DIY burlap garland for the mantel

It was time to freshen up the mantel a bit for spring. I had some oversize wine bottles I bummed off my in-laws that I wanted to use. I liked the shape and size of them. I found some floral stems for $2.50 apiece at Michaels, and bought six {three for each bottle}. I put the stem-filled bottles up on the mantel, but it was missing a certain “je ne sais quoi…”

DSC_0927…So then I made a burlap garland. Actually, then I began intently searching Pinterest for some inspiration until I came across this tutorial at A to Zebra Celebrations. I decided to give it a try. I followed the instructions fairly closely but improvised a bit. Since I already had the twine and bought the burlap at Joanne’s with a coupon, the whole project cost under $5 and only took about ten minutes to complete. Well, technically it cost $20 if you count the $15 I spent on the floral stems. {Scroll to bottom for tutorial}


DIY burlap garland swag DSC_0933Blake said it looked like a bunch of bath puffs strung together, but I like it anyway. He’s just jealous of my mad skills.

After I finished the garland, I hung it on the mantel, only to decide the bottles looked a bit too plain. I wrapped some jute twine around the necks of the bottles to add some more natural texture.DSC_0927

I’ve been wanting to change up the mirror over the mantel. Right now it is a mirror I found at Ross for under $40, but I would like to replace it with a large round mirror. The living room is full of square/rectangular shapes and lines. A round mirror would soften things up. We also are going to add some more molding to the mantel to spruce it up a bit. It’s a work in progress!

Burlap Garland Tutorial


***For a 5 foot garland

  • ~45 feet of 6″ wide burlap garland {I went through one and a half 30 foot rolls. I bought it in the floral section of the craft store, but you can find it here at Amazon as well}
  • jute twine
  • tapestry needle {I used size 16}
  • scissors

DSC_0928 (2) copy

DSC_0926 (3)


  • Measure your jute twine to the length you want your garland to be. Be sure to leave enough on the ends for hanging purposes.
  • Thread your tapestry needle with the twine, only pull about 2 inches or so through the eye of the needle. Tie a fairly large knot in the end of the twine where you want the burlap garland to begin{the end not threaded through the needle}. I left about 6 inches excess from the end of the twine to the knot to allow some room to hang the garland.
  • Start making large basic stitches through the center of the strip of the burlap {beginning at the end of the burlap}. After every five or so stitches, gently “scrunch” the burlap down the twine.


  • Continue stitching and scrunching until you reach your desired length. As I got more fabric on the twine, I just held it vertically to let the fabric “settle” instead of scrunching it. You can make the burlap as loose or as tight as you wish.


  • When you are done, tie a knot in the twine to hold the burlap in place. Remember to leave enough excess on the twine to hang the garland {I left about 6″ at each end}. You can kind of rotate the burlap ruffles a bit and “primp” it to make it more pretty once it’s hung.

DSC_0926*Update: I also used this same burlap to make a wreath. Happy crafting!

The powder room gets a makeover

Our main floor has a half bath, or “powder room” for those who prefer the more delicate term. We’ve been itching to update it since we moved in.

Powder room before we moved in

Powder room before we moved in.

We disliked the builder basic vanity and sink with the gargantuan mirror, oh wait, double mirror. To top it off, the odd shape of the room does nothing for it, and the light fixture is just not our style.

Bathroom light fixture

We have plans to completely gut and remodel this room with something like this in mind:

But since a total remodel is still at least a few years off, I had to do something to make the current bathroom a little more tolerable for cheapy cheapy. Plus having several friends coming over for a baby shower in the near future helped inspire me to get started on “project prettify” for the powder room.

The first thing that had to go was the peachy off-white wall color. As with all other rooms before repainting, the peach was everywhere – ceiling, walls, trim, door. So I painted the ceiling, trim, and door white and then used some leftover light gray paint from our master bedroom for the walls.

Work zone

I actually did the painting a few months ago. I remember it being nearly finished in time for the Superbowl. Here’s a handy tip: to paint behind the toilet, just remove the lid, wrap the tank in saran wrap and remove it after the paint has dried.

Next up was the towel rack over the toilet. I didn’t like where it was positioned; it was awkward to wash your hands, then turn left and lean over the toilet to dry your hands. It was hard not to drip water all over the toilet paper in the cute lil basket (that I scored at HomeGoods back this summer). I had Blake patch up the holes after removing the towel rack and placed a hand towel stand on the sink. Then I added some square shelves over the toilet and some purple accessories.

Before: wall over toilet with towel rack and peachy walls

After: wall over toilet after painting and hanging white square shelves

Unfortunately the sink, mirror and light fixture had to stay. But the new gray walls, along with a few purple accessories, work wonders for the aesthetic of the little room.

Before (both the belly and the bathroom)

In progress (both the belly and the bathroom - still need to paint the cabinet beneath the vanity)


In progress: added a few accessories

The candles (both on the vanity and on the small square shelf), shelves, hand towels, and soap dispenser (a clearance find) came from Target. The basket on top of the toilet I found at HomeGoods as well as the towel stand. The glass vase and flowers on the vanity are from Ikea and so is the little glass bowl filled with purple potpourri inside the medium square shelf. The white pitchers I already had from Ross (they came in a set of three, the largest one is on the mantel).

Eventually I plan to repaint the cabinet beneath the vanity. I’m not loving the orangey oak color with the new cool color scheme. I will probably prime and paint it a deep dark gray. I’ll consider that a warm up round for painting the kitchen cabinets!

Also just to show what springs looks like here – our crab apple trees have blossomed beautifully in the back yard. Here’s a pic of how they looked a week ago: