Laila and the tree.

How gorgeous is this time of year with all the blooming bushes and trees? This time of year I long for Savannah. We went there on our honeymoon in May– 7 years ago. Lovely flowering trees. And the parks and fountains and shops and the water-front town…

If you ever want to experience historic and lovely– go there.

Anywho. I made our prissier daughter get dressed, so I could take some pictures with our 2 trees. She liked her outfit so much, when she was done and it was time for playclothes– oh did she throw a fit!– I`m sure the neighbors had their phones in hand, ready to call social services at the screaming and kicking noises.

No, it`s just me trying to rassle a 2 year old out of her “perty” and losing badly.

She is CRYING~ But I still love the moment in the picture. Evil mom alert.

She kept running away, so I told her I`d give her chocolate if she just stood there.

“Chol-at”? Yes, yes. She will stand there now.

Messy hair was supposed to look “european”, turns out it looks “lazy mom”.

Run little girl, let your wisps of hair a-fly, be your guide.


Well, who do we have here? An urchin in a grey dress.

If my one girl is prissy (little one), then the other one (older one) is a dirt girl.

G texted me the other day and said,

“I just thought of the perfect birthday gift for Elle! An ant or a worm farm.”

I texted back and said,

“Oh my word: perfect.” …and then some other stuff I can`t write here.

Just kidding on that last part.

But if I were to buy Lailas dream gift it would be more princess dress-up clothes.

I LOVE the diversity. It`s crazy how I don`t teach them what to like– they look and listen and watch, and then they come out with a conclusion… I like THIS. THIS is me.

Happy Elle, sporting the family`s classic hairdo: The Lazy Mom.

Picking up worms/bugs/stones in my fern flowerbed.

I have mantel insecurity issues. I have done this mantel up probably a good 15 different ways since we moved here. And I never REALLY like it. There is this thing with placement– that I can`t get the hang of. I will have a bunch of pretty things– and then when I set them all up there, it just looks weird and lumpy. But I leave it, because I don`t really know a better way.

(If anyone ever comes across a link for tips on this– I`d LOVE to see. Or share advice for me in the comments. DON`T BE SHY– I would love it!)

Anyway. My former mantel was very dusty, ugly, tired… (no picture available) there was a large wreath over the mirror, so there wasn`t much light reflection.

I decided to try again and you know what I did? I decided when I put this mantel-scape together, to set everything up exactly opposite of the way my instinct to do it, would be. I can have this kind of “cluttery” style that drives me completely crazy.

In the end, it turned out my best one yet. Not perfect, but…

A few things I learned:

1. Create light. (By removing the wreath covering the mirror– the mirror could now reflect light. Also the candles.)

2. Create a focal point. The eye has to have a place to rest on. (In this case, the candle grouping.)

3. Give items space. (It creates a cleaner look– allowing each decor item to give interest to the viewer.)

4. Look in odd places for decor. (I brought out all my misc jars that to me, were ugly and boring. BUT when paired with candles they now became transformed because your eye now sees the light, not the jar.)

5. Real flowers and the calming color white. (Two of the most simple ways to bring beauty anywhere. Did you ever notice, every magazine shot has real flowers in it? )

6. Unique textures create depth together. (An example of some great pairing possibilities: white glass, live flowers, moss, light, something weathered with time, bark, a frame with lovely detailing, vintage leather, words that create feeling, faux fur, weathered wood, wicker, a map, colored glass, a collection-grouping. The list could go on and on.)

7. Last but NOT least… LESS IS MORE!

(I came up with 7 points! WHAT? Where did all that come from– ha.)

When G comes home from work and I have these candles lit, it REALLY makes his day.. Which makes mine.

A random picture thrown in.

My and my sister`s kids.

The photo theme was cute lunchboxes, but I think the lonely outhouse is stealing the show.

Take time to enjoy the Son-shine today!

Love, Jenny

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  1. amber says:

    beautiful trees and girls and mantle. i love the diversity of kids~ and when i saw their hair i totally thought, “β€œeuropean!!” πŸ˜‰ you crack me up.

    have a great day friend~

  2. Cindy says:

    omw! your girls are getting so big Jenny!! I had to laugh at your oldest and her love for dirt… sounds like mine! it would make her whole year if she could come dig in the dirt at your house w/ Elle!!
    btw, THANK you so much for the card you mailed me. Snail mail is sooo.very.special!!! And I loved the gift with it too! =) I don’t have a lot of ‘stuff’ like that here or the fun options! Thank you for making my day!! miss you friend!

  3. Shelley says:

    I just love the decorating tips I glean from your blog…keep up the fabulous work! Also, thank you for the link to my blog on your ever-popular site! I didn’t even notice when it went up, but I have received a large amount of traffic lately from this source, so once again, thank-you! πŸ™‚

    I love that you celebrate the differences in your girls. That is so affirming to them! (Even if they don’t know it yet.)


  4. Rachel says:

    i’m so glad!!!!! that someone else has bad hair days on their daughter(s)! seriously, there are days when i’m doing good to make mine look decent let alone a daughter who Hates to have it combed! but, lucky for little girls, they can look cute all a-muss. mommys, on the other hand….eh…not so much here.

    the mantel looks great and the tips! you’re awesome! the only ‘tip’ i would have would be to add something higher. i think when you have two items the same height, you need one more thing to be higher to give the look more of a ‘flow’. like, i like to put a tall thing on one side of the center (your mirror) a shorter thing beside it toward the center or toward the outer end, and then another thing on the opposite side of the center (mirror). little things can go either in the middle or on one side of the ends. and, the rule of thirds and odd numbers? i don’t know why, but i’m always aware of that when i put up displays…. just saying…cuz you asked for comments….
    and, seriously. Jenny…you always come up with awesome ideas, and i LOVE your style.
    happy day to you!

  5. clarita says:

    Wow, that last picture is glorious!! I love the messy hair look, and think it looks MUCH better than the neatly-combed, comb-marks look. πŸ™‚ Maybe because way back in the day when I was still beachy (pre-age 14) another girl at church got after me because I didn’t have comb marks in my hair. I hadn’t liked it before, and I don’t like it since. Not sure why I went all that direction, but there’s a free history lesson. πŸ™‚ Oh, and her skirt is DARS. Was that one of the ones you made too??!

    I so love hearing about the differences in your girls. My are sooo opposite too, but in the opposite way from yours! Zoe is my princess girl, baby-doll playing girl. Olivia is my everything-is-a-car, I-like-to-hold-bugs, I-WANT-TO-SEE-TOO child. Nothing meek and mild about her. πŸ™‚ I love their differences too, and think it so amazing that these two children could both be birthed from me but have little in common personality-wise. It makes life with them so fun and interesting!

    Your mantle scape is SO pretty. Love your pointers too. I have a hard time with mantles, which is NOT a good thing because I have five of them. πŸ™ My living room mantle is constantly changing, and what I have now is very simple, but I have a little candle grouping similar to yours. Made me smile to see yours, and think, “Wow, pretty cool we thought of the same thing.” πŸ™‚

  6. Anna says:

    If I were very rich buying FRESH flowers every week would be one of the things I would do….. they make any room look better!
    I have a row of old classics and poetry books on my mantel. So now that will make your mantel seem really lovely.

    Your daughters are gorgeous and I really like their hair : ) My daughter, who is 5, always comes home from school with no hair accessories – she doesn’t really like them so she pulls them out and “looses” them.

  7. Andrea Esh says:

    Ha! The lazy mom hairstyle is a good one. My girls wear it well. In fact when they arent wearing it, they go “where are we going today mom?”

  8. Rachel says:

    I love the ‘lazy mom’ hairstyle. My girls wear that one all the time!
    You were wondering about deco advice. There are two things I always keep in mind when I decorate around the house. One is the rule of 3s. Things look best when grouped together in 3s (or fives). Think one picture on the wall vs. 3 photos grouped together. The 3 photos will be more appealing to the eye. The other thing I try to do is create a triangle. I don’t remember all the specifics but it was something I learned in Commercial Art back in my senior year in high school. It has something to do with your eyes having a path to follow instead of trying to figure out what to look at next. If you look at many professional family portraits you can often draw a triangle around the important elements such as faces. To help make my triangle I usually have several things on the mantle shelf and one of them will be something a little higher or taller. It then directs your eyes up to something on the wall that is the ‘point’ of the triangle.
    Sorry if some of this is a little confusing, it’s kind of hard to put into words. And you always do a great job with your decor so I’m not sure why you need help πŸ™‚

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