I just finished a little DIY project.  I found a way to easily use a genealogy fact as part of my home decor. This helps get these little details out in the open, where they remain top of mind to inspire more research and a fun way to share the information with others.

I had a couple of pictures that I bought a long time ago for the sole purpose of having a room in the house look reasonably “put together”.  They’ve been sitting in my basement for years now. They are too nice to get rid of and completely out of style, or at least what I consider to be my style now, so they fit the category of clutter.  I’ve been saying I was going to do something with them for as long as they’ve been collecting dust in the basement and I finally got around to doing it.

I really like Norman Rockwell paintings and I have always wanted to find a way decorate with them. They fit both this project and the mission I’m on to resist bringing in more clutter. I really want most if not all of what I keep around here to have some meaning. I love genealogy as a hobby, it fits well with my nostalgic nature. I use it in combination with home decorating. For this project, I found the perfect way to meet several of my objectives. I was able to incorporate a significant date in my family history into a piece of home decor.

The Materials

  • An outdated, decorative framed picture that’s been sitting in my basement
  • A print of a Saturday Evening Post Cover from an issue date that is relevant to my family history
  • “Old White” Annie Sloan Chalk Paint
  • Annie Sloan Clear wax
  • recycled materials from the previous print that was displayed in the frame

The Instructions

This was super easy once I found the print I wanted to frame and decided on the style of decor I wanted to use. Part of why I’ve put this off for years had to do with not being able to decide on a decorating style I like and I also didn’t want to end up right back in the same situation a few years from now with another piece of outdated home decor taking up space. Then the farmhouse and vintage decorating themes started trending and I love them. I like the quality and substance and I like that they aren’t loud. It’s pretty easy to find all sorts of ways to use a lot of old things in combination with new ones too.

I wiped down the frame to clean off all the dust, cleaned the glass and cut open the back to remove the artwork. I kept the mat came with the artwork and all the pieces used to hold it in place. I put two coats of chalk paint on the frame. I went pretty slow and allowed it to dry for 24 hours between coats and after the final one. I sanded off a few spots to give it that aged look that’s so popular in this decorating scheme. It let the gold toned trim on the original frame show through as well as the copper-like tone of the frame. Once I was happy with how it looked, I applied a coat of clear wax. I allowed it to dry for 24 hours and then buffed it as directed on the can of wax. I put the Norman Rockwell print into the frame and taped it down. I followed the same process that was used to hold the original piece of art in place (the tap, and the staples in the edges of the frame) and that was that!  It looks completely different and now it works in my home as a “story prompt” since the date has some meaning in connection to one of my ancestors.  It looks great hanging in our dining room too!


This will work with just about any frame and sticking to the muted, earthy tones are what has it fitting into the cottage or farmhouse look. When you’re thinking in terms of finding more accessible ways to call out a date in your family history it gets a little less difficult to find something to put in the frame. There are many directions you can take in choosing a date or theme that holds value in telling your story. Really, all you’re looking for here is something that is pretty, fits the style and also makes a good conversation starter. It can be centered around an event in history, a geographic location or a particular date. Use it as an opening for prattling on and on about whatever little genealogy nugget you couldn’t find a way to otherwise work into the conversation.  I didn’t have anything like an old letter or an old photograph. I have very few such artifacts that go beyond the most recent generations.

I hope this inspires your creativity and helps you clear out a few corners of your basement.



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