How many old pictures of your family do you have lying around in boxes, not in scrapbooks? If you're anything like me, you've got a whole drawer full! I love the thought of having a heritage book to pass down through the generations with pictures and stories from the ancestors before us, but when it comes to putting it together, I drag my feet. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I want to make it really special and well put together, or it could be the extra care I take with the photos, or maybe it's the dark colors that are usually associated with the vintage look. The point is, I have a hard time getting motivated to just do it and I figured that some of you might as well. Hopefully these tips will inspire you to get out those pictures and put them into the books.
The first step in any big project (and yes, this counts as a big project) is to organize. Here is how I have organized all the information and pictures that I have in order to efficiently and correctly document my heritage.
- Separate your pictures. Get a photo box (or a shoebox will work as well) and organize your pictures in whichever way makes the most sense to you. For my album, I organized by person. I made dividers using 3"x5" cards and labeled each one with a different relative's name on it. Whenever I get a new picture, I simply put it in the provided space.
- Organize your stories. I spent a lot of time with my great grandmother before she died, just writing down all her stories. I tried my best to write them exactly how she told them so that I could be as accurate as possible. The easiest way to keep these stories is to organize them in a notebook. Every time you think of something that you want to remember or document, make a notation of it in your heritage notebook. This will insure that you'll remember the names and places in the story and that you'll remember to include it in your heritage book.
- Collect ephemera. Grab a box that will house all of the objects that you've collected to add into the scrapbook. For the most part, you'll probably have letters or postcards, but you might happen upon some larger items as well, such as programs or diplomas. Put each piece inside a baggy with the name of the person clearly labeled on it. This way, when you sit down to do your pages, you can search for the correct person's bag and use those items.
Now that you've organized your photos, information and ephemera, it's time to get down to business. Don't be afraid to throw out your rules of design and aesthetics in your heritage book. It might even look better if it's not perfect. Here are a couple fun ideas that might motivate you to take the first step towards completing your heritage book:
- Go simple at first. Using only cardstock, adhesive and a journaling pen can be liberating at times and can sometimes really work on a heritage page. Anything that highlights a vintage picture will look pleasing to the eye.
- Distress. Using things like walnut ink, sandpaper and inkpads can help to make your heritage pages more vintage looking. By distressing the page, you're making it look authentic. If you've got a paper or embellishment that you think would be perfect for your page, but it's just too bright and shiny to fit, distress it. After throwing a little acrylic paint or walnut ink on that thing, you'll be looking at a whole new "old" piece to use!
- Don't be afraid to make a mistake. Sometimes a scribble or a scratch here can make it look homemade. That's the exact look you'll be going for in this book.
- Break away from the darks. Although the dark pages may look the part of a vintage page, light ones can too. Try using light pastels for your heritage pages to make you feel like you're not doing the same thing over and over again.
- Journaling is key. Want a new take on the journaling? Write the story through your relative's eyes. Do your research. Find out what was going on during the time that your pictures were taken. The internet is a great resource.
I know that it might seem like a daunting task, but once you take that first step toward completing your heritage book, you'll be amazed at how easy it will be. Your heritage is important and your family for generations to come will appreciate all the work that you put into it.