The Family: A Proclamation to the World – InDesign Template

title page of “The Family”

While I haven’t figured out how to translate this project into png files, I have cleaned it up and prepared an InDesign template to share. Send me an email to and I’ll send you the fold with the template, links and fonts I used. Here are jpgs of all the spreads from the InDesign template created in Adobe InDesign CS6. They could be used the way they are but there are issues with overlapping elements when adding photos and the placeholder text for labeling the photos. If you find them helpful feel free to use them for personal projects or gifts but not for any commercial use. Hopefully I’ll have the png images done soon.

Europe 1952: Maps

Among the many items that my mom saved from her trip to Europe in 1952 was a large map. I decided I wanted to use it at the beginning of each chapter. The map was challenging to scan because it was so big. So I scanned sections of it and then used Adobe Photoshop‘s photomerge to stitch together the section of the map for each country. If you’ve never used photomerge it is a very handy tool for doing things like panorama shots.

photomerged map

After I had a map section for each country I added a brown route line to mark the roads they traveled in that country. I did this also in Photoshop using the brush tool. To bring more focus to the country I added a grey mask that partially block out the neighboring countries, by adjusting the transparency of this layer.

map with route

map with surrounding countries grayed out

Once I brought the map image into Adobe InDesign, I added text boxes to label the cities they stayed in along with other relevant information and arrows to make it easier to tell the location of the city on the map. Arrows are easy to make in InDesign, just go to the stroke palette and select the style of arrow point you would like for the beginning or end of the line you made with the pen tool.

map with labels

I think the maps were effective in communicating a lot of the information at the beginning of each chapter in a visual way. How have you used maps in your projects?

Europe 1952 – Chapter Headings

In the early stages of putting together this book, I decided to break it up into chapters for each country. (Germany ended up with two chapters because they re-entered Germany a second time.) So I put together another master page in InDesign to make it easy to have a consistent look for the beginning of each chapter.

master page for Chapter headings

The beginning of each chapter was a natural place to put the itinerary for each country along with a map showing the route that they traveled. On the map I included the mail stops where they could pick up letters from family and friends back home. I also had information about the money of each country and the exchange rates in 1952. My mom’s passport had lots of entry and exit stamps from her trip so I added those to the beginning of the chapter. I’ll go over how I put the route on the map and how I handled the passport stamps in an upcoming post.

Mary – three more illustrations

I’m past due for an update on how the illustrated children’s book of my great-great-grandmother, Mary Taylor, is coming. Kim has completed 4 illustrations now and I’m happy with how they all look. I decided that I might as well start the actually book document now that I have 4 of the images.

Crossing the Platte River

We are planning to use to publish this book. I love the 7×7 format that I’ve used for several other projects and we are using that again for this one. The blurb plug-in for InDesign is great. I put in the book size and the number of pages and it creates my blank document and then a second document for the cover. It is a much nicer system then the old templates. I took my outline for the book, (you can read it here in the original post about this project) and placed it on the pasteboard. The pasteboard is a handy area outside the page in InDesign. It is a great place to gather the items for a page until you know where you want them to go. It really helps me to get things organized without cluttering up the page. Then it was easy to make sure I was putting the illustrations in the right place. Plus I have a reminder there of what the text for that page should cover. It feels good to have the actually document started. I hope it will inspire me to get started on the text soon.

Fog and Icebergs Crossing the Atlantic

I recently finished a book about the Willie and Martin handcart companies called “The Price We Paid” by Andrew Olsen. Several of the missionaries when we were at Martin’s Cove recommended it. I skipped the section on the Willie company but it really gave me a much clearer understanding of the timeline and how everything happened, especially around the rescue. If you are looking to learn more about either of these handcart companies, you should read this book.

Mary’s Baptism

I have a lot of things on my plate now so I’m not sure when I can fit it in but at the same time I hate to put it off too long. I’d really like to have the text mostly written by the time Kim finishes the illustrations. Then I can quickly put the finishing touches on the project and get it printed. I think I’ll talk to Kim and see if we can figure out a timeline. Now that she has a few of the illustrations done, she should have a better feel for how much time she needs to get this project complete. I do best with deadlines, otherwise my projects can stretch out for ever and never get done.

Finished Illustration of Mary’s Childhood

Mother’s Day Project

Mother’s Day Project for Iris

This is my version of an infographics inspire by Nicholas Felton‘s 2010 Annual Report. I’ve never done anything like this, so it was a learning experience and I enjoyed it. There are so many facts about a person’s life and this is a fairly simple one page project. I will print it out 8″ x 10″ and put it in a simple frame.

Iris – layer 1 – background

I did my layout in InDesign with five layers. The bottom layer just has the background.After I put in the background color in an 8 x 10 box, I locked the layer so I wouldn’t accidentally select it. The background color is a 25% tint of the main text color. This way when I go to make another version for Bill’s mom I can change the text color swatch and the background will change too.

Iris – layer 2 – lines

The second layer is just the lines. The default 1 pt stroke was too strong so they are .5 pt strokes. In case you don’t know, if you hold down the shift-key when you drag out a line with the line tool it will be perfectly horizontal or vertical.

Iris – layer 3 – text

The third layer is for most of the text. I used Myriad Pro in weights from light to black. I really like it when font families have such a contrast in weights.

Iris – layer 4 – photos etc.

The fourth layer is for the photos. After I picked the three photos I wanted to use I edited them in Photoshop using color matching to give them all an old sepia tone look. This layer also includes the brown lines on the residences “chart”. I drew these lines in InDesign with the pen tool. I started with a map of the United States and used that as a guide for drawing lines from Rexburg, where she was born, to each city she lived in. Then I deleted the map leaving the lines.

Iris – layer 5 – white text & lines (shown with layer 1)

The fifth layer is for all the white text and lines. I added white dots of various sizes for each city. Bigger dots for the cities with the most address. You see it here with the background layer so you can tell what is there.

I added a sixth layer to block out some of the more specific information on my mom for posting on this blog. No reason to risk identity theft. By putting it on a separate layer I can turn the blocked out areas on or off as needed for output.

I have learned over the last few years that it is very helpful to think through a project and create layers for different elements. It prevents lots of problems when it comes to editing and rearranging your design. For example with the residence chart, I can lock all the layers but the two involved in the chart and re-size or move it with accidentally selecting the text or other lines nearby.

If you would like an InDesign template of this project send me an email to

Martin’s Cove Journal – Finishing up

I’m really excited about how this came together. I was hoping it wouldn’t take too much time and I really tried to keep it simple. But at the same time I wanted it to have some personality, to help draw people into the experience at Martin’s Cove. When I did this cover with the only photo I’ve ever seen of Mary Taylor, I noticed how much she reminds me of my Grandmother. I don’t know why I haven’t seen the resemblance before.

credit page & find your why page - Martin's Cove Journal

This first spread is a place to give credit where I got my information and to give space for family members to journal about why they came to Martin’s Cove and what they hope to learn from the experience. My hope here is to help each person take the this opportunity to do their own generation project.

Our Family Tree - Martin's Cove Journal

This next spread is for the second step of a generations project – populate your tree. I filled in the basics of the information that is common for everyone who is coming to the reunion. They will each have to fill in the left side of the tree depending on who they are. This was a little tricky to figure out how to lay it out. I hope that it is clear on how each family member connects back to Mary Taylor.

content pages - Martin's Cove Journal

The rest of the pages up to the last page look like the page above. On the left had side there is a simple timeline of events along with excerpt from “Some Must Push and Some Must Pull; Mary Taylor, handcart Pioneer And Her Descendants”  by a distant cousin Kenneth L. Rasmussen. The right hand page of each spread is for journaling. At the bottom of the journaling pages is a date from history. The purpose of these pages are to help each person to “mix it with history” and “walk in their shoes” as suggested by The Generations Project.

The Handcart Song - Martin's Cove Journal

The last page of the book is the words to a favorite song of my great-great-grandmother, “The Handcart Song”. She sang this song not just while she was crossing the plans but all her life. I want to learn all the verses and help my family to learn it too.

I’ll do another post later in the week on the “how to” of putting this journal together and if I figure out how, I’ll have an InDesign template that you can download and adapt to your needs.

How to: Workflow for Publishing with Adobe Creative Suite

I attended RootsTech this past February at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City. There were lots of wonderful classes but I think my favorite was by Nancy Barnes “Use Adobe Creative Suite to Self Publish Your Family History Book”. I use InDesign, a page layout program that is part of Adobe Creative Suite all the time, so I wasn’t sure if I would learn anything in this class. But Nancy had lots of good information about developing an efficient workflow when putting together a book for publishing. I’ve learned some of her suggestions already and recognize the value of others from my own struggles. Nancy’s book “Stories To Tell: An easy guide to self publishing family history books & memoirs”, looks like it goes it to lots of details on how to get the book written and I’ll have to take time to read it. Here are some of the high lights of what I learned from her class.

  • Clean-up the manuscript (in MS Word or other word processor)
  • Mark places for images (with special characters such as ########)
  • Choose and scan images
  • Prepare images (in Adobe Photoshop)
  • Set up book in InDesign (get exact specs from your printer)
  • Layout master pages
  • Import text from word processor
  • Create and apply consistent styles
  • Place images (using Adobe Bridge)
  • Cover design (she uses Adobe Illustrator, I’ve always used InDesign)
  • Final proof before sending to printer

Nancy taught us some tricks on how to use Adobe Bridge and meta files to put in captions. I haven’t tried this yet but it sounds slick. I’ll tell you about it and other more detail instructions on the step in other posts. Check out Nancy’s website They offer lots of services from editing to book printing along with great information on putting together a family history.

Do you have a workflow plan that works for you? What software have you used?