March 20, 2014

A Happy Wall!

My first official project of 2014 was creating a gallery wall as a focal point in our family room. I had been procrastinating about this project for months now, from fear of creating a grouping I wouldn't like in the end. Even just figuring out how to start it was making me put it off.
A Sunday afternoon, my kids were at their grand-parents,  and Jon was working in the basement {progress is s l o w l y  coming along...} so I thought "This is my chance". I gathered the items I wanted to use and the tools I would need for hanging. 

I started by laying out all the items on the floor. It was quite overwhelming at first... I had 8 frames that were the same with a different insert, and since I wanted to ensure they didn't end up side by side, I decided the best way to start was to determine how to layout those 8 first, and then to fill-out the "gaps" if you will. The rest of my collage included larger and smaller canvases, smaller photo frames and two "B" letters, one small and one large.
Since I wanted the gallery to take up most of the large bare wall, I determined that a height of 3 items was sufficient. After laying all my items out in groups of 3, I switched them around until I was happy with the distribution and balance of the colors and different sizes. This is what I started with:

Next, I began hanging the two middle groupings of 3. It is probably best to measure the center of your wall, but I eyeballed it. 
I then hung the next group on either side, basically working my way outward and using my internal measuring tape {aka gut feeling} to determine where to hang each piece. 
I continued this way until every piece was hung.
I did end up making a few adjustments to the last column on the left because it felt a little unbalanced. Lucky for me, I have a lot of potential wall hangings so I grabbed a mirror that would work with the grouping {made by my sister Adèle probably fifteen years ago!} and added it in. A few extra nail holes later, this is my finished product:
This project made me really happy! I feel like it really added a burst of energy to the space that I have been craving. Here are specific things I especially love about the grouping:
1. I love the mix of different frames, some black and some white. I also love the pop of a few photos here and there.
2. Other than the photos, all the other items I made myself which makes it super personal and extra special.
3. I included a few keepsakes I made to remember my grandparents, like the rose from my grand-mother's funeral, or a doily made by my great-grand-mother. I still want to add a picture of Jon's grand-parents on their wedding day, so one of Jon and I's photos may be replaced soon enough.
4. I wanted the overal look to feel casual and relaxed, sort of "imperfectly perfect". So I purposely estimated everything and did not measure at all in order to achieve that feel.
5. The quote signs each have a significant message: from the first line to our wedding song, to "You are my Lobster" from the sictom Friends. All of these quotes are inspirational and memorable.
Here are closeups and details about each piece:
  • The mirror with dragonflies is one of four that my sister Adèle had made for me as a gift for my first apartment.

  • The pink "At Last" sign is the first line to my all-time favorite song, which I sang at my wedding reception for my new husband.

  • The painted canvas is one of two I had painted using stencils for our bedroom.

  • The wooden "B" was less than $1 at Wal-Mart and I painted it with a liquid gold pen.

  • The photo is of my Grand-father Villeneuve, who passed away last August, playing violin at my sister Adèle's wedding in 2001.

  • The next photo is of my mother's parents at Adèle's wedding, my favorite photo of them.

  • The last frame in this group are some of my nieces and nephews: Marie-Eve, Sage, Emma and Mathéo {I need to update these!}.


  •  The first canvas I painted about six months ago. It was originally meant for my bedroom as I had revealed in this post, but I later toned down the bedroom color scheme so it now has a new home in our bright living room.

  • The "Today is going to be the best day ever!" is an inspirational quote I had also made for my bedroom.

  • A photo of Jon and I on our wedding day.

  • The next sign reads "Here I am, this is me, there is no place in the world I'd rather be" in gold writing. I made this sign using the same liquid gold pen as I used to paint my little wooden "B". The quote is the first line to a very inspirational Bryan Adams' song.

  • The doily was made by my great-grand-mother, Mémère Hachez. My mother gave it to me as a souvenir when Mémère Hachez passed away. It is not quite my style to use it on a table, but it is so precious as a keepsake and beautiful that it deserved to be framed and displayed. To do so, I cut out a piece of craft paper and actually hotglued the doily in a few spots to make sure it didn't move. Then I placed it in a frame I already owned. I love the look and the craft paper adds an almost raw and natural feel. And I find the doily itself also adds a different texture to it all.

  • The first photo is of my Desjardins grand-parents on their wedding day, whom I barely knew as they passed away when I was still very young. I saw this photo for the first time only a few years ago, and instantly framed and displayed it.

  • The second photo is from our wedding day. I will probably replace this one with the one from Jon's grand-parents' wedding day.

  • The "You are my lobster" is a line from Friends {see the clip here if you are curious}, and sort of a little joke between Jon and I, as it means that we are meant for each other. {I miss Friends! It was by far my favorite show! My brother-in-law Eric B [aka Uncle Buck] actually told me once "You know that isn't real life, eh?" because I used to quote it and talk about it so much!}

  • The green canvas I had made using an old canvas, mod-podge and scrapbooking paper.

  • I made the "Everything happens for a reason" sign for our bedroom. It is something that I truly believe.

  • The canvas I had also painted for our bedroom.

  •  The first frame  I made specially for this wall to represent our wedding date of August 6, 2010, and I used left over fabric from my wedding decor {damask which I LOVE if you remember my confession from this post of yor!}. Jon actually admitted that it took him a while to figure out what the numbers meant! Funny guy...
  • The blue swirly "B" I had originally covered in indigo blue scrapbook paper for our washroom in our first house {see here and here}. I now recovered it with aqua scrapbook paper, and again added a piece of swirly white scrapbook paper over top, all glued in place using white craft glue {my son's white glue, which works just as well as modge-podge and dries clear!}
  • The dried rose is from my grand-mother, Mémère Villeneuve's funeral in 2006. Each of the 22 grand-children were represented a white rose after her funeral.
  • The green sign is the first line of our wedding song, "Green Eyes" by Cold Play.
  • The photos are more of my nephews and nieces: Noah, Ashlyn, Carson and Megan. They also need to be updated: 1) because they are all years older now, and 2) I now have a new nephew to add: Sébastien was born on February 14! Mind you, I might wait until the fall to update those photos because my brother and his wife are expecting their first child, also a boy, in August!
  • The painted canvas is the second of two I had made using stencils for our bedroom.
Let's look back at where we started, shall we? What started as a retro wallpapered wall when we first bought the house in April 2012, has already seen a few transformations.
This is when I stripped the wallpaper and gave the entire room a fresh coat of Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore:
It has now been transformed into a happy gallery, full of memories and personality:

While my hanging tools were out, I also took the liberty of balancing out the room by hangning a few other special peices of artwork.
This is a beautiful original painting from the late Mary Weymark Goss. We received it from my sister-in-law and brother-in-law as a wedding present. The artist was the mother of the my brother-in-law and a friend, but she sadly lost a battle with cancer in May 2012.
It is displayed on the wall opposite the gallery wall, above a little table where I currently charge my laptop.
I also hung a second original of Mary's, which she gave to us as a wedding present. The original of this painting is by far my favorite of all her works:
We actually bought the original as a group gift for Jon's cousin for her wedding. But Mary remade it into this just-as-gorgeous second original, which I was lucky enough to get as a wedding gift from Mary: 
I believe she used a print of the original, placed it in the center {a little off-set, you can see where the print ends and the canvas underneath begins if you look closely}. To me, it is just breathtaking, and I absolutely love it and will cherish both these original artworks forever as a memory of a beautiful person that was Mary.
This wall gallery has brought quite a bit of life to this family room, and I just love it! It has really made me happy and makes me relax instantly when I enter the space. It is a constant reminder of all the wonderful things in our lives.
Anyone else want one last look? Me too!
This post is linked to:
The Shabby Nest