Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel & Balsam Hill Giveaway!


Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel via

As an adolescent, I went through a stage where I rebelled not only against my parents’ rules, but my Mom’s home decor style.  I remember turning up my nose to her hard-wood floors and vintage furniture, declaring that when I had a house of my own, everything would be modern: white walls, clean lines, wall to wall carpets…nothing that was “old.”

Flash-forward 15 years.

I’ve (thankfully) outgrown most of my angst, and I now really admire the ways my Mom treasured pieces that came with a history.  The vintage pie safe from the late 1700s.  The framed cross-stitch art circa 1880.  The Vietnamese elephants that frame the fireplace.

And so, in honor of Mother’s Day this year, I created a mantel display that gives a nod to my mother and her penchant for vintage finds, while still incorporating some rustic elements that Mark and I just can’t get enough of.  {NOTE:  If we want to be technical, it’s not exactly a mantel…but the closest thing we have to one: our fake mantel on the buffet…affectionately called our “fantel.”}

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel via

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel via

As I created this spring mantel, I knew what the focal point would be: this gorgeous Balsam Hill English Boxwood Wreath.  Also, I have to give my mother props here.  Before boxwood was plastered all over Pinterest, she had some faux boxwood garland creeping up her spiral staircase railing at Christmastime two years ago.  So, this wreath is in her honor, too!  Although, the square-shape is sort of rebellious, don’t you think?  So, perhaps that’s an homage to my adolescent self….

Balsam Hill English Boxwood Wreath: easily transitions from season to season via

This is the second item I’ve owned by Balsam Hill (the first being a garland I won in a giveaway this past Christmas), and I have to say, they really create a quality product.  From the realistic leaves to the vibrant green, this is a wreath that is in it for the long haul.  In fact, not only do I plan on using it from year to year, but it’s the kind of wreath I can use for all seasons of the year.  I can just change out the ribbon!

Balsam Hill English Boxwood Wreath: easily transitions from season to season via

{Sidenote: I’m uber excited to have the opportunity to give away a Balsam Hill wreath to one of my readers, plus a lil something extra!  So, stay with me to the end, folks, so you can enter.}

Once I ordered my boxwood wreath, I wanted to incorporate some vintage finds into the mix.  So, after shopping the house and planning out a few DIY projects, it was off to Etsy I went!

In fact, here’s a style guide I created featuring each of the elements of my Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel, as well as links to their sources and Etsy shops, so you can support independent artisans & businesses, too!

Style Guide

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: Style Guide & Source List via

1.  Aluminum Camping Jug via hip huggie on Etsy

2.  English Boxwood Wreath via Balsam Hill

3.  Wooden Bark Charger via World Market

4.  Faux White Forsythia via Hobby Lobby

5.  *Preserved Sheet Moss via Amazon

6.  White Pillar Candles via Hobby Lobby

7.  D.I.Y. Mini Chalkboard using scrap plywood & *chalkboard paint

8.  White Chevron Wired Edge Ribbon via Hobby Lobby

9.  Vintage Industrial Metal Shop Drawer via Gray Garden Decor on Etsy

10.  Mini Wood Easel via The Crafter’s Merchant on Etsy

11.  White Bird Tealight Candleholder via Target (last year)

12.  D.I.Y. Felt Succulents via Shaken Together’s tutorial

13.  D.I.Y. Mercury Glass Pedestals via my tutorial

14.  Handmade Bird’s Nest with Turquoise Robin’s Eggs via A Marigold Life on Etsy

15.  Assorted Vintage Books

16.  D.I.Y. Pallet Sign via this post & this post

17.  Mint Round Bird Cage via ReFeather Your Nest on Etsy

Before I made my purchases, I actually drew out a rough sketch of my vision to see how it might all come together; this is something I had never done before, but I found it extremely helpful!  Even though I ended up making a few tweaks, it helped shape my vision.

Rough sketch plotting out my Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel via

Mantel Tour

I’d love to show you how each of these individual elements came together together to create my Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel.  Tour time!

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: How cool are these felt succulents!  Perfect for my black thumb!  via

I knew I wanted to incorporate into the mantel the mercury glass pedestals I had created this past fall (using candle-holders from the Dollar Store!).  Not only are they vintage-esque, but the silver finish would match the silver of some of my other pieces.

And then, I had an ah-ha moment when I remembered the potted felt succulent I had created at my friend Keri’s Spring Pinterest Party.  I created a second one using her tutorial and painted the pot a combination of teal and mint to match the birdcage, and voila!  They bookend the left side of the mantel so beautifully; plus, I’m relieved to know I can never kill them.

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: How cool are these felt succulents!  Perfect for my black thumb!  via

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: How cool are these felt succulents!  Perfect for my black thumb!  via

One of my favorite sections to peruse at Hobby Lobby is the birdcage aisle, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to add one to my home decor collection for a while now; and this mantel posed the perfect opportunity.  So, when I came across this minty wonder in my Etsy searching, I scooped it up.  I just love its springy color and the height it brings.

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: I heart this minty birdcage! via

I seated the birdcage atop my Wooden Bark Charger and added some preserved moss to the base, making it the perfect landing pad for a little bird’s nest; the turquoise Robin’s eggs were my favorite of the vast selection over at A Marigold Life.  Hello spring!

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: How sweet are these turquoise Robin's eggs in the handmade nest?  via

One of my favorites of the new pieces that I found on etsy was the Industrial Metal Shop Drawer, which is the perfect size for four pillar candles.  (It’s almost like they were M.F.E.O.)  I placed a strip of scrap wood instead the drawer, so the candles would sit up a bit higher and then tucked some moss in between the candles for added color and texture.

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: Love the idea of using an industrial drawer to display pillar candles! via

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: Love the idea of using an industrial drawer to display pillar candles! via

I raided our bookshelves for some of our vintage hard covers and stacked them high with their spines facing the wall.  They became the perfect platform for some chalkboard art on the tiniest little easel you ever did see (which I brown-washed to give it an aged look).  The chalkboard is just a piece of thin scrap plywood we had that I painted with chalkboard paint.  And I used some of these tips from The Lillypad Cottage for creating my “bloom & GROW” design.

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: Vintage books are the perfect platform for displaying a DIY chalkboard! via

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: Vintage books are the perfect platform for displaying a DIY chalkboard! via

The white bird tea-candle holder was a Target find from last year for $2.50!  So, I simply migrated the bird from his former home in our guest room to the mantel; I dare say, he has adapted to his new surroundings like a champ!

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: it wouldn't be complete without a white bird teacandle holder via

And to bookend it all on the right, I used a vintage Aluminum Camping Jug as a vase for some faux flowers I picked up at Hobby Lobby, on sale for 50% off.

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: think outside the box when it comes to vases. A vintage camping jug will do just fine!  via

Funny story: when Mark first saw the flowers from a distance, he expressed delight, until he saw at closer glance that they were (gasp) fake.  We’ve never had fake flowers in our home before because of how much he loathes them…or rather because of how much loves fresh flowers.  (Can you blame him?)  But he later gave them his stamp of approval because of how realistic they look; and I insisted I would keep them dust-free!

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: think outside the box when it comes to vases. A vintage camping jug will do just fine!  via

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: think outside the box when it comes to vases. A vintage camping jug will do just fine!  via

Last but not least, the pallet sign behind our wreath is one Mark created using some of the leftover pallet we had from our pallet headboard project.  {Here are our tips and tricks for working with pallets!}  Although the pallet sign was really just in part to cover up an eye-sore on that wall – – a non-functioning speaker from circa 1992 – – I love how it turned out.  It really frames the wreath, allowing it to pop; plus the uneven edges on the irregular boards bring on the rustic vibe full force.

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: a pallet sign is the lovely backdrop for a boxwood wreath!  via

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel: a pallet sign is the lovely backdrop for a boxwood wreath!  via

So, there you have it!  Our Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel.  It’s amazing how one little display like this can infuse new life into the entire house.  {I’m still pretty new to this “home decor” thing, can you tell?}

Rustic Vintage Spring Mantel via

My mother has given me many gifts.  Her smile.  Her listening ear.  Her love of the handmade.  Her love of Jesus.  And it’s an honor to celebrate her appreciation for boxwood and all things vintage in this small way.

Happy Mother’s Day, Mama.  From your vintage-lovin’ rebel of a daughter.

Lauren & Her Mama, Carolyn, NYC, Spring 2011

Me & My Mom, NYC, Spring 2011

P.S. Balsam Hill shared a short interview with me on their blog this past weekend; so to read more about me, my Mom, and how we’re celebrating spring this season, click HERE.


Sweet Giveaway! 1 Balsam Hill wreath & $100 Etsy Gift Card at the thinking closet, May 5th - 12th, 2014.  Open to US and Canada readers.  Best of luck!

Well, Balsam Hill has generously offered up an out-of-this-world giveaway for one lucky reader.  Not only do you have a chance to win one of their gorgeous wreaths, but a $100 Etsy gift card, as well, so you have everything you need to create your own spring-i-fied mantel!

Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter widget below and gain up to 10 entries today, and your first one is a freebie!  This giveaway runs through 11:59 pm eastern, Monday, May 12th.  I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, May 13th on Facebook, as well as in this widget, so be sure to check back and keep an eye on your spam folder!

{This giveaway is open to anyone 18 years of age and older with a US or Canada mailing address.  Be sure to read the Terms & Conditions below for more fine print.}

a Rafflecopter giveaway

{Linking up here.}

*Full Disclosure: I received a free wreath and Etsy gift card to facilitate this project; however, you can bet your bottom dollar that all opinions are 100% my own!  That’s how I roll.  The starred links are Amazon affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase after clicking through, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.  For more policy information, click here.


Lovely comments so far...

  1. says

    There is a birdcage aisle in your hobby store? Really? Totally JEALOUS! Beautiful decorative birdcages are so hard to find here…
    Anyway. I love you fantel! Some really beautiful items that look even more beautiful all together!

    Have a great week!
    Love, Midsommarflicka

  2. says

    I too used to rebel against the vintage and old….and I wanted white carpet and sofas. What!? Now I would give anything to have my family’s antiques and hardwoods and I have almost successfully removed all carpet from my house. This was so inspirational to get me off my butt and to redo my entryway that serves as my “mantel”.

  3. says

    New to this home decorating thing?! Pssh! Girl, please! You just took the “fantel” game to a whole new level! I adore every. single. element. here. And I want me one of those birdcages! Also, I nearly fell out of my chair when you mentioned those succulents were made out of felt!! Gotta go check out that project! Tell Mark I hear him on the real vs. faux flowers… I’m all about the real, though sometimes you just gotta go faux!

  4. says

    I love anything vintage or rustic, and I think your decor looks fantastic! My oldest kiddos tease me about liking old things, so it’s nice to hear that they may change their minds when they get older. :)

    • says

      Oh yes! Just you wait, Dee. One day, they’ll be raiding your garage/basement/attic for old treasures to take home with them. And you’ll get to smile and say, “I told ya so!” 😉

    • says

      Thanks so much, Bre! Yeah, we decided in the final hour to change up the sign from having even edges to uneven ones…but it definitely upped the character factor! And I’m all about upping the character factor. I’m a theatre teacher after all! 😉

    • says

      Of course I HAD to include those precious felt succulents! How could I not?

      I love how many of the projects we worked on at your Pinterest Party have landed in my recent blog projects this spring. Thanks again to you and your Mom for putting together such an inspirational day of crafting!

  5. says

    Love this! Cute style and I am kind of obsessed with boxwood myself. I’d love for you to link up to the Be YOU. Tiful Link party live on Thursday. Pinning!

  6. says

    You know what struck me most reading this? No, not the fact that you’re a decorating genius – I already knew that. But how much your photos have improved! I mean, it’s not like they were terrible before or anything, but I can tell that you’re really getting the hang of your camera, and it shows! Made it even lovelier to read this :)

    • says

      So many cheek-hurting smiles with this comment. First, you got me with the phrase “decorating genius,” which I will TRY not to let go to my head. And then, your compliments about my photography sent me soaring through the roof with pride! That’s something I’ve really been working on lately…especially since getting the new camera this Christmas and learning the ropes of Lightroom. But photography has become such a joyous step in the blogging process for me, and I’m deeeeelighted to know I’m on the right track! THANK YOU, Johanna!

      • says

        Just praising where praise is due :)
        One of my goals for the summer is to really get back into photography… my poor camera is feeling a bit forgotten! Until then, I’ll live vicariously through you 😉

    • says

      Oh yes! The sketch definitely helped me turn my vision into a reality! It’s a practice I’ll be doing more regularly now, too! Hope you had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend, Jenny Lynn. 😉

  7. says

    So pretty Lauren- love the vintage rustic touches… and that pallet board is fabulous- I love the irregular funky shape. I think I just might have to copy you on that one!! The boxwood wreath is a stunner!! Happy Spring!

    • says

      Thanks, Krista! Yeah, the irregular funky shape was a last-minute decision…but one I’m so glad we made. It really helps give that pallet wood some spunk and personality (if pallet wood can have spunk and personality, ha ha). Copy away, friend! So many of your creations flood me with inspiration, too! Happy Spring to you, as well, Krista!

    • says

      Isn’t “fantel” a fun word? I have to credit my friend Tori from Lil Mrs. Tori for that one! Crossing my fingers with you, Wendi…and so looking forward to seeing you this Friday! Eek!

  8. says

    I love everything about this mantle! And i am sure i had the same angsty everything will be modern in my house moment too!

    • says

      Glad to know I wasn’t the only one! I definitely ate my words on the modern-house-movement…and with so much of what I fought with my Mom about as a teenager. Ha ha. Funny how that happens…. Thanks for the comment love, Sarah!

  9. says

    Hi Lauren!

    This mantle is so awesome, I may have to create a mantle just so I can do this! I’d love to have you link this up with me and the Create & Share DIY and Recipe Party. I hope to see you there!


    • says

      Hi Karly! Thanks for the kind words about the mantel and for the linky invitation. I’m diggin’ your blog design, by the way, and your great sense of humor…especially when it comes to pina coladas, lol. Too funny!

  10. Sarah says

    We are a military family and live on an Air Force base. Base housing = no fireplace. I have a piano and I use the back as my makeshift mantle. Your decor is so lovely!

    • says

      How clever you are, Sarah! I love that you’re making use of that piano as your “fantel.” #fantelbuddies Thanks for the warm words about the decor! So happy it all worked out! #phew 😉

    • says

      Thanks, Lisa! Yeah, I definitely still feel like a newbie when it comes to styling and decor…so I’m glad to know you liked the outcome and that you appreciated seeing the sketch. That definitely was essential to making sure this look would work!

  11. says

    Love all of the details you used here but the wood on the wall with the square wreath is my favorite part. Just looks fabulous (like everything you do :) Thanks for linking up with us at The Makers Lauren! We love having you.

    • says

      Yay! So glad you’re a fan, Corey! (That’s my favorite part, too.) And your linky party is the bee’s knees! Seriously, I always walk away from The Makers will a gagillion pins between what you three lovelies have been up to and your sweet features. You rock!

  12. says

    I love your design- I think its great to sketch it out first then to go with it- I should do that more because I think it always seems to turn out better in the end- this looks really cool and I bet its great to see the sketch then the finished product- #senseofaccomplishment

    • says

      Yeah, I don’t know why I haven’t been sketching from the start! It’s something I’ll have to add into my decor regimen. Thanks for the encouraging words, Kelly! Hope you had the happiest of Mother’s Days!

  13. says

    Things I love about this:
    – that you once wanted wall-to-wall carpet. So funny how much we change!
    – your style guide, which is soooooo well put together!
    – the word fantel
    – your amazing sketch
    – every single thing you chose to decorate this surface with!

    You never fail to amaze, Lauren!

    • says

      Yay for lists from Thalita! I shall reply in turn.
      -Ha ha, I know! Now, it’s wall-to-wall-to-ceiling wood, please!
      -Aw, thanks! That thing took me FOR-E-VER, so the fact that you noticed it makes it all worth it. #learningcurve
      -Tee hee. We chuckle at the same things I think.
      -TOTALLY inspired by you and your gallery sketch!!! Not kidding. That was all because of you.
      -Okay, now you’re just making me blush.

      Thanks, friend! I’m grinning like a mule eating briers!

  14. says

    Beautiful collection of fabulous items. Wow. Excellent photography as well. Love everything that is presented. Wow! Thank you for the inclusion. I am honored to have played a small part. Absolutely beautiful.

    • says

      Thanks for the kind words, Lisa! It was really fun to incorporate your little easel into the display, and I know it’s going to show up in many mantel displays to come…it’s just so versatile. Best of luck to you and your etsy shops!

  15. says

    Absolutely love this whole collection you have put together! So amazing!!!! Love,love,love the sketching idea too!! Your creativity is so inspiring!!!

    • says

      Aw, thanks so much Lynn! I’m so glad I am now the proud owner of one of your gorgeous handmade nests. It’s such a treasure! Thanks for YOUR inspiring creativity. 😉

  16. says

    I am right there with you with the whole “When I’m older, everything I have is gonna be new!” and I really never understood why couples would go to small towns for “antique shopping”. HAHAHA. I think that also may have been because I was afraid the “old stuff” would come with ghosts, but now I am able to appreciate the history behind something and love the idea that I’m am able to enjoy something that someone else once cherished. LOVE your “fantel” and the stories you share!

    Hope you have a great week!

  17. JaneEllen says

    Finding our style is kind of like seasoning a cast iron skillet, it takes time to appreciate different tastes. Wonder how many times I’ve changed what I like, sure I’m not done either at almost 74.
    Your Mom is a very pretty lady, see where you got at least some of your looks since I haven’t seen your Dad.
    All you young bloggers have taught me so much and exposed me to so many new things, my mind is buzzing constantly with what I want to emulate after seeing incredible decorating/crafting projects on blog land. I can’t seem to take it all in quickly enuf. My old friends are so impressed with what I know how to do now. Out of all my dear long standing friends none of them are crafters so they ask me for decorating advice.
    I Love that rustic sign with balsam wreath. I made a rectangular wreath with part of a basket rim that broke off and put just greenery on it, I’ve used it in so many places in the house. Hubs made me a great gate that I hang things on depending on season, mood, the wreath is hanging on it right now but think it’ll be moving soon.The gate hangs over our bed.
    I have one of those big round metal decorative wall thingies that I’m going to hang wreath on. We just finished painting our l/r a light bluish gray this week so I’m hanging some different decorative elements on walls in different places. It all started with a pair of curtains I got at T.J.Maxx few weeks ago. LOVe how you styled your buffet.
    We don’t have a mantel either but I use my shutter shelf to style, create vignettes all the time, have so much fun styling that shelf. We also have shelves in a corner of l/r I enjoy playing with.
    Guess you could say I love to decorate. Can’t afford to do all I want to but try to make up for it with what I can make. Hubs spray painted the metal brackets and shutter for me today in white and I painted the shelf a very light aqua, looks so pretty on light gray. Pretty much changed my whole color palette in l/r, about time. All this is thanks to all the talented bloggers out there like yourself that inspired me. Happy days

  18. Marmie/Lauren's mom says

    Wow! I finally got to read this (I am so embarrassed it took me this long) but what a JOY and DELIGHT to read it now a week after Mother’s Day and when the semester and Nurses Week celebrations are over! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to remember those days long gone by!

    I wrote a comment on the Balsam Hill site following the interview! If it doesn’t show up by tomorrow, I’ll try to recreate here what I wrote there! Bottom line– I am teary-eyed and reminded of the importance of making memories with children. I so look forward to continuing to support you and your desire to let your creativity splish and splash all over those of us who know you as well as strangers who are blessed and inspired by you!
    Well done with all pictures and the “fantel” arrangement! and I really enjoyed the interview, too! I am amazed by how my taste continues to change–month to month and year to year. Keeps life interesting!
    Sending much love and a big hug!

    • says

      I’m glad it could be like a reward after all of your big commitments wrapped up! I think you probably were able to enjoy it all the more with a more peaceful spirit.

      And I just read your heartfelt response on the Balsam Hill blog and got teary-eyed myself to read not only how much you appreciated the post and interview, but your charge to other moms out there. You are a natural teacher and role model, and clearly, not only have you blessed Lisbeth and me, but your students, co-workers, church families, and even strangers in blogland. Once again, I’m SO proud to be your daughter! Much love and a big hug back atcha, Mama.

      • Marmie/Lauren's mom says

        You are always so affirming. Thank you! You have taken crafting to a whole new level…beyond what I could have imagined. I can’t tell you (but maybe you know this since you are a teacher) what a blessing and a total “high” it is to see you take those simple crafting/sewing projects we did in childhood and go so far above and beyond!! xxoo

    • says

      Well, aren’t you the sweetest thing, Kimm?! Thanks so much for taking the time to pop on by and make my night with your high praise. Happy fanteling to you and your hubby! 😉


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