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Rustic Fall Mantle Design Breakdown

I love the ideas I find on Pinterest! I could spend hours scrolling and saving any and everything that strikes my fancy. I came across this gorgeous fall farmhouse mantle decor and wanted to try it!

Here is the original pic from Liz Marie Blog. Actual link to her project is in the preceding hyperlink. Her blog is filled with lots of good stuff so check her out!

Liz Marie Mantle Fall

Pretty awesome right? So let’s break down what she has in her photo. First she has an old mantle which you can find at any antique store and will probably cost you around $150 and up depending on where you live. Next thing I see is a window frame, probably cost around $50 – $75. Perhaps the neatest thing is an old piece of sheet metal with a pumpkin painted on it. The sheet metal could be roofing tin and that too can be found at a salvage yard or antique store. Probably looking at $25 for one of those. The pumpkin art looks fairly easy to copy, just get some white paint and go nuts.

New & Only at Target! Project 62 – Modern pieces made for everyday living

Now for the pumpkins, I know exactly where she got them – Wal-Mart. I know because I bought one for myself. It was $8.99 at the time. So six of those….you do the math. She has some aged pots mixed in but you can do this fairly easily with terra-cotta pots and spray paint. To age the pots, get moss-green, white, and gold spray paint. Spray gold first, then spray green around bottom and lastly spritz with the white. Use a paper towel to twist and rough up the paint or even a sponge would work. Instant age. Another technique would be to use faux stone spray and dab some moss green paint on. Terra cotta pots usually run around $2-3 bucks for small and $6-7 for the medium size. So 7 small and 4 large (if you have an average size mantle).

liz marie fall mantle 2.jpg

The moss is really a crowning touch and they sell the real deal or fake stuff at any craft store. She also used a lovely trunk topped with a couple of pillows and books. Looks inviting and cozy! I want this in my house like today, so what’s stopping me?

Here’s the skinny, I love farmhouse style but I don’t own a farmhouse or even a type of house that could bluff as one. Not even with a little paint and decor. I have a 1970’s traditional house that is sometimes called a colonial because of four columns out front, (totally NOT a colonial). So the question is how do I get this look without buying shiplap, an old mantle, old window frame and a million pumpkins? Short answer…I don’t. But what I do get is something that is unique to me and uses things I already have. Here is my mantle –

fall mantle 2

I know what you’re thinking….NOTHING like hers! But really, inspiration doesn’t mean copy. I liked the elements, the pumpkin, the white wash colors, fluffy pillows, and greens. I looked around my home and found items similar while mixing in some of my own favorites like the new to me old red chair, stone bird and my non-blooming orchids. No, the orchids aren’t dead they just refuse to bloom any time of year. I’ve tried coaxing them with baby talk, but they have none of it. Now I tell them it’s okay to just be happy being green…so that’s what we get. fall mantle

So here you go, a realistic view into what it takes to achieve a certain look. If you had none of the things in the list, it would set you back about $350 – $450 depending on how much you pay for your rustic antique finds. If you are lucky enough to have a farmhouse and you have lots of similar things around, just know that I am jealous. If you are like me, you can use this design to inspire you to create something unique for your home!

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We Tried It Wednesday! DIY Chevron Pumpkin

As I was prowling the interwebs for fun easy fall projects I decided to start a series called ‘We Tried It Wednesdays’. Now today is Thursday so I’m either a day late or a week early – however you want to look at it, but at any rate that’s when the thought came to me so there you go.

For this week, I ran across a pin & thought, hey! I can do that! I had a pumpkin on hand (really? who has a pumpkin on hand? I do, so shut it!), I also had white spray paint & duct tape. The necessary ingredients for the perfect storm. Also the necessary ingredients for home ownership – not the pumpkin, but the other two.

Here is said pin from who in turn scraped it from Family Circle who in turn probably made some designer’s life hell with the process of taping, painting, edging, taping and repainting. chev

Completely draws you in with simplistic elegance – the moment your eyes focus on the picture, a hormone is triggered that makes your mind think it’s possible. You could totally be Martha Stewart on a budget with a little bit of black & white paint & change the way your house looks.

What you really want to know and what I will tell you – was it worth trying? Well…I’ll let you be the judge. Here is my first attempt at semi-elegant hipster chevron pumpkins. Let’s go through the steps shall we? First, get yourself a pumpkin & a little black sleepy kitty –img_2734

Tape that sucker up Charlie Brown style. Pro tip – I used duct tape. Mostly because that was all I had in the junk closet but also because painter’s tape will NOT stick to a pumpkin…nope, not even frog tape. Your project will now look something like this…img_2741

Looks like a kidnapping gone bad! I will admit this, I was lazy. I only taped the front & some of the sides. I left the back untouched. I sort of lost interest in this after about 15 minutes which was around the same time that my scissors began to stick together from the duct tape. Coincidence? Yeah, probably. Anyways, I grabbed my spray paint & went to town on the pumpkin. First coat kinda looked like it wanted to slide off in some places so I just sprayed the crap out of it again & dared it to drip. I did not wait between coats because I am a woman of limited patience. The spray painting took like 2 minutes if you’re keeping score with the timeline for this project. Here she is – img_2742

Next I went inside, played with my puppy, got attacked by the now wide awake kitty & opened a Dr. Pepper. I did a few other household things, wondered how much longer it would be for my hubby to get home with dinner & checked Facebook, email, Facebook, Pinterest, Facebook again & debated whether a Reese’s peanut butter pumpkin would spoil my dinner. I also wondered if Reese’s would do a chevron pumpkin with white & dark chocolate if I sent in a suggestion. All of that took me like an hour, again for those keeping up with the timeline.

I finally pulled the duct tape off expecting instant awesomeness. I was only slightly disappointed. img_2744

My eyes rolled. My husband laughed. Being the positive & sweet person he his or from fear of a slap, he quickly followed with “well, from far away it will probably look good!” Perfect sentiment, I concur. So dear friends, my take on this project is do it if you have about 17 minutes, (or an hour & 17 minutes if you have attention issues). Do this if you have a pumpkin on hand, some duct tape, & white spray paint. Do this if your house is far away from the road. Do this if only to remind yourself that you are in fact not Martha Stewart & that anyone who does this same project perfectly must also be able to fold fitted sheets.

I did put this sucker on my porch though. Yep, that baby is proudly displayed with every plant I could find that would hide my sloppy handiwork. img_2749

Martha Stewart ain’t got nothing on me!

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Natural Arranging

Having a dinner party and forgot to pick up flowers? Well never fear, just head out to your garden and pick some fresh (and free!) flora from the yard. You can even shop in your refrigerator for a few delictibles to add to your piece.  This design is simple, natural and flowing.  I used things on hand to create this which include plants native to my yard –

Bradford pear tree branches


Creeping Jenny

Crepe Myrtle Branches



I also used some grapes and a plum I had in the fridge. First step was to soak some oasis fresh foam and cut to size in one of my favorite vases. img_2569

Then I added the greens – Crepe Myrtle and Bradford Pear. I let the natural shape of the stems dictate the placement.img_2571

Then I started filling in the middle using the mums, verbena, and plums. Some of the items used had no stems or small stubby ones so I used some green wired picks to give them height.

I finished it off with the Creeping Jenny, grapes and succulents..img_2576img_2582


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Home Grown Goodness!

Although I am no longer a practicing florist, my love of flowers and arranging them has never faded. I also love gardening and harvesting the bounty of mother nature. Some of my favorite flora to plant and work with are roses, peonies and variegated greens of all types. Any ornamental foliage you can name I love! Typically I leave the flowers in my garden alone, save for the occasional pruning for health and beauty, but every now and again I can’t resist taking a few of the really showy ones indoors.

If you want to create arrangements from your garden grown beauties, keep in mind they will only be beautiful for a day or two. Is it really worth chopping into your rose bush for blooms that will be short lived? Some varieties are bred for larger blooms with longer life on the stem, but even those will wilt after 5 days. Now, if your willpower runs dry, (like mine does), cut them from the plant with as little damage as possible and only choose the blooms that have already begun opening.

Here is an example of a gorgeous all natural, backyard grown arrangement I created for the young lady who had bought our previous home. I wanted to welcome her home and show her just how beautiful her new garden is, but also secretly hoped it would encourage her to continue caring for my blooming babies.

I used pink Peonies, yellow roses, variegated sedum, and lemon thyme to add some scent and create a cascade effect. When cutting the peonies, I took blooms that had lots of leaves on them to use as filler in the vase. The leaves also served the purpose of lacing, which held the bouquet together without using a tape grid, florist frog, or wire. I personally do not use tape grids and never have, I let the natural leaves of flowers to do the work for me.

If you want to grow plants that you can cut and bring indoors with ease here is a list of easy grow, easy cut blooms –









In a future post, I will do a video tutorial on how to arrange flowers in a vase without using grids or other mechanics so stay tuned!