Sunday, January 23, 2011

Heart Bunting on our Valentine's Day Mantel

I usually don't change the decoratations on our mantel very often, but I rose to the challenge this year and decided to decorate for Valentine's Day.  After all, not only is it Valentine's Day, but it is our 30th Wedding Anniversary on February 14th so it seemed like the perfect time to do a little something special.

Right beside the fireplace is a brown and gold sofa that just doesn't look very good with red and pink so I thought I'd be creative and decorate with cream and blue.  I decided I wanted  the mantel to have something a bit sentimental after all it is a celebration of love; something with hearts only they couldn't be red or pink; and I wanted to use things from around the house.


 My first inspiration was to use books that represented something everyone in the family is interested in.  The fireplace is in our family room and has an entire wall of windows so it is quite sunny which means that I didn't want to put any of our good books on the mantel.  So I stuck to using paperbacks that nobody would mind if they got a bit faded in the sun.  There were fossil and English literature books for the hubster, books by C. S. Lewis and Tolkien for Malcolm, for Kate books about New York City and Harry Potter (notice how the spine is upside down - that's how they print books in France), an Eastern philosopy book for William, and a book on Bangladesh for me.  I tied them all with a jute twine and put a couple of heart-shaped rocks on top.

I thought our tea cups would look pretty across the middle of the mantel - a sweet combination of delicate flowers and gold trim and a reminder of a relaxing cup of tea.  The tea cups were bought by my mother shortly after they were married over 55 years ago.  My parents no longer used them so they passed six on to us and we use them when we play bridge.   I think they are all so pretty that I can never decide which tea cup is my favourite.

I've been a bit obsessed with how cute those mini-bunting flags look strung across cakes that I see all over blogland and decided I wanted to try my hand at making a Valentine's Day one.  Now there are some people in the family who don't like my bunting, but then again long-haired 16-year old guys aren't usually the ones you poll for opinions on your Valentine's Day crafts.

To make the bunting I cut heart-shapes out of some drop-cloth material and then taped them all side-by-side so I could sew them together without them moving around.  I sewed a little closer to the top of the hearts than the bottom so that gravity would hold them upright and I used the bottom edge of the masking tape as my guide for sewing.  I also made sure I left long threads on both ends so that I had enough to tie it to the sticks.  When they were sewn together, I removed the tape, tied the bunting to the bbq skewers, and put a dab of glue to hold it in place.

I had some serious issues getting them to stay up-right in the tea cup and I'm sure there were better solutions than the one I found, but here is what I did.  I used a lump of sticky tack at the bottom of the cup with the skewer stuck into it, then put some rocks over top and then covered them with white pea beans.  It was an efficient, but not necessarily elegant solution.

On the right-hand side of the mantel I put a chocolate-coloured Valentine's Day subway art that I got free from Today's Fabulous Finds.  They are available in ten different colours and are yours free for the printing - thanks Janet!   I chose the brown one so it would balance the weight of the books on the other end of the mantel and would coordinate with the sofa.

I put our last tea cup on this side, because I wanted an uneven number across the centre and this one is brighter than all the other ones. 

Since the tea cup was turquoise, I wanted to have two more aqua blue accents so added my new mason jar and a Tiffany box.  Aren't those bubbles in the mason jar too much - I love them.

Don't think I'm too silly, but I still haven't opened my present from Tiffany's that I got for Christmas.  I didn't want to ruin the bow so I'm waiting to open it for my birthday which is just before Valentine's Day - I know I'm strange.  What can I say?  It seemed appropriate to include the Tiffany box since the Valentine's Day mantel is about love and family and this was bought for me by Kate and hubby in New York City just before Christmas.

The sun was shining brightly this morning and I just kept clicking photos as it moved across the mantel.  A lovely way to spend a chilly morning.

And one last view of the whole mantel.

Linked to DIY Project Parade at The DIY Show Off,
Project Party Weekend at Bubbly Nature Creations
Valentine's Mantel Linky party at The Stories of A to Z 
Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch
Strut Your Stuff Valentine's at Somewhat Simple
The Valentine's Party at The Holiday Haven


  1. beautifully done, Grace. The mantel, the sentiment -

    and i cannot believe you have the will power to NOT open a present from Tiffanys for Christmas...until..well, NOT YET??... you are better than me.

  2. I love the mantel because it is so meaningful to you and your family! I also admire your willpower....I would have had that box ripped open in a heartbeat, LOL! Please post and let us know what's in the Tiffany blue box. Your mantel is so adorable, Grace! I love the bunting and everything else about it.

    Ricki Jill

  3. Love your bunting and all the meaningful touches! Thanks for linking up!

  4. What a fun mantel, you've really got an interesting and pretty collection of things. And, Happy anniversary! Isn't it hard to believe all those years have passed by? We celebrated our 29th a couple of weeks ago. Blessings, Kim

  5. Everything is so sweet and pretty. I love the heart bunting and all the special meanings behind everything.

  6. I love it Grace! The blue tea cup on the end is so gorgeous! I also love the books your chose to represent your whole family! Angie xo

  7. It's really pretty and elegant, Grace. I like that it's different from all the others. I also like all of the personal elements - especially the books! Thanks for letting us know about the free subway art! I'm headed there now!

  8. It's all so sweet and pretty! I love all the special touches and of course the Tiffany box!

  9. Pretty! I love your bunting, and I really love that you didn't go with the traditional colors.

  10. Next time they don't need to get you a gift ... just the box ... hahaha

  11. Your mantel looks wonderful :-) I really like that you decorated it using non-typical colours and items. And lucky you to have a box from Tiffany's to open!

    Especially love the pics with the beams of sun. And the bubbles in the mason jar are fantastic!

  12. I love the bunting! Great job! The tea cup on the left with the beans in it is very similar to my Homer Laughlin China I inherited! :)

  13. I LOVE the teacups!!! I have just started to collect pretty teacups and yours are lovely!

  14. The touches of blue are my favorite. And I agree with you about using candlesticks in a would definitely fit with your style:)

    Happy creating,

  15. Such a pretty mantel the touches of favorite color! I can hardly wait for you to open your beautiful gift...I would not be able to wait! Thanks for the subway art it! ~Deb~

  16. Great job!! Loved the way you have brought sentiments and art together. :)

  17. Love your mantel. And congratulations at 30 years! Wowzer that is a long time.
    That little bunting with the hearts is just so sweet!

  18. This is such a beautiful idea! I love the way you celebrate and signify important dates in your life. I think it is important to have special occasions and celebrations and you "do it" with such style Grace! ;)Sharyne

  19. Wonderful Grace!! So creative and I love the lighting in these shots. Perfect!
    Your mantel looks so cheerful...I could sit by it with a cup of tea, reading those books and be quite content :)

    Jeanne xx

  20. i love it, especially the tea cups! and happy anniversairy!

  21. I love your heart bunting! I may try and copy that--thanks for the instructions. I think your mantel is lovely.

  22. i love your blog its interesting ,interesting and interesting ....bless you

  23. How elegant! I love the idea of sewing the paper hearts together, especially since I'd rather sew than glue. :)

    Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

  24. Wonderful ideas for your mantel. I've a small group of heart shaped rocks. I just have to pick them up when I find them! :-)

  25. Dear Grace,
    Wow, I love the look so much..Well done..and I'm sure any male gender seeing it would approve..Very Nice..
    Have a wonderful Valentine season..
    ~Shirley & Cupid
    p.s. I love a good bridge game...

  26. So beautiful! I love that you used muted colors, I often find traditional reds and pinks to be a bit too much together. Love your directions, I actually feel like I could make this. Love the rocks too, now I have a new thing to look for when beach combing :).

    Thanks so much for linking this to The Valentines Party!

  27. Love, love your heart garland. Everything is so pretty. Your photography is outstanding. I just found your lovely blog via A Holiday Haven. I'm your newest follower and would be delighted to have you follow me back!
    Happy Valentine's Day!

  28. Hi: I just found your blog and I love it. I noticed all your tea cups. They are amazing. I would like to invite you to Tea Cup Tuesday. I know the ladies would love to see your treasures. Have a great weekend. Blessings, Martha