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.**

Crafting Genealogy: Put Them On A Pedestal

Framed Photo Pedestal

Framed Photo Pedestal

Good to see you again for Crafting Genealogy. This time we’re going to put you or your loved ones on a pedestal. A Framed Photo Pedestal! We’re working with a cool little shadow box frame and an unusual base. We’re going to put our shadow box on a wooden candlestick. This is a fun, easy project and can be finished in an afternoon.

Here’s what we’re going to need:

Unfinished wood candlestick – mine is about 7” tall from Hobby Lobby ($2.99)*
Unfinished wooden shadow box – this one is 6×8” again from Hobby Lobby ($4.99)**
Acrylic paint – today I’m using turquoise and white
Inexpensive paint brush
Wood glue
Family photo
Small piece scrapbook paper – about 6×8”

Framed Photo Pedestal

Framed Photo Pedestal Supplies

First I took my shadow box apart setting aside the piece of glass and wood backing. Using the turquoise acrylic paint I gave the frame and the interior pieces a quick coat. While they were drying I took the metal piece out of the top of the candle.

Framed Photo Pedestal

Framed Photo Pedestal – wooden candlestick

Please be careful with this step. The metal piece in my candlestick was glued down pretty well. I used a needle nose plier to bend the metal sides inward and a regular plier to pull the metal out. After the metal was out I painted the candlestick with the turquoise paint too. At this point you can either let your pieces air dry or move along the drying process with a hair dryer.

Framed Photo Pedestal

Framed Photo Pedestal – coat of paint

Once the frame and candlestick were dry I took the white paint and thinned it down just a little by adding a few drops of water. I wanted to cover the turquoise paint with the white yet having a bit of that turquoise hue show through. Add the water just a drop or two at a time. It’s surprising just how a couple drops will thin the white paint. Once the candlestick and frame are “washed” in this white paint allow them to dry or again speed up the drying with a hair dryer.

Framed Photo Pedestal

Framed Photo Pedestal – Second coat of paint

When this coat of paint was dry I put a little dab of the turquoise paint on my brush. Then I “painted” a scrap piece of paper removing most of the paint. With this dry brush method I sparingly, very sparingly applied paint to the candlestick and frame. My aim was a shabby, antique look for my finished project. It didn’t take long for this part to dry.

I used the wood glue to adhere the now finished frame to the top of the candlestick. I cleaned the glass on my frame, added a photo adhered to a piece of scrapbook paper and viola! A unique and rather cool photo frame pedestal! Painting two or three of these shadow boxes and candlesticks in a color that would accent your décor would make a great grouping on a shelf or end table. I certainly wish I’d made a couple more!

Now I know it’s hard to see the turquoise highlights on the frame and candlestick in this photo but they are there. I think this project would look great completely white too which would reduce a couple steps if you wanted your frames one color.

Framed Photo Pedestal

Framed Photo Pedestal

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

In the mean time have fun Crafting Genealogy!

* Remember to use your 40% off coupon from your Sunday paper or smart phone app.
** I used a shadow box frame since the sides are wider and cover the top of the candlestick completely. If this isn’t a problem for you by all means use a regular frame to top the candlestick.

Crafting Genealogy With a “Love my Family History Banner”

Love My Family History Banner

Love My Family History Banner

This time on Crafting Genealogy* we’re going to mix a little paper crafting with the “Love Month” and create a “Love my Family History Banner”.
I’ve always been crazy about the banners I see splashed across the web and thought one showcasing some of our family history would be fun to make and a neat home accent as we plod along this winter.

So what do we need?
1. Assorted decorative papers/card stock
2. Copies of family photos
3. Scissors/craft knife
4. Pencil
5. Ruler
6. Glue
7. Ribbon
8. Hole Punch
9. Cardboard (optional)
10. Embellishments (optional)

I decided to make the individual flags on my banner a little sturdier than the paper’s weight so I cut cardboard (shirt box, cake mix box, etc.) into 5″ x 7″ rectangles. I wasn’t sure yet what I’d use on each flag so I wanted it heavy enough to hold buttons, metal findings and so on if that’s how I finished each pennant.

Love My Family History Banner

Supplies

I glued the decorative paper to both sides of my rectangles. I wanted a finished look if any of the flags got flipped over showing the back side. I went with four flags for my banner but make yours as long or short as you want.

Love My Family History Banner

Next on the back side of each rectangle I measured the halfway mark of one 5″ side – which is 2-1/2″. I made a small hash mark there. This is the pointed end of the flag. Then I went up to each corner measuring from the corner down to the hash mark and marking this with a light pencil line. I took my craft knife and cut making the “V” shaped flags.

Love My Family History Banner

Now let your creativity loose! I wanted to use photos of couples from my family’s history for my love banner so that dictated which photos I used. My pics include my parents, my maternal and paternal grandparents and my paternal great grandparents. On this project I used a couple photos I printed out on my printer. Since I’d only be using adhesive on the back side of the pics I didn’t run the risk of smearing the ink on a pic from my printer.

Once I had the photos adhered I only added a few light embellishments to each flag but with the cardboard base they were sturdy enough to hold heavier items.

Let me add here the only pic I have of my paternal grandparents has an infant in the photo with them. That’s why I added the small crocheted piece to cover the baby. Sorry Uncle Adolph!

I used a hole punch for the two holes in the top of each pennant. I had some eyelets and an eyelet setter so I decided to finish the openings off with these but that’s optional. The banner looks great without them.

Love My Family History Banner

Finally I used some decorative string for my banner but use ribbon, twine, or whatever you have to set off your finished piece. Viola! Your “Love my Family History banner” is finished.

I used an ink pad and ran it along the edges of each pennant. I don’t think it made a lot of difference but it is an idea to add a little depth to each flag. I also have a couple decorative paper punches which I used to make the tops of a couple of the pennants. You can use paper, lace or anything you want to top off your flags or nothing at all! It’s your choice.

Of course your banner can have any number of family history themes from pics of grandkids to ancestors with fabulously fashionable hats. Whatever family history you choose to display I’m sure you’ll get great compliments and an opportunity to share just a little bit about your family’s genealogy.
Craft, display, enjoy!

Love My Family History Banner

Love My Family History Banner

This post originally appeared on The In-Depth Genealogist Blog here.

Picture This Frame – Crafting Genealogy

Picture This Frame Project

Picture This Frame Project
Crafting Genealogy

This time on Crafting Genealogy we’re going to break out some paint and let our inner-artist run rampant. We’re going to make a “Picture This Frame”.

This project is a sweet way to display vintage family photographs with a frame that reflects the mood of a photo better than store-bought frames. What’s more it’s very easy to do. We’re taking artist’s stretched canvas and flipping them over to make shadow-box frames for our pics.

If this project looks familiar it was a post of mine on The In-Depth Genealogist blog last month.

Here’s the supplies we need:

*Stretched canvas over wooden frames – any size you want. Mine happen to be 6 x 8, 5 x 7 and 4 x 5
*Acrylic paint – again your choice. I used black, sienna, pale yellow, aqua, sage, white and gold
*Small Art Paint Brush
*Distressing tools – hammer, screwdriver, sanding paper, craft knife, metal file, etc.
*Decorative scrapbook paper
*Adhesive
*Vintage hardware, charms, ephemera (optional)
*Family pics (I used copies)

Stretched Wooden Framed Canvas Crafting Genealogy

Stretched Wooden Framed Canvas
Crafting Genealogy

As you can see I unwrapped my canvases from their plastic cover and flipped them over to get right to work. On the exposed wood of each frame I applied a solid base coat of paint. I used black paint for one, sienna on another and finally sage. (If you happen to have staples in the corners of your frames don’t worry I just painted over them. They give the frames ambiance.)

Canvas Frames Now Painted

Canvas Frames Now Painted

Once the base coat was dry, I layered on a couple different colors of paint on each frame. To the sage I added yellow and aqua. On the black frame I added sienna and yellow. On the sienna frame I mixed sienna with white to make a much lighter brown and added a few streaks of yellow. I didn’t worry if I layered a color on too heavy or a color seemed out-of-place once I added it. All this would be changed with distressing.

I hope I’ve got your interest, if so you can read the rest of Picture This Frame on The In-Depth Genealogist website here.