Monday, July 26, 2010

Our Summer Mantel

We're tryin' something new here on the Lettered Cottage blog, so be on the lookout for all the little audio players throughout this post, and click the "play" button to hear the messages I recorded for you!


Since we spent almost all of June on Tybee Island, I never got a chance to take down our Spring-themed mantel display when Spring ended...


But since I promised to blog about a different mantel display every season this year, I figured I'd better get to work on a Summer-themed one before it wasn't Summer anymore!

I spent $67 on our Spring display, but this time around, my budget was $35.

Check it out!


The only things I had to buy this week were some 2"-3" starfish, and a few tubes of craft sand from Hobby Lobby.

I got the starfish on eBay...



eBay consistently remains my favorite place to look for inexpensive, brand name home decor and other thrifty treasures like these- so remember, if you can't find it locally, don't forget to search there too!

The craft sand came from Hobby Lobby, and was just $2.49 per container.
I bought three containers, and dumped varied amounts of it into three, red-lidded jars I got for $1 each at a flea market earlier this year.

Each jar holds something different.

The one on the far left hand side of the mantel holds an old photo of me and my Dad...


I nestled the photo (and an eBay starfish) down into the sand at the bottom of the jar.
And I gotta tell ya- walking past that pic, that was previously packed away in an old photo album, makes me smile and brings back such fond memories of my childhood.

My Dad lives in Minnesota, so I don't get to see him that often.
Displaying his photo in an place that I see every day helps to mentally "lessen the gap" between us a little.


The jar in the near the middle of the mantel holds a couple more of my eBay starfish...


I like to think of them as me & my Mom...taking a walk together on the beach.

And the jar on the far right hand side of the mantel holds a colorful Tybee Island postcard...


Kevin and I bought it as we were driving off the island in June. It reminds us of the amazing adventure we experienced there!


Based on the aroma that I discovered inside the jars when I bought them, I think they used to hold pickles.
So if you like the look of them, you can probably find something similar at your local grocery store.

If you'd rather use brand new jars, here's a link to some red-lidded ones that look a lot like the ones I used:

Red Lidded Jars

(Click the PLAY button on the divShare player below this sentence for another jar-related thought!)


We made the flag out of the shutters we had previously made for the reading room that we didn't end up using.


(I'll post a step-by-step tutorial later this week in case you're interested in how we made it.)


I got the driftwood sailboat from Whiteflower Farmhouse earlier this year...


The enamel-covered metal number signs were from Pottery Barn.


I attached the "9" to the old beadboard planks we removed from the shutters we took apart to make the flag...


Since the planks were tongue and groove, I just filled the grooves with wood glue, and pushed them all together. Once the glue had dried, it made the perfect little backdrop for my nifty number nine!

I hung the "8" on the wall, on the left side of the flag...


I got both numbers on clearance a few years back, but they've just been sitting in a drawer until now. So glad they got to come out and play finally!

(Click the PLAY button on the divShare player below this sentence for another metal number sign-related thought!)


The chunky little white frame below the "8" was previously hanging in our Guest Bedroom. It came from IKEA, and they're pretty cool because you can use the glass on either the front or back side of the frame. I moved mine to the back side, in order to create a little "shadowbox". I placed a starfish (painted the same color I painted the stripes on the flag) inside of it.

I used another blue-painted starfish on top of the IKEA frame that hangs on the right side of the flag...


In the frame below it, I used an "S" and an "A" I already had (both from Michaels).
The "E" actually used to be a roman numeral "III". We got it at Paris Market in Savannah, GA while we were working on the beach house on Tybee Island.

We bought the "III" to use as an "E" in our master bedroom to spell out the word...


(More on that project later!)


Next, I snagged a little white pitcher/dish set from the "Wonder Wall" in the dining room...


Wanna see what we keep inside it?


Kevin's guitar picks!

Who says decor can't be multi-functional, right?

I got this "faux-liage" from Hobby Lobby for $1.50 on clearance a while back.


I cut the "palm frondy" leaves off, since they seemed the most "Summery" to me...




(Click the PLAY button on the divShare player below this sentence for a painters tape-related confession!)


I used the second "frond" in a little jar I got from the gals at Whiteflower Farmhouse...


I hot-glued a small metal "Happily Ever After" tag to the front of it for a little extra sparkle. The tag used to be part of a wedding favor, and I could never bring myself to throwing it away- it was just too sweet!


The rope wrapped around all the candles scattered across the mantel came from Home Depot.
I got it a while back- but I didn't end up using it on whatever project I bought it for.


All I did was just wrap it around some of our candles, and then I secured the ends of it in place with stick pins...




Ta Da!


I liked the look of it so much, I even attached some to a few of Kevin's Mainstays...


But because I haven't mastered the fine art of driving stick pins through glass, I used hot glue to hold it in place on those.

Ta Da!



Another idea is to use jute webbing, like this...


You can find it at fabric stores, online, and I think you can even get it at Walmart. It comes in a couple different colors (red and blue), and it's super easy to just wrap it around a candle, hot glue the end, and go!


The last thing I used on the mantel was a few handfuls of river rock from Hobby Lobby...


I bought a while back to use in a project I worked on for but I ended up using seaglass instead.


And there ya have it!

My "better-late-than-never, under 35 dollar, Summer-themed mantel"!


I had fun putting it together, and I look forward to blogging about my FALL-themed mantel in...oh...lemme, 35 DAYS! LOL!

Well, unless I find another project to distract me in the meantime.

I wonder what aqua would look like?....or maybe red....or yellow....or.....



Note- I altered the color of the lower cabinets in the photo above using Photoshop, just to see what they would look like!


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Kate said...

I spy Ikea Majby chairs! We just bought them for our dining room - can't wait to see how you've incorporated them into your home!

Beautiful mantel - so fresh!

Stevie @ Sincerely Stevie said...

Your attention to detail is amazing. I definitely look up to you!! I love the mantle. :)

Sjn said...

Fresh and clean, like everything you do, I love it!

KellyMellyBoBellyBananaFanna said...

I love the ideas of photos in jars...


Beth said...

It looks fantastic! I love how you broke down all the little steps and secrets. My favorite part of your mantel is your flag :). I made a flag for the fourth using sea stars for the stars and I just adore it. I might have to borrow this idea! Thanks for always being an inspiration!

Anonymous said...

You have such great attention detail. I absolutely love the flag and the sailboat!

Leen said...

love it! I've been thinking about looking for those little starfish to make picture holders out of. I'll send you a couple if I ever get around to it :)

My Cottage Charm said...

Lovin' the summer mantel, but you have to tell me something....that does NOT look like Martha Stewart's morning dove gray paint on those bottom kitchen cabinets...did you paint again! Looks kinda aqua in there???? :)
I ADORE the flag you did out of the old shutters you guys built...just SCREAMS summertime! I can't wait to show you what I have built for my little man Carson...I'll be posting it soon. I may have to email you a sneak peek!
Have a blessed week! Oh and if you're missing the beach, my post today is of our vacation to Folly has a little video at the end and you can hear the ocean waves crashing on shore. Thought you might want to hear the sound! :)

Jen said...

Love the mantel....but when did you paint your lower kitchen cabs??? They look awesome! I must have missed that post!

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed checking out your summer mantel. The mantel and treasures look wonderful. Love the pics in a jar so much that I'm pilfering the idea for Christmas.

I think I love painters tape more than duct tape! I too use it on everything. If you check out my
4th of July blog you'll see that is how I hung up the decorations on the house. (well, actually you won't see, which is the point.)

jen @ homeinthecountry said...

Love the summer mantle... but I think I might love the aqua cabinets more... have been considering doing the same to mine... :)

Cass@Happiness Lives Here said...

You are brilliant! I love the crisp, clean look of your mantel. The red and aqua surprising go very well with each other; I never would have thought to pair the two. I also love the idea of putting photos into mason jars; I will be saving that thought for my master bathroom redo. Thanks for sharing!

Carrie said...

Love it!! I like your use of calming beachy colors with a pop of red. Great look.....and only for $35....way to go girl!!

liz @ bon temps beignet said...

Layla, this mantel is BEAUTIFUL! I really l-o-v-e the flag and rope covered candles!

Unknown said...

This is beautiful! Stick pins, what a great idea. The flag and red numbers are my favorites.

Misty said...

Okay....Am I a retard?? None of the pictures of the last few posts are showing up on my screen, only the text. I've never had any problems before, viewing pictures on this blog. I can see the pictures along the side with the ezine. I reallllly want to see the mantel. I check my computer a few times a day for updates. This is my favorite blog ;-)

Lynda @ Happenstance Home said...

Layla - your mantle looks beautiful! So fresh! Love the starfish and the pottery barn numbers - and I really love your starfish flag! So creative!!!

Miranda @ Pressing On said...

I LOVE the mantle. All of the little detailed touches are oh so inspired. Your home is becoming so very beautiful. It's amazing.

And by the way, both of the those teams could have used *you* on Design Star last night. I'm not even a "real" decorator and I could have done better than that. They need help.

scotdog98 said...

I love it, that's where we have my husband/son's guitar picks also. A small candle holder on the mantel.

Lettered Cottage said...

Hey thanks guys!
Glad you don't think I'm crazy for posting it this late into the season!!! :-)

Misty- I'm not sure why the pics aren't showing up. :-(
We use Photobucket to store our photos. I wish I could help you figure it out, but I am SOOOO not good with that kinda stuff!

Have you tried looking at it on another computer?

Breanna said...

I love it! Furthermore, when I saw the last picture, the color of the kitchen cabinets were the first thing I a good way. I thought to myself, "Ooooh, I wish I could see more of the kitchen...". So, if you are thinking about changing the color, I say, "Go for it!".

N said...

Hi Layla

You mentioned on your 'play' how to make your own numbered signs and gave suggestions about finding the metal to make own and I'm wondering if you think old ... license plates spray painted white would work.

what do you think ~ are they about the right size???

Sara said...

I've been waiting for this post! Decorating my mantel is one of the most difficult things for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

Carriage House Antiques said...

I was just about to run to the car and head to Pottery barn for some numbers..I need two 5's for the door of my shop! Thanks for saying you got them awhile ago,you saved me an hours drive :S Do you know where else I could find them? (I'm already searching on ebay lol)I love the enamel.
The mantel looks fantastic..your little slice of Tybee!

Angela said...

I love, love your flag!! The cabinets look great in aqua. I'm planning to paint mine white, but I'm going to keep that in the back of my mind also, since I have a lot of aqua and green with white.

carolyn said...

That picture of you and your dad in the jar is the best. Love the little audio messages. Helps with my blog reading ADD! Now I'm off to update my mantle ...

Anonymous said...

I am so impressed with your creativity! It is beautiful! I love the shabby chic beach look! I wish I could create that.

A Whole Lotta Magic said...

Hi Layla!

The mantel looks so pretty! I just got my copy of Cottages & Bungalows and was so excited to see your house there .... it was like an old friend had made big, lol!



Urban Farmgirl said...

Amazing. Amazing. Amazing.

Thats all I can say.

You two need capes made because you are the super-heros of the decorating-on-a-dime world! Actually, that would be pretty funny. I'll expect to see that in your next post. ;o)


Melissa said...

It looks fabulous Layla! I'm wondering where you would display this kind of stuff if you didn't have a mantle? We don't have one but I love the idea of a seasonal look a few times a year!

Many Blessings,

Angeline said...

The flag is gorgeous! Your summer mantel looks great, and it's hard to believe you get all that for
35$! Truly amasing ! You are gifted with a lot of inspiration ...

Angie :) said...

You are so creative! And definitely inspiring! Love the summer mantel and can't wait to see the fall one when it arrives!

Woven and Spun said...

The mantle looks amazing. Love the sand in the jars with the pics. Love it all really!
The sound bites are fantastic. Thanks for being innovative with that - it makes your blog much more interactive and real.
Can't wait to see the rest of the room that the "quiet" is in.
Hope you have a great week.

Shana said...

Wow...just so impressed with your skillz, woman. :)

RAE said...

I love your mantel, love the "beachy" look but just wouldn't work in my house or land~locked Illinois.....LOL Love the little recorded messages you leave for us, so informative. Love your sight and I love Tybee Island myself.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Love your mantel. It is just so sea shore summery. Very pretty and such creatie ideas. Hugs, Marty

Lettered Cottage said...

Hey Rae!

Don't worry- we're landlocked too!
Displaying items that REMIND us of what it feels like at the beach is how we cope. LOL!


Unknown said...

LOVE IT! I sighed forelornly as I looked around our home thinking, "wow...if only I had a small area to change up from time to time," since our mantle is home to the hub's plasma baby. Then I saw it...the weird little half wall next to our front door!!! YAY! You have inspired me once again. Can't wait to get started!

Stacey said...

hahha love your summer mantel...the whole first part of the post though I kept saying to myself..."i think those are pickle jars, I really think those are pickle jars!" and then burst out laughing when you said they were! too funny and very creative! I love the twine around the candles! awesome. cheers, Stacey

Nicole @ the style hatch said...

Mantel is beautiful!!! Aqua cabinets would be super fun!!


Kim-A Creative Spirit said...

I actually love the photoshop colors on the cabinet. I would LOVE to do that to my cabinet but not that brave.....

maggie said...

That mantle is so bright and fresh!
I love it.
I have to say though, as a non-hearing (hearing impaired? just plain almost deaf?) person the sound bites...well...bite. I feel like I'm missing something important here.

Unknown said...

LOVE THE CABINET COLOR! I am so wanting that flag you made out of the shutters! I just picked up 3 shutters that have no home yet- may have to use them for that!

Valerie said...

Love your summer mantle! I am now on the lookout for wood to make the flag.


misee said...

Love it! It's funny i actually went on the blog and looked back at a few post to see if I had missed the "summer" mantel post last night.I was going to write and ask about it but thought I might be too pushy:)
Well, today I saw your facebook comment and was so excited that you decided to do a mantel for the summer..It turned out perfect. I love the flag, very creative.
I enjoy your blog, you and your husband are a great team! So much fun!!

janjan0000 said...

I started giggling when you wrote that you changed the cabinet color in PS, because I was admiring the pic and thinking, "she painted her cabinets! looks good! I must've missed that!"
LMAO ... stalker anyone? ;)

janjan0000 said...

PS - totally in love with that flag. LOVE!

The Little Red Shop said...

Looks pretty ship shape to me!

Happy summer!

: )

Julie M.

Prencie said...

Good Grief!!! How awesome is that flag?!?!? Totally awesome!!! I'm in love! I was going to make an American flag using strips of old jeans (the one's my 2 boys can't fit into any more;) and make an American flag from those and make stars from their old button down and cotton shirts. I haven't gotten around to it yet cause I'm still learning how to sew and I would like to master it a little more before starting on their rockin' American flag!!:) Awesome flag and mantel!!! Can't wait to see what you do for the fall!!

Preppy Mama said...

Love it! I can not wait to see your step by step on that flag!! It is gorgeous!

Unknown said...

I read yalls article in the cottage magazine! Congrats - it was really good

Anonymous said...


You never cease to amaze...another beautiful mantel project. That flag is incredible and loved the pictures in the jars too!

Unknown said...

I love the summertime mantel.

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh - how I love that mantel!

Anonymous said...

Your mantel looks amazing and all of that for $35 - you truely are an inspiration that you don't have to spend a fortune to create a beautiful home. Thanks for sharing (Kathy from Australia)

Heather said...

Love the mantel! You did such a great job with visual balance as always! I'm always struggling to find balance without symmetry. Thanks for great ideas!

Stacey said...

I loved the spring time mantel - but I love love love this mantel - the colors and all the little details. You rock!!! What a talent you have!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Absolutely love your mantel!!!

Gail said...

Way to go on the mantel! It looks so fun and so YOU! I love all the little details...and thanks for the great tips. ;0)

I'm chomping at the bit to decorating our mantel, but right now, it's not even up yet. We're in the process of making a make-shift mantel for our rental house because the fireplace didn't come with one....but I told my hubby....come holidays, I gotta have a mantel!



geri said...

The Flag is priceless!!
I love the starfish as the stars.
I bought a wooden flag about the same size as yours from the Christmas Tree shop. It was 90% off.
The total was 2.16 with tax.
My grown son loved it so much I went back and got another for his house. Now he has one.
I was going to paint mine beachy colors and was going to make just one huge star fish in the corner.
Your idea is so much cuter.
Thank youlayla for the ooddleess of ideas.

I love to try them all. hehe
Who says decorating can't be wayyyyyy to much fun and thrifty too. Geri.

Wendy said...

Hey Layla! Lovin' that mantel...but especially the "flag"! How clever are you??

favoredandblessed said...

Love the new mantel look, LOVE your blog - you totally rock! Also like that your Dad is from Minnesota, just like me! Gotta love the Land of 10,000 Lakes! ;)

{Emily} said...

I love the mantel! You always have such great ideas for your mantels!

Next time you make it back up to MN you'll have to let me know! I would love to do a photo shoot with you and Kevin!


Tales From My Empty Nest said...

Your mantel is awesome. I am loving that flag so much. Those star fish are great. I need to order some. They are so wonderful to decorate with. Thanks for sharing your wonderful pictures. Love & blessings from NC!

Ali @ Honey and Maple Syrup said...

It looks great!!

Carrie-Lee said...

I love that you not only decorate your house the way you and Kevin like it to be, but that you try to decorate the way normal people do it. You use your noggin' to get good deals, and that is just plain smart! One thing I have contemplated is how much I want to make my home look like yours but then I come across a problem, I want to change things out for the seasons, and I find that I like most people who love decorating want to re-decorate often. I am not sure I could marry myself to one style.

Kathryn said...

Layla, your summer mantle is easy, breezy, and beautiful! (Wait ... that sounded like a Cover Girl commercial!) :-D

Also, I like the additional audio clips. I hesitated to click them because I thought they might be too long, but I think they were helpful and just the right length. :-)


Kaye said...

I love your summer mantel! I also love your blog; you give me such inspiration and amazing ideas.

My main question is, "where do you store all of this stuff?" It seems like you're always changing out stuff and redecorating but I just wonder how you store the stuff or do you just get rid of it?


Anonymous said...

Very beautiful. Looks very calm and crisp. I live on the Gulf Coast and it reminds me of my area :)

El Cuaderno de Flores said...

Hi Layla.
I love all your creations. I found specially cute and imaginative the jars with the photos inside.
The mantel is amazing too.
Regards from Spain!

Anonymous said...

wonderful post with great projects! so simple, yet considered. great job! love the beach look for summer that does not break the bank.

michelle said...

Beautiful mantel!! I love the flag made out of the shutters! Cute Cute idea! You have such a inspiring home Layla!

Marianne said...

OH gosh, this is so beautiful. I think I like it even more than your Spring mantel. This is going in my inspiration file, so guess what you will be seeing on my blog in a couple of months or so LOL.
Thanks for the inspiration, yet again.

Gina said...

I love it all so much, I just called my hubby (who just happened to be at Home Depot) & told him to bring me some rope, so that I can wrap my candles! Thanks for the inspiration.

Oona Johnson said...

The cabinets look fantastic in aqua! I really thought you had painted them and you were giving us a sneak peek.

Love the rope and stick pins idea. Clever.

MrsKBJ said...

It looks great. I like the little voice note/ memos. Cute idea!

Anonymous said...


Your mantle is a true reflection of everything you hold dear and near to your heart. It looks great and has captured the essence of the season.

I know you said the aqua paint on your cabinets was photo shopped but when did you get the wicker chairs around your dining room table?

Your Friend,

Lemonade Makin' Mama said...

well, you've done it again! Completely blown my mind by your genius. :)

I am loving the smokey blue and red together- I just slip covered a chair this week in a darling stripe containing those colors! They were really meant to be together.

Laura said...

I love the mantels! They're "poifect!" (That's my weird way I say "perfect")

Dan & Heather said...

Gorgeous as usual. You've totally inspired me. We have this huge brick fireplace that I painted cream and we just found a 2nd hand mantle we're about to hang. I can't wait to use some of your ideas!

Sarah said...

Oh Layla! I've been stalking you ever since I learned about blogs. I visit {or is it lurke?} just about every day and decided I should finally say something.

I love your mantle. I'm jealous we don't have a mantle. I love your whole decorating style. It's beautiful and relaxing.

Ahhh, I feel so much better now that I finally stopped stalking. lol.

Amanda @ Healthy House on the Block said...

Layla, I'm in LOVE with your mantel! The details are amazing - I especially love your jars with sand the photos/postcards. Absolutely beautiful! Thanks so much for sharing the beachy themed beauty! :)

COCOCOZY said...

I love those little rope covered candles. Very cute idea!

Ms Bingles Vintage Christmas said...

The flag sign is just wonderful!
I love it!
Great job~
Thank you for sharing!

Molly said...

mmmm love the aqua blue idea for the lower cabinets! (its just loads of work!) I just painted my cabinets white. Love it. Got to love a foam roller. SAVED.MY.LIFE. and sanity painting the cabinets.

Ei8ht Beach Street said...

Stunning, absolutely gorgeous.

Jessica @ Decor Adventures said...

Love it! You astound me in every post. I am so making those candles :-)

Kimberly said...

LOVE this mantle. Very summery. The details are amazing.

Nicola said...

Just looking at this lovely display - I can almost smell the sea air!

There are so many lovely elements here, but nothing looks cluttered or "over done" - you have a real talent for making everything just look right!
Thanks for sharing

The Single Nester said...

Looks like a dreamy breath of fresh air. Lovely!

Kristi~The Slipcover Girl said... i'm trying to figure out if i have enough scrap wood in the garage to make my own. your mantel is gorgeous!

A Whole Lotta Magic said...

Gorgeous, as always!


Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys said...

I love the flag and driftwood sailboat! Great step-by-step.