This was my birthday present from my husband last year:
No, not the cat. The wall.
We’ve actually owned the wall (and the house that it’s attached to) for 20 years. But the planks — and the installation of them — were my husband’s gift.
There’s a reason I’ve been married to the man for 25 years, and it’s not (entirely) because of his DIY skills. It’s because he knows the way to my heart is through a beautiful planked wall.
While I absolutely loved my new wall, I thought it looked a little naked. And I started getting twitchy at the sight of all that empty space.
I had a couple things that I wanted to hang there, starting with this vintage Wisconsin plate that my sister had given me…
… and our son’s senior picture (taken by a friend and former co-worker of mine, the talented Cory Schaefer).
I also had a few treasured black-and-white photos that were in a box under my bed. So I decided to use those items as the starting point and put together a black-and-white gallery-style wall.
I scoured thrift stores for frames, mats and anything else that I could hang there.
Among the things I found were a chalkboard…
… that I drew this on:
A large wooden key…
… that I painted black and stenciled a Greek key pattern onto.
A wooden kids puzzle…
…that I took out of the frame, glued together and painted black.
And this framed picture…
… which I painted black and stenciled an ampersand onto. (Sorry, Duke.)
I also found a frame and mat for this photo of my dad, taken in about 1978:
The photo was taken by an insurance adjuster the day after Dad had been in a farm accident. He’d been hauling a load of corn from the field to the barn, and when he crossed the railroad tracks between the two, he didn’t notice the freight train barreling down on him. Dad and the tractor (barely) made it across the tracks; the gravity box didn’t. It was smashed into a million pieces. In the photo, Dad’s sitting on the tractor he was driving during the crash, but the gravity box is, obviously, a different one.
I also found a frame for this photo that my son took when we were vacationing on Galveston Island in 2008:
And one last frame that I found went for an old postcard I had of our City Hall. The card has a 1-cent stamp on the back and a postmark from Sept. 2, 1905. The City Hall remains the signature building of our downtown today and still houses our local government offices.
The one thing that I bought for the wall that didn’t come from a thrift store was this license plate. I wish I could say it was a family heirloom, but it came from Ebay, by way of a seller in Michigan. (I’m sure it’s glad to be back home.)
When I was done rounding up all the pieces for the wall, I laid everything out on the floor and just kept moving things around (and subbing things out — I had overbought, it turns out) until I was happy with the arrangement.
Once I decided on a final layout, everything went up on the wall (except for the cat).
I love how the art balances out the window next to it.