Thursday, May 26, 2011

A mirror over the mantel

Hey hey! How the heck are ya? I’m happy because So You Think You Can Dance started again tonight – I LOVE that show so stinkin’ much! If you haven't seen it, check it out – it’s the American Idol for dancing – but better I think. ;)

Anyhoo, in anticipation of my friend Layla’s wrap-up of our summer linkies, I wanted to change up our mantel a bit:

It’s looked like this, with a few minor changes, for YEARS. And by the way, the idea for this change was planted my Miss Layla herself.  ;)

Have I mentioned how much corner fireplaces suck? Really. And that I chose to have a corner fireplace instead of a normal, “easy” one?

I have? OK --  just wanted to be clear.  :)

It’s deep but not as wide as a normal FP. I think it’s lower too, so there’s more wall space above it. And there’s two little bitty walls instead of one large one. So large art or one big statement piece just won’t work.

I was determined to change it up this time though. Stretch a bit. Go outside of my comfort zone. Do something I never said I would. :)

When I worked in the design world years ago, a very smart designer once told me that she never used mirrors over fireplaces. She pointed out the reflection that turns into your “art” – usually the ceiling. Or a light fixture.

Not always the prettiest parts of the room.

So I’ve tried to work around using mirrors – but over the past few years I’ve seen some gorgeous ones, and they look pretty amazing above fireplaces. Beautiful colored frames, different shapes – and these mirrors also add some light to the space with their reflections.

So I decided to try it. I told you I don’t follow any rules. :)

I set out to make a mirror – and I wanted it big. I’ve had a bathroom mirror that the builder left, and was planning on using it:

(That’s a picture of the side of the mirror, if you couldn’t tell by my excellent photo skills.)

It was the perfect size, but it was SO heavy. Because I was DIYing this, I wanted something a little less substantial (lighter) so I headed out to Lowe’s.

I picked up a $24 bathroom mirror that was the same size (two by three feet), but with a pretty bevel on the edge. And it was MUCH lighter than the one I had. I made the mirror exactly like this one I made for the dining room (instructions at that link!).

You’d think I had never touched a power tool before this though – I made SO many wrong cuts. I had to fill in the spaces with slivers, because I didn’t want to buy any more trim:

measure twice cut once

But because I’m OK with less than perfect, and because it will usually be hidden, and because most normal people (read: not me) would never notice it, I made it work. Thank you spackle!

See? Don’t even see it:

DIY mirror

On one side, I added my cutie round birdcage, a Pottery Barn clearance item I found last summer:

pottery barn birdcage

I saw the idea to paint a mason jar (I thought it was here but now I can’t find the post. Could be wrong!) and thought it was so pretty!

I chose a yellow spray paint I had on hand (Creme Yellow from Valspar) and just sprayed the outside of one of my jars:

painted mason jars

I was going to paint the other one white, but I liked the clear with the yellow. (The water is cloudy because I had just added the floral powder to the jar.)

At first I had some lanterns on the other side of the mantel, but they were too short next to the tall mirror, so I went back to the candlesticks:

goodwill candlesticks

And I like the simplicity of them, the varied heights, the colors. I was thisclose to painting one yellow, but I thought that might get a little too matchy. :)

Because I felt like the mirror needed a little somethin’, I added our moss “S” to the front:

mossy letter

You can see how I made that mossy goodness here.

And I love how simple and clean it is now:

mirror above corner fireplace

I was just a tad bit tired of those iron scrolly jobbies, so this is something different for now. I kept them though – just in case. ;)

It’s still not my dream mantel, but it’s a mantel so I’m not complaining!!

And I cannot WAIT to get that TV and stand out of the way! Forever and a day they have driven me batty there:

They are moving soon in anticipation of our new sectional. So. excited. Only six to eight weeks left! Gah. I’m sure it will fly by, right?!

I have a couple ideas in mind to change this fireplace up a bit more, but they’re going to take a bit more work.

So for now, I’m so happy with the change! It was four years of (basically) the same set up and I needed something different:

corner fireplace decor

The only problem now? I have to get tricky tricky when taking pictures, or you see this:

Hello there Blogger!

And you can see the reflection of the mess in the rest of the house, so we’ll see how long this mirror lasts. ;)

This little corner has come a long way though! The before, years ago:

And now a classic look for summer:

decorating a corner fireplace

Me likey. :)

Do you struggle when it comes to decorating your mantel? I posted a few tips a couple of years ago that may help – you can find those here!

I’m linking this up to Lay’s party over at The Lettered Cottage! Check out all of the mantel/display/vignette inspiration!

P.S. I secured the mirror up there by adding hanging hooks to the back and one to the top of the fireplace. I ran twine through them all and tied it off, so it can’t tilt or fall off.

85 comments:

  1. I like your new mantel arrangement very much! The mirror fills up that awkward space nicely--or at least, you can ignore that awkward space since it's BEHIND the mirror! Love the mason jars, and the birdcage!

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  2. What a beautiful look! It looks sleeker and cleaner, even though I think if I counted there are more things on the mantle now? But I luv it! The yellow is a very pretty touch!

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  3. I LOVE the new mantel! The mirror totally eliminates the corner bit and acts as a wall. It bounces the light and the corner stops being a dead zone for the eye. If it were my house, I'd keep the mirror up indefinitely!

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  4. I LOVE it! It has such a bright summery look.

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  5. Love it! What a great idea to place the mirror in the middle to camouflage the corner placement. And I really love the mason jars in the cage. Just lovely! :) I'm really struggling with our mantle. Our whole fireplace really...it needs a major makeover. This has definitely inspired me!

    Mandy @ This Girl's Life

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  6. I love what you've done, Sarah! The mirror really opens up the rest of the room. So light and airy!

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  7. Party on girl! Love the mirror too and it does help the corner to fill the space. It creates a wall if you will to lean things against and reflect the light.
    Awesome, and love the yellow!
    You ROCK! Have a great weekend and holiday

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  8. LOVE the large scale of the mirror/letter combo! Fills out the space but it's still simple. Love love. Also, LOOOOOOVE with a capital LOVE, So You Think You Can Dance!!! Watching it right now! Completely obsessed. I have no skills, so I live vicariously through them.

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  9. I like it! I especially LOVE the big mossy S!

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  10. I LOVE IT! The mirror looks awesome on your mantel! I don't have a corner mantel but ours is really deep (like, deep enough for a big huge tube TV), so I feel your pain :) You did a wonderful job!

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  11. Love the change! Wow. you could build in a cabinet there and have some funky triangular storage and a mirror on the door...always endless possibilities , no?

    PS- I am totally stealing the mossy "S" idea for our dining room mirror :)

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  12. I think this look better than anything else you have ever done, but I still think you need a vase with some pretty branches maybe even with yellow blooms on them, kinda cascading over the mirror, something tall maybe instead of that tallest candlestick, but just a suggestion, great summer mantle with the green moss S.

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  13. I just love the updated look! YES I have such a hard time decorating my mantle. It's rounded and has 1 large wall and 2 small walls that create a weird shape. Let's just say, it looks cool but it's so hard to decorate!!

    Hannah

    http://youngancrafty.blogspot.com/

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  14. I like the mirror in the corner, it brightens up the space a lot.

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  15. Love the mirror and the little touch of yellow! Beautiful job.

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  16. Sarah, I'd love to know how you secured the frame to the mirror itself. I have an awesome antique mirror with beveled edges but the existing old frame is ugly and falling apart. I'd love to use molding to give it a new look, but I'm not sure how to attach the molding to the mirror part. Thanks! It looks great!

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  17. Oh Em Gee. Seriously, I love it! It looks so good and it's come so far! This is great inspiration. Showing how you made the mirror has solved TWO problems in my house that have been bothering me for the year and a half we've lived here. I'm all for DIY so I can't believe I've been searching the stores for the perfect mirrors for so long. I think I know how I'll be spending the long weekend!

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  18. I recently made my own mirror for over the fireplace but now I'm struggling with how to decorate the mantel with that as the backdrop!

    What a great idea to stick the mirror there and camouflage that corner. I never would have thought to spray a mason jar, either!

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  19. I definitely struggle with my fireplace/mantle area. I am debating painting a cherry wood mantle white but, some folks might think that is blasphemous. Also, I'm stuck with a brassy door frame ... hmmm. I've also done the mirror thing but my mantle is high so its definitely a view of the ceiling so now there is a painting there. But, I'm still not happy. Its a process. I do like what you have done with the mirror ... more light.

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  20. Sarah,

    I LOVE the new mirror!!! Love it love it love it.

    I also love all your moulding around the fireplace. Swoon.

    I have an idea. Take it with a grain of salt...

    What if you actually got some 2x4s and framed out across the mantle top and then created a "faux" wall that is the same direction as the fireplace instead of making a corner in the back? You could put up some wainscoating or even just nice wood across the front and paint it all white and add the moulding trim to it.

    For example, my fireplace is a corner one as well, but my wall above isn't a corner wall. Does that make sense? Here's a picture of my fireplace so you can imagine what I'm talking about:

    http://www.houseofhepworths.com/2011/05/12/house-tour-family-room/

    Granted, I haven't added any moulding or trim yet like yours, but I am planning on it!!

    You could so easily create a false front across that space, clear to the ceiling and no one would have a clue it was fake. I think it would look great.

    xoxo

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

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  21. YESSSS!!! SYTYCD!! :) I was countin down the days! And I so agree with your description. way better. he he!
    Your mantel looks great love the mossy letter and the mirror. And the yellow Ball jar?? LOVE! I'm gonna have to remember that little trick!

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  22. I love your new mantel arrangement! It's looks very pretty and fresh, totally my style.

    Jessie
    www.mixandchic.com

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  23. Sarah, I ♥ that moss "S"! Your mantel looks spring fabulous!

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  24. I love your new mantle look! So sleek and summery and light. I'm struggling with our [new] corner mantle and right now we have a painting, candles and a wreath. It's an ongoing process!

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  25. Oh my word, Sarah! It looks so much better than your original "Before" shot. Wow! I think adding the initial was the crowning touch. Perfect!!

    Excited for your sectional...will look fantastic, I'm sure. :)

    All the Tweets about Live Writer, and WP, and SEO really have me thinking today. I'm not sure what I should be thinking about, but I know I should be thinking. ;)

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  26. I think the new mantel looks GREAT, and I think the mossy "S" rounds it out perfectly. Can't wait to see your new sectional too. We just got ours last weekend after two long months - but well worth it! It's our first sectional, and I'm loving it! Check it out -
    http://evolutionofstyleblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/sectional-has-landed_23.html

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  27. Wow! What a difference! I looove the new look. The mirror adds alot & even though the overall look is simpler it feels more dramatic to me. :-) I love it!

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  28. I love the touch of yellow, and I think I need a big moss letter for my mirror too. I LOVE it!

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  29. I love the change! Looks great, Sarah. I think it visually really opened up that corner.

    Enjoy the 3-day weekend! :)

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  30. Very nice! I like how this reduces the depth of the mantle. The other looks seemed to accentuate the depth and angle.

    I agree, those corner fireplaces are a pain in the neck! We had one in our first home, but ours didn't even have the nice moulding. It was all just drywall. Plain, boring drywall. I eventually added some tile around the fire box, but that's as far as I got.

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  31. I love the change, and I think it is brilliant to decorate it as if there was a flat wall--totally covers up the difficult corner!

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  32. Sara, Where did you get those candlesticks? I've searched your blog and most of the east coast for something similar and can't find them. I NEED them! email me at jodi.hunt at erm dot com

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  33. i love it!! i think you should leave the mirror! who cares if it reflects a little mess? and if it reflects you, well that's okay since you're so darn adorable! i think it adds a lot of light to that space. i love mirrors! also, is it creepy that i waited ALL DAY to see what you were going to do with your mantel?? yes? a little? well i did. i kept checking, and i was so happy to see it in all its beauty! : )

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  35. Me "likey" too!!!! I'd love to see photos of how you did the hooks in back...and So You Think You Can Dance is our fav too!!!!

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  36. Hey there Lady!

    Follower of your blog...LUV IT!!! The mantel looks GREAT!!! Keep up the good work, love seeing your projects :o)

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  37. Love the makeover. So fresh. It is time for many of our ISJ's (iron scrolly jobbies) to move on to the great big wrought iron garden fence in the sky - thanks for blazing the trail.

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  38. I really like the new look!

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  39. Very cute! Love the painted mason jar :)

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  40. oooh def my favorite look so far!! great job!

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  41. You TOTALLY inspire me!
    THANK YOU!

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  42. I love the mirror and that yellow jar? I'm doing that TODAY! I have a slew of jars and that exact color of spray already. It was ment to be.

    I'm pretty sure your S is upside down..... it looks like it to me in the photos anyway.

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  43. I really like the new touches you made. It's always good to freshen things up with a change of seasons. :)

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  44. I absolutely love it with the mirror. Perfect styling too! Well done!

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  45. I absolutely love it with the mirror. Perfect styling too! Well done!

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  46. Sarah...
    I've only read your first paragraph and have no idea what the rest of this entry is about, but just immediately wanted to comment on your love for SYTYCD:

    A. To the Men. So much better than Idol! :)

    Now back to reading!

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  47. i absolutely love the new mantle...and would probably trade you everyday for a corner mantle vs the one i have...our fireplace is in the middle of our room and so the mantle literally stretches from the fireplace all the way to the wall...about 10 ft+ long and 4ish ft wide and can be seen from both the living room & dining room/kitchen (it acts as a divider for the two areas)...we put in a builtin when we first moved in and that helps some but still its huge!!!! just out of curiosity have you ever considered putting a false wall up there to try to live without the actual corner?

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  48. Love, love, love your mantle. You've done a great job with the angled mantle.

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  49. it looks amazing! i don't think it looks corner mantel-y at all with the mirror. we just installed a corner fireplace in our basement, and i had gone back and forth for a while about fit and how it would look-but i think since we built it up and we will recess a tv in the wall, it's not very "cornery" if that makes sense. it's in the corner, but not a corner unit.

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  50. Okay - the mantel is darling, as is the monogram. Very nice.

    But let's talk about SYTYCD!!! I'm a huge fan! Mainly because I used to dance. No, wait . . . I just started teaching again - after 20 years -gack! Can you stand it?!? I'm an ol' grandma now and I'm teaching jazz dance again!!!

    My spirit is soaring and my feet are 'sore-ing' ;)

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  51. This looks so great! And I especially love your big S, which is our daughter's first initial :)

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  52. I LOVE your moss letter. I went to the craft store just last night to do a moss wreath with that most paper. However, the smell of the moss paper was gross! Was it just the one I picked up? Did you think it smelled weird? I didn't end up getting it because of that. I don't want it to smell up my house. I'd love to know what you think!

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  53. Sarah,
    This is just something to think about. Have you thought about building out that corner so that you would have an angled wall? It would be flat and give you more options for decorating above the mantel.
    I love what you did and it makes a big difference. Sometimes the smallest of changes make the biggest impact.

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  54. This looks fantastic and I think adds so much character to the fireplace!

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  55. That looks great! Love the idea of painting the mason jar!

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  56. You did a super job with your mantel. It is so inviting. I have to admit, I love what you did with the mason jars. This gives me an idea.

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  57. Liking this a lot, esp the way it brings the mantel forward. Mirrors are great!

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  58. ugh I have a huge mirror on my mantel too that is not adding any aesthetic value! :( and my ledge is not that wide so I can't layer much either *sigh*

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  59. Love this look, really brightens up your space. I had the same thing over my mantel in our old house. I loved how much bigger it made the space feel. Your moss letter looks great too!

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  60. I love the painting of the mason jars! Such a cute and simple thing to do! I'll have to steal that idea for my own place!

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  61. Try this link for painting your mason jars!
    http://burlapandlaceblog.blogspot.com/2011/05/dining-room-reveal.html

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  62. I love the makeover mantel. So fitting for spring and summer.

    Dee

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  63. I love it all... the mirror, the moss letter, the mason jars.... it's perfection wrapped up on a mantel!! Fab. U. Lous.

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  64. I love the mantel! I am going to recreate your "s"... it is the perfect element to pull everything together! A great change.. I love when a small change can make a big impact!

    Tiffany {living savvy}
    www.savvydesignwest.com

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  65. Hi there!

    ...i just found your blog, and have to say I have had so much fun looking around...much pretty pictures and inspition here*smile*

    ..your new mantel arrangement is beautiful!

    Whis for great weekend for you and yours*smile*

    Best whishes!

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  66. LOVE the mason jars! I going to do some next week. Hope they look as good as yours.

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  67. I love the mantel makeover, it has a fresh, clean feel to it. That moss 'S' is super cute. I'm new to the blog world and a new follower. Btw, I already found a post of yours I'm definitely bookmarking: how to paint your cabinets. That's our next big project in our home.

    Lisa
    thebrittainhouse.blogspot.com

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  68. Love your mantle scape....so cute!! I really love the moss letter over the mirror!! I just found your blog via The Lettered Cottage and I am gonna to follow! Have a great weekend!

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  69. I LOVE the addition of the mirror! It takes all the cornery-ness out of the corner, and makes it feel more like a flat wall. I think it's a huge improvement! Yay!

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  70. Wow - that looks amazing!! I LOVE mirrors over mantels - I think they look so beautiful!! I do not have a mirror over my mante but I ust may put one up now (and make one of those moss letters and spray paint a mason jar and put up some beautiful molding).

    Sarah from The House That Ag Built

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  71. Looks great Sarah. The before photo looks lifeless. The mirror and the Pottery Barn cage added more value to the corner area.

    It's simple and clean, but I think it's a little bit crowded. Maybe you can ditch one candle holder?

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  72. Love it! Looks great and very fresh- very much reminds me of a personalized version of a PB display in a good way.
    I am with you on the corner fireplace. My mom has one- it's a large brick fireplace set into a corner, but the wall above it is finished at an angle too- so there is no recessed corner behind/above the mantle. I think it makes it look more seamless because instead of looking like the firebox part is stuck in a corner with a corner above it, it looks like just a room with angled corners. Hard to describe. But it gives you that flat wall above your mantle to display things like any other flat walled fireplace. Have you ever thought of either DIYing or havinga contracter put drywall diagnally across that corner for that kind of effect if you hate your mantle? My mom's crown finishes across it and it's a really built in look for a corner fireplace. Just a thought.
    Anyhow, love your mantle scape!

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  73. VERY nice job on the mantel! Fresh and updated and classic all at once.

    My husband and I have a hearth products store... so decorating above mantels is not new to me. Here's a tip for you on hanging mirrors - whether above a mantel or just on a wall.

    Any mirror that's hung above eye level will reflect the ceiling of the room as you look at it. It's all in the angles. BUT, if you hang a mirror so the top of the mirror is away from the wall, and the bottom of the mirror is against the wall, it will reflect what is in the room. WAY more interesting. An easy way to do this is to put a couple of eye screws in the sides of the mirror frame, but below the vertical halfway point of the mirror. String picture hanging wire between the eye screws, and then hang the mirror on that. By having the lower point of attachment, the mirror will angle away at the top.

    The other thing we have done is to actually put two hooks on the mirror (like the old style used to hook a screen door closed), and eye screws on the wall. Then we hook the mirror onto the eye screws.

    This all assumes you won't be moving the mirror too often! I hope this made sense! Keep bringing the great ideas -- I love them!!

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  74. I love your mantle, love the moss letter, I might try it today, I got inspired by yours. Also, love the new camera, I use picknic and is freee,
    love
    martha

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  75. WAAAAAY cute! I love the mirror over the mantel...me thinks I may have to copy... :)

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  76. I really enjoyed this! The ideas are fantastic and unique, perfect for someone like me who wants to make a statment when it comes to decor. Thanks for sharing!
    ~Rachel Leigh

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  77. We wanted to say that we love your blog. So creative, attainable and all about showing people ways to make their homes better now! We are all for that! Nice to see good things that can help inspire others. Just wanted to share that. Keep it up!

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  78. First of all I LOVE SYTYCD too!! and do believe I like it more than idol too! ;) anyway just wanted to say that I LOVE the idea to spray the Ball jars!! Going to do it to one I just found in our basement a few weeks ago! :) thanks for the inspiration!

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  79. I have always had a mirror above my mantel and I don't think it will ever come down! The reflection of the mirror makes the room look bigger. Good choice!

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  80. This is my favorite version of your mantel so far. It looks like you've been super busy.

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  81. My first time on your blog via Pinterest...but not my last...love your solution to the problem...wish we had a Joann's over here in the U.K...and Michaels and all the rest but not yet. Can I say that I think you have hung/glued your 'S' upside down...to me it looks like the inside space of the S at the bottom is smaller than the inside space at the top and therefore looks like it's upside down....I am a pickey calligrapher...check it out and see if my eyesight is ok. Otherwise it's super!

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