One of the challenges of being an international family is that our son does not get a lot of face time with his closest relatives. We're in Ohio, Niels' entire family is in the Netherlands, my mom is in Arizona and everyone else is in Minnesota. Our four-year-old has an impressive grasp of geography, and as we prepare for our first trip back to the Netherlands in more than two years, we want to make sure he knows his family, too.
For this reason, I've been toying around with ideas. Because D has long loved flashcards, we've put photos on cards at different times. But I wanted something more permanent. It should surprise no one that I decided on a photo gallery! We already have a heritage gallery, but for now the shelves are too high for D to see every day. I wanted something at his eye level and fun for him to study, so each photo includes the person's relationship and name. The solution? A chair rail made of photos!
The hardest part, as always, was deciding on the photos. We were in Minnesota last summer for my youngest sister's wedding, so we say everyone on my side recently. Finding photos of our Dutch family that had the orientation I wanted--vertical for grandparents, horizontal for everyone else--was more a challenge.
When I first started this project, months ago, I planned to put each person's name on the frame.
But I decided I liked the words directly on the photos instead. Pic Monkey made this super easy.
I am totally sold on command strips for hanging photos. I have to reposition...a lot. My walls are very grateful that I discovered these things. These frames are super light so I cut the medium strips I had on hand in half, otherwise I would have just used the small strips.
I only used the strips on the top and bottom of the frames. On heavier frames, like on the growing up gallery, we put strips on all four sides.
I have a hard time stopping a project when I'm so close to finishing, but our daughter-on-loan had a choir concert, so my frames patiently waited until we were back home and the kids were in bed. (Don't mind that loose strip. It was easy enough to fix before I put up the frame).
I decided to put the gallery in the family bathroom. The long wall across from the vanity was just the right length. I lined up the first frame against the door jamb of the shower/toilet part of the bathroom.
I put photos of the grandparents in blue vertical frames. The red frames are hung horizontally with the aunts and uncles on top, with their children underneath them. I placed the frames flush and used the level to make sure my line was straight.
I think it took me all of ten minutes to put up all thirteen frames. Hooray for command strips!
I did take a moment to adjust the bathroom art that hung on the wall previously. I'm going to replace the black frames with blue and red frames next time we go to Ikea. I really wish it wasn't two hours away! On the plus side, the distance gives me time to decide whether or not I'll keep the same arrangement, pull them together flush like the chair rail, or keep the same shape but make the frames bigger. Any votes from our dear readers?
The new view from the vanity.
This morning D was so cute when he saw all the photos. He said, "Hey! I know those people!" and immediately started passing out kisses. Mission accomplished.
I still have a few more galleries to do, but here's a quick look at the galleries we've completed so far.
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