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Picture Gallery Wall: COMPLETE! | Landlubber Life

{ Part one of this project can be found here. }

Ta da!!!! Lyra loves showing off the final product. 

Jumping right in from where my last post left off:

Once I had all the frames up on the wall, and remember, each frame was marked with blue tape and a number, I took careful pictures again. This time my goal was to be able to remember where the frames would go once they were all spray painted. I had to be very exact with my my numbering so I'd know which frame was which.

Next: I took all the frames down and did several things as part of this step. 

  1. Cleaned both the frames and the glass.
  2. Made sure that there was a piece of blue painter's tape on the glass of each frame and on the back of the frame too (numbers corresponding.) That way I could re-unite the correct glass with the correct frame once I had spray painted them.
  3. Measured each frame and made a list of sizes so I'd know how many pictures of which size to order.

This process was long and tedious.

It was made better by listening to multiple episodes of my friend Alexis' podcast called The Dig, and also lots of coffee. TONS of coffee.

^^Note my blood on the bottom left. That's right, baby, blood, sweat, and tears on this project.

Okay. No tears. Well, sorta. And blood only because I got inattentive while cleaning all the glass and sliced my thumb. Weeeeeeee!

But the notes above do show that I had to count not only the various sizes of frames I had, but whether or not I would need to find a picture that was oriented for the portrait or landscape position.

While I initially thought that I'd paint the frames an assortment of colors, I'll be the first to admit that this project was time consuming and I was ready to cut corners where able. I knew that all my chosen photos would be appropriately colorful enough, so I decided to just paint all the frames white and save time and money. 

I've never spray painted before. Holy addicting, Batman! The tutorials I read suggested spray painting frame by frame in a box like this but I disagree, total pain in the ass.

I ditched the box and just laid all the frames out on butcher paper and went to town.

I ended up doing about four coats of paint, or more correctly, I spray painted them twice, doing two coats in each session. For all the frames on both walls I used two cans of spray paint.

Total project cost so far? $8.00.

Crafty McCrafterson!

I put all the finished frames back up on the wall while I took a few days to sort through our digital photos and decide which ones to display. I say this casually, "sort through all our digital photos."  

It was a total mind-fuck.

I asked Eric to send me photos that he wanted up on the wall too, and we both went through our albums on the same night. It was hard. It is constantly hard to re-live last year in any way, and it's bittersweet to see the years that built up to last April too.

When Eric had finished and emailed me his choices, he came up to the office, hugged me, and asked me if I was okay. I poured another glass of wine and we both unplugged from pictures, computers, and the internet after that.

It took me awhile to go back to the project, but I did, and it was worth it.

With Eric's photo list and mine in hand, I started trying to figure out which photos would be best suited to fit the 8"x10", 5"x7", 4"x6", or 3"x5" frames, and of course, how to balance that with the landscape versus portrait orientation of the already planned gallery wall design.

Using coupons for both sites, I spent $30 total at Snapfish for the majority of my prints, and $5.30 at Nation's Photo to order a few 3"x5" ones, which apparently, are not that fashionable to print anymore (a ton of online places don't offer the option to print that size now).

That put the final cost for this project at: $43.70. NICE.

It was time for the final push. All assembled I had:

  1. A flat-head screwdriver for reassembling the backs of picture frames.
  2. Blue painter's tape (for the random frames with no backing.)
  3. A paper cutter (for cutting my own DIY matting).
  4. Scotch tape to really press things down.
  5. Spare white paper for impromptu matting.
  6. Coffee.
  7. Podcasts.
  8. A sugar-high's worth of meringues. (Trust me, I ate more than pictured).

It was on.

I laid out the largest photos first, the 8"x10"s. Once I had sorted where those went on each wall I laid out the remaining 5"x7"s, 4"x6"s, and the teeny-tiny 3"x5"s.

It took awhile but a theme of one wall being devoted to just our nuclear family and one wall with mixed photos of family and friends emerged.

I had to keep in mind what Eric had asked for and what I wanted. And within that I contemplated what I wanted to show on the wall. I wanted an equal amount of photos of the girls. I wanted to have photos of me with the girls and Eric with the girls. I wanted photos of our wedding and photos of the girls as tiny babies too. We both had photos from our time in Mexico and our years sailing.

My brother, Rich, escorting me down the aisle. Catalina Island, November 2008.

I remember as a girl looking at my own parents' wedding photos and thinking what a beautiful bride my mother was and how strangely young both my mom and dad were. They were people I didn't know. And the girls won't "know "us either at this age, at least not with a grown-up mind set. I want them to see that our wedding and our marriage are important and that we value them, as we value our children. I hope the photos I selected show them that.


Step by step, here's how it turned out:

The girls are thrilled and are constantly pointing at and talking about all the photos.

Two final steps and these are important.

Remember that earthquakes happen (and so do determined children who want to knock frames off of the wall out of curiosity.) I needed to secure all the frames so they wouldn't fall during an earthquake. The stairs are our primary egress for an emergency. I didn't want our path to be strewn with broken glass.

Instead, I used small squares of Command strips on the back corners of the frames and pushed each frame against the wall while I simultaneously used a level to make sure each frame was even. (<----that's the second step.)

Ba da BOOM. It feels so good. So incredibly good, to have one project completely done.

And it looks great too!

Happy crafting, thrifting, and DIY-ing within your budget! Whoohooo! 


Picture Gallery Wall in a rental, on a budget | Landlubber Life

{ The final part of this project can be found here. }

There are about eight billion pins on Pinterest that can inspire you to create your own picture gallery wall. 

The beautiful, spray-painted frames on this map gallery wall inspired me to get started on my own for our new apartment. (Pic via Running From the Law).

We are operating on exactly ZERO for a decorating budget in the new apartment, so I must get crafty and thrifty to achieve my goals.


I scored this box of old picture frames from a wonderful woman in my local Buy Nothing Group. I didn't know if I would use ALL of them, so I promised the rest of the group that I would re-offer those I didn't use back to the Buy Nothing Group to keep the giving going (and I just recently passed on about 10 I had left. Yay for the circle of giving!)

All told, I had that large box of assorted, vintage frames and a handful of my own frames that my brother had stored away, albeit unbeknownst to me, but I can't tell you how happy I was to have them back. I got to see oldie-but-goodie photos I had framed from yesteryear like these:

First step? Look at the eight billion aforementioned pins on Pinterest for some idea of how I'd do my own gallery wall.

First flight of stairs.

Second flight of stairs.

I wanted the frames to go up both flights of stairs and to follow the angle of the stair handle to keep things nice and flowing.

The girls helped me take measurements.

I had to keep in mind that I didn't want any frame to be so low that my youngest (just turned two) could reach up and poke at the glass, and also not forget to put frames too high (there was no way I was going to try to get a ladder onto the stairs for those hard-to-reach heights.)

The handsome, helpful man who is my husband made a rudimentary compass for me and then determined the angle of each stairway handrail. I then translated that angle onto the floors in the living room with some blue painters tape.

Representation of first flight of stairs.

Representation of second flight of stairs.

The blue tape length represents the length of the hand rail I was following, and the marks of blue tape above and below on each side represent the section of area I would fill with frames.

I spent time arranging and re-arranging each "wall". The end results for each flight of stairs are above and below.


Next step? Put blue tape on each frame and number them one by one.

Then I needed to take pictures of the numbered frames in place on the floor so I could translate their positions upon the wall. 

Moving on. Time to recreate the blue line of tape, and the same angle of the stair rails onto each wall. Once both lines were up, I brought my laptop with the pictures onto the stairwell and started hanging. 

NOTE: There are a lot of "how-to's" on doing gallery walls. Find a method that works for you. I have a pretty keen sense of space and knew I could more or less recreate the way I had arranged the frames on the floor in the living room and kitchen if I could just see the photos I had taken earlier.

And I was right:


Now I had all of the frames up on the wall and numbered. I had the photographs for when I took the frames down to carefully clean them and spray paint them and I felt like a bad ass for getting halfway through a project that I knew would turn out beautifully if I just persevered.

Onward and upward!!

Part two coming soon, and will include:

- Cleaning all the frames and glass

- Spray painting all the frames

- Ordering prints

- Re-hanging frames so they are level and secured to wall 


This Moment ~ Tea with Sisters

{This Moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your moment in the comments for all to find and see. 

Happy Weekend!

My last 'This Moment' post was on May 29, 2013. Time to remedy that. And yes, today is Saturday and these normally post on Friday, but I'm a rebel like that. Welcome back, This Moment.

The 'This Moment' movement is via SouleMama.


Every Six Months ~ Cora and Lyra, February 2015

Lyra, two years old. Cora, 4.5 years old. 

San Diego, California. February 2015.


Every Six Months: A Photo Project

The girls are 2.5 years apart and their birthdays fall almost exactly six months apart in a calendar year. My goal is to document the two of them together every six months. You can view all the photos in the series here.


Yet another six months has come and gone and I give you the next installment in my Every Six Months Photo Series. The photo I take in February is the one I send with my annual Valentine's mailing (which STILL hasn't gone out yet, but that is another story.) Eric and I often think about where we would have been had everything not happened last April. The last photo for this series would have been taken somewhere in the South Pacific. This post's photo would have been taken in New Zealand. So many "would haves," I try not to think about them.

Instead I re-focus on the present.

This photo was a strong contender for the Every Six Months Photo. The girls picked their own helmets and now ride their balance bikes everywhere. Yes, little two year old Lyra can ride a balance bike quite well, and is even kicking up her feet to coast and balance simultaneously!

Dressing the girls up in their "party dresses," the dresses they were waiting to wear for Lyra's birthday party, was a ton of fun, as was bribing them with chocolate chips to try to get just ONE photo for this project.

When the majority of your photos are kids being goofy, are the photos outtakes, or just real life?


"Lyra, turn around. Cora, look at me."

"Okay, let's try having you hold your hands together."


"Let's try standing up."

^^This was their best attempt at a band photo.

"Okay. Okay. How about, look at each other and smile?" 

"Right. How about you hold each other's hands?" 

And then my heart exploded.

Cora's laugh. Is there anything like it?

Lyra's cheekiness. It can't be topped.

Hee hee.

And, I kid you not, in my final attempt to get them to give me just ONE photo that I could work with, I said, okay, show me how you feel when daddy comes home, and at that EXACT moment, Eric walked in the front gate.

Those smiles are all for daddy.

I can't wait to see what they look like in another six months! 


#VACCINATE for me, and you | Valentine's Day 2015

Image source: Image Credit: NASA/NOAA/GSFC/Suomi NPP/VIIRS/Norman Kuring

Overlaying text: Charlotte Kaufman

Happy Valentine's Day from Rebel Heart <3  


Vaccine-denier comments will be deleted from my blog and my social media pages. I will not let my corner of the internet being a forum to voice your harmful (and inaccurate) beliefs.


#VaccinesWork  #WeAreTheHerd #ScienceIsCool