Living In the Process

by Kimba on February 16, 2011

in Artwork,decorating

I have three empty frames hanging on my family room wall. They’ve been there for a couple of weeks. I don’t apologize for them, but I do usually explain.

I used to have a big blank board and batten wall. One of my 2011 house goals was to put some artwork on that wall. But hanging artwork over my precious board and batten made me nervous. I couldn’t decide what to do, so I didn’t do anything. Paralysis by indecision.

But a few weeks ago, I saw these Ikea Ribba Frames on another blog and I thought they would work for that space. It’s a big wall, so I needed something substantial, but I didn’t want to cover up all of the beautiful wood work. Three separate frames seem to work better than one large piece of artwork.

I really needed to see them on the wall before I could decide if they worked. So I hung them up. And I like them. A lot.

But now I have another challenge. Finding artwork to fill up those frames. What should I put in them? Pictures of my kids? I only have two. Maybe I could borrow a neighbor’s kid? Add in the dog? Actually, I’m not sure that I want family photos in that spot.

I’m trying to be patient. I troll Etsy every day hoping to find a trio of black and white photographs that I love. The search is complicated by the fact that I need 12″x12″ pictures. Not a very common size. And I’m cheap. I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars.

I was briefly tempted by a set of posters at IKEA. Mostly because they were easy. And inexpensive. But I’m not a huge fan of art for art’s sake. I want something that I love. And I’ve since seen those very posters in no less that 3 quick makeover shows on HGTV. Do you have them? Do you love them? Good! Keep them and keep loving them!

I’m still looking. And until I find what I want, I’ll have empty frames hanging on my wall. Does that make me a freak? Probably. But I can live with that. It’s all a part of the process.

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1 Sarah February 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

My dad helped me hang up for collage frames last night, and one of them isn’t full, so I have to decide what to fill it with. One idea I had if you wanted to have you children’s picture is you could have a group photo (either of the two of them younger or all of you) and then have the individual portraits on the outside ones. Just a thought.
Sarah´s last blog post ..Valentines Family Tree

2 Jennifer February 16, 2011 at 8:51 am

I have two kids as well, so what I like to do it to have one picture of them together in the middle frame, and then one of them each individually in the two others…just a thought! Good Luck!

3 Ginny February 16, 2011 at 11:18 am

I also have two kids and was going to suggest the same thing.

4 Maggie February 16, 2011 at 8:52 am

I love the frames there. I have something similar hanging over my sofa in my living room, but they have vintage records in them – Herb Alpert, Robert Goulet and Lawrence Welk grace my living room wall. They’re colorful, they’re fun, they’re funky and they’re great conversation starters. To think, I saved them from the landfill when I found a box full of vintage records next to the dumpster at my old apartment building.
Have you thought about maps? Maps might look neat in those frames and they bring some color, but not too much color. I’ve toyed with the idea of doing something similar in my master bedroom. Framing maps of mine and my husband’s hometowns.
I don’t really care for the Ikea prints. They seem very generic and you’re style is anything BUT generic. Plus, like you said, they’re art for art’s sake.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

5 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 9:09 am

Herp Alpert? I adore you! And the albums are a great idea!

Love the maps too! I did think about that. I need to make a trip to the bookstore and see if they have any of those huge coffee table books of maps on sale.

6 heidi @ wonder woman wannabe February 16, 2011 at 8:56 am

why not put photos of kids individually on the outside and put a family photo in the middle (or of the two of them together if you like)

7 Kendra @ house of ficek February 16, 2011 at 8:58 am

I think the frames fill that space really well. I saw a really cute gallery on Houzz that had pictures of her childrens feet with different shoes in each one, all in black and white. Sounds kind of weird trying to explain it now, but I thoughtit was really cute! I think everything in your home should have some sort of meaning or attachment too. Good luck!

8 Jennifer in VA February 16, 2011 at 9:01 am

How about your kids’ artwork? Frame it up and then they REALLY feel special. If it’s too much for that particular spot, I do like the map idea. You can get pretty inexpensive maps from the USGS (US Geological Service/Survey). Do photos of your local environment for each season, the park you go to with the kids, your church, a downtown street view, the view down your road to your house…

Blessings, Jennifer: LONG time lurker, occasional commenter

9 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 9:10 am

Love maps! And I did think about taking some of my own pics and using those. That would be so personal.

I wonder where I can get prints that big. Researching…

10 Laree @ Ever Heard of Euless February 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm

You can print 12×12’s at Costco. I know that’s where a lot of scrapbookers print theirs!

11 Dianne @ The Inspired Housewife February 16, 2011 at 9:09 am

I recently put similar frames over my teenage daughter’s bed in lieu of a headboard – she was opposed to having one. I featured a picture of her playing a different sport in each one. I love them! I’m like you – I don’t like “art” just for art’s sake. I say go with something that speaks to you – either something personal like family photos, or something that makes you smile everytime you see it. For me – that usually includes pictures that have either window or a path in it. For some reason, I’m just drawn to those. Good luck – can’t wait to see what you come up with!
Dianne @ The Inspired Housewife´s last blog post ..Cupcakes With a Lot of Heart

12 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 9:11 am

I’m with you. I love personal art that makes me smile. For some reason, I like train tracks and bridges. I’m always searching etsy for something like that.

13 Cari Skuse February 16, 2011 at 9:13 am

Seeing your frames reminded me of this photo wall that I loved when I saw it…
You could so the same type of thing with 2 photos of your kids separate and one of them together in the middle, or one of you all together, one of you and your husband. You can print the larger prints online through a company that prints digital scrapbook pages, like here –
Good luck. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!

14 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

Thanks Cari! That photo wall is gorgeous!

15 rebecca who has been filling those frames for years February 16, 2011 at 9:17 am

Kids artwork. Hands down. 12 x 12 scrapbook paper fits the space perfectly and can be used as a “matte” (so to speak) if they’ve already got some masterpieces that are to small for the opening. AND because you can change it out, it’s never a case of “I am SO TIRED of looking at that…..”

(Hypothetically, of course. Since I’m certainly not prone to any such behavior.)

16 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 10:18 am

Definitely hypothetical. Cause I’m not prone to getting bored with things either. 😉

17 heidi@thecraftmonkeyblog February 16, 2011 at 9:31 am

what about some fabric in them instead? or b&w photos of your kids & a b&w of you and your hubby in the center? Good luck finding something! the frames look great!

18 Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely February 16, 2011 at 9:36 am

I have three frames over our bed. I found a calendar of black and white photography that I liked and framed my three faves.

19 Stacey February 16, 2011 at 9:41 am

This makes me giggle because I have a set of frames on my dresser with the store pictures in them still. I’ve been waiting for several things to come together, but I can’t decide if it is procrastination or inspiration that I am waiting for. 🙂
Stacey´s last blog post ..Back to the Gospel

20 Lou Cinda February 16, 2011 at 9:47 am

Kimba, I so understand the “process”! I am currently in the process of replacing my dining room furniture a little at a time with finds that I am getting at auctions…..yes, it is all crazy right now! But, it’s a PROCESS!!

Love the frames!!! The art will come….

Lou Cinda 🙂
Lou Cinda´s last blog post ..You Gotta Have a Vision…

21 Christina February 16, 2011 at 9:53 am

What about some really beautiful scrapbook paper, it’s already 12×12? Even just as a placeholder? It won’t cost more than like $2 a pop, and you can change it out at whim, or use it as some color surrounding a smaller photo?

22 karen @ our slo house February 16, 2011 at 9:55 am

All right fine!… I’ll send you 3 photos of me. Just stop begging, won’tcha? ; )

23 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 10:19 am

Best comment of the day. {snort}

24 Angie February 16, 2011 at 10:05 am

I love the idea of the 2 kids together in the middle with an individual picture of them on each side. Black & White. I never grow tired of looking at family photos when I visit someone’s home. I always like to have meaningful things in the frames hanging in our house. Therefore, I usually hang:family pictures, family artwork or artwork from our family travels. Have a wonderful day! Angie xo
Angie´s last blog post ..I LOVE when new decor magazines arrive in the mail

25 Aura February 16, 2011 at 10:07 am

I have the exact three Ikea Ribba frames, sitting empty in my dining room 🙂 Mine are white, and I’m decorating my little girls nursery right now, so I think I will put them in there. Ikea has the BEST prices on frames!
Aura´s last blog post ..Snowed In my view of the outside

26 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 10:21 am

Seriously! The best prices!

I’ll be interested to see what you do with yours. That 12×12 size is a little tricky.

27 leslie February 16, 2011 at 10:33 am

I’ve had two empty frames on the wall in my bedroom for at least 5 months now….
if you did go for family photos, they could be kids together in the middle- maybe doing something kicking a soccer ball around, walking away from the camera-….
leslie´s last blog post ..What to do on an over cast rainy day

28 Cindi B. February 16, 2011 at 11:27 am

Do you know anyone that does digital scrapbooking? We print 12×12 prints ALL the time –at Costco, Sam’s, pretty much anyplace. My software can change any print to sepia or black and white. I can take photos and make them the backgrounds of a 12×12 print so it fills up the entire page.

If you have some favorite photos (or if anyone else does) and want to send me some prints I can play around with it and show them to you. If you like them I can send them to a Costco near you and you can go pick them up!

29 Ginny February 16, 2011 at 11:37 am

Hi, I’ve purchased almost a dozen photo books from and have been very happy with them. The one book that had a printing error they reprinted for free. They also do calendars with 20×13 inch pages. Their printing quality is very good. The regular price for a 12-month calendar is $22.95 (plus shipping), but they are having a half-price sale on calendars now. SAVEALL is the coupon code and the sale goes until 2/23. If you miss that sale, just wait for the next one – they are almost always having one. I don’t work for them or get anything from recommending them, I’ve just had really good luck with mypublisher. I look forward to seeing what you decide to do!

30 stacey February 16, 2011 at 12:46 pm

My Ikea frames are under my bed, at least yours are on the wall.

Hint: you can go to hobby lobby and have any size mat cut – to fit the frame – just change the size of the opening. We did that with the Ribba frames that are poster size – changed the size of the opening for pictures of our girls. Worked beautifully for about $13 a mat. Oh, and we changed the mat to white white.

31 Brown Eyed Girl February 16, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Oops. How did I miss those yesterday?? Der…

My not-a-decorative-bone-in-my-body thoughts: You should either choose photos of your adorable boys or lovely family, or interesting shots from vacations you’ve had (like the beach? seashells? your boys’ bare tootsies in the sand?) or shots taken from your surrounding countryside, or your city filled with (ahem) train tracks and, uh, BRIDGES! I think black and whites would look fabulous, but should be shots you have taken yourself or of places you love, because I think you like having art that is personal to you. You can get prints reasonably from, we used them last year for our class reunion photos and I was very pleased with my large classmate photo, arrived nicely packaged, reasonable pricing, and timely shipping.

Aren’t ya glad you asked? LOL 😉

32 Mrs.B February 16, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I have frames on my wall too…only frames…no pics yet! So sad, I know. My kids think I’m weird! ha! 🙂

33 Chara Michele February 16, 2011 at 2:00 pm

Just a thought for you… What about finding 3 square prints you love off etsy & requesting they be custom sized to 12×12? As a photographer myself (portraits & weddings though – I don’t currently sell fine art online), I know that personally if you loved a print I would be happy to work with you to get the right size made. And if it is already square, it shouldn’t be hard to just size it up or down to the size you need for the frames…. Hope that helps in your search for the perfect images 🙂

(And as a portrait photographer, I say go for some family portraits in that space 🙂
Chara Michele´s last blog post ..Olympic Game Farm

34 Trish D February 16, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I have some empty shadow box frames hanging in our hallway, as I’ve been debating what is “wall-worthy.” We have lots of family photos in the room right next to it, so I want something graphic and fun, but not ridiculously loud and distracting. I’m leaning toward buying a yard of a bold print fabric and then placing a 10″ square in each frame, or possibly 3 different scrapbook papers, but have yet to find the perfect print(s). Just a few more ideas for you to consider!
Trish D´s last blog post ..Hello again

35 Catherine February 16, 2011 at 3:05 pm

As a scrapbooker, I know lots of great paper comes in 12 x 12 sheets – sometimes I don’t want to use them because they’re too nice to cover up! There are black & white, colors, seasonal…..You can get a really cute piece of paper for less than $2, and that might be a nice temporary option until you find what you’re dreaming of…just a thought!

36 Laura Beek February 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Shutterfly prints 12x12s for a great price. Create your own art!

37 Shannon Best February 16, 2011 at 4:07 pm

How about taking pictures of buildings that mean something to you….or bridges, or roads. Or nature.

Hope this helps,
Shannon in Austin

38 amanda February 16, 2011 at 4:26 pm

do you have any vacation scenic pictures you could turn black and white? is where i get all my pictures done at, they’re amazing and have great prices, photographer quality. they have all sorts of different sizes too. really odd ones even!

i also like the idea of the 2 kids in the middle, one on each side, but if you don’t want family pictures there then some from a family vacation would be super meaningful!

39 Marixa-Life on Purpose February 16, 2011 at 4:41 pm

You could try searching the morguefile for free pics of stuff you like (like sceenery) and then have them printed to size where ever you print pics.

40 Libby February 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Everyone has weighed in with a lot of great suggestions, so I hesitate to add even more options to the mix. But if you are looking for free/cheap digital downloads (which you could then have printed at Shutterfly or Costco) here are some suggestions:

NY Public Library has botanical, architectural and many more prints available for free download:

Pioneer Woman also has many hi resolution downloads of her photographs avaable to download for free:

The Library of Congress has thousands of photos uploaded to flickr. Last time I looked, you could download them directly from the site:

And if you are looking for botanical prints on a black background, look here:

Good luck!

41 Kimba February 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Thanks for these fantastic suggestions!

42 heather February 16, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I am jumping on the individual kid pics on the outside bandwagon, but suggesting a silly photo of either the two of them or of the family. we did the silly family photo right in the middle of a photo shoot with both sides of mine and hubbies parents….it broke up the seriousness and allowed our kids (all of us) to be silly for a few minutes. my plan is to put the silly pic smack in the middle of all the photo’s in a collage on our dining room wall. i just have to find the time to get it done 🙂
can’t wait to see what you decide to do!

43 Christine February 16, 2011 at 7:03 pm

Take your own!!! Most cameras have a black and white settings (there’s always good old black and white film) or you can do it in most types of photo software. That way you can take them and crop them to your specific needs.
Christine´s last blog post ..Happy Valentines Day!!!

44 Elizabeth@BlueClearSky February 16, 2011 at 7:06 pm

Temporarily you could add scrapbook paper if the blank frames bother you.

I’m not a great photographer, but I have taken my camera and just taken lots and lots of pictures of a favourite barn and farm gate. From those, I used picasa to edit my favourites and have made copies of them. Are they perfect? Heck no, but I love love love them. They mean something to us.

You could take your camera, and take photos of trains or bridges near you, even just parts of the bridge, close up, or whatever. The process is kind of fun. And I just love your wall board detail!
Elizabeth@BlueClearSky´s last blog post ..Country is Cool!

45 Jodi (The Simply Inspired Home) February 16, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I think it’s great that you are taking the time to think about what you want in the frames. I think too many people just hang anything just to hang something. I have had an empty large Frame in my son’s room that is still not filled, because I haven’t found that great thing to frame.

I say no rush in your decision. It looks great!!

46 Amanda @ Serenity Now February 16, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Love those frames, Kimba. 🙂 What about a family photo in the center and photos of the boys on either side…or a Bible verse in the middle?

47 Ellen February 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm

Hi Kimba – I saw that blog post you were talking about!!! Why, did it appeal to me — bc I have done the same thing. I’ve had a Ribba frame up on our living room mantel for — ooh, a year bc I hadn’t found the perfect picture. So with that blog post (the one with the burlap right?), I thought that was perfect!

btw, I think the three frames over your couch look awesome. What about this for an idea — the same picture in color, sepia and black and white?? From the picture, your room looks a bit coastal-cottage (which I L.O.V.E) so maybe a sea-worth picture — a boat, the sand, initials/phrase in sand….
looking forward to what you come up with! I know it will be amazing!

48 Susan February 16, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Bridges and train tracks…I’ll keep my eye out. I do like the idea of the kids though, and specifically their body parts…like their feet or their hands or something.

49 Rose February 16, 2011 at 11:39 pm

I think they look nice and since you have some blue in the pillows and the couch is a sand color, I think beachy prints would look good in the frames. 🙂

50 Karla @ {TheClassyWoman} February 17, 2011 at 12:38 am

Regardless of if they have photos or not yet, they add a more cozy feel above the sofa just being there. 🙂

I love the Ribba frames, I have two silver ones in my guest room. Since they inside is nearly the exact size of 12×12 scrapbook paper, I select two pretty and identical sheets and put them inside the frames, but turned one on it’s side so the pattern was different. It’s also a temporary thing here until I get some photos blown up.
Karla @ {TheClassyWoman}´s last blog post ..Valentines Day in Pictures

51 Lisa February 17, 2011 at 9:15 am

The frames are a great size.
Lisa´s last blog post ..Thankful Thursday- My Husband

52 Laura February 17, 2011 at 9:20 am

could you use some paint to add special touches and spots of your colors to the ikea prints? I always love turning plain posters into my own creations that way.
if you decided to do pictures prints 12×12 for $3.72

53 Melissa February 17, 2011 at 10:48 am

I’m not sure if you have a Costco in your area, but they have a new “Art and Image Gallery” that you can order prints from for really cheap. There are tons of great photographs there. 🙂 And Costco prints 12×12

54 Heather R. February 17, 2011 at 10:52 am

Love the frames there…thinking I may need a trip to IKEA soon to see if I can grab some for myself 😉 Maybe you could add a few sheets of pretty scrapbooking paper or even some material…and you can change them out whenever the mood strikes you or to go along with whatever holiday or season is happening. I get bored easily and like to change things around…and sometimes I just end up doing nothing because I can’t make up my mind. *eyes rolling* LOL!

55 Sarah H. February 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I’m not sure if someone else has recommended this yet (I didn’t read through all the comments!), but what about pieces of 12×12 scrapbook papers? There are some great prints out there that might bring in some colors you’d like. Just a thought! Love the frames for sure!

56 Aimee February 17, 2011 at 7:11 pm

12×12 – I would probably fill them, for the time being, with scrapbook paper. I LOVE the punch of color brightly-patterned paper provides in a space!
Aimee´s last blog post ..What We’ve Been Focused On Lately

57 Bev February 17, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I’m with Aimee – I loved the Ikea frames and put them up on one of Ikea’s black shelves over our sectional in the living room. I have TONS of scrapbook paper – many of which are so beautiful i hate to use them and cut them up. So I have filled the frames with 12 x 12 scrapbook paper. AND i can change them! and now i get to look at my favourite papers everyday.

58 Jenna February 18, 2011 at 12:09 am

I’ve really been enjoying your blog. I have those frames as well, I used calendar pages to fill them, which were just a tad larger than 12×12. Mine are in our kids’ play area and we were able to get a Dr. Suess calendar and theme the room that way, with the calendar pages they were just enough bigger that I was able to cut off the part at the top with the whole…just an idea if there is an artist you like or photographer, they might have a calendar out…

59 Carrie February 18, 2011 at 1:06 am

How about a quote in the middle frame and photos in the others?

60 Crystal February 18, 2011 at 3:28 am

I have a bunch of architectural detail photos I took in Paris yrs ago. If you want them, I’ll email them.

Now I feel like a photo prostitute. Great.

61 Connie February 18, 2011 at 5:48 am

Spring is coming… take beautiful photos and fill them up… I love the idea of the three separate frames.
Connie´s last blog post ..The Treasure Hunt in the Thrift

62 McKenzie February 18, 2011 at 11:40 pm

I find myself with the same dilemma! I have had a collection of frames on the wall for years. Totally empty. I’ve even moved a few times and rehung them, but I cant commit to put anything in them! Im thinking maybe some vintage post cards or movie posters…

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