Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Photo/plate wall

Last September I went on a weekend retreat up to Mt. Monadnock along with some of some of my favorite friends.

Here's me in the middle surrounded by some of my best buds. I am SO blessed to have such great friends and the opportunities to go away on beautiful and inspiring retreats with them!
 On the Saturday afternoon of that weekend during our "free time" we did some treasure hunting in downtown Jaffrey, NH. I think we could have spent all day in Elaine's Antiques and Collectibles.

This is Elaine, the owner, standing behind the counter in her most awesome curiosity shop. I can't wait to visit her again this year!
 Elaine's shop was such a fun place to poke around in and we each left with a bunch of little treasures and tons of inspiration for what we would do with our wares. I'd spent the most of the time sorting through her stack of individual butter dishes and other mini plates and ended up getting these five:

As I left the shop, my plan was to pick up a few more mini plates over time on other treasure hunts until I had enough to create a small arrangement on a wall. Here are some pictures I just found online that give you an idea of the type of display I was imagining, only on a much smaller scale:

So that was almost nine months ago and I haven't found any more mini plates to add to the initial collection but I didn't give up on the idea altogether either.

I think I mentioned we just had the the three main rooms of our house repainted (a LONG awaited project) and I've held off on a lot of decorating updates until that was complete.  Aside from a plate wall, I've also been wanting to do a new photo display for family photos - something a little random and eclectic along the lines of these images I also just found online:

I decided to start with a frame display on a big empty wall in my dining room. I collected together some frames I already had and then picked up a few more at Ocean State Job Lot during one of their 1/2 off already-cheap-frame sales. My most expensive frame was $5. I tried to stick with all the same wood tone, then I painted a couple black ones off-white and threw in a green one I had as well. As I started to plan out the frame arrangement on the wall, I liked how it was coming along but I wanted something more creative with additional variation in color and shape. Then inspiration hit me - I grabbed my stack of mini plates and started tucking them into some of the corners around the frames. I used four of the five plates I bought in New Hampshire last fall and I added three more yard-sale finds that I already had in use elsewhere or were still waiting for the perfect spot.

This is the collection of plates that I used on the wall, with the exception of the top left plate. That one, the coralbell china passed down to me from my Nana, is actually my inspiration for the whole room. I'd like to keep the room fairly neutral with little bits of green, pink and crimson here and there. Each of the other plates coordinated with this color scheme well enough to include. The bird plate, previously mentioned here, has finally found a home. :)
 I've never been able to find plate hangers (the kind with springs that stretch around the back of the plate) small enough for the mini plates but these tiny stick on DISChangers work perfectly. I've used them before to hang and display other items that didn't have a hook. The discs are cheap, don't show from the front and work like a charm - not to mention they are easily removable.

So after tucking the plates in around the frames, I added some typography:

Over the years I've found myself picking up letter games at yard sales to create and place words here and there around the house. I like to use the wood Scrabble letter blocks and holders but my favorite letters to use are from an old Anagrams game.

The old Anagrams letters are a nice bold cream on black with great patina. They are also thick enough to stand up on their own without having to be propped up in a Scrabble holder.

I used number blocks to make our anniversary date above a wedding photo. I thought these were Scrabble blocks but does Scrabble use numbers??  If not, I have no idea what game these came from.
 So this is how the arrangement looks with the frames, plates and typography all put together:

The typography was an afterthought so they are a little squished, but not badly enough that I want to remove them or move the frames further apart. If I'd thought of it when I was hanging the frames I would have made more room between them. Good thing I'm not OCD, he he. (Since taking this picture I took the Anagrams letters out of the Scrabble holders which helped with spacing.)

This is a picture of my hubby devouring a Ghirardelli chocolate sundae we got in Ghirardelli Square in San Fransisco last year (I was also eating one as I took this picture!). I dug out one of the maps of the city I'd saved for eventual scrapbooking or memento making and used it behind this picture as a matte. I was careful to make sure that Ghirardelli Square on the map is showing.
 I really wanted to get pictures in the frames right away but I didn't have many 5x7s printed to fit all those size frames. So I decided to make some custom "mattes" so that I could use the pictures I already had printed in 4x6. I mounted some pictures on patterned wallpaper to create a little border:

This is one of two frames where I made "mattes" out of a pink and green floral wallpaper I had on hand. It brings in a little bit of the colors that coordinates with my inspiration china.
 Allow me to sidebar on wallpaper for a moment. Any time I've found interesting wallpaper at a yard sale I've gotten it.  Here are some of the patterns I've picked up over the years:

Wallpaper is very useful. I've never actually papered a wall with it but I've wrapped countless gifts with it (you just gotta stick the tape on really well).

It's perfect for lining our dresser drawers:

And wallpaper always comes in handy for crafty projects:

Before I updated my bathroom, I lined the inside of my medicine cabinet door with this Laura Ashley wallpaper. So as promised, here's one bathroom cabinet opened for you. Besides the wallpaper, the other yard-sale treasures within are the little blue ceramic pitcher that holds our toothbrushes and the little tins (mini jello molds? tart cups?) that hold our Q-tips.

I used the same wallpaper as a matte for these silhouettes of my kids last year. I had the silhouette prints done by Susie Harrington at Petite Prints. She did custom square prints per my request. (This reminds me its time to update Faith's silhouette. She was so young then, hers looks like a boy!) Their names are spelled out with some of the old Anagram game letters.
 So that concludes my wallpaper sidebar.

As satisfying as it was to create the arrangement of frames and plates on my freshly painted dining room wall, the best part of this project is having pictures out of boxes and on display. Not only are they great conversation starters with friends and family but most of all I love the memories they spark on a daily basis. I wonder if the frame/plate display will expand across more of the wall over time because there is enough room to grow:

1 comment:

rholland25 said...

AWESOME!!!!!!! I LOVE IT!!!!

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