The family. we were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.

– Erma Bombeck

February is the month of love, and as such, love is a popular blogging topic this time of year. But for many of us (myself included), romantic love just isn’t a focus in our lives at the moment, for whatever reasons, and for whatever season. So I thought my little blog could focus on love of other kinds this month. This week, it’s all about family.

Family Love

Most scrapbookers and journalers, and even planner girls I know got started with their hobby because of a love for their families. Think about it. We make scrapbook pages, filling volumes of albums, about the people (and pets!) who are most important to us – our families. Whether it’s your extended family, your nuclear family, or your alternative family, I’d bet if I flipped through your pages, I’d find tons of photos and information about them. Why? I believe it’s because even if they drive us crazy, even if they themselves are crazy, even if they are the most dysfunctional people we know, we cannot help but to deeply love our families.

They are the ones who celebrate with us in good times and weep with us in bad times. We can go days, weeks, months, and even years  without having contact, but our hearts still long for the love of the ones we grew up with, sharing experiences no one else would understand. It’s a bond that can be strained, but is never fully broken.

Creating a Family Tree

Recently, I had the pleasure of creating a layout for my ScrapHappy friend Alice Boll to be used in her Layout A Day challenge. The prompt was to create a page based on your family tree. Honestly, doing something like this has always been on my scrappy bucket list, and I suppose because of that, I almost immediately got a vision for what I’d want that page to be.

I started out at Ancestry.com. I knew I could create a visual representation of my family tree, so I set up a free trial account and started punching in information. By the way, the commercials are true! It really is a thrill to see a leaf pop up for a family member, and you can spend hours tracking down new and interesting tidbits about your ancestors. For my purposes, I set up a simple tree starting with my parents, continuing with me and my siblings (I’m the youngest of 6!), and our children. I did not include spouses, and I stopped with the third generation – anything more simply wouldn’t fit on a 12 x 12 spread, which was the format I was working with.

 

NOTE: You can plug in photos of your family members as you add them to your tree. I was working within a deadline, so I didn’t use that option, but it would look really cool on a scrapbook or journal page if you did!

Scrapbooking Your Family Tree

I decided that I would try to use the printed family tree and paint an actual tree around it. I printed the chart from Ancestry.com using a laser printer. I had to work with the settings a little to shrink the printout enough so that it was no wider than 12″. Once I had that, I pasted the chart to a piece of white 12″ x 12″ cardstock, then coated the whole thing with clear gesso.

I watched this SUPER inspiring and helpful video to learn how to use my Walmart Crayola brand watercolors to create something that would look like a tree.

Then practiced in a watercolor journal. I highly recommend practicing before you commit to your actual layout, especially if you are not familiar with the medium and/or the subject matter that you will attempt to create.

Next, I transferred my newly learned skills to the actual page. If you try this, don’t be alarmed by the wrinkling and warping. This is simply what happens when water meets paper. Once everything is dry, you can place your layout underneath a towel or pillowcase and go over it with a hot iron to press it out.

The next step is to just put it all together with photo(s), embellishments, title, and journaling. Get as wildly creative or go as simple as you like. I think I landed somewhere in the middle, with a two-part title using woodgrain and pink glitter Thickers and mini alphabet stickers.

Just a simple strip of patterned paper behind the matted photo, part of a border sticker, and a round sticker make up the embellishments.

Confession: All the little things I needed to stick down wouldn’t stick down so well. This was because the clear gesso gives the paper a “tooth,” or grainy texture. Just use a good liquid glue, such as Beacon 3-in-1, to remedy that problem.

Have you done a family tree layout? I’d love to see! Link me up in the comments or come on over to the MKP Facebook group and show us what you’ve got!

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