In my head, I always categorize my projects by punctuation.


Sometimes the project is a question mark.

Like….why did I ever start this?

Or…what do I do now?

And…yikes….what was I thinking?

Question mark projects are the worst.

These are the projects that start off with me leading the marching band.  Head held high.  Waving my baton for the world to see.  And mid-baton marching glory….my project starts playing a completely different song.

And it’s out of tune.

And the glue gun leaves a glue gun trail or my book pages wilt or I discover that I’m not good with felt as an action verb.

Then the question mark self-doubting thinking takes over and I decide I am so over it all and end up just ordering pizza and watching the Bachelorette.

Sometimes the project is simply an ellipsis or {…..}

A project that just trails off into nothingness because it never really has an ending.

And there it remains….in no-man’s land….waiting to be finished.

Waiting for someone to remember that needlepoint pillows need more than five rows of stitching or a knitted scarf should really be longer than six inches or that no one is really going to need a snuggie anymore now that the whole  pajama-gram craze has taken off.

Ellipsis projects.

As in….I started a scarf….

Or….I’ll start it tomorrow….

And….I really should finish….



And amidst all the question marks and commas and ellipses and ampersands….one type of punctuation project stands alone.

When the stars align.

When the universe rights itself on its axis.

And Willie Nelson croons out the Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by an angel choir playing banjos.



And then you know that you know that you know…..that you have created…..

… exclamation point project.

As in….I can’t believe it turned out!

And….this is amazing!

Or….it’s better than I could have ever even imagined!


 Milk Glass Mantel


Truly, my mantel project didn’t start off as an exclamation point project.

It went through a question mark, two ellipses and asterisk.

Until I thought of burlap.

You see, I truly adore burlap.

There are days when I think I need to start a linky party called…..”Pieces of Burlap and the People Who Love Them.”

And link up this and this and maybe about 10 of these.

And wrap myself in one of these and head out for a night on the town.

 Burlap Bow


But after all my faulty punctuation attempts…..instead of taking my burlap to paint the town red….I made two of these.

I wasn’t even sure it was going to work out.

I had no idea how to make a burlap bow.  Let alone a burlap bow festooned with boxwood.

So I took a roll of burlap and some florists wire and I twisted and turned and wrapped and scrunched.  Next, I crammed the boxwood in and added a little milk glass and an odd assortment of nests.

Then I squared my shoulders……took a deep breath and crossed my fingers.

And stepped back.


And let out my breath in one giant whoosh of relief.

Because there….on my little mantel….in my little library….was an exclamation point burlap/milk glass/birds nest/boxwood project of the first order.

And my heart smiled.

And the birds chirped and the bells rang out and the marching band started playing my song.

And I know that somewhere….


….Willie Nelson was singing 🙂

PPS  And if you love burlap as much as I do….check out all of my other burlap projects here.

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  1. Image for everton terrace everton terrace

    As always - job well done. Exclamation point indeed. I love milkglass, and I have always loved burlap. Had a platform bed that I covered in it - the headboard never got made - my no mans land is quite full. In fact, if we personify projects then my no mans land is actually quite full of people :)

  2. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    I love it, Karianne! What a classic look this has! Love the white pieces you incorporated and I always love green and white together. The urns look great. Such a great Summer mantel look!

  3. Image for Lorraine Lorraine

    When I saw the first picture I that HER mantel or a magazine pic? WOW!!!!!x43.....I agree 173%....THAT is an exclamation project!!! Hoorah!! Blessings, Lorraine

  4. Image for Beverly Beverly

    You've created another wonderful spot in your home. I especially love the greens interspersed with the white. My mother loves milkglass. Great job, KariAnne.

  5. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Yes, Kari, Willie was singing...he was singing your praises....He also mentioned that a burlap bow would look lovely on his hat...but instead of a boxwood adornment, he would prefer a feather......most likely from one of your birds....left behind in one of those beautiful nests.....snuggled atop the milk glass... I love it!!!!....So I am quickly going over to my "to do" list and adding exclamation marks!!!....Never knew that it was the key to a successful project!!! :) :)

  6. Image for Judy Judy

    Wow! This looks like it should be on the cover of a magazine....there are no words I can say but I can leave a lot of exclamation points to show how I feel about this project!!!!!!!!!! Judy

  7. Image for Peggy Peggy

    Definite exclamation point here.... is that live boxwood? I keep thinking I will give ours a little trim and use the branches but so far its been a no go. Yes ma'am that is a definite "!" project... but since when do you have anything but "!" projects? Umm hmm, that's what I thought.... :) Love, love, love your projects my dear! Which reminds me, I have an old burlap sack in the dryer..... we aren't going to go there. Trust me you do NOT want to go there. Let's just it was a momentary lapse of judgement... umm huh. not pretty, not wise and um just not gonna happen again, i think. Gotta run now as I have fabric to fold.... a full size bed worth of fabric. I know my husband just shakes his head when I return home with yet again another smidge of fabric... but I just can't help it. It calls out to me saying "Peggy...... take me home, you know you love me, you know want me! Just seeing me makes you happy! If I go home with you, you'll be able to see my regularly... in fact any time you want. You'll be able to think back on when we first met, with that sly little smile on your face. Go ahead take me home.... I'm not jealous, I'm willing to share... just as long as you take me home." What's a girl to do? So I end up taking it home. Sometimes I sew little things with my fabric and some times (more often than not recently) I just admire it.

  8. Image for Linda Adams Linda Adams

    Hi Karianne, I really enjoyed reading your amusing post! I love your decorating! The mantel looks fabulous! I didn't even know that burlap was available on a ribbon size roll! I know you are featuring the mantel and those winning burlap bows but I really, really like those two chairs in front of the fire place!! Joyous Wishes, Linda

  9. Image for kelly kelly

    Your mantel decor is so pretty! It's such a great mix of texture and neutral colors. I really love it! I would've never thought to put bows on my mantel like that. I'm not good at making them either. Looks like you figured it out just fine!

  10. Image for Maury @ Life on Mars Maury @ Life on Mars

    It's BEAUTIFUL!!! I think it's actually a triple exclamation point, capital letters type of project. So pretty those bows are awesome and the whole thing fills out the mantle perfectly. Oh and I love burlap too, I'd definitely link up to that party :-)

  11. Image for Bliss Bliss

    Well as Willie sang, you knocked the burlap ball out of the park. I will be taking some photos of Mr. Nelson next month and now will think of you. ~Bliss~

  12. Image for Jen Jen

    Sigh....many exclamation marks....lovely, peaceful, fresh, and so beautiful. Especially love the Barley twist table, they ring my heart bell. Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

  13. Image for Kristel Kristel

    Karianne, you have outdone yourself...again!!! I absolutely am in love with your mantel, like drooling over here. The burlap bows turned out beautiful, I really need to start practicing how to make bows. And all the white dreaminess is to die for, simply gorgeous!!! So glad you were able to use the burlap :) Have a wonderful week. Kristel

  14. Image for Lynn Lynn

    This is fantabulous! I love how your mantel project turned out. I think you have earned every punctuation mark on my you go "!@#$%^&*+{}~" well except for this one "?"

  15. Image for Andrea Andrea

    Karianne, you have outdone yourself. I am in awe of you. I love this soooo much, that I want to marry your mantel. Wait, maybe I should marry your entire house, or perhaps the talent lies with you, and you're the one I should live happily every after with. I must go pin this, so I can covet it from this day forth. You are so skilled (have ya seen Napoleon Dynamite? You give his skills a run for his money). sigh.

  16. Image for Mrs. C Mrs. C

    The close up of the burlap revealed, this is no ordinary burlap. Oh honey, burlap ribbon, on a roll...whatever you want to call it, I like it! Yes!exclamation!point!finished!project! indeed! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very nice!

  17. Image for GinaE GinaE

    It's truly Freshy and wonderful!! I just know any day now Country Living and Southern Living will come knocking.

  18. Image for JoAnn JoAnn

    Beautiful mantle....makes me happy to look at it!!! Thanks again for helping me get my email subscription set up! Love your site and posts!!

  19. Image for Pinky Pinky

    That is DEFINITELY an exclamation point project!!!!!!! It looks gorgeous. I must find some burlap ribbon too! Love ALL the details. XO, Pinky

  20. Image for Vanessa Vanessa

    Holy Moly Cannoli!!!! Can I just come over and sit at your feet and watch you work your magic? I'll even go pick up a pizza if I have to. LOL! Kari Anne there are just no words to describe how absolutely stunning this mantel is! Well, almost no about GORGEOUS....FABULOUS....MAGAZINE WORTHY...and get ready to have those magazines come knockin on your door girl because this is seriously awesome. house wants to be your house when it grows up. :-) Vanessa

  21. Image for Lee Lee

    Looks WoNdErFuL! A question...or plea....where did you find the glass bunny box?! Love it as much as your burlap bows! Hope you find time to let me know.... Have a terrific weekend!

  22. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Your burlap bows are the epitome of all burlap bows! I mean seriously, if I started twisting and turning my burlap, I'd end up wrapped up in it like a mummy! But yours turns out to be Better Homes & Gardens worthy! Now, take that left over burlap and whip me up some 6 inch scarves for my garden gnomes! That project can easily be accomplished while watching one episode of the bachelorette! Kelly

  23. Image for Michele Michele

    Seriously? I mean it, you absolutely need TO WRITE A BOOK featuring some of these award winning blog posts. I am dead serious. It would be a huge seller. You are amazing and so danged funny and talented, by far one of the best of the best of the BEST! AND I MEAN THIS IN ALL SINCERITY USING AN EXCLAMATION POINT!

  24. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    Yes an exclamation point sounds right to me, but honestly do you have many project that warrant a question seems to us and by us I mean me that your projects are so spot on......................

  25. Image for amy amy

    Your mantle deserves a few exclamation marks!!! What a beautiful job. I have to know, though, which took longer to do, make the burlap bows or write this beautiful, funny post that flows off the tongue like well written poetry? Thanks for making me laugh EVERY day :)

  26. Image for refresh refresh

    I'll exclamation point this too! You are so talented! I may/will have to copy this! I'm so excited that I already have that burlap ribbon laying in wait for this!

  27. Image for Pat Pat

    Hey, be careful...Willie is MINE! :-) Seriously, your mantle & the photos look like something in a high end decorating magazine. Great job! Pat

  28. Image for Stephanie Stephanie

    Such a gorgeous fresh clean look to your mantle. The burlap, boxwood, and the ironstone add the perfect touch!!! LOVE this cute post!!!! Did you ever have Mrs. Beth Stapleton in high school? She is one of my all-time favorite teachers. She actually had the nerve to tell me she really LIKED my writings BUT that I was a bit wordy and used LOTS of exclamation points!!! She would be SOOOO happy to learn that I've curbed my tendencies a BIT on the wordiness AND the !!!!,,,,.... BUT now I have taken to ....... and CAPITALIZING many MANY words!!! Big TX Hugs, Stephanie

  29. Image for dee dee dee dee

    From the vice-president of your !!!!!! Fan Club....... I give your project !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! points! Thank goodness it wasn't a #@%#@ project! dee dee

  30. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Breathtaking!!! A definite multiple exclamation point project!!! I love the white with the fresh greens and the burlap! For some reason it reminds me of a spring day, right after a good rain when everything is so fresh and new!

  31. Image for Becca Becca

    Wait a sec. Was I supposed to be focused on the ribbon? The ENTIRE space was so beautiful- I think my eyes glazed over and all I could do was have accessory envy! ;-) Of course your project rocked! xo Becca

  32. Image for Linda Leyble Linda Leyble

    Hi...I just love this project (I had to laugh about your punctuation mark philosophy too - have to adopt that one!). I wouldn't have thought about the burlap bows. Love them - they look great on your mantle. Thanks for posting that you didn't know how to make burlap bows and you just did it. I take giant leaps too - and just do them. But sometimes I am held back by my own fears that I may fail - and I don't do things. This post makes me want to try again. So thank you!! Take a look at my latest post on my blog - I did a summer mantle as well. I put it on Bewteen Naps also. I'm off to explore more of your blog! Linda

  33. Image for Ann K. @ Corner of Plaid and Paisley Ann K. @ Corner of Plaid and Paisley

    I can here Willie singing now!! absolutely love what you did with the burlap,boxwood and mantle!! I would be one of those people posting to your All Burlap party!! Love your post, very entertaining!!! Nothing wrong with the overuse of explanation points-especially when it turns out beyond your own expectations!

  34. Image for Carolyn {my simple messterpiece} Carolyn {my simple messterpiece}

    That photo of your matel belongs in a magazine ... goregeous! I'm visiting from Metamorphosis Monday.

  35. Image for michele michele

    Wow! I love what you do. It does look like a magazine shoot. I love the color combo: white, green, tan and black. Stunning!

  36. Image for Luci Terhune Luci Terhune

    This gorgeous photo of your mantle is how I found you (Pinterest) and became a follower. All my favorites.. Milk glass, Burlap and greenery! I can't believe you've been doing this blogging thing for only 6 months!

  37. Image for Karen Karen

    It looks magnificent! I love it!!! I know exactly what you mean I go through all of those feelings and then some. You really create a visual feast through your words and pictures,

  38. Image for Jo Ann Jo Ann

    It's my first time to your blog and I love it! You're not only a great decorator, but you're witty and fun! Can't wait to have time to go through your entire blog. Keep up the good work and words!

  39. Image for Musician turned Interior Decorator Musician turned Interior Decorator

    Lovely lovely! Your entire house is what my dream home would be....someday! I cannot express compliments enough! But you said "And Willie Nelson croons out the Hallelujah Chorus accompanied by an angel choir playing banjos." I don't mind Willie Nelson or banjos. I've sung in Handel's Messiah many times and the Hallelujah Chorus separately many times as well. But Willie singing it?!?!? Oh please let the earth realign herself with the stars and say it'll never, ever happen in my lifetime! And if it does, please let me have gone deaf by then. I jest...sort of ;-) It is said Handel had a sense of humor.... but also that he had a very quick temper and often got very upset with musicians who didn't perform the music to his standards. I suspect Handel would not be too happy with poor Willie. ;-) He probably would have enjoyed a beer with him....but that's a story for another day ;-)

  40. Image for Lisa Lisa

    I am absolutely psycho over your decor and giftings with texture. Absolutely, positively! I wanna come to your house and soak it up REAL TIME!!!! Blessings- a decor kindred

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