Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated

March 7, 2017

    Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated.  Perhaps that is my mantra – ‘understated’.  If it is yours, too,  you’ve come to the right place.  If not, you can always embellish with more.  These ideas will give you a good foundation upon which to embellish.


   Last year, I found this adorable bunny at Hobby Lobby.  I loved it so much, I decided to go back and buy another one.  Wrong.  They were all gone by the time I got there!   Don’t you hate when that happens?


   This year, when I saw these bunnies back again at Hobby Lobby, I purchased another and a smaller version, too.  Aren’t these the cutest bunnies?   I could just imagine them on the fireplace mantel.

    Contemplating removing the clock again, I decided against it.  I love that it is black and loving those little black touches throughout the house, I couldn’t…   (Rationalizing.)  Besides, the tips of the bunny ears show up nicely in front of it.

    After placing the two larger bunnies on the mantel, it seemed something was missing.   They needed something nestled between them.  The thought of a little nest with the antique-looking eggs I made earlier this week came to mind.  A trip to Michael’s and the Dollar Tree was necessary.  Michael’s had the little 7-inch nest and Dollar Tree had inexpensive moss.

    Have you ever heard of ‘reindeer moss’?   Turns out reindeer moss is actually a lichen of the genus Cladonia, which the reindeer eat.  Who knew?   Regardless, I liked the green color of it and picked up a bag for a dollar!


    Although the reindeer moss-lined nest with the eggs looked okay, it seemed to need a little something more.

   So, a couple of pieces cut from a spring floral bouquet were gently bent to curve around the nest.    While that looked nice, the thought to add a little ivy to this to give it a little more interest came to mind.

    You see the workings of my simple mind.  While the flowers added a different color and texture, there was still something missing.  The little pieces of ivy added that little extra understated touch.   Subtle, but isn’t it perfect?


   A few weeks ago, the two orchids in the picture were purchased at the local grocery.  Although they are still blooming, it seemed replacement flowers a little more indicative of the season were needed to welcome spring.

    So at Sam’s Club, there were more orchids but as I was reaching for a white one to put in the cart, the thought of spring tulips popped into my head.  Yes, white or ivory spring tulips just seemed right at that moment.  

   Stopping at two local Kroger stores on the way home and searching in the floral departments, I couldn’t find an appropriate pair of tulip plants.  Where are the tulips now when I need them?  

    Totally disappointed, I headed home.  Looking at the mantel again, I contemplated using a different set of vases.  Setting one on the mantel, the idea of using some of the silk floral stems leftover from the nest came to mind.  

     Isn’t the big vase on the right beautiful?  Yes, but you know what?  I think the smaller vase actually looks a little more delicate and spring-like.  Don’t you?  


   Using little wire cutters, the stems were cut from the bouquet and placed in the vase.  When the stems were first placed in the vase, they were too short.  Wine corks do come in handy.  I just piled some in the vase and voila!  Perfect height!

    Notice that I also switched the birds around.  With the smaller vases, it seemed the one on the right would now draw the eye back to the mantel.  I like the negative space all around the elements.   You can definitely see the triangular composition in this one, which is always pleasing to the eye.

    Notice that in this triangular composition there are multiple secondary triangular compositions, as indicated by the blue and red lines in the picture below.  Although each of these triangular compositions has almost identical items, you could create a similar triangulation with completely different items.

   Typically, liking something a little understated, this is very appealing to yours truly.  More elements could be added but sometimes restraint is a good thing. Don’t you agree?

    Hope this has helped motivate and inspire you to create your own spring mantel decor!  Spring Mantel Ideas – Simple and Understated.





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Easter Eggs DIY – It’s Easy to Decorate With Decoupage

Easter Eggs DIY – It’s Easy to Decorate With Decoupage

Easter Eggs DIY – It’s Easy to Decorate With Decoupage

February 27, 2017

    Easter Eggs DIY – It’s Easy to Decorate With Decoupage.   In the past, I have seen Easter eggs decorated with type from books and thought I would like to create some antique looking eggs.  Then, I came across a pin of two beautiful eggs that I just loved.  

   I was curious how they managed to get the lovely aged color behind the black print.  The pin led me to this site,  Unique Papercrafting Graphic 45.

Upon further investigation, I discovered that it was tissue paper that had been stamped!

    So, I made a little trip to the craft stores and found the ink pad and some botanical and Easter – Springlike stamps.   Remembering that there was some patterned tissue paper in the bin with all the wrapping papers, I sifted through the papers and found three, which seemed to go together well.

     Have you ever heard of ‘StazOn’ ink?  Well, I never had and let me tell you, it does stay on!  It works really well.  

    You must know that I was pretty excited to begin this project.   The plain white tissue paper was placed on the wooden kitchen table and the StazOn ink pad was used to ink the butterfly stamp.  Then stamping began…unknowingly, right through the tissue paper and onto the kitchen table!  

    No big deal, right?  Isopropyl alcohol takes off almost all ink and acrylic paint.  Hmm, not so much.  It lifted a little.  This was not so critical; the tabletop needed to be refinished anyway.  Getting ribbed by Dave was another story.

   Brainstorming, I remembered the ‘Magic Erasers’ and with a little elbow grease, they worked perfectly, but I am pretty impressed with this ink.  You will note that in the pictures, which follow, there was paper protecting the table.

   Anyway, for this project, you will need Mod Podge, stamps of your choice, tissue paper, paintbrush, StazOn ink pad, and eggs with the contents blown out of them. 

    The instructions on the Graphic 45 website said to tear the paper but I like to cut in strategic locations so that the design desired will be showing.  You can see that glue was brushed under the bunny’s belly.  That was where gluing began.  The design was kind of large for the egg and positioned strategically.  

     This paper had lines of color printed on it and most of the cuts followed them.  After the cut sections were glued, the bunny’s pants overlapped the tissue on either side.

    You can see there are some wrinkles in the tissue paper but using the rounded handle of the paint brush or the X-Acto knife, those can easily be rolled out before the Mod Podge is completely dry.

    Wanting to preserve the ‘B’ design, it was cut around and glued over the top of the type and flourishes on the previously glued tissue sections.  You don’t want a lot of layers and sometimes, at the bottom of one of those sections, snipping off an unnecessary piece is easily done.

    Patiently, continue gluing the tissue paper onto the egg shell.  Continue adding tissue paper, trimming as necessary, until the entire egg is covered.  If you put the glue mostly under the paper, it won’t be so sticky and you should be able to cover the entire egg with no problem.   If you apply too much glue on top, you might have to allow the glue to dry before completing and then finishing any white spaces left.

    In the picture above, you can see cuts made along the bunny’s ears so they would ultimately be glued on top.  In my mind, tearing would not produce the best results in this case.

    Remember to use the rounded handle of your brush or X-Acto knife to gently roll over and smooth the wrinkles from the tissue paper.  Then, let the egg dry.  

    Aren’t these gorgeous?  I liked the muted colors of these tissue papers, but you could use any colors you like.  Fresh spring colors would create an entirely different look.


     I love this vintage look!  What do you think?  Inspired to make some of your own?   Easter Eggs DIY – It’s Easy to Decorate With Decoupage!




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You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?

You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?

You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?

January 29, 2017

   You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?  These beautiful eggs are so easy, even a child can make them.  Last year, I helped my granddaughter, Sophie, made some of these for herself.  She did a great job!

  These Easter eggs were created using real egg shells. Each egg had holes carefully pierced in both ends with a needle.   Placing your mouth over the hole in one end, blow through the hole.  This may take a little effort but the contents of the egg, the yolk, and albumin, will begin to spill from the hole in the other end.  Be sure you are holding the egg over a bowl!

   * It helps for the yolk to be broken inside.  Cover each hole with a finger and shake the egg.  This should bust the egg yolk and it will be easier for the contents to flow out of the hole.  

 The egg shells then need to be gently washed and dried.  

   You will also need Mod Podge and a paintbrush to apply the Mod Podge and the napkins.  I used the matte finish, but it doesn’t necessarily matter.  If you have a gloss finish, it would work fine, too.  You will need scissors to cut out the designs.

    Clear glitter is what makes these eggs beautifully sparkle and gives them such a lovely elegance.  It is not a necessity.  You could stop at this point but the glitter helps cover up where the papers overlap and gives such a beautiful finish, why wouldn’t you use it?


   You will also need decorative napkins of your choosing.  When choosing these, think of how you will cut and place the designs on the egg shell. Obviously, you won’t want a really large design that won’t be recognizable when cut and glued to the egg.

    The napkins I chose for this had a lot of elements, which could be cut out independently and many new designs could be created.  Notice that I also bought the napkins in the same design in coordinating colors?  If you do this, it will assure that the final decorated eggs will look great together and have a cohesive look.

   Have you ever noticed that decorative paper napkins have multiple thin layers of paper?  The top layer has the print or design on it.  The bottom layers are usually plain white.  


   What you want to do is peel off those bottom layers to reveal a thin tissue-like top layer with the design on it.


  Then elements of the design, or in some cases a whole section, can be cut out and clipped to fit nicely around the egg.   If the design doesn’t fit flatly on the curve of the egg, dab a little Mod Podge on the egg shell, place the middle of the cut tissue design on the dab of glue and snip small slices or in some cases “V’s”  around the edge so the paper will lay flat. (This is a pretty forgiving project!)  

    Then, dab glue onto the egg shell under the tissue edges and smooth the paper down with your brush.  Sometimes, I use the brush handle to roll over the tissue paper, which helps flatten and smooth the layer.

     Continue to paint the Mod Podge onto the egg, a little at a time, and place the napkin design carefully, creating a one of a kind look.  (It’s easier to apply the glue to the egg and then lay the napkin on it, not vice versa.) The holes you made in the egg ends need to be covered with some of the napkin, too!

Then, you won’t even know they are there!

    Next, the eggs need to be allowed to dry, and after drying, more Mod Podge needs to be applied to the entire egg and quickly rolled in a bowl of Crystal Clear glitter.

   Again, the eggs need to dry.  When they are completely dry,  you can place them in a bowl or basket with Easter grass.

  The clear Easter grass showcases the eggs and doesn’t compete with the colors. Don’t the eggs look great?  Don’t You Need Easy Elegant DIY Easter Egg Decorations?





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Our Humble Easter Celebration

Our Humble Easter Celebration

March 29, 2016

   On the table in the foyer, an understated Easter display welcomed family and friends this Easter.  There is just something so sweet about that little bunny!


   This was definitely an unconventional Easter at our home.  The weather was beautiful and we wanted to enjoy the day outside.  We opted to have Dave grill the best burgers ever and make a vegetable tray.  I roasted baby potatoes and made the Ranch dip.   Tiffany brought the ‘Shrimp Scampi Dip’ she has been bragging about for awhile now.  (She brought tortilla chips for the dip.   Aidan and I agreed we should have made homemade tortilla chips! ) She made a double batch and yes, folks, she was right.  It is addictive and the dish was pretty much licked clean.

I didn’t snap a picture of it, but will do that because we will be making this again very soon!  


    Savory and delicious, these little cheesy carrot bites were a perfect appetizer for Easter. Shredded carrots and cheddar cheese combined with cream cheese to create a pale orange-colored mixture.  The cheese mixture piped onto Town House Crackers to look like carrots and topped with a sprig of parsley look adorable.


     Aidan made the cheese mixture for these on Saturday with me.

Then we refrigerated it overnight.  It needed to be taken from the fridge and allowed to come up to room temperature before piping.


   Sophia, Aidan, and I taste tested the cheese mixture and Aidan said that this recipe was perfect.   Apparently, he was right.  As soon as the little carrots were piped onto the crackers, the parsley was added, and the platter was passed around, they were gone.

   The red pepper gives them a little heat and the Town House crackers were the perfect addition.  The kids asked if they were supposed to eat the parsley.  I told them to eat the parsley end first.  They were surprised how good they tasted.


Cheesy Carrot Spread

2/3 cup shredded carrots

8-ounce package of softened cream cheese

1 cup of shredded Mild Cheddar cheese

2 Tblsp. sliced green onions

1 Tblsp. chopped celery

1 Tblsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/4 garlic powder

1/2 tsp. paprika

1/8 tsp. ground red pepper

Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley

   Place carrots, cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, onion, celery, Worcestershire, garlic powder, paprika, and ground red pepper into a food processor.  Process until the ingredients are well blended together.


   Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip.  


   Pipe the mixture to resemble carrots, onto Town House crackers.  On the large end of the piped carrot, place a sprig of Italian flat-leaf parsley.


   After the past couple of weeks and the chaos of the window installation, I decided to roast potatoes instead of making potato salad.  Glad that decision was made.  The baby roasted potatoes went over really well.  These were prepared a little early and 45 minutes before the burgers were ready, they were placed in the hot oven.


We made five pounds of these and there were just a few left.


You can find the recipe for those here ►Roasted Baby Potatoes.


Of course, we had desserts, too.  The white velvet cake was frosted with white chocolate frosting.  When it was cut and served, the raspberry puree between the layers was revealed.   Fresh red raspberries garnished the slices.  


Fudge brownies were served, too.

   When everyone had arrived, the Easter egg hunt began.  Afterward, everyone played card games or corn hole in the front yard.  Hillbilly golf was setup in the back yard.  Yes, this year was a pretty unconventional Easter.


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How to Tin Foil and Antique a Paper Mache Bunny

How to Tin Foil and Antique a Paper Mache Bunny

March 1, 2016

Easter bunny

    What seemed like a quick and easy little project of making this ‘Tin Foil Craft Easter Bunny’, turned into a five-hour project of gluing!  If you remember, last year I used one of these paper mache bunnies as a base for moss.  The little moss bunny turned out so cute!  It took almost no time and I had an adorable display for the wood and glass lantern, which I placed on the fireplace hearth.

    Wouldn’t this little bunny look amazing with that treatment?


    This past weekend, while everyone at home had their own things going on, I decided to start this little project.  It was just about noon when I began.  


   An hour and a half later, this is what the little bunny looked like.  I felt pretty good about that, thinking I had covered quite a bit.  The bunny is 8-inches tall and about 5-1/2 inches from front feet to the end of his tail.


   Regular Reynold’s Wrap aluminum foil was used.  The heavy duty would not work very well.  As you can see in the pictures, I tore small pieces about 1/2″ big.  As the hours wore on, some of the pieces got bigger.  I tried to keep the edges uneven.


   Mod Podge was used to adhere the foil to the paper mache form.  I tried to keep the Mod Podge on the shiny side of the aluminum foil.  The dull side was the side I chose to have shown on the surface and I tried to keep the glue off of that side.  A damp paper towel was used to wipe the glue off of the tin foil surface.


   The side of a rounded pencil was used to burnish the foil to the form, which helped reveal more of the detail.  ( A rounded chopstick or pen would work, too.)  The tin foil adhered to the paper pretty well, but rubbing the side of the pencil over the foil smoothed the surface and guaranteed a better bond. 


  So, here is the tin foil covered bunny after five hours of gluing.  He actually looked pretty neat like this.  The plan was to make him look old by antiquing him, though.  

   In the tin foiled egg tutorial, the lady had used black paint.  I thought I would try a dark brown antiquing medium instead.


    Okay, well, that did not look so good. Ewww…  It looked kind of like someone had smeared chocolate on the bunny.


   So, I thought perhaps a charcoal paint was the better choice.  It seemed to me that the black would be too intense.


   Alcohol will take off acrylic paint.  I know this because I have used alcohol to clean plastic stencils and my nails after getting acrylic paint on them.  I took a cotton pad soaked with alcohol and cleaned the brown off of the tin foil before painting with the charcoal color.


    Working in sections, I painted on the Ceramcoat charcoal colored paint, then wiped it off with a soft damp rag.  Some sections required a little dabbing with the paint brush until the desired effect was achieved.  The charcoal color left a nice soft antique feel, which I thought was pretty pleasing.


   The little tin foil craft Easter bunny looks pretty cute and I am seriously thinking about making a few of the eggs to match the bunny.  Since you know How to Tin Foil and Antique a Paper Mache Bunny, maybe this will inspire you to create one of your own!


This post was shared on “Fridays Feature Party”.






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