Finding rusty old junk is fun! Nevertheless, I have found that no matter how much "stuff" I find and collect, only God can fully satisfy my heart. Matthew 6:19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Back To School Mantel

As Labor Day approaches and summer comes to an end, children and teachers everywhere are returning to school and saying goodbye to the joys of summer. I always find this time of year a bit tricky when it comes to decorating because I'm really excited about fall and it's oh so close, but it's still 100 degrees out. So this year I decided to do a little back to school mantel display using things I already had around the house. I was pleasantly surprised today when I discovered PicMonkey had added the school effects, just in time for this blog post!
This was actually thrown together quite quickly since I just needed to remove a few summer things and replace them with vintage school items.
I can always find vintage and antique books fairly inexpensively at sales or the flea market and I hardly ever pass them up. I love the artwork and lettering, and sometimes I actually even read them. I always imagine how many little fingers have turned the pages in wonder long before the days of iPads, iPods and Kindles.
I am a music teacher but I always loved art class just as much as music. I loved coloring and cutting things out, especially little shapes and making collages. Not much has changed, since I now enjoy scrapbooking, and creating altered art and paper crafts.
 "Time For School" cloche. Truly a "use what you have" decoration, since the apple was starting to go bad in my crisper drawer.
Here is the picture that gave me the idea to do a school-themed mantel. I am always buying antique cabinet cards and vintage photos (another addiction) and although I do put some of them for sale in my antiques booth, I usually keep group photos. I just find all the faces so fascinating! This amazing photo of a teacher with her class outside of a one room school house is definitely a keeper! I have it displayed in a vintage flower frog along with a replica of a colonial alphabet chart purchased at Colonial Williamsburg.
I took a close-up so I could see the kids better, and I realized the kids are barefooted, just like my Grandfather always said: "Back in those days we had to walk to school barefooted!" It's true! They did!

And then I noticed that the teacher is showin' some skin! Not at all what I imagined from those days. I would picture a blouse with a lace collar  buttoned up high and a long sleeved black dress! I guess a 100 degree one room-school house full of a bunch of kids of all ages would make any teacher sweat! I'm thinking this picture was from the 1920's based on the style of her dress and haircut. Maybe she was a flapper by night! Have teachers always had to have two jobs to make a living??? 

Hope everyone has a happy and safe school year, and if you know of a good teacher be sure to give them lots of encouragement and support. It's not an easy job and judging from the old photo, it never has been! 

Have a great weekend! blogspot/QoLtm (FRENCH COUNTRY COTTAGE) TheCharmOfHome (The Charm of Home)


  1. Hi Amber!
    I'm adding your blog to my reading'll come over each time you post a new one. If you're on Google, you can add me & my blog to your circle, or you can subscribe. Nice to 'meet' you! As a school teacher, you'll appreciate my post on Back to [Old] School a couple weeks ago.
    Have a great week!

  2. What a fun mantel vignette! I love the back to school theme old time version! Thanks for joining TTF this week!


  3. Oh this is so cute! A perfect mantel for this time of the year! And I love all the fun thrifted treasures you used! I am going to feature this post on Wednesday's "Features for TTF # 123". I hope you will drop by and grab the "I was featured" button for your blog!

  4. Hi Amber! I saw your blog named on The Thrifty Groove. Glad I stopped by. Will become a follower. I didn't realize you had so MANY blogs! Wow ! You're a busy lady ! And since you mentioned it was 100 degrees I thought for sure you were here with me in Texas somewhere. You're in sweet Kentucky ! Never been there, but would like to see it some day. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself. My good friend in Australia also suffers from MS, so I feel for you, knowing what she goes through. Blessings for health to you!

    patty Soriano
    Castroville, texas

  5. well done mantel vignette w/ some great finds! Love how it all goes w/ that clock so well.

  6. What a charming theme!!! Love the details. Happy September :)

  7. This is so darn cute! I love all of the vintage children's books. I too have some fun ones I have picked up, including a sweet little song book. The vignette under the cloche is great and I love the old picture. I have a picture so similar of my mother in one of her school class photos. I really need to do something similar sometime. Thanks for sharing with Share Your Cup. I will be featuring you this week. Happy to be a new follower!

  8. What an awesome mantel! I love the vintage books and picture. Thank you for joining HSH!

  9. LOVE!!!!
    What a fantastic idea to include the books - it's gorgeous!

  10. LOVE!!!!
    What a fantastic idea to include the books - it's gorgeous!

  11. This is fantastic! I collect vintage childrens' things! Can't wait to make a new display for Fall! Hugs!


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