DIY Gallery Wall and Jewelry Display

While I am not much of a DIYer, I am all about creating a living space that reflects my family and the people and things that we love. Have you heard of man-caves? Well, in this house of 5, I am the sole female. The lone wolf. A man-cave we don’t need but a mom-cave? Yes. That I do need!

My office is a small room in our basement that houses my favourite treasures, mostly books among a few knick-knacks and a beloved chandelier. I have slowly added to the room over the years, taking advice from Nate Berkus to only add things that I love and “tell my story”.

This one wall remained a blank space for years, but I finally decided to take wedding photos of my parents, in-laws, grandparents and grandparent in-laws (is that a term?) and create a gallery wall. The first step was deciding on frames that would fit nicely on the wall in a cluster of six. I am what some may call a traditionalist, and others may call boring, so black frames won out.

I then visited Blacks with the original photos, a few more than 60 years old, and spent some time with one of their photo technicians. They helped me to digitally restore and resize the photos. Their expertise proved invaluable and regardless of how tech savvy you may be, ask them for input. No need to DIY it all.

I would like to preface this by saying that a gallery wall is a lot harder to hang than it looks. First off, it involves math. A lot of it. And measuring. A lot of it. I can hold my own when it comes to math, but I wanted to limit the number of holes made in the wall. Needless to say the adage “measure twice, cut once” was running through my mind while I wielded my hammer.

My thorough research suggested that I tape off the gallery before actually hammering in the nails, and this worked out well for me. I was able to rearrange the photos and modify the spacing to my liking without puncturing the wall. Overall, I am happy with my handiwork (one is slightly off, but I can obsessed about that another day) but more so, this DIY project fills my space with people I love, and tells quite the story.





Next up on my DIY project list was to arranging my collection of costume jewelry.

My pretty necklaces and chunky bracelets were stored away in boxes and drawers, not allowing for admiration or ready-to-wear. My favourite style blogger and interior designer, Erin Gates, provided inspiration with this picture from her recent best seller.

imgres-1Here’s my take. Thank you, Erin for showing us that it’s okay to have fun with our girly accessories!

I sourced a collection of inexpensive display vessels from Home Sense. The trays were less than $30, the cake stand was $6.99, the butter dish $6.99 and the small vase $3.99. The mug was from my kitchen.

I sourced a collection of inexpensive display vessels from Home Sense. The trays were less than $30, the cake stand was $6.99, the butter dish $6.99 and the small vase $3.99. The mug was from my kitchen.




I have two of these guys flanking the display. My youngest calls them "the treasure men".  I like that.

I have two of these guys flanking the display. My youngest calls them “the treasure men”. I like that.


Decorating With the Boys

We’re still working on establishing holiday traditions are our place, but one thing that has taken hold here is making our own Christmas tree decorations, and then of course decorating the tree together with our things.  I started this years ago, I think when my oldest son was just three years old.  There are lots of things that little children can help make; here are a few of our staples.

  • Salt Dough Ornaments – so easy to make, perfectly tactile for little hands, and fun to paint (sparkles!) and decorate.  These hang on from year to year if you’re careful with them.  To make:  Mix 2 cups flour and 1 cup salt, and add 2 Tbsp oil.  Slowly add 3/4 to 1 cup of water, until you have a smooth, clay-like consistency.  Make shapes that you like, and then bake at 250 degree for about an hour.  If you want to hang your ornaments, remember to poke a hole in it before baking (a straw is ideal for this, but I never have one and just use a bamboo skewer).
  • Dried Orange Slices – older children could help slice these, and then you just bake in an oven on low temperature until they’re dry.  They smell lovely, are so pretty on the tree, and even young kids can poke them with picture wire to make hooks for hanging.
  • Popcorn and Cranberry Strings – simple and festive on the tree.  It’s best to use day-old popcorn for stringing as it’s less likely to crack when you sew them together.  With supervision, little hands can do this, especially with a yarn needle that’s not quite so sharp, although I tend to give my kids regular needles as they’re more effective in poking the popcorn and cranberry.
  • Miniature Wreaths – these are little squares of fabric (that don’t fray) strung on a strong thread (like embroidery floss or fishing line) and then tied together to make a circle.  We have scrap fleece so we use that, but felt or wool (felted or boiled) would also work well.  I made these with the kids originally for window decorating, but they have since grabbed them for the tree.

We don’t have our tree yet this year, but just yesterday afternoon, and I swear I didn’t stage this, my boys spontaneously started making Christmas decorations.  We had driven home from a lesson in the dark, during which they excitedly pointed out every house that had holiday lights and decorations, and this must have spurred to them to their own creations.  They ended up making wreaths on their own from construction paper – I couldn’t participate because I had to make dinner and take care of the (sick) baby.  But I watched them fold, cut, colour, and tape these to our front window, working cooperatively the entire time.

I know these decorations from the outside may not look like much, but I love that my boys feel that they have the capacity and wherewithal to make Christmas treasures with their own hands, which of course they do.  I hope that our annual makings for the Christmas tree foster this.  Our tree will display our things, including a few gifted ornaments and artwork that they boys deem appropriate, and this works for us.