Thursday, June 28, 2012

Family Tree Wall - A Vision Realized

I had this vision to make a family tree in our vast entry hallway that would represent both sides of our ancestors and our own family. I looked for inspiration on the internet and found some of what I envisioned, but nothing quite like what I had in mind. After toying around with the idea of cutting a tree out of wood and putting it on the wall I settled on simply painting the wall. Here is how I did it in case anyone ever tries to do the same thing. I will also share the image of the tree I made for downloading.

To do this I needed:
  • 28 frames - I decided to use silver ones from the dollar store that were all the same size.
  • Pictures of our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. I tried to get photos of them around middle aged so we could see what they really looked like
  • A way to attach/hang frames on the wall - I used foam wall stickers
  • exacto knife
  • spray adhesive
  • paint and paint roller
  • tree design

This image shows how I designed the tree using Photoshop. Illustrator would have made this a bit easier but I don't have it installed on my computer right now. To get the final tree lines I used the pen tool after free handing with the paint tool.
Next I made the tree life size in photoshop which equaled a very large file size. Thinking about it now, there are other ways I could have done this, oh well. I made a grid and printed each part then taped them together. I then put it on the wall to check the size and placement. I made marks on the paper and wall so I could line it up again later.

I then laid it on the table, grabbed my exacto knife and cutting board and carefully cut out the tree. To keep it from getting all weird I taped strips of paper across sections as I went.

Here it is all cut out and held together with strips of paper.

I read online that you could spray a stencil with spray adhesive, let it dry for a few minutes and then if you put it on the wall it will stick but not permanently and it won't leave a residue. Perfect. So I did that.

I then carefully carried it to the wall and stuck it there.  It worked.  Probably would have been easier with another person though.

I got out the mini foam roller and my paint and carefully rolled on the paint. At first I did it lightly, but then the paper started getting too wet for my 2nd and 3rd coats so at the end I painted a heavier coat just once or twice. 

Lastly I pulled off the stencil and threw it away. Using paper this stencil can only be used once, but I didn't need to use it again, so that didn't matter.

All done and ready for the photos.

Earlier I gathered the photos from family,  formatted them in photoshop to the right size, printed them at the photo center, cut them out and put them in the frames. Each one was attached to the wall using a foam wall sticker. I also considered using command strips. 

My frames had a stand on the back that I couldn't remove that made it so the frames weren't flush. To remedy this I cut out little squares of cardboard and hot glued them to the center back of each frame. I put the foam sticker on the cardboard and then it could stick to the wall. Clear as mud?

All done. Yay.

For the last part I need a new family photo that I am going to frame and put on the trunk at the bottom. Then as our family grows up we can put a new photo in every year or so.

I love seeing our ancestors and seeing how much they look like us or each other and I hope this way my own kids can be familiar with their great-great-grandparents on down.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Father's Day

It was a beautiful day yesterday and we had a nice Father's Day as well. 

The other day I was at Wal-mart and I overheard an employee talking to another employee. She was saying how she decided that she was going to take pictures of her and her brother by some large letters near here and spell out DAD. For a while I thought I would use that same idea with the kids and then I thought it would be cuter, because they are so cute, to have them make the letters themselves. Good idea in theory. I really didn't think it would be that hard to get William to hold still for 30 seconds while I snapped a picture. And I thought Cara would love to be held by Isaac. Neither of them agreed. Finally I got Will to stay put-ish for a couple of shots and I had to take separate photos of Cara and photoshop her into the picture. Despite all that I think it turned out pretty good though.

For dinner I made KC this Curried Butternut Squash and Pear Soup. Yum, if you like curry that is. We got the boys to try it and they didn't hate it but it was a little strong for them.

KC picked out his present on and we got a pasta maker/roller. So far we made wheat spaghetti noodles and I used the roller to roll out sheets of pasta and I cut them myself to make wheat lasagna noodles. I think they turned out pretty good for our first attempts.
Along with a nice long nap I think KC had a nice Father's Day. I hope he knows how much we love him and appreciate all that he does.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Do you want fries with that?

How do you get kids to eat vegetables? Bake them and call them Fries.

Like many people I like all things potato. Baked, boiled, mashed, fried etc.. But my kids won't eat them any way but as french fries. Along with potatoes we also had some zucchini, carrots just waiting for me to figure out a way to incorporate them into a meal.

Recently I pinned a recipe on pinterest that caught my eye.  Looks good, yes?
from: Voracious Vander
And this is yummy looking as well.

from: Naturally Ella
Add some rolls and fruit and we had ourselves a Fries Dinner. 

I knew the kids would eat the french fries, but I wasn't sure about the carrot and zucchini fries. We sat down to dinner and the boys were excited after KC told them we were going to have French fries, Canadian fries and American fries for dinner. We had to explain to them multiple time which ones were Canadian fries and which were American fries. (The carrots were Canadian and the zucchini were American.) We also had multiple dipping sauces that included fry sauce, ketchup, and ranch.

This morning they both told me that they wanted that dinner again. Isaac liked the Canadian and French fries. Andrew says he liked the American and French fries. Maybe I can actually get them to eat zucchini after all.

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