Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Home Project - Map Wall

So, I've got this wall...
A big-ass plain long boring white wall.  It's upstairs in the hallway that leads from one end of the house to the other.  It's huge.  It has a light switch (that we never use) smack dab in the middle of it.  It's the first thing you see when you come upstairs.  And it's BORING.


I have been trying to figure out what to do with this white wall for 4 years now.  I thought about painting it a fun color, but that didn't seem like enough.  I thought about painting it with stripes or a fun wallpaper, but that seemed like way too much.  I was at a loss.  UNTIL I saw this picture...


I'm sure you've all seen this one before.  It's all over the blogosphere.  And it spoke to me.  It said, "Sara, you should do a map wall upstairs in the hallway."  And I agreed.  Hallelujah!  (And then I realized I should probably stop drinking and get off the internet before the picture of  that Gucci bag I've been eyeing spoke to me and convinced me to buy it.)

So, I had an idea.  Now I just needed maps.  Fun maps.  Colorful maps.  Maps of all different sizes.  Maps of places that were special to me.  Maps that didn't cost a small fortune.  Enter Etsy.

I decided that I didn't want to stick to "traditional road/land maps" - I wanted to mix things up a bit.  Etsy had everything I wanted and then some.  I had trouble narrowing it down to around 20 prints.  There were so many awesome ones.  I starting picking prints based on color, size and significance.  I knew I wanted to do bright colors (orange and blue) and I let the prints do the rest.  

(we got married in Wyoming)

(we're going to Italy in the fall)

(my hubby is Irish)

(because I studied abroad twice)

(because I liked the orange)

(because Ryan is obsessed with going back to Alaska)

(because I'm obsessed with going back to London)


(the first big trip Ryan and I took together)


(we're going there for our friends' wedding in November)


(duh)


(I just loved the colors)


(because we have family there and visit a lot)

(where my alma mater is located - MIZ-ZOU!)

(probably my favorite map of them all and what I based the entire color scheme around)


And a few others.

As for frames, I had no idea where I was going to find fun funky bright-colored frames in the sizes I needed.  I was worried that this was going to cost me a fortune.  I looked high and low and couldn't find anything I really liked.  So, I did what any good crafter would do.  I bought cheap ol' ugly frames from Michael's (whatever was on sale) and then spray painted them. Yep, spray paint.  Krylon spray paint, to be exact.  Pumpkin Orange, Blue Ocean Breeze, Raspberry, Black, White and a couple other "complementary" colors.


It took me about six months to collect the maps/prints, get frames and mats in the right sizes, get them all painted the colors I wanted.  And then it took me another three months to get motivated to actually hang them.  Much to my husband's horror, they've been sitting in my office in piles taking up space and wreaking havoc, plus I had about 15 cans of spray paint strewn about the garage which he would trip over and kick every time he entered the house.  He really deserves a medal for putting up with me and my crazy ideas sometimes.  

Next, I had to figure out how to arrange them all.  I used wrapping paper and traced and cut out each frame to match the size of the frames so I could get a visual on what it would look like once they were hung.  I placed each framed map below the corresponding paper cut-out, so I could balance color distribution.  




At this point, I recommend getting a helper to assist you with placement.  Someone with an eye for this kind of thing.  I was worried that it might be too overwhelming/bright, that my arrangement was off-kilter or that it was going to look cluttered.  I had to call in the big dog for help.  

Literally.
My assistant, Sage.

We discussed my concerns and she told me that she loved it and to trust my instincts that it would look great. And then she licked me, knocked over seven frames with her tail and began chewing on the hammer.
  
Finally, it was time to hang!
And here's the finished product.

















So, now I have a map wall.
And I love it!
Sage was very happy with it too.

And since we had all these bright wonderful colors to play around with, I also redid the landing right across from the map wall in the same colors and made myself a little reading nook.  I love the way it turned out. 
One final before and after photo of the map wall.


So, what do you think?
Do you like?

120 comments:

  1. Sara, that looks amazing!!!! I love it. Also, WHY IS SAGE SO BIG?!? Still adorable, but growing too fast =)

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  2. LOVE it! Love the idea of spray painting the frames - they look perfect!

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  3. I'm blown away. When you said map wall, I was not expecting anything that amazing. But with you, I should have been! It's gorgeous. Bright, fun, meaningful - I love it!

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  4. I love it! It looks great with all the colors too!

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  5. Oh my gosh, I LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! Great idea spray painting the cheap frames - I've done that with larger open frames, but I was thinking of doing it in my gallery wall to create some unity. LOOOVE these maps, LOOVE the colors, LOOOVE the wall. I just bought a bunch of vintage maps from the flea market (some $1 a piece) but none as awesome as these! I just claimed an armistice on purchasing any decor items, but I may have to get me one or a dozen of these maps- LOVE them! GREAT job!!!

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  6. Love it! I've always wanted to do something like this, but we don't have a blank slate for it. And, you have a very cute assistant. :)

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  7. Oh my gosh it looks awesome! I love how bright and colorful it is!

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  8. Oh my gosh. That is amazing!!! What a wall. I love that all the prints have meaning to both of you. I love the spray painting of the frames, but where did you get all the mats? Did you thrift them or pick them up for cheap at the hobby store?

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  9. I LOVE it, very cool. Did you paint the frames too?

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  10. I ADORE it!!!! You did such a fab job. We have a photo wall in our apartment that we are adding to - it's all photos of places we've traveled, and also some random odds and ends tucked in (I posted about it a month or two ago.) I love your brightly colored frames - it really adds something to the space. Awesome, AWESOME job!

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  11. Sara, ohmigosh - this is incredible! You have been pinned :-)

    (what did ryan think of the colors/styles? E loves vintage maps and I'd love to put some up, but he's so picky! I'd be afraid to do it on my own - ha.)

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  12. I am SO happy I found your blog! That wall is GORGEOUS! I love the idea!

    And I LOVE Sage! English Golden?

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  13. Holy smokes!!! It looks amazing!!! What a great idea and it adds so much color and life!

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  15. AMAZING!! I am totally pinning this!!

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  16. This is crazy amazing. I love when you get an idea off the internet and then bring it to life bigger and better - it's the best!

    Gorgeous home project! I bet it's so fun to walk by and show people when they visit!

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  17. It. Looks. Awesome! You did a great job! My fave is the Chicago print personally. ;)

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  18. This is seriously great! I've been wanting to do a map wall and I think you may have just given me the push!

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  19. OH.MY.GOSH. Swoon. I absolutely LOVE it. It is so personal, so fun, and so FABULOUS!

    I'm going to spend the rest of my afternoon finding maps and figuring out where in the world I can do this in my house. You're a genius.

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  20. OMGOSH! I LOOOOOOVE THIS!!!
    It looks perfect!!! Really. It couldn't get any better!

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  21. I am obsessed. I also want to copy everything, and will probably order the Paris and St. Louis maps. Beautiful Sara. MOST TALENTED FRIEND.

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  22. WOW!!! Seriously like every one else I am absolutely blown away by this! You did an amazing job sista. I may have to do this in my own home one day :) xoxo

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  23. Fantastic, Fabulous, and Fun! My 3 favorite "f" words ; )

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  24. Just found your blog and wow! That wall looks amazing. I love all the different colors between the maps and frames. Nice work!

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  25. Sara! This is so awesome. I just walked through my entire house to try to find a future map wall! Thanks for the inspiration :)

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  26. LOVE this. I have always said I wanted a map room. Your wall looks fantastic. I did get an enormous map of the Amazon during my study abroad in Brazil and spent a fortune framing it. We finally found the perfect spot for it in our house. Maybe I follow your lead and put up some other maps with it...

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  27. This is AMAZING! Great job. It looks so cool. I was just looking at this and one of my co-workers walked by and made me show her the photos too. We had a ten minute conversation about your gallery.

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  28. Just found your blog ... LOVE the map wall. It looks amazing. Now I want to do this somewhere in my house!

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  29. This looks SO amazing! Jealous of your creativity!

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  30. What a great idea!! I absolutely love this it!

    ~Tiffany
    http://tiffanyd22.blogspot.com

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  31. wowwwwww, i LOVE this!!! we have a small collage of photos/ frames in our dining room, but your collection puts it to shame.

    i really, really love what you did here! great job. super impressed.

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  32. I love everything about this post! The wall is so fun and creative and I love the different colored frames! Perfect!

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  33. Looks awesome!!! We have a strict policy in our house of only hanging artwork that is meaningful -- love what you did!

    On a side note, Jeff lived in AK for several years. It's all he talks about...we'll have to set him and Ryan up on a date ;-)

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  34. that is awesome! i love the colored frames and the maps. you are so clever! Sage is so pretty and obviously a great helper!

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  35. Ughhh I totally miss you too! AND P.S. next time you visit Chicago, you have to let me know!! And I would love it if you would do this whole map wall on our wall in Chi... it needs something! Loves!

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  36. I absolutely LOVE that! And I have a frame that desperately needs a new colored frame, so I think I'm going to take your Krylon spray paint tip this weekend.
    Love LOVE the maps. LOVE.

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  37. I LOVE this and want it in my own house! You've inspired me. :)

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  38. this is so stinking cool. trying to figure out where in my house i can do it!

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  39. i love love LOVE this! like, seriously, i have so many good things to say. but, instead of saying all those wonderful things i'll say, "Wait! you went to Mizzou??? did i know that? because I grew up in Lawrence, KS and I think you know what that means..." :)

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  40. Just wanted to pop over here and tell you that I've seen your St. Louis heart print on Pinterest a few times since you posted it. It's popular! :)

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  41. Oh my goodness!!! I LOVE it!! My 1st thought when I saw the blank wall- I was like "hello picture gallery!" but you kicked it up a notch with all the maps!! LOVE!
    Thanks for stopping by today!

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  42. (came over from your link at Brooklyn Limestone)

    This is a fabulous post! I love it when "real" people pull off something awesome that you see in magazines and think you could never actually do. You're inspiring me to do something about my blank hallway walls!

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  43. I love the colorful picture frames and the awesome maps. Well done!

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  44. Oh my gosh!!! First of all, the wall looks AMAZING. I've been thinking of doing maps in my room - I'm a little bored of just having pictures - and I might have to copy you a bit on this idea! I love how you got so many different maps in such fun, bright frames. It looks incredible. And I also LOVE how you organized it with the numbers and the place holders on the wall!

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  45. Your map wall is gorgeous! I love the colored frames and the prints - it's so pretty!

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  46. IN LOVE. I WANT that London tube map. I'm trying to get myself back to London in the near future, but, I don't know... money. Boo. Love all the maps, freaking love.

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  47. FABULOUS!!!!! I absolutely love this. I love the colors, the prints, everything. LOVE it.

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  48. Such a cute idea, I love that you added a splash of color to the frames!

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  49. Dude! That looks so good! I was going to ask if the frames came with but I love how you did them yourself - looks fantastic!

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  50. I heart this! and I have a confession...I might be stealing your idea! But I'm trimming it way back to only 3 maps. Where we met, where we got married, and where we live. Thanks adding a little creativity to my house as well!

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  51. OHHHHHHH I am now in love too. I love traveling. In a few months I will be getting my own apartment and I might steal this idea. I would just have to find maps that speak to me too. Thank you so much for this idea.

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  52. Visiting from Brooklyn Limestone and LOVING your clever map wall. I am a huge fan of maps (decorated my boys' BR with them) and am ever so impressed with your fresh, creative take on maps.

    Cathy @ Room Rx

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  53. My immediate thought at the beginning of the post was, of course you should paint it! BUT you added so much color through the frames and maps that it looks amazing. Great job in dressing up a white wall!

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  54. Wow - I am so in awe of that wall - it's absolutely gorgeous! That was obviously a lot of work, and it definitely paid off.

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  55. LOVE! I can't help but think, 'oh the places you'll go'. What can I say I must have Dr. Seuss on the brain.

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  56. I am completely in love with this project. As a frequent traveler I'm always looking for ways to incorporate my love of the places I've been into my home (I'm also a fan of spray painting frames!)

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  57. wow! I have gone through a LOT of these pinterest challenge post and I have to say, I think yours is my favorite!

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  58. Love this! I am starting a similar project but this is inspiring me to move more to the maps (got a map coming from Ebay). I am also a Mizzou alum down the the Southeast! Go Mizzou! Well done.

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  59. This is awesome! I also did a mapped theme project for my Pinterest Challenge. I made a map photo frame and was also planning on hanging it on a travel themed wall! Thanks for the added inspiration. I will have to Pin some of your images for my next Pinterest inspired project!

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  60. So fabulous. Love everything about it. Job well done.

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  61. What a great idea. It looks amazing! Love it.

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  62. Your map wall looks so great! I love all of the colors. Have you ever seen Ork Posters? She makes all different posters of cities/states. We just ordered one of Los Angeles in orange and love it.

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  63. love it - especially the colourful frames.
    awesome job!!
    cheryl xox.

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  64. I'm loving this too! Looks GREAT! :o)

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  65. Oh, I love the brightly colored frames!

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  66. Wow this looks great! What a creative way to cover such an expansive blank wall! I just love it :) And all the bright colors are to die for!

    xo Catharine @ Your Modern Couple

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  67. wow, what a huge project! It looks great, and big thanks for posting my Wyoming print, I'm glad it found such a good home!:o)

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  68. Found your blog from YHL and this is amazing! I adore the map wall! Very inspiring!

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  69. This is an awesome project! Love it :) Thanks so much for letting us know about it!

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  70. Wow, what an amazing idea and the wall now looks brilliant. I love all the brightly coloured frames and I am delighted that my illustrated map of Italy is featured here...amongst so many beautiful maps!

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  71. Wow. I LOVE it. and will be stealing your amazing idea. Although I know I will not be able to blog about it as eloquently as you. (Which was certainly half the fun of the wall.) Go, YOU!

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  72. this is so great!

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  73. SO gorgeous!!!!! I'm insanely jealous. I wish I had a wall that would support this, but our hallway is so narrow...sigh...

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  74. This is incredibly FANTASTIC!!! love it!!!

    ;-D robelyn

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  75. Sara, So awesome!!! I'm totally copying this. :) Love ya, Linds

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  76. Great Job! I love this idea! It came out amazing!

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  77. I absolutely love this wall! It is fantastic!

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  78. This is great!! Great job!

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  79. Do you have a source list for this? I love the "America the Beautiful" lyric map of the US! So pretty! Where did you get it?

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  80. So creative! It really gave that hallway a lot of style!It's beautiful!

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  81. Thanks for featuring my St. George Island (Gulf of Mexico) map in this amazing project. Your readers can use coupon code "mapwall" for 50% off any map prints in my shop @ http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageBeach

    :)

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  82. I like this concept. I visited your blog for the first time and just been your fan.

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  83. This turned out so gorgeous! And I am so honored to have two maps on your wall. -Anne http://www.etsy.com/shop/SummitRidge

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  84. Hi just came across you...today I'm gong to work on my son's map art for his wall. He's nearing 4 and is taken a liking to maps...he wants to know were we are at. (when we go to the mall he goes for the directory)...anyhow I cant figure which is cutier your pup or the colors you used...LOL

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  85. I want to copy this, with my own places of course!

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  86. Fabulous!! I love the colors/textures...YUMMMY MAP ART!!

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  87. I love MAPS and I just love this. GREAT job, and your "assistant" is super cute. mine like to chew on hammers too :)

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  88. What type of spray paint did you use? I know you mentioned the brand but what type? Love your wall!

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  89. Amazing. Truly inspiring to a person that is feeling clueless to what to do with her boring bare walls. Thank you.

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  90. Reminds me of dr. Seuss. Excellent

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  91. I think it looks great! I appreciate all the pictures you took of your process. AND I appreciate that you mentioned how LONG it took you to complete this wall (in case I got the crazy notion that I could do this in a weekend!) Your tips are very helpful!

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  92. I've seen this on Pinterest, but didn't realize it was yours. This is wonderful! I love it!

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  93. I just stumbled upon this - and am IN LOVE. Where did you find the "America the Beautiful" lyrics in the USA map?

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  94. I am always looking for good examples of maps as home decor (as I sell vintage maps on Etsy). This wall looks amazing! Pinned to my Pinterest board on maps.

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  95. i love this :) i have a huge collection of postcards from travels over the year and have been struggling to find a creative way to use them!

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  96. Your map wall is absolutely fantastic! I've seen it in your side bar a few times, but just now clicked it. It's amazing! Great job.

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  97. I found this on Pinterest and LOVE it!! Love the colors and maps!

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  98. Amazing!! I absolutely love this. *swoon*

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  99. Swoon is right!! Fab idea, sorry, but gonna steal this idea too, lol!

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  100. Just found your blog and I LOVE LOVE LOVE the map wall! I love maps and always wanted to find a way to incorporate them into my home decore. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

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  101. Sara!! This is AMAZING!! I am so so obsessed with your super cool twist on the every day gallery wall. SO creative and cool!!

    Xo Kylie

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  102. Done right! Right idea, right amount of time to get it done (LOL), right number and variety of prints, right colors, right placement... no, perfect placement and alignment. Love it! Enjoying your blog. I forget now why I found it... think it had something to do with food initially because I was researching Thanksgiving side dishes... That's right, Wild Mushroom Risotto with Peas. The internet brings us a wonderful big world of sharing. ;^)

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  103. Hey, would just like to tell you that I shared your work on my blog ^^

    drawingspacewithinaline.blogspot.pt/

    Keep up the good work :D
    Best regards,
    Helena.

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  104. AMAZING!! I am using this in a blank wall round up next week. So glad I found your blog!

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