Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Simpler Holiday Mantel, 2011


This holiday season, I chose to use more simpler and more natural and subdued colors for the  great room fireplace mantel.  It might be deemed as “blah” by some, but the silver bling that I used last year just didn’t fit the theme I was going with this year.  We set up the southwest themed tree, so more neutral colors were called for. I added a slight touch of red to coordinate with the red bandanas on the tree for just a touch of blingy color.  I’ll be back to show the tree soon! It’s a doozie- 12 feet tall and loaded with things to reflect the southwest, where I grew up.

Our crazy Ohio weather has been so weird over the past few days. It rained for two days straight (the backyard flooded again!)  and today’s overcast skies made for some difficulty trying to photograph this wall. The glare from the windows also played havoc with the camera settings, but you can see in the shot below that the browns predominate on the mantel this year. 



Three strands of garland were woven together to create a more lush look on top of the narrow wooden mantel. I added in some open weave burlap garland that had just a touch of gold in it for some visual interest.



The added reds came in the form of some glass balls and some burgundy berry picks tucked into the garland strands. I had originally nested the large bell ornaments into the garland, but then remembered that I had some small bell wire garland in one of my many boxes! So I strung the bells on fishing line and hung them in varying heights along the width of the mantel.


close up of bells


bells 2

You can see the detail on the wire bell garland a little better in this photo.



apothecary jar

Here is one of two apothecary jars filled with feather balls.





shoe last 1

I propped a recent frugal find of an old wooden shoe last against one of them.





last 2

The other last rests on a pinecone on the opposite side of the clock.  You can see the texture of the woven and sparkly garland here.





bell tree

In keeping with the bell theme, I used this little bell tree on top of a set of three suitcases.



pinecone bin

This large copper colored bin was filled with a variety of pinecones and placed in the middle of the hearth.  Most of the cones are sugar pinecones that were a yard sale find last year for a dollar apiece! I know they sell for much more if ordered online.  Spanish moss and some red balls were used as filler.



cheese box 2

A stenciled cheese box from the French Hen Farm sale in the fall holds a ceramic Santa, some rolled sheets of music, and a hurricane candle holder filled with fresh cranberries.



santa , music rolls




lit candles

Inside the firebox, I laid some birch logs from one of the trees that we had taken down last fall. A metal candle holder holds six glass votive holders. The lit candles add some ambience, since we rarely light a fire.

So there you have this year’s holiday mantel.  Make sure to stop over and visit the hostesses at their links shown below.  I’m sure you’ll see some wonderfully inspiring holiday décor!  And I’ll be back soon to add in even more links for other holiday parties. It’s a busy, busy month! 

Here’s a quick peek of what’s to come when I show you my southwest themed tree….

boot ornament

 Now go and click on the links below to get your Christmas party on!    

                         wow us wed.             Holiday_Home_Banner_2011     ivy and elephants



             nifty thrifty tuesdays                2805          vintage inspiration button                      stuff and nonsense


Olive Cooper said...

Sue, I love the neutral mantel and especially that you added the vintage shoe forms. The clock is so pretty and needs little embellishment anyway. Happy Christmas friend ♥ Olive

Teresa@oursoutherncountryhomeandfarm said...

Sue, I am loving your mantle! Love the burlap and natural things that you have tucked away in there. Love the vintage things that you surrounded it with like the suitcases and old wooden box. Can't wait to see the 12ft tree!

Debbiedoo's blogging and blabbing said...

Sue, it looks beautiful, so warm, and rustic. Love the rolled music sheets.


I adore your mantel, it's elegant, not simple at all, with such pretty elements you've used for it, like the rolled music sheets, the vintage things like the suit cases and the wooden box, it gives it a warm, cozy and inviting atmosphere to the entire decoration. Merry Christmas.

Gail said...

Sue your mantel is beautiful! I just love all the natural elements you used.

ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Sue your mantel definitely has the WOW factor!! I love it! That first shot is gorgeous! Martina

Andrea said...

your mantel is gorgeous! I love more rustic, natural decor!

Blondie's Journal said...

This is so pretty, Sue, simple and a little rustic! And festive of course! Your tree is HUGE! I love it! Hurray for high ceilings!!

Yes, the Midwest weather has been crazy. I hear it is supposed to get colder toward the week's end. Brrr!

Happy Holidays, my friend. I am sending you an email.


NanaDiana said...

I love the totally natural look you have gone with here. It is just beautiful! Beautuful! Those pinecones and all the old sleigh bells are wonderful. xo Diana

Jo said...

Love the "simpler" look Can't wait to see the tree - you know you are going to make me homesick!

Balisha said...

I loved each picture as I came to them. Waiting to see your beautiful tree. Balisha

Betsy said...

It's so pretty and cozy. I love the look and feel of candles in a fireplace. You did a beautiful job!

Babs said...

Sue, Your soothing colors looks so nice with your stone mantel. I really like the rustic sleigh bells and the copper tub with the big pine cones. Looking forward to seeing your tree.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

So very pretty!! I really the rustic and natural elements. You have been busy and with great results.

Karina Russell said...


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I don't think it looks "blah" at all, Sue! I love it and it fits in well with what I can see of your tree. I read online that our two days of rain was a typical months worth! Today went by so fast for me, it was 3:00 before I had lunch. Running around and wrapping gifts just has the days flying by!

Crystal Rose Cottage said...

Looks great Sue! You have such an eye for detail! I am going to have to borrow a few of your ideas that I seen. Very festive!~Hugs, Patti

At The Picket Fence said...

Oh my goodness! Not "blah" one single bit. I love all of the amazing details...from the burlap ribbon to the bells to the feather balls in the apothecary jar. You can tell so much attention to detail was put into your mantel. I hear ya about the weird weather around here...rain, rain, rain...makes for difficult photographing. I can't WAIT to see your full tree!


Betsy@ coastal-colors said...

Sue, I think your mantel is perfect! It's has the perfect touch of rustic along with the natural items! I love your bells and the garland! Your tree looks great too! I can't wait to see it!

Shelia said...

Oh, my goodness, Sue, your mantel is gorgeous. The entire area is so pretty.
Be a sweetie,
Shelia ;)

Pam said...

Sue, I love your neutral mantel. The bells are gorgeous and I love that bin of pinecones with red ornaments in it!

Debby said...

It all looks beautiful. Such detail in everything.

janet said...

Hello Sue,

Your decorations are simply lovely!

janet xox

Bunny Jean said...

You were right about the next tree being a big one. I don't know how you find the time to decorate all of them... AND they are all so beautiful and different!

xoxo Bunny Jean

Lou Cinda @ Tattered Hydrangeas said...

I LOVE the mantel Sue....the bells and the ribbon tied on the it! Can't wait to see the tree looks gorgeous!

Lou Cinda

Lori E said...

Lovin the mantle Ethel. The bells especially. Can't wait to see the South West tree.

JunqueMagnet said...

Looks great. Loving those feather balls. You've got my mind churning with those! Enjoy.

Tanya@takesix said...

Beautiful mantel! I love rusty jingle bells!!

Custom Comforts said...

Sue ~ I'm always late to the party, but wanted to tell you your mantel is just beautiful. I didn't see last year's version, but I love this one. I like the natural elements of it and would love to find some ribbon like that for some sleds I need to decorate. Very, very pretty.

xinex said...

Beautiful mantel, Sue. I like the natural elements you used....Christine

arrielle_p said...

These mantel displays are gorgeous!

"Your decorations are simply lovely!" agreed in full here.

condo in Philippines

Bella Vista said...

Looks wonderful, Sue. You really have done a lovely job.


L'Heure Bleue At Home said...

The bell garland is so pretty! You did a fabulous job!

Katherines Corner said...

Nothing blah about it, absolutely gorgeous xo

Honey at 2805 said...

Your mantel is wonderful, Sue. All the natural elements are so warm and festive.

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

Love the simplicity, strikingly elegant! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

Sherry said...

Beautiful Sue! Thank you for joining me at Home Sweet Home!

Carol in GJ said...


I really love the mantel! But, most of all, I love your idea of the candles in the fireplace. We have a gas log insert, but it is pricey to run very much. I may try this, too.