Monthly Mantel: August 2013

August is the February of summer. It is the time when you are ready for a new season but have another month at least of waiting.  What to do for  the monthly mantel during this nondescript month?

July was a month of wings and nests, soaring hopes and arranging messy twigs into a place of our own.

July mantel
July mantel

This year in our home I am living with roots and wings always in mind.  Stronger wings so that when the time comes my children can swoop and soar with confidence and grace, but also established roots so that they are grounded deep with tendrils reaching oh so far, so deep, into the ever-giving aquifer of faith.  In seasons of drought, storm, and freezing cold, those roots will be the life saving source that will carry us through.

(If you follow my monthly mantel board you already have a clue as to where this is going.)


Chopsticks can be useful in endless ways
Chopsticks can be useful in endless ways

I’ve been hoarding gathering pretty glass bottles knowing that someday, somewhere, we would settle down and I would do something with them.  It is a miracle they haven’t shattered in the moves.

Just a few of my glass stash
Just a few of my glass stash

Alright, as I described in detail in my first monthly mantel post, here are the steps I went through for August’s mantel:

1. I still don’t have a defined mantel so I used another tray.  This dotted little gem was in the as is section in Ikea for less than a dollar.  See that little crack, I’ll take it!

Don't see the knick, that's because it's on the other side - no big deal
Don’t see the knick, that’s because it’s on the other side – no big deal

2. Don’t clutter.  oooooooooh this was hard!  I have so many pretty glass options and I wanted to use them all, but then the individuality of each piece would be lost in the jumble.  These were the ones I picked.

I spent more time than usual on this step arranging and rearranging the pieces I wanted to use.  That way I wouldn’t make too few or too many terrariums.  (Who am I kidding, there is no such thing as too many terrariums!)

In addition to those three main large glasses I discovered this old juice glass, this amazing display of roots from a cutting I started a while ago, and this unpacked robin’s egg I used in the last monthly mantel.

3. Go with a theme.  Roots.  Got it.   Sinking roots down deep.

I love the added interest of these exposed roots in an interesting glass.
I love the added interest of these exposed roots in an interesting glass.

4. Use a plant.  Well…certainly have this one covered.

5.  New eyes.

I drool over terrarium ideas such as this one, but again, I’m working on a budget of about nill here so I wandered around the yard.

I have seen this plant poking out between bricks all over and I think it is some kind of ground covered which may be a tiny remnant of years long ago when this patch of dirt was a garden.  Any idea as to what it is?

A mystery plant
A mystery plant

I also gathered up some moss from shady spots in the yard.

This little guy is going to love his new home
This little guy is going to love his new home

My parents are up visiting this week and I knew my mom’s incredible garden had bits of this succulent tucked away willy nilly so I asked her to bring up a few for me.


Here is how I made the terrariums:

First put in a shallow layer of pebbles for drainage.

Next add a bit of damp soil.  I had planting soil leftover from making the herb pots!

Then add in the main plant or plants and top with a nice layer of moss.

Mist lightly (since you already used damp soil). Leave uncovered in indirect light for about 24 hours before covering to make sure there isn’t too much moisture trapped inside.

Say hello the August mantel.

Oh yeah, I am in love with this one already.


5 comments on “Monthly Mantel: August 2013

  1. Beautiful! I just love how much thought you put into these things. And you made those terrariums look so easy-peasy, I might have to give them a try, sometime.

    • Thanks! I was surprised by how easy they are. And since I used weeds from the garden I figure that A) If they die, it was only weeds and B) weeds should be hardy and hopefully survive.

  2. Did you know that in Ireland, we consider August the first month of Autumn. I have had this discussion with people in the UK many a time. It is because of the pagan influence on our culture I think, linking with the longest day of the year (June 21st) being roughly in the middle of our summer and various other festivals (Halloween for example marking the end of Autumn) and celebrations we have throughout the year. I think it makes much more sense, but I am biased!

    • Oh that is really interesting!
      Over here in the USA our first day of Fall is officially September 22 which seems like an eternity away. I know that in my own little mind Fall starts after Labor Day (September 2, a US holiday) because that’s when a lot of schools start their fall semester after summer holiday. Also Halloween doesn’t really mark the end of Autumn for us because we celebrate Thanksgiving the 3rd Thursday of November. It makes Winter just spring up the day after Thanksgiving but since our winter is soooooooo long, I’m fine with holding it off, at least in spirit, until the last possible moment.

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