Eye-Chart & Nature Summer Mantel

Create a summer mantel with a fun eye chart and items from nature

You might not know this about me from reading this blog (which is all about doing things…) but I’m actually NOT one of those people who like to change things around all the time in their homes. Really. Pillows and linens usually stay the same for years in our house, not just months.

If I like something, it stays awhile. However, one of the things I like about blogging is the incentive – and inspiration – I find on from blogs and  Pinterest to change things up just a bit. And the mantel is one of the easiest things to do something seasonal with – as long as it doesn’t cost very much (but I bet that is something you DID know about me!).

So I decorated our mantel for the summer with items I already had – some for years and others that were recent finds. It took me all of 10 minutes, and most of that time was gathering the items from around the house.

The cement-looking urns, mini bell jars, and apothacary jars are all from thrift stores, and I’ve collected the shells (some found, some bought) through the years to fill the jars in the summer months.

This eye-chart is new, though. I fell in love with this tray when I saw it in a Country Living magazine a few months ago. I have never in my life ordered something I saw in a magazine, but I actually did this time, thinking it might be a fun addition to our gallery wall.

It was larger than I anticipated and didn’t work on the wall, so I propped it up against the old window on the mantel (when it was still dressed for spring – I removed the ironstone platter and set this in the same spot). The colors and style work along with the shells and the urns, so it’s staying for the summer.

So I guess I did spend $23.00 (with shipping costs)…but that is a rarity for me.

Oh, but I’m sure you’re wondering about that beautiful, huge orchid…didn’t I pay for that? That beautiful plant, believe it or not, was a gift from one of my preschool students on the last day of school. It certainly rises above the usual apple-shaped cups and candy doesn’t it? Not that there’s anything wrong with those gifts…they just wouldn’t work as well on the summer mantel, would they?

I’m loving how just this season update is a reminder of the summer season- even if everything else in the house stays the same.

Hopefully you will soon see a change I’ve been wanting to make for months: apply mirror paint to the old window panes to change it into a mirror. ‘Cause DIY projects? Those I’m all about!

(Update: it’s done and I love it – see how to turn a vintage window into a mirror here).



  1. says

    We love to have some season changes around our home as well. We have a large grape vine that frames the bay window in our kitchen. Mrs. Stoney changes the artificial flowers she has in it based on the season. Pansies for spring, sun flower in the summer, fall leaves, poinsettia for the holidays and snow flakes for winter. Always nice and colorful!

  2. says

    The mantel looks really nice. I’m not a big seasonal rearranger either, but I also find myself doing it more because of blogland.
    I LOVE the tray. I would have had a hard time not ordering it as well. :)

  3. says

    I love it! I’ve been wondering what to put in my apothecary jars that look so boring and empty.

    I love orchids, too. So far, I’ve had some success with the ones from Home Depot. (Hopefully, I didn’t just jinx myself.)

  4. says

    So pretty! It makes me want to go to the beach! :)

    I’m terrible at changing things around. We moved into our house in February and I haven’t completely “finished” one room yet, so until I do that I don’t want to change what little I’ve done!

  5. says

    What a lovely mantel Jami. I understand what your saying as in New Zealand we tend not to keep changing things, especially our mantels unlike in the USA when you so nicely decorate different times and holidays of the year. I think it’s so refreshing, I might re-do mine up this summer (we’re unfortunately late Autumn at the moment).

    I love your vignette, you have done a really great job, thank you for sharing.


  6. candice@adventurefoodlove.com says

    I totally agree with the blogging thing getting you motivated….and pinterest, besides being a internet black hole of time is so chocka full of ideas it’s great!
    The blog has defiantly got me practicing my photo set up more, and recipe development. The only down side? The fam sometimes has to wait a bit too eat so I can shoot my stuff:)

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