I have been working on a personal project for the past few weeks, designing, laying out, and printing my grandmother's memoirs. She passed away in 2009, and left behind a manuscript of her life story. She had an interesting life, living through the Depression, working for the war effort in Washington, DC, raising five kids and traveling all over the country and the world. She also writes about her parents' and grandparents' lives in the late 19th century as farming families of French Canadian descent.
The cover is a picture of my grandma standing in Lake Champlain, which is near where she grew up in Whitehall, New York. I chose this as the cover image because the landscape of upstate New York hugely shaped her life.
I used Adobe Illustrator to make it look as if the landscape wraps around the back of the book as well.
It was quite a big project to layout the interior of a 126-page book, but a great way to become really proficient working with InDesign.
The book also has about a dozen images, which had to be scanned, edited in Photoshop, and put in the book using InDesign.
I also created a family tree for the back of the book, and a map illustration for the beginning highlighting all the places she lived.
I printed the book using Blurb.com, and am somewhat happy with the results, although I chose the cheaper paper option and probably shouldn't have. Anyway, I am happy to have a printed version of Grandma Marie's life story, and am sure it will be treasured in my family for many generations to come.
If you're interested, a copy of the book can be purchased here.
A very happy six months of being married!
While I'm on the topic this week of reminiscing about my wedding, I thought I would share this picture of what the escort cards looked like. Unfortunately, no one got a picture of the whole board set up before everyone took their cards off. The only one still hanging by the time my photographer got there was (of course) my maid of honor's! Anyway, you can still get an idea of what it looked like - square navy cards with white calligraphy, hole punched in one corner and tied with a pale pink ribbon, then pinned to a fabric-covered board.
It's hard to believe that almost a year ago I was working on my own wedding invitations. This is the final product! It had three pieces - the main invitation, which included both ceremony and reception information, an RSVP card (+ return envelope), which also included a choice for dinner entree, and a map.
I first planned the wording, then wrote everything out with my calligraphy nib in black ink. I then scanned and re-colored the wording to pale blue, except for our names and the swirl at the bottom, which are in navy. I decided to make a flower illustration to go at the top, because it felt a little too simple at first without it. I looked up the flowers that my florist was planning to use, and made an illustration based off that (white lisianthus, garden roses, freesia, pale pink astilbe, and Queen Ann’s lace).
I made the map navy with a soft pink background. Some of the envelopes were pale blue, with white calligraphy, and some were white with pale blue calligraphy. I also used blue vintage stamps for the postage - that was quite a project and I'm not sure I would recommend it! That story deserves a blog post of its own!
Also, I printed these at home with my little Epson XP-410 printer, on nice thick ivory paper from Paper Source. It took a while, but the quality was great. I tried having Staples, FedEx, and an online place print them but wasn't happy with the results (always get a proof before printing the whole batch!) I never expected that they would look better with my home printer, but it worked out really well!
I really loved making these invitations. The map is framed and on a shelf in our bedroom now, and the invitations are tucked away in a keepsake box. It was so important to me that the invitations set the stage for the type of wedding we were having, and also felt true to my personal style. I couldn't be happier with how they turned out!
Fall, just before sunset, at my parents' house in upstate New York...perfection.