Thursday, January 19, 2017

Family Tree Compilation

Let me explain the history behind this picture/page. My mother-in-law asked us early in November to send some current pictures of us to her. They wanted to compile a family collage for her cousins wife, per her request, because as Judy said, the only ones I every see pictures or hear from is Rory and Sandy's family on Facebook. And getting a group family picture happened just once in 2000. Got that? MIL honoring a request from cousins wife for updated family pictures. 

After hearing the request, my mind immediately went to, I can help with that and then some. Trying to gather current photos of family members with busy schedules, who live all over the country and not always the quickest to respond either, I went to Facebook where I am friends with all of them. I grabbed the best photos I could. I also used wedding photos from the previous year of my niece and her hubs. The first grandchild getting married is a momentous occasion, after all. 

How to organize the collage 
After I had the pictures gathered on my phone, knowing I would use the Project Life App to make the "collage" I had to figure out how to organize 4 families onto one page, all with separate photos - my in-laws, our family, and the two brothers families. There are so many ways to do this, and using my other digital software, the retired My Digital Studio, I am sure I could render something fantastic. But I was really looking for simple and fast and affordable. 

Scrolling through the different layout options in the app, I came across Squared Away 16, which if you follow my blog regularly, you have seen me use this layout a lot recently. There is a reason for that. You can have one central main photo, or card (as a title) and same sized photos around the perimeter, a dozen to be exact. It just works for so many occasions! 

After I figured out the layout, it came together very quickly, like in minutes. I didn't want any titling or text this time. I wanted to keep the pictures the focus. Put the parents (in-laws) in the middle in the big spot as they are central to the family. I did use their 2015 Christmas card picture, but it was still very current looking, and a good picture of both of them. Okay, who is next in the family tree? The brothers, put them in the 3 corners, and me in the fourth corner, as I am the only wife-in-law currently. And then pull the kids that correspond to each son in the row by them. The oldest son has 4 kids so I put 2 up and 2 left of him. And because most of these were Facebook photos I was able to use the photo editing option within the app to help lighten and brighten the photos. 

Truly gathering the pictures took the longest (a few weeks to get them). About 10 minutes to figure out the layout, and minutes to put the photos in and edit them. 

We were going to make copies for the parents and the brothers, and then I thought, we should have our own copy (kind of a duh moment, we all have them). And lets print a copy for each of my kids books too. Oh while we are at it, lets print 2 extra to put on our wall and the parents wall, which we had framed. But I wasn't done yet....


I was having so much fun with this project I decided to make a picture of the beginning of the family tree, the parents and the 3 brothers. And I still wasn't done making compilations...


I thought why not make each family a compilation. And on these I sometimes used different pictures. This time I thought it appropriate to add names. For ours I included a wedding picture and a picture of us on our 20th anniversary. It seemed fitting.
Our family (obviously) pictured above.


Eldest brothers family above.


Youngest brothers family pictured above.

I used the Heritage Edition, but the Cinnamon Edition would have worked just as well. For the 3 brothers I used three different layouts because I a) wanted a different look b) wanted to make sure I included everyone c) size of the photos were different since I tried to use different photos. Again, these all came together very quickly. I believe I only spent a few hours total on the project, more fussing with photo editing and playing with layouts than anything. 

Initially we were only going to print the collage of the whole family, right? Well when I went to order prints I ordered a complete set for each brother and the parents. I ended up printing a bunch of recent pages of our family activities for the parents. We ended up buying (gasp, i had to go retail) albums from the M store because I couldn't order from myself in time to ship as fast as I wanted to get them in the mail. The shame of it all! ;-) 

The parents are now anxiously waiting for more pages from their album. They keep the album out on their coffee table. As they continue to age, this will be so important as a memory tool for them. And they live in a small one bedroom, with their walls already pretty filled up. An album was a win-win for them. 

Addressing the non family tree genealogy crowd, have you done something similar with family, or are you blessed to have occasional family gatherings and get a group picture? Side note, the last family picture I had with my parents was at our wedding. I certainly take pictures of what I can, daily, but sometimes the difficulty lies in assembling the required participants!

I am quite serious when I say, less than five minutes after we hung our copy of the top picture, both our kids noticed. Minutes. we didn't have to say a word. And both of them were very happy to see something like that on the wall. It is easier to be aware of those people in our day to day lives and (not forget) our extended families. That is part of why this project ended up being so important to me. my own mothers family tree died off in May of 2016, leaving me, and in turn, my kids, as the sole survivors of that branch. It was always a small tree. And it is something I am likely to come back to address in the future.

I would love to hear what you have done to manage a similar situation. While these may not be the greatest photos each of us have had taken, it is the relationships between all of us which seemed most important in documenting. Weigh in below.

Thank you very much for stopping by today.

Keep being creative, Sandy




Thank you for stopping by today!

Keep being creative, Sandy

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