Wednesday, December 7, 2011

RE-decorating: Rustic Christmas mantel

We have a fireplace in the living room, but that room is currently being used as storage for everything we have bought for upcoming remodeling projects.  Rather than try to tackle that situation, I decided to put up a simple mantel in my husband's study. The stockings are still in tubs so they'll be added soon.  I didn't buy anything for the mantel.  I'd call it a "stolen" mantel because everything on it was stolen from other areas.  It started with the decision to use our old front door wreath over the mantel and that got the ball running on a color and design theme.  I pulled the mini Christmas tree with burlap base from a storage tub.  It had neon colored ornaments on it so I took those off.  I would like to get another couple of these small trees. They are very handy for spots of holiday decor.  If any of my friends reading this happen to come across these trees while shopping, please pick me up a couple, and I will pay you back.  You know I'm good for it. :D The greenery was free. As I mentioned in my green & silver Christmas table post, I got a bunch of it from the tree trimming pile when we bought our tree.

The saint candlesticks are antique. They are usually on a table in the living room. We bought them a long time ago at Whit Hanks, a really nice antique shop here in Austin.  They are from the 1800s.  They are unusual which is a big part of why they appeal to me.  The glass containers are from the Dollar Store. I bought them this summer to make an outdoor summer dinner tablescape. (I have pictures of that which I will post soon.) I wrapped the glass containers with twine, also purchased at the Dollar Store. I hot glued the ends to keep them in place. For the mantel, I decided to fill them with an assortment of nuts to add some texture to this setting.  If I lived elsewhere, I would have used pine cones, but they are not readily available outdoors so I used what I had, hence the nuts.  The large green candle was from my old family room. It doesn't have a place yet in my new home, but it works for Christmas so I pulled it into the mantel setting. The red ribbon is silk shantung.  I believe it was a sash to a flower girl dress for my daughter.  I kept it around and when I decided to use the wreath, I went looking around for ribbon to match that hue of red and remembered this sash. I don't know if you can tell from the picture, but they match almost perfectly.   She had an old velvet ribbon bow that would have matched as well, but I didn't find a place for it in the design.  Lesson here is think about repurposing/recycling old wardrobe items before they go to Goodwill.  The burlap is a remnant from the summer tablescape I did with the glass containers I described above.  I used a black permanent marker (Sharpie) to write PEACE on the strip freehand. I then cut one side of it in a scalloped shape, which was very easy and quick to do and I attached it to the mantel with clear tape. The good thing about using tape is that if your letters come out a little crooked, you can adjust how the strip hangs with the tape to help straighten it.  When my husband saw me hanging the burlap, he asked me "What is your obsession with burlap?" LOL.  I can't help it. I love burlap. It has a good earthy texture to it. It cuts easily and it works in a lot of no sew projects and since my sewing skills are limited to sewing buttons and hems, this is a big deal to me. 

A full view of the setting.  The office is masculine and we have religious art in it already, so I wanted to do something very natural and simple.  I considered not even doing the containers of nuts to keep it very simple, but I felt it was a bit too unadorned without something more.
My items stolen from other rooms work together here I think because they are all natural products. The nuts, twine, greenery, the wood Santo, the candle, the iron candlestick all come from the Earth.  Nothing artificial, nothing plastic. 
A close up of my glass container from the Dollar Store. I will feature this project again when I post the pictures from my outdoor dinner party.  For my summer outdoor dinner party, after I wrapped the glass containers with twine, I filled them  with votive candles and pebbles. My friends liked them a lot and asked me where I bought them, when I told them I made them and that I got the stuff from the Dollar Store, they asked me to please make some for them as gifts.  I told them "Ok. Merry Christmas!" and laughed.  They said they would sincerely love to get them as Christmas gifts.  I hope they still feel that way because they really are getting them for Christmas. 
We have collected religious art for awhile. The nice part of collecting religious art pieces is that on holidays like Christmas and Valentine's Day, they often can be incorporated into the holiday decorations.  I try to work with what I have as much as I can. Here, I was able to put together the mantel without spending a dime, even though I've never done a mantel like this one before.   I shopped around my own home for stuff to use and that is often the best, most simple option.


Click here to see more Christmas mantels at Southern Hospitality, the above blog

Clilck here to see more Christmas Mantels


  1. Oh all looks sooooooooo good....I have had no time at all to do anything festive Christmas decorations....maybe tomorrow....hoping you a great holiday!

  2. I love the rustic elements to your Christmas decorating ideas. It all works together so well. Thanks for sharing ideas!