Friday, October 29, 2010

Pottery Barn copies Target???

Okay, I L-O-V-E me some Pottery Barn. My wallet (and therefore, my husband) don't always share the same adoration for our favorite over-priced-but-oh-so-grand retailer.

(sidebar) I have been dreaming about giving my living room a little umph here lately. I don't know if, now that I have finally pretty much finished getting my house decorated, I feel the need to start from the beginning again? Or what? But it has just been feeling a little dreary in there. I don't want to go all out and buy new furniture because we will not be in this house forever. And our furniture is in decent shape, it holds up well to stains (and with two dogs and a baby is a GOOD thing!), and it fits the space pretty well because it is on a smaller scale. I think it will be great to put in a den or family room in our next home, if we have such a space.

So, back to PB. I was dreaming about a rug for our living room, since the one we have is a hand-me-down and doesn't fit the space all that well. I have been drooling over this beauty for quite some time... (I don't need diamonds. Give me home decor!!!)

It has all the right colors, but is still light and airy and would just be PERFECT!!! But it is also $700 for the size I would need. And YIKES! I just have a hard time paying that much knowing my dogs will roll around on it and my kids will play and be messy on it. I really want a house that is comfortable and that I am not too worried about spills and messes. Life is just too short...
But as I was scrolling down, looking at the other PB rug beauties, I saw this guy....

Nice, right??? I fell in love right away. I couldn't put my finger on why. Until my dog made a noise, and I looked over into the kitchen to see what the rascal was into. And I caught a glimpse of my kitchen rugs. That is why I like this one so much. Because they are almost identical!!!

Now my kitchen rugs came from Target. They are small, but they do make larger area rugs in the same pattern. I tried to get a good picture for you, but Target's website wasn't cooperating with me. So this was the best I could do...

Pitiful. I know. But you can go here and see the full image.

I am going to go stalk the Target website for a look-alike for my Emerson rug...


Thursday, October 28, 2010

I need a name...and you could WIN!!!

No. I am not pregnant again! And even if I were, I already have names picked out for our next kid! HAHA! ;)

No. I need a name for my little craft business. I refuse to call myself an artist. While I have people tell me that what I do is art, and that not everyone can paint and create, I refuse to believe that. Refuse. I think with enough practice and effort, anyone can do the things that I do. I am just the only crazy one willing to spend hours each night after Ava goes to bed slaving away over my kitchen table!!! HAHA!

I do think people who understand math should be called artists. But that is a different post all together...

Anyway, I need a name. Suggestions??? I need help here people!!!!

This is what I sell....

Diaper cakes.

Holiday Canvases.

Diaper Cupcakes...

...of all sorts. :)

Custom Silhouette Paintings. (these are still a work in progress...)

And school spirit canvases.
I have some ideas, but I would love to hear yours!!! And BONUS!!!! If I decide to use a name you suggested, I will give you a $20 credit towards any of my creations!!!! So put your thinking caps on!!!
(just leave your idea as a comment below. Repeats will not be considered- first to comment with the chosen name wins!!!)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Girl...

Ava is my daughter. She was born on February 11th, 2010, and is absolutely the most precious thing in my life, along with my amazing husband. Together, they make up my family, and I thank the Lord each day for blessing me with them.

Ava is almost 9 months old, and I honestly don't know where the time went??? It seems like just yesterday she was born, and we were struggling through those first few months...boy, I remember thinking that I would never get another full nights sleep again! And just the other night, she let her momma sleep in until 10am! And I was the one who got her up! The girl likes her sleep (at night, anyway! She only takes one nap a day, and it is slowly getting shorter I think-ugh).

Today we went and voted, then went to WalMart. Everywhere we go, here is what people say, in this order...

"Oh what a pretty baby!"

"She is so happy!"

"You are so lucky to have such a happy baby!"

And I am. There are several people I know, mostly family members, that try to compare Ava with other babies. And this used to really upset me. REALLY upset me. Because I feel like, Ava is not a cow in the county fair, she is not to be compared with other kids. She is her own being, and I want to raise her to know that it doesn't matter what other people think of her. That the LORD made her in His likeness, she is so special, so unique, and no matter what, her daddy and I will love her until our last breath, and beyond! But I have gotten over some of that. I think mostly because (and this is my earthly pride talking, I know...) but Ava is the happiest, most carefree little baby I have ever seen! And others tend to agree. Just today, a lady working the polls commented on how she had never seen such a happy baby. She just smiles from morning until night. No joke. Aside from a few times that she was sick, I haven't heard a full on CRY in months! Probably since about 4 months old. And then, at night, she just goes to sleep. I know she may not always be this way, and she does have a stubborn streak (that was inevitable with me as her mother! HAHA!). But I am SO blessed with such a wonderful, easy baby! (Please Lord, let her wake up the same happy baby! HAHA!)

Here are just some random pictures from the past few weeks....

Ava, and her typical smile!

Modeling some of her new clothes I ordered for her. She LOVES to dress up! Ever since she was tiny, she has loved to have her clothes changed!

Eating kiwi fruit out of a chewy bag! I really need to video and post what she does when she sees one of these things coming. Her face is just priceless! It is just sheer desire and need! HAHA!

Ava and her good buddy (and fur brother) Hugo. Both of the dogs are great with Ava, each in there own way. Wesley learned early on to stay out of her reach (which is becoming more difficult with her new-found mobility), but he is uber-protective of her. If someone other than me is holding her, he sits and watches their every move! Hugo is her playmate. He is careful not to let her get a fist full of hair or ears (it still happens some) but they have different games that they play. Their favorite is where he bites at her feet (he doesn't bite down- don't worry) and she laughs and kicks. When that game is done, she holds her feet up and he licks her toes, and she giggles hysterically! It is too funny!

This is the smile that greets me every morning. I also have started getting a hug and a kiss when I pick her up. This particular morning, I found her wearing her blanket (most mornings she has covered herself somehow). She just looked too funny! A little mother Theresa-like! HAHA!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Paint, Paint....and more PAINT!

Okay, I would first just like to say that I am so tired that I can hardly hold my eyes open, and as soon as I get done with this post, I will be going to bed. By way of a shower.

So I have about a dozen projects on my list right now (and yes, it is an actual, physical, list). I have an order for 4 silhouette canvases of some darling (and I mean DARLING) children- all of whom have awesome silhouette-worthy hair. Some families have all the luck.... ;)

I also have been asked (and this is just uber exciting to me also) to donate some pieces to the elementary school in our town for their annual Holiday Silent Auction fund raiser. I am going to donate a large winter themed canvas, a small Razorback canvas, and a diaper cake. My nephews attend school there, and one day, Ava probably will too. So it is a cause that is especially close to my heart! I have the winter canvas sketched and the background painted, and I have the hog canvas and diaper cake both designed (although I have yet to put my idea for the cake on paper...).

I also am *planning* on painting 8 different Christmas canvases for the girls in my family (all the women on my mom's side and my Nana). I have them designed, and would like to get them done before Thanksgiving, so that I can hand them out then, and they can hang them up this year. But that is all dependent on getting my priority projects complete. So every night, after Ava goes to bed, you know what I have been doing! LOL! PAINTING PAINTING!!!!

Well today, even MORE painting happened. The less creative and more tedious kind. We have been working on our house since the day we moved in, and I can FINALLY see a light at the end of the tunnel. The trim work and quarter round will HOPEFULLY all be finished by tomorrow. We are sooooo close!!! But because we got all new floors, and then all new quarter round, that means we had to paint the trim. And that means that for the last several days, all I have been doing is using this....
Ahhhh, good ole' painters tape. Now I usually paint the "right" way. Ceiling, then trim, then walls. It is just easier, and no real need for painters tape because (self promotion warning) I am really quite good at cutting in! But because I didn't want to paint my walls again, I taped and taped and taped off all of the trim (and just about decided to get rid of the decorative mouldings in my house because it was just too much...) Today I picked out a new trim color, Swiss Coffee by Behr. Now, why it is called Swiss Coffee, I don't know. Because it is a white, and it isn't even really brown based. It has a lot of grey in it. But I needed something on the grey side to A. not look pink against my Ben Moore Brookline Beige, and B. not look yellow with my blond bamboo floors. I tried explaining this to the lady at Home Depot. She didn't get it, I don't think. It isn't her fault. My mind is strange. But it works!!! HAHA!

And I am SO good, it is a near perfect match to the existing trim! Now all of the baseboards need to be redone because they are just in bad shape after 2 1/2 years of reno. BUT, I don't have to paint all of the doors and crown moulding!!!! Whoooop!!!!!

I usually don't like Behr paint. It is gloppy and thick and just all around hard to use, in my opinion. If I am looking for something with good coverage, I normally go with Ben Moore (my favorite kind of paint-ever! It lasts forever in the can in the garage- or 5 gallon bucket in our case, wears well on the wall, and Pottery Barn uses it! Hello?!?!?!) But I was in the neighborhood of Home Depot, and now that they offer the same military discount as Lowes, I don't hate them as badly, so we just went there. And when I told them the color, I forgot to tell them NOT BEHR! And I guess because it was a Behr color, they assumed I wanted Behr paint. Oh well. So 25.00 for trim paint later, I realize that this was a great mistake. The gloppy mess that Behr is on the wall, makes for a wonderful one coat, slap it on and call it a day, trim paint! YAY!

So that is the story of all of the paint around my house. I guess what Cole says really is true...if it's in our house for any length of time, I will paint it! HAHA!

I am going to shower and try to get all of the paint off of my body and out of my hair before this impending storm hits. Maybe after I throw a bone over the neighbors fence so their poor dog will shut up. He is so afraid of storms, and I swear he feels them coming!!! He freaks out every time it is about to storm!!! Crazy.


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Fun Room for a Precious Girl!

I am SOOO excited because it is "Show Us Where You Live" again over at Kelly's Korner, and this week is nursery or kids room week! And, YAY, I have something to show off this year!!!

First, a peek at the Sleeping Beauty who resides here. I had to sneak into her room to take the pictures, and I couldn't resist getting a shot of her sleepy head! She is a heavy sleeper, so I figured we would be okay! Ha!

GOD LOVE!!!! She is just the joy in my life! I can't imagine what life would be without her! Thank you, Lord, for such a precious gift!!!

Now on to her abode...

This is the mobile my mom and I made to hang over her changing table. We hoped it would distract her and keep her on her back for changes. No luck. Needless to say, I am an expert at "upside down changings." HAHA!

A larger view of her changing table and dresser. It is a small room, and we have every inch covered in furniture. I want her to have more "play room" in her bedroom at our next house, but this is okay for now. The verse is 1 Samuel 1:27. ("For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me the desires of my heart.")

My favorite picture from our maternity shoot.

I found this adorable little basket at Home Goods. I just LOVE it!!! It had the A tag and everything! And it was uber cheap! Even more to love!!! The little table and chairs that it is under (sorry I didn't get a better picture) was mine when I was little. We just painted and recovered the chairs to match her room.

Her side table. The lamps we got at HobLob on sale, of course. They are great! The profile art is something that I do. I hate that you really can't see more of it in the picture, but it is her profile at 7 months. She has her paci in her mouth, and it is just the sweetest thing. I am going to do one for her every year. Something I will treasure always!

The bow holder I painted for her and just some of her bows. I didn't even dare show you her closet. I am shamed at how many clothes the child has. But Kelly is right! Girls are just TOO fun!!!!

This is her door hanger. For those of you visiting, her Daddy is an Army Blackhawk pilot. We are so proud of him, and proud to be a military family!

Random before picture. This used to be Cole's "MAN" room, so we didn't even bother painting. The curtain was one of my not-so-great thrifty ideas- it is a shower curtain. Not exactly long enough. But he didn't care! LOL!

And the after shot. This was before we had Ava, so we only thought it was finished! It is amazing at how much you have to adapt their rooms for them! Function is the name of the game, ladies and gents!

This is the art I painted to match her bedding. I added a verse, but I am not happy with how it turned out, so I am thinking of painting over it, so this is how it would look.

This is how it is now. I just don't free hand writing well. I need lines and a good pen for my writing to look good!

Her art above the bed.

Her blessing ring- it was still incomplete at this point! I hadn't had all of my showers yet! I hope one day she goes back and reads about how excited everyone was that she was on the way!!! I want to do one for each of her birthdays, too. I have always been the person that kept cards in a box under my bed. And now I am glad that I did. I have my grandparent's writing over the years. Now that they are mostly all gone, it is so sweet to go back and see their writing. Makes me feel close to them!

Cute little tassels on her doors! I have been told that once she is crawling, those will be the first to go! We are just about there, so we shall see! LOL!

Her new light. There was a yucky fan there before. This is on a dimmer switch. Any new moms looking for ideas- I HIGHLY recommend a dimmer switch!!!!! But DO NOT get a fancy digital one unless you really want to confuse the heck out of some grandparents! LOL!!!!

Here is a better shot of the table, and a good one of the window treatments. My mom made all of the bedding and curtains, and my dad made the cornice board (my mom covered it). I am SO BLESSED to have such wonderfully talented parents!

Here are some "facts" about Ava's room:

*the furniture is from a local boutique called Pickles and Ice Cream, but it is made by Bonavita. It is wonderful quality! I highly recommend it!!!

*the fabric is called Carnival Bloom. I am not sure who makes it, but if you live in Little Rock, we bought it and the others at Cynthia East.

*the lamps, side table, and the iron wall hangings came from HobLob.

*our photographer is Beth Martin. She rocks. :)

I hope you enjoyed the tour!!!

These are the shoes your mother warned you about...

No I am not talking about the really uncomfortable but super cute shoes you wore to prom.
Or the ridiculously high heels you wore at your wedding.
Or the $400 pair of adorable Uggs that (gasp) your mother was right about- you really did only wear them once.

No, I am talking about THESE shoes...

Yes. These precious baby shoes. These are Trumpette diving mocks. Precious, precious, precious! But, once again, my mother was right. When I was pregnant, she told me not to buy baby shoes. That Ava would never wear them and it was a waste of money. Now, I have to say, hearing MY mother talk about shoes being a waste of money is like hearing a politician say that they want to do what the people want! It is totally laughable!!! My mother is the QUEEN of shoes! And I, of course, inherited my love for all things accessories from her. So it should come as no surprise that Ava has more shoes in her closet than most adult women. But when I happened upon these puppies, I HAD to get them! The top three I bought at a consignment sale- brand new in the boxes. The bottom "Silly Shoes" (the right shoe is striped, then the left you can wear the solid or the polkadots! SO FUN!) I bought on eBay. Hey. At least I am thrifty about her footwear!

Ava is really good about leaving socks and shoes on. She is past the stage where her feet are the best toy, so she pretty much leaves them alone. There is one pair of cute shoes from Gymboree that she has that she really likes wearing, because the sole is hard and they make nose when she kicks things.

But these particular shoes are the ones that my mother warned me about. The ones she won't wear. Or at least right now she won't. They are all size 4 except the light pink ones, which are 3's. They are the only ones we have tried, but they would not stay on! They might be a smidge big, but no bigger than the other shoes she wears!

So frustrating!!!!

Speaking of Ava, my Nana's birthday was Saturday, and we took a picture and gave it to her in a frame for her birthday (because there is nothing else to get the woman who has it ALL!!! LOL!)

First a few outtakes...

Trying to jump off the chair...

Eating the sign. She didn't like the chalk taste (it is a chalk board).

Finally a good one! This is the one we gave Nana. I also gave her prints of the others (there were like 75) so she could see how hard we worked for her gift! LOL!
Have a wonderful afternoon!!! I will be posting pictures of Ava's new PBK anywhere chair soon! It came yesterday, and it is even more precious than I could have dreamed!!!!!
I also plan on finishing my Master Bathroom redo this weekend, so (HOPEFULLY) look for a Before and After post sometime next week!!!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

We HAVE to Move NOW!!!!!

Okay, if you have weak stomach. or heart. or mind. DO NOT READ THIS POST....

So I was sitting in my bathroom this evening, I had just put Ava down, and was taking care of "mommy business" (HAHA) when something caught my attention. Something was moving. A large something. (okay, so only about 1 1/2 inches...)

Not a spider.
Not an ant.
Not even a roach.

Something MUCH, MUCH WORSE....

(cue Hitchcock-like, Psycho shower scene-esque, music and flash the lights for full effect.)

Seriously. A scorpion. In ARKANSAS!!!! Okay, apparently they are found here. They are not dangerous. They can sting and cause pain, but it is nothing more dangerous than a bee sting or ant sting. But still. EEEwwwwwwwwwww.............. My dad assured me that they are very rare inside homes (I hope he was telling the truth and not just trying to make me feel better) and that he did not MEAN to come inside the house. I know he regretted it because a few moments after this was taken, he went to scorpion heaven (or hell).

My first reaction was pretty funny. I looked down, and I didn't immediately scream, or freak, or dance around like a nut (as I did after I processed what my eyes had seen). No, I kind of chuckled and thought "Oh look. A scorpion. That's neat." WHAT?!?!?! I need to have my head checked. My next thought was "CCCCCRRRRRRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAPPPPPPPPP!!!!!!!!!"

And of course the hubs wasn't home. Figures. I am adding this to the list of things that have happened while he has been at work and couldn't come home to assist me...

  1. Wesley killed squirrel. This has happened twice.
  2. Hugo brings dead mouse inside.
  3. Wesley brings LIVE (and totally freaked) bunny inside.
  4. Tree falls on house.
  5. I get H1N1 while pregnant.
  6. Garage floods.
  7. Scorpion in bathroom.

Don't think this list isn't going to be brought up when I really want something. And right now, that something is a new house. NOW. I hope- pray- BEG- that this was a rare, weird thing that happened. But I don't want to chance it. We need to move. Now. They can even have all our stuff. I don't care. This will forever be the Scorpion house. And that will forever be the Scorpion bathroom. Probably shouldn't tell potential home buyers that, huh?

"Hello! This is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. Fully renovated kitchen. Updated bathrooms. Designer paint colors. Oh yes, and there are scorpions! Isn't that lovely?!?!"

So what is the creepiest thing you have ever found in your house??? And what did you do???

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend in Review

For the record, I REALLY REALLY need to be cleaning. I have a news crew coming to my house at 11 am (YIKES) and it is a total disaster. Dust doesn't show on camera, right???

Saturday morning was the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Little Rock. We have one of the largest races in the country, and this year was no different! 45,000 women signed up!!! WOW! It is one of my favorite things to do each year, and I always do it with my mom and sister. It is inspiring to see that many women, together, for one single goal: to find a cure!!!

And these guys aren't bad either...LOL!!!

These are the dancing fireman! There is always a traffic jam at this turn, and you can see why!!! My sister and I want to run it next year, but we decided that we need to get our time down to about 20 minutes so that we will have a built in buffer zone of about 5 minutes to stop and watch them perform! They throw beads and "drop trow" (they have shorts on underneath. Dang. LOL!

I also spent a lot of the weekend (and every other day of my life!) chasing after this girl!!!! She can get around pretty good these days, and is starting to want to stand up a lot. She still won't sit up for any length of time. But it is just because she is SOOO active. So I am not too worried. :)

We have tried the "chewy bag" before, but I think she is finally at an age that she can really enjoy it. Here she is eating blue berries. She thought they were YUMMY!!!! (She has had them in baby food form before, so I knew she would like them!)

We went to the pumpkin patch again this weekend with my family. Last time we went, it was my friend Amanda, her baby girl Bella, and Ava and I. We couldn't even get the hayride to the actual patch because there were not 10 people there! This weekend, there were probably 500 people! It was nuts! We are going to have to find a new patch next year! It was too crowded!

Here are our pumpkins from the patch. I added the ribbon to give them a little UMPH! They were looking a bit drab. Ribbon can add glamour to anything!!!

I also FINALLY finished my door canvas for Halloween! Just in time, too! I don't know if I will get one done for Thanksgiving or not! I have a LOT to do between now and then, and my personal crafts are on the bottom of my priorities right now! But I am glad to have this guy done. It really looked odd with all of my pumpkins and mums...and the HOG canvas! LOL! My goal is to get a canvas done for each holiday!

Before you praise me for my uber-creative side...I DID paint this by hand. HOWEVER, I totally pretty much STOLE the design from THIS blog. I steal a lot of her designs. But hey, why reinvent the wheel, right?!?!

As I mentioned before, I have a news crew coming at 11 in the morning. Just another Monday at the Brewer's! LOL! No really, last year I was pregnant about this time, and I had the Swine Flu. I was interviewed about the flu shot, the flu, being pregnant and high risk, my recovery, etc. Well the reporter contacted me to do a followup story and get some footage of Ava. So that will be a fun time!!!! :) And I had planned on scrubbing my house top to bottom today, because they are coming and because it needs it SO badly!!! But my parents called this morning and they decided to (YAY!!!!) come over and work on getting our house put back together! My mom and I painted the master bathroom and my dad working on trimming out the floors. Here is my bathroom after the paint. I had painted it a dark brown called Chocolate Indulgence by Kilz. Apparently I was the only one who liked it. But I don't care. In our next house, there will be a room painted Chocolate Indulgence. Even if it is my pantry!!!!!!!!!!!

Here is the bathroom post paint. I will do a full Before and After post soon. I just decided to paint it my Ben Moore Brookline Beige because A. It is a great neutral, and B. I bought 10 gallons of it when we moved into this house and still have about 3/4's of one of the 5 gallon buckets left! LOL!!! I always overbuy on paint! But you never know when you will need a touch up!

I also did some Christmas "Santa" shopping this weekend for Ava! I have always looked forward to playing Santa for my kids, and so I have been overjoyed at the though this year! Even though she will be about 11 months old and won't have a clue....HAHA!

I had already bought her one Santa gift...this adorable rocker from Toy's R Us. Isn't it the sweetest little thing??? I just love it! In my family, Mom and Dad usually got us one big-ish thing, but the "good" stuff always came from Santa!

I also ordered her this adorable "Anywhere Chair" from PBK. It will have her name in green on the back. Isn't it too cute?!?! All of my friend's who have one for their kids just rave about them. My child probably won't like it because she doesn't like sitting still, but maybe she will sit in it and drink her breakfast bottle or juice, maybe watch cartoons. That is what I envision, anyway. I bought it to match her room, but I think it will be a fixture in the living room.


Speaking of Christmas, I always do an Angel from the Angel Tree. Do you have that in your state? I didn't know if that was an Arkansas thing, or an everywhere thing. It is a great program done by the Salvation Army. I am already looking forward to doing one again this year. Money is tight for everyone, but these families just want to give their babies Christmas! We are so blessed, and I think that, especially at Christmas, it is a time to give and share. I want to raise Ava that way as well. If you can, do an Angel.

Have a great week!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fireplace Woes...

I have a problem. A BIG, glaring problem. One that greets you as soon as you enter our living room. My fireplace (cue ominous music now). I am usually very decisive and confident in my decorating choices. But there is just something about this fireplace that has me stumped. We have lived in our house for almost 3 years and I have never liked this fireplace.

Now I enjoy having a fireplace. I like that we have the option (though I think we have only used it once) of having a fire. I love that we have a chimney for Santa and a mantel for our stockings. But this particular fireplace just makes my head hurt...

Lets explore my problem in detail (WARNING: OBSCENE AMOUNT OF PICTURES BELOW)...

This is my fireplace. I know, I hate it too. The fact that it is a corner fireplace is one challenge. It is difficult to arrange the room, and this beastly thing takes up far too much space for what it is worth. Also, because of the angle of our ceiling, we have an odd line running across the top of the fireplace. It makes it challenging to accessorize because if I put identical accessories on either side, they look weird because the ceiling is a different height on either side. ...I know I have put way too much thought into this, but it (obviously) bothers me a great deal.... :)
The mantel, to me, is really the only redeeming quality about the beast. It is solid wood and has great detail. I have thought about painting it a glossy black, but that would blend too much with the red brick. The brick isn't BAD, but it isn't great either. Normally I am the first to take a paintbrush to something I don't like. But brick is a different story. Because it is a costly and messy fix if I don't like the results.

So why don't I just cover the brick with a beautiful stone or tile? Good question..
1. We are not going to be in this house many more years and I am not sure if that is really a smart place to put my time and money. After all, surely there is someone out there who likes the red brick, right??? and
2. This. Yes. The one place the builder decided to go all FANCY on our house back in 1992. The curved edges of the hearth. So covering it is kinda out unless we built out the hearth, and really that is too much work. If we decided for some reason to stay here, then maybe. But for now, no. (And my Dad is thanking the Lord!!!)

And now on to the accessories dilemma...
I love these candle sticks. But I am not convinced I love them HERE. Thoughts?

My Pa-Jim's flag from his funeral. This is the highlight (to me) of my mantel, and I would leave it there forever. But sadly, it is to leave me at the end of the year, and won't return for at least 4 years. My Nana has instructed that it be passed from cousin to cousin each Christmas, and so I have to give it up this year. :(

This is one of my wedding portraits that hangs above my fireplace. I love this picture, but I do feel a little self-conscience having such a large picture of myself above our fireplace. But right now there is no more wall space to hang it. Eventually, I would like a large family portrait up there. But we might just wait until our family is complete to invest in that.

You can tell that this was long ago- we still had carpet! Here was the fireplace after we moved in and did some painting. I had painted the wall above the fireplace a dark chocolate. I liked it, but the room is dark anyway and that was just too much dark. Also note that the insert had wooden handles and brass accents. It is just amazing what a little time and black paint can do! ;)

Here are some pics from online that inspire me...

I love the layered look of this one...

This one speaks to my simplistic and pseudo-symmetrical side. I love how it overall appears symmetrical, but if you study the accessories, there is really a lot of variations going on. GENIUS!

More wonderful layering of framed art. Love this look. I also love the look of empty frames laying on top of each other.

This is much too "beachy" and a little too cluttered looking for my taste, but there are some elements here I love. The letters are brilliant, and the overall personality really speaks to me. This is a catalog shot, I think, but you can almost tell the personalities that live in the home. I like that...

This, to me, is a realistic shot of what I really want. A bit eclectic, some layering, symmetry that is pleasing to the eye. I love it. But I still struggle with that stupid ceiling angle!!!
If anyone has any ideas, thoughts, inspirational fireplace redos, etc., PLEASE share!!! I don't know if I can take it much longer!!! :)
PS- I did mean to mention, when I repainted the wall above from brown to tan, (technically from Chocolate Indulgence to Brookline Beige- don't you wish your job was to name paint colors???) I added some sparkles to the paint. So although the color is the same. if you look closely, the wall above my fireplace now has a little more texture and sheen to it. More subtle than I really was going for, but oh well.....