How To Create A Beautiful Autumnal Mantel Display on

Autumnal Mantel Display

   To those who are observant, the inspiration for beautiful displays is all around us.  My husband Dave and I took a trip through Southern Indiana a couple of weeks ago.  This display was inspired by a display I saw at a restaurant.

   Sorry, the picture is grainy.  I took it from across a big room with the cell phone.  You get the idea, though.  

   It was so colorful, I couldn’t quit looking at it.

   On the way home from our trip, I started trying to remember what gourds and sunflowers were stashed away in bins in the basement.   Fortunately, I had most of the items needed for this project.  Only a bouquet of sunflowers, some interesting curly things, and a few small gourds were needed.

   Putting the display together, I realized something was needed to raise the height of the individual sunflowers.  A piece of styrofoam or floral foam small enough to be hidden would not support the stem.  
   After brainstorming for a few minutes, I found a new use for wine corks!  Gluing a few of these together and using the corks as a ‘floral frog’, worked perfectly!

   It’s funny, my eye is drawn to that colorful display on my mantel now and I smile.  The person who created the display at that restaurant has no idea he or she inspired this lovely Autumnal display!


Fall’in for Farmhouse Part 1

Welcome! I am finally ready for Fall! We recently had some long over due painting done in our Kitchen & Family Room! What a big difference! Fresh white painted ceilings & trim! And lighter painted walls with a paint color called Grayish. So I thought I would start my Fall decorating with this Table Scape by adding some Farmhouse details including 2 New wicker chairs for either end of my table. 🙂

I wanted to mention that this weekend we will be doing some demolition on the opposite side of our kitchen. Yay! We will be making some small kitchen renovations including taking down our blue tile back splash. Please follow along to see what material we have decided to use for a backsplash to replace the tile. We will also be replacing our laminate counter top with granite! I am so excited! 

Lets keep in touch . . . I will be posting my Living Room soon, that is now ready for Fall. I added a couple of new furniture pieces and a few new decorating pieces to start giving this space a fresher, more updated look. 

Thank you for stopping by! 🙂



“Hello” from Danville, California.  I am Angie Rose and I am new to Home Love Stories, but have been a follower of Melissa for about the last 6 months or so. I absolutely connect with everything she has written and posted.  In fact, it has given me confidence to trust my gut on what I love and what I want to surround my home to make me and my family happy!! I have recently done a remodel on my home and The Inspired Home has truly inspired me. My brain is bursting with so many interesting, fun things that I have learned and experienced to post.  I am a little nervous to “put myself out there”. I have thought to myself for the last year or so that I have so much valuable, credible, information that I have learned with regards to home, lifestyle, nutrition, pets, etc. in my 52 years.

My husband and I work at home doing real estate investing, we are both real estate brokers that work under our own brokerage company. We also buy distressed homes to fix up and sell.  So we are always dealing with all different aspects of homes and the real estate market. 

A big part of my life, besides, my work and family are my 3 dogs (Daisy, Bentley and Angus). I specifically remodeled our home to be pet friendly.  They are a big part of our life and bring so much joy. As I continue to post more stories, it will become apparent how much a part of my life they are.

Since it is fall I have to mention something with pumpkins!!! This pumpkin art piece was in Yountville, California (Napa Wine Country and near The French Laundry). When I was there I visited the winery Nickel and Nickel-very farmhouse rustic feel. I will have to share pictures on another story….

Happy Fall, my favorite time of year and my birthday month!!. I am looking forward to sharing lots of fun things with you all.


Teen Bedroom Makeover

     Wallpaper! That kept me from redecorating my step-daughter’s bedroom for more than two years after we moved into this house. My previous experience with the stuff was enough to prevent me from ripping down a fuchsia-colored print that Liesbeth was never fond of. It covered only one wall; one with a slanted ceiling at that, thus not really even a full wall. Silly me! One day I finally decided to just take a peek underneath by peeling back a small piece in a corner. Fifteen minutes later, the wall was bare and the floor was covered with intact rolls of fuchsia. Except the wall wasn’t completely bare. It was covered in paint…fuchsia paint. Ha! It was also covered in several blotches of putty where the previous owners had attempted to repair some blemishes. I couldn’t leave the blotches as they were since they’d show up as uneven imperfections under new coats of paint, so I sanded them down and covered several other holes to smooth out the wall. All in all not a difficult task. That’s how this decorating project finally got rolling!

     We then focused on colors and furnishings. She already had a twin bed, two deep purple beanbag seats, a white IKEA desk, her grandmother’s rather old-fashioned armoire and a chromed ceiling lamp. I wondered where to start exactly. She takes drum lessons and likes heavy metal. She’d been through a ”goth” phase and was then into a “grunge” phase. She doesn’t like fuchsia and hot pinks but adores dark purple. Not quite sure about which direction to take, I simply let her make the first big decision by selecting the curtain fabric. Some people choose curtains last to help bring everything in the room together. I thought it best to start with something new that would suit her own taste. She chose something quite unlike what I anticipated! Something very sophisticated and grown-up! That should not have entirely surprised me though, as she’s 18 and just starting studies at a nearby college to be a veterinarian assistant. They grow up fast before you realize it, don’t they!

     I then had to scratch my head about how to tie in the purple beanbags with a fabric of darker flower silhouettes on a background of graduating shades from gray to beige. Challenge on! Given her love for animals, we decided to create her “sanctuary” based on the flora and fauna of the local nature preserve. We live near a heather marshland, so the beanbags became the “water” around an old coffee table that I painted purple to match and also applied a vinyl photograph of lily pads to the top. 

     We painted the walls a neutral greige as a backdrop for the curtains and the vinyl “birch forest” stickers on the opposite wall. (I found all the vinyl appliques on Etsy.) I used the leftover lighter beige shades of the curtain fabric to make a velcroed decorative top for the duvet cover. The duvet cover colors worked well in the room, but the zig-zag striped pattern didn’t, so covering it up with the removable fabric worked out perfectly. I also bought modular IKEA units to complement and provide extra storage.

     I added a bit of character to the old wall mirror by creating a sort of diorama of the nearby pond. I cut and glued a piece of wavy patterned glass to fit within the frame, then filled it with blue gravel that I found at a local crafts store. I added a miniature plastic rabbit and set of cattails as well as a couple of small twigs to emulate trees.

     I painted a colorful landscape on the face of the old armoire to emulate heather in the foreground, then grasses and hills in the background.

     Finally, I also added some paint to the ceiling lamp to cover up the chrome and make it look a bit more natural.

     Lies is very happy with the result, and it now provides her a serene place to study or relax!


Rental Remedies

     When my husband got reassigned to a new job three hours away from home, we found this little fully-furnished rental and decided it would be a great place to create a temporary nest and avoid packing up all our furniture for the move. I’m delighted with the old farmhouse character, but a bit disappointed that it’s not my own to decorate fully to my tastes.

     However, I have jumped at every opportunity to address my husband’s complaints about living in a 200+ year-old building, such as: “This bare wooden floor is cold on my feet”, or “Brrr, there’s not much insulation around these old windows”, or “That street light that streams through the hall window into our bedroom when we leave the door open is really irritating”. That’s music to my ears because it invites me to find a creative decorative solution to his very practical problems! 🙂

     As autumn nears the evenings will become brisker, but his feet will remain warm with the softness of sheepskin underfoot.

     On cold winter evenings, now all we need to do is pull the plaid blankets closed that I repurposed into curtains. No sewing involved!

     We can also now sleep with the bedroom door open since I repurposed a couple of grain-sack pillow cases into a curtain to replace a flimsy see-through lace curtain hung by the landlords.

     I can’t wait to hear his next complaint! 🙂

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How My New Home Office Came to Be . . . 

Hi Neighbors! It’s been a while! The past few months have been very busy for our family, around our home & new adventures for our kids(young adults!). We installed New flooring in the Kitchen and Living Room which I have already posted. My husband and I fell in love with the color & style of the floors, that we decided to have the same flooring laid in our Master Bedroom and my Daughter’s room on the second floor of our home. 

After our contractor laid the floors, and the room was empty, I decided to give the wall a fresh coat of light gray paint and repaint the white trim a brighter white. Then we moved all my daughter’s furniture back in her room. Her New bedroom looked so bright and refreshing. I should have taken some photos. So, about 2 weeks after all the renovations in her room, she decided that wanted to move out and get an apartment. That was not expected so soon! But, I am so proud of my Megan . . . wanting her independence. (She really is only a hop, skip and a jump from us, which we are very happy about. I actually see her more now than when she lived at home! So towards the end of April, I moved my home office from a small section in our Family Room to my own space. I’m having a lot of fun working on the progress of this room between work & family. So this is what I have done so far. 🙂


AFTER . . .

I will have more updates on the rest of the my office space. What to do with enclosing the closets?? Wood bi-fold doors or Drapes? Any suggestions?? 

Batchelor of Science with a First Class Honours

The Graduate

Hello everyone.  What a strange year I have had since I Iast posted. My ex husband died and left his house to our son Alexander.  It has taken a huge amount of work to make it habitable.  Alexander moved into the house with his girlfriend about 6 weeks ago.  Then last week he graduated from university with a first class honours degree in music technology He has set up his own business doing the lighting and sound for music events and it seems to be working well so far. Tony and I are empty nesters now and my craft stash has expanded to fill aAlexander’s old room.


Sliding Door

This was a “One Thing Lead to Another” project that happened after finishing our built-in bookcase in the office. The swinging door had been off for months while the bookcase was being built. In fact, I liked it off. It made the office feel bigger and more accessible. And mistakes of all mistakes, when the bookcase was finished and the swinging door went back on, the bookcase was completely covered by the door! So this happened.

We don’t always get the opportunity to repurpose materials in projects, but we had saved this door for a handful of years with the idea that someday it would work somewhere.

Even though the door is almost always open, we wanted to offer privacy inside and used a spray for a frosted glass finish.

Inside the office: the sliding door and the built-in bookcase.    Plus the gong has a new home 🙂


Entryway Update

I was inspired to update my entryway after reading Melissa Michaels book The Inspired Room. Specifically, to add a lamp and layer objects, using a newly purchased wooden red tray.

Before, a somewhat seasonal rotation of décor, no welcoming light for evening and night, a bit tired and bland. The grandkids are allowed one “gong“ each, per visit. But sometimes we get carried away anyway.

The red wooden tray was a find at Christmas and fun to use to corral a wintry scene. The sparkle of Christmas faded into a dull January and I knew I was ready for a change.

The whale’s tail hits the mark for Spring and Summer. Maybe I’ll replace it with a globe in September before the Fall pumpkins return.  

Chair redo

Can You Fall In Love With Fabric?

I don’t think I can confess to the amount of hours I spend looking at decorating magazines and blogs,, and searching the internet for inspiration. It is amazing how my style can be influenced subliminally by frequently seen images. For a very long time my favorite movie was “You’ve Got Mail.” One day I realized my living areas looked an awful lot like Meg Ryan’s apartment. 

Most of my redecorating involves paint, fabric and thrifty finds from yard sales, Craigslist and Ebay. Throw in some repurposing of furniture and moving things I already own from room to room. The chair pictured above was purchased on Ebay years ago…I loved the chair design but.the cushions that came with it were rather flimsy…I had lived with them for years.. A recent jolt of confidence in my skills prompted me to improve the chair to make it more suitable for our living room. 

I replaced the back cushion with a larger more substantial pillow. I looked online and found a site where I could order foam for the cushion cut to order ( I chose foam that was three inches thick, more than double the existing cushion. 

 Choosing the fabric at first left me a little insecure. I wanted something that was both traditional and modern, neutral but not solid. Looking at fabric for days online wasn’t enough. I couldn’t tell the weight of the fabric . So off I went to Joann’s to just browse….I was not ready to buy….this decision was going to take more time. Wrong! I browsed the bargain fabric first and nothing spoke to me. So I headed back to the upholstery fabrics. When I saw this fabric I knew it was “the one.” I loved the weight, the texture, the design. I walked away to look at other selections, but came back just two minutes later and decided this was it. A 40% off sale helped to seal the deal. I was in love and taking the plunge. 

My sewing skills are rudimentary, but I can sew a pretty good removable pillow casing. It was finished within hours of arriving home from Joann’s.  I put it on the chair when finished and took pictures to send to my daughter. Lots of pictures. It took a while longer but I managed to sew a removable cover for the seat cushion too, It’s not perfect but I love the results. 

 I am not sure about pairing the accent pillow with the chair (it was made from two placemats from Target) and I don’t ever decorate with teddy bears. It was a gift from a three year old girl for Valentine’s Day. So sweet.

 I do love the way my chair turned out. I already have plans to incorporate the fabric into slipcovering my Pottery Barn sofa without spending a thousand dollars. Stay tuned!