Christmas Mantel

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  Life has been a little nuts (when is it not?) since we got back from Thanksgiving, but I’m back and ready to share my decked halls, starting with one of my most prized Christmas possessions: my mom’s Nativity.  I have such fond memories of getting this out with my mom every year and watching her carefully set it all up, so because of the memories and the fact that it really is the reason for the season, it’s always the first thing I set up, and I try to give it its own special spot in the house.
Last year, everything was very neutral, white and gold, but this year is the year of the Colorful Christmas at our house–fun and whimsy–so I did it up totally different.
Since my style seems to change a little from year to year, I really try to do a lot of things that are low cost, and I won’t have major guilt over getting rid of if they don’t quite fit in.  The garland and stars are a perfect example.  The garland is just a bag of cotton balls, strung and hung–simple as that.  For the stars: I cut out some starbursts on my Cricut, strung them on some pink jewelry wire, and then wrapped them around a small twig.  Then I just grabbed some trimmings from my grandma’s pine tree (you’ll be seeing lots more of these trimmings hanging around soon), hot glued them to the twig, and hung it up.
I really wanted a globe on the “mantel,” but the one I have (yes, I only own one–tragic, I know) was too wide, and I remembered these amazing printables I had seen last year from Angela Hardison and knew it would work perfectly.  Two different ones can be downloaded here.
When I painted the wall with chalkboard paint, the husband really wanted me to just leave it black, you know, not go all schoolhouse chic in the dining room–I guess it’s understandable.  So, I promised the him that I wouldn’t break in the chalkboard wall until Christmas, so something chalk was my original plan with the open frame, but then I found these chipboard letters on the dollar aisle at Target and they were even better than the chalkboard carol I had imagined (I won’t tell you how many packages of these I bought, it’s just pathetic.)  And here’s a word of warning: when you put words to carols up all over your house (I guess most people call those lyrics–it’s late), you WILL NOT be able to get them out of your head.  I literally look at this wall and start singing.  The Christmas-music-hater hubs loves it.  The wings were purchased this year at Michael’s and I’m pretty sure they’ll be finding a year-round home in my daughter’s room after Christmas.
I wanted to do up the buffet underneath my shelf, but didn’t want it to take away from the nativity above…   so, I basically just bombed it with ornaments, and I love it!!
You’ll notice that I still made good on my promise of breaking in the chalkboard wall, and guess what!?  I had to point it out to the husband before he even noticed it was there! I’m too lazy to do all of that overhead projector/chalk transfer stuff, so I usually just free hand.  For this one, I traced a mixing bowl, drew a few more circles around the original circle just to make it a little less perfect, and then drew some leaves and branches.
I wish I could take credit for the ornaments and old bottles idea, but I found it last year on, literally, one of my favorite mantels I’ve ever seen (in fact, her whole Christmas setup is to die!).

I found these turquoise Shiny Brite ornaments at the thrift store for $1.00 and bought the pink ones at Hobby Lobby for about $3.00 for six (with coupon, of course).  I also added one of my snowball trees.

I also found a bunch of these chandelier shades at the thrift store for $1.00 each and knew it would make the perfect cloche.  I managed to channel some self-control on this one and only bought one–a real Christmas miracle. And last, but so not least, the most fabulous Nutcracker to ever grace the Holiday season, stands guard over it all.

I’ll be back tomorrow tomorrow to kick off year two of the $20.00 handmade tree makeover.  I’m so excited to show you what I came up with this year!!

In the meantime, you can check out last year’s here.

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Christmas Entry Way

Today I’m dropping in to show you how I decorated my table in my entry way for Christmas.  Yup, Christmas has officially hit my house.  With the exception of my tree, everything is pretty much up.  I know a lot of people have a thing about bringing on the Holiday cheer too early, but I LOVE it!!  I haven’t shopped for gifts or anything yet, but I feel like the Christmas season is so short, and it’s such a beautiful, reflective time of year, I like bringing that feeling into my house a little early so that we can enjoy it as long as possible. It’s also a sure sign that Thanksgiving is being hosted by someone else this year–holla!! 
This table came together with a few simple projects and, as always, VERY minimal cost.  This year, I’m loving the Retro Christmas thing, so that was the jumping off point, and then, naturally, my own style sort of fell in with it.
I started with my favorite, easy garlands: spools of ribbon and trim from Hobby Lobby.  I’ve actually accumulated quite the collection over the different holidays, so all I picked up this time was a spool of beaded trim in light pink.  Can I just say that as often as ribbon is on sale at Hobby Lobby, I SWEAR I end up needing it every time it’s NOT on sale!  Anyway, there’s a lot of pink this year for Christmas at my house, and I sort of went back and forth with it, and whether it would be too feminine, but let’s be honest: the husband could pretty much care less about the Christmas decor around here, so I went with it.  I also added one of my own prints from my Etsy shop, and a little snowball tree I created that you can find over on Craftaholics Anonymous soon. These trees are one of my favorite things this year.
I found a box of vintage Christmas ornaments at the thrift store in the perfect shade of turquoise for $1.00, so I hung one of those, and a mix of a few other vintage and new ornaments from an antler shed. I’ll show you what I did with the rest of the vintage ornaments soon.  And a quick side note: this is why friends and Facebook are AWESOME!  I asked on Facebook if anyone had any antler sheds they wanted to get rid of and found out that a friend of mine had an entire storage shed full that she and her dad were getting rid of!  SCORE!!    
In case you didn’t get the memo here, I’m a sucker for a Christmas countdown.  I created this one and will be sharing the tutorial and FREE PRINTABLE with you over at Whipperberry shortly.  They go perfectly with my new Holiday prints (shameless plug, I know).
And this small little accent is probably one of my other favorites.  I put some polka dot fabric in an embroidery hoop, and then just hot glued some little pom poms onto some of the dots.  
What’s your Christmas style?  Do you like to change it up every year, or do you stick to your tried and true favorites?

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