Smiles Are Just Jack-O’-Lanterns Waiting to Happen

That’ll make sense later, I promise.

One of the main reasons the fireplace fix-up became a priority was because I was itching to get to the stage where we could install a mantle.  Which means I wanted to decorate the mantle.  There’s just something about a fireplace mantle that makes you wanna get all seasonal with your décor.  So after I finished white washing the brick , we put up the mantle (details to come at a later date) and finally I had my opportunity.  There was only one small issue.  Decorating a mantle is hard.  At least for me.  It falls into that category of staging a book case or an accent table…it’s hard to find that perfect balance of decorative items placed in just the right positions and proportions to look cohesive and stylish. I especially found the 94″ length of our mantle to be a challenge.  That’s a looong stretch of real estate to fill up.  I tried my hand at it during the summer, but never really hit the sweet spot.  But once fall rolled around I decided I could get inspired by the autumn-ness and take another stab at it.  You’ve already seen step 1 in my previous post:

The round mirror was the first piece I placed up there that really worked for me.  It’s from Ikea, and I love the touch of metallic, and the tone on tone softness it brings to the space. The blue vase/orange stem combination was inspired by Better Homes and Garden, they featured an almost identical look in the September issue and I became obsessed with recreating it.  I picked up the vases at Hobby Lobby and Ross, and the dried flowers actually came from the grocery store.  The twig pumpkins are from Target (years ago), which brings us to the barn star.

My sweet, sweet, sweet barn star.  Did you know that I love barn stars and I don’t know why? It’s true.  There’s just no denying it. I have been looking for an inexpensive metal/tin barn star for possibly two years.  I’ve even plotted to take a wooden barn star from Michael’s and spray paint it to look metallic – which may or may not have worked.  But luckily instead, fate stepped in 2 weeks ago and presented me with a whole shelf of barn stars at Homegoods. It took all of my strength to not by 20 barn stars and OHMYGOSH I blacked out – what’s happening?? Am I still talking about barn stars??? (clears throat) Let’s move on.

I got this far and stood back to survey my work

I like it.  Is it changing your life?  Probably not.  It definitely could be more complex.  But it’s sort of hitting that spot for me where I find it effortlessly well styled.  I often look at other people’s decorating and think to myself “Wow, that looks so good yet SO SIMPLE at the same time.” Which then always reminds me of that scene from The Office where Dwight says “Michael always says K-I-S-S.  Keep it simple stupid.  Great advice…hurts my feelings every time.”

Anyways, once I was happy with the top of the mantle, I decided to add some flair to the under carriage.  I wanted to do some sort of cutesy DIY garland, so I took to pinterest for ideas, and ended up finding this jewel. Love it. Sold.  I picked up a bag of pine cones from Michael’s and got my spray paint on.  In the interest of using what I already had on hand, I decided to paint the cones white, metallic silver, and cranberry.  Great idea in theory, except when I was done, I wasn’t feeling it.  For starters the metallic silver looked almost identical to the white pine cones.

As you probably can’t tell, the one on the left is silver and the one on the right is white.  Besides for that issue, the cranberry pine cones just weren’t adding enough contrast.  They were sort of blending into the brown of the mantle.  It was obvious that I needed to go back to the drawing board, so I gave into the original design and picked up some yellow spray paint for my second go ‘round.

Oh yeah.  Much better.  To string them up, I knotted a small piece of fishing line around the middle of each pine cone, then tied the line to a piece of twine.  I was all pleased with myself and ready to show it off to Jeff, who sweetly mentioned – as only a husband can – that it looked like a smile.

At first I didn’t get what he meant….and then I saw it.  And then I couldn’t unsee it.  So I draped the garland in the middle and wah-lah:

Now we have a toothy jack-o’-lantern smile.  But it’s ok. I’ve made peace with it.  It fits the season, right?  Also you’ll see that I added our fireplace screen to help camouflage the stained firebox bricks.  I originally wanted to paint those bricks black like so:

But long story short, I think we’re going to buy an insert and convert this puppy to gas in the near future, so I didn’t want to waste my money on the heat-resistant paint (which can be found here if you’re interested).  I think the screen does a decent job for the mean time, and with the addition of some candles, we had a full blown ambiance situation on our hands.



Image of fireplace with painted black firebox from here



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5 responses to “Smiles Are Just Jack-O’-Lanterns Waiting to Happen

  1. sandy

    Those pumpkins are to die for! So cute. Love what you’ve done with your mantle 🙂 Looks awesome!

  2. Kathy

    I thought your star was metal, so you fooled me.

    • No, my barn star is metal…Before i found it, i was considering trying to make a wood barn star (which i found at Michaels) look metal. But instead i found a true-blue metal one at homegoods

  3. oooohhh beautiful!!! HOW IN THE WORLD did I miss this post? I’m so glad you’re back. sheesh 94″ is a really long mantle. im impressed with what you did with it!

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