Friday, May 20, 2011

Alphabet Photography

My last post was a family-based photography idea. After looking around on a few of the many websites that offer publishing, I found a really cool idea.
There is a website that actually sells these already, but what a fun project to do yourself! I’m talking about alphabet photography. The idea is to take every day objects and find letters, numbers, symbols etc to build your own masterpiece.
For example:

You get the idea. You can use the letters to spell your family’s last name, children’s names, make gifts for your neighbors and friends, or just use it to make some freakin’ cool art. Get your spouse and/or kids involved, too! Make it a game while travelling: Who can find objects that look like letters? What can you spell with the letters you found? You see? Limitless possibilities.
 I find these pictures to be quite inspiring. It encourages you to look at our ordinary world in an unordinary way and recognize the art and beauty that surrounds us. So get out there, enjoy this beautiful weather and find your own natural alphabet!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Photo Book Craft

Most of us have family members who live pretty far away. Sometimes the distance can be a blessing. But sometimes it means your children may not get to visit their favorite Aunt Mildred or cousin Lenny as often as they would like. Additionally, they may not even remember or recognize said relatives. Yes, modern day convenience has provided the means to visit our far off relatives, but there’s this annoying little thing called reality – finances, work, chores, and the indefinite feud over who REALLY broke grandma’s vase that one Thanksgiving – that usually gets in the way of our good intentions to see them.
I grew up not knowing many of my relatives. I wouldn’t know most of them if I saw them in person and I definitely couldn’t give you more than a handful of names. This means I know little of my lineage and even less about who/where they are. I decided I wanted my children to grow up knowing their aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. Even though we may not see them all the time, they should be able to recognize them and know about their families. So, I decided to make some family books.
There are many ways to create these. You could build them in the form of a scrapbook. You could upload your photos to one of the many sites that offer photo publishing such as Blurb, Photobucket or Snapfish. Or, you could even go green and recycle an old children’s book with your own photos. I haven’t decided which route I’m going to take yet. There are pro’s and con’s to each option. For example, the scrapbook way gives you ultimate creative freedom and expression. You can also add small trinkets and keepsakes specific to each family or family member. That may not be the best option for a young child, though. With the published copy, you have a nice clean design but the pages are usually thin and can tear easy. So I think for small children, the recycle idea might be the best way to go.
Here’s what I’m thinking. Take a few old books you have around the house, the kind with really thick pages designed for babies OR visit a second hand store that resells these books. Then, trace the shape of the book “page” on the picture you want to use. Close portraits will work best. Cut around the line you traced and use plenty of non-toxic glue to adhere your picture to the page. Print off the name and relation of the person using photo finish paper for the other side of the page. You can get more elaborate and include some things about that person if you like. Then make a cover for each book you create. If you have enough pictures, you can create one book per family. For example, you could make a book for each of your siblings: “The Jones Family”, “The Harrison Family” and “The Smith Family”. Or, if the families are smaller, you can make one big book with everyone and call it “My Family Tree”.
Since families can change quite a bit in their first few years, you can also make a binder book with plastic sheet protectors so you can interchange pictures more frequently. This will allow you to finally do something with all those 2”x3” school portraits you get from your nieces and nephews each year. If you want it to be an interactive book, you can allow them to color, paint or otherwise “play” with the faces of their family members to their hearts content. Maybe next time they see dear old Uncle Bob, they can remember how they gave them a curly moustache. Hehe. I think I’ll make a copy for myself to doodle on, too.
Once I have a finished version of this project, I will post some pictures to give you more inspiration. If you take on this project before I get around to it, though, please share!
Happy Crafting!