Counting backward, it has been just eleven months that we have lived in our house.  Not long in the big scheme of things, but long enough that we should be unpacked and settled in by now.  The truth is, I don’t have a knack for things like organizing–whether packing or unpacking, arranging or rearranging, it feels like work to me (This is the part when all the relatives and friends can chime in with their stories of helping me pack or unpack or move– go ahead!).  So, it may be that I never reach a place of having an orderly garage or closets that I can proudly show off by flinging the doors wide, but that’s o.k.  I’ll keep working against my own tendencies, and someday I might surprise myself (and the rest of you) with my arrival at a new level of organization and controlled-clutter living.  I can feel you smiling now.

Well.  All of this is by way of pre-amble to share one small part of our house that is finally the way I want it, and helps me to feel officially moved-in.  The mantelpiece and the space above the fireplace has for these past eleven months served as a shelf for artworks, objects, and things that might eventually go on the wall.  Last week I’d had enough of impermanence and lurking visions of earthquakes to spur me into action.

I invested in some cheap picture frames for some of the kids’ artwork and my own unframed pieces and started playing with combinations and compositions.  It looked like this:

everything framed

everything framed

Then I realized I needed a better way to figure out distances between things, and how it would all look, so I tried this:

floor layout

floor layout

Then after some second opinions and trying various arrangements we settled on this:

nails in the wall

nails in the wall

what do you think?

what do you think?

Each of these pictures has a story–you may remember the 3 stacked vertically on the left from one of my very first posts about drawing with the kids in the backyard, and as part of that moment they are meaningful.  The ceramic mask is one that I made in Chicago, a one-of-a-kind, with many good memories of my old workplace, the Hyde Park Art Center, attached to it.  The hand next to the mask is from my oldest’s preschool days, made of hardened play-dough painted with tempera.  The rest of these pieces of art represent the home we have now and the places we have lived before, and as a group they please my heart. Finally having them on the wall pleases my eyes.

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