A Love Affair with Man’s Best Friend

For most people I know, their families were begun long before they were even born.  I’m not talking about siblings or even cousins.  I’m talking about family dogs.

My parents had their first baby Roxie, a blonde Cocker Spaniel, well before I entered the world.  My calling her to come play ended up being my first word – I said “Mmmmm!” and she would come running.  I guess she was my big sister.

Mixed Frame Gallery Wall | Makely School for GirlsThat’s not an Instagram filter, kids.  That’s an honest to goodness retro photo of Roxie and me.

Roxie lived until I was elementary school aged.  She was followed in our family by Pepper, a mixed-breed abandoned pup that my mother rescued as she was being sent to the animal shelter (or the dog pound, as they were called back then).  Pepper lived a long, happy life until her passing right before I went to college.

I have always had a soft spot in my heart for dogs.  I spend a lot of time complaining about all the dog hair and muddy paw prints bestowed on my home by our two current babies, Jack and Duke, but I can’t imagine life without them.  I’m sure you feel the same way about your pups.

A while back, I came across a vintage painting that reminded me so much of Roxie.  She was painted on cardboard with a mottled green background.  It was love at first site, and I named her Roxie II.  At the time I didn’t know that she was a mid-century Paint by Number kit, painted by children (and some adults) by filling in numbered areas with specified colors of oil paints.  This was a technique that was meant to teach the art of painting.

Mixed Frame Gallery Wall | Makely School for Girls

I don’t know if Roxie II’s painter would consider herself an artist, but I think that she was.  My love affair with these vintage dog-themed PBNs has rapidly swelled based upon my first painting.  I don’t find many in person, so I’m lucky to have the internet so that I can grow my collection from the comfort of my sofa.

A lot of people (like Tom) don’t understand my obsession with them.  I can’t quite put my finger on it either.  I love the kitsch of them.  I love the colors that were selected for each piece.  I love the sweet faces of these pups.  I love to imagine kids sitting around their 1960s kitchen tables with their siblings, painting dogs on a Saturday afternoon.

And I particularly love that Victoria painted Roxie II, since she signed the back in a child’s scrawled out cursive.  The same goes for the two German Shepherds, who were painted by Jimmie.

Mixed Frame Gallery Wall | Makely School for Girls

Because my collection has a cohesive theme, I decided to do something a little different than a traditional gallery wall.  Instead of trying to gather a bunch of frames in the same color and styles for all of my paintings, I have framed them all in wooden frames that coordinate with the paintings themselves.  I think the mixed frames gives the collection a collected over time look.  Non-matching frames will also be easier for me in the long term since I won’t have to worry about finding matching frames as my collection grows over the years.

Mixed Frame Gallery Wall | Makely School for Girls

Because of the herringbone wood paneled wall I have in my office, the frames look amazing on the wall.  I just can’t explain to you how happy they make me every time I look at them.

Mixed Frame Gallery Wall | Makely School for Girls

And yes, I talk to them.  Is that weird?  Yeah, probably.

Mixed Frame Gallery Wall | Makely School for Girls

For instance, each time I look at the little guy with the orange background, I say either, “What’s the matter buddy?  Why are you so sad?” or “Uh, oh.  Somebody did something bad.”  How could you NOT want to talk to that cutie?  Look at those eyes!

I certainly foresee my collection growing rapidly, as the more PBNs I get, the more I want.  Like my love of dogs started with Roxie, my love of dog themed vintage PBNs started with Roxie II.

Have you framed a collection in non-identical frames?  I’d love to hear about it or even see your own photos.


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Filed Under: Decorate Your Home, Project Gallery

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. I love the PBN paintings and they look great in your office! I grew also grew up with rescue dogs who completed our family. Right now I have rescue kitties and I can’t imagine my life without them.

    • Thanks, Julia! I grew up with cats, too.

      It’s funny that Tom and I each had a cat when we got married…and they HATED each other. They are both gone now, but we still get a good chuckle out of them. I’m glad we had them in our lives.

  2. So cute! They kinda make me want to get a dog…..ok now I’m over it! 😉

    • HAHAHA! Yeah, once you think about the shedding and the doggie breath, the bloom falls off the rose. :) That’s why I love my paintings – they don’t shed! 😉

      Don’t get me wrong – I love my dog boys, though.

  3. How cute!! Our baby Buffy(pomeranian) is the ONLY baby we have!! She makes life special! That is such a cute picture of you!!

    • Oh, I LOVE Poms! I really wanted one, but Tom convinced me to get a bigger dog. I think he just didn’t want to have to listen to me, since Poms make me speak in a high pitched squeal. They are just SO fluffy and cute! I bet your Buffy is a spoiled little baby.

  4. Ahhhh. I LOVE that a few are “signed”!!! THAT’S cool!!

  5. You are so perfectly random! ; )

  6. LOVE this! Dogs are the BEST!

  7. I love it!

    I love this idea as a way to memorialize those dogs who were either our fur siblings or fur babies. We lost our first fur baby almost a year ago {a mini pin I rescued from my family who wasn’t taking good care of him} and I’ve wanted to do a silhouette of him and our other fur baby {a border collie/lab mix I rescued while at work} but just don’t have the patience to do it. This is such a great idea.

  8. Lindsay~We just bought our kids their first puppy. She is half shih tzu and half poodle. She is absolutely precious. You can see her here: http://www.lindahomeiswheremyheartis.com/2012/12/merry-belated-christmas.html. I’m hoping that it will grow a love for dogs in my kids. I never had a dog growing up and I felt maybe I missed out on something. Thanks for sharing your sweet story and the beautiful pictures. I remember spending Saturdays painting by number~my pictures were usually of horses). Happy New Year! ~Linda

    • Linda! She is ADORABLE! Give her some kisses from me!

      My husband didn’t have a dog growing up, either. Our Jack is his very first. Tom is SO attached to him. I think he feels like he missed out on it growing up, like you, but I think having dogs now is quickly making up for it.

      I’ll have to start checking out horse PBNs to see if any of them are signed “Linda.” 😀

  9. I love it, I actually used to paint those when I was a kid(in the sixties and seventies). Mine were horses though. Who would have thought that they would be collectible one day!

  10. I wonder where mine are?

  11. Linda Weeks says:

    My grandmother and her sisters did so many paint-by-numbers projects! The PBNs didn’t have the cachet that they do now, but they have a charm all their own! If I could even find the desk letter holder that my aunt painted, I’d be a happy camper, alrighty. You have such a good eye! Very nice arrangement on the wall!
    Oh, yeah, Happy New Year!!!

    • Thanks so much, Linda! I agree that I’m sure they weren’t as hip back then as they are now (or I think they are). Did your aunt paint the letter holder with a scene or something? My grandmother used to have one that she had painted little flowers all over – just thinking of that made me smile. :)

  12. I love your arrangement! All my PBN pets have names…….I might talk to then……but not out loud. :)

    • HAHAHA! Thanks, Jenny!

      I’m so glad you started a blog, BTW. I remember you saying a while back that you worked in your family’s upholstery shop, and I think that’s so cool. I just G+’d you, so I can keep up with your stuff!

  13. Cutest pic ever! Thank you! I wish I had a picture of me and my first dog, baby.

    homes for sale McKinney TX

  14. I love all the dog art. My dogs are my kids and they have their own room in our house. I would love it if you check out my blog. I am hosting my very first link party as well. You could link this up.


  15. I love it! I think it’s beautiful and wonderful :)

  16. Love these! And no it’s not weird you talk to them. I talk to everything as if it can hear me. I am just glad I am not the only one.

  17. Louise Marie says:

    i love your PBN Gallery. i also have a PBN Gallery. Mine is of roses. They are different colors in different frames. i love my gallery of roses. i have one dog PBN, an Irish Setter. But i have an enormous love of dogs. i started with a beagle, then a black lab, a miniature Dachshund, then a rottie, followed by another rottie, then a Sheltie, a midi-dachshund, and lastly a mini-dachshund. My last two doxies were both rescues, and i will only go that route now because i abhor puppy mills. My Sheltie and midi doxie are still with me. Both are old now (like me)! Mattie has breast cancer and is on doggie hospice. i love my babies! Anyway, thanks for sharing your gallery with us. It has brought back many wonderful memories. :)

  18. Finally someone who thinks like me! Your ideas are better than mine, but I do think if it makes you happy, do it. We don’t live in a magazine after all.
    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas

  19. I love this…dogs are the best. :)

  20. Stumbled upon your post on pinterest. I love the dresser that you have and would love to know where you got it!

  21. Tara Dawes says:

    Love this! Especially love the wall color! Any idea what brand/color that is?

  22. Love it!! I painted two of these when I was a kid. (The cocker spaniel and the two dogs.) They were sooooo much work! The cocker is hanging in my daughter’s room now. :)


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