Kiddos’ Art Wall

I’ve been learning a lot about myself and Josh Kelley and our kids while grieving the loss of Everett.  We’re figuring each other out even more while all walking our own grief journeys.  It’s been hard for sure, but I’m so honored I get to be here for each of them and so thankful they are each here for me.  I don’t like saying my kids are helping me grieve, but they are.  They see my tears and sadness and they are right there giving out hugs and “love you mama”s all the time.  Harper writes me the sweetest notes…she’s our resident writer.  And Josh, well, there aren’t enough words for him.  He’s the one person on this planet who understands my grief the most and willingly walks head on into each day.  Goodness, I’m the luckiest.

One thing I’m learning is that while my grief feels so out of control and is 100% unpredictable right now, I look for ways to feel in control again.  I grab onto things that give me a sense of grounding and control almost every day.  For me that looks like organizing and purging our house and starting and finishing projects.  When I can start something and finish it, it makes me feel like I can grasp the control again.

Recently Josh and I randomly decided to take down all the art going up our stairs one night.  I had somewhat of an idea of what I wanted to refill the space with, but it was going to take me a bit of figuring it all out.  I also went on a crazy week long full on purge of our house.  Every room.  Every corner.  Every space.  Every single inch of our house.  We threw away so much stuff and filled our 12 passenger van with items to donate.  I consider myself and our home pretty simple and minimal and we do regular clean-outs, so I was slightly shocked at what all we tossed and donated.

We have some small attic spaces where we keep a few kids clothes they will grow into and luggage.  Each kiddo also has one bin for keepsakes.  I went through each of their boxes and got rid of sooooooo much.  I thought I had really been choosy about what I had kept of their school papers and artwork, etc, but apparently I had not been choosy enough.  You guys!!!!  I threw away SOOOOOO much trash.  I realized I was keeping a lot of things that really we’re not important to us…like preschool diplomas, report cards (which our school district already has), baby pacifiers and so much more.

Here’s what we did…we tossed almost everything and kept only a few items which were truly special.  Any artwork we kept was organized into two piles:

1. Art to be framed for our stair wall

2. Seasonal art to be rotated in-and-out in our kitchen throughout the year.

I did the initial purge and made the semi-final cuts pile…the things I thought we might want to keep.  Then Josh and I sat down one night and went through all of the art pieces.  In our kitchen I bought 6 cheapo 8×10 frames from Target to rotate seasonal artwork.  I have one small bin for seasonal decor…does not include Christmas…and now I have a small stack of art I can bring out and put into frames for winter, Valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, spring, summer, fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  They are the sweetest little pieces which make my mama’s heart pretty happy.

Next Josh and I went through the pile of artwork which might adorn our big stair wall.  We made a pile for each kiddo and then picked out our absolute favorites.  All the ones that did not make the cut we’re tossed in our recycling bin.  If we kept it, we wanted to see it.

Then we taped each piece on our big wall to make sure they would fit and to see how they would fit.  I also figured out what pieces could be cut down for a smaller frame and what pieces needed to be framed as is.  Walmart ended up having all the frames I needed.  I wanted cheap and easy to work with frames especially since our stairs get a lot of action and it’s likely some will eventually get broken due to rowdy children.  I spent right at about $100 and framed every single piece.  All the frames have hangers on the back and are light weight which meant I could hang every thing with thumbtacks.  Hallelujah.  Amen.

As the kids make new pieces, we love that we can toss old ones if we want, add a few frames if needed since we still have a little room to work with or just put them over old art pieces and switch them out.  I love how versatile and easy this wall is to work with.  Plus, ALL THAT COLOR.

My favorite part about this wall is that our kids LOVE it!!!!  They love seeing all their artwork hanging together and remembering when they we’re little or remembering when they made certain pieces.  These pieces hold really sweet memories like Everett’s footprints his night nurses made with him on 4th of July and a coloring page Everett colored on our flight to Mott.  Harper’s doctor art she made in the hospital with Amon when she decided she wanted to be a doctor because doctors helped heal Amon’s heart and two of her art pieces that got her recognized at our mayor’s art show.  Hudson’s self portrait of me when he was 3 and his mixed medium of our city including the Crogrt…aka Kroger.  Solomon’s “hot dog” and the bouquet of flowers he created for me and gave to me with a giant smile on his tiny little face.  Amon’s picture he drew of himself and Everett in group grief counseling and his bear art because he’s been a bear lover since he was 2.  Our littlest’s watercolors she paints for days and days and have to dry for days and days and her adorable sheep coloring page she did this year that made me tear up.  And all the rainbow art they’ve made through out the years which reminds us all of sweet Everett.  I couldn’t love this constant visual memory reminder any more.


This definitely ended up being a pretty easy and special project.  It gave my mind something to think about and my hands something to do.  It was also crazy sweet remembering all those precious moments of our kids through their art.  If we ever move, this wall is definitely coming with us. 🙂


  1. Beautiful!!

  2. Thanks for sharing! It’s amazing!!

  3. Andrew Marsh says:

    Laura, that’s been SO good for each and every one of you! Full marks for being motivated enough to get it going and finish it! And the wall looks absolutely AMAZING!! You all deserve a good star! Much love to you all from England. Andrew

  4. Andrew Marsh says:

    I meant gold star. I’m so crackers at times.

  5. Ruthanne says:

    Gorgeous!!! What a beautiful reminder of the things your kids have created.

  6. Christine c says:

    What a great idea for parents of littles. My kids are 21 and 24 and I have a closet full of school things. I’m going to go through it all and do this in my home office. A little suggestion: Use command Velcro strips. They don’t leave a mark and you can rearrange any time. I can’t use thumbtacks since my walls are plaster not drywall so almost everything in my house is up with command strips.

  7. I couldn’t love this any more! I have an art walk but you’ve inspired me to finish it. I have so many more pieces I could add do it and I am itching to get to Walmart. And thumbtacks … who knew!!! L❤️VE THIS!!!!

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