Sunday, December 24, 2006

Day 24: Homemade

Just back from the sibs and the Christmas Eve festivities. We draw names and give one gift on the night before Christmas. This year, my brother drew my name and gave me... wait for it... Sarah McLachlan's new Christmas CD, which he chose based on my Amazon wish list. Dumbass that I am, I forgot to go in and delete it from my list before he bought it for me. I feel like an idiot. So, if someone out there received a double of a CD they already have and they want to trade with me, I'll give you the one I bought in exchange.

And now, on to the point of this post.

Given this year's adventures in unemployment and penny-pinching, it's been a low key holiday season all around. As a result, most of the gifts I'm giving this year for Christmas are either homemade or cost less than $20. (Which is, perhaps, the good thing about living with minimal funds. You learn to be creative and thrifty pretty darn quick.)

The gift I'm proudest of this year is the one I made for my Mom. And if I could figure out how to post it to YouTube, I'd share it with you all, but I'm a technological dolt.

As several of you know, my mom's father passed away this year. It's been pretty rough on my mom as she and her dad were close. And, it's been 20 years since mom's mother passed away. That's also been hard for her because she misses her mom and has days where she wishes they could talk.

So, this year, I gathered up a huge stack of old family photos of my grandparents, my mom, and her three sisters. My sister and I spent several weekends scanning in and scaling photos. My aunt in Salt Lake sent us a packet of photos she had and we added those to the pile. We transferred all the images to my computer and, using iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, and iDVD, I started working on putting pictures with music and creating a DVD montage of my grandparents and their children.

The project started out originally as one song and about 20 pictures. Then it became three songs and 55 pictures. The final product is eight songs, over 100 pictures, and four minutes of credits at the end for a total of about 21 minutes of play. It starts with my great-grandparents--Arnold Benjamin and Hazel Pearl Meads Bangerter (grandpa's parents) and Daniel and Olive Charlotte Welker Harvey (grandma's parents), then moves into photos of my grandparents around the time of their marriage in 1942 through my grandpa's service in Europe during World War II. The segment is scored by an instrumental version of the Mormon hymn "Come, Come, Ye Saints."

The second segment begins with the Glenn Miller Orchestra playing "In the Mood" and features photos of my grandparents and their daughters in their early years in Wyoming. It then segues into the music of Gene Autry crooning "Someday in Wyoming," followed by "How Much is That Doggie in the Window?" and pictures of my grandparents with the many dogs they had throughout their marriage. After than short bit, there's another Gene Autry. This time, he's singing my grandma's favorite song, "You Are My Sunshine" and most of the pictures are of my grandpa and grandma.

The second to the last segment begins with an old time radio show announcer and then Bing Crosby singing "I'll Be Seeing You." I found school picture head shots of my mom and each of my aunts, as well as portrait sittings of each of them with their dad. I paired these up and did a crossover fade so that the picture of them as a little kid melts away into a picture of them as an adult. Most of the pictures in this segment are of my mom and her sisters growing up.

The final segment is set to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and includes landscapes of Utah and Wyoming along I-80, as well as pictures of landmarks in Green River, Wyoming, where my grandparents lived for 60 years. Pictures from my grandpa's funeral are included in this segment and the series ends with family portraits that were taken this spring in Salt Lake where we'd all gathered for his burial. The final shots are of my mom and her three sisters, my grandparents, and the Salt Lake Temple, where my grandparents were married in 1942.

At the very end, after all the pictures, I threw in credits as a joke and set it to Aaron Copland's Corral Nocturne.

All in all, I think it's going to be a good gift. I watched it the other night and found all kinds of things I would have done differently, but that's just me being my own worst critic. I've worked on it so long, I'm practically over it and have decided it is what it is. My dad and my siblings assure me Mom will be moved.

And now, I'm off to bed, otherwise Santa Claus won't come!

Merry Christmas friends and fellow bloggers!


Sister Mary Lisa said...

Merry Christmas, J! I love this, because my hubby did the same thing for his parents, and I can appreciate exactly how much time and effort and creativity goes into a gift of this magnitude. She is gonna LOVE IT!

Kaidydid said...

Okay, all I have to say is this was an awesome Christmas. And I love the gift that Janet gave to me it's hilarious. Thanks for the memories, Janet.

Janet M. Kincaid said...

SML: Mom loved her gift. Made her cry. We sent one to my aunt, too, and it made her cry. Hell, we all cried. It was a fun project and well worth it.

JDK: I'm glad you like your Christmas gift! It was fun getting it for you. I can't wait to try my aged balsamic vinegar with raspberry and fig and to listen to my new collection of Bollywood music! Mewwy fwiggin' Chwis'mas!