Deer Heads and an Electric Knife {for mature audiences only}



**The Listening Heart devotional book winners will be announced at the bottom of this post.


DIY deer head wall hanging


Things got a little crazy around here last week as I was preparing for my Christmas Home tours.

So crazy that I took an electric knife to a paper mache deer.

DIY deer head wall hanging

Sometimes you’ve just gotta do whatch gotta do.

Let me explain my madness.

I was wanting a deer head for my fireplace mantle.

Specifically, this one.

DIY deer head wall hanging

I saw it at a local home décor shop and fell in love with it.  Unfortunately, it was sold when I went back to get it.

So I put out an SOS on my facebook page for this blingy little fella, and I got some wonderful responses from everyone.

They found my deer several places online, but they were all sold out too.  Sad smile

DIY deer head wall hanging

I loved this deer that someone else found, but it was out of my price range.  Like, $200 out of my price range.

DIY deer head wall hanging

I did a lot of searching on ebay and amazon and google, but most of the deer heads were way too expensive.

Determined to have a deer head, or three, hanging on my fireplace mantle, I decided to get creative. Plus, I was running out of time.  I wanted to have deer heads on my fireplace for my Christmas home tour last week.

I finally found these faux deer at Garden Ridge for about $8 a piece.  However, I only wanted their heads. {You see now where the madness began.}

DIY deer head wall hanging

I was trying to think of the easiest way to remove their heads, and since my electric knife does pretty darn well on a large turkey, I thought, “Why not a small deer?”  Completely logical thinking.

I had Luke capture the moment on instagram and then leave the room.  I didn’t want to scar him for life.

DIY deer head wall hanging

It was quick and painless, at least for me.

DIY deer head wall hanging

It did take me a few tries to get the angle just right.  It wasn’t perfect though.  Of course, I wasn’t expecting any to climb up on my mantel and look at them that closely, so perfection didn’t matter. Smile

For the base, I got these wood slices at Michael’s.  They were originally about $14, I think, but were on clearance for $9.99.  Then I used a 40% off coupon that I had to purchase them.

DIY deer head wall hanging

You can only use one coupon per item, so I just went through the line 3 times to buy them separately.  Yes.I.Did.  Do you ever do that?

DIY deer head wall hanging

Then I used some of my leftover chalkboard paint from Lowe’s to paint the wood slices.

Next, I just hot glued the deer heads to the wood.

DIY deer head wall hanging

Lastly, I used my drill to drill a hole in the back so I could hang them on my fireplace.  If you didn’t want to use a drill, you could just attach a wall hanging clasp to the back.

DIY deer head wall hanging

Then I hung them up!  It only took me a about 30 minutes to do this whole thing.

DIY deer head wall hanging

These deer heads are not the shiny, blingy, rhinestone deer head that I wanted, but I love them just the same.  They are different and unique, and they look really cute up on my mantle.

Now, I have to believe I am not the only person who has ever used their electric knife for something other than cutting their food.

‘Fess up! 

What crazy thing have you used your electric

knife for?


The Listening Heart

Giveaway Winners are….

Yvonne (Carsonshouse@****.net)


Bonnie (braes01@***.com)


Vicki Westfall

Screenshot 2013-12-11 10.10.02

If you didn’t win, but would like a copy of The Listening Heart for yourself or to give as a gift, click HERE.


 **I’m linking this project to Home Stories A to Z’s Tutorial and Tips Linky Party.


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Our Simple Fall Mantel



Hey friends!  I hope you enjoyed the three A-MA-ZING days of giveaways we just hosted.  We had so much fun getting those giveaways together and working with sponsors to create the most awesome prize packages EVA!  I am so excited to see who wins, and I hope there are some Beneath My Heart readers in the mix!

If you didn’t get a chance to enter yet, there’s still time!  Click on the links below:

Everything AND the  Kitchen Sink Giveaway


The PIN-acle of DIY Goodness Giveaway


SHUT THE FRONT DOOR {to keep it all in} Giveaway

Diva Giveaway shut the front door1


Today, I wanted to share with you our simple Fall Mantle.

I am was excited to finally have a space to decorate in this house!  Unforturnately, I had no money. Smile

So I decided to just try and use what I already had to decorate my mantle.  And I wanted to keep it simple since the rest of our house is a cluttered mess!

The wreath I used is one that I usually put on our front door.  It was a gift to our family when Mom passed away three years ago, so it has a special meaning to me.  I love the gold bow on the wreath.

simple fall mantle


You may notice that we put wood blinds on both of the windows.  Every since we moved into this house over a year ago, I have hated those ugly windows on each side of the fireplace!  And I didn’t like the fireplace either.  I wanted to tear that whole wall down and build something else.

But since I put those wood blinds up, I am in love with my cute little windows on each side of my {now} beautiful fireplace!

This area has such a cozy, cottagey feel now.

simple fall mantle

I also got a new rug for this room.  It definitely gave an immediate warmth to the room.

I had six little wicker votive holders that I bought at a thrift store this past summer for a couple of bucks, and I just placed them on each side of the wreath.  They look so pretty lit up with candles in the evening!

simple fall mantle

The large basket in the fireplace is from Goodwill.  I bought it for $3.50 several years ago.  We usually store the kids’ toys or blankets in it.  And the two little pumpkins are Eli’s.  He picked them on his Pre-K field trip to Boyd’s Orchard here in Ky.

The monogrammed stool is a project I completed my very first year of blogging.  We kept it in our guest house at our previous home.

simple fall mantle

I am so glad we painted the brick this beautiful gray color (Ebony Fields by Valspar).  We hadn’t planned to paint the door to match, but I am so glad we did!

simple fall mantle

I eventually want a beautiful old wood front door, but this looks good for now.

When I was putting this all together this past Saturday, Adam was sitting on the couch watching cartoons.  He looked up and saw the fireplace and said, “Oh Mom!  It’s beginning to feel like HOME!”

Sweet, sweet, boy.  I know what he means.

Our house has been upside down for over a year, and to finally have some rooms coming together and feeling like “home” is just good for our hearts.

It makes me so grateful for our home.  Not for the material possessions in it, but for the feeling it gives us as a place of love and security.

There truly is “No Place Like Home!”


What is your favorite thing about HOME?

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How to build a Fireplace Surround



Thanks for all of your sweet comments on my Fireplace Makeover Reveal yesterday.

I wanted to hug all of your necks!  We (mostly Cy) worked so hard on that fireplace surround, so it was great for us to read all the great positive feedback.  I felt like y’all were giving us a bunch of “high fives”, and it was awesome.  Smile

If you came to my house to see the fireplace in person, you and I would look something like this…

And then we would go get a Coke at McDonald’s to celebrate, and probably eat chocolate too.


Today, I want to show you the steps we took in creating our fireplace surround.

how to create a fireplace surround

Cy had to get pretty creative to make it work, but he did it.


There were two problem areas on our fireplace.

1.  The brick stuck out in two different places.

how to create a fireplace surround

2.  The vents were going to need to be covered up by the surround.

Cy started the project by building a frame above the mantle ledge to create a flat surface between the two places where the brick stuck out.

how to create a fireplace surround


To attach the wood to the brick you need to first drill a hole in the brick with a concrete drill bit.  Then drill through the wood as well.

how to create a fireplace surround

Next, add PL Adhesive by Locktite to the back of the wood…

how to create a fireplace surround

Then attach the wood to the brick using a concrete screw.

how to create a fireplace surround

The brick on top of the fireplace stuck out a bit, so Cy had to come up with a way to create a flat surface on the front.

how to create a fireplace surround


He used his level to help him figure it out.

how to create a fireplace surround

By attaching a “filler” piece to the 2×4, he was able to create a level surface to attach the plywood to.


how to create a fireplace surround

Once he had his frame, he added a large piece of cabinet grade birch plywood to it.

how to create a fireplace surround

Next, we added 1×6 boards of Poplar wood to create the “planks.”  You could use pine or mdf boards to save money because you will be painting them.

how to create a fireplace surround

If you put nickels between each board as you attach them, it creates nice even spacing between each board.

how to create a fireplace surround

Next, Cy began attaching ripped pieces of 2×4’s below the mantle (the same way he did above the mantle) to create a frame to attach the birch plywood to.

how to create a fireplace surround

He cut and attached birch plywood directly below the mantle…

how to create a fireplace surround

And down both sides of the fireplace to cover the vents…

how to create a fireplace surround

Because we wanted to cover the vents, we had to attach the wood a little bit closer to the fireplace opening than we would have liked.  We only have about 4 inches between the wood and the fireplace opening on the sides.  Therefore, it technically cannot be a working fireplace.  It doesn’t work right now anyway, so we are okay with that.

how to create a fireplace surround

Cy added a 2×4 to the front brick ledge and trimmed it out with the birch plywood to create the mantle.

how to create a fireplace surround

how to create a fireplace surround

Next he covered up the mantle and the sides of the fireplace with ripped 1×6 poplar boards to fit.

how to create a fireplace surround

He also added 1×4 poplar boards to picture frame the planks above the to create a fireplace surround

Then there was a lot of adding decorative trim to the fireplace.

how to create a fireplace surround


It is really up to you how you want to trim out your fireplace.  We just chose the pieces we liked and added them.

how to create a fireplace surround

After Cy finished trimming everything out, he caulked all of the crevices.  Don’t forget to caulk!  It makes a world of difference!!

I forgot to take an after picture of the picture molding that Cy add with 1/2 x 3 inch poplar, but you can see it in the picture below.

how to create a fireplace surround


I painted the wood with two good coats of white paint, and the brick with Ebony Fields by Valspar.  It’s a gorgeous blackish, grayish, brownish color.  Smile

Cy also cleaned out the inside of the fireplace and spray painted it with a high heat spray paint.

And we were finished!how to create a fireplace surround

You can see in this picture that I also painted our front door the same color as the brick. It really made a huge difference in the space.

how to create a fireplace surround

Hopefully I can get the mantle decorated soon and share it with you.

If I left anything out, or if you have any questions about this process, feel free to ask!

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Our Fireplace Make-over


We have lived in our current house for 4 1/2 years. It was built in 1968 and was definitely a “fixer-upper” when we bought it.

I hope to show you more pictures of the changes we’ve made on future posts, but my before pictures were not digital, so I will have to take pictures of pictures. Like this post…

One change we made to the house this year was the fireplace in our bedroom. It was hand made from Kentucky fieldstone. I love that it looks rustic, but it didn’t seem to fit in with the way I wanted to decorate our bedroom.

It was very “dated”. It had a huge solid wood mantel, but it was stained an “orange-y” color. And then there was the gold tone fireplace cover that seemed to SCREAM 70’s.

I told my husband I wanted to cover it up with paneling like the rest of our room, because I couldn’t figure out how to make it look the way I wanted. (I am SOOOOO glad we didn’t!)

This is a “picture” I took of a “picture” several years ago. Yikes! It’s painful for me to look at. Sorry the picture quality is so poor.

fireplace 006

Can you see why I just wanted to cover the whole thing up? So dull and bland.

Finally, this fall, we decided to do something to change it. It was a very SIMPLE and CHEAP re-do.

We started by painting the mantle white and adding some molding details on the top and bottom.

Then we took out the old gold-tone fireplace cover, cleaned up the inside and painted it black, and bought a black fireplace screen from Target to place in front.

My husband also installed can lights in the ceiling to spotlight the mantel.

That’s it! And the difference was amazing!

dec 2008 132

I added this Christmas picture to compare to the old Christmas picture. And it seems I only take pictures of my fireplace around Christmas time anyway.

The picture below shows the molding he added to the top and bottom of the wood mantel.

nov 2008 039

We were very pleased with the results.


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