How about creating some beautiful customized pedigree charts as Christmas gifts this season? How about getting a new Flip-Pal to enjoy the season even more?

Over a year ago, while playing with my Photoshop Elements program that came with my Flip-Pal Creativity Suite, it dawned on me that this would be the perfect program to colorize and share pedigree charts designed by Tony Matthews, an old friend who I haven’t seen for years. Back during the 90’s, Patty and I bought quite a number of hand-drawn printed – and then hand-colored pedigree charts that Tony produced. We gave most of our purchases to friends and family, as the charts were beautiful, and we knew others would enjoy them as much as we did. We now market a printed versions of two of these charts, Jubilee and Celtic Rose.

In 1999, Tony compiled a book entitled Paper Trees: genealogical clip-art. The book is made up of 92 unique printed pedigree charts. Although the book was initially compiled for those who might want to fill in and hand-color the charts, last Christmas I proved that by using Photoshop Elements, I could computer colorize and fill in the names, dates, and places – making personalized, gorgeous, and unique gifts. Once again, I’m doing the same thing for the holidays this year!

Realizing that most of us (myself included) can use an extra boost when it comes to tech stuff, A year ago, I hired my friend, Tom Underhill (he owns Creative Continuum), to design a brochure instructing folks on how to use Photoshop Elements 10 to colorize and fill in the pedigree charts found in Tony’s book. Tom’s written several books on using Photoshop, so I knew he had the expertise. He didn’t disappoint me, producing a 4-page color brochure with step-by-step instructions entitled Fun Pedigree Charts – Ready for your color! Although it’s written for Photoshop Elements 10, and the Creativity Suite 3.1 now has Photoshop Elements 11 included in it, the concepts apply to other Photoshop versions, although the menus and toolbars might be slightly different.

This all led to what is now the Family Roots Publishing Christmas 2013 Flip-Pal with Creativity Suite 3.1 promotion. It works like this – Buy a Flip-Pal with Creativity Suite 3.1 from Family Roots Publishing between now and midnight MST, December 24 2013, and we will throw in our popular Dating Old Photographs CD-ROM, the More Dating Old Photographs book, and a copy of Tony’s Paper Trees genealogical clip-art, with the Fun Pedigree Charts instruction brochure. These items are valued at over $50 – and they are FREE with the purchase of a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Creativity Suite 3.1! This is a great deal on the Flip-Pal mobile scanner, and I’m so excited about it, as I know anyone buying the package will have fun! fun! fun! this holiday season!

To read more about the Paper Trees genealogical clip-art book, see my review, also published in the Genealogyblog.

As I have written numerous times before, I now use a Flip-Pal mobile scanner for most of my on-the-road scanning projects, as well as the scanning of any photos under 4×6 inches in size (that’s the size of the scanner bed). I have had a personal unit nearly a year now. Dale also has one of his own. In that time, we’ve scanned more photos than ever before in our entire lives! We got started when Dale and I had a business trip in which we had to drive nearly 3000 miles. During the drive, Dale scanned thousands of my pictures – right there about 3 feet from me. We had a large box full of photos, many still in the envelopes from the processor – most 30 to 40 years old. Many I hadn’t seen since I took the pictures. Last October, my brother, Steve, flew down from Washington State, bringing a suitcase full of the old family photos with him. We scanned many of them, and more when he came to visit last December And we’ve have a couple major scanning sessions since then.

I’ve been scanning my genealogy documents as well as my pictures. I’ve been using a flatbed scanner, as well as a high-speed scanner with a feeder attached. I’ve now added my Flip-Pal to that mix. The flatbed scanner is still my scanner of choice if I’m home and I’m scanning 8.5 x 11 documents. Otherwise most of the scanning has been switched to my Flip-Pal.

As I’ve said before, The big advantage for me has been that I can scan my “under 4 x 6″ photos a lot faster then usual using the Flip-Pal. Large photos and documents can be scanned in several shots, and then stitched together perfectly using the software provided with every Flip-Pal. This works equally well wheither I’m using a PC or my Mac. (Note – if using a Mac, be sure and shut off the auto-upload to iPhoto). Scanning albums is nearly as easy as scanning indiviual pictures. I recently scanned an album that belonged to my mother, with many of the photos glued into place. I took the lid off of the scanner, turned it over, laid the scanner on the pictures on the album page – lined it up by looking right through the scanner – and pressed the scan button. The scanner has a little window on it where the user can check to see if the scan came out good – just like your digital camera. Scans can be made in both 300 dpi, and 600 dpi. I leave my scanner defaulted to 600 dpi, just in case I want to blow them up. As noted above, the software supplied with the scanner is both Windows and Mac compatible.

Flip-Pal-3.1-Creativity-Suite-300pw

The Flip-Pal is battery-operated, allowing full portability. When I made my first scans, I was using typical AA batteries that I bought in quantity at Costco. As I remember it, I was getting about 400 scans or so on a set of four batteries. I quickly realized that I was going to save huge quantities of money by purchasing an AC AA battery charger and a dozen batteries. That was a smart move. When I purchased my Flip-Pal, the only case available had no pockets for supplies. A deluxe case is now available – complete with pockets where I keep my extra SD Cards, Sketch, and batteries. The earlier cases have been discontinued.

Another innovation is the Flip-Pal Sketch. You just lay the Sketch on photo that you wish to make notes on (like people’s names!), and scan the picture through the marked-up Sketch – thus identifying folks in the picture. It works great – making identifying photos while in your relatives’ homes easier than ever. Nearly 2 years ago, my friend, Pat Rchley (DearMyrtle), pointed out to me that she uses two Sketches – one that she’s scanning, and another that she’s having her relatives doing the writing on, thus speeding up the process. The Sketch now comes with 3 wet-erase pens in the initial package. Dale pointed out to me a few days ago that baby-wipes work perfectly for wiping the Sketch clean between pictures.

A while back, Flip-Pal came out with a unique scanner cleaning cloth that I absolutely love! Costing only $4.99, the cloth can be used for a number of uses. Not only can you clean the fingerprints, smudges, and dust from your scanner, but the dense-knit cloth can be used as a dark background when placed over 3D objects (medals, coins, jewelry, etc.) for scanning.

Two other innovations are software collections put together on DVD for the Flip-Pal, and available only with the purchase of a Flip-Pal mobile scannner. A DVD product available is the Flip-Pal Creative Suite 2.1 software which runns on any PC running WindowsXP. Vista, 7 & 8. The package includes PagePlus Essentials; PhotoPlus Essentials; WebPlus Essentials; Digital Scrapbook Artist 2; and SlideShow Expressions; software. The downside of this software is that it only runs on PCs.

A while back, a Flip-Pal Creativity Suite 3.1 (updated from 3.0) on DVD was added to the Flip-Pal line-up. This software package will runs on PCs and Macs – and includes the unsurpassed Adobe Photoshop Elements 11, and is what I’m using to colorize and fill in the pedigree charts I’ll again be giving away this Christmas. This software also helps you turn your precious photos into sensational photos. Use automated options to crop, fine tune, repair and retouch your photos, tag and share photos with your social network and quickly organize, find, view and manage all your photos and video clips. As a Mac user, I’ve been using this software on a daily basis for years – and virtually every illustration on GenealogyBlog.com has undergone manipulation with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Also included is Corel’s Paint It! software. It allows you to choose a painting style and watch the automated painting process create perfect hand-painted photo art. A third software on the DVD is Logo Design Studio Pro, allowing the user to produce professional logos for any business, non-profit, or personal use.

The Flip-Pal has been approved for use not only in the Library of Congress, but in many libraries and archives worldwide. It’s gentle on documents, as it’s very light, and you do not move it across a document. And speaking of light, very little is used in the scanning process – thus protecting those precious old documents. Items that could not be photocopied can be scanned with the Flip-Pal.

Family Roots Publishing stocks Flip-Pals – and ships them on a daily basis. The Flip-Pal unit itself sells for under $150, while the Flip-Pal with the Creative Suite 2.1 sells for under $200. The latest addition to the line-up, the Flip-Pal with Creativity Suite 3.1 (detailed above) sells for $209.99. Yes – it’s $10 more, but if you want to use Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (which I recommend), it’s a great price, and with the offer we’re making for Christmas 2013, it’s an even better deal!

As I noted above, Family Roots Publishing is now offering our Genealogy Newsline, and GenealogyBlog readers, and customers a great deal for Christmas 2013. Buy any Flip-Pal mobile scanner and we’ll throw in:

Buy a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Creativity Suite 3.1 and we’ll also throw in:

To get the free stuff with the purchase of a basic Flip-Pal or the Flip-Pal with Creative Suite 2.1, just type the word “Dating” in the “Order Notes” box at checkout (not the “Offer Code” box).

To get ALL THE FREE STUFF, purchase a Flip-Pal mobile scanner with Creativity Suite 3.1, typing the word “Pedigree” in the “Order Notes” box at checkout (not the “Offer Code” box).

Don’t order the free items, unless you want additional copies, as you’ll automatically get them with your purchase.

The above offer ends at Midnight MST, December 24, 2013 – so order your Flip-Pal mobile scanner today!

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As a user myself, I highly recommend that you add on the following items when purchasing a Flip-Pal