Thursday, March 17, 2011

Create a Crisp Look for Your Mantel this Spring...

With today being St. Patrick's Day & all, I thought I'd share a few photos of my latest "mantelscape."  I didn't change my mantel very much to achieve this crisp, clean look.  Take a look at my last mantel post & you'll find I didn't move or replace many of my pieces.  I was inspired by another Willow House Consultant's photos using split peas as fillers for this project.  I'm sorry I can't remember exactly whose page I found that idea on.

To me, green isn't just for St. Patrick's Day, although this does make a cute holiday arrangement.  I think of green as Spring, bringing with it all the new daffodil and tulip buds, as well as those tiny green leaves that will soon replace the flower buds on the trees outside my house.

I was very excited to find split peas at Winco in the bulk bins for only 51 cents a pound.  I bought 5 pounds, and after filling these containers, I still have quite a bit left.  So if you'd like to just buy a couple pounds, that should work well for this project.

As I mentioned, I didn't change my mantel much to create this look.  I removed a couple pieces and replaced them with a large hurricane and some fun green items collected from around my house.  Most of the mantel items come from the new Spring/Summer 2011 Willow House catalog.  (I'll put a link to my website at the end of this post for those of you who would like some more Spring inspiration or who would like to order an item or two from my mantel.)

Being someone who loves symmetry, I always try to give some balance to my designs whether they are created on the computer, with paper or home decorating items.  For this mantelscape, I left my two Stiletto Pedestals in the center, filling in around the candles with the bulk split peas. 

My large hurricane is one of my favorite decorating pieces.  Here, I filled it about 1/3 of the way up with the split peas & pushed an ivory candle down inside until it was firmly set into the split peas.  I've used this hurricane for all sorts of fun holiday arrangements that I share during my parties, and I promise to share those ideas with you soon too!  On either side of my mantelscape I placed small Dragonfly Lanterns filled with just a few of the split peas and a small battery operated tea light.

I placed the small lanterns on either end of my mantelscape to help lead your eye up to the next, taller items.  Sometimes I like to create a pyramid shape with my mantel, having the smallest items on the outside edges and then progressively taller items on each side until you reach the tallest item in the center.

With this mantelscape, I chose to place the smallest items on the outside edges and then a tall item next to each of those.  Next I placed a shorter item on each side and then a taller one in the center.  Sometimes I think it's fun to create a look that encourages your eyes to follow the lines up & down as they view a design.

Some of the fun green items I collected around my house help create a whimsical, personal look for my mantel.  The little plastic grass in the wood container was originally purchased to place out at Easter, but over the years, I've used it in many ways, my favorite being combined with some sand & sea shells for a summer centerpiece.  On the dark pedestal, I placed a dark green ceramic vase with a small frog and next to that I placed Delaney's gymnastics photo from last year.  Dressed in green with a green background, Delaney's photo adds some fun to my mantel and helps it become a much more personal look.  This mantel is mine and couldn't be found in anyone else's home.

While you're looking through magazines, blog posts & internet articles for decorating ideas, never forget to add a little something to personalize the look.  Of course you want people to oh & ah about the decorating looks you create, but you also want them to see you & your family in your home too.  We live in our homes, they aren't just created for magazine photo shoots, so don't be afraid to use your family photos and keepsakes in your decorating!

If you're looking for items included in my mantelscape, head over to my Willow House website to find the Stiletto Pedestals, large Galveston Hurricane, small Dragonfly Lanterns and Rosedale Plant Holders. (The tall pedestal is a discontinued Southern Living at Home item.)  On my website, you'll find all sorts of decorating ideas and you'll be able to order from both the Willow House catalog and bargain priced outlet.

And if you just can't get enough decorating ideas, don't miss the new MyStyleShare website created by Willow House as an online decorating community.  It's free to join and upload your decorating photos and videos.  Tons of ideas are already on the website and I'm working on adding more to my page during the next few weeks.  My username is julies, and I'd love to hear your decorating comments and questions either here on my blog or over at MyStyleShare.

Enjoy your St. Patrick's Day!  I'm off to add a little green frosting to my cupcakes & make an Asparagus Pizza for dinner!  All green, all the time around here!

This week, I'm sharing my post with the bloggers over at Today's Creative!  Tuesday is "Get Your Craft On" day over there and there are usually about 500 bloggers who link their creations every Tuesday!!!  So this is THE Place to find all sorts of new ideas perfect for decorating & crafting of all kinds every week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Layout of the Week - Me & U with Bo Bunny

Hi there! :)  I'm Julie and I have a problem....  OK, maybe it's not that bad, but I certainly haven't been a good blogger for...about a year now!  I guess for quite a while, I was in a creative funk.  Now I'm just so crazy busy that this is the first scrapbook layout I've really taken time to create for myself in months.  And in another amazing feat (for me anyway), I even shot a photo of it, uploaded it and Photoshopped it a bit for you.  So I'll share a little bit about it's story & then get back to my 4 part time jobs.  Yes, 4, no lying around here!

If you can remember way back when in this blog, I'm sure I've mentioned that I moderate an online community for the local scrapbook store where I work, Whimzee's Scrapbook Studio.  Well, right now, we have almost 600 project photos posted, so that's where I go to look for layout inspiration.  And just look what I found...

This fun layout was created by Kris, our online member with the most uploaded photos.  I love how she uses only half of the bracket die cut and gives the illusion of the other half by tracing its shape onto her background.  Such an amazing idea and also a money saving one.  Now, she has the other half of the bracket to use in another project.  I'll have to ask her what she did with that other half, or just check her project photos to see if I can find it!

Personally, I think "scraplifting" is the highest form of scrapbook flattery!  It says, "I love your layout so much that I'd use it with my own photos!"  It also gives those of us who are unpublished, the those warm fuzzy feelings of having people love us for our creativity! :)  So please, please use my layout (via Kris, of course) to create something for yourself!

For my project, I chose mostly Bo Bunny products from the Love Bandit line from Valentine's last year.  If you remember, I had another layout of the week, back then using this same collection, Little Love Bugs.  For my background, I chose Bo Bunny's Turquoise Dot paper from their Double Dot Designs Collection.  Such amazing colors and wonderful matching backgrounds, with just a touch of texture.  Now they are available in more patterns than just the dots!  When we were ordering for the store, we just couldn't decide, even after hearing from our loyal Facebook fans, and decided to order them all!  I hear they just arrived yesterday, so I'm heading down today to check out the yummy colors and patterns in person!

This is a very simple layout to create.  Just choose your background and a die cut shape.  Cut the shape in half and lay one half down on your background.  Then take the other half and a pen in a matching color and trace the die cut onto the background.  I loved Kris's idea of moving the background askew a few times and tracing it over & over.  Don't worry about your lines not matching up perfectly.  Just use a paper stripe or a page length sticker (or both, like I did) to cover up the edge of your die cut and the area where the lines meet its edge.  Then have at it!  Lay your photos and embellishments on top and play with them until you like the way they're arranged and get gluing! :)

Being a fan of a beat up or distressed look, I took a large brown Bo Bunny "U" and sanded it with some sand paper from the garage and then rubbed some brown Technique Tuesday ink all over it's surface.  Always being one to add extra texture, I had a piece of thin pink twine on my table (left over from creating samples for this weekend's workshop at the store), so I wrapped it around the "U" a few times and tied it in a knot.  For one more distressed item, I used a tag from Creative Cafe.  Now, I've had this sheet of tags lying around FOREVER, just waiting for the perfect project.  I HAD to have these tags, but was never sure what to use them for.  They look exactly like the tags that The GAP used to use on all their clothes, I worked there in college and they brought back lot's of fun memories.  I chose the brown tag that says "Just Because" at the top and in fine print "I Love You" in the center.  My love of distressing took over at this point and I remembered a previous layout where I took a new tag and made it look old in my, Children of the Corn layout.  So I wadded up the tag as much as I could and then rubbed the TT brown ink over the ridges, not too much, I still wanted to read the writing.  Then I punched a hole and added a small piece of the BB green dot ribbon.

Overall, this was a pretty simple project.  I gathered my supplies and then put it together in about 15 minutes.  So the next time you're looking to "scraplift" an idea, try looking online in one of the many scrapbooking communities like ours.  These communities are a great way to meet other scrappers, share ideas and ask questions.  Remember...all scrapbookers love to hear that you like their layouts & ideas.  So when you find something you love, be sure to leave a comment for the creator and if you want to use their photo on your blog, like I did, always ask permission first.  Thanks, Kris! :)


- Browse online scrapbook communities for layouts to "scraplift".
- Don't be afraid to use left overs from another project to create something totally new.
- Holiday collections aren't just for holidays...this collection was a Valentine's collection & I've used it here to showcase a fun summer photo of my kids.
- To get a distressed look, use your imagination & items from around the house.  Here I wadded my tag & sanded my chipboard before inking both.


Papers, Stickers, Chipboard & Ribbon
Bo Bunny

Rhinestones by Kaisercraft
Tag by Creative Cafe
Ink by Technique Tuesday
Unknown...Sandpaper & Twine


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