Thursday, June 4, 2009


Now that I am off for the summer--in addition to spending tons of time with Lydia--I have been spring cleaning (or summer cleaning since it is my summer break now.) I hit the picture stash and started wondering..."What in the world am I going to do with all of these pictures?" Well, I was able to answer that question with a little creativity on my part and some help from my designer muse.
Here is my theory on pictures:
People most often snap and flash their cameras during the exciting, magical moments of their lives. How often have you heard someone say, "I am so bored. Nothing interesting is going on, so I am going to go grab my camera and take a picture of the nothingness before me right now." Okay so maybe this is going a little overboard, but you get what I am trying to say. People want to capture the happiest moments of their lives because they want to hold on to them in those maybe not so happy times. My favorite photos are those that capture a beautiful, happy, and magical moment at just the perfect time. They are not staged or planned--the just happen and--SNAP!--you have captured a perfect moment forever.

If you are like me, you have accumulated a large collection of these beautiful moments for yourself. The question is after you have snapped the camera thousands of times and have thousands of beautiful memories cluttering your closet, collecting dust in the spare room, or carelessly thrown into boxes somewhere...what can you do with all of these photographs? Well, here are 25 simple ideas to get you on your way to enjoying your pictures without them becoming clutter in your home.
1-7. Frame some pictures and try the following:
1. Put them in a collage scaling the stairway.
2. Hang some shelves on your wall and place your framed photos here anchored by books and a lovely antique or two.
3. Place a grouping of frames on a desk or table.
4. Place your frames on a bookcase.
5. Hang the identical frames on the wall in a symmetrical design as shown in this Better Homes and Gardens living room.
6. Create a collage of frames on a wall like Mary McDonald did here. The secret to pulling this off is to use frames that are the same color. Have some fun and pick out different sizes and shapes though. 7. Place your frames on the mantle--always a classic idea.
8. Scrapbook with them! Organize your scrapbooking albums by theme (travel, birthdays, holidays...), in chronological order, or any other way that works for you. Trust me...even if you don't consider yourself a crafty person...ANYONE CAN SCRAPBOOK. Sign up for a scrapbooking class at your local craft store or have friends over for lemonade and scrapin'.
9. Turn you pictures into greeting cards. Get some card stock and glue either a copy or the picture itself onto the front. Write a lovely message inside and send them to friends and family for a special occasion or "just because." We need to get back to the lovely art of letter writing.
10. Visit a photo place to turn your pictures into a mouse pad, mug, t-shirt, calendar, or any of the other affordable products shown. These products make great gifts.
11. Put a lot of pictures that are the same size into hard plastic sleeves or frames. Create a border in a room by placing them equal distance apart around the perimeter of the wall. Mary McDonald did this in one of her kitchen designs.12. I am not trying to be redundant, but here is another inspired idea from Mary McDonald. Paint wall medallions and hang grosgrain ribbon from them. Use the ribbons as guides to place framed photos. A hallway or stairway is the best place to utilize this idea as pictured in this stairway designed by Mary McDonald.
13. Maybe you have a den or office that is an informal room in your home. In this room, you can randomly pin-up unframed snapshots and photos above a desk or table. For the more OCD types, get a ribbon board or cork board to put the photos on instead of putting a few too many holes in your wall.
14. Mount a few larger photos on cardboard (or some other material to give them firmness), paint a small square or rectangle of wall space (where a large frame would typically go), place the photos within the painted area, and frame the entire painted space with wood framing from a hardware store.
15. Copy smaller versions of your photos to glue on board games like Monopoly, turn a larger photo into a puzzle by mounting it to cardboard and cutting it into pieces, see number 10 on this list to turn your favorite photos into playing cards. All of this so you can enjoy a family game night and reminisce on the memories captured in these photos.
16. Compile some related photos, add some words or captions, and turn your pictures into storybooks. You can put the pages into albums or scrapbooks. The text of the story can be printed from your computer or you can use letter stickers.
17. Use your pictures for fun crafts that you can do yourself or with your kids. Visit or for some great ideas.
18. Organize and sort your photos into decorative photo boxes or albums that can decorate and NOT clutter your home.
19. Use a blown up copy of a picture on a piece of furniture. Mary McDonald has done this with wallpaper, but an enlarged copy of a photo would do the trick too. Ikea has used this idea in their catalog--meshing photos and furniture.20. Place photos on a table or desktop and put a piece of glass on top that has been cut to fit. This allows room for many pictures! Not only are the pictures preserved and enjoyed, but the table or desktop is preserved too from that glass of ice tea carelessly placed down without a coaster.
21. Blow up, frame, and hang one of your favorite photos. Turn it into art.
22. Throw them away. Wait! Don't stop reading! Listen to me first. We all know that we are guilty of hanging onto photos that we don't even like. Maybe there was a slip up with the camera, the photo was taken of a heavier version of our current selves, or it was just not a picture worth keeping. Scan them all to have a digital version and only keep the physical copies of your favorites. If you are an avid scrapbooker, you can even use these thrown out photos for die-cuts and punches.
23. Find photos that fit the theme of a room in your home and incorporate them into the design of the room. See any of the tips on this page to help you.
24. Those digital photo frames are awesome. They show a continuous slide show of all of your photos.
25. Change your photos out. As you capture new memories, replace some of your old photos with new ones. Out with the old and in with the new!

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