Friday, August 26, 2016

Planning A Fall Mantel In 10 Steps

    Fall mantel2

I know it is just a tad bit early for some of us to start bringing in a little Fall into our homes, but it is definitely not to early to starting thinking and planning on what you might like to do.
So today we are going to talk about how to plan out your fall mantel, step by step..........
Do you want to make changes in your home for the Fall season, but have a hard time knowing where to start?

This post is just for you!

I see so many mantels that are a bit over board in their decor ,and they would not fit into everyone’s home. 

Some home decorators like a more is more look as in the above image.
I tend to be a less is more girl and I am not big on thematic decor so I like to keep my decor a bit more neutral in feel.

I started looking for a mantel that was simple, balanced and well designed to use as an example for you all. Something that would fit into anyone's home.

Plus, I wanted it to be a mantel that any homeowner could personalize to their own design aesthetics on a budget.

fall fireplace

In the above image you will see that the mantel   meets all of my criteria, simple, well designed, balanced, and I believe that the overall composition can be personalized to fit in most homes.

I also believe that most home decorators could duplicate this mantel if given the resources, and some guidance.

Not everyone is as clever as the designer, Melissa Michaels,  to come up with this composition on their own.

After getting permission from Melissa I decided to do a step-by-step of how to create this mantel. 

Find a picture of a mantel that you love, admire, and what will fit into your home, and your budget. You are going to use this image as your pattern.

I have already done the first step when I found Melissa’s mantel in the above image.

Label each design element on the mantel you have chosen.
Shall we dis-mantle the mantle piece by piece, and see what we can come up with?

fall-fireplace framed

Once you have identified all of the pieces it is time to make a list of what is needed.

1. Decorative objects (three golden apples)

2. Two picture frames with artwork in two different sizes.

3. Large vase for Fall branch with leaves.

4. A grouping of decorative vases.


Study what each piece adds to the grouping.

For instance………
Three golden apples add balance, and a bit of shine to the grouping.

Two picture frames add a layered look, and height to the composition.

The Large vase with the Fall branch add height, theme(Fall), color and life.

The group of two vases add something solid next to something clear, and they also add texture.


If you took a pencil, and drew a line from the top of each object to the next piece you would create an up, and down line, creating an undulating line. 

It is important to have your objects go up and down in height when creating a vignette on a shelf or mantel.

This line will create movement to the observer’s eye viewing the composition, and that is a very good thing.

undulating line 2


Now that you have your list of objects shop your own home first, and use whatever will work in your composition. 

Remember we are trying to work on a budget. If you are missing some pieces make a list and then the fun part….. 

Since this post is to show you how you can do this on your own, and on a decent budget we will start from scratch for the purpose of this lesson.

Where to begin?

I am going to start with the large vase that will hold my Fall branch because I have decided I want to do a color instead of a clear vase. 

Since color can be a jumping off point it is wise to choose your larger more colorful pieces first.

This is where you get to use your own individual style and taste.


I chose this blue/gray demijohn 21in. vase from Target. 

The reason I chose blue/gray is because it works in my home, and I love to use darker values of blues in the Fall/Winter months.

Now that I have my color jumping off point I start to think of the next object that will most likely have more color to add to the composition, and the next choice will be the artwork.


With blue as my base I make a trip to ETSY!

Etsy is such a wonderful resource of talented artisans and you can often find pieces at a reasonable price.

I typed in Fall watercolors in the search box, and here are a four of the beautiful images that I was attracted to.

I have them paired in two’s since we need two for our composition…………….

Pair #1
Watercolor art My Tree  climbing tree love tree by CheyAnneSexton, $20.00

Acorn Love /  Acorns / Fall / Autumn / Brown / by kellybermudez, $20.00

Pair #2
Fields of Love / watercolor print / grey and yellow / gray and yellow / Archival Print

paired with………
Fall leaves Fine Art Print of original by VerbruggeWatercolor, $18.00

At this point most people would think it was time to choose the picture frame. 

We are not going to do that next because we need to first choose our two decorative vases. 

The  decorative vases color, and texture will determine what direction we will go with the picture frames and matting.


Took a trip on line to Target! Target has great decorative pieces at a budget friendly price point. Plus, it is available to all on line.

Remember I am trying to make this budget friendly and accessible for all of my readers.

The first pair I chose resembles  what Melissa chose in her composition.

                    $25                                $20
e605ea0182a2265f329402185db30d9c       1f51a4225b43795620c6027ebe2862f4
                   VIA                                         VIA


                   $45.99                          $47.99

You will notice that the pair of vases vary in heights. This is important because as I previously said we want an undulating line to keep the eye moving from one object to the other in an up and down motion.


At this point I pull together the elements in a collage to see which pairings are pleasing to my eye, and it will also give me a clue to what picture frame finish and color I should be using.

Ribbet collage Fall mantel blog post

In this pairing I have a nice color combination, and textural, and height differences. It is warm and looks very Fallish to me.

Ribbet collage Fall mantel blog post #2

Since I tend to like lighter and brighter look when choosing elements for my own home, this particular pairing is more pleasing to my design aesthetics so I am going to choose pairing #2.


I bet you think we are going to pick out the picture frame don’t you? 

At this time we are going to choose the small objects that are represented in Melissa’s mantel by the golden apples. 

The apples give a bit of shine to the composition. I am going to do my own interpretation, and get some shine and textural difference by using votive candle holders.

In the Fall/Winter months I love to light candles so I always try to incorporate candles in my vignettes so that is why I have made this particular choice.

However YOU might choose the golden apples, pears, or even some other small decorative element that you enjoy using in your home.

Keep in mind, the lower height is what made me go with votives vs. a higher pillar candle



We get to choose the picture frame!!

At this point I have all of my colors, textures, heights and elements.

I take a closer look at my artwork which has clearer and brighter colors, then I look at my votive holder which has just the right amount of black.

I think a black frame will be a nice contrast in this configuration. For those of you who tend to like a more subtle contrast a nice natural to medium tone wood frame would work equally as well.

Ribbet Edit Fall Mantel blog post artwork

For me, black is my choice, since black and white are used in the room with my fireplace.

You will need to choose two different sizes of frames to give height, and a layered effect. Take a look at Melissa’s composition and see the heights she used.

fall-fireplace framed

Both frames are a bit higher than the second largest element, (clear cylinder vase) in the composition. 

Keep that in mind when choosing your frames. You might have to layer matting in your frame to make the artwork fit with off the shelf frames. 

We are trying to keep this budget friendly so we don’t want to do a custom framing job which can tend to be very expensive.

Stores like Michaels, Hobby Lobby, and Target have a nice selection of frames, and matting that you can work with. Ikea is also another great resource for budget friendly frames.

Of course none of this is an exact science, and what I have shown you is my own personal design aesthetics.


The important lesson to take away from this is to lay out an overall plan before taking the plunge, and make sure it is pleasing to your eye and your budget.

I hope this blog post has given you a new way to look at composing vignettes in your home, and that you now feel empowered to move forward.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A FASHION POST: PINK Is On My Radar For Fall

@Wink Women Inkorporated  #wink2link:

 It was just a couple of weeks ago I told a very good friend of mine I want more pink in my life.

 Three days later I got the J.Crew catalog, and it was covered in PINK!!

 Then I got my House Beautiful magazine and it's cover was  in PINK!!!

To say I was happy to see that wardrobe and decor magazines will be featuring PINK for Fall is an understatement. I am usually wanting a color that is not on trend and hard to find so this was all a very welcomed sight for me!

Most people don't associate pink with Fall, but let's think outside the box a little and get adventurous!

With pink in mind I had already started sourcing some ideas for my Fall wardrobe. Let me show you some of the things I have found so far.

Since it is for Fall/Winter I started looking at some coats first. I am really crushing on this first coat. I actually had a coat very similar about 42 years ago. A classic always works.....

Product Image, click to zoom:

On a more casual practical note, this would be great for when we go to the Beach...

Product Image, click to zoom

How about this darling boucle jacket? I have been looking for a boucle jacket at a good price point and this fits the bill. 

I wouldn't wear it with the dress, it looks a little matronly to me. However I would definitely wear this with a white t-shirt and a pair of great jeans and soft taupe or gray booties for Fall.......



We have to have sweaters for the Fall and Winter months and I found two that I love from Boden, which is a catalog I love and always find things I like there.

Grace Button Sweater:

This first sweater has some great detailing with it's side button closures. Anytime you can find an article of clothing with a special detail it makes the style value go up.

Grace Button Sweater WV094 Knitted Sweaters at Boden:
Notice how she has two buttons un-buttoned. A little more stylish and a fun way to wear it!! 

Cashmere Crew Neck Sweater WV016 Knitted Sweaters at Boden:
I am really crushing on this sweater, it has the two colors I want to add to my Fall wardrobe, pink and yellow/saffron! This is a win-win in my book. I just might ask for an early birthday gift!!

Now let's get to the bottom of things!
(sorry I could not resist a little humor)

Twickenham 7/8 Pant WM418 Pants at Boden:    
 As I said before whenever you find a special detail on clothing it brings the style value up a notch. I love the tuxedo stripe on these blush pink pants.

I can't do a fashion post without talking about a few accessories!

I am in love with this little ballet flat and I am just about ready to click on the BUY button!! Classic and pretty, plus comfy!!

  Cleo Flat Point:
Neutrals with pink! You can't go wrong with this classic shoe in this combination!!
Women's Foldover Clutch - Who What Wear ™ : Target:

If you want to just wear a touch of pink with a neutral outfit or just jeans and a sweater in a neutral a simple clutch bag in a neutral and blush combo is the way to go.

All of the above pieces are pieces I actually would purchase and some of them I am really wanting enough to hit the BUY button.

On a side note:
Pink can tend to be a very feminine and sweet color to wear. I love pink, however I am very aware to not wear anything overly floral, ruffly or sweet at my age. There comes a point when wearing overly sweet clothing at a certain age will just AGE us, so pick classic lines and pieces when wearing pink.

Enjoy Wearing Pink For Fall/Winter!! 

Saturday, August 20, 2016



How Much and What Kind Of Lighting Do You Need?


Williams Chandelier - Overstock Shopping - Great Deals on Warehouse of Tiffany Chandeliers & Pendants

Lighting is the jewelry of the room!
When choosing lighting for a room it is somewhat  like when you choose jewelry for an outfit. 

You look at the style of how you are dressed, and add your jewelry according to the look, and feel you want to achieve when looking at your over all outfit.
Cambridge Library Sconce #Sconce #LIghts #HOmeDecorators
The same thing goes for a room. You need to first look at your basic furnishings, and decide what style, type and amount of lighting your room needs.
Every room needs a certain amount of lighting, and most rooms  are….

“Lighting poor.”
So how much lighting is enough?
Did you know that there is a formula on how to figure out how many watts of light your room needs?

I read about a little formula a long time ago that said  find your square footage (example 12ft X 16ft = 192sq.ft)
Then multiply your square footage by 1.5 .

(192 sq.ft. X 1.5 =288 watts) so that means your room will need 288 watts of lighting sources.

An average room should have approx. 4-5 lamps.

Once you have this figured out you are ready to start the process of figuring out the how much and what kind of lighting you will need in your room.
Quogue- Living Room II
Look at your room and figure out where you will be placing your lighting sources. Are you going to have enough, or do you need to add some more?

There needs to be different types of lighting as well…..
Floor Lamps
.blue and white, bamboo shades, black lantern.
When choosing fixtures I like to start with the star of the room, and that is usually a chandelier of some kind.

It doesn’t matter what your style is, or what you gravitate towards, it is just a good idea to choose this main piece first because it will truly dictate the style, and feel of the rest of the room.
white book shelves with navy wall behind shelves
Think of it as the necklace in an outfit. You will choose, your earrings, bracelets, shoes and purse according to the style of that necklace, and your base pieces in your outfit.

If you are going to have sconces in the room I would suggest choosing those next.  These are like the earrings in your outfit.
Pale Almond Benjamin Moore

Notice we are choosing the more permanent lighting first. Once you purchase those, and pay an electrician to install them you most likely will not change them. These are your base pieces and usually the more expensive lighting fixtures.
Powder Bath designed by Pulp Design Studios, featuring PULP Home Starburst Pull Starburst pull hardwar $75 from Pulp home in Feb.
Once you have chosen the chandelier, and sconces you can add floor lamps, and table lamps that will work in the room. These are easily changed out, or replaced, that is why I would choose them last.
beach house style
In choosing your floor, and table lamps don’t miss the opportunity to add texture. Do you need more shine, or do you need rougher textures to add contrast in the room.

You can also use color and pattern in these fixtures to add to the overall interest in the room.
via (designed by Caitlin Wilson)
Now you have the basics to choosing, style, type, and amount of lighting fixtures you need in your room.


1. Go into your room, figure out how much lighting you will actually need in your room by using the above formula.

2. If you are short on lighting sources, figure out where you need to add more.

3. Think of different types of lighting that you can use in the areas that need more lighting.

4. What style, texture, design or color would look best in each spot?

5. Do a little on-line window shopping to play with your new additions before making a final purchase.

6. Once you are solid with your over all design, then you get to do the really fun part......
Have fun with this, and remember to always….
enjoy the process 3