The William Morris Project, 2012

It’s back!

It’s back, but not like before. I decided to commit to one project every week, and I hope to have you join in on the fun on Thursdays. As amazing as October was for me on many levels, it is impossible to maintain that sort of momentum for one year. That’s not to say I don’t have the material, sadly. There are still so many projects left for me to do around the house, but many of them take considerably more time than one day, and more money then $20.

It’s bizarre what I’ve turned a blind eye to, and what I’ve brought in our home without loving. What I have made work because I couldn’t wait to have what I really wanted. What I’ve put off doing because I was afraid to…I don’t know, put some holes in the wall.

When the Mister and I married (12 years on the 15th!) I made a point of creating a family wall in the entryway of our new home. Everyone loved it, even though at the time our pictures were limited to our parents, our siblings, and our dogs. Recreating that wall was one of the first projects we tackled when we moved to this house. When we had the walls painted over a year ago, we took down all the pictures. I never put them back up.

At first, I was concerned with proper placement. The pictures were out of date. I wanted to add more. Two good excuses I used to justify leaving the walls bare. I didn’t want to put the pictures up bit by bit, I wanted to wait until I had everything the way I wanted. Perfect.

Then, after a few months, I started to hate the wall color. I didn’t put up the pictures, this time because I wanted to repaint. A third excuse.

In October, I picked out a wall color and painted it myself.

In December, well over a year after we took them down, we put up the pictures.

It was as aggravating as I anticipated. Here is the thing with a wall of pictures. If you are type-A, like me, getting everything straight and precise and aesthetically pleasing is impossible. You will never be satisfied. Never. So, I did the unthinkable. I, with the Mister, started hanging pictures on the wall with no real plan other than hanging our family picture front and center. I yelled and cursed and had panic attacks every five minutes, but we did it.

We did it, even though the pictures are horribly outdated. The oldest picture of Nicholas is when he was 6 months old. There are no pictures of my brother’s wife, or my now 2 year old niece. There is no picture of my 4 year old niece, either. There are no family vacation trips, no school pictures, and very few candid shots, which are what makes a wall, in my opinion. There is plenty of room for more pictures, so that’s good.

I plan to fill this wall with pictures of the boys since it faces their bedrooms. In these pictures, Mikey is 3 and Nicholas is 6 months.

The wall is woefully inadequate, but it’s a start. And, for a perfectionist like me, it’s more than just a start on a wall of pictures.

A very special thanks to Alex, who late last night designed and hand-lettered my William Morris post header in two hours because I had a whim. Speaking of perfectionists, I’m supposed to let everyone know  she will be refining it over the next couple of weeks because there is only so much one girl can do at 11:00pm with a head cold and slow drying ink.


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  1. I do the same thing. We’ve lived in our new house for 5 months now & I haven’t hung ANYTHING on the walls yet. My excuse is that we are still in the painting phase & I don’t want to nail holes in the walls just to patch them over in a few months. And yet 5 rooms are done & I still can’t motivate myself. PS – your wedding pictures are gorgeous.

    • Thank you! My wedding was traditional and had a Catholic mass. (A lot like me, I guess!) My colors were white and silver, and the bridesmaids wore floor length silver skirts with white tuxedo shirts. Nothing like the weddings these days that look so creative and quirky and colorful!

  2. Seriously? Two hours?? Alex is AMAZING and I LOVE it just the way it is. A little imperfect to the trained eye? Perhaps. But to me it just falls right into place with the whole William Morris principle – and a little bit of the Nester too (“it doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful”). πŸ™‚ SO looking forward to Thursdays now!

    • That’s what I told her. No joke, one email from her said, “Waiting for ink to dry….” It was almost 11:00pm. She’s amazingly talented and very, very kind.

      Oh! And if anyone has any completed projects, it goes without saying that I want to see links to them in the comments on Thursdays.

  3. Wow. You just named every reason I have come up with in the past four months to not hang our pictures in our entryway. At this rate, I will have it all perfectly done when the kids are grown and out of the house (they are currently 3, 1, and in utero).

    Nice kick in the pants for me to just get stuff up there, forthelove.

  4. Yay!! Once a week is perfect! I love the picture wall and I love the header, so either my standards are low (which they are NOT) or these are both wonderful. Yet I apply those same ridiculous standards of perfection to my own work as well. Why do we treat ourselves in ways we would never treat our children? Can you imagine saying to your five-year-old “Yes dear that’s a lovely arrangement of your art on the walls, but isn’t that one a little crooked and not quite in the right place? And that one over there is so old – couldn’t you find anything more recent? Maybe you should take it all down and wait until you can get it perfect?”

  5. Hee Hee. Guess what I was working on this weekend? I use to have a small family picture wall in our apartment in the states and when we moved to Germany I never got around to hanging them in our apartment. When we moved into our house I hung them and added a few more. This weekend I wanted to add a picture from my brother in law’s wedding. Now that one is hanging and most of the rest are stacked on the stairs. I should have just put a nail in the wall and been done with it, but nooo. This is exactly why everything takes me foreverrrrrrr.
    I really love your wedding photos.

  6. Jules I can’t wait for your new series! Your photo wall is brilliant, and in a great place for all to see. Like you I took ours down to re-wall paper (with WM wall paper no less) and I have not had the courage to put them back up for fear of ruining the look & putting holes in the paper and anyway the wall paper is just so dam beautiful by itself πŸ™‚ I really do need to give it some serious thought though – especially as I had a picture rail installed.

  7. I love the header, just as it is! As a matter of fact, my first thought was “I wish I had a cool header like that for my blog” . . . but, of course, I’d probably need cool content to go along with said cool header . . .

    Anyway, welcome back Will (and ditto to everyone above, on loving the wedding photos. So romantic. Sigh.)

  8. I have gallery-wall issues, myself. There’s a large wall in my family room, where I put up about 8 pictures 2 years ago, with the intent to keep adding. It’s a combo of my immediate family and scenic shots from our vacations. Haven’t added or changed a picture yet. (My wall color looks very similar to that yellow-green paint I see peeking out in a few of these shots.) I’m also undecided if I want to stick to my current combo of white & black frames, or switch to just one color. Not to even mention my upstairs hallway, where I have even more ambitious plans for a gallery wall of extended family members and the kids. (Nothing is hung there, except for a painted portrait of me, at age 2.) ARRGH!

    Your looks great…I’m inspired. And I love the header.

  9. I hear ya, sister

    ( I can’t believe I just typed that and DIDN’T DELETE IT. Anyway, moving on)

    My husband and I were married in the summer of 2009. Our photography package came with $1100 dollars worth of print credits, so we ended up with about 17 (LARGE!) professional prints. I then spent an additional $1800 (thank you, wedding guests who gave us cash!!!) getting them professionally framed- which was a must, as the pictures were not standard sizes.

    Then the pictures sat for OVER TWO YEARS in our basement, because I didn’t want to “ruin our paint” (which is 11 years old, filthy, and dinged up- but somehow precious?? What??).

    Finally, I just gave up and was like “HANG ALL THE PICTURES!!!!!!!” (thanks, Hyperbole and a Half!), and now we have a gallery wall with 30+ images. Half were the pro shots, half were pro shots I printed myself- the intention is that as our family grows, these will be swapped out for future family photos.

    Now I just need to get around to erasing the dozens of pencil tick marks where my husband fastidiously measured the placement of every. single. photo….down to the eighth of an inch. He’s an engineer, he comes by it honestly…I just wish he was as enamoured with REMOVING the marks he made…my second wish would be that he would be okay with just eyeballing photo placement!

    So, I know how you feel. I just kept repeating two things to myself- First, “THIS IS YOUR HOUSE, YOU LIVE HERE, SO START LIVING!!”, and secondly “IT’S JUST PAINT, PAINT IS CHEAP”. If something goes terribly wrong, I can scrape a sample chip off the wall, head to Home Depot, and have fresh walls by the weekend, and even if I had to get enough paint and supplies to redo every wall in the house, it would still “waste” less money than having $2900 worth of framed photos sitting in the basement forever! It’s made me feel MUCH BETTER about the whole situation.

    I also feel much better knowing that I’m not alone in thinking like this!!!

    I love this series, I can’t wait to see what’s coming up next!

  10. Egads, your bridal portraits are GORGEOUS! The prospect of putting up a gallery wall makes my very type-A husband break out into hives. After months of coddling and pleading with him while he stalled, I finally had to just do it while he was at work. He did not, in fact, die. And it looks really good.

  11. Ooh I am so excited to see what you come up with! …and tenatively thinking about participating on Thursdays. I can see four (hanging – but empty) picture frames from my perch on the couch. Yikes.

  12. What a great idea. This will meld perfectly with the other 52 objects that ‘describe me’ sort of project that I’ve set for 2012…two things a week (they could maybe even complete one another once in a while). Over the holiday me and my hubby were trying to list the things in our house that we love (following from your William Morris project). It turned into a list of things we don’t love, which at first felt counter-productive, but the optimistic-realist in me thinks that we could actually transform our house into a home using the list, making things useful and beautiful. Can’t wait.

    • The William Morris project started off as a small kernel of an idea when last spring sometime I wrote a list of everything I would like fixed around the house. Like most things I do without goals or structure, it petered out. When I saw everything Helena had to do after her parents passed in June, I thought of that list and the William Morris quote, which I read shortly after I wrote that list in the spring.

      Shortly after that, maybe August, Nester posted that she would be doing her annual 31 Days series in October, and that this year readers were welcome to join. I thought of the William Morris quote and thought it might be neat to do that for 31 days, but then didn’t think about it again. I considered a host of 31 days series and dropped all of them. I wasn’t going to participate and then, on September 30, I decided to do 31 Days of William Morris. It wasn’t completely out of nowhere, but in a way it was. There was no planning, other than digging up that list from the spring and frantically typing up an intro post the night before.

      This was a really long (possibly boring) way to say that this series started on a list of things I don’t like, so I don’t see it as counter-productive at all. You can’t figure out where you’re going until you know where you’ve been–and where you don’t want to stay.

      • Thanks Jules, it all makes perfect sense (not too boring at all). Got started with the Morris project this weekend. Trying to get ‘after’ photos has been a bit of a bust, they just don’t do it justice…but it is coming. Really happy with the first of the 52 projects, and looking forward to more πŸ™‚

  13. It looks great! We have had a wall full of empty frames, push pinned in place, for the last YEAR. Not only can we not agree on placement, we’re also torn on content. Maybe I should resolve to get that done (or at least further along) before the end of the month?

  14. We had this same problem and we finally just hung the frames on the wall, even the ones still sporting their price tags, simply to get them off the floor. Maybe it’s because we’re in the age of digital photos, but I found I liked hanging up empty frames and then picking (or creating) exactly what would go in each one due to size/placement. Congrats on making this first step!

  15. I’m so glad this series is back! I started my own, although its more a random bunch of days of decluttering than a regimented project. Its going very, v e r y slooooowly so far. One attic playroom purged, and that’s about it. But I am inspired to soldier on.

    • That’s why the series is back. Now that I know I’ll need something to share every Thursday, I’ll be far more motivated to soldier on, as you so nicely put it.

  16. I love it. Any bridesmaids pictures in there? Kidding. I want to do something like this in the house. Did I ever tell you that I lost my wedding pictures? Thank God I had posted some on snapfish or I wouldn’t have any. So sad.

  17. I really like this — along with all of your William Morris related content. I actually thought of it the other day when I was debating on buying a throw for my couch. I ended up leaving the throw in the store and was so glad that I did.

    Your picture wall looks great! Sometimes you just have to go for it, I guess. I have a weakness for picture walls, and I particularly like the ones that seem to evolve over time with lots of different subjects mixed in.

    Thanks for your blog! I really enjoy checking in here every day.

  18. You look like a princess in your wedding photos:) You are a princess. I am so happy to see Alex’s hand on this post, I knew it right away, it looks SO good! Excited to see what’s in store.

  19. Oh I love this post. I, like others, am often paralyzed by “but I need to do this one more thing before…” and then nothing gets done. We just hung pictures in our living room last weekend after we took everything down 2 years ago. To paint. Yeah. And you know what, it now looks pretty great! I could go on and on about what I still don’t like or what I’d do differently, but I’ve found if I take a picture of what I designed, and then look at it, suddenly none of it looks as bad in reality as I imagined it. Huh. Too bad that doesn’t apply to other things in life too! πŸ™‚

  20. I loved your 31 Days of William Morris series so much that I am doing it this January. The idea of breaking things down into doable projects makes it significantly less scary. I don’t have to declutter the kitchen after a terrible day at work, I just have to do one drawer! Much more managable. I am a terrible hanger on to things because it may be the perfect thing one day. And my grandmother just passed away, leaving me with even more things I can’t bear to get rid of. I think the knowing to be useful part will be hardest for me, but I know I’ll feel so much better without all these things weighing down on me.

  21. Your wall turned out great!! I have the same issue of not hanging pictures and have a great series from when my daughter was 5 and she is now 14!! Why didn’t I hang them??? I have noted in BH&G and other mags, decorator walls of photo frame that are totoally crooked, and they LIKE that! So, I need to lose the perfectionism gene and take the plunge, like you did.

  22. I can’t even tell you how much I am inspired by this project, I will definitely be joining in from time to time. Its time to simplify and appreciate the beauty in life, and I can’t do that through all the clutter!

  23. Oh Jules, if I lived anywhere near you, I’d take you guys out and get new photos of you all stat (it’s what I, in part, do!) And I love your little family so much (even though I don’t know you…is that weird? πŸ˜‰ Good on you for finishing this! When I did our collage wall, my husband was driven mad in trying to get it all perfect. If you ever do this again, we did the whole cut-out-newspapers to match the size of frames and then move those around on the wall first trick. It worked wonders!

  24. Wow as a sidenote I love that font you used for “The William Morris Project” mind sharing what it is?

    (Argh sorry I read this post the other day, and today I only came to ask about the typeface. Now I see your note about the designer of the logo)

  25. The picture gallery is great! We don’t know the difference if they’re not spaced exactly the way you want them or lined up perfectly. Too perfect is boring. The controlled chaos look makes the grouping. Good job! Also, you can update the pictures as you take more… πŸ™‚


  1. […] ebooks after joining in the 31 Day Challenge–my dad and  Hayley Morgan @ The Tiny Twig, and Jules has a new weekly series after her 31 Day Challenge, what about you, did something happen after writing for 31 days that you’d like to share? […]

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