Friday, June 15, 2007

Scrapbook Decor: Creating a Family Album Quilt

Frances Burks

Scrapbooks date back as far as the 1590s, when "commonplace books" included drawings, newspaper clippings, and diary notes. British philosopher John Locke published New Method of Making Commonplace Books in 1706. In it, Locke offered advice on preserving ideas, proverbs, and other items. You can carry on the scrapbooking tradition and enhance your decor by creating a family album quilt that incorporates your family tree or marks a special family occasion. By doing so, your cherished memories will become part of your surroundings every day instead of being hidden away inside a photo album or box.

Whether you make a family album quilt yourself or have it made for you, here are some tips on how to create a quilt you'll love:

Getting family members involved can make the family album quilt-making process even more fun and the resulting quilt even more precious. For example, if you incorporate family photos into the quilt design, get comments from people in the photos and use their comments in the quilt design as well. There are plenty of products available for transferring images and inscriptions to quilt fabrics. You can even print images and words on fabric using a computer printer. Check craft and fabric stores and the Internet for more information on such products.

If you have a large number of photos, you may find it difficult to decide which ones to use for your family album quilt. To help simplify the process, sort your photos in chronological order. While you're sorting, themes likely will begin to emerge. You then can pick your favorite theme and use the corresponding photos in the quilt design.

When selecting items to use in the quilt design, remember not to limit yourself to photos. You can use memorabilia to tell a story just like you would use a photo. For example, transferring to fabric images of ticket stubs, old postcards, and newspaper articles can commemorate special family trips and accomplishments
Consider sewing buttons from favorite garments onto your family album quilt. Additionally, quilt blocks can be created using fabric from family garments, including baby clothes and souvenir T-shirts. You can help tell the story of the garments by including the names of the people who once wore them along with the garment's purpose.
You can create a family tree signature quilt simply by having family members sign their names on fabric squares that will then be used to make the quilt. If you have a large family, give each segment of your family their own quilt block. For example, the names of a daughter, her husband and children would all appear in the same block. For best results, have family members sign the squares with a permanent fabric marker, or transfer computer-generated signatures to the fabric.

Quilts often have been made to mark a special family occasion, particulary weddings. If you choose to make a wedding quilt and incorporate photos into it, you may find it difficult to decide which photos to use. If so, here's a hint: Choose your favorite photo and make it the focal point of the quilt layout, then surround that photo with other photos you think complete the story of the moment.

Whatever scrapbook decor project you may choose to create, it will be a worthwhile endeavor. While scrapbooking preserves memories for generations to come, scrapbook decor personalizes your surroundings with fond memories every day.

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