Helena Ahlstrom Jole

 I grew up in Ohio, the second of five kids. My three sisters and one brother are Kirsten, Peter, Betsey, and Barbara (who is sometimes Barb and sometimes Barbie). Kirsten is not in this picture.

We spent a lot of time singing and playing and reading together. When we get together now we like to play word games. (No, this isn't a word game.) What a crazy bunch!

 In 1992-93 I served a mission in Korea, Taejon. It was an amazing experience--very difficult but worth it. I love Korea! It's a beautiful country, in many ways. I got to know some wonderful people, and I got to do lots of things that I'd never done before (and wear funny-looking pants, sometimes!)

I posted some mission pictures online, and also created "Information for New Missionaries" for people getting ready to go to Taejon Mission.

 I graduated from Brigham Young University with a major in English and a minor in Korean. I worked hard on my Korean and I didn't want to lose it. I don't get to speak it very much now, but I have collected a lot of children's books in Korean, so every once in a while I'll pull one of those out and read it out loud to myself. ("Frog and Toad are Friends" is really quite funny in Korean).

 At BYU I met Douglas Jole. We had some friends in common, connected with the science fiction community there. The first time I saw Doug was before my mission. I went to a filksing in a friend's basement and he was there playing his fiddle. Later we ended up team-teaching Sunday School together. We got married shortly after I graduated with my B.A. and Doug graduated with his M.A. Here you can see a few wedding pictures. Aren't we cute?

 Right after we got married, Doug and I went to Korea and spent nine months teaching English. (It was kind of a working honeymoon!) I was happy to get to go back to Korea, and it was so fun to show Doug around. We had a great time exploring and made some good friends.

I have posted our Korea Scrapbook online, complete with notes and sources. This was my first scrapbook project! It took me about two years.

After Korea we spent three years in St. John's, Newfoundland. Don't know where Newfoundland is? Well, you go to Maine, and then you keep going for about two days, and then you get on a boat...

Doug went to grad school at Memorial University of Newfoundland (fondly known as "MUN") getting a PhD in folklore. He's writing his dissertation on scrapbooking as auto-ethnography. He's still working on the proposal, and hasn't started the actual dissertation yet.

Newfoundland is absolutely gorgeous, in a rugged, wild way, and the people are warm and friendly. We love the people, and we love the music! We still miss it. Here you can see a few Newfoundland photos.

While in Newfoundland I started doing pencil portraits from photos (it's a long story). I did take a lot of art classes when I was in high school, where I learned to make highlights in eyes and that sort of thing, but I mostly developed my technique through trial and error. When I was little my parents bought me reams of tracing paper and I traced everything in the house. The method I use for these portraits involves tracing, so I guess I've returned to my roots.

Doug and I painted a mural at Bruno's, an Italian restaurant in St. John's. Bruno and Gail treated us like family and fed us lots of yummy food. The mural was quite a job--it took us four months to get it done. For a while there I was swearing I would never do anything like that again, but now I want to have my own house so I can paint it all over!

I've been scrapbooking for a few years now. I've always liked working with paper, and after going to so many interesting places and taking so many photos that were important to me, I wanted to be able to use those photos to tell my stories. I've found that I enjoy it, and I especially enjoy the online scrapping communities that I've become part of.

This year I've had quite a few scrapbook layouts published in Creating Keepsakes magazine. I'm still amazed when I look at those pages! I'm also helping to write the FAQ for Two Peas in a Bucket.

My newest project is designing for Griff's Shortcuts. They make laser-cut accents for scrapbooking. I've been working on a line of frames which should be released pretty soon. It's been so fun to be involved in something like this--a lot of work, but exciting! I'm using Corel Draw, which means that I'm on the computer even more now. (Poor Doug!)

Other stuff...

Harry Potter British/American text comparison I've been working on a line-by-line comparison of the two versions.