Friday, August 22, 2014

Timelines & Cupcakes

I tend to be the 'photo keeper' of the family. Throughout my childhood, I remember my parents developing the hundreds of photos they took and jamming the envelopes full of prints into their bedside table drawers. They were not the scrapbooking type. These drawers finally became overstuffed just about the time they divorced. I feared the photos would be lost in the shuffle, so I put them in huge garbage bags and actually hauled them to my dorm room in college. Dork alert.

From there I divided them up into 5 piles, one for each of us. It made me feel better knowing we each had some tangible memories of our lives when we were all together. What each person did with those photos was up to them. I prayed they would be carefully arranged in scrapbooks in chronological order (as mine were), but I had my doubts.

Fast forward 20 years. My brother-in-law was having a big bash to celebrate his 40th birthday. My sister wasn't over-decorating since it was already a pretty cool setting at a trendy new pub in Saratoga. I wanted to contribute something to the festivities and knew I wanted to include photos of him in some way. I started gathering any pictures I could find of him. Pre-digital prints were temporarily removed from my scrapbooks and scanned. I then combed through years of iPhoto for digital images. Once they were all gathered, I printed them out in contact sheets for the size I needed. They became cupcake toppers. Everyone sang Happy Birthday as his eyes scanned the 60 photos of his many happy years with family and friends. They were a big hit.

This summer, my other brother-in-law was turning 50. My sister was throwing him a backyard pig roast with many family & friends invited. I thought the photo cupcake toppers would go over well. His mother sent me prints of him when he was growing up, all the way through his high school years. She even gave me his birth announcement! I then scanned everything and found all of the digital photos we had of him.

100 cupcakes were being served, so I had to find at least that many photos. As I was printing out the small contact sheets, I figured I would print each picture in larger 4 X 6 format for a giant timeline to hang somewhere at the party. I started to arrange the pictures in chronological order (see below). I decided to hang the timeline on the side of the house where the bar would be set up, hoping people would linger as they were getting a drink. I had 18 feet to work with, so I had to make 3 rows. I stapled each photo to 3 inch grosgrain ribbon. Here is the initial layout:

Here it is installed:

Here are the same 100 photos covering a span of 50 years as cupcake toppers:

Starting to think of what I will do for Josh's 50th…need to start gathering pics!


  1. Once again you amaze me with your creativity and execution. I am officially enlisting you to help with my 40th!!! (In ten years!) xoxo

    1. I'd love to help with your 40th, Rachael! Put me to work!