Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter White

Snowmageddon 2011 has convinced me to update my mantle with fresh "winter whites."  Sounds fancy, but I assure you, it's really not.

After Christmas, our mantle was quite the blank slate.  I knew I didn't want to keep doing what I've been doing for years now - various glass jars and vases and decorative stuff, rotated in from the decor closet.  It was time for a change.  But one of the biggest challenges with our mantle is the hideous rock surround the inability to anchor anything to the wall.  With two humans and two dogs, our living room can sometimes get crowded, and the idea of putting anything like a mirror or large frame up there terrified me, since it wouldn't be secured at all.

So I decided to take a piece of quarter-round moulding we had leftover and nail it down into our mantle as a makeshift ledge.  Not too hard - and it can be taken down anytime.  Besides, no one cares about a few little holes on the top of the mantle.

Next, I found this HUGE frame from my favorite thrift store for only $10.  I gave it a coat of almond spray, and set about figuring out what in the world to put in it.  My original idea was a grouping of photos in multiple frames, but I couldn't think of what photo to blow up that large.  Our faces would totally be weird, and I can only have but so many pictures of my dogs before seeming like a crazy dog lady.  So until we have adorable cherubic children, no photos on our mantle. 

Roxy doesn't see any problem with us having multiple photos of her face.

So I went to Walmart and stole borrowed a bunch of paint chips (nice large DutchBoy ones).  I cut these up into various sizes using my fancy papercutter.  

[Can I interrupt this mildly informative post to tell you that I received multiple cutting instruments for Christmas -- and that makes me immensely happy?  Exacto set, paper cutter, and a 3 pack of scissors.  Give me cutting tools over jewelry any day!]

I took the stolen squares and Mod Podge'd them onto the old "painting" (which was inkjetted onto cardboard - talk about quality!).  I didn't want it to look too perfect (sure you didn't, Claire), so this was the result.

The frame fit perfectly on the ledge, but I kept the glass out, just in case! The ledge blends in with the frame and you don't even notice it.  The surface is a bit shiny... but such is life.  

Next I scrounged my house for anything white to accompany it.

My lovely bird is now in a newly-white cage.  Is that symbolic???  Perhaps it is.  Come spring, I will set it free! 

So that's my winter mantle - it adds a refreshing dose of white to a dark winter room, annnd kinda looks like a fourth grader made it.  But again, and I can't stress this enough!, this is the year of working with what you got.  So I'm workin' it.


  1. Super cute, Claire! I love it!

  2. So cute! I love any opportunity to jack some paint chips. I remember once nervously asking an art instructor if I could steal them from the store, and he couldn't stop laughing. Apparently we artsy folks are totally allowed to do that, and its pretty expected.

    Yay! Now I steal some every time I walk past. Love this idea! I might have to make one in pinks and reds for V-day! :)

  3. You are amazing. It looks great!! What do you charge to decorate other people's mantles?? The layer of dust covering my mantle decorations shows how often I change mine. :)

  4. OOOOOHHH!! AAAAHHHH!! I absolutely love this wintry white look! I am TERRIBLE at decorating mantels and you made it look so effortless! Got any good tips for a novice like me?

    I'm about up to my ears in cabin fever too. So glad to have gotten to take a hiatus from the office but antsy to just drive! I wonder what tomorrow will bring us? Stay warm!

  5. I actually really like this! Ever since seeing something similar with wallpaper scraps on an episode of Design Inc, I've been wanting to try this project. Perhaps I'll live vicariously through you for a while :)

  6. Oh my gosh. This is so pretty. Love all the different whites and I wouldn't have even known it was the same frame. Love it.


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