Monday, September 13, 2010

Family Tree in PICTURES

When I first saw the subject for the weekly blog hops for the Family Celebration, I saw this week's and thought, "Well that's one I won't be participating in." It's about family inspired crafts.

I am not a crafty person. I have dabbled a bit more than usual in the art this last year than I have in years past. I have some final results I really like and ideas for more, but many of my projects remain unfinished. I didn't think I had anything to contribute to this blog hop.

But then it hit me. I did have a craft to offer. At least I think it counts as a craft:) It didn't require any skills with paint, pens, mod podge, or glitter. It's a project that's taken me four years and I am on the cusp of finishing it.

It started when we bought our first home four years ago. Finally we had some really wall space to work with. And for the first time ever, we had a family room. Being the family sciences major and family enthusiast that I am, I wanted to have a family theme for our family room. I was struck with the brilliant (I don't think it was mine, so I can call it brilliant:)) idea to devote an entire wall to a family tree in pictures. I thought pictures would be a great way for my then one year old son to start getting to know his relatives and ancestors.

And so I put out the call to my family and Bret's for pictures. I had a few already in my own collection. Some family responded with not just the one picture I asked for, but packets of amazing pictures! Other pictures have proven more difficult to get a hold of. I still lack one necessary picture.

I didn't want to try to put the collection on the wall until I had all the pictures. That way I could play with different arrangements on the floor before committing to something more permanent on the wall. That and I ended up having twins just over a year later. The project came to a halt. But I did happen across a clearance of large metal letters that seemed like a good addition to the as-yet-non-existent family wall, so I bought the two letters representing our family names.

And then we moved! And the house we bought was so much easier to decorate than our first. Michael's and Robert's became my most favorite stores. I had been planning on placing all the pictures in individual frames. But one day, while perusing the Michael's weekly flier I spied a collage frame that jumped from the page yelling, "I'm perfect for your family tree project! Buy me!!" After I got over the shock of being yelled at by an inanimate object, I measured the wall to make sure they'd fit then went and bought four of the frames (on sale for $3.99 each! I love Michael's frame sales!!). Collages meant I could hang the pictures I already had without having to wait for the rest! Yay!

Then, with the help of my husband, a tape measure, a pencil, and a hammer and nails this was hung on our wall:

Our family picture is in the middle. Under the H is Bret's nuclear family then his parents' and grandparents' families in the frame of the left. The right is the same for my side of the family. The frames with our grandparents' pictures even lend themselves to the branching style of family trees you normally see. In the 5X7 slots I put a tree picture with family names and the pictures of our parents' families, then branching off from that I put the pictures of our grandparents' families.

Here's a closer shot of my family frame:

We both come from families of six. I put a picture of our families when we were little tykes; a picture of our families now- spouses, kids, and all; and separate pictures of our parents and our three siblings. The unfilled spot will be taken up by a picture of trees and our family name, which I have yet to make.

The further back in generations we went, the harder it was to find pictures. For most of the last generation I sought pictures for, I ended up photoshopping (after a tutorial from Bret) together a picture of the parents with a picture of the children. Like so:

Don't you just love old pictures? Well, I do! Especially when I know who is in them. My grandparent's made for cute kids. We have good genes in our family;)

So there you have it! A family tree in pictures.

The boys love it. They'll stand on the couch and point to people the know, excitedly shouting out names while I tell them about the time they met Mommy's grandpa or the last time we saw Daddy's grandmother or a far-away uncle. It's so fun to see them excited about our family! Bret gets into it, too. He'll show the wall to people who come over and talk about his Australian, Indonesian, and Dutch roots. You don't have to go far in his family before you get out of the country!

Now to just get the last family picture and make that last name picture...Then I can finally take down the "work in progress" sign:)


Chocolate on my Cranium said...

Wonderful! And such a great way for your children to really get to "know" their ancestors and extended family.

Jocelyn Christensen said...

This is a great "craft"! I consider anything that you make to be your own personal 'craft'...You are a's a divine work to embark on whether or not you consider yourself "crafty"! :) Great job! And thank you for sharing! :)

Jordan (MamaBlogga) said...

I love that! We have a couple photos of our whole families around, and the children will periodically them up and name everyone in the pictures. It's always fun to realize they remember them all!

Lindsey the Muse-r said...

And yes, Jocelyn, I've tried to take Pres. Uchtdorf's talk on the subject to heart since I first heard it and put my innate creativity to work. It's been a fun ride:)

famr_4evr said...

This is such a great idea. Kids love to look at pictures, and this way no one is left out. I love it!

Jodi said...

I've been wanting to do something like this forever -- I've got a lot of pictures on my walls of my family (since I lived in the house before we were married - 5 years ago!) and I still don't have any pictures of my husbands side of the family. My boys love for me to take the collage frames off the wall and they point at nana and papa and aunts and uncles. I need to update them with new cousins! Thanks for the inspriation.

Cassi : ) said...

great idea - i love pictures anyways but hadn't considered putting up anyone outside our immediate family, that's a really great idea!