Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Family Tree

This week I will be teaching a mini-class for our monthly Relief Society meeting and my options were flower arranging or hanging pictures.  As much as I love doing flower arrangements, I don't feel like I have done enough to be able to give tips or pointers.  Hanging pictures is a very different story.  I LOVE working on gallery walls and have been hanging pictures much longer, so I began the process of putting together a lesson.

I went to one of my favorite websites, www.lds.org and began to search articles that talked about the importance of having religious artwork in our homes as the constant images can have a lasting impact on those who spend time within the walls of our homes.

The talk that I kept coming back to was from an article in the Ensign in 1973!  There was a paragraph that stated:
"Family galleries of photographs, artwork, and other visual objects can do much to develop attitudes of family unity.  Good times can be recalled while warm feelings about the family can be reinforced."

Immediately I got excited remembering a project I had started at my Mother-In-Law's many years earlier, but for some lame reason, I never finished it (what kind of daughter-in-law am I?).  I called her up excited to see if she still wanted to go through with our original plans and she said yes.  So I enrolled the help of an incredibly handsome artist I know and told my MIL we would be over that night to finish what we had started almost 6 years ago (I know, nobody is going to ask me to help with a project ever again if I do things this slow).

So, with that intro, I am excited to show and teach you how to do your own gallery wall/family tree!

First, you must find that blank space just longing for some company.
Poor mom had pictures just scattered about on this wall (because of my procrastination) for a while.  They looked so lost and out of place.

Then take all of those pictures and move them around on the
ground until they look somewhat cohesive and happy...
keeping in mind the whole time that a tree is supposed to be
growing somewhere amongst all of them.

Now you must gather all of the tools necessary to begin the layout on the wall
which can then lead to the incredible free handed tree.
  1. Pictures.  You and those looking at the wall will probably be happiest if the pictures have one unifying element, in our case, they were all done in a sepia tone.
  2. Newspaper or kraft paper to tear out templates of your frames.  Believe me, it is easier to move these around then pounding a bunch of holes into the wall after.
  3. Masking or painters tape to tape the templates on the wall.
  4. Pencil for drawing a little tiny dot where you think the nail should go, after the tree is painted, of course.  Thankfully, with this kind of gallery precision is NOT key and eyeballing it is good enough.  You will probably use it to draw the tree too.
  5. Scissors to cut out craft paper in case tearing along edge of frame doesn't go smoothly.
  6. Cell phone to carry on hilarious text conversation with friend from Hawaii, it's good to laugh during something like this.
  7. Bottle to keep baby occupied, however, the newspaper will do a better job.
  8. Paint and various sizes of paint brushes

 Now it is time to tape those templates onto the wall.
This is where my artist came in handy.
At this point he sauntered downstairs and after a brief description
of what I envisioned for this family tree, he effortlessly penciled one on the wall.

Then you take a paint brush and start at it.
Todd did more of the detailed stuff like the intricate ends of the branches and the leaves
with a very thin brush and I just swabbed on all the bigger branches,
my leaves turned out to look like "paddles," can you guess which ones were mine?

The last and most exciting step of all is nailing just one hole per picture into the wall,
hanging them up and then standing back and smiling from ear to ear
because it turned out better than you had expected.

If I might remind you of the paragraph above;

"Family galleries of photographs, artwork, and other visual objects can do much to develop attitudes of family unity.  Good times can be recalled while warm feelings about the family can be reinforced."

What I appreciate the most about this wall is that many of the pictures show the kids smiling and participating in activities with their family members that have "developed and attitude of family unity" amongst all of them.  I am so blessed to be a part of the Riches family and spend time in this home where love abounds and laughter is always present.


Angie said...

Holy Cow, that does look AWESOME!!! I love it. Have I ever told you that I'm soooo jealous of your creative talent. Heavenly Father just made sure you were somehow in my life to make up for my deficit.

Heather B said...

stunning!!! love it!!!

James and Heather said...

That is seriously awesome! I love it!

The Carters said...

Mel, that looks so awesome!! I can't wait to go home and actually see it for myself!

Janel Ogden said...

It looks fabulous! You are amazing! I love your sense of humor that comes through in your blogging too---your posts always make me smile. :)

Miranda said...


The Potter Pack said...

That is awesome ! Nice work ~~

Megan said...

I am in love with the way this turned out! I wish I could fly you back here to do one for us. A project of this scale completely overwhelms me, but just reading about the steps makes me think I could do it, a bit at a time!