Thursday, May 16, 2013

Treasure Chest Thursday: Look at That Chart!

So, I went back East to see Mom for Mother's Day and of course I had to come with gifts. She's hard to buy gifts for because she has about everything. And at almost 95 she has years of presents accumulated all around. Decided on two items I thought she would enjoy. The first was a gift card to the restaurant they go to every Sunday where Mom treats and grabs the check faster than a sparrow scared by a cat. But I wanted something more, something personal, and if it could be figured out, something "genealogy."

A couple of weeks ago I was digging for ancestors on and looked at the tab at the top that said, "Publish". Found Family Tree Poster in the list of offerings on the left and thought to give it a try. I fiddled with it for far too long, thinking that I'd never have a shot at getting that tree poster delivered by Mother's Day, but I plugged on with the project kind of enjoying the doing of it.

I took one last check of my work, added a couple of more photos, thought it looked pretty good, and ordered the really big one, 24 by 36 inches. Well, it's the thought that counts, I said to myself. And really, it could turn out to be cheap and cheesy, but for $39.95 it was worth a shot. At times I felt like I was making "Mommy" one of those hand print candy dishes you do in scouts;)

By golly, it arrived on Saturday!! The day before Mother's Day!! My sis-in-law retrieved it from the US Postal Service and whipped the intriguing tube mailer open before anyone else had a chance. (She loves to open gifts;) She showed Mom and then came and told me that the poster had arrived. I couldn't think what she was talking about because I had already told Mom that it was on the way and I didn't know when it was going to get there, but it should be before her birthday in July, or maybe by Christmas!

Then downstairs I flew to re-open the mailing tube so Mom and I could look at it together. It was truly wonderful: on good quality heavy, coated paper, nice photo reproduction, clear as a bell text. For $39.99 it was worth it! All we needed was a frame because by the time I got downstairs Mom had already picked out a spot on the stairway wall to hang it: a place of honor. We found a lightweight frame at Michael's. Perfect, because there's old plaster under Mom's patriotic wallpaper.

So here it is below and then I'll tell you what I'd do differently if doing it over.  Sorry about any glare because I honestly didn't think about taking a photo in the rush to frame it.

Full view. The poster is 24 inches by 36 inches.
Sorry that the photo leans, my bad:)


So, what would I do differently? I'd take all the images into a photo editor and adjust them so that they all had the same contrast. That way they would look like a "set". Some were just a bit too dark for my taste. No big deal.

Next, I would have proofread to make sure that the latest version of Mom's Big Tree was being used. Some of the most recent changes and edits were lost because I worked on my project too long -- and updated the member tree along the way but forgot to make the same changes to the project tree. Editing the text is super easy and I did some of that, when a woman had two husbands that I wanted to include. Again, no big deal.

I never thought about the issue of framing because I was all about the tree poster project itself. Luckily, we happened to be near a Michael's and got the good super lightweight frame. We were able to frame it before it got too many wrinkles in it. Handling the poster will put wrinkles in it, believe me!

This poster is a very cool way to display the ancestral connections while spicing up the deal with family photos. Mo' photos, mo' betta! Looking at it now, there were some smaller spaces where more family photos could have been tucked in.

I chose to do this project for Mom's ancestors and will do another for Dad's people. Dad's gone now but would have loved to see his family up on the wall. He would have enjoyed that a lot.

I can see making a poster for a family reunion and not caring a fig about wrinkling it. The more handling the better, I'd say!

Did I get my money's worth? Oh, baby, and then some!! This was easy and fun. I already had the tree on, had the photos both on the tree and more in my photo file. Go ahead, give it a try:) It's a blast!

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  1. That is really cool, so glad to hear your mom liked it. I haven't played around with that feature...I'm assuming you can determine how many generations you want to feature. Such a great idea and it's good to hear some tips from an actual user. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Heather- Thanks for the comment:) The chart was a real hit. And yes, you can determine how many generations you want to include. Now in thinking about it, if Mom hadn't done such a bang-up job of finding so many ancestors, I might have put in fewer generations, or ordered a smaller size chart. This one as 24 by 36 inches and there was plenty of room for photos. Oh, and by the way, this product is called My Canvas. Not that that matters... it's just cool!
      Cheers, Diane

  2. Enjoyed your article very much. It makes me want to rush to the computer and see what I can do. I have been blessed with a great collection of old family photos. This may be a way to share.

    1. Joan-- I'd say, go for it! My thought is the more photos the better a tool it will be to lure family into the Genealogy Zone:)
      Cheers, Diane