Thursday, 12 April 2012

Family History Book made with Serif Craft Artist Part 1

Hello everyone

Today's post is about the Family History Book I did for the family party and this is what was really keeping me occupied and panicking for the last two months.  Our family is extremely large and I couldn't possibly have included all the information I have so I did a brief overview for some of it and put a little more detail in from my great grandparents generation forward, using as many old photographs as I could.

For any fans of Serif Craft Artist, this is the programme I used for the whole book.  However, with this programme you can actually use your own photos, papers, ebellishments and items from crafting cds as well as utilising the Daisy Trail digikits.  I made most of the backgrounds myself using old photos, maps, documents, embellishments from cds etc and sometimes merging them with digikit items.  The book is 34 pages in total, and because I don't ever share current information about living people I won't be able to share some of the pages.  Because of the number of pages I will select some of them in as any different styles as I can to share, but will split this over a couple of posts to make sure you don't fall asleep!!!

I made seven copies of my book in total, two were 12x12 and five were 8x8.  I did all the designing using the 12x12 scrapbook template and simply changed it to 8x8 when I wanted to print myself and then changed it back to 12xx12 to work on again.   The 12x12 copies were printed at DS Colour Labs in Manchester and they were an excellent quality print.  In order to send them to print I exported the whole book as 12x12 pages at 300dpi jpegs so it was really easy to do.

Here is the title page

This was probably the simplest page of all of them to make.  I used a background from a digikit and a tree embellishment from my Daisytrail Family Tree Digikit which I faded to merge into the background using the opacity facility.  I added the curved text to the tree and used text from the Daisytrail Digikit which I then changed to add the Davison Family - it saved me time searching for the font I wanted!  Finally I took an old photograph of my great grandfather and cut him out using the Cutout Studio and placed him in front of the tree.

The next page is an overview of my Davison ancestors - it is actually pages 2 and 3 in my book.

These were the two pages I had problems with the background, which I made myself using photographs, a map and a watch embellishment (from the cd "A Very Important Date" by My Craft Studio.)   Users of Craft Artist will know that if you move your cursor over an embellishment etc it will highlight blue so I used the layers tab to drag everything I used for the background into the background bit of the tab and then locked it.  However, every time I reopened the file (despite saving it before I closed it) they had unlocked again.  I was having a problem with my laptop at the time (overworked!) so it may have been that to blame. What I did to cure the problem was to export the pages as jpegs with just the background there.  I then imported the jpegs, dragged them onto the project and then dragged them into the backgrounds tab on the left of the screen.  When I dragged them back out of the background tab they then snapped into place and I didn't have any further problems with them unlocking!

Pages 4 and 5 are very similar to pages 2 and 3, just a different family line, backgrounds, embellishments etc. so I will skip to pages 6 and 7.

Because I wanted to keep the interest of those looking at these books I broke up the technical family trees with some interesting snippets of informationa and photographs.  I kept the backgrounds on this page very simple because I wanted the text to be visible.  Some of the photographs I used were sent to me from other people, and whilst I was working on the book I received two new photographs of my great grandparents.  The one of my great grandmother was taken in 1875 and is the only photograph I have of her so I was really delighted to receive it.

Pages 8 and 9 were where I started to add more detail to the family tree, and this is where much of my time was spent as all the facts had to be double checked before being entered and all the photographs had to be made from larger existing photographs - some of them were very faded and in poor condition so had to be enhanced and enlarged in order for me to work with them.

Again, I made the backgrounds using old maps and photographs.  I then made all the little tags and added cropped photographs where I had them.  Once the photo was added to the tag I used the brushes tab in Craft Artist and went to Edges and then Glow to take out the harsh lines around the photograph.  I amended the width of the edge to suit each photograph.  I wanted to outline each family group so decided to make little mats to group them onto.  The photo frame was from a digikit, as was the poppy.

Pages 10 and 11 are very similar to pages I have already shown so will skip to page 12.

I actually made this page when I was nearing the end of my book and was getting very panicky about getting it finished in time so all the backgrounds, embellishments and frames I have used on this page were from Daisytrail Digikits.

One thing that I did find when doing this book was that when I got to around 12 or 13 pages I felt that the software was struggling to cope with such a large file so I decided to split the book into sections of a maximum of about eight pages and it was much easier to work with the files.

I will post part 2 of my book tomorrow.

Thank you for visiting my blog and actually reading all of this!

Catherine x


  1. Fantastic Catherine...

  2. Wow this is absolutely amazing Catherine no wonder you disappeared for such a long time and boy it is worth it.Such a wonderful keepsake to keep for the future generations. WELL DONE. Chris xx

  3. This is totaly amazing, what a lot of work involved, it must be a labour of love.
    I think I am speachless.

  4. I concur - it looks fantastic/amazing. Nice to see my great grandfather William Davison (one of the Williams!) in there x

  5. Amazing and what a great demonstration of what craft artist can do. I have purchased this
    Myself only last week and have had many conversations with dad about how to display his fully history work.
    I think you may well have given us the answer.

    Fantastic work and I'm sure your family will treasure it

    Claire x

  6. Really nice. What a great family treasure. Nice job.

  7. Well done Catherine, an awful lot of time taken, but so worth it and a wonderful keepsake x

  8. WELL DONE Catherine this is amazing. I am sure your family will treasure this.

    Linda xxx

  9. well done hun ,a complete different and interesting way to incorporate serif into yr work ,there is just no end to what u can do with this artist programme,well written and presented xxx

  10. Brilliant, interesting and outstanding work... cannot wait to see more :)
    Eileen xx

  11. Really love what you have done. I might have a go with my tree sometiime

  12. This is fabulous, well done. Looking forward to seeing Part 2.

  13. WOW,well done Catherine, time well spent, you are an inspiration and have insdspired me to re sart the family album I am always meaning to do but never seem to have the time. I can see by yours that I must make the effort as your results are truely amazing and a gift that your family will treasure forever. a very very wll done to you for all the time spent doing this. and a huge thank you for sharing with us all xxxx

  14. Ladies, thank you all for your lovely feedback. It was a lot of work but it was very definitely a labour of love.

    Catherine x

  15. That is fantastic Catherine, it has given me itchy fingers to get back to my family tree
    Pat xx