All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”Family means everything, and a gallery wall is a uniquely personal and fun way to celebrate the lives and love of those humans connected to us by DNA, even if we never got a chance to meet them. Yes, I know this is a tablescape blog, but I’m hoping you will indulge me and perhaps get inspired for a different sort of decorating. After all, if you frequently entertain family like I do, they will get a kick out of seeing the faces of ancestors mixed in with the thoughtful symbolism artfully displayed each time they come to visit.

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”I finished creating this gallery wall – the love and life story of Ramon, me, and our ancestors – in the library just in time for guests coming for Thanksgiving and Christmas 2014 to see it. As we’re all squirreled away for these cold winter months and looking for indoor projects to fill the time, perhaps this will stir something in you to create a gallery wall with your own memories!
(Click on any photo, then click again to enhance/enlarge it.)

Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”The “connecting” elements between Ramon’s family and mine are many, but none stands out greater than the fact that both our Dads worked for the railroad early on in their lives. My Dad talked about it often in very fond tones, and I wanted to honor both Dads by using railroad tracks as the literal and figurative connectors on this wall. I put a length of tracks dead center on the wall beneath a side-by-side collage of Ramon and me at the approximate ages we were when our Dads were working on the railroad. (Don’t judge! I was just 6! 🙂 ) The tracks serve to visually “connect” the 2 sides of the wall that are dedicated to my side and Ramon’s side of the family.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: Wilson family collageThe huge clock represents not only the passing of time over the generations, but also reminds me of the kind of pocket watch the Dads carried during their time on the railroad. (Still thinking about adding a chain to it.) The oversized high school diplomas in their original frames were earned by my paternal grandparents in 1912 and 1916. (Yes, they made diplomas THAT big back then!!!) That makes Grandpa Wilson’s diploma an official antique and Grandma Wilson’s on its way to that status one year from now! The collage above the diplomas are photos of my paternal grandparents, paternal great-grandparents, and other members of my Dad’s family. The Ws beneath the diplomas, of course, represent the Wilson family name.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”I turned the corner of the gallery wall to display collages of my Dad. The frame at the bottom is a medley of him from a baby on up. He was a handsome devil!!! the portrait on the opposing wall is of my Grandmother as a child.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”The frames beneath my Grandmother’s portrait hold letters written to her from my Dad when he first left the farm and went to work on the railroad. Notice the lovely calligraphy he splurged on for the top right-hand corner envelope to impress his Mom!


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall” - shadow box


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: Daddy's shadow box collageAs a tribute to those who pass before us, I like to create personalized shadow boxes. My Dad’s is encircled by railroad tracks. Inside the shadow box are bits & pieces of his life that I will always remember including his love for golf, popcorn, Vegas, tending to his various fruit trees, and teaching me to shoot. The shadow box also has a railroad spike and a wrench because Daddy could fix and build almost anything. On top of the box is a Scrabble “W” for Wilson, a replica Nickel Plate boxcar, and a Missouri Pacific Railroad pin.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: Little Red Wagon collageBeneath the clock is a collage of photos that I found amusing. Three photos taken at different times in history of little boys with their red wagons. Clockwise: my son in 1981, my uncle (with my Mom being cradled) circa 1928, and my Dad in 1925. Cool, huh? I hot glued the tiny red wagon to the outside for a 3-D look.



Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”The center of the gallery wall has photos of my Mother’s side of the family (Starks) above the photos of Ramon and me as children. (I was in 1st grade in my school uniform, Ramon in 2nd or 3rd.) The 6-pack to the upper right represents five generations of Starks women starting with my great-Grandmother. The single photo directly above is of my maternal great-great-Grandmother. The couple to the left are my maternal Grandfather and my Mom’s stepmother/my Grandmother. (Mom’s birth mother died when my Mom was just 7 years old.) The photo you see of the young man playing the violin is my Grandfather as a youngster.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”The Nichols part of the wall is a little skimpy. I don’t have a lot of photos on hand of Ramon’s side of the family, but I did my best to represent the generations. The 3-pack at the bottom has photos of (L to R) his paternal Grandmother, paternal great-Grandfather, and paternal great-Grandmother. The collage above that has Ramon’s parents at the top, his children on the bottom tier, and Ramon and grandson in the middle.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: Mrs. Nichols shadow box collage


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”The shadow box in memory of Ramon’s Mother represents her love/skill for cooking and sewing, including a vintage cookbook. I had a lot of fun putting this box together with miniatures found at Hobby Lobby. The “R” is for her first name.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: Mr. Nichols shadow box and initial collageI had lots of fun items to include in Ramon’s Dad’s box! He was an avid fisherman, an accomplished gardener, a devout Catholic, and a proud member of the NRA. I also included his pocket watch and compass from his days with the railroad as well as a railroad spike. Beneath his box is a Hobby Lobby craft deer head that lauds his abilities as a hunter. As with my Dad’s shadow box, Mr. Nichols has railroad tracks encircling.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: Vintage-look iron door handles and stars collageYou may wonder about the various keys and vintage-look door handles. These represent the keys to our past and the many doors opened from one generation to the next. The stars at the very top of the gallery represent those who have gone on to heaven.


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: vintage railroad spikes


Alycia Nichols, Tablescapes at Table Twenty-One,, “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall”: vintage violin in caseI wanted to carry some of the themes from the gallery wall throughout the library. On the desk is a handful of railroad spikes, and on the secretary is a violin first played by my Mother’s Mother (my maternal Grandmother) back in the late 1920s and passed down through the generations.

Our library gallery wall is still a work in progress. I hope to fill this room over time with the many artifacts that reach back into history to tell our story of what happened when two people fell in love!

I am still on the mend from my January 8 spine surgery with little chance of getting back to tablescaping any time soon. Please hang in there with me. I miss you all so much and want to get back to doing what I love sooner than later. Meanwhile, THANK YOU for all the emails, texts, cards, gifts, phone calls, prayers, and general outpouring of love and affection!!! It’s been like Valentine’s Day for me this whole past month! (Except Valentine’s Day doesn’t hurt like this!!! 🙂 )
Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!!!

46 thoughts on “All Because Two People Fell In Love – A Gallery Wall

  1. I’ve never seen a better or more personalized gallery wall before! The details are precious. I love the tie in with the rail road tracks, and the pocket watch. The shadow boxes with personal tributes are fabulous. You got all this done just before the holidays and your surgery! I hope you continue to feel better- I know it’s going slower than planned. Hugs, Liz

  2. If I stood at this wall in person, I can say that I could spend hours and hours looking at all of the incredible photos, memorabilia, and items connecting and depicting the lives of your family….the shadow boxes and just amazing Alycia!…such great sentiment from those stars depicting the ones that have gone before you and that clock that depicts the passing of time and the railroad…you have done an magnificent job….what treasures to pass down through the generations….and such a tribute to that wonderful family of yours!….Hope you are feeling better and better!!!…

  3. what a wonderful tribute to your family. Everything looks so nice! I hope that you will better soon and can do what you love to do.

  4. Alycia! This wall is one of the most wonderful gallery walls – maybe THE most wonderful – I have ever seen. I absolutely loved following along through your descriptions, as I kept scrolling back & forth for overall perspective, detail. If I remember correctly from your Christmas tour, this room is right off of your entry, to the L, where it’s visible for those coming & going. THe photos, the mementos – so much thought & detail – just like you do your tablescapes. DId you have these things professionally matted & framed, or did you do them yourself? So wonderful!

  5. This is truly one of the most personalized, labor of love projects I have ever seen! Every detail, from the railroad tracks, to the individual items showing each ancestors interests, to how they were put together, shows an enormous amount of creativity and patience. But then again, we would expect nothing less from you!

    You have lovingly put together something that your family, and future generations, will cherish for many years to come.

    (We miss you too!)

  6. This is one of the most thoughtful and heartfelt posts I’ve seen. So much love, care and attention to detail when into the gallery wall. I can only imagine the research and time that went into this project. This isn’t merely hanging pictures. Here you are telling a story and weaving together the history of two families. Absolutely beautiful! I hope each day finds you a bit more comfortable and very hopeful that it won’t be as long as it’s been before you’re inspiring and teaching us with your beautiful tables. We’ll be here whenever you come back. Love ya!

  7. Great job Alycia. The violin reminds me of when I played in the
    Kansas City School Districts “All Schools Orchestra”, in 1941 or 42, as a 7th grade student at Dunbar Elementary, in the LEEDS Community.

  8. Such a wonderful tribute to both sides of your families Alycia. The shadow boxes are so personalized and professionally done. Real treasures, each of them. I loved the railroad tracks weaving around the display. Unique and captivating. Even if there wasn’t a tablescape,it was wonderful to get a guided tour through your creative family tree. Worthy of a magazine spread!

  9. How much love must have gone into creating this magnificent gallery wall. How proud you must be of the accomplishments and history of each and every person in this collage of family photographs and mementos. Everything is displayed with so much thought as to the placement for each of the individuals photographs and the precious bits and pieces that represent the lives the lived. Beautiful job in creating this work of art Alycia.

    I do hope you are on that road to recovery now. I should think there will be a lot of physical therapy along your road to being fully recovered. If we lived closer together I could come over and you could direct me on the what and where of how you would like a tablescape and I could do the labor. Have a wonderful evening….. Candy

  10. Oh dear Alycia, I love everything about this fabulous wall display and the whole room. You really have done a wonderful job of highlighting your and Ramon’s legacy. Love the shadow boxes and all the personal touches. A beautiful tribute to two families joining together! I am so sorry that you are still suffering and continue to pray that healing will continue and be complete for you sooner than later.

  11. You do have a way of making things so very special. Photos are one thing, but the shadow boxes you created are over the top and convey such special caring. Seeing all this makes me regret that I did not do more to preserve our history with photos though I’m trying to make up for that now! I doubt there will ever be a gallery wall, but photos are scattered all over the house and are reminders of so many experiences.
    I hope you are doing well. Be patient and kind to yourself as the healing process takes time.

  12. This is the best presentation I have ever seen of a family wall–stunning! I love the old hand-tinted portrait, and the presentation of your Grandmother’s letters. I so wish I had been taught to write that beautifully when I was in school. What a wonderful gift for your family.
    Hope you are feeling much better!!

  13. I love this blog post! Pottery Barn needs you, girl. I have never seen a better, more moving gallery wall in my life. Those letters are amazing. Everything here is just perfect. I love your tablescapes, but I’d like to see more of your fabulous decorating.

  14. Absolutely beautiful…I love it! You every historical clue possible to represent your wonderful family. I think I will have my students do a mini-project along these lines. Get well soon.

  15. Alycia, how wonderful! Just wonderful! A Family Tribute. This is museum quality and calls for a printed book, brochure, booklet of what you have written to be displayed also on your library desk. So interesting. Hats off to you! Hope you are feeling much better! Thanks so much for sharing your family history.

  16. Oh, Alycia, your gallery wall is a magnificent tribute to your family. You have outdone yourself with this extraordinary effort that radiates pride and love for your loved ones. I am so impressed. Thank you for sharing this. Please feel better soon. It makes all of us very sad to think of you in pain. We’ve got your back, girl, so remember you’re embraced by many good wishes throughout the country. Take care, Rosie

  17. My heart just fell in love with this.. First the wording.. (absolutely perfect) and then to have all the memorabilia, pictures, postcards.. that is sooooo special.. And to top off you have the violin played by your great-grandmother.. is totally a wow factor. I can truly tell you had fun putting this together and the beauty is it will be adored by your entire family. I’m glad you mustered up some energy to share this with us.. we miss you too and hope you have a speedy recovery. Take your time, we’ll be here waiting for you.. hugs to you

  18. Now that’s a “gallery wall”!! So many personalized items and pictures make this a true family tree representation. Your relatives must love looking at this fantastic tribute to the generations that have gone before and those still with you. My husband is a locomotive engineer for the Canadian Pacific Railway and having those tracks on your wall really stands out to me as being so appropriate for those men in yours and Ramon’s lives that also held jobs in that field. Alycia, you have done a magnificent job on your gallery wall and I love every detail. Now, you take care of yourself and get better soon!

  19. Hi Alycia! I am glad you are getting better, but sorry it is taking its own sweet time of healing–I hope you are feeling better very soon:) Your gallery wall is so inspirational–I love the creativity and detail that you put into it. Your family must be quite thrilled with it when they visit you. I need to get going and work on a hallway gallery wall that I have been intending to revamp and spruce up for forever–this was definitely a boost of inspiration for me in that regard! Take care!

  20. What an amazing dedication to you and Ramon’s love, life and history of your families. The use of the reason tracks as a unifying element gives the wall such great character and texture. The shadow boxes with elements of parts of the lives of people showcased gives such warmth to the area. It brought years to my eyes and made me feel as if somehow had known them. I too have family wall, but now will be looking for non photo items that could add to the texture.
    I do miss your beautiful tablescapes and pray you are stronger each day so you may once again bless us with your talent.
    Hugs, Dawna

  21. Probably… NO! not probably but absolutely my favorite post from you ever.
    Just because two amazing people feel in love my heart is now overflown with love for your kindness, beautiful spirit and the Love that you will pass on.
    Blessings to your Lovely Family and You, Dear Friend.

  22. OK! I admit it – it’s just an excuse to hang around a little longer and enjoy this ahahahah 😉
    But this post is soothing a hurt I read the other day on some you-do-it-then-show-the-world site (Hometalk? yes, that’s probably the name ;)) and the person had used a weird space under the stairs to build a gorgeous (for me!) family wall. Not in your way over the top like yours, but her liking, her photos, her loved ones…
    Can you believe that – to my dismay and hurt – someone called it tacky?!?! Even if she had decorated it with feathers and pelicans (which she didn’t) how could such a space with such meaning be tacky?!?! World is gone crazy. That’s why it’s nice to see and enjoy pockets of creative love like yours.
    See you soon 😉

  23. Oh Alycia, thank you for sharing your treasures on your family wall. I so enjoyed reading the history and seeing all the mementos that you found to honor those relatives. You did such a splendid job and I’m sure it’s such a conversation piece to be able to share with those who enter your home.
    I’m still praying for you and hope you’ll be soon feeling better. Love and kisses are being sent to you.

  24. Wow – what a tribute to your family!! Makes me feel bad that all my family treasures are in a box or bin in storage – I should probably pull them out and then hire you to create my “family tree on a wall”. I always enjoy how you pay such close attention to detail. I do have my grandfathers hunting bow hanging in my dining room and I have been considering blogging about it – you may have just given me the push I need!! Hope you feel well and are on the road to recovery – Miss your tables, but keep sharing your decorating ideas, too!

  25. You wall is spectacular and is to be celebrated. It will be interesting to see how you continue to develop this idea around the library. This reminds me a bit of my late cousin in that she had family stories behind a lot of the vignettes and groupings in her house. She had compositions of items like her father’s hat, etc., with photos of him and other mementos. Interesting about that violin: my father’s father (the rake known as the “fiddler and the diddler”) was also quite the player. I understand that one of his instruments survives, but another descendant has it I am told, although I have never seen it. It is really a treasure. That both your fathers worked for the railroad when you two were about the same age is cosmic — it was meant to be. I do hope you are feeling better and that better days are ahead for you.

  26. Alycia I love this. I have some anniversary pins of my father when he worked at Griffin Wheel Co. (they made train wheels) and have been wanting to display them some way. You have given me some great ideas.

  27. Wow great family tribute! Alycia, genealogy wall well done. Love your shadow boxes with the personal mementos. I know you put a lot of love and hard work into this special room. It shows!

  28. Beautiful, Alycia! A few years ago, I put together shadow boxes for my sister and brother, with mementos from Cuba, the country of our birth. It even included some soil brought back from the garden of my sister’s house. I used shadow boxes from Pottery Barn, which were a little deeper than most of the others I have seen. Well, when it came time to put one together for myself, PB had discontinued the shadow boxes! Now you are motivating me to search for another box and finish mine. I love a home that is decorated to reflect our history. You’ve done a terrific job with that!

  29. This is just awesome, Alycia! I’ve never seen anything like it but it’s the perfect way of displaying so many of those precious family artifacts and mementos. The whole room tells your families’ stories, and you’ve done it so beautifully! What a joy it must be for you and your family to relax in here with all of these memories!! You put scrapbooks to shame, girl!!

    I’m still praying for you! God must have a reason for you to stay put and relax awhile longer. It tough for an active woman to just chill but I’m hoping you’ll be better by spring. Stay warm and cozy. Happy Valentine’s Day!!

  30. Just fabulous Alycia, I love all the objects and memorabilia you have incorporated with your photos! What a fascinating gallery, so full of love and history~ I do have a family gallery, but nothing to compare to this! Bravo! Nice to have you back 🙂 and hope you’re feeling so much better!

  31. I thought the same thing that Liz did…this is the best gallery wall of family mementos. Adding things makes the wall so interesting visually and invites guests and family members to spend time looking. I would like to do this, too. Thank you for the great ideas! ~Ginene

  32. Pingback: Favorites of the Week | Got My Reservations

  33. Dearest, I have just spent over 12 hours at the computer typing up painfully slowly the transcription of my VHS recording (back in 1988 when the VHS recorders were the size of boom boxes) and this makes me want to cry! What a tasteful and wonderfully educational wall for all of the family and friends. Wow, I thought the typing was a big deal. Dad focused a lot on WWII and I have his medals and his jacket and his wall objects would be the center of attention. You have done such a phenomenal job! Now I want to do something like this! Wow! You are so inspiring – always!!

  34. There is NOTHING like family, Alycia, and your tribute to your family is a lovely example of all that family represents. Every time our son and daughter-in-law in law need us to help with the chickadees–especially when one is too sick to take care of them and the other has to go to work–I am thankful that we are nearby to help them. We often observe that when life gets down to the brass tacks it’s family who’s there. I bet you’ve found that yourself as you recuperate. Lovely, lovely display, Alycia. And I hope a post from you means you’re making progress. I continue to pray for you. ~Zuni

  35. Hi Alycia, I read this whole post last night, but had to go to bed before I got a chance to leave a comment. We’re getting old around here. 😀 This is a sweet, wonderful idea to use in your home, Alycia, and I’m so impressed at your thoughtfulness in putting it all together. I LOVED reading about yours and Ramon’s fathers and their railroad jobs and hobbies and interests. My great-grandfather worked for the railroad here in N.C. all his adult life, and my grandfather worked for the railroad when he and my grandmother first married. I believe my uncle has my great-grandfather’s railroad watch. I’ll have to ask him to see it sometime.

    I’m SO glad you shared this with us, Alycia. For starters, you’ve given us some great ideas and inspiration for a gallery wall in our homes. Secondly, we can see just how much your family means to you and what a special person you are (well, we already knew that part). 🙂 I’m worried because we haven’t heard from you in awhile. Are you doing any better with your back problems? I’m so sorry you’ve had to go through all this — just doesn’t seem fair.

    I’m thinking of you and so hoping you’re on the road to recovery, my friend.

    Warm hugs,


  36. Hey there Alycia, Hope you are doing great in your recovery. Just wanted to start the week off with a warm hello. Blog sister misses you. I sent you a email a few weeks back to let you know I shared your Gallery Wall with the senior ladies at the center and they loved it as well. It brought happiness and smiles. You have many fans. Stay well my friend!!

  37. Oh how I’ve missed your posts. What an amazing post this is! That is one beautiful wall. That is a great tribute to your family.
    Hope you are doing well!

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