Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Love Story On Display

I remember the evening of March 14, 1996 well.  I was fourteen and in love.  It was a warm night, and although there were many people walking past, I felt that it was just him and I in all the world. We were strolling together (a few feet away from our friends and family) down the crowded "streets" of Six Flags, after having spent an unforgettable day together.  His silly jokes and polite manner made every moment with him special, and the way he stared into my eyes sent my heart into an accelerated frenzy.  He said there was something he wanted to ask me.  He was nervous as he tried to get the words out and then quickly blurted, "Would you like to be my girlfriend?"  My timid response? "Are you sure?" I couldn't believe this cute boy with the kind hazel eyes actually liked me!  When he assured me that he was indeed serious, I immediately consented.  The following day he spoke with my father, a brave and admirable feat for a boy of seventeen, and requested his permission to "get to know his daughter."  My father patiently waited till he finished his "she's very special and I have feelings for her" speech, before informing him that at fourteen his daughter was not ready to have a boyfriend, adding that if  he was still interested in pursuing a relationship with her when she turned fifteen, he would give his consent at that time.  Being the reasonable man that he is though,  my father did say he'd allow us to correspond with one another and even agreed to a phone call now and then.  What softened his heart was seeing what a special young man this was. The fact that he lived 4 hours away also helped to set his mind at ease.  Surely, if the young man was not serious about his feelings, this childhood romance would never survive a long distance friendship and a one year trial period.  

What a thrill it was for me to receive his letters.  I'd make a mad-dash for the mailbox every day after school.  I also enjoyed writing him,  painstakingly rereading each sentence to be sure that it was perfectly worded.  I'd write many rough copies before carefully penning the final draft.  We wrote each other dozens of letters.  He'd usually call on Saturday nights, at first twice a month and then weekly.  I'd wait by the phone for his call.  Our phone conversations went from 20 minutes long to 2 hours long, and at times, unbeknownst to my parents, 5 hours long.  We simply never ran out of things to talk about, covering every imaginable topic.  Oh, how he could make me laugh!  No matter what mood I was in when our conversation began, he'd have me laughing by the end of it.  Gradually our letters and our conversations became more and more affectionate. He began to make surprise visits up to see me and a few times even came by to pick me up after school (with my little brother, the appointed chaperone, at his side). Three months after our Six Flags outing, during one of his visits, as we stood together on the front porch saying goodbye, he whispered,  "I love you." By the time my 15th birthday rolled around he'd become a part of our family and my parents were as in love with him as I was.  When I reminded my father of his stipulation 1 yr. prior, he seemed to have forgotten all about it.   In May of 1998,  when I was 16 yrs old, he took me (and our chaperone) to the Houston Galleria, a cherished spot for both of us.  There, with swarms of people walking by, he knelt down on one knee and holding out a red, heart shaped velvet ring box said to me, "I want you to be my wife."  I cried, and could only nod my head yes, as he stood and hugged me tight.  We were two children so deeply in love, not knowing what life had in store for us, but knowing without a doubt that we wanted to be together always.  On June 25, 2000, one month after I graduated from high school, we were married. 

It's been 15 years since that warm summer evening in March. The awkwardly spoken words of two timid teenagers marks the beginning of a beautiful relationship, that defying all odds, has stood the test of time. 

This is a picture of us, the hazel-eyed boy and me, at my Quinceañera celebration (a coming out party celebrated in the Latin American culture when a young lady turns 15).


I wanted to share our story with you so that you could better appreciate how meaningful the following collection of frames is to us. 


Before I go into further detail about what we carefully chose to place in each frame, I'd like to give a few guided instructions on how we arranged and hung this gallery for those of you who might be interested in displaying a similar arrangement in your own home.

My arrangement inspiration came from this collection of frames found above Sherry and John Petersik's console table, as seen on their amazing site Young House Love(This is actually the entryway of their previous home.) I visit this site first thing when I sit at my computer every day.  I love it!


As Sherry cleverly classifies it in this video (which I recommend if your looking for inspiration and guidance in hanging your own frames), this arrangement is symmetrical with a twist.  We wanted a relaxed yet formal look; structured fun is what I call it.  There are many great tutorials out there on how to hang a collection of frames, and after doing a little research, I felt confident enough to tackle the project, taking bits and pieces of what I'd read and doing a little improvising along the way.  (please excuse the fuzzy and ill-lit pictures)


1. The first thing I did was lay the frames out to be sure I liked the way the arrangement looked and to determine exact placing.  Although I already had a very defined idea of the placement in my head and had lay the frames out on the floor of the store aisle before purchasing them (yes, I'm  "the weird, crazy lady with the poor, embarrassed husband by her side"), I wanted to be sure I was satisfied with the way the arrangement was going to look.  When you lay the frames out,  decide on the spacing width you'd like to use between each frame.  (For those of you who are as forgetful as I, write the space measurement down for future reference.)


 
2.  I then numbered each frame, writing the number in pencil on the back.  I did this after noticing that the frames, even the matching ones,  had the hardware spaced differently on the back.


3.  Next,  I cut sheets of paper to match the size of each picture frame (taping two sheets together for larger frames) and wrote the number on the paper that corresponded with the matching frame.



4. I lay each paper over the back of each corresponding frame and marked the location of the hardware, making a pencil mark exactly where each nail would need to be placed.


5.  After I had every sheet of paper labeled and marked, I was ready to begin measuring and placing the sheets of paper on the wall.  These are the supplies I used for the next few steps.


It is important to first determine if you are going to center the arrangement over a focal point in the room or with the wall itself.  Due to the ridiculous unique placement of our air conditioning unit,  I struggled a little with the placement.


Being the perfectionist that I am, it bothered me to no end that, because of the air conditioner,  the arrangement would appear unbalanced.  I eventually decided to ignore the air conditioner all together, knowing that whatever we decided to put on that wall would be adversely affected by it's placement. I simply moved the bed and nightstands as far to the right as I could and centered the arrangement above the bed.  Because I had a limited amount of space on the left due to the air conditioner, I had to make the space between each frame a lot smaller than I originally intended.

6.  Once you've decided how your going to center the arrangement,  measure and place the sheet of paper for the the large middle frame first, being sure to put the marked side of the sheet forward-facing.  Be sure to use painters tape to keep from damaging the paint on your wall.  Use the level along the top edge of the paper to ensure that it is straight.  When the placement is just right, apply pressure to the tape to secure the sheet of paper to the wall.  You don't want the paper moving out of place as you begin measuring and placing the other sheets.   Once the sheet of paper for the large middle frame has been taped to the wall, use a ruler to find the middle of the frame, measuring vertically, and work your way out from there.  Remember to use the level to keep the papers straight.   
(Instead of writing a wordy explanation, I hope this picture will help you understand the quickest and most accurate way to measure out and place the sheets of paper.  I spaced my frames 3/4in apart due to space constraints caused by the placement of our air conditioner. )


7.  After you've taped all the sheets of paper on the wall,  hammer the nails through the previously made pencil markings.


8.  When you've nailed all the nails,  rip off each sheet and hang the corresponding frame in it's place.  I highly recommend you do one at a time (remove the sheet of paper and place the corresponding frame) so you will not lose track of which frame goes where.


This is what it looked like when I finished.


Once we had the frames hung, we began discussing what we wanted each frame to display.  Because it is our bedroom, we both wanted this collection to be about our relationship, our family, and the love we have for one another.  My sweet hubby created the print found in the large middle frame, "The Martinez Family, Established 2000".


In each of the four small frames to the immediate left and right of the large frame, we put a time stamped envelope from our days of courtship.  The envelopes still hold inside of them precious love letters we wrote to one another.


In the medium sized frame on the far left, we put a letter my husband wrote to me. Notice the paper is still creased from being folded inside an envelope and stored for so many years.


In the medium sized frame on the far right, we put a crossword puzzle that I made years ago for my hubby to solve (back when we were teenagers with lots of free time on our hands :)


Here are few pictures of the completed project, taken from different angles.




And that concludes the long-winded story of the frame arrangement above our bed. 

 
Please see the  "Party!" tab beneath the header for links to the parties I've joined. Check them out to see inspiring transformations, renovations, crafts, and more.

The Lettered Cottage

48 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post! I can feel the true emotion in your words and pics. A lovely journal, Stacy.
    Blessings,
    Rosemary

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  2. Stacy, this is just so sweet and romantic. And your wall looks lovely.
    Marianne :)

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  3. I absolutely love how you created a wall gallery commemorating the great love story of your lives together. It definitely adds personality and a sweetness to the room. I've heard this story and know all the details but my, you sure do have a way with words. You had my eyes glued to screen as I read this post as if hearing this beautiful story for the first time. :)
    Love you guys!

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  4. Wow, what a beautiful story. Everything about it is absolutely precious! LOVE the wall display, you did a fantastic job!

    Emily
    Deviantly Domesticated
    http://stephaniehillberry.com

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  5. What a great story. My hubby and I were best friends in high school. Best wishes to you guys. Love the inspirational framed pieces. Great idea.

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  6. I love this idea. Your grouping looks so nice. Well done.

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  7. Such a romantic story! I love the color of your walls and the floors!

    Kristen
    Turning a House into a Home

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  8. What a lovely idea! It is beautiful! My hubby and I also had a long distance relationship with lots of letter going back and forth...I may just have to borrow your idea! Love it!

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  9. So romantic! Thanks for the tips for hanging the frames too. Such a smart way to do it.

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  10. Oh I just loved reading your post! The whole idea of framing your love letters is beautiful. Soooo romantic!!

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  11. That's beautiful! I love the whole post and how it looks over your bed! :)

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  12. Oh I just LOVE this. LOVE it. So personal and precious. VERY well done!

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  13. Love! So beautiful! that was a great tutorial but I loved what you put in the frames even more. Ours would be emails, not as romantical, ha!

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  14. Absolutely love this post- such a sweet story! Your gallery wall is fantastic- such a great way to share your story! Thank you for sharing this at Feathered Nest Friday~ Hope you will come share again soon! :)

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  15. such an amazing idea!! this is fabulous!!

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  16. That was a lovely story, thank you for sharing! The display is wonderful, all the more so for the thought and love that has gone into it!

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  17. What a beautiful story of how you met. I love that you have forever placed the courtship here in your artwork. Perfect in your bedroom. A wonderful treasure to someday pass on to your family. Thanks for linking it up to HSH!
    Sherry

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  18. Visiting from Addicted 2 Decor....


    What a sweet story and your 'gallery' looks beautiful. And don't worry about the AC, it almost looks like it fits right in!

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  19. Hello,

    I'm a new friend-follower.

    Great job planning out the frames.

    Best,

    Coastal Blue Ocean

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  20. Thank you for sharing not only this beautiful project but the beautiful story behind it. It honestly brought a tear to my eye since I was the same age as you when I met the amazing man in my life.

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  21. Thank you so much for sharing your love story. Now I know what I'll be doing with all the notes and tidbits that I have been collecting through the years that my husband and I have exchanged with each other.

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  22. That is really sweet and makes me all misty eyed. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  23. Hey girl...thanks for linking up this week. I've had a blast co-hosting. Very cool idea girlfriend...

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  24. love this idea! I may have to do our love story now! i have been waiting to do something above our bed and i think this might be it! Well done and thanks for sharing!

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  25. Visiting from Between Naps on the Porch. This is a beautiful story! I love the way you shared it, and the gallery wall above your bed is so charming and meaningful. Thanks for sharing!

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  26. Oh, what an absolutely special post! I just adore that you created this gallery wall full of memories and your love story on display. It is a wonderful reminder of how you started and where life has taken you. Thank you so much for sharing it with us at Inspiration Friday this week!
    Vanessa

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  27. Hi Stacy~

    What a lovely project! Your blog is so inspiring, I just love the hutch makeover too. Happy to be a new follower & I invite you to link to my K.I.S.S. Blog Bash. :)

    ~Christina~

    Drop By The Tattered Tag

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  28. That is very sweet and sentimental. Thanks for sharing with my newbie party. It looks great.

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  29. Oh my word your story just melted my heart! AND I love how you captured it! So precious! This just made my day :)

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  30. ok, you know what, i'm about to become your newest follower. that doesn't usually happen with me-i lurk for a while and decide if i want to push that follow button...i am a person who buys a book or movie only after i've seen it and determined it worthy of being in my collection...just so you know who you're dealing with.

    so young you were to be so sure! i LOVE that! and i love 1)that you framed your a/c unit 2)that you framed the letters and envelopes and 3) the title of your post. i feel the need to look through my boyfriend box! we've been together almost 14 years...surely i have something to frame!

    sorry this is an insanely long first comment!

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  31. Lovely! I especially love that it all has special meaning to the two of you!

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  32. Inspiration just struck me as I was looking at your blog. I have a stack of napkins left over from my wedding almost 25 years ago ( if you call me a pack-rat, I'll cry!! hahahaha ). I have never known just exactly what to do with them but I hated to throw them out. I am going to frame at least one of them and hang it in our bedroom. Our wedding colors and our wedding date on prominent display. I'm lovin' it!! :) Thanks for the inspiration.

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  33. oh my heck this is a beautiful idea! Thank you so much fr sharing I pinned it. Come and say hi and enter my Jamberry nail giveaway!

    A mommy's life...with a touch of YELLOW
    tyandwhitneyulrich.blogspot.com

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  34. I love this... so beautiful. I would love for you to share this at my link party tomorrow night. Thanks for sharing!

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  35. I do the same thing when I hang pictures! I love this and I am going to feature this tomorrow. Thanks for linking up!

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  36. Thanks for linking up! I'll be featuring this on my blog on Saturday!

    http://sumossweetstuff.blogspot.com

    Thanks!
    Sumo:)

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  37. That is absolutely beautiful! What a perfect way to keep that beginning fresh in your minds.

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  38. It's my anniversary so I may be particularly sentimental today but I love this idea. It is so sweet and precious. You did a great job! I am adding this to my linky laundry list post this week.

    Ginger
    Literally Inspired

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  39. This is so adorably touching! I love what a sweet personal touch it gives to your room. My husband and I dated long distance during the summers (we were over 2000 miles apart) while we were in college. We kept all of our letters to each other and I am thankful that we did. We are celebrating 13 years of marriage on Monday! Thanks for sharing such a sweet story and project.

    Rachel
    http://www.holy-craft.blogspot.com

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  40. This is so sweet it brought tears to my eyes. You guys are definitely a rarity in today's world and quite an inspiration! Your wall looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

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  41. You've been featured at The 36th Avenue. Here is the link to the post:
    http://www.thirtysixthavenue.com/2011/06/sticker-time-3.html

    Thank you for sharing and come visit to button up ;)

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  42. I just found this via another blog. What a wonderful story! I wish you two many many years of joy. I have to say one of my favorite parts of this story is the correspondence. These days kids miss out on so much with texting. Great story!

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  43. This is absolutely, by far, the most adorable thing I have ever seen. What a beautiful story and clever way to remember and share it. What a sweet reminder (especially on those days you would like to punch your husband in the face) of when, why, and how you fell in love. :) I think I may need to hijack this brilliant idea. Thank you for sharing! (And thank you Desiree @ The 36th Avenue for posting on her site).

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  44. thank you!! i've never figured out how to symmetrically hang photos- and now I do! this is such a sweet story- thanks for sharing it with us :D

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  45. Honestly, I think your love story is one of the best I've EVER heard. What a man you have . . . and what a wonderful commitment and relationship you two have together. So often relationships begun so young don't stand . . . and yet you've made it past some of the big milestones (1 year, 5 years, and 10!). The next one is when the kids are grown . . . so many couples allow themselves to grow apart while raising their children. It sounds, though, like you two are going to do great.

    You've been so blessed, and I've been blessed reading about your wonderful story. Thank you!

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  46. I came across this post at random, and it is such a sweet story, and a great final product! I love the print your husband made for the center.

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  47. Lovely! I especially love that it all has special meaning to the two of you.Internet based furniture company

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