The first one I closed in on was this one, from Let Birds Fly. It's personal, it's crafty, it can be modified to fit any color scheme. I went so far as to purchase the letters from Schlobby Bobby...then, after thinking some more I wasn't sure this would stand the test of time. What if I decide the frame I find a some thrift store isn't the right size in a month? What if I spray paint it black, but then it feels too morbid? What if...
So the letters went back and I abandoned this idea. Then I saw this:
Tickety Boo tugged at my heartstrings. When I saw a different picture I knew how I could execute this without the hearts:
The gallery wall is all over the internet. See? I love the walls where the frames are identical or complementary so the subject inside the frame can be the star. It's such a great way to display many things that mean something to you rather than picking and choosing one or two mementos to display.
So that's how we landed on our map gallery wall to substitute for a headboard. Not just any maps - places that are important to us individually and as a couple. Here are our favorite cities:
- Fredericksburg, VA: I was born there and live there until I moved here for work. It still feels like home to me, and it might always feel that way.
- Dallas, TX: Dave's family lived there until he was 6. He is a lifelong fan of the Cowboys, and his brother has made his way back there for work, and is now starting a family.
- Harrisonburg, VA: Duh. JMU. Dave and I both went there - different years so we never met, but it was one of the first things that broke the ice when we started dating. Even though we had never been there together it was something we shared and could talk about endlessly. We spent the weekend there together to celebrate our first wedding anniversary and have been back many times since...
- Kill Devil Hills, NC: Before we were officially dating (he considered us to be 'hanging out' - what a crock), we took an impromptu trip to the Outer Banks. I had planned to go down just for 1 night to get away from life for a bit, and randomly asked if he wanted to come. I was surprised that he said yes, but am glad he came. :)
- Sugarcreek, OH: After a couple years of dating we decided to buy a house together. I was surprised that I even entertained the thought of committing to a 30 year mortgage to some dude who hadn't put a ring on it, but it felt right at the time. During the closing process, we took a vacation to Ohio Amish country with the Millers, and during that trip, he put a ring on it! Apparently he had been given some strongly-worded advice from Sylvia (love that woman) at work - she told him to make an honest woman out of me - and bought a ring that we had picked out together months earlier. Even though we had been shopping for rings, supposedly so he could get an idea what styles appealed to me, I had no idea that he planned to propose during that trip. Of course, after he did and I thought back to recent weeks, there were warning signs, like the Littman's mailer that came in an envelope with a hand-written To: address, the sneaky phone call to my dad where he was (I thought) asking about homeownership, etc.
- Asheville, NC: While we were planning the wedding, we threw around many different ideas for the honeymoon. Originally he was in charge of the honeymoon but since I was having mood swings that gave him whiplash - Jamaica? Florida? West Coast? Europe? Alaska? - we decided to make the decision together so we'd both be happy...we landed in a cabin in the woods near Asheville, NC. It was equipped with a gas grill and a hot tub, and was SO secluded. We were 20 miles from anywhere, including gas or food, and took many trips up and down the mountain to see the sights like Chimney Rock Park, Lake Lure (where Dirty Dancing was filmed), the Biltmore Estate, and downtown Asheville in the arts district with the best antique stores ever and a trolley ride that featured the hospital where Zelda Fitzgerald sought refuge from the world.
- Fairbanks, AK: Our next big vacation after the honeymoon was to Alaska, where Dave's Uncle Bob and Aunt Louise live. He was gifted a trip there for his high school graduation and always talked about the things and places he saw during that trip. When we were deciding where to go for this vacation, it was almost too easy to choose Fairbanks as our destination! This trip was awesome! We went to Denali National Park, took a glacier tour out of Valdez - the site of the 2nd largest US oil spill ever, and toured the Chena River aboard a riverboat that looked like a hotel...
- I'm forgetting the last one....
- OH! Richmond: It's where we met, where we did most of our dating, where we first lived together, got married, etc.
This was the big project I took with me on vacation to Florida...to keep me occupied after dark when we couldn't be in the pool. Before the trip, I picked up my supplies:
- 10x10 Ribba frames from Ikea (this was the purpose for our side trip on the way to see TSwizzle):
- 9 at $9.99 each = $89.91
I promise I can count to 9 - 2 were already in progress before I took the pic :)
- 10 Maps from AAA:
- FREE - technically I paid for them through my membership, but I've well surpassed that $92 annual fee this year! I'm saving $120 alone in Dallas next weekend on the hotel bill :)
I love the Ribba line because the frames can either be used as a shadow box or traditional frame.
- I also needed a ruler, pencil, and scotch tape, which I borrowed from my crafty mama
Since the frames will be hung behind the bed and it might be hard to see the maps in a shadowbox, we opted for traditional. Time to assemble!
I used the mat as a guide to cut my maps out. I just drew some guide lines with my pencil and then cut about half an inch inside the line.
Then I taped the map to the back of the mat (rocket science, I know)...
Then put it in the frame!
Repeat this process as many times as you want, or until all your frames are full.
We have 2 runner-up cities in which we have spent a lot of time, but these are the top 8. If we decide to make the arrangement bigger than 2 rows of 4 frames, we'll pull someone from the bench. Now we just buy the yet-to-be-purchase-king-bed so we can put up the frame wall! We thought about putting it up now, but since the scale of the king will be much different than the queen, and we don't know the height of the bed, we're waiting...can't wait until it's on the wall!