I decided that I would spend this fall treating myself as well as I treat my clients.

I want my clients to experience the joy in their lives, and to see it every day. I want you to feel the peace that comes from knowing you’ve really got something great, even if there are bumps in the road. I want you to remember where we have been. I want us all to have perspective on where we are now, and where we are heading as a family.

I spent the last couple days planning the beginning for my own family wall. I highly encourage you to explore this yourself. You’ll be amazed at the layers of depth this simple act will add to your life.

Sound overwhelming? It sure can be… But I’ve installed a number of photo collections at this point and I would love to share my method with you. Hopefully, this will help you make it happen.

Here are the steps I used.

  1. Collect your frames.

    First I went to the thrift store and bought a bunch of frames I liked.

    As I sorted through frames at thrift stores, I tried to choose frames that went together in overall feel, but obviously not ones that matched.

    I had already begun to collect frames here and there, so I had about 6 to start with. 2 of them were handmade by a friend. There were also 4 cheap hot pink Ikea frames I had picked up for free and I planned to paint brick red. I am always a fan of repurposing things that seem out of place and finding new roles for them.

  2. Plot your course.

    I am obviously a bit of a photo geek, so once I had collected a bunch of frames I mocked up my wall and all the frames to scale in my computer. I used InDesign, because I speak it fluently. There are software programs out there like Preveal that will help you do this more easily.

    If you are less computer savvy or motivated, you can skip this crazy step and simply lay each frame on the floor. If you pre-define an area of floor that is the same size as your wall space, it is easy to then work in real space moving them around until you like the layout.

    Here is what I did:

  3. Make your map.

    Before you put any nails in the wall, it is vital that you figure out where those nails need to be! There are many ways to do this, but here’s what I recommend.

    Once I had the layout planned out I laid it out for real. So far so good.


    The next step I took was to lay them out on top of a large piece of newsprint. I get these end rolls from The Oregonian. You can just call and ask if they have any and they let you pick them up for free!

    I then traced the edges of each frame so I had all the outlines where I wanted them. (you will see this in the next picture). Then I measured exactly where each frame’s hanger was mounted relative to it’s outline, and drew dots where the nails needed to be so I would know where to put the nail to make the frame hang in the right spot!

    This is key, since all the frames have different styles and placements of hangers.

  4. Make sure it fits.

    The wonderful thing about mapping it all out on a big piece of paper like this is you can hang it up on the wall and see exactly how it will fit. This not only gives you peace of mind about the final outcome but gives you a super easy and foolproof template for putting in your nails!


  5. Nail it every time.

    Now that you’ve made your map, you can literally drive nails into each hang point through the paper. This way you know they are all placed correctly relative to each other. The amazing thing is that once you’ve installed all your nails, you can simply rip the paper off the wall and you still have a nice map to reference when you go to install the frames themselves. This process is seriously magical. So simple, but so powerful!


  6. See your joy.

    This may sound corny, but it is real. When you walk by beautiful images of your family many times per day, you can’t help but feel lucky. It is grounding.Without this quiet reminder, it is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of daily life; the frustrations, deadlines, and always that next thing…

    When you see images like this, you can’t help but stop and think about the good times. You can’t help but see the truth, joy, and beauty in your life.


    Give yourself this gift. And give it to your family, too!

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