Monday, August 25, 2008

Instant Ancestors: Ideas for What To Do With Them

Since there was some interest in Instant Ancestors the other day, I thought I would show you some ideas for using these cast-off treasures. In case you've missed earlier posts, an Instant Ancestor is a found photo (from thrift store, flea market, antique store, or even garage sale!) who no one seems to know about and who you decide to "adopt" and take home for your own!
A lot of us have seen photos like this and wonder who would get rid of family pics? Well, the reason is that the pics were never documented with names and dates. Without these things, a person becomes just another face--there's no connection. I HIGHLY recommend that if you scrapbook you ALWAYS write names and dates of each person on each page. What if pages become separated? Or if you always scrapbook journal "Us on vacation...", or "the kids and me..." there is a great chance that future generations aren't going to know who "us", "kids" or "me" are, and your family pictoral history will also end up in the trash pile!!
If you're reading this, you likely have a soft spot for family treasures. Another documenting tip is to take photos of family heirlooms (ie: Grandma's quilt, Aunt Betty's teacup, Great-Grandpa's war items, Mom's cake plate, etc.) and make a little scrapbook with each page having a photo of item, photo of person it came from, known info about item, memories, and journal specific things so that future generations will know where these things came from...stories get lost or forgotten as people age, and this sort of scrapbook could be very sentimental and useful!
Now....back to the Instant Ancestor Ideas....:)
Above is how I currently display my little collection of Instant Ancestors. They are in a multi-clip photo holder. It's an older pic--now I have a cute little birdie up there too :). But the fern is looking a little sad now after my trip, so this pic will have to do! The fern flower pot used to be a chamber pot by the way! hehe!!

Above is my fav Instant Ancestor, Charlie? Remember him?!
I chose to collect "Funny Portrait" I.A.'s. My friend Kailey collects just wedding portraits. You could focus on more formal portraits, candids, just babies or children, gentlemen, family group shots, or larger school or sports group pics. Choose what speaks to you. I like the "Funny Portrait" ones best...I wanted ones that would make me smile or imagine stories about them!

Above is an old tin ceiling tile, and I've used magnets made from vintage Scrabble letters to hold a photo on. A "frame" of sorts!
(Now, for other display/use ideas I'm using some I.A.'s and some copies of ACTUAL family ancestors. Now, I know that none of you would copy any of these pics for your own use without permission (if you would like permission, please let me know!), because I wouldn't want to see crafts floating around out there that used Grandma as a fairy ;0)!! Seriously, if you see something interesting, give me a shout out, and I'll let you know what's ok to use. :) Thanks!!!)
You can pile a bunch of I.A.'s in a pretty bowl, or antique sewing drawer as I've done here. Placed on a coffee table, they could be an interesting conversation piece!

You could get some old crocheted lace or vintage ribbon and clip photos on to form a picture garland. This is on my mantle for the pic, but I may hang it in a hallway with other family pics. Or in the guest bedroom. Hmm...

Below is a closeup of the photo garland. I used some lace found in Great Grandma Tillie's Singer sewing cabinet drawers :) and some curlie-cue clips made for scrapbooking! They are made by "making memories", and could be found in scrapbooking stores.

Put a cute pic in a flower frog! Always good for holding pics.

Place in floral frog and then on a vintage plate. Put a glass cloche on top and voila!

Place I.A. pics under glass, such as on this side table. You know the cheap round ones?! They are protected this way, but displayed in a fun & unique way!

Here's Grandma with her purse and gloves. You can create little "memory" or "imagined memory" vignettes!

Here's a few more ideas for using those Instant Ancestors!:

Piled in a crystal bowl

In a hurricane vase with vintage jewelry, rice, or coffee beans

Photocopy for gift tags or stationary or artsy projects

W/Magnets on a vintage window screen, or "silver" dish, or ceiling tin

Tucked in a birdcage

Behind glass of old window

Propped on a ledge or chair/picture rail

**On a Christmas Tree! This idea was given by Tracy from A Simple Country Life! She shares her darling idea in a post on her blog. Click the link to see. Tracy wrapped thin ribbon like a package around her Instant Ancestor pics and hung in her tree. How cute is that?! Thanks for sharing your idea, Tracy!**

Actually, if anyone else has a neat idea or photo of how you display or use Instant Ancestors, let me know in the comments section and I'll mention in another post and/or put a link over to your blog! :)

Have a fun day, my dear bloggy friends, and next time you see an old photo you can rescue it and have your own "Instant Ancestor"!




Shannon said...

I love all these ideas!! Thanks for all the suggestions!! I will definitely pick them up now when I see them at the antique stores! Cute Cute!

Tina said...

Really excellant ideas.
I have a small collection and love the look and vintage feel of those pics and some tin types that i have. Thanks

Stacey said...

Hi Stacey-
Next week sounds great- I have a flexible schedule Tues-Friday. Would any of those days work for you? I could meet you at SuzAnna's or Gresham if that makes it easier for you ...
I'm excited!
Thanks- Stacey

Stacey said...

Hi again:)
Just read this post and thought to mention the way I use old photographs in my booth. I actually use them as jewelry cards, and then use a sticky price tag on the back of the picture. Then the customer gets the gift of the free photo! This idea makes a unique gift display for pins as well:)
I've also seen individuals use I.A. for making cards and then using a quote or a funny remark underneath them.

Tracy said...

Oh Stacey I love all the ideas you shared with us, I just decided last week I wanted to collect floral frogs after finding 3 in a antique shop and bought them all and have them sitting in my bedroom, now I know what I can do with them. Yeaaaa!
I also love the photos under glass, bell jars are one of my favorite things. And the photos on the lace or ribbon, ohhhh my what great ideas!!!!


Buzzings of a Queen Bee! said...

Those are really good ideas. I need to get better at keeping track of our own family, not to mention the ancestor photos that I need to document somehow before they get lost. Maybe this was the motivation I needed?

Nancy said...

Hi Stacey, I like all these ideas! I need to do something like this. Thanks for sharing. Nancy

Garden Antqs Vintage said...

I loved seeing your vintage photos, that's one of my favorite things to collect. Instant family!! Have a blessed day, Theresa

Susie said...

Those are some really, really good ideas and the suggestions for documentation in invaluable!! Thanks for sharing that?!!

And, thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving such sweet comments. It is a new passion that I am following and the bloggie love is helping...a lot!!!

lynn said...

Lots of great ideas!
I have so many old photos that I took from my grandmother's house that I have no idea who they are. But I just don't think I could ever part with them.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing your favorite crazy sayings!

Becky Welch said...

I love this!! I am in the process of "saving" our family heritage - mainly pics. I am going to have to come back and visit you, if that is okay.