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. 😉


long time, no see.

Most of you are thinking one of two things: 1- she does exist or, 2- crap, I got alerted to read her crap again.

I’m ok with either of these as long as you’re here.

I do apologize because I hate looking at my google reader and realizing there are a million blogs I subscribed to or bookmarked that never write. By the same token, I’m pledging to do better. Also, I originally typed “by the same toke” and laughed because I never make marijuana jokes.

See? Those of you originally thinking “She does exist” are now frustrated that you were alerted to read my crap. 🙂 So, I decided today to start small with the blogging. We have actually done a ton of things around the house since the last time I blogged. I do hope to start talking about all of those things soon, but some of them will be more in-depth, so today I’m starting with the smallest/most recent things we’ve done.

Abou a year ago (weird), we did some engagement photos with Rachel Clarke who, sadly, is no longer doing photography, but has decided to bravely follow a new plan for her life. So, we wish her the best and hope that she finds all of the things God has planned for her and is able to see them to fruition. So, Rachel had done a photography contest with a themed engagement shoot. We had planned to do a vintage Fredericksburg/river/picnic shoot, but plans ended up changing and we did the shoot at the house of my good friend Nathan’s parents. His wife, Andie, also styled the shoot for her business, before realizing God’s plan is to currently continue being a stay-at-home for her darling daughter, Cadence. Thankfully, these ladies used their talents to help us. We used my vintage handkerchiefs for a backdrop and staged a little picnic/sherbert/music playing session with a record player & Chris’ guitar. We had ordered our photos before we ever got married, but didn’t have a way to hang them. Luckily, Chris also headed up his church’s yard sale last year and he got this sweet busted up window. I had a plan! I had seen a few window/picture frames around the internet and really got interested once I got on Pinterest. Holy crap. I love Pinterest.

We decided to start this project Sunday evening. It took 2 hrs. Yes. I am ridiculous. At first I thought we’d stick the photos to the window, but then I realized I didn’t want to put anything adhesive on the actual photos, so I was hoping we could figure something out with double-sided tape on the wall. We were awful about taking photos. I apologize in advance. We bought some keyhole fasteners to screw onto the back of the window. Chris got those into the frame (careful to stay away from the glass so the screw wouldn’t crack it) and then we put anchors in the wall. That part was easy-peasy. I took the window back off of the wall and laid the photos where I wanted them. Also, easy peasy. So, my genius thought was to mark a dot on the window glass with a dry erase marker and then measure where they fell in the frame. Then I hung the window on the wall and marked a small line where the end of the frame would hang. Perfect, right? Yes…except not. So then I measured from that line to the measurements for each dot and hung the photos with double-sided tape on the wall. Sweet. I hung up the window aaaaaaand… nope. They were all off-center by about an inch. Why? I’m not really sure. We tried re-doing the same thing and it still worked, in theory, but looked wrong. We ended up taking the window down at least 6 million times. It really felt that way. We would hang it, eyeball where the photo should move, take it down, move one photo, hang it up, make sure that was right (it usually wasn’t the first time), take it down and adjust a bit more, re-hang it, figure out the next photo, etc. Funny thing, I was wearing my husband’s sock on my hand so that I could smooth out the tape/corners without fingerprints on the photos. I’m a fingerprint nazi. After another hour or so of all of this business, tada! It was hung. (that’s what she said).

We realized that with the handkerchief pennant banner in the background, it looked really cool to hang our little flag banner from our wedding reception over the window to further frame it out. So, here’s the final. Forgive the awkward reflection from the paper lantern (I don’t like) in the window. We can’t figure out what to do with a ceiling light in our room. We don’t always agree on what it should look like, so we’re stuck with the paper lantern for now.  Also, we don’t have fancy (or boring) photo editing software, so they might kinda look like crap, but you get the jist.

Trying not to get any reflection…

 Full frontal…

Here’s a close-up of the pictures. My next goal is to have the records (that we’re holding) framed and to take the 8×10 that is similar to the two in the top corners so that it can go somewhere else in between the two record frames. Soon…

Aaaand a close-up of the banner that I made out of scrapbook paper and ribbon for our wedding. I actually hung it on this wall previously, took it down to make room for a piece of furniture, rearranged furniture, and finally got it hung again.

This is just a ring shot. I really loved it because she incorporated my vintage hankie box that my grandmother gave me. I think my ring looks awesome, even in a $5 Ikea frame.

     We took a few days and went to the beach to visit my Sissy and her husband’s family who are up (and down) from GA (and NY). It was sweet. Amazing weather. However, we finished the window project Sunday night before we left and that made me motivated to do something else tonight when we got home. My grandparents are big antique collectors and always have old tools and things that I like to collect/use. I feel like having their things and hearing stories that are associated with them will help me have heirlooms in the future for my children who might not get the amazing gift of knowing my grandparents. Seriously, they’re amazing. Probably the most amazing people I’ll ever know. Thanks, Jesus, for giving me these amazing people.
     OK, back on track. I had been on Pinterest (seriously. obsessed.) a few months ago and had seen a photo of an old rake head used as a necklace rack. I thought, “Man, Pa must have one of those laying around.” I looked for some at an antiques festival in April and couldn’t find one. I mentioned it casually and my grandfather said, “Sure, I have a pile of scrap iron.” What?! Amazing. Last weekend, I found it laying near his garage and Memaw said they had set it aside just for me. I’m so lucky. 🙂 So, before bed tonight, I decided to find a nail and hang it up! We eventually want to make our closet wall into a wall of fabric, a la Katie Bower, but, for now, we have doors. I wanted to hang it so it hides behind my door (without scraping the door) but also doesn’t look too crazy with the big window. When I held it close to the window, it started to look super off balance because there isn’t anything on the other side (yet), but I also didn’t want it to be a part of the overall scene in case I wanted to add other photos/frames down the road. We may have to move it out a bit since I think the fabric wall will take up some space, but for now, it looks awesome. All it took was a little scrub (to keep rust off the wall) and a single nail and…tada!

And a whole wall shot…again, pardon the stupid cord and paper lantern. It’s not too bad, but it does make me REALLY want to hang some more frames/photos soon!

I really love it. Really. Really. Love. It. That’s a lot. Also, thanks to my husband for not thinking I’m crazy when I start these projects at 11 p.m., ask my long-distance best friend to call me at 12:30, or stay up writing blog posts until 3. I’ll try to be less insane once the school year starts, but I can make no promises.

This is the first of many projects that I’ll be posting soon (hopefully) and I already feel more motivated to finish some of the ones I’ve started so I can share with the few, the proud, the readers of my blog. Happy end of summer!

I meant to post my inspiration photo from Pinterest, so here it is! I didn’t actually use a specific inspiration to hang the window, more for reference about how people chose to hang the somewhat-heavy windows, so I don’t have a specific photo for inspiration. I typed “window picture frame” into the search bar and came up with tons of results.