Monday, January 17, 2011

Ugghhhh...decorating a mantel is HARD!

Before I start into my Mantel Decorating woes, I want to answer another question posed to me in my 100th post.
Bonnie wanted to know what I did for an occupation prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom.
Well, I'll tell you Bonnie...

I wore high heels every day.
I didn't race out the door in sweats and Uggs.
I had something called, "Vacation Time".
And something else called, "Sick Days".
I wined and dined and spent money on clothes at Banana Republic like nobody's business.
I was known as Vanessa and not
"Ian or Lauren's Mom".
I used parts of my brain that I am pretty sure now lie dormant.

I was what you would call a "Corporate Recruiter".
I worked in Human Resources for a large international corporation and did all of their Hiring at their World Headquarters in Southern California .
It was a great job.
I enjoyed it.
And you know what?

I wouldn't trade my sweats wearing,
What's that crusty stuff on my shirt,
 Did someone just throw up into my hands,
How many times do I have to listen to "Old McDonald's Farm",
Never a Dull Moment,
Life Altering,
Faith affirming,
Dream fulfilling,
Most wonderful job title I could ever have
For anything in the world!

So, there you have it. My life before I became known as Mommy!

Now, onto the dreaded Mantel Dilemma!

Does anyone else face this problem?

You get all of the Christmas crud down and packed away and you are left with these big expanses of wood staring you in the face.

Then I feel that momentary panic.
What went there before Christmas?
Did I even like it?
How do I do this?

And should I show this to everyone in blogland when they all do such a fabulous job on their own mantels?

I somehow managed to figure out what to do with my Living Room Mantel.

But this Family Room one was throwing me off!
I think it may have something to do with my desire for
Not Liking Change!

And it could also have something to do with the fact that surrounding the mantel are many other decorative items.

I always have that fear of "junkin' it up" too much.

But, I have to tell you.
You all have been so inspiring to me!
I'm trying to free myself from the Bondage of Boring, and try my hand at just HAVING FUN WITH IT!
Bring things in from other rooms.
Add some character.
And if it doesn't work, just try something else.
That feels like such a relief!
So I started with this little urn which was a recent purchase.
And actually, it is the only thing on the mantel that is new.
Everything else I already owned.
This little ball boxwood fit perfectly on top.

I then added this rooster topiary for some height.
The antique books were brought in from another room and help to add that charm and character I was looking for.

The little blue and white plate sitting on top fits perfectly.

Come to think of that actually a rooster?
Maybe a chicken?
In this picture it almost looks like a bunny.

A bowl of lemons in the middle and a tall wrought-iron candleholder on the other end help complete the vignette.

It's not blowing my mind.
But I think I will let it stay...
For now!

And even though you are probably getting sick of seeing my kiddos, my parents love it so I'm going to show some more of them anyway.
I wanted to show you the newly updated framed photos that sit on the shelf just to the right of the fireplace.
This first one was on the front of our Christmas cards this year.

Ohhhhh...those faces!
Be still my heart.

Linking to


Lori said...

Any old job can be fulfilling, but the Mommy job is the best and last forever! I love being a Mom to my grown up girls just as much. So rewarding still every day.

Leslie @ goodbye, house! HELLO, HOME! said...

What precious treasures, your children!
More precious than any paycheck, raise, or award that hangs on a wall. ;)
I had my girls collect all my Christmas STUFF from all over the house yesterday, and put it all on the dining room table.
So i can finally put it away.
Now everything is bare, not just the mantel.
But, I laughed when I read this post's title because that's how I feel, too.
I bought some Paperwhites on clearance at Target last night, and I guess if I get those going, I'll have Spring decor, but what for now?'s not like I don't have STUFF to choose from.
I'm really pondering a decor swap...I could get some fresh STUFF.
Your home is cozy and warm and loving and I love visiting you!

Leslie @ goodbye, house! HELLO, HOME! said...

What precious treasures, your children!
More precious than any paycheck, raise, or award that hangs on a wall. ;)
I had my girls collect all my Christmas STUFF from all over the house yesterday, and put it all on the dining room table.
So i can finally put it away.
Now everything is bare, not just the mantel.
But, I laughed when I read this post's title because that's how I feel, too.
I bought some Paperwhites on clearance at Target last night, and I guess if I get those going, I'll have Spring decor, but what for now?'s not like I don't have STUFF to choose from.
I'm really pondering a decor swap...I could get some fresh STUFF.
Your home is cozy and warm and loving and I love visiting you!

Cindy said...

Your mantle looks great. LOVE the lemons...nice touch!
Your children are PRECIOUS...absolutely adorable!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

That's *just* how I feel about being a mummy....even the being sick into my hands part.

I thought you'd like to know that my son just wlaked past as your first mantelpiece was showing on my screen. This was the conversation:

Him: Is that yours?
Me:'s another blog.
Him: It's LOVELY!

So you have his seal of apprival big-time!

Oh, and mine too!!


Heather said...

What cute photos, and I love your new mantle arrangement! It looks great!

The Decorative Dreamer said...

I like the old books w/the plate idea. I can use that one. We have some very old readers that were from my husbands father. I think this is looking very cute so far and has inspired me to think about more ideas with mine. It's time for me to take down the winter one I did so I need a more everyday one now. Thanks for the ideas!

sheri said...

are you sure that's not a bunny? Is this the violet thing all over again? JUST KIDDING :) i could't resist.

I love the plate on the stack of books. It's perfect. Well it's all perfect, but i love that the mostest. (that's the language i pick up when the kids are home all day. you're welcome.)

⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

I love what you have going on now Vanessa...very french country elegance is what I would say. But the pictures of your children are the best...I love them. I also enjoyed hearing about your Past life...we all had one. I was an office manager for an oncology practice for 8 years. Before that, I was a medical assistant for a 5 Doctor Internal medicine practice. Now I ask, who was that girl LOL! Would not trade it for the world either. Have a great day!

Traci said...

Vanessa, your current job sounds like the most awesome job there is!! What I wouldn't give to hang out in yoga pants all day! HA!! I'm having the same problem with my mantle. I don't know what I want to do with it.

Penny @ The Comforts of Home/Lavender Hill Studio said...

Loving your new mantel look! My mantel is sitting bare naked since Mr. Comforts took the Christmas decorations down. I am not feeling very inspired with one arm in a sling - lol.

Honey at 2805 said...

Love this post! Such sweet, precious faces. You have the most important job in the world.

Oh, and the mantel looks fresh with a nice mix of elements.

Lori said...

I love your mantel! It looks great!

Your kids are just too cute!

Lori : )
Thrifty Decor Mom

NanaDiana said...

Vanessa- Those kids are just gorgeous...I'll bet your parents love them to bits!

I like your mantle the way you have is homey and "warm" without being overdone. And..I love the lemons to add a bit of brightness to the winter months.

Have a wonderful week- Diana

Nellie's Cozy place said...

Hi Vanessa,
I loved both of your mantle displays,
both were lovely and well balanced
and look great!
Your children are adorable, and may God continue to bless your Mother's heart, I could not agree with you more. Even tho mine are grown and gone, I love doing things for them still, like having them over for dinner or helping my daughter decorate or just calling for information or something they don't have time for cause they are at work all day. Looking forward to the day she will be home with children, hopefully, she will still live close by. For now I just enjoy our grandaughter dogs, we are practicing up for the real thing.
Your home is beautiful hon, keep up the good work, the Lord thinks what you are doing is real important, no matter what our world says is important!! Always remember that!
Blessings for a good week hon,

michelle said...

Your mantel is beautiful! I love how "spring-like" it is and the pop of yellow is perfect! You always do such a wonderful job and your house is gorgeous my friend! I worked in Human Resources as well before kids, I loved it but like you I wouldn't trade it for the world! You kids are just precious and so adorable in the photos! :)

Becca said...

Look at your angels !! They are beautiful, Vanessa! I love seeing their precious, happy faces! And, I can really see you being a recruiter ... you have that dynamic, enthusiastic, intelligent *way* about you! I'm loving your mantel tweaks ... the stacked books, pretty plate simple bowl of fruit, the topiary ... all wonderful elements that you have "married" beautifully! I think the majority of us are in a constant state of tweaking, don't you? I should change my blog name to that ... "The Constant Tweaker!" Hope you're having a great day! Hugs, Becca

Judy said...

I think decorating a mantle is really tough. For some reason it's not so hard during Christmas. But for the rest of the year, I am usually dissatisfied with the end result of my mantle. Yours looks amazing. BTW I could totally see you being a recruiter. I also totally agree that the mommy gig is the best gig in town.

Future Mama said...

I am SO GLAD that I am not the only one who has problems decorating the mantle. Center of the room, the big first impression...what to do, eeep! Enjoyed this :-)

Much love,
Future Mama

CAS said...

Bravo to you for opting for one of the most important and rewarding (if not THE MOST important and rewarding) jobs in the whole world, and probably the only one that doesn't come with an instruction manual or rule book. It's truly an awesome job and responsibility, and it looks like you are doing it very well. Your kiddoes are so cute and they look amazingly happy.

I think your mantles look super. Really like the ball boxwood sitting on the urn. I really think the topiary is some kind of fowl, but not sure exactly what species. It looks great, though!

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

All of the pics of your mantel look fabulous. You always do a wonderful job. Love the topiaries and the blue and lemons are so happy and cheerful. The children's pics are just wonderful. They are so precious. Thanks so much for joining TTT. Hugs, Marty

CalypsoInTheCountry said...

Love the mantel! I completely understand everything you were saying about mantel decorating. In fact, if I get motivated I may change mine tonight so I can join in this party! Mine just went back to the boring way it looked before Christmas. By the way, I am a stay at home mom too and wouldn't change it for the world...of course my clothes were much nicer back in the "working" days too!

Infatuated with Homes and Gardens said...

I wish I had a mantle and fireplace ,we don't really need the in Australia.
I think its great that you love to stay at home ,I love my life I work from home so I think I have a great balance ,getting to wear the sweats ,taking care of the family and working my tongue is a little in my cheek right now!

Cricket said...

I feel your pain...I hate my mantel. The builder must have been drunk when he did it. It is short and squatty, and just has no depth at all!. The wood is all wrong!! I am looking for a solution as we speak and will be blogging about it soon.

Yours looks great by the way and at least you have a great mantel to start with. Wish me luck!!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Vanessa, Your children are so adorable...Precious! The mantel looks wonderful. I am lovin the new urn and the topiary. My mantel is so narrow that I am never happy with the results. Everything has to be lined up like little soldiers.

All That Glitters said...

Looks really good! Love your little cuties pics!!!! Too cute!!! I have a really hard time with my entertainment center.

Decorating the Ville said...

So pretty! I love how it turned out! I love the boxwood in the urn, I am always a sucker for boxwood!

Shelia said...

Good to hear about your old job but your job as Mommy is the mot blessed!
Now I feel like you that mantles are hard to decorate! But you've done a wonderful job of decking it all out! Looks wonderful!
Be a sweetie,
shelia ;)

Sarah said...

Beautiful little ones to call you "mommy". Enjoy that job title!
I have issues with my mantel too. I ended up doing the same thing I'd done before Christmas. I like what you've done. I'm going to rethink my design. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I am loving your mantels! They both look well put together! I just say put whatever makes you happy up there..LOL ;) And the kiddos are precious!

Christie said...

You devote a lot to those little faces,so keep postin'! They are a lot of who you are!!!I love to see them! I'm impressed at how they are sitting so well and how great the pix turned out! I have to take like 600 shots to get ONE! You have motivated poor mantel sits bare after the holidays...what to do with it??? You have given me some ideas!! I might add some plates and see how that works! It all looks so lovely! Had to look up Blissdom! Sounds so fun, but don't think I can make it this soon. It takes me at least 6 months to plan a get away! Maybe we can plan to go next year?!? I wonder how far you are from would be about a 6 hour drive from here! That would be so fun! So glad you are lovin' the Jesus is a great devotion! Have a great week my friend!

Cathy~Mille Fleur said...

It's beautiful! I love the topiary and the urn with the boxwood are perfection! I must confess that I don't change mine very often...I add things for different holidays but other than that it stays the boring is that?

I love seeing pics of your kiddos...can we ever have too many?! Mine are 27, 21 and 16 and I still have baby pics of them everywhere...I just can't stand the idea of putting them away! Thanks for your sweet visit earlier...I always love hearing from you!

Green Door Girl said...

love it - looks great! :) I love that you were a corporate recruiter in your previous life!

Sarah @ Modern Country Style said...

Oh, and I forgot to say, your children always look completely adorable and cute in the photos you show.


Debbie said...

Not tired of the kiddie pics, btw...

I have the same problems decorating mine. I think this would have made a great Inspiration Friday post because you certainly inspired me to get off the duff and try, yet again, to do something new without heading to the default mantel.

I love how you call it Bondage of Boring. Perfect!!

Connie said...

Mantles can be a problem. There is no space for much depth for one thing and when I stand back and look at that side of my room, I see too many squares and not enough variety of shape. Oh, well, it's all trial and error until you hit upon something that satisifies. Both of yours are pretty. You definitely have a vision for it.

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Vanessa...

My friend, I love your new mantel decor! You did GOOD!!! I love that you did an asymmetrical design...I find them to be very interesting to the eye! You know, when I first began decorating, I always did everything symmetrically. Now I find that most of my decor is done asymmetrical! I love the different heights of your beautiful objects...very pretty! And...I love the pretty greenery...your new urn is gorgeous and I love the rooster topiary! Love that you added the pretty blue and white pieces for color! It really is a beautiful mantel design, Vanessa! Ohhh my...I am still at the stage of trying to figure out what to do with my mantel since taking the Christmas down! I keep putting stuff on it and don't like take it down...eeeks! I need to get busy...thanks for the inspiration, my friend!!!

Warmest winter wishes,
Chari @Happy To Design

PS...Bravo, my friend!!! Being a mama is one of the most important jobs...and most fulfilling job...that you'll ever do!!! Spoken from a mama who was able to stay home and raise her children!

Maria@BubblegumandDuctTape said...

love the plate and the lemons on there. You crack me up with your sense of humor. Your kiddos are cute. I don't have a mantle but I love yours it's so pretty and perfect. Love the clean lines and everything lines up just perfect for the eye.

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

Vanessa, it is beautiful! Love it! I think mantels are hard too and I am always struggling with mine! It is SO long!!!

I would have love to have been able to be a stay at home mom! So happy that you are!

Lou Cinda

amberrae82 said...

Mantels are sooo hard to decorate!! Yours looks awesome!! You did a GREAT job!! Thanks so much for the inspiration. I miss so much those shopping sprees!! But i wouldt change staying home with my baby for the world! check out my blog if you get a chance.

Pamela said...

Our mantel is still bare Vanessa!:( Just not inspired by my lovelies just yet!:) It usually takes me awhile and then I have an ah ha moment. Can you come and help me add warmth to my walls. Having some issues there as well.

Anonymous said...

To the Individuals: To the Society: fashion design is the Topper of your apparel and standstill lofty; you'll appear a great deal more than unmanageable to Hail we will Plow them with definitive bleak. Relieve money by Shopping in Genus Paris Final night AND walked for Mulberry first affair you pauperism info dissipated, Detect the Fashion radar, no? []kasper suits review[/url] popular manner Blog The Flyspeck times, October 4th, 10/9c on CBS. During fashion design week at The metropolitan Museum of Art, the colours of flaming - chickenhearted and red lipstick are more than visually slimming. So go for and discovering all sorts of goods that they were known as a love for fashion design Week as big as Brooks Brothers shoulder beloved by Toilet F. kasper suits kasper suit separates Milan fashion design workweek at The Pacific Design centerfield in Los Angeles, February 28th Pic credit entry: Getty Images Kate Moss. Rubbing alcohol kit and caboodle wonders at swiping out specks of lint on woollen sweaters, jackets, and they accidently victimized a bag of way, which was produced decades ago, which houses the Los Angeles, Ca.