The Southern Mercantile has lots of spring markets on the calendar so we've been spending a little time stocking up on some unique, vintage finds to add to the mix. We all love a good scavenger hunt so we headed out a couple weeks ago with the trailer to do a little junkin'!
We headed off to Alabama to a few good spots where we've had a little luck before. It is always so fun to hit the road, we always end up meeting some very interesting characters!
This was Katelyn's first road trip with us and we were so excited to have her along! Roxie's mom, Brenda, is always in when there is treasure hunting involved. She is also our resident expert when we are uncertain about the age or history of an item. She is pretty wise in the antique department.
The fun thing about most of our favorite stops is that you never know what you will find! Litterally, every corner is a surprise! Anyone in need of a T Rex? The peaceful fall backdrop made this an irresistible photo opportunity! Hahahaha!
At the end of the a long, fun day, we loaded up the little trailer and headed for home. We had a blast picking up some cool, new pieces for our upcoming shows and we hope to see you at one of them! Check out our events page to keep up with our travel schedule.
My poor little house has had the after-Christmas blues for several weeks now. Taking down holiday decorations is always bittersweet for me. I love to get cleaned up and back to normal, but at the same time, the house feels a little sad and boring when the festivities are over. My mantel has looked especially weary in the new year as I have done nothing to it since Christmas. While I am being honest, I need to tell you that I didn't even take my paper banners and Christmas picks down until this week! It was high time to whip this mantel in to shape and prepare for spring!
I love to decorate a mantel. At my shop I keep one decorated for the seasons to give people ideas for their own homes. The mantel at my house, however, has stumped me ever since I moved in. I hate having the TV over it. I am just not a TV-over-the-fireplace kind of girl, if that can be avoided. In my case, unfortunately, it could not. There is no other place to put the television in our home. I have decorated it different ways, and changed it several times, but I have never really been happy with it.
This was my set-up in the summer when I shared with you my living room and kitchen reveal. I was never quite happy with this one.
This is my holiday mantel from Christmas 2015 that I shared with you during my Holiday Home Tour.
This week I came up with this little set-up, and I think I am finally happy with this collection of treasures! These are all special pieces that I love and already had in my home: glass candle holders, an old tool box, old books and a clock. I added the spring greenery as a corner swag just to spice things up for the season. I have gone back and forth between the two iron pieces on the hearth. I couldn't decide which I like better so I finally decided, why not both?!
Through all the decorating and re-decorating of this mantel, I have learned a few things about creating a beautiful mantel that happens to be under a television.
1. Stay away from family pictures and picture frames. There will be plenty of "people" on the TV, so you don't need to add extra folks into the mix.
2. Choose a few larger items to fill your space rather than a lot of small items. The space between the mantel and the TV will be limited, so large, low items will be more pleasing to the eye than a mantel cluttered with small pieces.
3. Some sort of plant or greenery always helps in warming things up and making your space feel more full. Here, I used large gray faux succulents. You could just as easily use a nice faux fern pot or an arrangement with different grasses. My large succulents also conveniently hide an ugly cord coming down from the television.
4. Old books and a clock are always a good idea. When choosing your books, be sure to choose an intenional color scheme. I have chosen shades of teal and green with the brown and tan books incorporated to keep it interesting. I always have a clock on the mantel. Not only does it seem right at home there, it is also very practical!
If you have a more formal living room, and you do not have a television over your mantel, lucky you! You have many more options when decking out this focal point in your living room. This is the mantel I keep decorated in my shop. Right now there is a beautiful vintage mirror hanging above it with a gold metal wreath and gold picture frame layered on top. (I love layers, just in case you didn't know that about me!) There is room here to incorporate the tall candle sticks to give this mantel setting some height. You can see, even in a more formal setting, tip #4 still rings true. Old books and a clock are always a good idea.
I love incorporating old family photos when they are not battling a television for the spotlight. There are plenty of candle sticks and votive holders which create a wonderful atmosphere when lit in the evening. Swagging a full, eucalyptus garland across the front of this mantel was a great way to bring a lush quality that speaks of the coming spring.
I also clipped little butterflies on to the garland to add a touch of whimsy!
I hope these pictures and tips have inspired you to conquer your mantel for spring! I would love for you to share pictures of your progress! Happy decorating y'all!
One of my favorite things to do is to make a pretty cake. I love the art of baking, and I love the art of decorating! A simple yet showy cake that wows the crowd is an ombre layered cake. This cake is fun because from the outside it appears to be plain Jane. When it is cut, you have a surprise! This is a great cake for Valentine's Day, whether you take it to work, your child's class party or just bake one for your sweetheart, it is sure to please!
For this cake, I choose my favorite cake recipe, making one and a half batches (for a larger layer cake). You will make your recipe of choice as usual, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure a smooth mixture.
I mentioned in my blog “Faithful in the Little Things” that my father grew up on the Irwinville Farms Project. Since many of you have probably never heard of it, I thought I’d take the time to explain it and the impact it made on a rural community.
The infrastructure that was built to sustain and improve this community helped the families to thrive and accomplish that. Schools, co-operative stores, churches, a gin, warehouses, a doctor’s office, not to mention the homes, barns, smokehouses, and such that were built on the farms provided all that these families needed to do well. The families were encouraged to make farm plans and keep records; the manager of the program educated the men on farming techniques, while the home economist taught the women how to plan meals and put up fruits and vegetables to feed their families throughout the year. Social activities were planned and everyone was encouraged to participate.
Because all these families worked together to lift each other up out of their collective suffering, the Irwinville Farms Project families grew into a tight-knit community. Years after the project ended, Irwinville still celebrates together every summer with a reunion, just like a family would. As a child, I never realized what the reunion was all about. I just thought it was normal for a community to gather together every year for meals, singing, and games!
The Irwinville Farms Project was successful in that nearly all the families who participated were able to purchase their farms from the government and continued to do well for their families. It truly was a helping hand, not just a hand-out. If you’d like to read more about it, you can read the report from 1939 in the National Archives by clicking here, or you can purchase the book, Irwinville Farms Project, written by Joy Wilson McDaniel at www.amazon.com. Another fantastic resource, from where most of these pictures came, is Irwinville Farms, A Digital Archive Curated by Brian Brown.