Saturday, September 20, 2014

how to decorate a fall mantle with a not-paper plate

My fall mantle (contrary to what my husband thought, I did not hang a paper plate above my mantle). Bless his heart.

Decorating your mantle for fall shouldn't be intimidating. I like to have one focal point on my mantle in the center. Some people like a mirror, or a piece of art, but I went out of the box a little bit this fall. I love the size and patina of this old breadboard. I originally put it up there without the plate, but it just felt like it was missing something. I considered a wreath, but with all of the other greenery, I felt as though it would be a little too "jungly". That is totally a decorating term. So, I "shopped my home" and found this beautiful plate from The Magnolia Market. My husband said that it looked like a paper plate on my Facebook page last night, so I thought I would clarify. I mean really babe? It's like he doesn't know me at all. I don't see it on their website anymore, so hopefully she will bring it back. I actually picked it up in her shop when I MET CHIP GAINES. Did I yell that? was quite a moment.  So, back to the not-paper plate. It is gorgeous, and it seemed to fill the dark void in the middle of the bread board perfectly. I considered painting it, like the one in my shop, and I still might, but for now, I love my not-paper plate.

Lantern from eons ago, faux fern from Hobby Lobby, pheasant feathers from my husband's bird hunt,  the books are an heirloom from my husband's family, grapevine (deconstructed wreath from Hobby Lobby), baby shoe mold from a local import shop, and an antler from my dad's hunt. My family...we hunt.
On the right side of the mantle, I propped up a lantern on some heirloom books from my husband's family. I usually keep them on the mantle in some way. They add height when I need them to (as with the lantern), or they are just a beautiful and heartfelt reminder of the importance of family.
After I got a little height from the lantern, I just started tucking things in to fill the space. I like a color story, or a theme (without being too "themey"...again, design term). I love nature inspired decor, so the antlers, feathers, and fern fronds fit perfectly. I also tucked in the most precious baby shoe form on the far right. It just makes me smile. They key is to just move stuff around. This didn't just come together without some serious rearranging. Get your anchor piece in place (mine is the breadboard with the not-paper plate), then go to the right and left, then fill in the middle.

Galvanized bucket from a local imports store, galvanized metal spheres (Hobby Lobby),  preserved floral and faux ferns (Hobby Lobby), and pheasant feathers (again, we hunt).
To add some balance to the left side, I pulled the greenery from another vase in our bedroom, and put in in the silver bucket. I popped in the feathers, but felt like it was missing something. Again, I just stepped back and looked at it. I either know it is exactly what I want, or that is it off somehow. Then, I just played. I stuck all kinds of things in that arrangement, from small pumpkins to artichokes, to dried hydrangeas. I landed on the orb. It just worked, and it brought in another silver element. I also put its older brother to the right.

Pheasant  from Homegoods a couple of years ago. 
They key to a really beautiful fall mantle is balance. Find something large for the middle, then fill in around it. You don't want too many tall things, or a bunch of little trinkets. You want they entire space to flow and to show things that you love and make your home feel like your home.
If all else fails, and you are sitting in the fetal position rocking back and forth from the stress, go thumb through your favorite home magazine, or search "fall mantle" on Pinterest. All of us need a little inspiration sometime.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 19, 2014

five quick fall decorating tips for your home

I flipping love fall. I love the coolness, the falling leaves, the snuggly blankets, the ambiance of the fireplace, and the coolness. I know I said "coolness" twice, but I live in Texas and it is still in the 90s here. 
I have 5 quick fall decoration tips for those of you that are still in the grips of the insane heat ready to get your fall on...
1. Real vs. Faux...I say go for both! I absolutely must have real pumpkins. Part of the fun of the season is picking out pumpkins with your family & friends! (Tip: Soak your pumpkins in 1 part bleach to 10 parts water for 10 minutes, rinse and dry, then rub & buff them with will preserve them, and make them shine!) Mix them with some that you can reuse year after year.
Here is a great tutorial to turn those dollar store pumpkins into a beautiful show-stopping mantle. {post by Susie Harris}
2. Incorporate the colors in your home...I don't have many of the typical fall colors in my home. I do use some muted orange pumpkins, but I love white. Along with white pumpkins, I use lots of greenery (mostly preserved), and other things that coordinate with my decor that you might not normally see as "fall" items. Artichokes, succulents, dried hydrangeas, pheasant feathers...they all have such soft beautiful greens, grays, browns & purples.

3. It doesn't have to be expensive to make your home feel like fall...burn a pumpkin candle, cut clippings from your tree (magnolias are my favorite with their brown and green leaves), gather pinecones and dried fallen leaves from your own yard, or feathers from your chickens (I totally did that..some are really beautiful!!!). You can even hit up the dollar store and grab those cheesy fake pumpkins and give them a faux finish. I painted a whole slew of them last year with pretty blues, grays, and creams. They are my favorite! Don't forget thrift stores too (spray paint those ugly and outdated items a glossy white. You would be shocked at how chic a 70's mustard yellow and brown owl can look painted white and perched on your mantle). 
4. Keep it simple...natural elements are always beautiful. They make a home feel warm, and not too forced. Most importantly, many of them are free. Don't overdo it or you will feel like you are in your grandma's attic (no offense grandmas, we LOVE you).
simple white pumpkins on preserved moss in and antique sewing machine table drawer

5. Lastly, build a base for your Christmas decor with your fall decor...Using lots of greenery and white, I can easily slip in some red berries, or vintage glass ornaments (or plastic that look like glass, if you have rowdy kids like mine) into your arrangements. On the rustic dough bowl arrangement in my last post, I can easily take out the pumpkins, artichokes, and succulents, and pile up some ornaments, fake snowballs (I can't wait to show you how to make those), or pinecones in their place.
I will be posting some more tips this week, as well as more photos of my own home all dressed for fall.

busy as a bee

I have been so incredibly busy! The shop is open and I'm barely finding the time to actually work, but I'm steadily plodding. I have several furniture pieces for sale, several left in the shop to work on, and some smaller items that I am trying to get completed this weekend. Here is what is on the picture to be sent directly to the shop.
Hand-painted drop leaf table

Personalized hand-painted chalkboard with YOUR TEAM & COLORS!

antique children's chair

Chippendale-style double pedestal dining table with leaf 

Personalized hand-painted breadboard

antique dining table (would be a great kitchen island)

Hand-painted chalkboard (approximately 11" x 14") $25

This particular chalkboard is SOLD, but I will restock another soon. If you would like a personalized wood-slice chalkboard, please e-mail me at
After this weekend, I will have at a beautiful armoire/wardrobe in the shop, as well as some fall signs.

Now, off to work :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

shop is open

My shop is open, although kind of bare for now. I am still working like crazy (well, as crazy as I can) to get things finished up and posted. Keep checking back to see what comes up in the next week. I have some fun things on their way!

click on picture above to go to my site

around my home

The words "business", "clients", and "work" seem so foreign to me. I am not a "businesswoman" by any means. I am just a mom who home schools her kids, spends the remainder of her day cooking, cleaning, meal-planning, organizing, cleaning out a chicken coop and running errands. My one passion is creating. My passion is interior design, and if money and time were no object, I would go back to college and get my degree. Along with interior design, I love crafting, sewing, flower arranging, party planning, baking, painting, and pretty much anything else where I can use my creativity and hands. If you are new to my blog, WELCOME! Also, since my business is taking shape, I want to give you an idea of what my passion looks like.

My 7 and 8-year-old's joint birthday party. Trying to celebrate together as long as I can get away with it. 
I have learned, over a period of 11 years, that kids love balloons. Lots of balloons. They are a very economical and colorful decoration...and will fascinate them for hours on end. This year I used normal balloons, as well as large (about 20") latex, and the numbers "7" & "8" mylar ones. The birthday graphic is from one of my favorite shops (Caravan Shoppe). You can download their graphics onto your computer and print them at home, or at an office supply store. I had a 3' x 4' engineering print made at Staples for under $8.  The chalkboard is one that I made. It is my command center, my chalkboard canvas, and my homeschooling board. Needless to say, it gets daily use. If I could do it over again, I would change a few things, but I still love it, and it fills the wall beautifully.

Our Christmas mantle. 
I sewed all of the stockings, as well as painted the very large canvas. I have had several people ask whether I would sell these in my shop. I plan on creating several different sizes and styles for this upcoming holiday season. Keep an eye out. I will post them in the next month or so. Who knows, I might throw a few stockings in there as well.

36" square hand painted canvas.
My OCD senses are tingling with this canvas. I actually still have to do a few touchups. However, I plan to make a few more like this for my shop as well. I can take orders for different color combinations as well since this isn't a holiday specific item. Again, they will be up on my shop's site too.
Revamped lamp
I took a new lamp base in a color that I was not fond of, and painted it. After painting it a medium gray tone, I waxed it with Annie Sloan's dark soft wax, buffed it, and recovered the boring lampshade with this fabric. It is a cream grain sack cloth with a robin's egg blue stripe. Oh, and you see that side table? That one, and it's twin are about to get painted...My motto: "Paint all the things!"
Since we are talking about grain sack stripes, I repainted this lovely steps tool from IKEA for our kitchen. I use it all the time since I am only 5'2". I can't reach half of my cabinets.

coffee filter & twig wreath
People can hardly believe that this wreath was made out of coffee filters. It is a fun project and I love making them. Would anyone be interested in purchasing one? I won't put them in my shop, but I would take orders if anyone wanted one. I can also do white. This is a natural color.

map wreath
I love maps. This is one of my favorite projects. Instead of spending a fortune on framing this map (Aren't the colors amazing?) I created a vintage "pull down" effect. Sorry for the grainy iPhone pic.

hand-painted doll bed
I painted this doll bed and sewed the bedding for my daughter's American Girl doll. The bed is from IKEA. With a little latex paint, and a cute hand-painted detail, I saved a ton of $ doing it myself...and she had the cutest doll bed of any other little girl I know :)

giant map wreath
Have I mentioned that I love maps? This wreath was made with an old atlas. I have had many comments on it, and am thinking about selling them in my shop. It is not difficult, but very labor intensive. It also caused lots of burned fingers. Ouch!

I would love your feedback on the items above. I am trying to get a feel of what people are looking for. I will always do furniture, but I would like to include some other pieces as well.

Friday, August 22, 2014

seven & the gap

This boy...

This boy and his crazy faces...

 ...and his endless energy make me laugh.

He loves his sister. They are "Irish twins" you know...and partners in crime.

If you don't know him well, you would never know he was such a ham. He is unassuming, and quiet, and seemingly shy. If they only knew...

He is seven. My baby is seven. 

When you hear that "kids grow up fast", you never really understand until you have them. Yes, the days are long, but the years truly are short.  If I had my way, I would stop time and keep all of my kids at this very age. They are all so wonderful. They are funny, sweet, caring, thoughtful, and kind. This one has the sweetest gap in his teeth. When his teeth came in that way, I was a little sad. I guess I wasn't a fan of the gap. Now, I can't imagine him without it. I know that the time is quickly approaching that those teeth will be gone, and there is a big part of me that knows (1) I will most likely cry like a baby, and (2) I will hope that the gap returns. You could say that I have become a huge fan of the gap. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

faith & flying

I love working with my hands. I always have. I have never considered myself to be artistic, but I do love to create things. I love taking something functional and making it pretty. I love taking a piece of furniture that has been overlooked or discarded, and make it into something quirky or beautiful. 
I have decided to take a small leap of faith and start a little business - "Linen & Grey".
I will be selling hand painted furniture, canvases, and other things that catch my eye. 
Over the next few months, I will be working on inventory, revamping my blog/website, and starting some marketing. 
You can follow my shop on Instagram (#linenandgrey), and soon on Facebook and etsy ( 
I plan on previewing my pieces here on my blog, as well as keeping up my normal shenanigans.