My Summer Mantle

I've slacked...bummer. I'm just getting around to posting my Summer Mantle. I haven't shown you anything since my Christmas Mantle and you never even got to see my Spring Mantle before I took it apart (it had my Bird Nest Apothecary Jar, and a large black and white photo of my boys fishing for tadpoles).

Here is the summer version, you can see my cowboy boots (you remember that story, right?) on the hearth. They make the cut every season.

When we moved in I found that great iron piece to hang on the wall above (at Costco!), but I've only recently begun to decorate that as well. It really makes a lovely backdrop for some of my other things like wreaths. Or, in this case, an empty frame. (You can click the photos to see more detail).

Here we are a bit closer:

I actually cut the frame out of some scrap lumber I had stacked up in my garage. I knew I wanted a really rustic, wide, simple, empty frame but I couldn't find what I was looking for. I called The Big Guy and the conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, Hon, how was your meeting? Um...don't we have a miter box someplace?

Big Guy: Why?????

Me: Oh, nothing, just a project I had in mind.

Big Guy: Oh great...it's under the work bench someplace. Be careful.

Me: 'Kay, bye!

He's always so skeptical! Anyway, I cut the boards at a 45 degree angle and just used our heavy duty stapler to stick them together from the back. I wanted big gaps so it looked like a rickety beach frame that was left outside and the joints had pulled away from each other. I spray painted it, then antiqued it with brown paint (just rub in on the edges with your finger then wet your finger and smear it around a little).

I spray painted a big fake starfish then used the same antique method on the edges and floated it inside the frame with fishing line (tied the line to the starfish then stapled the line to the back of the frame), then hung the whole frame onto the decorative metal piece with fishing line and an "S" hook.

I piled up old battered shells from a long ago vacation to the Outer Banks (I hate clean, pretty shells), filled my apothecary jar with more old shells, and pulled out an old beach baby picture. I replaced the tadpole picture with one from the beach last year(remember how much I like photos from behind?) This photo is really just printed out on regular 8 x 10 printer paper from my computer. I used my Kodak Easy Share software, because I have it, but any editing software works. I messed around with the highlight and shadow then printed it in Sepia. Make the darks darker and the lights lighter to give you good definition in the photo and it looks professional when printed in sepia or black and white. This isn't even matted, it just sits on a white paper background.

I switched out the cream colored candles for white, pulled out some wooden fish (I spray painted and antiqued one because it was neon yellow from the dollar store) and I was done. I used a lot of things I had around my house already and didn't spend a dime, but if I had to price for Nesting Place:

1. Iron piece over mantle= $80 at Costco 5 years ago

2. Empty frame + starfish= $3 for starfish

3. Shells= FREE

4. Edited photos= FREE

5. Apothecary jar= $12 at Marshall's

6. Wooden fish= $2 Dollar Store

7. Fireplace Screen= $79 Tuesday Morning

8. Candle sticks= $10 Kohls

9. Vase with sticks= vase was a gift and sticks from the woods

10. Cowboy boots= priceless :)

Now, go digging through your old things, grab a can of white spray paint, and show me your summer mantle!


  1. Your mantle is GORGEOUS! I don't have a mantle but you may have just inspired me to decorate a table I have in the living room. And like you, I find treasures at Costco all the time. Your blog is beautiful! Thanks for stopping my blog today, it was lovely to 'meet' you!

  2. Love it!! Don't you just love using the big staple gun?

  3. it's probably a good thing I don't have a mantle as I'd stress about changing it for the seasons ... AND I have YOU to share yours. :) I love the starfish frame you made - clever, creative girl ... and the photo, well, it totally ROCKS!

  4. i'm impressed that you seasonalize your mantel! my still has egg cups from easter on it!

    So pretty...love your green walls!

  5. that looks so great! And look at you using the fancy tools. I love how the Hub asked "WHY". haha.

  6. hey! found you through SITS! great mantle! mine is currently empty...i'm having such a hard time deciding what to put on it!!

  7. Very pretty, fresh and clean!

    Stopping by to say HI from SITS today!

  8. I love the frame within a frame.

    I would show you may mantel, but we don't have one! It is just a huge fireplace that just out into the room. It has a great hearth though, good for extra seating.

  9. beautiful! after seeing your bathroom chandelier the other day, i am having a little house envy!
    ps - i did the sex and the city shoe trick you put on here and they turned out AWESOME! thanks for the tip!


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