My fireplace and mantel may be very rustic, but that does not mean I can’t add a bit of modern and whimsical touches to give it my own design style.
This is our eighth Christmas in this house, and I have never decorated our mantel for the holidays.
To be honest, when you don’t really like a certain room in your house, and don’t have the budget available to totally rip it apart and start all over, the room can quickly become a dumping ground for clutter, an eyesore, and often times neglected, especially during the holidays. In the past I just couldn’t muster any enthusiasm for decorating the mantel for Christmas.
Then this year, I had to spend three months sleeping in this room after the tree fell on our house and nearly destroyed our master bedroom. Over time, the room sort of grew on me, or at least I felt more comfortable in the space. Don’t get that confused with accepting how it looks, I have just moved up the renovation of this room on my schedule of to-do lists.
When the invitation to join this blog hop from Hometalk.com and CountryLiving.com came along, I decided it was just the motivation I needed to finally create a fabulous mantel display for the holidays.
Our fireplace is HUGE, and built with native Tennessee stone found near our property. The mantel is a solid block of rustic and aged wood. Definitely not the style of fireplace and mantel you would expect in a mid-century modern home, but exactly what you would expect for a southern home on a wooded lot in Tennessee.
For my new Christmas mantel display, I decided I needed to soften the rough edges of this dark fireplace and room, with light, color, and some whimsical touches. What better way to do this than with a display of modern tree forms, cone shaped trees, and string lights.
The focal point of the mantel display was created from a stack of wooden yard sticks from Home Depot.
Before I cut the first piece, I first measured the space above the mantel to the ceiling line to determine the size of the project.
I decided the larger of the two modern trees would be around 24 inches tall. I cut two of the yard sticks down to 24 inches and glued them together at one end to create the triangle shape of the tree.
The size of the bottom piece was easily determined by measuring the distance between the two side pieces and cutting another yard stick to fit. The trunk of the tree was formed by cutting three 8 inch pieces and gluing them together. All pieces were glued together using Elmer’s Wood Glue.
The second, smaller tree, was made with two 16 inch side pieces, another smaller piece at the bottom to form the triangle, and three 4 inch pieces for the trunk. I waited at least four hours for all of the glue to dry before painting.
The paint colors for the two trees were decided on a deep study and concentration on what would be the best colors to use for the project – meaning – I chose dark Christmas colors in red and green because that is what would cover up the orange markings on the yard stick. Very scientific methods used around our house.
So Christmas green and Christmas red in acrylic craft paints were chosen because they would hide the orange colors of the yard sticks! Even for these colors, it took four coats of paint until I couldn’t see the impressions or orange colors anymore.
I purchased two sets of white 50 count string lights for this project.
To attach the lights to the tree forms, I used Command strips Mini Hooks.
I decided to use the Command Mini Hooks instead of staples because one, I could remove and reuse the string lights if I wanted to, and second, I thought that staples may split the thin wood sticks. The mini hooks were so much easier to use either way.
I attached the mini hooks wherever I needed them on the back of the forms to hide the ends of the string lights, hold the lights in place, and to connect the two string lights together.
And this is how they look together all lit up and so festive looking on the rustic mantel.
To create the entire display, I first laid down some white fabric the length of the mantel to soften the look, and to hide the white cords for the lights.
I added my new cone shaped Christmas trees I created last week and posted about here.
Red, white and green quickly became the color theme for the mantel display, so I added some poinsettias, a red ornament, and a few Christmas cards I have already received for the season. Once I set up my favorite white Christmas tree, using mostly red and green ornaments, and added our cherished crocheted red, white, and green tree skirt my husband’s grandmother made us years ago, the whole room and mantel display just came together perfectly.
At least perfect for me and my family.
And that is the beauty of decorating for Christmas. It is not about having the perfectly scaled and themed display duplicated from a magazine or what the top designers say you must have. And I’m a Interior Designer telling you this! Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, enjoying your family, and creating a home that you create memories in to last a lifetime. As for this mantel display, I will enjoy it this year, and probably change it up next year with things I love then. Enjoy time with your family, and enjoy whatever Christmas decorations you may put up this year, no matter how big or small.
Matthew 1:21 “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
Proverbs 16:3 “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”
Be sure to visit other bloggers who are participating in the blog hop. #HomeforChristmas