One of my very favorite home decor "items" are family photos. Maybe it's because I live 800 miles from my mom and many extended family members. Maybe it's because my siblings and I "ended up at the four corners of the earth", as my parents predicted, but were truly dismayed that we fulfilled their prediction. (Actually the four of us are all in the United States, and for a few years we were all located somewhere off of Interstate 80 in various states.) Never-the-less, I had been doing a lot of "thinking" about updating family photo displays and it was finally time to get them off the floor, out of the box, and on the walls!
One inspirational lady for this post was my dad’s Aunt Leone. We stayed with Aunt Leone and Uncle Jul in Gainesville, Florida, for our first big family trip to Disney World. This was back in the late 60's or early 70's. It was a major vacation for us, made possible by the generosity and hospitality of Aunt Leone and Uncle Jul.
Aunt Leone had photos of her family all throughout their house. They were on the walls, under glass on dressers in all of the bedrooms, in the living room, and even in small frames in the bathroom. I thought it was great and loved looking at all the photos. You knew she loved each and everyone of the grandchildren, children, family, and friends in those photos.
I overheard my mom and Aunt Leone reminiscing over the photos. Then, Mom recalled that she had read a magazine article that said you should only display family photos in bedrooms, not in the living areas of your home. Aunt Leone got a twinkle in her eye and gave a little giggle, and said, "Oh, really?" Then she giggled some more, as only Aunt Leone was prone to do. The photos made her happy, and magazine articles made no difference to her. At some point in my adult life of home ownership, I made conscious decision to include family photos in my home decor, just like Aunt Leone and my mom.
I love hanging a wreath on my kitchen window. This one was made from a garland that I wound into a circle two times. I added the black grow grain ribbon with the polka dots. These make me happy, too. I first took this photo in early spring. Soon, there were little buds on the trees and eventually a wall of lush greenery. Mother Nature always completes the picture. I placed the mercury glass votives on the window sills as an afterthought. I like how they shine when the light comes through the window. Just imagine what they will look like on a sunshiny day!
So, in January, I got busy. I had been overthinking things for too long, and had photos I wanted to display and rearrange. Here is a report on my progress so far.
First up, I decided to change things out as part of my view out my kitchen window. Christmas decorations were packed away, including my favorite holiday plates that I hang on either side of my kitchen cabinets that border the window just above the sink. I decided I would replace the decorative plates with fun photos. After all, the view out the kitchen window is a little stark and bleak in January. I chose photos of my Dad and my husband, both as babies. Perhaps, the most important reason for including family photos in your décor is that you love the subjects of the photos and they bring back happy memories.
I had these particular photos in a file on my computer. This enabled me to print both of them in black and white and add the titles "Bath Time" and "Love" to the photos. I have a small laminator, and because these are near the kitchen sink, I decided to laminate them for extra protection. (I'll include a link to a tutorial for this quick and easy clipboard photo project, soon.)
These photos have been lots of fun to have in the kitchen and I have gotten lots of questions and compliments on them. Family photos can be great conversation starters with guests in your home.
One of my absolute favorite photo displays is also in our kitchen/family room. My Grandma Marshall was known for her angel food cake. As a young girl, I can remember going out to get fresh eggs from the hen house for Grandma to make angel food cake. Then, I would stand on a small gray chair next to her at the countertop, and watch and chat as she made the cake.
One Mother's Day, I had the idea to have Grandma's angel food cake recipe framed with photos of Grandma and Mom and me, for my Mom. (My Aunt Phyllis helped me out with photos and the recipe.) I had the photos and recipe professionally matted and framed. I gave it to my Mom for Mother's Day and immediately vowed, that when I had a home of my own, I would make one for my kitchen. This is the result above. It was my house warming gift to me! (Since then, I've also made a similar one for my sister, using photos of Grandma and Sandra and Mom.)
Later, I had the idea to do something similar with photos of my dad and me. Photos, a silver dollar, and a song were the focus of this collage. Dad had served in the Korean War.
Prior to Dad being deployed to Korea, a good family friend, Annie Rose, gave him 4 silver dollars for good luck. Dad gave me one, when I moved from Iowa to Pittsburgh—for good luck. The silver dollar had to be in the collage. I added a photo of my dad in uniform with the family dog, Pepper.
Next, came the song. When I married my husband, Bob, I chose Nat King Cole's song, "Unforgettable" as our father/daughter dance song. That was a definite for the collage.
Lastly, I had a photo of Dad just looking at me as a baby. I took all of my treasures to the same frame shop and had them professionally mat and frame the second collage to match the first collage. (Side note: I scanned the original photos and made prints from the scans, leaving the originals intact. That is my personal preference when framing precious memories.)
I treasure these two collage photo displays. The collage of Grandma, Mom, angel food cake, and me was framed a few years before the photo collage of my dad. I am so glad I had them professionally framed and that the framer was able to match the frame and matting. The similarity in frames and matting add visual cohesiveness to this display.
The kitchen sink photos were so much fun, I decided to, change out the decorative plates in the living room for more photos. I had two matching frames. Some black and white kitchen towel ticking became the background for the photos. (Once again a tutorial for these photos will be coming soon .)
My husband, Bob, took the barn photos at sunset on a cold, Iowa winter day. Obviously, these are not “family” photos, but they are photos of the barn on my grandparent’s farm in Clarion, Iowa. I have many fond memories of time “at the farm”, as we called it. I am so grateful that my husband, with his artistic eye and talent captured these images. They are displayed at the bottom of our staircase. The black frames add visual cohesiveness, and the subject matter is allowed to be center stage. Staying with one color of frame can tie a group of photos together.
I hung more photos from the same winter’s day in our bathroom of “the farm”.
Each day begins with remembering good times at "the farm" . It's a great way to start the day!
I was once read that silver frames are excellent for displaying black and white vintage photos . When I lived in my townhouse, I framed many vintage black and white photos of my grandparents and some of my parents, too, and hung them altogether on a gallery wall. The silver added elegance to the photos and enhanced the coloring.
Vintage cameras make fun decorating accessories. Consider adding one to a vintage photo display. Here is one of favorite photos. This is my mom, Inez Marshall Hanig on her wedding day. Isn't she beautiful!
I love surrounding myself with "my favorites" in my sewing room/guest room. I had wanted to update this wall for ages, and after much "over thinking", I did it! The handmade mirror from an uncle of my husband, anchors the wall. More family photos surround the mirror. I also included favorite prints by Tasha Tudor from the "Secret Garden" in this gallery.
My sewing room/guest room is my sanctuary. I have always had family photos displayed here. I decided to do a little update. I purchased two new frames.
Wal-Mart had this collage frame. I put graduation photos of my nieces and nephews in it.
I put a collage of family photos in long, horizontal collage photo frame purchased at Michael’s Craft Store. It is part of their vintage frame collection.
This was a “rescued” photo from Bob’s family. His mother was going to throw it out. Fortunately, he saved it and brought it home. This is one of his dad’s older brothers, Uncle Tony. The period clothing, shoes, and hair are priceless. I love that he is posed with a book. The teacher in me, and the life long book lover had to hang this precious photo in my sewing room.
I also have a wall of photos on the wall that is the background for my sewing machine. Family photos of my grandfather with his parents, my grandparents with the beginnings of their family, and “the farm”, all flank a hand pieced quilt made by my great-grandmother.
There are more photos of family and friends displayed in our home. (I had photos of my Dad and Bob's Dad as young men in their United States Army uniforms displayed in the powder room from Memorial Day through July Fourth. It was a nod to their service to our country.)
I have so enjoyed sharing this post with you. It's been a so heart warming to remember the people I love and who have loved me.
Family photos displayed throughout our home give Bob and I so much pleasure. In some small way, I hope to be just a little bit like Aunt Leone, displaying photos above the kitchen sink, on the walls of the kitchen, in the sewing room, master bathroom, bedrooms and even in the powder room. (For the longest time, I had a photo of my cousin Mark's children as toddlers in the laundry room!) I'm sure, Aunt Leone would approve and would give a giggle. In my opinion, family photos make a house a home. They tell your story. They make you feel loved.
How and where do you display your favorite photos in your home? I'd love to hear your stories!
Do you have a vintage piece of needlework, favorite photo, decorative plate, or piece of artwork stashed away in a closet that doesn't fit your current style? You know, the one that you can't seem to part with, because your really did like it and still like it, but it doesn't "fit in" with your current decor? I had just such a piece. My brother, Tom, gave me this sweet, Hummel, needlework kit of two children peaking over the fence over 30 years ago. I had moved to Pittsburgh and was very homesick. I suspect it was his way of helping me keep myself occupied. (He's a good brother!)
I have always like this image and I spent a lot of time and effort stitching it together. It hung in our home for many years, and then it got packed away in a closet. It wasn't fitting in with our decor, but it was too, good to throw away. I came across it again recently, and began to think about what I could do to update this piece. Want to see what I did? Check out the updated, very functional, and dare I say, beautiful bulletin board in my sewing room!
Aren't these just the cutest? This is wheat grass planted in some spring pots I purchased at TJ Maxx. Wheat grass seeds or wheat grass berries as they are called can be found at some health food stores. I purchased mine from a local garden center that specializes in a wide variety of seed packets, but I just noticed that the local Giant Eagle grocery store is selling them too!
I'm calling these two photos: "Wheat Grass' First Haircut." My wheat grass sprouted within 3 days and in little over a week was twice this height and starting to flop down. Solution: Cut the grass!
Growing wheat grass is so easy. If you have little ones around, I recommend doing this with them. It's a great first little hands' gardener project. Plus, it is quite satisfying to give the grown grass a haircut.
small stones (I purchased mine at the Dollar Tree.)
Wheat grass seeds
Floral pot of your choice
Step 1: Place a layer of small rocks in the bottom of your floral pot. My containers do not have drainage holes. It is essential to have this layer of rocks to help with the drainage. Even still, I will be careful when I water the seeds/grass. Over watering or roots standing in water will kill the grass.
Step 2: Fill the pots to within an inch of the top of the pot with a good potting soil.
Step 3: Scatter seeds on top of the soil. Then cover the seeds with about 1/8 inch of soil.
The packaging recommended to place the seeds 1/4 inch apart. I want my grass to be very lush and full. I wasn't too concerned about the seeds being 1/4 inch apart.
Step 4: Water the soil until damp. Place near a light source and wait for the grass to grow. Water as needed to keep the soil damp.
Right now, the two planters are flanking the orchid I received for Valentines Day. Yes, you read that correctly. I've had this orchid for more than a month. We just add 3 ice cubes to it each Saturday morning and it keeps on blooming. This orchid is even more beautiful than the day I received it because all of the buds are now in full bloom.
I have a long wooden box that I ordered from an Etsy artist. I plan to grow wheat grass in it, or maybe fill it with some 99 cent primroses from Home Depot. I'll post more photos, soon!
What happens when you spread out possible spring decor items, step back, and then select a favorite oldie, but goodie piece and decide to use it in a new, unexpected way? For me, it was the above very lush "Welcome Spring Bunny Centerpiece!" The lesson I learned in creating this arrangement was to respect the power of stepping back, playing with materials, and letting the pieces fall together.
When I did this, I gravitated to the Easter egg bedecked grapevine wreath. I have had this wreath for several years. It usually hangs in my kitchen window in the spring time. I love the way these eggs are painted. I often leave it hanging well after Easter, because it just makes me smile. I fully expected to hang it in its traditional place in the kitchen window. Then, I looked at it in a new way. What if, I used it as the base of my centerpiece for the dining room table centerpiece? I started choosing materials and playing around with them and "Welcome Spring Bunny" was born.
This centerpiece may look challenging, but it was quite simple to create. Let me walk you through the steps.
Each of the above spring fever vignettes began with a cake stand. Cake stands seem to be trending now, and are available at many home decor sites. They can be used to elevate and call importance to a display. Place a favorite figurine with a few accessories on a plate stand, and in a few minutes you have a sweet arrangement. Stacks of books can be used in the same way. I wanted to have multiple cake stands without the multiple price. I was inspired by a Pinterest post to make my own cake stands. It really was very easy and quite satisfying.
These sweet, little, spring vignettes were as easy as 1,2,3 and completed with a few things that I already had in my spring decor box. Both feature the candlestick/saucer cake plates I made. This was one of the reasons I made these mini cake plates. I wanted to have multiple cake stands for display purposes, but I didn't want to the multiple price that would come with them. I was able to make 4 cake stands for the price of one! Cake plate stands are currently trending and are a great way to vary the height of a display or call attention to an arrangement. I use stacks of books for the same purpose, too.
I am very pleased with how this little sweetie turned out. I am also happy to share how very simple and quickly this piece came together.
Our family room has a wall of windows that looks onto our deck and backyard. I enjoy having the deck "accessorized" all year long. After the Christmas holidays, it can be a challenge. I decided to continue the indoor theme of white and black, pops of red, and natural elements onto the deck. For the holidays, I had a swag hanging on each deck post with icicle lights hanging between them. I decided to dress them down from the Christmas decor to a warm and cozy winter decor.
I began with the following materials, including swags I had made from an artificial Christmas tree. These swags are almost 20 years old! When I first made them for our house, I had hoped they would last at least a year or two. The material is indestructible! (I'm so glad I saved it from a landfill.)
I saw these cute gloves on sale at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts for $1.00/pair. They were the original inspiration for the winter swags. I thought they would look cute tied together and hung on the swag. I decided that the gloves might need a little body, so I decided to use plastic grocery bags to stuff the palm and the thumb.
I used one quarter of a bag to stuff the palm and part of another quarter to stuff the thumb. The remaining part of the second quarter was stuffed into the palm of the glove. I chose to keep the stuffing light.
Next I tied each cuff of the gloves with twine. I used about a 30-36" length of twine. Tie one glove with twine and form a bow. Then tie the bow again. I did this to keep the twine secure.
I decided that the bow would be simple, and not have the multiple loops of the holiday bows. I was able to purchase the ribbon in an after Christmas sale. I thought the black and red check with white snowflakes would compliment the cozy, winter theme. I will attempt to explain how I tied the bow. There are many good tutorials on line. I used the Better Homes and Gardens Tutorial. Click Here for the link.
These colorful winter glove swags add color and pop to some our gray winter days. Every morning I enjoy this view with a cup of coffee and the newspaper. Delightful!
More Winter Deck Decor
I like to decorate my large deck planters, even in the winter. (If truth be told, I do not like to move them from the deck for the winter, so if I can't move it--I decorate it or disguise it! In this case, I chose to decorate it.) We are very lucky to have cardinals grace our backyard. I've come to learn that cardinals can symbolize that angels are near. I love that sentiment, and it warms my heart to think of all the angels in heaven that were once in my life. I was delighted to find some cardinal, winter decorations at JoAnn Fabric and Crafts in their after Christmas sale for 75% and 85% off. Our local grocery store had their bags of pinecones on sale 50 cents! I continued my indoor theme of black and white, natural elements, pops of red, and twinkly lights to the outdoors.
In the above scenario, I kept my rustic birdhouse and surrounded it with pinecones. I left the twinkle lights to poke through, so we could have the night time fun of twinkle lights. Then I placed a small evergreen tree with 2 cardinals in the planter. My favorite rusty star pick was left to finish off this design.
In the second planter, I used the pinecones and twinkly lights at the base. Tall sticks from the yard were stuck into the underlying dirt. I hung this cardinal in a nest with its eggs on one of the twigs. I think it was meant to be an ornament, but I love the way it adds color, interest, and whimsy to this arrangement.
A third pot features a rustic birdhouse made of natural elements and a cardinal. I put one of my garden hooks in the pot, and hung the birdhouse from the hook. I had the greens and pinecones in the pot from Christmas. The rustic birdhouse and cardinal were from the JoAnn Fabric and Crafts after Christmas sale. I purchased the cardinal decor for such reasonable prices, that I figured that even if the snow, rain, and sun did their worst, I wasn't out any money. They would please me for a season. I am happy to report, that the cardinal decor is standing up beautifully and I am confident that I will be able to store and save them for future use.
I did leave my icicle lights up and intertwined them from a stick garland that you may have noticed in the background of some of the photos. At night, the deck is aglow and it looks particularly beautiful when we get a little bit of snow.
Enjoy and have fun with your outdoor spaces, even in winter.
I wanted to have a simple "Winter Welcome!" sign to hang outside of our front door. I wanted something to go along with our outdoor winter cardinal theme. I decided to use what I already had--the slate sign "Believe" that I had hung for the Christmas holidays. It is a favorite of mine and something I bought at a church Christmas bazaar, some 20+ years ago. I decided to turn the slate over and use it as my new canvas! (This saves the space. I can store one sign, with the function of two signs!) You can also purchase slate from craft stores and builder supply stores.