Monday, March 8, 2010

We are family


This has nothing to do with sewing, but it is a fun project that I wanted to share.

About 10 years ago my mom completed a beautiful fan-shaped family tree she'd bought through Martha Stewart (like this one). I've always loved it, but knew I would never do it. Mainly because of my handwriting. My mom has gorgeous, even handwriting and the completed chart is a masterpiece.

In December I was at one of my favorite funky craft fairs called the Beehive Bazaar in Provo, Utah and saw this family tree version that spoke to me. I loved the colors and the simple, graphic design. And I felt like the style would work with/conceal my messy handwriting. So I bought the kit.
After sitting in my craft room for a few months, I finally got it out last week and assembled it. I. Love. It. It was really quick and easy to put together. All I needed was a pair of scissors, a Pigma pen, a frame (fits perfectly in an 18" x 24" frame - I got mine for 40% off at Michael's) and the names of our progenitors.
I love the finished look. For now I hung it on a wall in our family room/eating area because I just love to look at it. At some point I may frame some pictures of ancestors to hang around it and relocate them all to a bigger wall.
I already had copies of my and my husband's family trees, so the project moved quickly. If you haven't researched your family tree, there are lots of free resources on the internet to help you do that. (Family Search is a great place to start.) It's so rewarding.
Personally I love knowing my roots. Especially because so many of them worked so hard and sacrificed a lot to give their posterity the blessings that I now reap. Whenever I feel like my life is hard, I think of them, and then I buck-up. The woman above is my great-great-grandmother named Ida Hunt Udall. She was a cultured, educated, musically-talented woman who ended up raising her family on the Arizona frontier. She is one of my heroes.
My mom is descended from two Scandinavian great-grandfathers.
Whenever she has something she needs to get through she tells herself,
"I'm a Viking. I can do it."
She used to tell us that too.
I loved learning more about my husband's ancestors as I put this tree together. These are his grandparents whom I adore. His grandfather passed away a few years ago. My kids call their great-grandma Nonna - 'grandma' in Italian. Both of them were born to parents who emigrated from Italy during the early 20th Century. Both had siblings who had been born in Italy before the families left. Both of their mothers never really learned English and worked hard taking care of their large families.

A couple of years ago I was visiting the Lower Eastside Tenement Museum in Manhattan. (Such an awesome place!) One of the tiny tenement apartments had been restored to look like it did when an Italian immigrant family lived there in the 1930's. I started tearing-up thinking that this was my own childrens' heritage. My husband's great-grandparents lived in Portland, Maine, not Manhattan, but so much of their lifestyles would have been similar.

You can find these kits online here.

Happy researching!

20 comments:

  1. It's a masterpiece it is!! I like the idea of the frames family photos surrounding it!:)

    My dad was born and raised in Reggio Calabria, Italy...so I'm first generation American. The other day my sister and I were google mapping...you know..where you can see street level because a car has actually driven down the road and we were looking at the house where my dad was born, where his sister still lives....and by gosh there she was in the picture sitting on the veranda under the lemon tree....on google maps!!!!! Isn't that amazing!!!

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  2. My daughter-in-law hosted a scrapbooking get-together this past weekend and did a family tree. I'm so anxious to see it. I'm also so proud of my roots and the ease of my life thanks to the hardships they went through.

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  3. I love your family tree and those antique pictures of your ancestors! I love genealogy and think we have so much to learn from those who have gone before.

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  4. I have the Martha Stewart Family tree just like your mom's. It still sits in a box, without any information on it. This is my year to get going again on my geneology, so I plan on pulling it out.

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  5. This is a lovely post. Your tree looks great, but, more importantly, it will hold the names of their forbears in front of your children in time to come. Sometimes we get so bogged down in the present we forget all that's been sacrificed to get us here and we forget to appreciate it- well, I do anyway. So thank you for the reminder!

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  6. That's just awesome. Way to go!

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  7. How wonderful! Both sides of my family (mom & dad) have always been enthusiastic about keeping up with our genealogy. My husband has an uncle who has done some terrific research; I'm going to see about doing one of those kits for each of my children -- it's really a great idea. I like the thought of it surrounded by old family photos! :)

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  8. Oh that is just pretty! It actually looks like something I would love to hang up on the wall. I am totally buying one.

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  9. What a neat idea! Thanks for sharing with us. And, by the way, I think your handwriting is lovely. :)

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  10. What fun! Your tree looks amazing.

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  11. oh hooray, thank you so much for spotlighting my family tree kits! I am not a quilter but you make me want to become one!

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  12. Came here from Design Mom...love your family tree--I might just get one of those kits for myself.

    And crazy, I was scrolling through the pictures and thought, "That photo is so familiar." Now I know why: Ida Hunt Udall is my great-great-grandmother too! I am from her son Grover Cleveland Udall...what about you? Are you from AZ?

    my blog is private, but you can email me at funakil(at)yahoo(dot)com.

    Thanks,
    Lindy (Udall) Funaki

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  13. Amy, it turned out so wonderful. What a treasure! I love your family photos too! I love the blend of old and sort of old. You really should frame them and put them up around your tree. cheers, Calli

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  14. I just LOVE it!....Love it....Love it...Love it!!!

    Now...where do I get one of these kits?

    As always, you are inspiring.

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  15. Awesome! Thanx for the link. I love that from a distance it just looks like a "art" tree. I stinkin' love trees and leaves. I'm totally plotting now. :)

    PS Jadyn is all healed, though she may have scars from the pins. I'm an organizational and scheduling disaster, but she sure missed C!

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  16. I love that family tree! Not only is it a great decoration for the wall but a very treasured piece that can be handed down to your children! It is simple to do yet adds so much! Very nice indeed!

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  17. I'm so loving that new show on Friday nights where they show a star's family history search. There is such a spirit to it that anyone and everyone can feel it. These pictures are fantastic. I love them.

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  18. This is probably the prettiest family tree ever.

    The worlds of crafts I create in my mind as I stroll through your blog are endless.

    And then I turn around and see reality: that I have traded my passion for crafting in for my passion for writing. While I don't regret it, the itch is still there. It's hard to let old passions die.

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  19. i love this!! i'm big into the idea of preserving history! i keep saying i'll make one of these... one day!

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  20. I think I found your blog through Ucreate. I can't remember for sure, but I have been going back through your posts and I love it! I'm so glad you shared the site for these tree kits. I've been wanting to make them for my parents and inlaws for Christmas. Thank you for finding them! I also love your nursing cover tutorial and the burp clothes. Baby items are on my mind since I am pregnant with #2. :)

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