Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Organized Randomness (Part I)

One of my biggest "To Do's" before LO's birthday party in just under 4 weeks is to create a wall gallery on the one and only empty wall in our home. Now, the one thing you'll learn about me through this process is that I have a little disorder sometimes referred to as "OCD." I'm a tad obsessive-compulsive. Just a bit. So here's how I've approached this little project of mine:
  1. First of all, I needed to find the perfect frames. We have dark cherry, almost espresso, furniture in our living room, accented by brushed nickel fixtures. I wanted to find matching frames that were available in several different sizes, layouts, etc. So far, THIS has been the most difficult part of the project! I didn't think it would be that bad, but I spent several hours looking online for the frames, then made several trips to local stores. Sheesh! I wasn't sure I'd ever find what I was looking for! But I finally found some frames that would work at Garden Ridge. They came in sizes from 4x6 through 8x10, included mats in each frame, and even had some frames that held 2 5x7s and 3 4x6s. I liked the variety, so I bought a bunch of them as well as 2 1-foot shelves and a 2-foot and 3-foot shelf. Here are some pics of the frame style I chose:
























  2. So now I need to determine my canvas size. How much wall do I want to cover with pics? I decide to go with a 90" by 40" area.
  3. Next, I find the center point of the wall using the couch and end tables as the starting and ending points.
  4. After marking the center point, I determine the outside edges, followed by the top and bottom.
  5. Then I marked the area using painters tape so I could visualize where the gallery will appear. Here's what I've been staring at for the past week or so. Lovely, isn't it?












  6. Being the Internet searching queen that I am, I spent another hour or so trying to find software that can aid in the design of a wall gallery. You know, something where you can define your working space, then drag and drop mirrors, frames, shelves of various sizes and colors and other wall decor items into the space. Then you can click on the individual items and drag them exactly where you want them. So you'd end up with the perfect template for your wall gallery, no? What a great idea! Unfortunately I found nothing that came close to such a thing. Boo.
  7. Being the OCD spokesperson that I am, I then turned to my MacBook and fired up Photoshop. I created a PSD that contained individual layers for each of the frames and shelves I purchased. That way, I could drag them around, albeit not so easily, in order to visualize my gallery. It was quite tedious, but it resulted in a good starting point for my design. Click for a larger preview--and don't laugh at my picture names! They make sense to me! :)








  8. Okay, so the next thing I tried really didn't work out so well. I had a roll of brown paper and I cut out templates of each of my frames. The problem was the paper kept rolling up on itself. I tried taping down each corner of the paper, but after a few hours, the templates started curling up and falling off the wall. I removed them all and left just my lovely blue tape outline marks up for over a week while I worked on other pressing projects. Whew!
  9. Today I finally was inspired to attack the wall gallery again. This time, I used lovely mint green printer paper to create templates for each of the frames and shelves I purchased. These have been MUCH easier to work with! But the layout still isn't looking quite right (see #10 below).












  10. So my latest problem is that I cannot apply my template very well to the wall itself. See, it looks great in Photoshop! But once I start hanging the templates on the wall, I get all crazy. See, I want the pictures to look like they were randomly placed on the wall within the confines of my work space. BUT, I also need there to be some organization such as even spacing between the frames. Too much to ask for? I'm starting to think so! I'm really wishing they made 11x14 frames in the style I chose, not only because they would take up more space on the wall, but also because the pictures would be much easier to see from across the room. I've actually decided to limit the 4x6 photos as much as possible because I think they're too hard to see unless you stand 2 inches from the wall. Not exactly what I expect from potential house guests!
So I'm going to take yet another break from the wall, hopefully get a good night of sleep, and start working on it again tomorrow. I'll share Part II of this saga on Friday.

Oh the joy!