explored.. This material is used during workshops and other materials or substrates may be included: polymer clay, acrylic paint. recycled magazines, matte medium. transparency film, photo copies, Plexiglas, wood or other objects.

Software & Equipment

I am self-taught computer geek. I create much of my work using inDesign, Photoshop, Pages, transcription software, WordPress, iMovie, iPhone, youTube and other platforms or software, project dependent.



Founder My Beautiful Life Story

At age six, Zoe rode her first two-wheeler into the world, discovering the stories, photos and secret hearts of her neighbors. She’s finally gone back to her roots, collecting stories, organizing photos, and making new friends on her journey.

Product Line Video 2019

Product line video for 2019 juried submission

Creating personal history artwork (I call it legacy folkart) will be a feature of My Beautiful Life Story’s booth, if selected by the Arts & Crafts judges at my local farmers market.

Digitization will be one of the product offerings. Visually the booth will demonstrate a variety of photo preservation and photo transfer ideas. While inside viewers will be invited to discover how their visual history can be used to create personalized books, commemorative art, personal history magazines, videos, biographies, folk art, collage and other cherished mementos.

*Geek Warning * This EVERGREEN concept video was created using Pages to PDF to .ppx to .mov (sure, ask me about this) No sound is added to this clip.

Other than getting my geek on, this is the week to get caught up on personal projects, among them completing my application to Salem’s local Saturday market.

I’ll be getting several projects off my plate but as a “test the market” project, the application to Saturday Market was #1 on my to-do (and DONE) list!



Founder My Beautiful Life Story

At age six, Zoe rode her first two-wheeler into the world, discovering the stories, photos and secret hearts of her neighbors. She’s finally gone back to her roots, collecting stories, organizing photos, and making new friends on her journey.

2019 Valentines Day photo transfer workshop Salem Oregon

My Beautiful Life Story brought a photo transfer workshop to the South Salem Senior Center. on Thursday February 14th. This was the fourth workshop that I’ve presented to folks excited to share their stories and photos at the Senior Center.. Workshop attendees created a small piece of commemorative art and left with the ability to recreate photo transfer techniques at home.

The workshops are offered monthly and give anyone who attends the chance to learn about preserving their own or family photos, negatives, slides and film. Returning guests to the workshops often come bearing their recent projects, filled with memories they unearthed while sorting through their collections.

During this month’s workshop, the Valentines Day group eagerly learned ways to use copies of their photos. They were shown the process of transferring photos using matte medium to create a type of ‘decal’ .

Once dry, the image is transferred to a substrate and then the backing paper is removed to reveal the image. I have a link to my INSTRUCTABLE (Lightbox-inspired-picture-shelf-with-battery) using this technique on the Legacy Folk art page,

Workshops are being offered at the South Salem Senior Center on the 2nd Thursday of the month, from 1-2:30 pm through April 2019.

If you are interested in hosting a visual legacy presentation or a workshop, feel free to contact me using the form located here.



Founder My Beautiful Life Story

At age six, Zoe rode her first two-wheeler into the world, discovering the stories, photos and secret hearts of her neighbors. She’s finally gone back to her roots, collecting stories, organizing photos, and making new friends on her journey.

Family adventures worldwide with the Speer family photos

World travel documents record the personal history of Dr Homer A Speer Sr in the early 20th Century

Travel document Dr. Homer A Speer Sr. Cancelled Argentinean Travel Visa

 I've scanned hundreds of Homer A Speer Jr's  collection of vintage photos and postcards, learning the stories behind most of the the family history treasure Homer's collected. I've learned a lot of local history along the way while preserving important mementos and photos.

While Homer and I scanned we talked about the photos and share memories.  I can imagine I am traveling this junket too, set in the early 20th century.

Dr Speer lived a colorful life and left a deep lasting visual legacy for his son.

Dr Homer A Speer Sr

One particular personal story recounts the world wide trek Dr Homer A Speer Sr took from from Hong King to Egypt, France, Jerusalem, Mexico and throughout the U.S. What a journey it was! As the hundreds of vintage photos are scanned more details emerge about the Speer pater familias.

World Travel Shipboard Costume Party early 20th century
Shipboard party Dr. Homer A Speer Sr World Travel

I’ve learned about the San Paulo serpentaria. I wouldn't have imagined I would be researching serums, serpentaria and geography when I started my vintage trek through a treasury of family photos. It all started innocently enough….

Serpentaria, San Paulo, Brazil, Early 1920's

“What do you suppose those hives are he is looking at’ says Homer, looking at a photo of his father circa 1924. It is sunny hot on this day almost 90 years ago Homer’s dad is wearing a full suit, hat and tie in the heat of the day.  This vintage photo shows Homer Alexander Speer Sr leaning against a wall, peering into the moat behind the wall.

I am sorting through the photos we’ve scanned to the antique photos folder “Wasn’t there a picture earlier of a snake we thought was taken in Peru? I think the guy holding the snake was standing in front of one of those too”. We look through Homer’s computer to find the particular group of photos I am talking about.

From Homer's Picasa album, we find the picture I’d scanned a few weeks before. Sure enough, the guy holding the snake IS standing in front of one of those hives. This photo has 1924, San Paulo, written on the back. Here is where the curious get hooked.

Researching San Paulo's Medical History

“ Let’s google ‘San Paulo Brazil snakes’ Homer!” Up pops the Institutio Batalan, built by Brazilian physician Vital Brazil in 1901.  Our curiosity is as strong as Dr. Speer’s as Homer flies us over the same spot almost a hundred year’s later by satellite and mapping.

President Teddy Roosevelt Butanan Museum, San Paulo Brazil 1912


We can’t see the serpentaria in the photos we pull up on google earth. The Google car didn’t drive into the compound of Institutio Batalan when it was mapping San Paulo this century, but in 1914 Teddy Roosevelt did.


Lab Session with Cadaver Dr Homer A Speer Sr c. 1905

Turns out, anti-venom and a lot of other research has been conducted in San Paulo for over a century, making it a world renowned center for sera and other pharmaceutical development.  This is why Teddy Roosevelt was here in 1914, and  Dr. Speer arrived a decade later. The elder Homer was educating himself about  serums development and the medical advances that would come around the globe from research being done here in Brazil.

Looking through Homer’s vintage photo we’ve both learned something new about Brazil, snakes and those ‘hives’. Both Homer and I are curious; we learn that each time we get together to compile his vintage photos and put the pieces together for his own personal history project.

Homer A Speer Jr Beaverton OR Skype Call
Homer A Speer Jr enjoys exploring technology during Skype call

Elder Friendly Computer Helper provides knowledge and support for personal history project

Homer and met when he was looking for some tutoring on his computer. He's in his mid-eighties and as curious as I am, Homer has a lifetime of stories to share. He has a treasure of family photos and friends he’s connected with by having a tutor who can help him with learning more about how his computer will connect him with many things.

You know how sometimes life has a way of working in funny little vignettes. When you are doing something you really love with another person who has a passion for sharing their stories and inviting you on their journey? I’ve gotten to walk into the past with Homer and learn some wonderful things.  In the case of my dear friend Homer, the past is lovingly illustrated by stories and those vintage photos. I’ve been lucky enough to be able to help preserve and share his past. And watch as he confidently shows me something he’s now learned to do on his own on his computer.

Homer, Walter, Dr Speer and Bobby enjoy the beach at Seaside Oregon

This past year, I’ve ridden bikes with Homer and his brothers in Seaside Oregon. Thanks to those vintage photos I’ve built sand castles on the coast as the Dr. Speer the elder shades the beach  in his suit coat, tie and ever present hat.

Air Force, Alaska 1947

I’ve traveled to Alaska circa 1947 when Homer was stationed there during his time in the Air Force. I’ve attended Homer and Nancy’s wedding the year I was born, lifting a glass to the happy couple at Nancy’s parent’s home over in West Slope.

Homer Speer and Nancy Lee Finn Wedding 1957


I’ve also waded in Odell Lake beside the family and watch the string of fish unfurl out of the boat to be proudly displayed. I’ve seen the home in Beaverton, when the land was raw. Furry sheep, the ‘girls’, grazed the pasture tucked into the property before the house was built.


Vintage Tektronix OscillisopeTektronics Beaverton OR bears fond memories for Homer A Speer Jr

This past summer I looked photos from the 1960’s of dam’s being built by the Guy Atkinson Company. Through conversation I’d sat beside Homer as he carefully enters numbers in the general ledger for the company those years ago. As Homer’s career developed ‘we’ traveled to Guernsey in the UK where he scouted for Tektronix and met new friends.  Among them a heretofore distant cousin who shared a family tree that included Homer’s own family. Homer is a man who seems to gather synchronicity wherever he goes. He delights in family and has drawn Nancy and I over closer to one another as we share stories and lessons over dinner.


Family Stories, Family Treasures

In the present day I’ve excitedly passed on the story of treasure unearthed in a potato field and teased Homer that he’d missed his change to find the horde when he was in Guernsey. He must have been working too hard that year.

Roman Age Treasure found on Jersey Britain

I have found a treasure myself. How?  Every day I am whetting my curiosity whistle beside wonderful folks who are keepers of their family’s personal history. Like being part of a magical family legacy.  Wonderful stuff, being part of the family!

Pleased to announce this blog about my adventures with the Speer family photos was featured in the NixPlay blog, "Recounting One Family's Past Through Pictures." Their blog about 'our project' recognizes the importance of preserving these marvelous stories! Thanks NixPlay!~ zm



Founder My Beautiful Life Story

At age six, Zoe rode her first two-wheeler into the world, discovering the stories, photos and secret hearts of her neighbors. She’s finally gone back to her roots, collecting stories, organizing photos, and making new friends on her journey.

Homer Speer’s Living Memory Book



As the Speer Family West keeper of family history, Homer's photos dated back to the before the turn of the 20th century. After organizing the photos and slides, they were scanned to preserve them.

I taught Homer how to use his software so he could label, rotate and order images on his own.  Once he was satisfied with his project materials I helped Homer stitch his digitally labeled still photos into several video montage. He had selected music to accompany some of his finished slideshows which was added to the montage if he desired.

 Homer's vision and Zoe's expertise made  his dream possible. He tells how in this video.

Today we have the opportunity to leave  our children and grandchildren and all our family a permanent story of our lives.  This is the first time in history that this is possible. Instead of just pictures we can literally share with them what our life and times were like.

I can't imagine how great it would be to have had all my grandparents be able to do what we can do today.  

I can only imagine what it would be like to have my grandpa leave me story of what it was like to live and experience what they experienced during and after the civil war.  

With the help of My Beautiful Life Story, I have been able to do that now for my family.

Together you and I have created a "LIVING MEMORY BOOK".  That is what has happened to me. That’s what you have done for me.  

I enjoy being able to see ALL Of my historical family photos and the videos we created from those photos from the comfort of my computer and even on my SMART TV.  With your help, my last few years have been some of the most enjoyable of my life...Homer Speer Jr, Banks, Oregon



Founder My Beautiful Life Story

At age six, Zoe rode her first two-wheeler into the world, discovering the stories, photos and secret hearts of her neighbors. She’s finally gone back to her roots, collecting stories, organizing photos, and making new friends on her journey.