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.

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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.

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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.

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Remembering Memories

We’re a family whose memory-making veers more to the experiential than the material.  There aren’t a lot of framed photos in our house. I don’t scrap book (three attempts notwithstanding, it hasn’t caught on). I’m not even a particularly good photographer and more often than not, we forget to bring the camera with us when we go out (I’m still old-school enough to prefer not to use my phone!). I feel some guilt over the fact that we don’t try harder to document our lives. After years of sleep deprivation, my memory of my own children’s infancy and young childhood is quite honestly spotty. I do wish I had more concrete reminders of those times.  My children, their synapses young and agile, have a recall for events and things that makes me gasp.  I can barely recall what I wore to work today — and I’m still wearing it.

But I do intend to change. These memory-capturing crafts have my attention. With a little time and organization, I think even I could accomplish some of these:

At Tresfrenchhens, these lovely framed handprints. I might need to do this before it becomes unclear whose hands are whose:

Over at Everything Fabulous, there’s a post about these adorable Love Maps. What a clever way to mark certain important  places in your life:

Both Beth-Anne and Nathalie have had the presence of mind to write down all those wonderful things their kids say during the year. I haven’t managed that, but maybe this will help. It’s a Memory Jar, inspired by something Joan Didion did with her daughter in The Year of Magical Thinking.  Every time someone says something worth recording, you jot it down on whatever’s handy, and drop the paper into the jar. Each year, you start a new one. Brilliant.

But if I don’t get around to any of these, it’s probably because we’re  busy doing things as family. Perhaps I’ll just get this for the entry-way wall. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!