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nina's book

Part of the festivities honoring my grandmother on her 90th birthday was a book full of all the things we love about Nina. Of course I forgot to take any photos of the book before I handed it over to my grandmother, so you'll have to make do with my PDFs. The cover was simply green with a big 90! on the front.

After checking out several printing options, we decided to go with blurb. I have made photo books with Shutterfly in the past, and have been pleased with the overall quality, but Blurb allows you to print directly from a PDF. Because I design books for a living, I can create the book using InDesign (a program I am very comfortable with) and then just upload the final PDF, instead of using one of their available templates. This gives me a lot of freedom with the design. I give Blurb a big thumbs up!

My grandmother has 10 children, over 30 grandchildren, and over 40 great-grandchildren so I wanted to do a book that counted from 1 to 90. I figured between all of us and our spouses, we could get 90 different memories or thoughts gathered. Luckily, several people contributed more than one memory.

Some comments were short and sweet, others went on for several pages. Some talked about a favorite memory (like my Aunt Penny above, remembering a trip she took as a newlywed with her mom and dad). Others talked about something they admire about grandma: the way she always makes Christmas special, or what an efficient household she ran, or how she makes the best strawberry-blackberry jam.

It was a pleasure to put this book together (though I admit it took longer than I thought!). It gave me a chance to see my grandmother in a different light. I now can see her as a young mother, trying to make ends meet. Or later in life, as a devoted wife taking care of my grandfather. I see her making dinner in the kitchen with her young daughters helping. I see her dancing with my grandfather to the music they loved. Or double checking that all the Christmas gifts for each of her children make it under the tree.

Of course I also still see her as my sweet grandmother... the one who sends out a family letter to each person in her large extended family each month. Who crochets a blanket for each new great grandbaby and never misses a birthday. She still makes it to the cabin each summer for our family reunion (she's the one passing out the toffee nut bars and making sure the great-grandkids have enough Otter Pops.)

90 years and going strong. Happy Birthday Grandma! I have no doubt we'll be celebrating your 100th birthday in no time at all.

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Reader Comments (47)

This is so impressive! My Grandma is 101 but our small family (my Grandma has one son, three grand children and one great grandchild) has never created anything like this. What a treasure for all those involved.

01.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJill Wignall

I love it. I put together a similar gift (same theme) for my grandfather when he turned 80 in 1998. My mom and her 3 sibs and the 5 grandkids each contributed top 10 lists that I compiled and made into a top 80 list. I printed it out at work in DC and fedex'd it to arrive just in time for his birthday. I know it touched him greatly.

01.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

Oh I LOVE this!!

01.27.2010 | Unregistered Commentermelissa

This book/idea is amazing!!!! xoxo. LOVE it. Happy, Hapy Birthday NINA!! {90}

This is really so sweet. I'm sure she just loved everything. My grandpa is turning ninety this year and I might need to adopt some of your amazing ideas.

01.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMelanie

This is fantastic.

01.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAli

What a beautiful book! I'm sure she will treasure that and read it over and over again. So thoughtful!

01.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJenny Yarbrough

I love this!!!! We just began planning my granny's 90th - I would love to pull something together like this! What a wonderful way to include everyone. Thanks so much for sharing!

01.27.2010 | Unregistered Commentersharyn

Beautifully done. Also, she looks fabulous for 90!

01.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterBecky

So sweet! And I love the style of the cards and book you made for her - how thoughtful. Inspiring post on many levels.

01.27.2010 | Unregistered Commenterseleta

What a beautiful book, I love the 90 memories. Would you mind sharing the names of the fonts you used?

01.27.2010 | Unregistered CommenterMichelle Aller

fantastic. hope my granny will arrive at that age to make her such a present!

01.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLara

Whao, this is such a brilliant idea - what a fantastic family you have x

01.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterPetit Filoux

What a lovely gift - so very personal and it must have been greatly appreciated by your grandmother. You created such a beautifully presented book of memories. I'd love to give my Nanna something like this when she reaches this milestone. Thanks so much for sharing!

01.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda

Oh, what a lovely idea! My nan turns 80 this year and I'd love to do something like this for her, thanks for the inspiration! Did she like it?

01.28.2010 | Unregistered Commenterlaura

My grandmother just turned 96 in December. I've been wanting to sit down with her and create a book of her memories, and this has definitely renewed my resolve to do this. Awesome!

01.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterJen

It looks great! Thanks for sharing

01.28.2010 | Unregistered Commenterbec

You're grandmother looks so great for 90! What is her secret??

01.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLindzie H

I love this book, what a treasure. I started a similar project for my aunt and uncle's 50th wedding anniversary (now coming up on 3 years ago I'm sad to say). Seeing your finished product makes me want finish it up :)

01.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Stop making me cry Brooke. Really beautiful work. A celebration of life well-lived. Thanks for sharing.

01.28.2010 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney

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