#52 Ancestors Meets Up With #Crafting Genealogy again

Ancestor-o-dex completed card

Ancestor Rolodex

Do you remember way back in January when we all committed to #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks? This brilliant idea by Amy Johnson Crow encouraged us all to . . . 

. . . have one blog post each week devoted to a specific ancestor. It could be a story, a biography, a photograph, an outline of a research problem — anything that focuses on one ancestor.”

What a great idea! Not only should it get me blogging more, but also motivate me to take a deeper look at some of the people in my family tree.”

Well I did just that . . . . for awhile. The plan was I’d write each week about one of my ancestors then I would dedicate a rolodex card to them. See the explanation of that post here. Each card would have a copy of a pic, a memory or whatever struck me at the time. I’d use my vast stash of decorative paper and whatever bits of ribbon, twine, buttons, etc. I had. I was certain working with such a small canvas would ensure I’d get it done every week.

Well . . . that didn’t exactly happen either! Oops! But this past weekend I did work on my ancestor Rolodex file.

Gathering supplies: Rolodex cards, copies of pics, decorative paper

Gathering supplies: Rolodex cards, copies of pics, decorative paper

I grabbed several blank Rolodex cards, copies of my family pics, glue stick, ink pad and leftover pieces of my scrapbook paper. First I glued some background papers to my Rolodex cards.

Trying several layouts before gluing anything down

Trying several layouts with pics and papers

Once I had my photos where I wanted them I glued everything down. I also used an ink pad around the edges and corners. I love the vintage look ink gives this kind of project.

The finished Rolodex cards. I did write names in those blank boxes.

The finished Rolodex cards. I did write names in those blank boxes.

I do identify all ancestors before they go in the Rolodex file. I’m hoping to get several more cards done before Christmas when my older daughters come home. Who knows maybe this will spark a conversation or two! I’m always hoping to share a bit of family history with them.

In the mean time have fun Crafting Genealogy!

Crafting Genealogy: Beautiful Botanicals

Crafting Genealogy - Beautiful Botanicals

Beautiful Botanicals

Welcome back to Crafting Genealogy! This month we’re going to add a little color to our lives with these Beautiful Botanicals. I’m using them as bright and spirited holiday ornaments. They’ll be beautiful on my Christmas tree but could also be used as a tie on for a gift or maybe as a finishing touch to another craft project (book cover, front of greeting card, etc.). If you usually add a few hand-crafted items to your holiday giving these ornaments are ideal. This project barely takes an hour to complete and works well with any skill level. So get the kids to help and let’s get started Crafting Genealogy.

Gathering our supplies is easy:

* Glittery Botanicals – I bought these at Michaels after the holidays but all crafts stores have their Christmas decorations out now. So wander down the aisles and see what you can find.

* Copies of vintage family pics – this time I’m using portrait pics. They fit this project better.

* Paper – I used a page from an old dictionary and book but use scrapbook paper or whatever you have that compliments your botanicals.

* Decorative scissors, cookie cutters, etc. – I used these for different background shapes for the paper

* Glue – I used a glue stick and wet glue like Aleene’s for this project

* Chenille stems (optional)

* Ribbon, buttons, etc.

* Hanger (optional)

Crafting Genealogy - Beautiful Botanicals

Gather your supplies

First off I decided which way I wanted my botanicals to hang. A couple have the stems up and a couple have stems down. On those that have the stem at the top I made a loop out of the stem for a hanger. Those with the stems down I looped and knotted a piece of thread for a hanger. You can use fishing line, thin wire, dental floss or even a twist tie for your hanger. It’s on the back so no one will see it.

Next take your old book or dictionary pages to make a background for your photo Botanical. I eyeballed the size I would need depending on my leaf or branch size. I used decorative scissors to cut out one of the backgrounds but I also traced a tin, or use a cookie cutter, jar lid, even free-hand cut out your decorative background. I like the uneven variations better than perfect circles or ovals.

Crafting Genealogy - Beautiful Botanicals

Cutting out shapes

Now cut your photo copies just a bit smaller than the background. Decide how much of an edge you want behind each pic. Once everything is cut out lay your photos and backgrounds on your Botanicals. Make any adjustments and when you’re pleased with the layout glue the photos to the background (I’ll use a glue stick for this step) and then glue the background to the Botanicals (I’ll use small drops of liquid glue for this step to assure my photos/backgrounds are firmly adhered.

Finally add a few embellishments. I took some chenille stems and twisted them to make frames for some of my pics. (See photo) Add buttons, tie bits of ribbon or lace into bows or add the person’s name.

Crafting Genealogy - Beautiful Botanicals

Voila! Beautiful Botanicals

Your finished Botanicals will look great on your Christmas tree, holiday wreath, as a gift tie-on or string together as a banner. You’re bound to have kids or grandkids ask who the people in the photos are and what a great opportunity you’ll have to share some family history.

I hope you’ll try crafting your own Beautiful Botanicals. If you do and make your own variation of it, please send me a pic or two. I’ll share them in a future post giving all of us even more ideas and inspiration.

In the mean time have fun Crafting Genealogy!

Crafting Genealogy: We’re Making Family Spoons!

Crafting Genealogy - Family Spoons

Crafting Genealogy – Family Spoons

Welcome back to this month’s edition of Crafting Genealogy. Does your family play the game Spoons? The card game where there’s one less spoon than the number of people playing. The object is to get four of a kind as the cards are passed around the table. As soon as one player gets their four-of-a-kind they grab a spoon then so do the rest of the players. The player that doesn’t get a spoon is out of the game. My family loves playing it. It’s always lots of fun and full of laughs! Well we’re playing with spoons at Crafting Genealogy this time. Just in a little different way. We’re making Family Spoons! This project is fun, easy and can be completed in a couple of hours. So let’s get started.

Crafting Genealogy - Family Spoons

Supplies

Supplies needed:
Serving spoons/utensils – I used two purchased from a flea market and one brand new one
Copies of family photos
Adhesive
Wire, beads, ribbon, charms, pages from an old book, fabric pieces, buttons or lace. The embellishments you choose may be items you have in your craft drawer. Use your imagination.

I found the two vintage serving utensils at a flea market for the bargain price of $1 a piece. I love working with vintage items. The patina on just about any old item appeals to me but if that’s not your style use new serving pieces for this project. The new slotted spoon I used was purchased at the dollar store. I really like the background design the slots produce.

Crafting Genealogy - Family Spoons

Looking for just the right text from these old book pages

I suggest you work on the handles first. (I didn’t and had to let the glue on the bottom potion of the spoons dry before I could decorate the handles.) I was in a wire mood for this project and used a small spool my husband had on his work bench. It wasn’t marked but I’ll bet it was size 20 or 22. The wire was easy to bend and I used a pair of needle nose pliers to make a few curls. I also wrapped the wire around a pencil as I experimented with different shapes. Once I had the wire in the shapes I wanted I added a few beads and charm and pinched closed the ends of the wires with the pliers.

If you don’t have wire or like a softer look try using ribbon or lace for the handles. You could also use some decorative string or washi tape for another look. Maybe a simple bow at the top or midway is all you need if the handle is decorative and you don’t want to cover it up. At this point if you’d like to add a hanger to your utensils you can make a loop on the back of your handle with your ribbon or wire.

Crafting Genealogy - Family Spoons

Viewing the placing of my embellishments before I glue them down

Next I made sure the serving space on my utensils was free of dust and adhesive. I took my copied family photos and chose the ones that once I trimmed down would fit in the serving space on my utensils. After I trimmed my photos I laid them on the spoons and added different embellishments to see what looked pleasing to the eye.

As you can see on one of the pieces I didn’t use a background, one has a couple scraps from an old book page and the other uses a small leftover piece of fabric. I used very small amounts of Aleene’s Craft Glue to adhere the photos and the background pieces to the utensils. I used a couple of my kitchen bag clips to clamp the photos down where the serving spoon is a bit rounded. (In case your bag clip has ridges use a small piece of waxed paper between your photo and bag clip. That way you don’t leave the ridge pattern from the clip on your photo.)

Crafting Genealogy - Family Spoons

My grandmother

Once the glued photos have dried I added a few embellishments to finish each piece. The bottom of one spoon has clear glitter, another beads.

I’m really pleased with the way the spoons turned out. It was much easier than you might think. Just take a little time and play with the embellishments you’ve chosen. You’ll hit on a combination you’ll love!

Wouldn’t this be a sweet addition to a family recipe book! Add to the cover of the cookbook or as a tie-on to the wrapped gift.

Crafting Genealogy - Family Spoons

My great-grandmother

I hope you’ll try crafting your own Family Spoons. If you do and make your own variation of it, please send me a pic or two. I’ll share them in a future post giving all of us even more ideas and inspiration.

In the mean time have fun Crafting Genealogy!

Crafting Genealogy - Family Spoons

My mom

Crafting Genealogy: We’re Not Calling it Scrapbooking It’s Memory Keeping Updated!

Memory Keeping Updated!

Memory Keeping Updated!

Welcome back! This time in Crafting Genealogy we’re going to collect our photos, our memories and put them in a scrapbook, but this isn’t the scrapbooking you may remember from a few years back! Nope this process doesn’t involve the overwhelming task of creating works of art for one photo on one scrapbook page. Today’s scrapbooking is much simpler and doesn’t even require adhesive if you don’t want it to! The crafting world calls it #ProjectLife. I call it fun and easy.

My variation of #ProjectLife is getting photos into an album with as much journaling about the photo(s) as you want. It’s your preference there isn’t a wrong way to do this. The main objective is to get our pictures off our memory card and into albums where everyone can enjoy them.

Here’s the supplies we’re going to need:

* 8”x8” photo album – It can be a two ring binder type or a post-bound album. It can also be another size like 12”x12” album but I want to start out small and work up from here.
* Refill pages that fit your album. I bought one refill package with pages that held two 6”x4” pics and another package for four 4”x4” photos.
* ProjectLife journaling cards – I used a coupon* and bought a small box of these but I also have tons of scrapbook paper and cut some of my own journaling cards into 6”x4” and 4”x4” sizes.
* Photos – All photos I used here have been scanned and saved to my genealogy file on my laptop.
* Pen (for journaling)
* Paper cutter, corner rounder (optional)

Gathering our supplies

Gathering our supplies

So the first thing I did was decide what photos I wanted to use. I chose my childhood pics to put in this album. Once I gathered them all together I put them in chronological order. From there it was choosing what album refill pages to use. I eyeballed the size of my photos and put them accordingly in the album pages I bought. My childhood pics are all sizes from 4”x3” to 5”x5” and some 6”x4” scattered in.

Now the best part of this is just sliding your pics in the page openings. No adhesive, no gluing. I chose to slide a journaling card behind some of the smaller pics to give them a background and take up some room but you don’t have to. I also used my corner-rounder and rounded the corners on all the scrapbook papers/journaling cards I cut. Since the few journaling cards I bought had rounded corners it gave them the same appearance throughout my album but that’s optional.

You can cut your own journaling cards from scrapbook paper

You can cut your own journaling cards from scrapbook paper

On each page I left a photo opening for a journaling card to write about the pics on that page. All pics have at least the people in the photo and approximate dates journaled. My mom (God bless her) did put names and dates on the back of many of my baby pics. Those without dates I gave my best educated guess. If you look closer at a couple of the pages, I printed the photo info on labels and placed them close to the pic. I did that as an additional journaling option for you. Actually I think we should hand write all this info into our albums even if we think we have terrible handwriting (I know I do). I’m sure future generations will be happy to see our actual writing especially from this high-tech era we live in.

Just slide your photos and journaling cards into the openings.

Just slide your photos and journaling cards into the openings.

I also believe it’s really important to journal as you insert your photos. Besides names, dates, places add whatever tidbits of info you remember. Get it written down. I have a family photo of me, my parents and five siblings taken about 25 years ago. No date, no idea why we were all together and the pic was taken at my house!!! I’m sure I thought I’d never forget this occasion (especially since I hosted it) so I didn’t write it on the photo. Ugh! My guess is that we were celebrating my parent’s wedding anniversary, looking at how we’re dressed and the time of year but that’s just a guess. So write as much info down as you can! If you have a lot of information try slipping a card slightly smaller with the information behind the pic. Or your journaling card can be folded in two and slipped in the album. Just don’t lose that valuable family memory.

Now the great part of this scrapbooking is you don’t need to glue anything down. I can always pull these pics out of the page if needed. Especially if I want to see my mom’s hand writing on the back. I will say when I put together an album of current photos I usually adhere them to the background card. Since they’re digital pics to begin with I can get an exact copy made easily, which of course I can’t do with the old photos.

Another thought would be to use the full size 8”x8” page that comes with your album to add your children’s art work, larger photos, certificates, etc. to your album.

Viola!

Viola! Enjoy your finished album!

A nice option with this type of scrapbooking is that you don’t need to labor over lay-outs and try to be more creative with each page. You can put photos in an album, with journaling which adds a little bit of flair. Yet if you want to be more creative with your journaling cards you can. If you have a stash of scrapbook supplies add some of your rub-ons, stickers or ribbon to your journaling cards. The amount of time and effort involved is up to you.

This type of scrapbooking also makes a great gift. My genea-buddy sister and I made a scrapbook for our older sister celebrating her 75th birthday. The two of us spent two evenings putting together pages of photos with journaling through her 75 years for her scrapbook. She loved it. Her children loved it. I’ll bet we were thanked a dozen times for this gift.

So what I’m hoping you’ll do is print your Instagram photos (4”x4”), your cell phone pics, the photographs on your memory card and get those family moments in an album for everyone to enjoy. Journal about them. Don’t we all wish our great grandparents had done that with their photos? You’ll love your finished albums, your family will love them and your great grandchildren will one day have a precious family heirloom.

Have fun Crafting Genealogy!

* I always use my 40% off whether I’m at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnne’s, etc.

P.S. For additional ideas and inspiration just Google #ProjectLife. There are lots of images, blogs and tips to help with your album.

Crafting Genealogy: To the Letter – Family Photo Collage

To the Letter – Family Photo Collage

To the Letter – Family Photo Collage

I like to craft and I love researching my family history so what better way to combine these two hobbies than to start Crafting Genealogy! This column will give us all a chance to express some creativity as well as work with copies of our well-loved family photos and memorabilia.

In my family, like I’m sure many of you have experienced, my children and extended family members are terribly uninterested in my genealogy research. We’ve all had someone’s eyes glaze over and roll back in their head when we start to share a recent family history find but it’s different when I’m Crafting Genealogy.

When I have one of my completed projects on display in my house invariably someone will ask about it and the ancestor remembered in it. This opportunity gives me a chance to share a little bit about that long ago family member along with my craft. My hope is that some of that information sticks with the person and a future interest in genealogy will develop. At the very least my children will be aware of their great grandparents names and a tiny bit about them.

To the Letter – Family Photo Collage
I think this is a great project and easy to do. First we need to gather our materials.
Paper mache or wood Letter of your choosing. I’m working with a wood letter. I chose a “C” for my first name since my photos are from both my maternal and paternal side but it would be really cool if you worked on one family line and chose that surname’s first letter.
Acrylic paint/brush
Printed Photos* – Always use copies never, ever use the originals. I get all my copies of family photos from Walgreens. I wait until they have a 10 cent a print special and then do a bunch. I’m sure nearly every retailer that prints photos has similar specials.
Scissors
Modge Podge – foam brush
Brayer – optional
Used gift card – optional

Supplies

Gathering our supplies

The first thing I did was paint my letter** top and sides with black acrylic paint. (I used the paint that’s about $1 a bottle.) I chose black since I was working with black and white photos but you could always choose a color to compliment a room’s décor or color photos if you’re working with them.

Base coat of acrylic paint

Base coat of acrylic paint

After allowing the letter to dry I gathered the photos I wanted to use. I laid the photos out on my letter and moved them around until I had the placement I liked best. This is the trickiest part. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I tried to vary my photos so I didn’t have several darker ones in a row or two right next to each other that were taken at the same location. After I had the pics where I wanted them I took a photo of my layout with my phone. That way I could always refer back to it if needed to get the placement of the pictures just right.

Next trim your photos to fit the form of your letter. I used a pencil and made light marks to cut the photos to fit the curve of the “C”. You might round off the corners on a couple of pictures if you like so they’re not all square but do what’s pleasing to your eye.

Trim photos to fit letter

Trim photos to fit letter

Now we’re going to glue the pics on the letter with the Modge Podge. Take note of which photos overlap so that you’re gluing the bottom ones down first. With your foam brush apply a thin coat of Modge Podge to the back of your print and another thin coat to your letter. Press your pic down on your modged podged letter and smooth out. This is where I slide the brayer over the pic to eliminate any air bubbles beneath the photo. You can also use your fingers to do the same thing smoothing the print out from the center to the edges. Once that first pic is down just keep going until all photos are adhered to your letter.

Now to glue the photos down

Now to glue the photos down

Now that all your pics are glued down to your letter brush a coat of Modge Podge over the entire project to seal it. Modge Podge dries clear. Work quickly though, the Modge Podge will start to dry soon. It’s here that I used the old gift card for a smoother finish but the brush finish is fine too. Once on the wall you’re not noticing the finish. Let your project dry overnight. When dry attach a wall hanger to the back.
Voila! Now you have a really cool piece to hang in your genealogy space, home office, kids room or give as a gift. This is a great project for every level of creativity. Supplies are inexpensive and this project doesn’t take long to make.

Our finished project!

Our finished project!

If you make a Family Photo Collage or a variation of it send me a pic or two. I’ll credit you and share them in a future article of ideas and inspiration.
Also stop by my website at Genealogy Circle at www.genealogycircle.com and click on Crafting Genealogy at the top. You’ll see some of my other Crafting Genealogy projects with photos and instructions.

Until next time have fun Crafting Genealogy!

*I accidentally used a photo I printed out on my printer and had the entire side of the print start to bleed as I was spreading out that final coat of Modge Podge. I recommend using store printed photos.

Oops! Keep this in mind!

Oops! Keep this in mind!

**I bought my wooden letter “C” at Hobby Lobby when it was 50% off. (I wish I had bought more but will buy additional letters when they’re on sale again.) Even when it was not on sale it was only $2.97 or something like that. Very reasonable. My letter is 12 inches tall but size doesn’t matter, it’s up to you what size you work with.

**This article originally appeared as a blog post on the In-Depth Genealogist site here.**