Friday, October 10, 2014

FALL MANTELS PAST AND PRESENT...

Have I ever told you that I love having a fireplace with a HUGE mantel?  Well I do! None of the other houses we lived in had fireplaces. In one of our earlier homes I did have a custom made 5 foot long shelf that I enjoyed decorating but that just wasn't the same has having a mantel.

Needless to say, I have enjoyed styling my beautiful mantel for the different holidays and seasons since we moved into this house. I have especially enjoyed decorating the mantel for fall each year. Well, I didn't decorate for fall last year because I was just too pooped and if you will remember my ONLY fall decorations last year was a chenille throw and a vase full of leafless branches on the dining room table. Yep, that's it, but in 2011, 2012 and this year, I went all out with my fall decor.

I like to change my vignette's out from year to year and I never do the same thing twice. That's probably because I can't remember what I did the year before, hehehe. However, I do like to reminisce and look back from time to time. Since it's cold and rainy out today, it's the perfect time to grab a cup of warm cider and a cozy blanket and do just that. I thought I would share with you my fall mantels past and present today so pull up a chair and grab a cup of Joe or cider and enjoy.

My 2011 mantel was pretty rustic...




I found the rustic fall picture for just a few dollars at a local thrift shop and knew it would be perfect for my newly acquired mantel.  I added some other rustic things like my rooster, copper lantern and grapevine that I already had on hand and despite my poor picture taking abilities, I think it turned out great.

My 2012 mantel was dramatically different. A lot simpler but perhaps more sophisticated with my DIY sunburst mirror made from plain white card stock.  You can find the tutorial HERE...





























I simply flanked the mirror with some twigs cut from the yard, added some fresh colorful leaves cut from trees in the neighbors yard (yes, I asked first) and that was that.  Gorgeous, don't you think?

This year I had a little trouble putting my mantel together. I started with a shuttered window mirror but it was a little too small and was a little too country style for my taste so I changed that mirror out with these three mirrors that were hanging over my buffet before I sold it...



It looked great and I thought I was done but I found something just a little more "fallish" to replace those three mirrors...




a big ol' tree. The epitome of fall, wouldn't you say?

You might have also noticed the new wall color. Classic Gray by Ben Moore (mixed in Valspar eggshell finish paint).This is the first real glimpse you have gotten of it since I painted earlier this summer.

I wasn't sure I liked it at first but now I love it. It really lightened and brightened the place up and it is a neutral so it's goes with just about everything. I love for my rooms to be neutral so that I can switch out accessories with the different seasons and I don't have to worry about what colors I choose. They all go.

Right now I am loving the little pops of autumn color against this light neutral gray background.  So pretty!

Well, I hope you have enjoyed reminiscing a little with me and perhaps you have gotten a little inspiration for your fall mantel as well.

Have a TERRIFIC weekend!






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Thursday, October 9, 2014

DIY FRENCH FLOUR SACK GIFT BAGS...AND A LITTLE APPRECIATION GIFT TO THE PASTOR...

Not only is October the first and most beautiful month of Autumn, it is also pastor appreciation month. Of course you all probably already knew that if you attend church on a regular basis.

My pastor is pretty new to our church so I wanted to make him and his family feel welcome and truly appreciated for leaving their home in Arkansas to be with us here in Missouri.  I figured some fresh baked goodies should do the trick...













Yummm, fresh baked Pumpkin Bread and Apple Streusel.

These breads turned out fantastic even if they were made from box mixes (shhh, that's our little secret) and I needed an equally fantastic looking way to package my little appreciation gifts.

They say (whoever "they" are) that the best gifts come in plain brown paper but I have to disagree. I think the gift wrap should be just as pretty or as good as the gift itself. It's all about presentation, don't you agree?  With that in mind I made some super easy FRENCH FLOUR SACK GIFT BAGS...





























I  used simple supplies I already had on hand. To make the bags themselves I used simple inexpensive flour sack towels from Wal-Mart...





They come 5 towels in a package for just $4.88.  You can make three decent size gift bags from just one towel.

Here's how to make them...





1.  Fold the towel lengthwise in thirds and CUT along each fold.
2.  Iron each section to remove any wrinkles
3.  FOLD each piece in half where to two finished edges meet at the top.
4.  SEW a straight seam down each of the raw edged sides

Viola' the sack is finished.  I could've stopped right there and packaged my bread but I wanted to make my sack just a little fancier with a little french flair so I used the "Freezer Paper Transfer Method" to add some french typography labels from The Graphics Fairy to the front of the bags...








I did this with freezer paper, an inkjet printer and an iron.  Here's how...

1.  CUT the freezer paper into an 8 1/2" x 11" sheet (standard printer paper size).  You can use a regular sheet of paper as a template.

2.  PRINT your graphic onto your freezer paper using an inkjet printer. Freezer paper has a shiny side and a dull side. You will want to put the paper into your printer to where the graphic prints onto the SHINY side of your paper. If your graphic has any kind of lettering or numbers you will need to print it as a mirror image.  The Graphics Fairy site has all kinds of great images and many of them are already in mirror image format.

NOTE:  You want to make sure that you are using an Inkjet printer and not a laser printer for this transfer method. Laser printers use heat to print the toner onto the paper. Freezer paper has a plastic side that will melt and stick to the inside of your laser printer.  It will RUIN the printer. DO NOT use a laser printer for this transfer method!

3.  Position your freshly printed graphic face down onto the front of your sack. Be sure not to touch the ink with your fingers it will smudge.

4.  Place your hot iron (no steam) on top of the graphic and iron for about 60 seconds until freezer paper is adhered to the sack.

5.  Using the back of a spoon or edge of a credit card and using pressure burnish over the entire image to make sure everything is set and then lift the paper off.

Your image should now be on your sack.  Yay!! Note: the image will be a little more faint than the original printed image but I think that makes it look more authentic.






I used these images from The Graphics Fairy for my gifts bags...

French bakery label...

French Typography Transfer - Patisserie - Bakery


French Typography Transfer - Patisserie - Bakery


Paris Manufacturing typography label...





I really like the french bakery bag and thought it was perfect for my home baked goodies gift to the pastor...






It took no time at all to make these cute little bags. From start to finish took about as much time as it took for the bread to cool after coming out of the oven.

Once everything was ready I wrapped each loaf in a sheet of waxed paper and tied with jute twine....





Two 8" x 4" loaves fit in just one bag...




























I tied the top of the sack closed with a length of twine....DONE!

I really love how these super easy FRENCH FLOUR SACK GIFT BAGS turned out. It was a FUN project too.  I hope you will try it.  Each sack costs about .30 cents to make.  Less if you make more than 3 sacks per towel.

I'm thinking these would be PERFECT for Christmas!






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Monday, October 6, 2014

FALL MANTEL(S) 2014...

I love fall!  It's a wonderful season and the cooler temps this past weekend made me dream of bonfires, chili cookoffs, pumpkin farms, bobbing for apples and all sorts of fun stuff. I was also thinking about lighting the fireplace...well maybe not lighting the fireplace but decorating the mantel.







I actually started on the mantel a couple of weekends ago but didn't quite like how it was turning out. Though I don't have a direct picture of it, this was my first attempt at this years fall mantel...





from the little sneak peek picture I showed you last week.

I used a shuttered window mirror I got from Home Interiors years ago as the focal piece but it was a little on the small side and once everything was added it just seemed WAY to "countryish" for my taste. Though it was cute something was off.

However, I kept it that way until I took down the three mirrors from the dining room when I sold the buffet. I then decided to try using the mirrors in place of the shuttered window mirror and it looked pretty good so, I thought I was done.







But...there's ALWAYS a BUT, isn't there?...I spotted a great metal tree wall hanging at a local thrift store on Saturday for just a few dollars and right then and there I knew it was perfect for my fall mantel because after all...aren't trees the perfect representation of fall?

So I bought that big ol' tree. I went home and took down the three mirrors and put the lovely fall tree in their place...






Ahhh, yes that's just what this fall mantel 2014 needed...a big ol' tree.

I replaced the long thin branches with a perfect bunch of floofy (is that a word?) weeds I found on the side of the road...yes, I stopped on the side of the road and pulled a handful of weeds (that smell wonderful, almost like mint) just for my fall mantel...I have been known to do stranger things in the name of decorating just so you know! hehehe (Remember the HUGE fresh pine branch I stole from the Catholic church yard last Christmas to make garland for the mantel? Shhh, they still don't know about that). So I ask, Why not decorate with weeds (or pine branches)? They're free and pretty!




I tucked in a few munchkin pumpkins along side of my favorite fall decor...the metal pumpkins. I found them at a yard sale for just a few dollars the year we moved into this house.






























I have to say after looking at these pictures that I like both the mantel with the mirrors...



and the tree...




Pay no attention to the candles in the fire pit.  I know I need to add a little fall in there too, or at least have a fire, huh?  Maybe when it gets just a little colder!

Anyway, which mantel do you like best?


























I'd love to hear from you.



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