Finally! A Bit of Inspiration for a Spring Mantel

I got back from my weekend in Chicago just in time to catch our cherry tree come into bloom. What a lovely surprise, especially walking home from the 7am school bus run after a boozy busy weekend.

Anywho, this beautiful sign of Spring provided just enough inspiration to finally tackle an update on our den mantel. Honestly, I've been in such a creative slump lately - this was just the kickstart I needed. 

Simple white cut-out containers, found at HomeGoods, stuffed full of Spring branches. The white blossoms I borrowed from our cherry tree, the twigs are a couple week old purchase from the grocery store. I didn't have much luck "forcing" them, but I love them just the same.

Tip: I filled standard glass vases with warm water and placed them into the HomeGoods containers, then added the twigs and finally accented with the blossoms. 

Why is it that every time I go to make two identical arrangements for the mantel, they never look the same? Nature's imperfect and so are my arrangements. That's my excuse and I'm sticking with it.

Happy Spring, y'all. 

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until next time, 

Christmas Mantel 2012

I can hardly believe that it's already December and time to start sharing our holiday decorating. But, alas, it's here we go!

I'm sure it's of no surprise that my mantel is first on the list to be decorated and shared. It always feels like such a likely jumping off point. This year, I took a lot of inspiration from my research, which I shared in this post, to create a natural, casually elegant mantel. 

The golden starburst mirror is such a standout feature, that I wanted to keep the rest of the mantel neutral and Santa or candles or what have you to distract from the mirror and the greenery. 

But, a neutral and natural mantel still needs to be interesting. So I played with height, color tones and textures to keep the whole thing from seeming like one gigantic green blob.

5 trees of varying shapes and sizes, connected by a layer of faux green garland, create the foundation of the mantel. I'm a big believer in mixing your greens, both faux and real, as well as variety. 

I've used white pine and cypress, magnolia leaves and boxwood stems. Both magnolia leaves and boxwood dry beautifully, so you don't have to worry about replacing them throughout the season. 

Hidden amongst the stems are two of my birds (I've got a little bit of a bird obsession, in case you didn't know). Their tonal color works so well with the mirror that I just couldn't resist including them. The bird in the back is propped up on a wooden block so he can be seen too!

There you have it. My nature inspired Christmas mantel. Now, onto the rest of the house...

We're taking full advantage of all this mild weather here in Chicagoland to work on the outdoor decorations. I can't wait to get the outside of the house all festive looking.

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Christmas Mantel Inspiration

December 1st is right around the corner, which means Christmas decorations are coming out of hibernation around here.
In fact, I'm almost feeling a bit behind as most of our neighbors already have their trees up and decorated! 

pinterest, via


First up, on my decorating list, is the mantel. I think it always sets the mood and tone for the rest of the decorations. 
It's so easy to fall into a rut and do the same thing year after year. In the hopes of keeping it fresh, I did quite a bit of research this year. Just check out my Pinterest board for proof. 



This year, I'm hoping to keep it fairly natural looking. No Santa, candles or any other type of embellishment (within reason). Just greenery, really. The trick will be keeping it interesting and not just one dimensional. Tones, textures and height will all play an important role. 


Cottage and Vine

You have to admit that the natural look is so beautiful in it's simplicity. Perfect for this time of year. 
I'm off to get cracking on our mantel. Trial and error, that's the name of the game. And sleeping on it overnight.

Check out my mantels from 2010 and 2011.

until next time,

The Mantel, Again.

As the seasons change, I'm always inspired to make changes in my home as well. Couple that with the upcoming remodel in our dining room and I was left searching for a new home for my starburst mirror. 

Actually, my SIL suggested trying it in the living room. And, boy, am I glad she did. 
Isn't it funny how sometimes all you need is a fresh eye? 
I wouldn't have thought to move my black painted mirror, seeing as I painted it specifically for that space. 

But, I am loving the pop of glam that it adds to the room. Not to mentioned the warmth from the golden tones of the metal. 
Um, yeah, good call Ash. Love it.

The cream, Asian-inspired urns used to reside on the dining room table. As did the autumnal toned bird duo. 
I just love creating a whole new look by using my own things paired in different ways. Happiness.

One of my other SILs once commented on how often I posted about my living room mantel - she's right - it is a reoccurring theme on here. Maybe it's because I haven't found a combination that I love enough to keep for the long haul. Or maybe it's because it's such a quick, easy, and affordable way to give your room an updated look. Whatever the's fun. And I love it.

So, tell me, who else likes to change their mantel seasonally or even more often?

linking in with:
Met Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch
Fall Mantels @ Centsational Girl

until next time, 

Stuck in a Rut

I just realized I've been stuck in a rut. How did this happen? Me, the perpetual re-arranger, stuck in a rut? Not possible.

It's true, it's true. I've just realized that I have had these same three candlesticks on my coffee table since we moved into this house, which is slowly creeping in on 3 years now.
Sure the other accessories have changed over the years, but not the candlesticks. 
I can NOT believe it.

Nothing breaks a rut like a forced rearrangement. 

Here's how it happened: I had to clear everything off the coffee table to make room for the precious cheese board at our annual FSCP. Hence the forced rearrangement.

Instead of just storing away my beloved candlesticks, I figured why not just relocate them. You know, change it up a bit - it's only been 2.5 years after all. 

As long as I was working on the mantel {again}, I figured I might as well throw a bit of spring into the mix. Who can blame me, it's been the mildest winter I've ever experienced in Chicago. 

Fresh green paired with white feels so springy to me. 

Of course, it's still only February, so a bit of winter coziness is in order - candles and pinecones.

The perfect mix of spring time greenery and wintery coziness.
Hello late winter/early spring mantel. I hope you stay awhile, perhaps not almost 3 years, but awhile all the same. 

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Until next time,