Our Christmas Gallery Wall

picture collage display close-up

Confession: We bought our 1st house 6 years ago and, until recently, had virtually nothing hanging on the walls. I don’t know why. I love interior design, but when it comes to our own home, it’s been so much harder to get things done. I think it’s the perfectionist in me that is nervous things won’t turn out perfectly. But recently I made a goal to stop putting things off. So this weekend, I bit the bullet and put up the frames that had been sitting on my desk for over a year. I still haven’t decided just what photos to put in them (we hardly ever print any out) so in the meantime, I’ve made this Christmas gallery wall. It turned out to be a lot easier than I’d expected.


Step 1: I cut a piece of butcher paper to the size of the space where I wanted to hang the pictures.

Step 2: I laid out all the frames out in a random way and moved them around until they were just right. Then, I used a ruler to make sure things lined up correctly.

*Tip: Get 2 different sizes of frames to mix it up a bit. I had 6 5×7 frames and 8 4×6 frames. 

Step 3: I traced the frames onto the butcher paper and then made a dot 1/4 inch into the box where the nail would need to be.

Step 4: Hang the butcher paper in place with masking or painter’s tape. Then, place the nails where you put the dots. After that, you can just gently remove the paper and leave the nails behind.

scraps collage frame

Step 5: I gathered a bunch of Christmas-y images from magazines, cards, wrapping paper, and old books. Then, I cut them to size using the glass of the frame and the XActo. I used a single image for some and for a few I made collages.

Step 6: Finally, I put the frames back together with the artwork inside and hung them on the wall.

picture collage display

What do you think? Do you ever hang seasonal artwork in your home?

Kitchen Basics: Peeling Tomatoes

This week I brought in the last of our tomatoes for the year. It is bittersweet because there is nothing quite like cooking or eating a tomato you’ve grown yourself. Nonetheless, when the time comes, you’ve got to figure out what to do with all those little red fellas.

Later today, I’ll share one of my favorite end-of-the-season recipes, but for now I thought I’d share an easy step by step that will teach you how to peel tomatoes yourself. I just started peeling our tomatoes this year before cooking with them, usually in big batches on the weekends. I’ve found it helpful because whether your cook, freeze, or can them, you’ll find the peel will often detach from the fruit and become quite tough changing the texture of your dishes. So here’s what you’ll need…

1. a pot of boiling water
2. a bowl of ice water
3. a bowl for your end result

If you can, set your 2 bowls in the sink. This will really help cut down on the mess.

Finally, here’s how you actually peel the little guys…

1. Bring water to a boil, and drop the tomatoes in for about 2 minutes. Boiling time will be dependent on the size of the fruit, but you’ll see the skin start to change slightly–it may even start to crack.

2. When you start to see the change, drop the tomatoes into the ice water. The cold water on the hot fruit will literally make the skin pull away from the fruit.

3. Finally, hold the fruit in both hands, peeling off the skin. See easy as pie!

*Pro Tip: If you mark the bottom of the tomato with an X, it will make it easier for the skin to loosen.

*Speaking of pie, I’ve found this also works well with peaches.

Anyway, I hope this helps! I’ll be back in a bit to share the perfect 1st-of-Fall-Last-of-the-Tomatoes recipe.