Family Tree Artwork

I’ll admit it, I’m a history nerd. I love studying and reading about past events, especially ones that are relevant to my own life, like stories about my state, hometown, and even family. I have always been fascinated with the idea of having real documentation of family generations. Obviously, being able to discuss with older family members is one way to get some solid information, but even they may not be able to go back as far as you might want when researching family ancestry.

When ancestry.com came out a few years back, the company advertised like crazy! Every time I saw a commercial, I got excited about the idea of using the site to create my own genealogy. I decided to look into it and figured out that the company offers a FREE 30 day trial. I was skeptical at first, but it really was free to use and when the 30 days was up, you could either pay to continue, or suspend your account.

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Thirty days ended up being plenty of time for me to research and document 7 generations on both my mother and father’s side of the family. I ended up using the information and made my mom a family tree documenting my mom and dad’s families for them to display in their home.

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When Andrew and I started planning our wedding for November 2013, I decided I wanted to display family photos and a family tree from both sides of the family at the reception. So Andrew and I signed up for his free trial and started working on a tree for his side. I gave it to my mother and father-in-law as an early Christmas present with the stipulation that I could use it for the reception.

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The two trees together created a beautiful table at the door of our reception that people raved over.

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I knew that I wanted to eventually merge the two trees together to create mine and Andrew’s family tree.

So drumroll please….one year later, I finally found time to put the two trees together to create a beautiful piece of artwork to hang in our home.

I knew this piece was going to be large, and I was fine with that, the only problem was finding a frame big enough that didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I ended up finding one on clearance at Michael’s for $14.99!!!! Orginially it had cost $99 so I couldn’t have been more thrilled. While there I also picked up some green and brown scrapbook paper, some stickers, and some leaf decals.

Since I already had all the information, it was really just a matter of putting it all together. The first thing I did was type out all the names and dates onto the smaller Avery sticker labels. I found a pretty font and added some detail to the sticker to dress it up. They are small, but because I had around 70 names to put on, I knew they would need to be small to fit.

I then prepped the board (I purchased backing board in a tan at Michael’s, but they have every color imaginable) for adding the names. There are many ways to do this, but I have found the best way is to use scrapbook paper as the “tree leaves background” and round the edges at the bottom. Then use brown scrapbook paper to make the tree trunk. I just free hand cut those and then glued them on. This size needed 3 full sheets of green paper and then another 1/3rd added to the bottom of each to make the tree fit the size. The smaller ones I made only needed 2 sheets of paper. I then used light brown paint to free hand the tree branches. Honestly, they can go anywhere and look anyway you would want, they get mostly covered up by the names. I go back and add some darker brown paint to add some detail and dimension to both the trunk and limbs.

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Next, I added the stickers for the family name and when OUR family was established. Again, this can go anywhere, I just chose to use it to fill up dead space at the bottom.

The next part is the fun part, adding al the stickers. I started on my side of the family at the very bottom with me. I put the husband on the left and the wife on the right, just for consistency.

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When finished with a few generations, I used a sharpie to draw the connecting lines. Again, this can be done however and whenever you want in the process, I just find its easiest to do after a few so the names don’t start running together.

Once finished with my side, I started on Andrew’s side and the whole process started over again.

Side note: On the other trees I had made I didn’t use the Avery labels. I hand wrote the names on tabs and glued them down. The labels were WAY easier!!! No glue to worry about.

IMG_0974So at this point, all the generations are linked together and I painted some grass with plain ol’ green paint to add some color on the bottom.

The next step is my favorite because this step starts to give life to the tree. I mentioned I bought some leaf decals from Michael’s. This is what they look like. They come in packs of 36 with two different sizes. One pack was the perfect amount for my tree this time.

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Honestly, I just put these wherever there is dead space. I try to attach them to the limbs that are painted on if possible, but they look fine when just glued down. I used hot glue and was done in no time.

IMG_0978The last step I did before putting the piece back into the frame is painted a light cream over the cream backing on the bottom. There is really no reason for this, I just did it to add a bit more texture to the dead space.

***In the coming years as Andrew and I start our family, I will add our children down the trunk in order of birth (but this will not be for quite a few years).

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I could not be more pleased with how this turned out and I know it will be something we treasure for many years. It looks wonderful on the big old blank wall that was haunting me in the living room and really adds a special touch, not to mention it will be an excellent conversation starter when we have guests over.

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Dining Room Seat Update

I have a gorgeous dining room set that my parents had purchased when they first got married. When they downsized a few years back, it went into storage for me. When we moved onto Robin Lane it fit beautifully in our dining room and I had left it alone. But after a year, I decided it needed a little spice. 

I kind of did this project as a spur of the moment thing, usually most of my projects are done this way actually. I was shopping at Walmart for groceries and decided to waste some time and wander through the fabric section. I had no plans of starting this project but I found a print that I absolutely loved! It had everything I wanted. Darker to hide stains, a pattern that wasn’t too busy, a pop of color, and it wasn’t something that would be out of style anytime soon. It also was $3.27 a yard, which I thought was a great price. 



The current fabric on the seats was cream and had seen better days. Surprisingly there were no food stains, just yellowing from age. The set IS almost 30 years old, so it was time for a change. 



Super easy process!!

1. Iron the fabric to get any creases out. 

2. Unscrew the cushion from the seat. You may want to take off the old fabric, but my padding was in good shape, so I skipped that part and just left the old fabric there. 

3. Lay the seat on the fabric to get your sizing. 



4. Cut your fabric to the correct size. 



5. Using a staple gun, staple the fabric to the backside of the cushion . MAKE SURE YOUR FABRIC IS PLULLED TIGHT to ensure there is no bunching.

6. On the corners, spend a little extra time to make sure they lay correctly. 

7. Reattach the cushion to the chair. 



I had 6 chairs to recover and I used 4 yards of fabric with some leftover. I also used a medium size staple. The small was too small and didn’t go through the fabric and wood but the large staples were too big. 

Honestly this was so easy and I’m mad I didn’t do it sooner. I would say it took a total of 2.5 hours for all 6 chairs, and that includes prep and clean up. 

I already had the staples so this protect cost me a total of $13.08 plus tax. It has really updated the look of the set and the dining room as a whole. It looks modern without losing the classic beauty of the formal dining room. 



Ball Jar Chandelier 

So we have replaced all the light fixtures in the house but I kept the old dining room fixture hoping to repurpose it. I spray painted the ugly brass a nice bronze color and was pleased. But then the trouble started. Basically, I failed time and time again because I couldn’t find new globes to put on it. I had all but given up on it and shoved it into closet and forgotten about it.

While browsing on Pinterest, I found where someone had used glass stain to make Ball Jars different colors and glued them to an old chandelier. I knew I could totally handle that!

The first thing I had to do was break off the part of the fixture where the bulbs had originally been placed because the jars wouldn’t sit flat.

As you can see, I now had a flat surface to attach the jars to, but this also meant the light could never be used again since I had cut out the wiring. I was ok with this because I had deemed it unusable since I couldn’t find globes for it.

The post I had found had the jars glued to the light, but surprisingly the lids fit perfectly on the fixture and became tight when screwed on the jars! I was so happy!

So I spray painted the lids to match the fixture  and got my supplies ready for the jars.

The original post had used glass stainer to color the jars, but I’m too cheap for that, so I mixed Mod Podge and food coloring. Yep, two supplies I already had on hand. I dipped a spoon of Mod Podge onto a plate and put a few drops of food coloring and mixed together. I added coloring until I got the perfect shade.

Then I just painted the jars completely. It goes on pretty lightly, but darkens as it dries. I used pink, purple, orange, yellow, red and green.

Because the Mod Podge dries clear, they don’t look painted, but stained.

I waited a few minutes until the jars were dry (maybe 10 minutes) then I just screwed all the jars into place on the fixture.

I had planned to make this a sun catcher on the porch so I had purchased a heavy duty hook at Walmart for $1.47. My porch has wood plank ceilings, so this hook just screwed right in. I did use the drill to pre-drill a hole just to make it easier for me.

Then, I just hung my light from the hook!

I am super pleased with the outcome and love the pop of color it adds to the porch. I’m going to play with the chain length, but I’m afraid if it gets too low the wind will catch it and blow it against the brick.

This project took 1 hour, tops, and only cost me the price of the hook since I had all the other supplies at home already!

Are you doing any projects to get your porch spring and summer ready?