stuff from my grandparents’ garage & wedding photos: finally making our gallery wall

So, most of my readers know me in real life and know that I have a tendency to “collect” things, a.k.a. hoard junk until it’s coming out of my ears. It just so happens that this has started working to my benefit. My grandparents are the original generation of DIY-ers. I’ve probably mentioned them before, maybe back when I was collecting items for my ladder or my floating shelves? I’m not sure. Either way, most of the things I have to display, like my insulators and jars, come from trips with Memaw and Pa or trips TO Memaw and Pa’s. Memaw and Pa comb Pennsylvania with us every spring looking through antique shops and shows. They have repainted all of the rooms in their house multiple times, including layers of wall paper, and they do all of their own (beautiful) landscaping. If my external hard drive hadn’t eaten all of my old pictures (I still can’t talk about it without getting emotional), I would show you how beautiful their house is. It is truly my favorite place in the whole wide world. Anyway, due to my subscription to Country Living and the magazine Flea Market Style, I’ve been getting a LOT of ideas. My grandfather listens intently when we look through magazines (although he sometimes acts like he doesn’t hear me when I make requests) and usually when I go back to their house, he’s found some old tool I “might want” for a project.

A while back, I don’t know how long, he sent me home with the head of a pitchfork, an old mirror, and some shears. I had no idea what I would use them for, but KNEW that I would use them. Months passed…as per usual. My “collecting” also coincided with us getting a roommate. Our friend moved into our downstairs bedroom, which only *really* housed junk and our piano. We made him live with the piano for too many months to mention (sorry, Michael) and FINALLY moved it out this spring! I wanted it to be a feature in the living room…and I also wanted to be able to play it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty sure Michael would LOVE to wake up to me sitting on a piano bench in his room. That’s not creepy. At. All. So, we moved the piano out and I had a randomly hanging picture on the wall from a previous furniture arrangement. Are you ready to see how ridiculous this looks?!

before-over piano

So sorry that this makes my living room look like the darkest pits of you-know-where. Also, you can see my not-so-secret stash of CRAP that we “hide” behind the couch, making it clearly visible to anyone who steps foot in our door. I go back to work in less than 2 weeks, I should maybe get on that.

But you get the idea, the picture placement was NOT going to work anymore. So, one night, while watching The Facts of Life on TheHub at about midnight, I decided to pull down all of the things I thought would add to a gallery wall and start laying them on the carpet. This post is super short on photos (you’re welcome, obviously my photog skills are inCREDible), but it was really dark, really late, and I was working by myself until the installation.

The pile of junk in my floor included: the pitchfork, the shears, mirror, our wedding-photo-“guest book” frame, the hand-holding engagement photo, a new hanging light for free from the youth room at church (nobody wanted it, we asked), and one of our post-wedding photos from upstairs that we took down when our ceiling had a leak. So, after getting a few copies of the photos (almost 3 years ago) and buying a few frames (also almost 3 years ago), we basically spent nothing on this project. My favorite kind. Cheap.

We took everything off the walls, leaving us with this (I promise our walls aren’t gray/yellow/green, we just truly have zero. light. and I couldn’t wait for daylight):


(Seriously, the more I look at the awful white balance and how crap-tacular this picture is, the more I want to throw up. The cat on the couch is its saving grace.)

I moved things around in the floor (over and over and over again) until I had an arrangement that I liked and then…I just started hanging things. I’m not good at rhyme or reason. I don’t do well mapping it all out with perfect 2″ intervals between frames. I do really well with throwing it on a wall and moving it (to hide the previous nail hole).

So, here’s where we are today (well, at night time)…


And this is daytime…not much better, but at least you can tell our walls are gray…ish. Also, why the heck is there a can of WD-40 on my piano bench? And why is it STILL THERE?! These photos were probably taken in like, April. I just can’t seem to clear out my giant junk pile long enough to take better photos. That’ll happen next-to-never when I do a house tour. I’m all for keeping it real, but sometimes I’m a little too “real” for you all to have to handle.


I love having tools from my grandfather’s garage displayed. I love that we FINALLY have some wedding photos up (but we have a canvas I can’t wait to hang!) and I love that it happened after midnight on a Saturday. That’s like the witching hour for me. I get all crazy and start doing projects. Chris LOVES it. Also, he figured out how to hang 99.9% of this stuff and just drove nails where I asked, so he is a rockstar, even at 1 a.m.

p.s, Ikea, why are are ALL of your mattes NOT AT ALL WHITE, even in WHITE FRAMES?! top photo doesn’t look as pee-yellow in person, but it sure does make me crazy in the head here. Crazy in the head isn’t a far cry from my “normal”, but still. 😉


Ladder, Ladder on the wall

In the last post about hanging a light fixture, I mentioned that I like late-night projects. I wish this were exclusive to summer time, but I also do this during the school year, even on *gasp* school nights! For some reason, whenever I do this, I’m more energized the next day. I may or may not have some weird freakish brain disorder where finished projects help me sleep better.

Anyway, one Thursday night this spring, I decided to get active about a bunch of stuff that was laying in a pile in my floor. I am a coach for Odyssey of the Mind at my school and I had collected a pile of scrap wood for my Odyssey team. Well, it ended up being really nice quality wood, way better than I wanted to give to 7 3rd-5th graders to practice using. In this giant pile there was a cute little ladder, like the kind for a kid’s bunkbed, but definitely homemade. I had plans for this ladder. 

Antique Wooden Ladder Bookshelf
From here.

I kinda tried to google how to do this, but then I just studied the picture really carefully. I’m all about buying stuff on etsy, but I already had everything I needed, I was pretty sure. We went out to Ace Hardware and bought 4 small L-brackets (2 top and 2 bottom) and some teeny tiny screws to screw the brackets into the ladder. I knew we had a-plenty of anchors/screws for the walls. So… about $6 later, we were all set! 
So, like I said, this was all laying in the floor for days until this magical Thursday evening inspiration! We recently rearranged our living room (I’m sure one day I’ll write a Living Room Metamorphosis post) and I had the perfect spot over our leather armchairs to hang this big ol’ focal ladder. 
Here she is in all of her glory. Our living room doesn’t even look that awful in the background. Yes, the carpet really is that dirty. Yes, we are getting laminate floors next month. 
This was pretty straightforward…getting the wall ready for the anchors. Also,our trip and ceiling are the same color of white, but our camera stinks. So, yeah.

Our method was as follows:

Step 1: Find the studs. One is in the picture above, HAHA, but seriously. Studfinder is my hero.
Step 2: Hold up the ladder to see if it works where the studs are located. 
Step 3: Mark the bracket holes on the wall to align with studs. Mark holes on the top and bottom of ladder for the baby screws to hold the brackets to the ladder.
Step 4: Use anchors where the holes are for the other part of the wall (I don’t think we ended up doing this. I think we used our screws all directly in the stud. That made me feel better.)
Step 5: Screw the bottom brackets into the ladder. Then, have someone hold up the ladder to match the holes on the wall and have the other person screw the brackets to the wall.
Step 6: Line up the top brackets, screw into ladder, screw into wall. 
Step 7: Deck it out with stuff. 

This is nighttime. 

This is daytime. Yes, our house is that dim. Yes, that’s my green sleeve because I had to sit the camera on the mantel and use a mirror to see if it was taking a picture of the right thing. One day, I’ll get a nicer camera. Until then, suffer through it with me. 🙂

 As far as outfitting the ladder goes, the insulators on top were free, I’m pretty sure. I know two were in my grandparents’ garage and the other two I might’ve bought for $3-$5 a piece. The framed picture is obviously from our post-wedding/dress-trashing photoshoot by our dear friends Sarah & Drew at KittCreative. We framed it in a $10 frame from Ikea. The C & J were from Tuesday Morning, but Mama bought them for us. The mirror on the left was from my Pa’s garage. The lantern and shovel/spade on the right were also from their house. The green bottle to the left of the picture was from our antique trip in PA and was $10 I think. The small insulator on the left was about $2 I think, also. So, the whole thing cost us maybe $30 bucks with everything on it and the hardware. Not bad for wall art that brings our little seating area together! 

I love it! And, I love that I can switch it up for holidays or any other time when I get bored. Thanks, freecycle for your nice supply of extra lumber! 🙂 

Any fun wall art in YOUR home?! Thanks for stopping by our hole in the web!