Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Old Windows and Family Photos

So what seems like, oh, forever ago, I started this project.

My husband's family has a precious collection of old family photos dating back to the late 1800's and early part of last century.
Caleb has always had a desire to go through them and somehow figure out a way to preserve them.
So for our anniversary this year, I thought I would find these pictures and figure IT OUT!

First item of business ~  a sweet afternoon spent with his Grandma going through boxes and boxes of photographs that were up in her closet and garage. 

Then a friend and I came across these old windows at our local thrift store. Since they were a dollar each, I nabbed them and thought they might work for something like this.

You all know the looks you get from your husbands when you bring home crap, garbage, I mean, "vintage bargains". 
 I got one of those...

First I gave them a good cleaning.  

They were disgusting!  Covered in dirt, fly poop, cobwebs and only who knows what else.  Lead paint?  Let's hope not.

 Then, they sat in our living room for almost three months.

I'm really efficient like that.

After coming home with the sorted photos, I headed into our local fancy photo store.

This was the most expensive part.
 I ended up doing a high quality scan for most of the pictures. However, this allowed the quality to come through if I wanted to enlarge some of the smaller photos.

Some of the originals were even tin type!

Here is what I came up with.  Burlap seemed to be the cheapest and easiest route for a background.  

I used a hot glue gun to attach the pictures.  It ended up being a little messy and not perfect, but seemed to be the only thing that was strong enough to hold the pictures against the glass.

This is Caleb's great uncle.  I love that face.

Does anyone know why no one ever seemed to smile in old photographs?

So serious.  

And I totally copied Kristen's idea at  Ella Claire Inspired for how to stain paper.  
She is a genius.
You can check out her tutorial on how to make white paper look old here.

If I had it to do over again I would have torn the paper before I stained it, but I didn't think of that until later.  I think it would have made the edges a little browner.  Next time...

We found these old report cards from 1934.  
I think they broke up the monotony of the collection and I just love having such a precious piece of Caleb's grandpa's life.

One day, I think these will go up in the farm house.  
For now, we are just enjoying them as they sit on our fireplace.

Do you have old family photos?
If so, how have you displayed them in your home?


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  1. Hi there! I am so happy we found eachother:). Your blog is so sweet, I love it. I am off to read more. New follower!! Have a great Thanksgiving!!

  2. Hi. I'm visiting from the Clean and Scentsible linky.

    I love what you've done with your old photos--great job!!! I have several which I've turned into a gallery wall on my staircase. It took a LONG time to get frames (from thrift stores and yard sales) and put it together, but I'm happy with it. I like that you have the black paper behind some of the photos. It makes them look like part of an old album. And the report card is great!

    My son, who is a Civil War re-enactor, says that with the really old photos, they took a long time to take--like five minutes, and it's very hard to hold the same expression for that long. Thus the "serious expressions."


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