The Art of Hanging Art

As an equestrian with lots of equestrian friends I thought an emphasis on a gallery wall would be a good idea,  as all of us riders have lots of horse jumping photos usually scattered around the house. Below are some good tips and guidelines for a cohesive look to follow. A big mistake I see all the time are random family photos (or horse photos) on a wall way too big for the photo or photos in display. Another mistake I see are  a grouping of photos spaced too far apart.

I love personal photos and have many. To make them come together I made gallery walls in my house. I certainly did not want to splurge on new frames so I kept them to 3 colors (using lots of spray paint) black with different finishes, gold, and wood. See photos below;

I enjoy mixing art, mirrors, and other items with my family gallery wall as long as frames and sizing go together. Throwing in an oval or round frame also is a nice added touch. To begin my gallery wall, I started with my largest piece of art and worked outward from there. Most designers suggest to use exact spacing to make the look cohesive. Another good idea is laying your art on the floor first or drawing on a piece of paper. I myself was too gung-ho so I decided to just wing it. I started out measuring but after I mis-measured numerous times, I just guesstimated. It seemed to work out just find. Some pieces I needed exact and took more time with them.

Helpful tips to creat a gallery wall:

  • Space each photo approximately same amount apart
  • Make photos cohesive by narrowing frames down to a few colors
  • Add in art, mirrors, or anything else that is special to you.
  • Start with your largest or most important piece and work outward, as it will automatically become the focal point when done in this manner.
  • Use what you have!

More useful links for creating the perfect gallery wall:

Gallery Layout by Decor it Darling

Gallery Wall by Driven by Decor

How to Create a Gallery Wall by Daisy Mae Bell

How can we make the world of show jumping on budget and viewer friendly?

I recently had a conversation with another trainer about this issue. Why isn’t our sport more popular? When she asked me this question, I thought back to an article I read earlier this year that didn’t make much sense to me. It keyed on things like keeping your horses’ names one word. Really? If we really change our horses names to simple words that will be a game changer? Troy Polamalu did alright.

When I am at horse shows, I attempt to watch what is going on around me, and here is what I see; Bored parents that don’t understand why it is taking so long and why they are spending so much money.

You have to admit even if you love horses and are an avid fan, watching 2’6″ round after round can be extremely painful, not to mention teach you every bad habit there is if you watch too long. So how have things changed? When I was growing up you didn’t go to an A rated horse show if you couldn’t jump 3’6″ period. Mileage to get to this level was done through lessons and some local horse shows. (Please note this article is not a discussion about whether or not someone should show 3’6″ but a discussion on ideas on how to make it less expensive and more interesting for the ‘non-horseperson.)

An argument I hear with this is many parents can’t afford to buy a 3’6″ horse. I don’t buy it. If you can afford to go to an A rated horse show, and go in class after class that offers no prize money, you can afford a 3’6″ horse that has a chance of winning some prize money. My first 3’6″ horse was a cow horse and pole bending horse we bought at the sale barn for $600.00. We later traded that horse for my first Hermes saddle. My first two grand prix horses cost $750.00 (He Can Run aka Caddyshack) and $900.00 (Captain Kidd). Caddy shack and I also won the AQHA World Championships in showjumping and did hunter classes. The problem is riders don’t ride well enough and trainers don’t train well enough to show most horses at 3’6″. In our barn unless it is ancient or crippled it shows 3’6″. Hunter’s first pony was bought from a school horse program. She was a large, but we couldn’t be picky on size, with our budget. I paid for her to do one or two shows at short stirrup and told Hunter if she wanted to show at A shows she had to do the rated division, as I could not pay entries for a short stirrup horse. The next horse show she showed in the large ponies and earned a little prize money. Same thing for Hunter’s first horse, she did a couple classes in the childrens hunters and moved right up to the juniors because prize money was a must to make this sport doable for our family. We still operate that way. Our horses have to earn their keep. If we don’t do well, we cannot go to the next horse show. Bottom line, if a rider wants to show 3’6″, they can, if they put the effort and time into it. They learn so much more than running around trying to make the step at 2’6″ and cutting their corners. It is my opinion, to save the future of the sport, smaller classes do not belong at A shows. Just as you don’t pack a stadium for flag football, same goes for smaller jumping classes. We need to get the parents back if we want to get the next generation of riders. Below is a victory gallop picture of Hunter winning the ASPCA Maclay at Indoors. Look how few spectators for this prestigious class;

Victory Gallop ASPCA Maclay Finals Chicago Equestrian


We need to get our audience back. Unfortunately horse shows are expensive because we have no spectators. If we had people that wanted to watch the horse show, they would make exhibitors costs go down and parents would pony up for more horse shows and more horses, if they were having fun and not spending their life savings for their kid to show. Let’s face it, a normal six figure income will not allow most kids to show on any type of regular basis. Not only is that wrong, but you extremely decrease your market, making life hard on everyone.

How can we make horse shows more interesting? Here is my list;

  • Classes that are exciting , interesting to watch
  • Show at the time you say you are going to show
  • Shorter hours
  • Spectators
  • Pre-loading

Let’s take a note from Europe. They preload. That greatly cuts down time. In Europe, someone is always jumping, someone is in and hacking waiting for their turn, and the one that finished usually hasn’t left the ring yet. WE need to buck up and get used to it. It works. That would lessen the hours and make it more interesting.

Twenty years ago most horse shows were put on by a group of people that weren’t interested in making a profit. That isn’t the case now, so where do we go from here? If they adapted guidelines such as preloading, maybe everyone wouldn’t be too tired to put back on more interesting events in the afternoon and get spectators involved. If we are taking a note from baseball, we need to figure out how to draw a paying audience. Classes would have to start at the time they say and then you are done. Parents get to go relax, riders get to relax, grooms get some down time. Life is good. This year at indoors we were riding from 3 am in the ring until after midnight. The course walk was at 5 am the next day. I had one groom that didn’t sleep for almost 48 hours. That isn’t right. Let’s learn from popular sports in our country and show jumping in Europe.

If we want to make a change I know these things are a must. Every sport that is popular you must have spectators and you must have an accurate schedule. Now what do we do? Where do we start? If we want this sport to be successful and not lose some of our best riders to Europe or quitting because they can’t afford it, we need to make a change.WE NEED TO PUT THE EXCITEMENT BACK IN THE SPORT!


Living Room – Where Do I even Start?

One thing that really helped me when I “officially” made a final family room layout was I thinking about my seating that would be used the most. That is usually your largest/most comfortable sofa. Then I thought about where it would go opposed to the biggest focal point. For our family room it is our tv. For our living room it is the fireplace. In our family room, I positioned our large leather sofa across from the tv and then decorated around that jump off point. It made everything fall into place much easier. (And I didn’t have to run around moving the large sofa everywhere before it would have ended up across from the tv anyway).Below is our family room before and after. I will post a more recent picture with the new rug and updates soon!

Here are some more living room tips for furniture (and more)below by top designers;

  • “Float something in the room – a sofa, a lounge chair – to avoid the ‘dance hall’ look. Think of it as an opportunity to show off the back (do something with the back).” – Brad Wessner
  • “The ideal height to hang your flat-screen TV is at eye level when you’re in viewing position. The ideal viewing distance is 11/2 times the size of your flat screen.”- Jean Larette
  • “Keep a minimum of 15″ between coffee tables and sofas.”- Alexa Hampton
  • “If you have a painting that looks too small above your sofa, don’t center it. Offset it a few inches to the left. The negative space-called ‘ma’- becomes part of the image.”-Richard Mishaan
  • “Never push furniture up against the walls. By pulling your seating arrangement in (even just a few inches), you instantly warm up a space and create flow.” – Betsy Burnham
  • “Every room needs a touch of black, just like it needs at least one antique piece.”- Jan Showers
  • “Rugs: the bigger the better. Nothing shrinks a room faster than a tiny ‘postage stamp’ at the seating area. Best rule of thumb: Keep 12″ of wood showing around the perimeter.” – Mary Foley and Michael Cox

And don’t forget about the Property Brothers’ Design Cheat Sheet for furniture spacing.

Property Brothers’ Cheat Sheet


It’s all in the Ceiling!

This bathroom ceiling below is what gave me the inspiration to paint my own bathroom and I love the difference it made!


Inspiration Bathroom

Above is our bathroom we painted with a gold metallic shimmer. In the top left picture you can see when the ceiling was still white that it just didn’t go well with the darker wallpaper. Our house has retro tile in every bathroom. We didn’t want to take down the tile but this wallpaper and gold ceiling completely took the focus off the green tile.

Below is our son’s room. We did a beautiful wallpaper in the ceiling and closet of his bedroom. The walls are painted Revere Pewter by BM. I absolutely love the way the chandelier reflects off the wallpaper.

A few more tips on painting the ceiling

  • Cut the wall color by 50% is a good rule for painting the ceiling
  • In small rooms I have painted the ceiling the same color as the wall when it didn’t have trim, it made it feel like the room embraced you.(Trim can sometimes make a ceiling feel lower)
  • Decorators white is a safe ceiling color if going with white, but can look purple in a north facing room.

Below are more beautiful ceilings (and rooms) I ran across online. Take a chance it’s only paint!


Do you have any Christmas ornaments left after you decorated your tree?

Here is what I did with my extra ornaments.

Let’s start with the front porch. In the bucket to the left I put greenery from the yard, firewood we had laying around, a string of lights, and some left over ornaments.  On the right of the front door is a sleigh from the garage with some more greenery and extra ornaments. The wreath on the door was bought but ornaments were added to it.

Below is our Entry way. Extra touches of ornaments and ribbons all over. I especially love the ribbon around our elephant.

Next is our living room where are tree is. Lots of touches through out the room. I am hoping to find a better pillow with Christmas colors for the chair. Notice the bulbs in the sconces giving a warm glow. I put soft pink bulbs in almost all my lights.

Here are a few extra pictures from around the house and a couple I find online that I especially liked.