Not long after Scott and I got married, his family decided that the grown-ups would start exchanging homemade Christmas gifts. The girls would make gifts for each other, and the guys would as well. No shopping, no pressure, no stress.
Sounds like a great idea, right? Except that my crafting skills peaked at the age of eight, making spray-painted Christmas trees out of old Readers' Digests in Vacation Bible School (Remember these? Well, my mom thought mine was pretty).
Oh, and my mother-in-law is one of the most creative, craftsy people on the planet; my sister-in-law Holly writes the DIY blog McCall Manor and can turn furniture roadkill into works of art; and my sister-in-law Karen turns out holiday ornaments and other creative projects for which I wouldn't even know where to begin.
Me? I can make cookies, so that was to be my fallback - and would certainly make me popular with our nieces and nephews.
Thanksgiving approached and I still didn't have any brilliant ideas. But scrolling through Facebook one afternoon, I realized I couldn't make ornaments or decorative pillows - but I could make a photo book! So, I scoured our family's Facebook pages, tossed together a photo book on Shutterfly (I frequently do TV segments on their behalf) - and dubbed it the "Sewell Family Yearbook."
Voila! Everyone loved it - although I did still bake dozens of Christmas cookies and carry them with us to Tennessee…just in case.
The first book was a small softcover book with 70 photos. The project has since taken on a life of its own, evolving into an 8 x 11 hardcover book the following year and growing in size and scope each year. The book now regularly tops 100 pages with 300 to 400 photos.