kitchen gallery wall II

Today’s post isn’t really a sequel, more like a quick ending to a story that didn’t actually end in the first place.  Recently I showed you that I completed the majority of a gallery-wall project in my kitchen.  At the end of that post, a few frames still needed matting.

And when I say matting, I really mean scrapbook paper.  You saw a little preview here, but today I’ll show you how those loose pieces of paper came together to complete the photo display.

I went to Hobby Lobby with my pocket camera, which I had used earlier to photograph each frame that needed paper.  As I stood in the paper aisle, contemplating hundreds of color and pattern choices and feeling just a tad bit overwhelmed, I had in my hands a visual reminder of the shades and subjects I needed to complement.  Thanks to that memory aid, I made a few choices–not quickly, but more quickly than I would have otherwise–and hightailed it home with my treasures.

gallery wall completed 3.5.13 , (2)

I traced the frame backs to size my paper, cut the edges as needed, and attached the photos to the paper with sticky tack.

gallery wall completed 3.5.13 , (3)

It only took a few minutes of measuring, cutting, and sticking before I was ready to put those previously-incomplete frames back on the wall, looking much cheerier.  See?

gallery wall completed 3.5.13 , (4)

This is one of my favorite photos, which I keep thinking I’ll have blown up much larger–I just can’t decide whether to go big with the original blue or subdue it into sepia or black & white.  It’s an ornamental cabbage, in case you can’t tell.

gallery wall completed 3.5.13 , (7)

This one, despite the glare and blur in this recapturing of it, is another favorite, taken by our friend Melissa during our engagement.  The yellow-and-white polka dots are, to me, the pattern equivalent of the laughter on our faces.

gallery wall completed 3.5.13 , (5)

So a stripe here, a polka dot there, and the whole wall is finished.  (Oh, happy day!)  After everything was in place, I noticed a detail that had escaped my attention before.  The rug in front of the sink matches.

gallery wall completed 3.5.13 , (14)

Did my subconscious know, or was it a happy accident?  I’m not sure.  Believe whatever makes it a better story for you.  As for me, I’m pleased that I tried another gallery wall after all.  They’re not for every person, and definitely not for every room, but for such an awkwardly-shaped space I think this gallery is about the only thing that would have worked.  (Because I’m not hanging a huge piece of “real” art in my kitchen, no sirree, Bob.  We fry chicken in this place!)

Do you have a gallery wall?  Does it make you hyperventilate a little, or have you found a way to harmonize it with its surroundings?  What’s your formula for a successful gallery?

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kitchen gallery wall

You’ve heard of a galley kitchen (right?), but what about a gallery kitchen?  I decided that was what I needed.

kitchen gallery wall template creation on the living room floor

I’ve been pondering how to treat this oddly-allocated space on the one free kitchen wall.  Jutting in a little or a lot were: cupboards on both sides, but of differing sizes; a refrigerator; a microwave; and a counter trim piece.  Everything I tried there looked weird.  But brown paper…man, brown paper was the look I had been going for.

kitchen gallery wall template hung

Just kidding!  The brown paper-and-packing-tape monstrosity was my template.  I measured the wall, including the intrusions of the above-mentioned appliances and fixtures, then cut brown paper to that size and shape.  Then I arranged my frames this way and that until I had a layout I liked.  I traced the frames, marked where the nail holes should go, then hung the template on the wall and studded it with nails.

kitchen gallery wall template with adjustments marked

I had to adjust on the fly because I skewed my template a little too far to the left at first–me and arithmetic.  It’s pathetic, really.  I just cut out the parts of the pattern that ended up in places I didn’t want them and moved them to places they’d fit.  After ripping the paper off the wall, I had a constellation of nails just waiting for frames to hang from them.  So I hung frames from them.

kitchen gallery wall, first instance

That was on a Friday.  It wasn’t until Sunday that I had time to think about how I wanted to fill those frames.  One thing I noticed immediately after hanging my gallery wall was that I was going to have to work extra hard at keeping the rest of the kitchen spic and span!  For me:

busy art wall + dirty dishes + a fridge hung with menu/coupons = mental chaos!!!*

(*That’s the kind of arithmetic I understand.)

So the menu/coupon thing had to go.  Not shown in the above photo are the cookbooks I had piled on top of the fridge.  Those had to go too.  They’re on the shelf in the dining room for now.  As for the paper clutter, I figured I’d just move it to a cork board that I could incorporate into the gallery design.  I took an 8×10 frame, replaced the picture with cork, used the glass as a firm backing instead of a covering, and was ready to call it a day.

photo frame bulletin board: backing, glass, cork, frame

One problem: the cork is super-thin, meant to heal thumbtack holes but not meant to support the thumbtacks themselves.  I had to get rid of the glass–I put it in the box where I store not-in-use frames–and swap in a couple pieces of corrugated cardboard from our recycling bin.  They worked just fine for something the tacks could sink into.

Next I gathered some color-coordinated images for the rest of the frames.  The bluebird is one of my favorites.  He comes with a speech bubble that says, “I prefer the sweet stuff.”  Don’t we all, little guy?   On the notepad you can see my very mathematical schematic of which frames needed which kind of picture.  Orange was for vertical 4x6s; blue was for 8x10s (all horizontal); and green was for horizontal 4x6s.

images for kitchen gallery wall: bluebird cutout and dotty stationery with gallery map

The main colors I wanted were blue and green.  Of course I couldn’t resist liberal doses of yellow, and pink naturally made its way in via text, polka dots, and GramE’s T-shirt (below):

horizontal 4x6 photos

I didn’t have nearly as many 8x10s lying around as I had 4x6s, so I decided to put some small photos in large frames.  That means some of them still need backing.  Anything swimming on a field of gray is waiting for me to take a trip to the craft store for scrapbook paper to fill the void.

kitchen gallery wall, first instance

Other than that the wall is complete.  I’m so happy with it!  After the gallery wall in our last apartment’s dining room…

second apartment dining room gallery wall

…I thought I was finished with such art arrangements forever: they can be overwhelming.  The problem before was that I used all different colors and styles of frames and there was no “rule” for the art.  Now all the frames are black or silver (with one rogue ivory one in the middle) and all the art plays from one four-color palette (blue, green, yellow, pink).  I think this one’s a keeper.  As long as I remember to do the dishes I won’t go crazy.  I think.

writing on the wall

Remember when I made this chalkboard?  The funny thing about it is that it took me until my day off to finally write something on it.  Well before that happened, the chalkboard I never officially showed you actually had writing on it.  You may have noticed it in the background of my post about my lovely day off.  In case you missed it, here it is again:

This one’s hanging right by the refrigerator.  At first I thought I’d use it to write each week’s menus.  I did that for a couple weeks then decided I’d rather see an inspiring quotation than a list of foods.  It’s the kitchen, for crying out loud.  Clearly if I’m in there I don’t need to be reminded about food.  To me it seemed more fitting to remind myself of the person I want to be.  So I flipped through this commonplace book I’ve had since a mentor gave it to me in high school:

It holds many of my favorite quotations, proverbs, and poems.  The page above shows the quotation I copied onto the chalkboard: “Be early what, if you are not, you will, when it is too late, wish you had been.”  -Lord Chesterfield, “Letters to His Son”  That exhortation perfectly echoes the moral of the book I just finished reading: Gail Blanke’s Throw Out Fifty Things.

The title appealed to me because, as I’ve mentioned several times lately, I’m on a de-cluttering kick.  But Blanke goes well beyond telling her reader to get all the closets under control.  The observation I found most interesting was that each thing we hold onto reveals an assumption.  She doesn’t say it that way.  What she says is that, for example, holding onto medicine from a past illness reveals that we fear we will have that illness again.

Hm.  (Holding onto outdated clothing reveals that I fear it will come back into fashion?  Anyone seen the ’80s explosion?  Heaven have mercy; there’s neon everywhere!)  Okay, I’m finished joking around.  I thought the insight about clinging to things we don’t need was compelling.  And it gets deeper.  As she urges readers through their homes, room by room, Blanke admits she’s going to push harder.  First throw out that object you never use; next get ready to throw out that old perception of yourself.  The philosophy gets a tad too New Agey for me, but there’s definitely good advice mixed in there.

So.  I now have motivation on my wall.  I’m not sure if I posted a photo of the green-accented kitchen yet, but here it is, with the chalkboard peeking out from the corner.  I didn’t clean up my mess for you; I hope you’re not offended.  Have you seen those signs that say, “The house was clean yesterday; sorry you missed it”?

My friend Nicole summed it up a bit differently in her Friday Files {edition eighteen} post not that long ago.  Blog etiquette dictates that I not steal her thunder, and besides, common sense dictates that you go over there and read it in her own words anyway.  (It’s number five.)  I cracked up.  Mostly because I thought I was the only person who felt that way about my utter lack of enthusiasm for daily sweeping, rinsing, scrubbing, wiping down, and mopping up.  Bo-oring.

I could make excuses about bolstering my immune system (and believe me, sometimes I do make them) but the truth is I’m just lazy.  There.  I said it.  And now you know.  But I do promise you that when children chew on toys in our house, we wash them before letting the next kid (maybe yours) chew on them.  And when I roll you out a homemade pizza crust, I’ve definitely scrubbed the counter first.  And if I know in advance you’re coming, I’ll clean the whole bathroom.  I hope those things make you feel better.  They’re little steps toward the whole “be early what” thing.