Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement

Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement

This post, Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Prep4Gathering #CollectiveBias

Hello! I am super excited about today’s post. Finally, I’m crossing off a long-awaited project from my wish list. And it is all part of my preparation for the family gatherings over the holidays. I know you have all heard of spring cleaning, but I dig even deeper in the fall.

I love to decorate for the holidays and have a home that is festive and cozy for family and friends to stop in for a visit or a party. Before I start decorating, a clean house is a must.  But it is not just my living spaces that need to be in tip-top shape, it is my kitchen and bathrooms too. With a house filled to the brim with family, you can’t leave a nook or cranny uncleaned, because you just know that great-aunt Bessie will point out the spot you missed. So, I make sure I stock up on great cleaning supplies like Pledge® Spray products, Scrubbing Bubbles® products, and Windex® Outdoor Cleaner. They get the job done and make easy work of it too.

Another way I ready my home for holiday parties, is with some sort of project to freshen up the decor, or make a home improvement. Last year it was new valances; this year, it is my mantel makeover.

We have a pretty stone-faced fireplace in our home, but for some reason, it has (or had) a tiny little mantel that was good for almost nothing. So, today, I am going to show you how we transformed that ugly hunk of wood into a mantel that makes a statement.

Mantel Makeover

An Easy DIY Home Improvement Project

The old so-called-mantel looked like somebody shoved a 2″ x 4″ atop the stones and gave it excessively thick coats of paint. It certainly did not become the crowning glory of the fireplace. But, with a few supplies from The Home Depot, some simple tools, and a minimal budget, my dreams came true. And just in time to decorate for the holidays too!

Tools and Supplies:

  • Lumber
  • Crown Moulding (or another type of moulding or trim)
  • Miter Box and Miter Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Scraper
  • Measuring  Tape
  • Moulding Adhesive
  • Screws and Finish Nails (or a type of liquid nails)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paper Towels
  • Sand Paper
  • Putty
  • Paint or Stain

DIY Mantel Makeover How-To:

  • Remove old trim and get down to the mantel wood that you will use as your base.
  • Check the level of your starting mantel, so you know what you need to do to make your new mantel square and level.

  • Attach spacer boards if needed to make the mantel wider or deeper.
  • You can see above, we used a 2″ x 4″ as a spacer, and also 3/4″ x 3-1/2″ milled common pine pieces as the backer. These boards made our mantel larger and were the width size of the moulding we chose.
  • Attach the backer to the spacer. We drilled pilot holes and used screws to keep the wood from splitting. We also floated those boards to make our mantel level and square, since the old mantel was not. Squaring these pieces is easier for moulding placement.
  • Attach the top mantel board using three counter-sunk screws and some finish nails into the old mantel wood. Be sure to use a nail set to push them down below the surface, so you do not dimple your mantel shelf.

  • Carefully measure and cut moulding, one piece at a time. Test fit. Make sure you measure EACH individual piece, as dimensions will most likely differ due to wavy walls, etc. Our mouldings all fit square, so we cut 45-degree angles to make a square corner.
  • Once satisfied with the fit, we used a 10-minute moulding adhesive to glue our moulding pieces to the backer boards and top mantel board. We chose a water-based adhesive for easy clean-up. Use Painter’s Tape to hold mouldings in place while they dry.
  • Clean excess adhesive with a scraper and a damp paper towel. If you do this right away it is easier than trying to do it after it dries.
  • We had two separate mouldings, a 3-1/2″ moulding on the lower part of the mantle covering the backer boards, and a 3/4″ moulding trim to edge the top mantel board. If you have access to a router, you could always route your own details.

  • Putty the screw and nail holes, so there are no divots in the shelf surface.
  • Once putty and moulding adhesive are dry, sand smooth.
  • Prime and paint, or stain.

A Few Tips:

  • Buy DRY wood, not wet. It will help prevent warping and twisting. You can tell the difference between wet and dry wood by color and weight. Dry wood will be lighter in color and lighter in weight. Wet wood is darker and heavier.

  • Cut the pieces to an approximate length and sand all pieces before putting it together. Try your best to avoid cutting through any knots in the wood.
  • Moulding adhesive allows you wiggle room to adjust placement before it sets.
  • You could use a type of liquid nails to float the entire mantel to level instead of screws or nails if your starting base has the dimensions you want.

If you have a larger size mantel, you may not want or need the 2″ x 4″ spacer that we used. The contractor for our mantel must have gnawed out the wood using a beaver and an ax, and apparently didn’t own a level either.

Now, onto the really fun part, the decorating! Since I am preparing for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and all the family gatherings that go along with them, I wanted something festive with a seasonal scent — the Glade® Apple Cinnamon Candle is perfect. It smells like hot apple cider on the stovetop, and the color is gorgeous too.

I picked up my candle at The Home Depot while we were gathering our supplies for the mantel project. I also grabbed the Pledge® Multisurface – Antibacterial. Won’t that come in handy for turkey day! It gently cleans your kitchen countertops. You can never be too safe with those raw turkey juices and the messes you know will happen. I use Windex® Original Glass Cleaner all the time for mirrors, windows, and vinyl blinds, and I was excited to try the Windex® Outdoor Cleaner — amazing! The outside windows are always so much harder to clean, and this product is made specifically for this grimy job. The Home Depot and SC Johnson have made prepping for the holidays a snap. With the right supplies, it is always easier to get your sense of humor on and be prepared to entertain your family and friends.

I know my guest will be comfortable in my clean home, and I am excited for them to see my beautiful fireplace. Just look how pretty my new mantel turned out, and it cost me less than $50. I am so pleased!

So here’s to family gatherings for the holidays! Remember to feel joy, laugh a lot, and be prepared for life’s little messes. #Prep4Gathering

 

 

...

...

 

...

Share using our Hashtag!

 

Leave me a comment… I’d love to hear from you!

...

~Lorelai

 

Sign up today, and don't miss anything! Enjoy EXCLUSIVES, FREEBIES, and FUN.

 

...

 

Contact Lorelai at Lorelai@LifeWithLorelai.com

     

Pumpkin Rice Pudding Recipe – A Holiday Favorite

This post, Pumpkin Rice Pudding Recipe – A Holiday Favorite, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BakeHolidayGoodness #CollectiveBias

Rice pudding is a family favorite, and it is so simple and inexpensive to make. Putting a pumpkin twist on this classic dessert is easy-peasy and makes for a festive seasonal treat.

 

Pumpkin Rice Pudding Recipe

A Perfect Autumn Dessert

 

If you are anything like me, you love the holidays. Decorating, parties, special meals and dishes are all wonderful, but they do take a toll. So, if you are looking to add a little balance to a special fall dessert, give my Pumpkin Rice Pudding a try. Pumpkin is a superfood! It is a fantastic and flavorful way to add something a little healthier to a recipe. This tasty treat makes a great dessert topped with whipped cream and NESTLÉ® BUNCHA CRUNCH® Baking Bits. You can be so creative and versatile with rice pudding, it even makes a nice breakfast or snack.

Save time and do right by your family with convenient, good quality ingredients. Libby’s® 100% Pure Pumpkin is all-natural, perfect in sweet and savory recipes, and contains no preservatives. NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk has been a pantry staple for over a century adding rich creaminess that makes a difference. Plus, these products will help keep your budget and your nutrition more balanced.

Let’s Get Cooking Pumpkin Rice Pudding!

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups – Rice (I used an instant rice)
  • Water (amount according to directions on your rice package)
  • 4 Cups – Evaporated Milk (3 cans)
  • 3/4 Cup – Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon – salt
  • 1/4 Cups – Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup – 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 – Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons – Butter
  • 2 teaspoons – Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons – Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon – Ground Cloves
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  • Buncha Crunch Baking Bits (optional)

Directions:

  1. Boil Rice with appropriate Water amount, Granulated Sugar, and Salt. in a medium to large saucepan, until rice is fully cooked, fluffy, and tender.
  2. Pour in 3 Cups Evaporated Milk (holding back 1 Cup for later).
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to Low and Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir frequently, until thick and creamy. Give this time, it will thicken.
  5. Once thickened, mix in Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Puree.
  6. Place Egg Yolks in a small bowl.
  7. Spoon 3 Tablespoons of hot pudding mixture into the egg yolks, Whisk quickly and briskly to temper the yolks. This will help to keep them from scrambling when added to the hot pudding.
  8. Once egg yolks are warm, add them to the pudding mixture and stir.
  9. Add remaining 1 Cup Evaporated Milk, mix well.
  10. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until thickened again.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. Add Butter, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, and Cloves.
  13. Top with Whipped Cream and Buncha Crunch Baking Bits.

Suggestions:

Pumpkin Rice Pudding can be served warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container. Dried cranberries, raisins, or nuts also make great topping or mix-in suggestions.

I know your family is going to love this seasonal dessert, and you can feel good about serving it to them. Rice pudding is a fantastic dessert to make-ahead, so it fits well into your busy schedule.

Here’s a Printable Recipe just for you:

5 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Rice Pudding Recipe - A Holiday Favorite
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
You've got to try this delicious rice pudding recipe that takes on a holiday twist with pumpkin. It is a perfect autumn dessert and features a superfood. #BakeHolidayGoodness
from:
Type: Dessert
Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 Cups - Rice (I used an instant rice)
  • Water (amount according to directions on your rice package)
  • 4 Cups - Evaporated Milk (3 cans)
  • 3/4 Cup - Granulated Sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon - salt
  • 1/4 Cups - Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup - 100% Pure Pumpkin Puree
  • 2 - Egg Yolks
  • 2 Tablespoons - Butter
  • 2 teaspoons - Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons - Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon - Ground Cloves
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  • Buncha Crunch Baking Bits (optional)
Directions:
  1. Boil Rice with appropriate Water amount, Granulated Sugar, and Salt. in a medium to large saucepan, until rice is fully cooked, fluffy, and tender.
  2. Pour in 3 Cups Evaporated Milk (holding back 1 Cup for later).
  3. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down to Low and Simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Stir frequently, until thick and creamy. Give this time, it will thicken.
  5. Once thickened, mix in Brown Sugar and Pumpkin Puree.
  6. Place Egg Yolks in a small bowl.
  7. Spoon 3 Tablespoons of hot pudding mixture into the egg yolks, Whisk quickly and briskly to temper the yolks. This will help to keep them from scrambling when added to the hot pudding.
  8. Once egg yolks are warm, add them to the pudding mixture and stir.
  9. Add remaining 1 Cup Evaporated Milk, mix well.
  10. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until thickened again.
  11. Remove from heat.
  12. Add Butter, Vanilla Extract, Cinnamon, and Cloves.
  13. Top with Whipped Cream and Buncha Crunch Baking Bits.
Notes
Suggestions:

Pumpkin Rice Pudding can be served warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container. Dried cranberries, raisins, or nuts also make great topping or mix-in suggestions.
3.5.3226

 

Next time you are at Walmart, don’t forget to pick up Libby’s Pumpkin Puree, Nestlé Carnation Evaporated Milk, and Nestlé Buncha Crunch Baking Bits! Your family will thank you.

You can find more creative inspiration on the Nestlé Flavorful Moments Pinterest Board. Follow it today!

 

If you like this recipe, you may also like my Pumpkin Spice Syrup and Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage.

What inspiring ideas do you have?

Enjoy!

 

...

...

 

...

Share using our Hashtag!

 

Leave me a comment… I’d love to hear from you!

...

~Lorelai

 

Sign up today, and don't miss anything! Enjoy EXCLUSIVES, FREEBIES, and FUN.

 

...

 

Contact Lorelai at Lorelai@LifeWithLorelai.com

     

Fall BLACK FRIDAY Giveaway

Oh boy, I have something exciting for you today! Just in time for holiday shopping, a group of fantastic bloggers has pulled together to bring you CASH! Well, at least the chance to win some. We are hosting the Fall Black Friday Giveaway, where you can Enter to Win $335 Paypal Cash.

Don’t Miss the Fun!

Enter To WIN $335 CASH

Fall Black Friday Giveaway

 

 

WELCOME TO THE FALL BLACK FRIDAY GIVEAWAY!

Do you have a long holiday shopping list and need extra cash? Well, I’ve got good news for you. 24 bloggers have come together for the Fall Black Friday Giveaway! We don’t want you to stress over holiday shopping, so we’re giving away $335 in Paypal CASH! So what are you waiting for? Enter using the giveaway form below!

Meet the Hostesses

Erlene • My Pinterventures | Chelc • Inside The Fox Den | Christene • Keys to Inspiration

Kim • Made In A Day | Megan • C’mon Get Crafty | Sherry • Olives-n-Okra

Leslie • Lambert’s Lately | Emily • Our House Now A Home | Amanda • The Kolb Corner

Brooke • Re-fabbed | Shirley • Intelligent Domestications | Brittany • Balanced Frugality

Lorelai • Life with Lorelai | Emily • Two Purple Couches | Alli • An Alli Event

Marie • DIY Adulation | Dee • Meatloaf and Melodrama | Holly • Pink Fortitude

Cindy • Little Miss Celebration | Sara • Twelve on Main | Vineta • The Handyman’s Daughter

Marilyn • Marilyn’s Treats | Andrea • Waldorf Salad & Cottage Fries | Paula • Holly Jolly Holidays

ONE WINNER WILL WIN $335 PAYPAL CASH!

Giveaway ends November 16 11:59pm PST, open to US and Canadian residents, ages 18+. Winner is subject to eligibility verification and will be announced within 72 hours of giveaway close. Good luck!

Disclaimer: The winner has 48 hours to respond or an alternate winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way administered, sponsored, associated, or endorsed by Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or Facebook.

 

Good Luck! I hope YOU win!!!

 

...

...

 

...

Share using our Hashtag!

 

Leave me a comment… I’d love to hear from you!

...

~Lorelai

 

Sign up today, and don't miss anything! Enjoy EXCLUSIVES, FREEBIES, and FUN.

 

...

 

Contact Lorelai at Lorelai@LifeWithLorelai.com

     

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail Recipe For The Holidays

Are you looking for something special to serve your guests this Thanksgiving? Well, this Pumpkin Pie Cocktail is sure to put some cheer and celebration into the day’s festivities!

 

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

A Festive Recipe for a Holiday Celebration!

When you think of Thanksgiving, your mind immediately goes to great food. That delicious roasted turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, and of course pumpkin pie is a must-have for dessert. These dishes are wonderful, but they tend to be the mainstays of every Thanksgiving dinner. So, how do you stand out, and make your celebration something to cheer about?

Make a holiday concoction perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Serve these Pumpkin Pie Cocktails! They are super quick and easy to make, and they taste amazing — it is like having pumpkin pie in a glass. YUM!

Pumpkin Pie Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 Ounce – Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
  • 1 Ounce – Pecan Liqueur
  • 2 Ounces – Sparkling Water (I used sparkling mineral water)
  • Ice Cubes
  • Brown Sugar (for rimming the glass)
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  • Ground Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Wet the rim of a Martini glass and dip in the Brown Sugar, set aside.
  2. Place Ice Cubes in a beverage shaker.
  3. Pour in the Pumpkin Spice Liqueur and the Pecan Liqueur.
  4. Add the Sparkling Water.
  5. Shake well.
  6. Pour into a Martini glass.
  7. Top with Whipped Cream.
  8. Sprinkle with Ground Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice for garnish.

 

I know that you and  your guests will love this special holiday cocktail. It is a nice and easy way to add a little something special to the celebration.

Here’s a Printable Recipe just for you:

5 from 1 reviews
Pumpkin Pie Cocktail Recipe
 
Prep time
Total time
 
A holiday concoction perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Pumpkin Pie Cocktail is a quick and easy mixed drink recipe.
from:
Type: Cocktail
Serves: 1 glass
Ingredients:
  • 1 Ounce - Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
  • 1 Ounce - Pecan Liqueur
  • 2 Ounces - Sparkling Water (I used sparkling mineral water)
  • Ice Cubes
  • Brown Sugar (for rimming the glass)
  • Whipped Cream (optional)
  • Ground Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice (optional)
Directions:
  1. Wet the rim of a Martini glass and dip in the Brown Sugar, set aside.
  2. Place Ice Cubes in a beverage shaker.
  3. Pour in the Pumpkin Spice Liqueur and the Pecan Liqueur.
  4. Add the Sparkling Water.
  5. Shake well.
  6. Pour into a Martini glass.
  7. Top with Whipped Cream.
  8. Sprinkle with Ground Cinnamon or Pumpkin Pie Spice for garnish.
3.5.3217

 

Give them a try, and let me know what you think. Happy Holidays!

You may also enjoy:

My recipe for Dulce de Leche – A Sweet Milk Cocktail

 

 

...

...

 

...

Share using our Hashtag!

 

Leave me a comment… I’d love to hear from you!

...

~Lorelai

 

Sign up today, and don't miss anything! Enjoy EXCLUSIVES, FREEBIES, and FUN.

 

...

 

Contact Lorelai at Lorelai@LifeWithLorelai.com

     

Easy DIY Table Runner

A simple and creative table runner could be just what you are looking for to bring a little something extra to your table or buffet. This is a great idea for any party.

 

Easy DIY Table Runner

Change It Up for the Holidays and Re-Use It Too!

 

Last Thanksgiving, we hosted the family dinner. Now, I have hosted many large family parties for holidays and other occasions over the years; but this time, I had a much smaller house to make the most of in a functional and pretty way. I no longer had the drop-leaf tea cart or extra buffet to use for additional serving space, and that meant my table had to be special without a centerpiece taking up valuable space.

I love setting a beautiful table, and making it all festive and seasonal, so what was I going to do?  I plowed through my tote of Autumn decor, and found some silk leaves in all the gorgeous autumn colors. And then, I had a fantastic idea–I could create a lovely table runner with these leaves!

To make this idea be functional, I needed to construct a table runner and not just throw loose leaves all over the place. Loose leaves would be a mess and a nuisance as guests passed dishes around the table. But, I also did not want to ruin my silk leaves. I wanted to use them again. So, here’s what I came up with…

Easy DIY Table Runner

Here’s What You Need:

  • Silk Leaves (Snowflakes, Hearts, Shamrocks, Flower Petals, Stars, Cupcakes, Dinosaurs, or any shape of choice–think Die Cuts)
  • Tape

 

How-To:

  • If you have items of different colors or sizes, separate them by color and size.
  • Take a couple of pieces and turn them upside down on your work surface.
  • Tape the pieces together so the tape will not show from the front side.

  • Add one piece at a time, taping them together until you have constructed the length or shape table runner you like–the possibilities are endless.

  • Carefully flip the runner right side up, and place on your table.

 

Could this project be any simpler? I don’t think so. And, I have to tell you, my table runner was a huge hit at Thanksgiving.

I love the way the runner has a little depth with the openings left in the design and the ruffled, not quite flat lay of the leaves. Our food platters sat atop the runners easily, but the leaves poked out in vibrant bursts of color, absolutely stunning. I used leaves in other areas for decoration, so it all tied together nicely.

If you have the room, a centerpiece would be wonderful, and imagine how lovely a few candles would be.

Packing away the table runner was easy-peasy. Simply remove the tape, and throw it away. I placed my silk leaves back into their boxes, and they are ready to use again next year. I wonder what I’ll do with them then?

If you are looking for something fun, different, functional, and super easy for your holidays or special occasions, this is a great table runner idea! An idea even the kids can help make. So, give a little pop to your decor.

I’d love to see what you create…

 

Here’s a Printable Tutorial of this DIY Project:

5 from 1 reviews
Easy DIY Table Runner
 
Creating a DIY Table Runner for any holiday or special occasion.
from:
Ingredients:
  • Silk Leaves (Snowflakes, Hearts, Shamrocks, Flower Petals, Stars, Cupcakes, Dinosaurs, or any shape of choice--think Die Cuts)
  • Tape
Directions:
  1. If you have items of different colors or sizes, separate them by color and size.
  2. Take a couple of pieces and turn them upside down on your work surface.
  3. Tape the pieces together so the tape will not show from the front side.
  4. Add one piece at a time, taping them together until you have constructed the length or shape table runner you like--the possibilities are endless.
  5. Carefully flip the runner over and place on your table right side up.
3.5.3208

 

What creative ideas do you have for low-space table decor?

 

Save

 

...

...

 

...

Share using our Hashtag!

 

Leave me a comment… I’d love to hear from you!

...

~Lorelai

 

Sign up today, and don't miss anything! Enjoy EXCLUSIVES, FREEBIES, and FUN.

 

...

 

Contact Lorelai at Lorelai@LifeWithLorelai.com

     

Christmas Music Playlist & Karaoke

Christmas Music is a tradition that I cherish! Whether it is a traditional carol, a crooners sentimental or jaunty tune, or something fresh and new, they had me at Christmas. I’ll admit it, I’m hooked.

Christmas Music

Playlist & Karaoke

I absolutely LOVE Christmas Music! It plays throughout the holiday season in my house and car starting the day after Thanksgiving (sometimes even Thanksgiving night), and runs through New Year’s Eve.

Christmastime just wouldn’t be the same without the varying artists from past to present crooning through my decked halls. And of course, Rory and I singing along.

The music fo Christmas brings joy and happiness, but it also brings wonderful memories of Christmases past. Memories of my mother’s favorite Christmas Carol, “Bring A Torch Jeanette Isabella,” to mine and Luke’s special song, “Santa Baby,” to, “I Want A Hippopotamus For Christmas.” I love every moment.

I have a Christmas Playlist that provides us hours of Christmasy entertainment. You will find songs from Bing Crosby, Perry Como, Andy Williams, Dean Martin, Doris Day, Rosemary Clooney, Frank Sinatra, Burl Ives, Eartha Kitt, Brenda Lee, The Ronettes, Harry Belafonte, Kings College Choir, Wham, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, The Irish Rovers, and so, so many more… Luke and I have been together for three years today, so give a listen to Santa Baby by Eartha Kitt in the playlist for us. Happy Anniversary, honey!

Follow me on YouTube

Please enjoy the Christmas music and have a wonderful and blessed Christmas.

Christmas Music Playlist:

 

If you like to sing, try these super fun Christmas Editions of Go Ahead… Sing Karaoke!

Christmas Karaoke:

Sing Karaoke #6 – Christmas Edition

Sing Karaoke #7 – Christmas Edition 2

Sing Karaoke #8 – Christmas Carols Edition

What is your favorite Christmas Song?

Is Christmas Music one of your traditions?

 

 

...

...

 

...

Share using our Hashtag!

 

Leave me a comment… I’d love to hear from you!

...

~Lorelai

 

Sign up today, and don't miss anything! Enjoy EXCLUSIVES, FREEBIES, and FUN.

 

...

 

Contact Lorelai at Lorelai@LifeWithLorelai.com