How to Create a Gallery Wall

I had been wanting a gallery wall in our apartment since...oh, forever.

When we finally purchased a place of our very own, I realized that this was my chance. I am semi-obsessed with taking photos and I hate that nowadays, most photos don't even get printed, but filed away into virtual folders. I love to see the photos I've taken, whether travel photos, family photos or throwbacks. So a gallery wall was the perfect solution to our {very} empty and unpainted entry way.

I found this process to be daunting at first, and then realized it was very simple and dare I say it, fun. I did the wall in 2 parts since after living with the first half for a few months, I realized that I wanted to extend it even further. I did this in 2 different ways, so you can simply choose whichever one works for you.

First thing's first, map out the space you want to use with painter's tape. I used measuring tape to make it all even.

I then laid out a sheet on the floor, folded to the size of the mapped out framing area.

 

On the sheet, I put together my frame layout. I found this to be the easiest way to move things around until I found the design that felt right (and fit in all of my frames). This also avoided hacking up my wall while moving things around. Then, I snapped a photo of the layout so I could reference it while I was hanging the actual frames. Lastly, I just filled in the wall, hanging one at a time. I used picture hangers which hold way more than enough weight to sustain my meager Ikea frames. My favorite part about this method is that since it's a gallery, nothing needs to be perfect. I did not space anything perfectly, I wanted it rustic!

Once I worked up the strength to finish the wall (months later mind you), I used a slightly different and even less precise approach. I also moved some things around!

To finish the wall, I took stock of my remaining frames and photos. I outlined each one with wrapping paper and hung the wrapping paper with painters tape to show how the frames would look on the wall. Then, I hammered a tiny hole into the center of the painters tape, removed the paper, finished hammering and hung the photos. Easy peasy.

Here are some close ups for your viewing pleasure! Red is kind of a theme in our home right now,

but what I love about the gallery wall is that I can always change out the frames once we paint (to all white, perhaps?) and even the photos as we make more and more memories!

Starting from the bottom left side of the wall, I included a photo of a Divi tree, which was also the favor at our wedding; our wedding program; a photo of my bridesmaids and me at my wedding; Shaun and I in front of the Montana River; my family at our wedding; a throwback photo of my sisters and me.

Next up: A view of the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower; Shaun and I at our Senior Prom; throwback of Shaun and his brother; Shaun and me sipping lattes in Prague; Shaun's fam at our wedding; my parents at our wedding; his parents at our wedding.

Cartoon mouse & cat kissing; sisters & me at Penn State; Shaun & me at Yanks v. Mets game; Eiffel Tower; our dads at our rehearsal dinner; ampersand, painted by yours truly; my family's dog {and my baby} Chloe; Shaun & me in a photo booth, circa 2004; Keep Calm & Read Blogs, designed by yours truly; pencil drawing we purchased in Tallinn, Estonia

Central Park print, gifted to us from my sisters

Our wedding party; heart print I copied and doctored (I plan to buy the original at some point!); A view of the mountains in the Grand Tetons; throwback photo of my dad and me; a bison; Mom and me; Shaun with his mom and brother

So there you have it. Honestly, this was such an easy project and was totally worth the work. I love stopping in to look at it each day as I leave the house and come home. It just makes me happy. And I love that we can change out photos whenever we'd like!

So what do you think? Are you a "photo" person? Do you own any cool prints? I'm always on the hunt for new ones!

Create an Herb Garden, Just About Anywhere

Who says you need a lush backyard with sprawling greens to grow your very own herbs? Ever since we moved into our brand spankin' new digs here in Jersey City, we've been harboring a pretty open obsession with the terrace. We filled it with a grill, some plants, flowers and a sweet little herb garden. I might be using the term garden a little...liberally. All it took was a $6 long plastic flower box, some potting soil and some starter herbs from Home Depot. While I was in Brooklyn celebrating Kim's birthday girls-night style, Shaun was home putting our little garden-that-could all together. It started out looking something like this:

And within a few short weeks, we had a lush green herb garden of our own, complete with bright herbs that not only look gorgeous but smelled delightful to boot. From left to right, Dill, Basil, Sweet Peas, Parsley.

Anxious to get cookin' with our new herbs, Shaun concocted a fun twist on the classic caprese salad. Using our freshly grown basil, Shaun and our new best friend, Mr. Weber, fixed a warm caprese salad that has become a nightly staple in recent weeks.

Grilled Caprese Salad
large heirloom tomatoes
fresh mozzerella
fresh basil
olive oil
kosher salt
fresh ground pepper

Heat up your grill, be it charcoal, gas or Foreman. Slice the tomato into thick slices. Chiffonade the basil, place atop the sliced tomato and top with a thick slice of fresh mozzerella. Drizzle a bit of olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and grill for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and the tomato has a bit of char on the edges. Enjoy!

And now we're in the midst of concocting lots of recipes to utilize our fresh herbs. Once they get growing, they tend to spring up pretty fast. The only way to keep 'em alive? Use them up in delicious dishes.

So there you have it - how you can make a mini herb garden just about anywhere, even on a tiny terrace outside your urban dwelling. We're just about thrilled that we no longer have to splurge $3 for a bundle of dill just so we can use a quarter of it for dill and yogurt dip, while the rest goes bad before being put to good use. And my Shrimp Sautee with Orzo will surely benefit from some fresh sprinkled parsley, rather than a few dried sprigs. But what about you? Are you of the grow-it-yourself mindset?