Layered Mantelscapes

So our new place has a non-functioning fireplace in the living room. Bummer it doesn’t function (it’s actually covered with tile and a huge electrical outlet, yuck.) We will probably try and remedy that later but for now I’m grateful for having a mantel! So excited to hang stockings from it this Christmas! Until then, I’ve been brainstorming how I want to decorate it and I’m really loving the layered mantel look right now.

I like the idea of leaning some pieces instead of hanging them. It give such a multidimensional look.

An asymmetrical arrangement adds visual interest. Just be careful to not go too crazy and make it look cluttered. Clustering If you are wanting to display several items, consider clustering them into a group that reads as one larger object to help prevent the mantel from looking too cluttered.

I like this one with the mirror behind to create a backdrop of sorts. This is a good solution if you just have drywall above your mantel as opposed to brick or trim.

Play with the scale of the different items as well. Don’t only use small pieces or only large pieces. Try to create a balance with sizing. Side note: I love the initial. Totally got an awesome idea from a blog that is on the ever growing project list for our living room 🙂 Here are some of my ideas for our mantel (fyi Calder has given me almost free reign on our upstairs…I do run my ideas by him though of course! And he gets to have the basement as a man cave.) :

-But in an “S” of course:

-I plan to make a graphic print of the verse Psalm 19:14, one of my favorites and a verse I try to live by daily (I will share the print after I make it!)

-Either a large gold framed mirror if we can find a decent one at a garage sale or thrift store, or the large clock we already have refinished in some way. Maybe gold. I’m obsessed with gold right now. This is the clock I’m talking about:

I might try out our wedding canvas on the mantel too. Not sure it will get a permanent place there though. You can see it in this photo over one the right…along with my cutie Finny kitty!

Lastly, as soon as my friend Emily (who also made this pitcher) makes more of these babies I’m snatching at least one colored one up! Aren’t they adorable!?

Can you tell I’m excited to get started on our long list of projects?! It’s going to be a fun and long process to make our house our own. Be sure to stick around to follow along with our home improvement adventures.

What are your thoughts on the layered mantel look?

Also, I will be posting all design-related posts on my business facebook page from now on, so be sure to “like” it here to stay updated!

Weekend Map Project

A few days ago I gave a sneak peek of the map project we would be working on this weekend. And I’m excited to now be able to show you the finished product!

Our apartments have several vacant garages and we “borrowed” one to use to make this project outside but protected from the wind. We have been wanting to do this for a while and we have had the map for a couple of months now. We found it on amazon, but not sure exactly which one. We knew we wanted it to be pretty big and to be able to pin the places we’ve traveled but we didn’t really think about how we wanted to frame it or hang it until we started making it. And so this was definitely a learning experience as we made it work as we went and had no tutorial to follow! BUT if you wanna make your own like we did, here is a tutorial for YOU!

Originally we were going to back it with cork, but when I went to buy it, it was pretty expensive and it was too thin so we would have had to buy another material to back the cork with. My construction hubby came up with the idea of using styrofoam insulation and it worked perfect!

So first step is to get some insulation from any big box home improvement store. It will most likely only come in large sheets, but it was still cheaper than the cork idea. You will only need about half of it. You will also need some spray adhesive. First step is to spray the half of the insulation you are going to use pretty thickly and then also spray the back of the map. Allow to dry slightly before sticking them together (about 1 min).

Look at my good lookin’ helper 😉

CAREFULLY lay the map onto the styrofoam, making sure to press out the air as you go. Start at one end and have your helper slowly lower the other end while you are smoothing it out with you hands from center to edges. Once it is flat and stuck, put the other half of insulation over it and then put something heavy on top of that. Allow it to dry flat for 20-30 minutes to help it really adhere.

My husband came up with the idea of framing it with cedar planks to give it a rustic feel and to be substantial enough for the size of the map. So we measured the sides and went and got the pieces cut according to our measurements. Then we secured the pieces together using these metal tack plate things..not sure the official name 🙂

The tack things cause the boards to tilt a little bit so we also reinforced the corners with finish nails to make sure they laid flat. It would have been good if we had made sure it was square before nailing it together…but luckily we got it pretty close just eyeballing it. If you are doing this, I’d recommend squaring it off with a tool before nailing it 🙂

Now we needed to attach it to the frame. We first traced the frame around the map and cut the insulation accordingly. We wanted it to be a little smaller than the frame itself so we made sure to cut inside the lines about a 1/2″. We then super glued all around the map on the insulation border, not getting glue on the map except for the corners. Carefully we laid the frame on top of the glue and put pressure on it (aka sat on it) for a couple of minutes. To reinforce the glue, Calder nailed on the back through the foam into the wood. He put one on each corner, 2 on the long sides, and 1 on the short sides.

To attach the hanging mechanism, I used one of the ones I had left from the sunburst mirror project, and we nailed straight through the insulation into the wood, making sure it was perfectly centered. Make sure your nails are long enough to reach the wood.

All that’s left to do is hang it up! (it is surprisingly lightweight because of styrofoam being the main material!)

And add the pins! One color for my destinations, one for Calder’s and one for the places we visit together!

Did anyone else do any fun weekend projects??

ALSO! My sunburst mirror post is being featured over on my friend Courtney’s blog, Little Moments, today! Go take a look and check out her fun blog while you’re at it!