Saturday, October 20, 2012


I have not changed my mantel since summer for a couple of reasons.

One reason is that it has not felt like fall.

The days have been way too hot and muggy and I'm still wearing sundresses and sandals to work to stay cool.

But, the main reason is that I have been struggling with my fall mantel for weeks.

I set out all of my favorite Halloween tchotchkes, but the display was overwhelming.

I finally settled for a simple autumn display that I can leave up through Thanksgiving.

First and foremost, our fall display must center around Steve's painting of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Every year he brings it out in late September.

We took a fall road trip through New England a few years ago.

Our favorite method for road trips involves weaving our way along with no plans.

We spent one night in Hampton Beach and hugged the coast driving through the charming beach towns of New England on our way to Portland, Maine.

Steve does some plein air, but mostly he paints in the studio.

One of our dear friends, Al who is one of Steve's art patrons is from Massachusetts.

 The first time he saw the painting, he knew immediately that it was Portsmouth.

He has dropped by the studio multiple times to look at the painting and talks of buying it one day.

In the attic, I found a little wooden box that KC made in middle school.

I have some yellow Annie Sloan Chalk Paint left over from another project so I 'm thinking that box will be yellow within a few days.

A bag of pumpkins at the grocery store and some letter balls from Michael's finished off the box.

I wasn't able to find all the letters of the alphabet so I have to be creative with my words.

My little pumpkin stick figure is a TJ Maxx find.

Some leaves and a candle sit on one end of the mantel.

Unfortunately, the leaves are artificial.

Our former home had a beautiful maple tree in the front yard providing me with a never ending supply of leaves for fall decorating.

Around Thanksgiving, strangers would knock on our door asking if they could take leaves to decorate their table.

I debated about driving over there today and knocking on the door!

The other end of the mantel is just a candle with pumpkins.

It's a very simple mantel.

But, it hits the spot.

I have been craving simplicity in my crazy life.



  1. Steve's picture is so lovely, I love the colours and your simple mantle display looks so good with it. You have been inspiring me with moving everything around, I had quite a change around on Friday! I also filled a candle jar with pines and autumn bits - "great minds think alike". I will post about it when I get a chance!
    Sarah x

  2. Likewise love Steve's picture and I really love the box KC made too, it does the trick :-)
    Annie x

  3. Love that painting and you mantel looks great using things you had. The letters you made work are perfect. I wish we had longer in New England to just drive around at our leisure. Maybe next time.

    1. Your state is one I would like to leisurely drive through. We only have 19 states left - the middle and the southeastern coast.

  4. Your simple way works! Great painting...lucky you to be married to the artist!

  5. Your mantel turned out quite nice, and Steve's beautiful painting is the perfect focal point!
    Mary Alice

  6. The painting is the star of the show as it should be. It's simply beautiful! I think you're mantel is lovely!

  7. Beautiful. The whole display is lovely.
    The painting charm pulls you in!
    Nice to meet you,

  8. It represents autumn beautifully. Love, love, love the painting.

    Hugs and Kisses,

  9. Your mantel turned out beautifully and your husband is an amazing artist. I don't think I could have spelled "tchotchkes", but yours all came together beautifully. Thanks for your sweet comment about my colorful vintage stacking toy. I'm glad to have found your blog and taken a little stroll around. Loved your Nate Berkus montage.....

  10. Dang girl, the painting is marvelous and you are a lucky duck to have beach cottage. Stopping in from Welcome Home Wednesday.

  11. So pretty.....THANKS for linking to my party.......Debbie Vintage On A Dime

  12. Keep the rest of the decorating simple so Steve's picture can take center stage. It is fabulous!


  13. Steve's painting is so charming. I love it and it really needs to be the center of attention. I'm with you; I love travelling with no specific plan for the day. Things seem to fall into place this way and never a disappointment.