Archive for June, 2016

The Great Wall of Ancestors

Great Wall of Ancestors

With my desk finished and in place, it was time to move on to the next project for my Genealogy Room.


I spent over a year collecting various sizes and shapes of picture frames from thrift shops and garage sales.  My original plan was to paint all the frames black, but when I looked at photos of other photo wall projects online, I really liked the mix of gold and silver frames in with the black.


I am blessed with so many vintage photos of family members.  To keep me organized, I created a spreadsheet with frame sizes and lists of photos I wanted to use for my project and carefully matched them up.  Even though my photos were black and white, I printed them in color on matte photo paper.  This preserved the sepia tones and other richness in the photos.


Once they were all framed, I measured the wall and cut a large piece of paper to size so that I could take my time and lay them all out in an arrangement I liked.  Even with all the “help” of my curious furry children, it took me hours to finalize my arrangement.


Then I carefully traced around the outside of each frame to preserve the placement and create a template for hanging the photos.  As I had some frames that were the same size, I also wrote the description of the photo within the traced border so I would remember exactly which photo went where.


With the help of my husband, we used painter’s tape to secure the template and I started to work.  I matched up each frame with its corresponding tracing.  To obtain the perfect positioning for the nails, I used a tiny bit of toothpaste dabbed onto the picture hanger and then pressed the frame against the template.  After I had all the frames hung, I removed a few at a time and carefully pulled my template away from the nails, rehanging the photos as I went.


As I stood admiring my work, my son, who will be going off to college in the fall came in and remarked, “That’s creepy. Please don’t change my room because I don’t want to sleep in here when I come home to visit.”

To which I replied, “Dude, these people on that wall are why you are here!”

While he may have his reservations, I find the photos give my room such a warm cozy feel and I find it quite comforting.  Each and every one of them are there with me.  Not only can I call this The Great Wall of Ancestors, I am proud to say it is also The Wall of Great Ancestors.

Refinished Desk


After four years of college and nearly two years of internships, when my daughter finally moved to a place of her very own, she left me with a room of my very own.  Little by little over the past year, I have turned it into my Genealogy Library and Museum.  It still doubles as a guest room, but it has become my own little retreat.

After filling it with shelves and modular storage, there was a small space left for a desk.  I had been shopping locally and online for one, but hadn’t yet found one I was ready to select.

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And then my husband found this diamond in the rough while we were shopping in one of our local thrift shops.  It lived in my garage for months, waiting for the right weather to allow for its make over.  First it was too hot, then it was too cold.  When spring rolled around again, I knew I really wanted to get at it.


During a trip to Lowes when my daughter was moving, she and I discovered this innovative paint on an end-cap display.  The most attractive thing about it was that it said it did not require sanding or priming.  That would mean for a speedy project right?

My birthday is in the spring and when my husband asked me what I wanted, I joked, “I want my desk finished.”  I really had intended to complete this project myself, but he took my words and ran with them.  Working second shift and getting home in the wee hours of the morning, this was just the right thing for him to quietly work on and not disturb those of us who were sound asleep.

It took nearly two months, and while he didn’t have it done by my birthday, it was in place in my room before the end of my birthday month.  I didn’t mind.  He was so meticulous and he took extra efforts to make sure every inch of the makeover was perfect.  And secretly I was relieved that I didn’t have to do it.

As far as this miracle paint went, it was not quite as fantastic as we thought it was going to be.  My husband had remarked that while he liked the paint and would use it again, he thought sanding and primer would have aided an easier application and finish.  It took two coats and in some areas three.  But it came out beautifully and I am beyond thrilled with it.  I now have a place where I can set up a laptop and my scanner as well as make progress with my research and filing.


And just so you can see my fantastic oasis, here are some photos of the entire room.




I just love it!

My Winey Kitchen

I love Mary Engelbreit.  That being said, for a number of years, I have enjoyed her bright colorful wall paper border in my kitchen.  But, as my kitchen has transitioned to more of a wine theme, it just wasn’t working for me anymore.


Not yet wanting to repaint the walls, I searched for another border that might work.  Part of my soffit is narrower than what is pictured above so that presented a challenge.  If I found a border I liked in the right colors, I kept running into the situation where it had been discontinued and I could not purchase the amount I needed.  Or that it was too wide to fit on the narrower parts of the soffit.

So I brainstormed.  Finally it came to me.  Why not do something creative with wine quotes?  Together my husband and I selected two of our favorites.  And then I went shopping.


As luck would have it, wooden letters were on sale that day.  I spent hours determining what letters I needed to create a very random look.  Just when I was finished, I found even more letters in the clearance aisle.  That meant additional time and revamping my design.  But eventually I made it to the checkout before the store closed.


At home I was able to lay them all out to make sure I hadn’t missed any letters.


The next step was painting them all black.  I used Rust-oleum High Perfomance Enamel in gloss black.  Since I did not prime them, it took two coats, but I suspect it would have taken two coats regardless.

Once they were dry, I rolled out some newsprint paper measured the same distance as the soffits where they were to be placed and created a template for spacing the letters.

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Here’s the finished project!  I am so pleased with how it turned out.  These are the two main soffits in the room.  For now those narrow ones remain as a blank canvas.  I thought they would look really empty, but they do not.  I am planning something a little different for those areas so they don’t take away from those main quotes.  I am hoping to find some rustic looking wooden signs with the names of some of our favorite wines on them.  But if not, I’ll just have to make them!

Found Pages

While sorting through photos I’d already posted on my blogs, I came upon photos of some scrapbook pages that I had not posted.  It was also a fun little trip down memory lane.





Yes, these are pages of photos of that same little boy that has been featured in all the band pages from his senior year in high school.

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The pretty little girl in the photos on these pages is now my almost 25 year old daughter.  How time flies!






These pages documented happenings of that same little girl’s life during her senior year in high school.  Fun photos and fun memories — this is why I scrapbook!








Another Installment

More band pages from senior year!



Last year I discovered Kiwi Lane.  I am working to encorporate some of their techniques in my layouts.


It always takes a little extra reserve for me to split a title or photos over two pages.  But I am always pleased with the results.  My musical note punch comes in quite handy to fill little spaces.



Trimmed out photos showcase my handsome musician on these pages.



A band album wouldn’t be complete without a page devoted to the people behind the photos.  And the musician’s biggest fans.



With these pages I attempted to move away from the traditional matting of all the photos.



Back to a Kiwi Lane technique, I love the effect the chevrons from cut musical note paper give these pages.

I’m getting closer and closer to completing this album.  Yes, there are still more photos to go!

Repurposed Vintage Watches


Among the things I am collecting, are vintage watches.  I am always keeping my eye open for them and usually they can be found for $1 or $2 a piece at a number of places at thrift shops, flea markets, and garage sales.  Look for bargains because it really doesn’t matter that the watch no longer works.

As much as I’d love to claim this idea as my own, I believe it was originally a Pinterest post where I found this clever idea to turn the old watches into mini photo frames to be worn as jewelry.

I carefully take the watches apart and clean and measure the crystals.

Using the measurements, I reduce the size of some of my favorite vintage family photos and print them out in using my color printer and matte photo paper.  While the photos are actually black and white, I’ve found I like the results better if I print them as color photos.  There is just a better depth and richness that can be achieved.

Once the photos are printed and trimmed, I place them between the crystal and the old watch face and carefully reassemble the watch.

These have become some of my favorite jewelry pieces and are always great conversation starters when someone notices them.  They make wonderful personalized gifts as well.  My Mom was thrilled with the small gold one which I made especially for her for Mother’s Day.


Photo Magnets

Who with a crafty idea can resist a bargain?  I surely couldn’t when I found several boxes of canning jar leads in the clearance basket at the grocery store.

I just knew they would make fantastic personalized magnets using photos of some of my favorite people.


I printed out photos and cut them into circles that would fit inside the beveled edge of the lids.  Then I glued them onto the tops of the lids.


On the back, I applied adhesive flat magnets, cut to size.

Voila!  Refrigerator artwork!


I bought up all the boxes they had on clearance as these magnets make really fun inexpensive gifts.  They could even be decorated with artwork to keep with the theme of your kitchen decor.

My next plan is to use them to create a holiday family history wreath featuring vintage family photos.  I know it’s only June, but knowing me, I better get started!


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