I Already Changed My Mantel Because I am A Crazy Person

It killed me not to have these done in time for the Mantel Party yesterday.  So I’m linking up to my own linky.

Every time I paint a room, my boys beg to help.  This time, I was prepared. I bought a $10 pack of 8×10 canvases from Michaels Craft Store and let them go to town.  Because I am a control freak and wanted to be sure I could easily incorporate these paintings in our family room, I predetermined the color palate–just like I did way back when.  Some of you will accuse me of child abuse for doing this, however, unless I wanted to hang 6 canvases of red and blue and black NASCARs above my fireplace, this was the only option.  Trust me.

We had already painted the canvases with a color a little lighter than our wall color–it is the color I used for the stairwell so it’s in the same family but not as dark.  They painted those the other day.  Painting the background is important so there isn’t any white space.  White space on a canvas makes me crazy.  Again with the control.

They didn’t complain once about the colors, and I told them to do whatever they wanted, mix the colors, splatter the colors whatever.  See how uncontrolling I am?

And yes, they do have plenty of their own paints, crayons and colored pencils in all sorts of colors that don’t go with our family room decor.  I locked them all up someplace and threw away the key.  Kidding.  Their bedrooms and playroom looks like a rainbow and a circus and club penguin had a baby and that baby is their domain.  And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Here are most of them, the lighting is horrid but you get the idea.  I think I might have hung them a little low, but since I used upholstery tacks the hole is so tiny and it’s easy to move them up if needed.  Using my boy’s artwork in our home is a fun and inexpensive way to make a memory.  And they love walking into the room and telling their friends that they painted the “pictures” even if it’s not a NASCAR.

PS, I’m experimenting with window mistreament fabric and styles, please try to ignore.

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  1. I. love. this. post.

    That is all.

  2. I do too Emily. I also lo-ve this idea. I and l-o-ve that you make me feel better about my consistency…it’s not controlling…it’s consistency.

    I also l-o-ve your mantel…and the little wooden sign as a reminder of where we stand in the scheme of things. Really though I haven’t been reading you for very long but that mantel is my fave so far!!!

    I enjoy your posts & good luck with your mis-treatments…that’s always the last thing for me.

  3. The canvases for your boys are GENIUS! And I love how the abstract works WORK together. Have a wonderful weekend.

  4. so glad i’m not the only mommy who says “do whatever you want as long as it’s from THIS group of item”

  5. I LOVE that your kids did the artwork!!! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing that.

  6. The artwork was the first thing I noticed about the new look and I really like it.

  7. You are too too funny :) …. in a completely endearing, wanna be bff’s ? kind of way …. I love that you are constantly tweaking and playing with your home! It always looks beautiful, too! Not to mention all of the great posts that we get to read because of it! And thanks for showing your boys’ paintings. I have been thinking of doing a family art piece for our family room (and yes, i would have to choose the colors myself! LOL!) but on a larger scale. And if it’s horrible or we change our minds down the road and want to do it all over again, then all we have to do is paint right over it!! Thanks for showing how cool it can look!

  8. That’s a great idea! Your mantel always looks good. It’s fun seeing the changes you make.

    Have a great day,


  9. Charity says:

    Oh, I like it so much better! Yeah for artwork above the mantel. And even better that it is artwork by a loved one. I think your new and improved mantel is beautiful!

  10. Fab idea. You boys have some talent there. I completely understand the need to pick the colors and the white space thing. I mean its just called controlled creativity…that’s all ;)

  11. You just have too much creativity to settle for one display, huh? ☺ I think this one is my favorite! I love that the kids got involved but it sure doesn’t look like a kids mantel design. Excellent!
    ☺ Celeste

  12. Love this! Including your kids’ artwork adds such a personal touch and looks great too!

  13. First of all, the artwork is great and I think it was a fabulous idea to pre-set the color palette! It works great on either side of your fireplace like that. And, I’m sorry, but there is no ignoring that interesting looking panel you have hanging. I think I know burlap, but what’s the white? We will be sitting here waiting for the details. ; )

  14. Well, I didn’t think it needed anything else. Until I saw those paintings, they look so good. I was really surprised. They added just a little bit more color and I love them.

  15. Kerri@a very blessed nest says:

    I know you are going to reveal those curtains to us right??? And I love your ART the kiddos came thru!

  16. Quite the little artists! It looks great. When my boys were little I had them each draw colorful fish. I matted them all and hung them in their bathroom. It loved them! And now that the oldest is a photographer I hang his photos up all over the place!

  17. Love it, both the mantel and you getting the boys involved! Will get three year old involved when we do up the master in the summer!

  18. I love it! Also, the curtains seem to go really nicely

  19. Great idea! No matter what they will look great…have to try this with my kids. :-)

  20. Oooh! I love it! I like the letting the boys help. I’m sure those kinds of things they will always remember and cherish. Besides, someday when they are hubbies you know they will be more apt to help their wives. :)

  21. courtney says:

    love it. love it. love it!

  22. I love it! :) I am a control freak too. We should start a club, but I might try to control it. Just sayin. ;) I bet your boys are so proud that their mama hung their artwork up!!

  23. cute idea! I have some canvasses sitting around waiting to do this too! my boys mix the colors so everything ends up muddy brown, ha!

  24. A little direction never hurt! What a fun project and cool result…have you linked up?! Janell

  25. So freakin cute!! I mean awesomely cute!! LOVE IT!!

  26. LOVE it! I need to remove the dying flowers and redo my areas (no fireplace, not mantel).

  27. What a fabulously wonderful idea! I must run out & grab some canvases immediately. BTW, I think I’m about to start painting my family room SW Favorite Tan today…..I think. If I don’t back out.
    Thanks, Nester. Enjoy your weekend rearranging that mantle once more.;)

  28. dear control freak, I mean Nester: the proofreader in me looooves that you used the correct styling of NASCAR {rolls eyes that I even noticed}.

  29. Love the art work.

    I think it is great that you let them do the work, even with limitations to color, …it will help them when they’re older…you know some day they’ll have a boss to please,the guy that signs their paychecks.
    Great character building. ;)

  30. Great idea! I’ve been meaning to do a little abstract landscape canvas thingy for one of my walls, challenging my own opinion that abstract art could be done by a toddler (or, in this case, elementary-age boys). This project has given me added incentive to get off my duff and do it! Better yet, make my kids do it. The mantel and artwork look great.

  31. I heard that control and crazy were the new black, just sayin’! Good for you letting the boys help–that was the hardest when I was teaching preschool, but if you send home 20 identical snowman pictures, the parents know–and they don’t mean nearly as much as the snowman that has his carrot nose sticking out of his belly and a pipe coming out of his ear, well snowmen don’t really have ears, but you get my drift…

  32. High Five Sister!

    Girl I’m just telling you right now, I love you to pieces.

    You are a great mom!

    And a great Virtual BFF who I’ve never actually met.

    (by the way-you are rocking out that mantle…i read somewhere the other day for your house to tell a story and your mantle truly does!)

  33. Oh my, this is a wonderful addition. Nothing better than art made by your children. So sweet!

  34. Can we discuss how much I LOVE that tan coral on the pedestal?! Gorgeous!

    Also, I love that you admit the control issues…we are cut from the same cloth.

    • Noreen, I totally meant to brag on that–I got it last year at a yard sale for …wait for it….25 cents!!! I’ll show you what else I found this week.

  35. These could not be any more perfect! I love them. The whole thing was divine before, but this puts it over the top. Yea, boys!

  36. Got your tweet about this! Love it! I am going to include my kids in something similar…

    Have a great weekend hun!

  37. what a great mom you are! those boys are going to remember when they helped mommy decorate for a very long time! it looks beautiful!

  38. Fabulous. And I’m all for the Nester’s Children’s Art Projects. Not controlling, but brilliant. :)

  39. I’ve already changed mine too. but I don’t think I’m done. you should do a mantel party every 3-6 months. I been a big hit with me!

  40. What a brilliant idea. I bet your boys are so excited to show off their art work. You”re probably the coolest mom on the block. Do they say “cool” anymore? I’m going to have to try something like this with my kids (and of course control the colors).

  41. Very nice! I had my 3 year old daughter paint 4 large canvases to hang over my sons crib . . . and I was even more of a control freak than you! I only let her have one paint color at a time. And each color had to dry before she got another color to paint with. I just had visions of everything turning brown when all the wet paint mixed. She didn’t mind, she just thought it was awesome that she could paint on canvasses like mommy.

    To add to the modern vibe I was going for with the artwork, I taped of some of the canvas with masking tape so that in the end there are lovely stripes of white. I’ve had people ask where I got it, and I have to laugh when I point at the wild haired 3 year old with lunch still crusted on her mouth.

  42. That is such a good idea. I have to young teens who love to draw anime, now there is NO WAY that stuff is going up in the common walls. Maybe, I’ll buy frames to let them showcase their artwork in their room and gameroom. I like the idea of giving them “approved paint colors” and letting them create some abstract art. I’m doing that in our next house!

  43. Love the fact that your kids made the art, it will be special forever and it look fabulous!

  44. This is awesome! What a fantastic idea!! And the final projects turned out great!

  45. I love that! Fantastic idea…memorable AND fabulous. You inspire me, girl! :)

  46. Anonymous says:

    WOW!!!! I LOVE IT! Martina

  47. Super cute idea! I often decorate with my kids’ artwork by either framing it (or stapling it to the wall…shhh), but the idea of painting canvasses is awesome!

  48. Nester, it’s FAB! I love it

  49. I think it is fabulous and I love it!

  50. Fun idea! Looks great! And how neat that their artwork is beautifully displayed on the mantel :)

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