Fall Mantel 2014

As we embrace a new season in New England, we look forward to a shift in our intentions and in our decor.  A new Fall Mantel is a reminder that it is time to shift and re-align.


We began with a chalkboard, and Andrew agreed to re-create this image.  Pretty lovely, I think.

Fall Mantel - Pumpkin Art

We wanted to bring the outside in . . . simply . . .

Fall Mantel - Cloches

so a couple of little pumpkins and three pinecones have added a great deal of Autumn to this tiny space.

Fall Mantel

I also brought back our Andrew Wyeth Print and the little ladder Andrew built to accompany it.  It is a reminder to keep on climbing.

Hello to Fall, and Hello to you, dear reader.  I know we have been away a while.

Fall Mantel 1

Family Command Center

family command center

We have a wall in our kitchen that has become a focal point for our shared goals and lives.  We have changed our kitchen wall once again.  This is our fourth evolution.

Here are the previous three versions. We love having a place in our home that reflects our goals and intentions.


When our ceiling had to be replaced this summer, and therefore the kitchen repainted, we went ahead and took the opportunity to spruce up our wall, making it even more functional for us.


We redefined what we really wanted on our command center wall.  We use a shared calendar on our computers.  That includes what is for dinner each night, so we decided that we did not use the monthly calendar or the weekly menu on our wall, at least for the summer.

Instead we put up our Summer Adventure Goals.  Keeping track of those here has been so fun.

Summer Adventures2013

I like the idea of having Seasonal goals here that last longer than our monthly goals (monthly goals are in a google doc now).

The other pinboard may hold anything we like.  For the summer we went for this “centering” picture I found on Pinterest.


We have been choosing various short phrases this year that we like and that are centering.  This is actually January’s choice, but we reinstated it this summer.

We made the silhouette of Cole this past November and gave it as a gift to his grandmother’s at Christmas.  Here is a link to the tutorial we used.

We love the cheery yellow (actually a cream colored paint) and the versatility of the wall.


Winter Mantel 2013


Here is the view from my couch on this Winter Sunday.

We have a fresh new mantel heading into 2013.  We enjoyed our Christmas Mantel, however with 2013 arriving we like to begin fresh.

Intentional Inspiration 

We like to be intentional in the way we approach a new year.  This year on New Year’s Eve Day, we had childcare and Andrew and I headed to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.


We took the time just to be inspired.  And then we sat down together to talk about the year to come.  2013 will mark 10 years of marriage for us.  We talked through the different ways we wanted to be intentional.  We made note of them by using Siri (talking into my phone who recorded my voice) and we spoke out different areas that we wanted to be intentional about.

Intentional Themes

On January 1 with that list of ideas in hand we went by the ocean and each wrote in more detailed explanations of what they meant for us and what we discovered was that we had 10 clear themes for 2013 (10 is a lot, but it is a good number for our anniversary year).


We then took those ten themes and turned them into our mantel.

Intentional Mantel

2013Winter Mantel

That is a lot.

Let’s take it piece by piece.

IMG_4533 This center section, with its three pieces represents 5 of our themes.

We love that picture.  In person it looks almost like a line drawing, but it is an iphoto from our trip to the MFA of one of our favorite pieces.

Here is the original iphone picture:


The piece was beautiful in person and I love the colors of it.  We love the picture and debated whether we should get it in color or black and white.

1. Centering

I really appreciate that this picture captures a reminder for us to center.  This year we want to really take the time to set our priorities, to articulate what we know for sure, and have those core principles guide our daily actions and choices.

4. Connect in Community

We love the various communities of friends and neighbors we have around us.  But the truth is it takes work to connect in community, and so we are committed to being intentional in seeking out ways of doing this.  The little chair is a reminder to rest and take the time to engage with friends and neighbors.

5.  Fiscal Fitness

We are adventures in many ways.  We like to try new adventures, do new projects, experience new foods . . .   We are working at being sure that we are making the most fiscally fit choice.  So Andrew took our iphone picture to Staples and the least expensive way to get it above our mantel was to get a blueprint version print, in black and white.  We put it in an old frame and here she is for a total of $1.75.  A good reminder to seek out our options as we walk through the year financially.

8.  Notice the Details

This theme is executed throughout the mantel.  However, we both find the details of the reflection in the glassware enchanting, and there is no reflection of the observer.  The details are often missed and they can be what is most beautiful.

10.  Reflection

We both want to remember to intentionally reflect and to do that together.  We want to reflect the centering goals that we make and to reflect the themes throughout the year.  We love the word reflection and the many ways it can impact our lives.


This section of the mantel has three items and reminds us of two of our themes.

3.  Purposeful Parenting

This silhouette we made of Colton in November.  We sent it to both of his grandmothers and his great-grandmother as an Advent gift.  I love his little face and this reminder that he is this age for such a short time.  We have captured a moment in time, yet we must be purposeful daily in how we parent. Our parenting so clearly has a direct impact on his mood, his learning, and his little personality.  Three and a half to four and a half is a time of transition for his little soul and we want to be careful and intentional all along the way.

compassion7. Compassion

We both want to continue to be aware of global issues and organizations that are reaching out to meet the needs of others.  In fact we want to be more aware and we want to continue to nurture our hearts of compassion.  So the globe is our reminder to think about issues that are impacting others around the world.  I printed out this definition of compassion from Pinterest.  I love the simplicity and depth of it.


And here we have 5 items to remind us of 3 things.

2. Health & Fitness

We have enjoyed this little guy at Ikea, and when we talked about health and fitness as being one of our themes this year (and every year), we decided we would acquire him, and we are already enjoying him very much.  We do intend to make new choices each month that will have us explore how to live healthier lives.

6. Adventure

This has been a theme from the beginning for us, hence the name of our blog.  We found this interesting vase on sale at Homegoods, and liked the mountainous backdrop he gave to our running man.  We will absolutely continue to adventure in 2013 (and I am trying to convince Andrew to let us make the fiscal choice to take an adventure to celebrate 10 years of marriage.  If you are still reading this and know Andrew, put in a good word for this idea, please).

IMG_45299.  Life Long Learning

This too is a lifelong theme for us, we have lots of ideas about classes and books we are interested in.  So these two sweet filigree books (that have been passed down to my from my grandparents and theirs before them), are a reminder to keep making learning choices throughout the year.

Winter Mantel 2013

The Sharpteam definitely believes in the power of choosing words.  Here is a story about The Sharpteam’s Origin of Words.

We also do believe in being intentional about setting goals and revisiting goals. We talk a bit about this in our post when we chose an Annual Word in 2012.  The truth is, on word is not enough for us for a year.  We would talk about each month when we made our monthly goals, but we ran out of fresh thoughts about refreshing.  We are looking forward to our monthly times together and having all of these themes to talk about.  The year ahead looks full of good intentions.

And there is the LONG explanation of our Winter Mantel 2013.  Here is to a wonderful, intentional adventure!

Linking up to . . .


Christmas Mantel 2012

Christmas Mantel 2012Advent is here.

December is a month to celebrate.  One of our first traditions is to change our mantel.  For the past few years we have been choosing a “theme” for Christmas.

Our theme this year is  . . .

All is Calm

We wanted to have a woodsy mantel, so we chose to bring in some greens, pine cones, and cut logs


And then inspired by Pinterest and curious to see if we could make our own chalkboard, we headed to the White Elephant Outlet, a local shop when unwanted antiques and knick knacks go.  We found a big painting with the frame.  Everything is half off.  We purchased it.  Andrew painted the gold frame white and then painted the glass with chalkboard paint.

It was my turn.

I took inspiration from the above printable.  And designed our chalkboard.  I meticulously copied the letters and then found a snowflake on line that I liked and did my best to pretend to be an artist.


And here we have our Christmas mantel.


What are ways we incorporate the “theme”?

  • We chose an advent reading called, “All is Calm, All is Bright”
  • Our Christmas cards have the saying “All is Calm, All is Bright” on them and we are wishing our friends and family a season that includes moments of calm and moments that are bright
  • We choose presents around the theme, our family will receive presents that are “calm” and/or “bright”
  • We will include it in our annual Christmas Movie
  • We wrap our presents in this theme
  • We give our co-workers fudge with tags from our theme.

Last year our theme was “Joy to the World”

Christmas Mantel 2011

May your winter season be filled with the peace and calm

And may your celebrations be merry and bright!


Linking up to . . .



one project link partySS852700

Intention {Adventure} Day 13: Kitchen Tour

 … to enjoy the annual kitchen tour.

The last thing Cole said before he went to bed last night?

“Mama, after ‘bretfast’ do we get to go on the adventure to all the houses?”

“Yes, Cole.”

He fell asleep with a big smile on his face.

He is our little guy.

We love the kitchen tour.  We have blogged about it in 2010 and 2011.  It is just so interesting to go into beautiful homes.  We are all excited to go.


It was an incredible day.  And Cole had a great time.  He hopped in the backpack and we traveled to 8 different homes.

We did not stop in at house #1

 It is our neighbor’s home and we have been inside.  So we headed out to houses beyond that we have not seen.

House #2 was done on a “modest budget.  The owners kept their granite counter tops and appliances.  This piece of black walnut on the island was really beautiful.  The renovation as done by Howell Custom Building Group.

House #3 was a town house on a golf course.  It had a custom mural and a black bathroom off the kitchen recently featured in the Boston Sunday Globe Magazine.  This Kitchen was done by Wilson Kelsey Design, Inc.

House #4 was a dark kitchen transformed into a “French Country Kitchen” designed by Lisa Kawski of LMK Interiors, Ltd.  Cole loved this house, they had scones and pumpkin bread and more out and ready.  It turned out they were provided by Pure Pastry a caterer nearby.  They were delicious.  But Cole did not know what was coming . . . House #5 was magical for him.

House #5 is affectionately known around town as the “bunny house.”  The owner is Robin of Robin’s Nest Designs. The kitchen and room above it were mesmerizing with hand painted cabinetry and its yellow appliances.  The scene stealer was the train that ran on a track built on a shelf.  The room was designed around the train.  Cole was in love.

House #6 was renovated by Meadowview Construction, we remembered this company from House #1 last year.  They had a pumpkin cookie that made Cole happy for quite a while.

House #7 is on the market.  It has a beautiful widow’s walk with ocean views.

We decided to go enjoy our own ocean view.  We picked up sandwiches and ate at the beach before continuing the tour.

House #8 was our favorite.

The homeowner was there when we walked in and I declared my love for it right away.  He had just finished the backsplash the night before.  It is a renovation by the homeowners themselves.  Love it.  His wife is an interior designer.  Beautiful job Mary Fortunato-McElwain and Jeremy McElwain.

House #9 was also just finished.  All we have is a shot of it in progress from Design Vignettes.  The countertops were beautiful.  It is a 1850’s sea captain’s home.  So lovely.

Cole fell asleep for  three homes, and rode in his car seat and backpack without waking up for over an hour.  Pretty sweet.

It was a really lovely day.  I love the North Shore of Boston.

Intention {Home} Day 11: Bring Some Fall Inside

 . . . to bring Fall inside.

It is officially Fall.  We have already had beautiful fires in the fire place.  We have decorated our Mantel.

And while we don’t go all out and decorate for the season, I do like to bring a little bit of Fall in doors.  Today is the day.


Andrew and I really enjoyed having bittersweet on our mantel last year.

So I brought bittersweet in again this year . . .

 And I picked up a little plant at the grocery store . . .

And then I clipped some hydrangeas from our front yard.

Cole participated as well.  We picked up a pumpkin . . .

And he brought home a craft made from leaves and pine cones.


Fall Mantel 2012

Our Fall Mantel began coming together during our summer vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine when we picked up two prints by Andrew Wyeth.  I was drawn to the simple, rustic colors and the striking lighting in each.  I loved that both had a story on the back, told by Andrew Wyeth.

I found myself returning to these two ideas.  The ladder: climbing toward something, toward the light.  And the hay ledge: setting aside one season in life to embrace another.

I love the touchstones that these images are for us during this season.

So we put together a mantel around these two themes.

Andrew built a miniature ladder for me out of an old pallet.  It reaches vertically with the wheat and a vertical window.

The hay ledge sits behind a horizontal window with flowers and hay.  In front I placed a little boat I found at a local antique store.

There is something peaceful about our mantel . . .

It allows me to sit and rest . . . as well as inspires me to be mindful of climbing and setting aside what is not for this season.

May your Fall be a season of continued adventure and rest, may there be a peace and a balance for you.