Thrill of the Week: Coolest Candle Award

To wrap up our world culture week, I’m spotlighting one of the coolest decorations we own. And it is an India original!candleFor those of you scratching your head (“should I know what that is???”), it is a candle holder made of carved stone. The idea is to put a candle inside and the light is reflected through the carving, creating beautiful shadows in the room. I’m telling you, this piece is mesmerizing!

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Just like most things around here at Oh, the Fun, it comes with a story… when in India, we stopped by the shop of a few stone carvers (this was on the second leg of our journey, in Mahabalipuram… yeah, say that three times fast). They all make amazing things, with such intricate carvings!

IndiaI fell in love with the handmade candle holders and decided to buy a medium/large one for my mom and give it to her for her birthday. Sometimes I feel so lame about the presents I give and I figured that this would actually be a really cool gift. And then, of course, I had to have one myself, so I treated Mitch and I to a smaller one. Fast forward a couple months (and that loooooong plane ride home) to my mom’s birthday- she loved it! And not but a day or so later did it roll off the bed onto the (carpeted!) floor and break into tiny pieces… I now know where I get this from. She was really bummed and I was sad that she no longer had the pretty piece. So I gave her mine, of course!

Fast forward about six MORE months… for MY birthday, the wonderful Reindel family (with whom I went to India with and who knew the whole story) gifted me with another one! I was thrilled and have been loving it ever since. There is really good news here: Although we got the originals from India (hence the reason that it was such a bummer that it broke!), the Reindels were able to find my new gift in 10,000 Villages (a store that showcases multiple artisans from various countries). So, if you were hoping for a lucky break, there it is! Hankering to add some Indian flavor to your space? 10,000 Villages is your solution! And let me tell you, this is a sure-fire way to add instant character to your house/apartment/dorm (and if you can’t burn real candles where you live, the Dollar Tree sells battery operated tea lights that flicker like real candles!).wreath and candle 054It is gorgeous in the day time and acts as a really neat piece of art all by itself. We have it sitting on our dresser in our bedroom and it pairs nicely with the Precious Moments figurine and picture frame.

wreath and candle 058Coolest part alert: When wet, the colors of the stone come to life and it turns from gray to beautiful reds and pinks.Candle Candle

Oh, and did you think it was great with the lights on? Let me just show you what some darkness and a bit of candle light do to this little one…CandleAwesome, I know. With that, I’ll leave you with one final picture to drool over. Don’t worry, I’m drooling as I upload them- you’re not alone.

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Are you dreaming of your next adventure abroad yet? After this week of imaginary travel, I know I am… and I’m also interested in knowing: have you ever traveled anywhere that changed your perspective on life? Do tell!

Oh, the fun of adventuring 🙂

-Leslie

DIY Winter Mantel

I know, I know… it’s almost spring time. I just couldn’t resist continuing to revel in the current season. Originally, this should have been an “in honor of the most recent snow storm” post, but we’ll have to settle for a “that’s what you call a snow storm??” post instead.

DIY Winter Mantel

A few things before we get going today:

1. I love the snow. Yes, I’m one of those annoying people who has been loving this winter weather. Let’s be clear: the good parts of snow are what I love- I could do without the power outages and dangerous roads, of course.

2. Turquoise (really, all hues in the blue family) things are my go-to for decor, personal belongings, and clothes. The following, for example, is my happy place:

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Soooo, in the spirit of the season (yes, it is still winter) and the colors that accompany it, I figured I’d show you the wintry collection that has taken residency on our mantel this month! Want the history of the how this mantel came to be? Check out the crazy adventure here.

I think this could be a thing, as our decor here is always changing… maybe we’ll call it “Mantel of the Month”… anyway, here she is: A Winter Wonderland!

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Want to add a similar look to your home? Here is a breakdown of some of the elements you’ll need. The greatest part about this is that you can probably find most, if not all of the pieces in and around your own house!

1. Start with your base. Since I was going for the blue theme, I used some placemats that were given to us for our wedding. On one side, we have a mix of bright, cheery colors which we are looking forward to using for summer picnics! The other side, however, proved to be a perfect foundation to our winter-scape.

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2. Find a few candle holders. Any kind will work. We found this set of three at one of our favorite local thrift stores and they compliment the color of our entertainment center nicely. So far, we have used them in all of our mantel “art”.

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You could use glass candlestick holders, silver, whatever. Don’t have any? Try turning a few cups upside down and use those. You’ll want to make sure they are different heights and that they are wide enough to hold a candle. You’ll also have to get a bit trickier with hiding/camouflaging them, but I’ll entrust that problem solving to you.

3. Break out the glass. For this look, I used a bunch of different glass pieces- my hope was to mimic the feel of glistening snow and icicles. This trio was leftover from our wedding decorations (any guesses to our color theme?) and I liked the different shades of blue and the variety of height they added to the display. They came from The Christmas Tree Shops (a pack of three for about $4, I think), if you’re hunting.

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The glass canister (also wedding decor) was thrifted and you can find these anywhere (Goodwill tends to have a pretty good supply- I see one or two every time I stop in)… with cool designs on them too!

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Remember these votives? I was excited to be able to use them to enhance the blues of the space and provide some more opportunity for that “icy” feel.

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4. Go on a branch and pine cone hunt. This is my favorite part of the display. We have a pine tree in our back yard, so I just snipped a few branches off the bottom for our arrangement. This also happens to be a “reuse, renew, recycle” project, as these branches started as part of our Christmas mantel display. To make them more wintry, I put a quick coat of white spray paint on them, let them dry for a few minutes, and they were ready for their next assignment!

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The pine cones can be collected the same way and spray painted to your liking. We lucked out with these because I found them for a few quarters at the Restore (you can access their website here and read more about our own Restore adventures here) and they had already been painted silver! I tucked some of them into the branches and used the others to fill the glass container.

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5. Add the candles. I’ll admit it- I’m a candle lover. I could go on and on, but I’ll save the candle craze for another post and another day. This arrangement has been up since right after Christmas and we have gone through several different candles since then. Silvers, whites, and blues will all work here- go crazy! Can’t burn candles in your place? They make really nice battery powered, flameless ones these days… that even flicker!

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6. Give the fake (or real!) flowers a shot. The mantel started out with just the tall stemmed blue glass vases with nothing in them. However, I had some silk flowers out for a Valentine’s Day arrangement and decided to give a few white bunches a chance here too. I like that they add a feeling of the spring season that is coming, but still fit in with the wintry vibe we have going here. I also like that they add some additional height to the display. Real flowers would be ideal, but hey- these were a cheap buy and they’re doing the job just fine. The flowers we used came from The Dollar Tree, but you can also find them at any craft supply store.

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7.Tweak the arrangement. Fiddle with it! Make it your own- add things that you find around the house. A few thoughts on arranging:

  • Start with the bigger items and add the smaller ones last. I started with the placemats, placed the branches until I liked the way they sat, and then wedged in the candle holders and glass container to sit in between the branches. From there, I added the skinnier tall vases, the pine cones, and finally, the votives.
  • Disperse your elements evenly, but not completely symmetrically. If you were to draw a line down the middle of our TV and compare sides, they would not be mirrored images. However, they do balance each other. For example, while the glass container sits on the left, we put two of the candle holders on the right.
  • Balance your colors. For example, you’ll notice we have a darker candle on the left and balanced it out on the other side with the same (ish) color votive. Another example: the light colors of the glass and two candles on the right balance the clear glass container on the left.

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Do you have any wintry things still out? (I sincerely hope so…) We’d love to see a picture of your favorite seasonal “art”! If not, there is still time! Give it a shot- you might be surprised to find that you do, in fact, have patience for one last snowstorm or two before the warm weather comes for good!

Oh, the fun of it (winter)!

-Leslie