Saturday, March 2, 2013

Our Missionary Wall





























At our home we have a wall, not just any wall, it's our Missionary Wall...sometimes irreverently referred to as "The Shrine" by my other children yet to pin their photos.  I should explain.  We have a lot of returned missionaries in our family and many, MANY neices and nephews who are growing up much too quickly.  Mason would be the first missionary grandchild on my side of the family to serve a mission and I wanted to show where he was serving and where others had served before him.
 
We purchased a very large map at a local school supply store (Utah Idaho Supply).  I bought the laminated version because I wanted to protect it as I didn't plan on putting glass over it.  I also picked up some gold map pins while there to used for marking where the missionaries had/were serving.  I just used a heavy embroidery floss in a coordinating color to span from the pin to their photo.  I took the map to my local frame shop (FrameWorks of Utah) and we sketched out what I invisioned. 
 
First I needed to figure out how much mat I wanted showing between the map and the frame itself.   I figured that most people have a wallet size photo and so allowed enough room to mount the photo as well as a name/place tag under that. I contacted all of my family members (on both sides of the family) who had served missions and requested a photo.  They can just email one to you and you can print it out.  If they send you an original please be very careful with it and return it promptly.  I only contacted our direct line i.e. Grandparents, parents, aunts/uncles and cousins.  If I did our extended family...well, that would just be too many missionaries!  I do have a few that I haven't received photos from yet...I just printed out a tag anyhow and someday I'm sure they'll come across a photo.  Everything is just mounted onto the mat (which has a slick surface) with photomounts so they are easy to reposition and move around when I need to squeeze another missionary in - so their strings don't cross over each other 'cause I'm really anal and that would just drive me bonkers!  When everyone came over for Mason's 'Grand Opening' of his mission call, I had the cards with photos and places ready and those that were there got to attatch their own photos and strings.  Then Mason opened his call, and attached his photo and pinned his mission, and I cried.  It was a pretty amazing evening and the cousins look forward to their chance to be on the Missionary Wall.
 
Here's a cost saving hint:  Try to find a composite frame i.e. one not made out of wood.  Mine looks beautiful, I think.  It's actually a plastic composite and is very light and very inexpensive.  You could also go to a thrift store and purchase a picture in a frame; take the picture out, spray paint the frame any color you desire, take the frame to the frame shop and they will mount your map and mat for you.  Even better!
 
As usual with my hairbrained ideas, what started out as something simple morphed into something bigger but in this case better because we all actually really love what it morphed into.  My son Connor, came up with the brilliant idea to mark the temples.  I loved it!  I went back to the school supply store and purchased more pins:  White = temples in opperation, Brown = temples under construction, and Yellow = temples announced.  We had an amazing evening one night pinning all of the temple pins.  My daughter, Rebekah had the list of current temples and she would read them out while the younger kids found the location and pinned it with the appropriate color pin.   After finishing we stood back and were amazed at how the world is literally dotted all over with temples.  One of the kids said, "Look at all of the places in the world where there are wars and contention.  Look how far away they are from a temple.  The temple really does bring peace."  Out of the mouths of babes...One of our favorite parts of General Conference is when they announce the dedicated and new temples. We stand ready at our map to change colors and insert new pins.
 
 
Now, my cute little Matthew has opened his call and guess what? He got to attach his photo and pin his mission and I cried again.  What an amazing adventure he's about to begin!

17 comments:

  1. that is the coolest thing ever!

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  2. We love it. Thanks for stopping by, Makenzie!

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  3. What a wonderful and sweet idea. I'm sure its joy for all who see it! :) Love your blog. Just sent off our 2 daughters to the MTC. Your blog is the greatest thing for us Missionary moms! It brings me much comfort and joy! Thank you!

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    1. Thanks, Shelli! Your comment is so sweet...brought tears to my eyes. I'm so greatful that I can share with other missionary moms but it never occurred to me that I could bring comfort and joy to them. Thank you! Good luck to your two amazing daughters!

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  4. You amaze me! Someday I'll be as cool as you. Love ya!

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    1. You're biased...love you too, little sis!

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  5. This is the most amazing thing. I love it and plan on doing it for our family. Not nearly as many missionaries, but still growing. Thank you for this idea. It is sure to be an inspiration to future missionaries in our family to be included on the wall.
    I may take it just a step further and just add the family names for everyone (immediate family), that way no-one feels left out or passed over. They don't have to be serving the Lord by being a missionary but by living a good life and raising a good family is an honorable thing too.
    Thanks again.

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  6. What a wonderful idea! My two oldest sons will be leaving on their missions before the end of the year and I'm hoping all 5 of my younger kids will follow in their footsteps. We are definitely going to have a "Missionary Wall!" Thank you!

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  7. Thank you for this idea! We're planning on recreating it and I was wondering what size border do you use for the pictures? Thanks!

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  8. I used a double mat - one measures 5.75" and the other is 5.5". I wanted to be able to just use a standard wallet size photo as most people have those floating around that they don't use and I needed to collect a lot of them. I then mount the photo onto a 3"x5" piece of cardstock using photo corners. I set up a template using Microsoft Publisher for their name and mission. I'm sure you could just use any program. A Window's envelope template would probably work. I just didn't want to keep recreating the wheel every time I wanted to add another missionary so I saved the document and just make additions when I need to. The nameplate size is 1"x2.75" I just stuck it down using a couple of photo mounts on the back. I tie a knot in the end of the string, trim the end close to the knot and stick the pin through the knot. Bring the other end of the string to where your photo is going to be mounted and adhere it to the mat. You will want to stick it down once then cross the string back onto itself and re-tape. I wanted the string to be nice and taunt and too much pull made them start to pop off after a couple of months. You can learn from my mistakes. I have had to adjust missionaries twice now because I don't like the strings to cross (don't laugh at me, I'm a little OCD) so if that bothers you make sure that your mat has a little sheen to it so it doesn't rip when you reposition them.

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    1. Thank you for your detailed reply! This is very helpful. One thing I don't quite understand is when you say in regards to the string, "You will want to stick it down once then cross the string back onto itself and re-tape." I don't really understand how to cross the string back onto itself.

      And I don't think you're being OCD about crossing strings. I think having them not cross makes it look very nice and clean!

      Thanks!

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  9. Sorry. Tie a knot in one end of the string then trim the loose end close to the knot. Place a map pin through the center of the knot and stick it into your map. Take the other end of the string and stretch it to where your photo will be mounted on the mat and tape in place (I just use a photo mount). Now take that same string and cross going the exact opposite direction and tape in place again (again, I just use a photo mount right on top of the other one. The purpose being to keep the string taunt without the string just pulling out from under the tape. Trim the loose end. Too bad I can't figure out how to post a photo to the comments section...Hope this is a little more clear.

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  10. Very great idea!
    It's one informative article for the viewers and users.
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  11. Very cool, we are going to add a missionary wall for our stake offices and this gave me a great idea on how to do it!

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  12. Thanks, Justin! Glad I could help spark your creativity. Good luck with your Missionary Wall!

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  13. Love this idea, this is going to be a great project for family home evening (or maybe several) How big is the frame you used and how big is the map?
    Thanks for sharing :)

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  14. Hi Rebecca! It's hard to tell exactly how big the map is because some of it is covered by the mat. What is exposed measures 44x28. I had it framed at a frame shop and chose a composite frame...it looks like wood but it's actually plastic. I wanted it to be 'chunky' but not too heavy or too expensive. The finished product measures 61x46. The frame is 3.5 inches wide. Hope that helps. Have fun!

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