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the wall

by Shawni
Several people have asked about our new wall in the game room so here we go…

Through a series of events and inspirations, Dave came up with an idea to turn our game room wall into a giant family moment/inside joke/favorite quote/everything-family-you-can-imagine.

My friend had suggested doing a huge long frame with favorite family words and quotes.  We have a design friend who had re-done an entire office in the coolest things and part of it was custom wallpaper.  So we decided to combine those ideas and create something specifically “us.”

Luckily that design friend up in Utah (his name is Brian) knew the exact vision Dave had in his mind and started working with us.

For about nine months we sent him all kinds of things about our family.  Favorite games we play, favorite memories, all kinds of traditions, and he whipped up a graphic incorporating them all.

We got that graphic made into wallpaper, and some guys came and installed it the day before Thanksgiving.  WooHoo!

Here’s how it all started after they took the lights off to get going:

Here it is half-way up:
…and voila!  There’s our WALL:

The kids had helped us come up with all the ideas (even Max gave great input from Taiwan) so they were so excited to check it out.  It was fun that Elle was home for the big reveal.  Here we are walking in to see it:

We were all pretty excited!

It takes a long time to go through and explain every detail, which was so fun with Dave’s whole family over for Thanksgiving.  Here on the blog I’m going to take a sec to zone in on just a few things:
We put included lots of our very favorite family quotes.  This one is one I memorized with my family growing up and it’s just a classic:

Gotta love that Rummikub smiley face up there too.  I love how Brian just took what we said (we like to play Rummikub) and makes it kind of not so in-your-face.

More favorite quotes…and all our old addresses are on there with little houses next to them (on the left below).  We got Grammie camp in there and how Dave always tells the kids to have confidence and go into places with a wink and gunfingers 🙂  That little map on the right is Romania (there’s one of Taiwan and Hawaii and Utah up there different places too) and that “lang zalze leven” is the birthday song we sing because it’s been passed down from Dave’s side of the family:

Five of the “Grandfather’s Secrets” are up there (see below) each with that all-seeing eye symbol, and everyone’s heights (and birthdays) are included.  I love that all of the heights have footprints and Lucy’s is complete with all eleven toes.
 ^^Brian scanned in a lot of the kids’ art work too.  Gotta love that Aslan is up there^^ “Aslan, the king of all Narnia and the symbol of Jesus Christ.”

“Feliz Cumpleanos” is because Grace’s birthday tradition is a piñata:

Dave’s nicknames for Grace and Elle and another family favorite game:

 (And Dave’s Dad’s quote from the speech he gave at a devotional at BYU-Idaho is below that.)

Yarn because the Easter Bunny uses that to help the kids find their Easter baskets on Easter morning:

 “Nerdos” because that’s what Dave calls us all if we’re on our phones too much, and you gotta have a little Shakespeare, right?

 ^^Our cars names “Jenna” and “Stella” are up there too (and “Ted” is somewhere else).

A huge map of the world with this little color guide 🙂

The hearts are to represent our “heart-attacks” we do every Valentine’s Day:

Boston University and our family motto…a drawing Claire did of our family last year, a funny text from Max, and my favorite “Life is Long” quote from my mom.  Oh and how Dave and Max always say “I’m 100% sure.”


Lucy’s works are scanned in all over the place:

“Te Iubesc” is “I love you” in Romanian:

 …we also have it written in Chinese Characters and in Braille.

There’s a Christmas tree with a quote from “The Gift of the Magi” down there below (we love that book and always read it among our Christmas books under the tree), gotta have the touching the temple business and Taylor Swift.

 …also up there is Gabby our first pet ever that was sadly accidentally stepped on by one of Max’s friends the first day we had it so she’ll always live in our memory.  (The story about her and her funeral is back HERE🙂

Families Fighting Blindness, the “Chateau” (Dave’s family car growing up), rainbow pancakes and Angkor Wat all made it in.

I could go on and on, and you really need to see it in real life to really be able to fully appreciate it, but you get the idea.

We are in love with that thing and we’ll cherish it forever.  So grateful for Brian for his amazing ability to put all these ideas into a whole that makes up that wall.


amanda December 6, 2016 - 7:47 am

I think this may be one of my FAVORITE things you have ever posted!! I would love to copy your idea and make one of these walls in my home someday. I think it is so incredible and such an amazing family history. So fun for your whole family to be able to share some of the most important things to each of you and have it always there as a reminder. Also-it looks totally cool too-such a fun addition to the room!

Kristie December 6, 2016 - 10:22 am

This is incredible!! Love it so much! How special and meaningful!

Louise December 6, 2016 - 10:32 am

This might be my favourite thing you have ever posted too! I just love your family, even though we arecstrangers. I love how you have modelled young kids and now teenagers. You make it look so much fun! Thank you!!

Rhianna Wells December 6, 2016 - 10:33 am

This is such a neat idea! I love how many different things you were able to incorporate.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but are some of the heights incorrect? Just from photos alone your younger girls don't appear to be as short. I thought Grace would be taller than 5 feet. Maybe you're using heights from a younger age?

Shawni December 6, 2016 - 2:46 pm

Yes the heights were originally supposed to be accurate as of the time when Max graduated (this is kind of a "window" into the time when we had all kids at home), but somehow with a bunch of new things we added and I think with the measurements of the baseboard maybe not added in they turned out to be a little off. Which is all good 🙂

apple December 6, 2016 - 4:50 pm

I loved seeing that you are 6'. 🙂 I'm 5'11" and just love seeing other tall women. Love the wallpaper!

apple December 6, 2016 - 4:51 pm

I loved seeing that you are 6'. 🙂 I'm 5'11" and just love seeing other tall women. Love the wallpaper!

Katie December 7, 2016 - 1:19 am

Doesn't it say that Grace is 5'5"? It caught my eye because I'm the same height. I love seeing that your height is in the 70s 🙂

Rhianna Wells December 7, 2016 - 3:31 pm

Ahh! I understand, they are from younger ages. I was wondering why Grace was only 4' 6" 🙂 Makes sense now!

Christi December 6, 2016 - 11:41 am

This is ABSOLUTELY amazing, Shawni – just amazing! Now to convince my Honey that we need this in our home…

Jonneke December 6, 2016 - 1:01 pm

Love this! Just wondering what the story behind 'lang zal ze leven' is? I'm Dutch, and I was pleasantly surprised to see this be a part of your family wall(paper) 🙂

Shawni December 6, 2016 - 2:49 pm

Dave's grandparents are Dutch so we always sing that version of the Happy Birthday song after singing the original version. When I first married into this family it was so funny/foreign to me when they just launched into that song, and now I love that it's just such a regular part of birthdays around here.

Bludworths December 7, 2016 - 1:59 am

Love that you guys sing "lang zal ze leven" as well! As my grandpa used to remind us, "You ain't much if you ain't Dutch!"

Becca Doutre January 17, 2017 - 7:49 pm

We also sing Lang Zal Ze Leven. My dad served and LDS mission in the Netherlands and it is truly one of our favorite traditions! It brings joy:)

dresselfamily.blogspot.com December 6, 2016 - 1:30 pm

I think this is the most incredible thing I have ever seen. Love it!!

Kelleyn Rothaermel December 6, 2016 - 2:11 pm

That wall paper is the most incredible thing! Love it!

Kiki Nakita December 6, 2016 - 2:17 pm

Such an awesome idea!

Kelleyn Rothaermel December 6, 2016 - 2:49 pm

Shawni! Can you please give me the link to the post on the chinese art on your dining room. I have now spent an hour looking for the post and can't seem to come up with the key words to bring up the link. We have two little girls adopted from china and I would like to so something similar. Thanks Kelleyn Rothaermel

Shawni December 6, 2016 - 2:54 pm

If you scroll down in this post you will see it in some of the pictures: https://71toes.com/2015/12/children-for-children-concert-2015.html I haven't posted specifically about that art, but that at least shows it.

Our Chinese friend came up with that translation of "Love More" and when he explains it it's pretty cool.

Kelleyn Rothaermel December 7, 2016 - 5:07 am

Thank you !

redvelvet December 6, 2016 - 3:16 pm

AMAZING!! Beautiful! I love how much family and traditions mean to all of you! Your family is just beautiful in every way! We need Brian's contact info!:)

Amanda December 6, 2016 - 3:28 pm

This is seriously the best thing I have ever seen! I just adore your family and have learned so much from you about how to make life more meaningful, rich and beautiful! Thank you for putting yourself out there and sharing your family with all of us.

Be A Saint December 6, 2016 - 3:44 pm

Wow!!! I would never ever be able to stop looking at that! Racking my brain to figure out how to include that in my home! Absolutely love it. Y'all have done an amazing job making your home uniquely yours. Thanks for the inspiration. ❤️

cheryl cardall December 6, 2016 - 4:30 pm

This is amazing!

Lynette December 6, 2016 - 6:09 pm

LOVE this idea! Wow!! Thank you for sharing something so personal with your readers.

Corinne December 6, 2016 - 6:18 pm

I am constantly amazed at the things you do, but this one might take the cake!

Jenny (also) December 6, 2016 - 6:41 pm

Never seen anything quite like this before!

I think "don't let your schooling get in the way of your education" is a quote from Mark Twain.

Would be cool if you had stickers or something to update the map as you travel

If I were one of your younger kids still growing I'm not sure I would like my "younger self" height immortalized forever on the wall.

Christina December 6, 2016 - 8:18 pm

Such a neat time capsule. I love it!

Anonymous December 6, 2016 - 8:34 pm

Thanks for your post!
This wall really is a piece of art and so unique. I love it!

jessica kiehn December 6, 2016 - 9:15 pm

Omg Shawni!! This is literally the coolest thing I've ever seen in a home. Hats off to y'all- this is SO AMAZING!!!

MJ December 6, 2016 - 9:34 pm

This is amazing. I love it!

Jess M December 6, 2016 - 10:16 pm

I love how deliberate you are with what you put on your walls. What a wonderful reminder of your family's life!

Ellie D December 6, 2016 - 11:16 pm

This is absolutely amazing. I will DEFINITELY be doing this in my home some day! Love it!!

Pink Panda December 7, 2016 - 12:04 am

Love, love this! ❤️

Katie December 7, 2016 - 1:16 am

I love all of this but especially the map with the key of places we want to go 🙂

Hilarie December 7, 2016 - 5:38 am

Such a fun and unique thing to do, I love it. I also really would love a blog post house tour. I love your home!

Eileen December 7, 2016 - 10:33 am

Wow! This is amazing.

Linda December 7, 2016 - 3:48 pm

Can you share Brian's contact info? Is he interested in doing other projects like this? Thanks!

Hello. My name is Meshan. December 7, 2016 - 7:55 pm

Wow, wow, wow, wow, WOW!! So incredible.

Kristin December 7, 2016 - 10:13 pm

Love this so much!! Thanks for sharing.

vdg family December 8, 2016 - 12:08 am

Wowsers! This is marvelous! I love the quotes! I love the things that inspire you. I love the word "Dadio."–M

Kelly December 8, 2016 - 5:05 am

I would love the contact info for Brian! What an amazing thing! I seriously want to do this in my home ASAP. How long did it take him? I can ask him money questions and such if I can get his info. My email is: kellyahlander@yahoo.com. Thank you!!!

Jaya December 8, 2016 - 5:44 am

This is just mind-blowingly cool! Love it and love your home and blog! As Kelly above, I would love his contact info too if he does orders! jayab2@gmail.com Thanks so much for sharing!!

Melissa Kendall December 8, 2016 - 5:56 am

Can I just thank you for being this person? A person who shares light. Real, genuine light. This made my jaw drop and my heart swell. It's all about remembering and keeping those home fires burning bright.

wendi December 11, 2016 - 7:39 pm

I absolutely LOVE this!! What an inspired idea !!! And so fun to see the video with your girls' reactions. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

wendi December 11, 2016 - 7:39 pm

I absolutely LOVE this!! What an inspired idea !!! And so fun to see the video with your girls' reactions. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

Anne-Marie December 12, 2016 - 8:59 pm

Amazing!!! I love this idea. Thanks for sharing.

Tasha December 13, 2016 - 5:12 am

This is simply amazing!! I love everything about it!

Becky Arrowood December 13, 2016 - 4:38 pm

Fabulous, what a great idea! Any good graphic designer can do this; find one that is a freelance designer, but be prepared to pay their hourly rate.

richard December 13, 2016 - 11:32 pm


Marnie December 22, 2016 - 6:30 am

So fantastic! I would love to do something similar in my home. Could you please share Brian's contact information? Also, how does one go about getting custom wallpaper made? Thank you so much!

Melissa Neslen December 22, 2016 - 7:22 pm

I would love, love, LOVE to do this in my home and am in Utah. Could you share the contact information for Brian?

Brandon December 27, 2016 - 1:35 am

We would love his information as well! That is gorgeous!

Shawni April 12, 2017 - 5:36 pm

Here is Brian's email for those who have requested it: deaver at contravent dot com

Bryndee Slade July 4, 2018 - 1:28 pm

This is so cool! I want to design my own wallpaper.do
You know where you can get it printed?


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