How to style a stylin’ mantle: The sequel

One of the most popular posts on this here blog was an inaugural mantle-styling how-to, starring James putting up some garland while I stood on the couch on the other side of the room and barked orders at him. He is a really great helper, and we loved that mantle setup so much, we didn’t change it until we moved and put all the crap into boxes.

Well, guess what? We’re done moving. It’s time to decorate the mantle in the new digs using the same layering technique we used in the first post. Also heavily relying on a technique I like to call “Put stuff where the cat can’t get it,” and so far, this technique works, because she has yet to jump up on the mantle and stick her paw in a jar full of marbles.

Enough of my yammering. LET’S DO THIS!

STEP 1: Start with the Big Stuff … and an empty mantle.

In this case, I started with three framed Dolan Geiman prints, which you might have seen before. They’re kind of crooked, but life goes on. Also, those cool reclaimed wood-lookin’ frames? HOMEGOODS. SO CHEAP. Find me one person who can’t find a treasure at HomeGoods and I will make that person my enemy.

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STEP 2: Add something soft-looking to balance the hard edges of larger items.

It should come as no shock to you that I’m choosing (AGAIN) to incorporate what some may consider Christmas-y decor, but greenery always has the green light in my book. If you think otherwise, throw up a cool berry swag or some really pretty magnolia leaf garland here. The options! They’re endless!

fancykins mantle 13 fancykins mantle 14Also in soft-ish looking things, I added a yellow basket smack-dab in the middle of the fireplace to make the whole thing look more purposeful, thanks to the yellow fireplace tiles and yellow elements in the hanging art. Also, I just really like the basket.

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STEP 3: Anchor your corners.

Making a second mantle appearance (!!!) is this silver candelabra, dug out from a box of Halloween decorations, opposite a tall lantern with a Luminara LED candle inside. Also, that candle? I’m obsessed with it. It’s quite possibly the star of the mantle … and our entire home. LED candles have come a long way, people.

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STEP 4: Finish it off with random knickknacks.

Obviously the best part of the whole thing … unless you’re drinking while decorating, in which case this is the SECOND most fun part. I was feeling saucy – thanks in part to a baby who refuses to let me sleep for more than a few hours straight each night – so I threw knickknacks on in a few stages: large, medium, small. SO CLEVER, I’M AWARE.

First up, we have the big guys, AKA some jars I didn’t have room for anywhere else in the house. One of them is empty, and I didn’t care because I’m lazy and sleep deprivation is a real thing.

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Next, we have medium, AKA a few candle holder things, which hold candles I will probably never light.

fancykins mantle 18 fancykins mantle 9And, finally, we have tiny things, AKA a small bird that the cat thinks is a toy, and a tin cup with a candle inside … that I also probably will never light.

fancykins mantle 17 fancykins mantle 8BAM. Done.

Behold the finished product, complete with a second lantern and Luminara candle (obsessed, really), a wood block of votive candles, and a crock of blankets. Also (accidentally) pictured are a bag of almonds and a basket of breast pump parts. KEEPING IT CLASSY PER USUAL.

fancykins mantle 2 fancykins mantle 7 fancykins mantle 6 fancykins mantle 5 fancykins mantle 4And, for the sake of keeping it real and all that jazz, here’s what the living room looks like ALL THE TIME NOW. Baby gear up the wazoo.

fancykins mantle 1There’s Wilder taking a quick morning snooze in the Snugapuppy Rock ‘n Play, which we resisited buying because I thought it was obnoxious and unnecessary, but then finally caved and bought it and OH MY GOD, GREATEST NAPTIME PURCHASE EVER. Buy this thing, and you will be able to pee and shower and cook dinner and do laundry and anything else you could possibly dream of.

Sigh. If only adulting was as fun as mantle decorating.

What fun stuff are YOU guys up to lately?

My (Friday) five favorite things in our apartment

I don’t know about you, but I was kind of getting tired of my previous Friday Five format: food, music, weekend idea, blogger, random category I referred to as potpourri.


So last week, I shared my five most anticipated Lollapalooza acts (still pretty stoked for those, by the way), and today I’m sharing my five favorite things in our apartment. You’ve seen our plate wall, and our mantle. But what other goodies do we have crammed into the space? LET ME SHOW YOU …

5. Animal hooks from HomeGoods, which are at the perfect purse level next to the front door.

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Also pictured: Cha’s ultimate favorite cat toy.

4. This handy-dandy mason jar candle holder.


My mom and her friend bought a lot online, then gave me a bunch so I can put one (or two) in every room.

3. This mirror, and the butler’s pantry it reflects.

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Yet another thing I like to fill with junk treasures.

2. Oil painting my grandma made, which I literally nabbed off her wall last spring.


Just to be clear, I got permission first.

1. James! And Cha Cha!

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I mean, how could I not put these two in the No. 1 spot?

What are your favorite things crammed in your apartments? Please share – I LOVE creeping on other people’s digs.

Etsy spotlight: West Sheridan, and the special place it holds in my heart (and on my wall)

I met Nicole, the artist behind West Sheridan, about five years ago, when we were both wedding bloggers. And when I say met, I mean we’ve never technically met in real life, and yet she is seriously one of the greatest people I’ve ever connected with. Like, just talking about her makes me want to hug my computer.

The internet is an amazing thing, isn’t it?

Fast-forward a few years later, as I racked my brain to think of a groom’s gift for James. Cuff links, while nice in theory, are totally useless 99 percent of the time. He didn’t need a watch, I couldn’t see him getting excited about a personalized flask or pint glass, and it would have been a pain to travel to or from Key West with any cool bottles of liquor. All of that stuff is pretty basic, anyway, and James is anything but that. So what’s a girl to do?

I emailed Nicole, of course. All I did was give her a few song lyrics, and she whipped up a super-special print that is SERIOUSLY SO PERFECT.


Nicole found a vintage map of the Keys – James and I totally have a thing for maps – and added lyrics from a Neutral Milk Hotel song along with our wedding date. I couldn’t be happier with anything if I tried!

If you’ve seen our wedding video (side note, if you haven’t, CLICK HERE), then you’ve seen James opening his groom’s gift and crying happy tears. BUT, you have no idea just how great it looks on our dining room wall.

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Side note, it’s probably time to take down the Valentine’s Day garland on that trunk, huh?

But enough of my yammering. Head over to West Sheridan’s Etsy and Instagram pages, and take a gander at the other great stuff Nicole whips up, though I can’t recommend her custom work enough. You’ll want to hug your computer, too, trust me.

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