Christmas Mantel 2011 {Before and After}

Christmas mantel 2011

This is our finished Christmas mantel for this season: mercury glass, book page ornaments and touches of purple. But this is actually the second version (this isn’t normal, but I had been wanting to paint this old window for awhile and it finally happened!) – here is the first:

When we started decorating for Christmas last week, this is what our mantel looked like. My daughter and I collaborated on it – well, it was mostly my daughter, because I was busy making new ornaments and decorations. However it got done, I think it turned out nice. Last year we added the pops of purple into our standard mix of white and metallic.

This year we kept the purple and silver and added a couple of old pinecone topiaries I made years ago and some book page ornaments. That’s our new theme this year: vintage book and sheet music decorations. I absolutely LOVE how they turned out and how they play off the vintage bulbs I’ve collected.

However, there was something that I didn’t like: the round, green mirror just wasn’t cutting it anymore. I love it, but after all your help last spring with our mantel, I’ve been looking for a large, rectangle black mirror to put in it’s place to tie together all the touches of black and fill the huge space we have.

But large mirrors are expensive! Gah- I had never looked for one before. Then last summer I found a large, multi-paned old window in our shed. I can’t, for the life of me, remember where we got it or if it was given to us or I bought it. But there it was. I decided to clean it up, paint it black and use a mirror paint on the back of the panes to give it a vintage-y feel. But our new dining chairs came first. And then the garden produce needed to be taken care of. And then school started and the weather got cold.

But staring at the mantel with the green mirror gave me the impetus I needed to “get ‘er done.”

Well, almost. The mirrored panes will have to wait until the weather warms enough to be able to spray paint outside. But I LOVE what the large black frame does to the space. And how it ties in our stocking initials and even the black print on the book page decorations. It’s very festive lit up as well- gotta love mercury glass and glitter for the sparkles they give off.

You can see some of the book page theme here: bird and fan ornaments added to our “Joy” banner and on the mantel as well as whole pages wrapped around a pillar candle tied with twine.

On top of the shelves flanking the fireplace, I’ve put the “snow village” pieces I painted many years ago. I used to go all out with people, light poles and scenes, but now I just enjoy lining them up with a bit of fake snow.

Somehow I’ve come to appreciate the less-is-more philosophy as time goes on.

Either that or I’m getting lazy.


This is linked to Weekend Wrap-Up and Saturday Nite Special.


  1. Anonymous says

    The window is awesome. Also, I’m liking those pine cone topiaries. Do they involve drilling?

    Merry Christmas!!
    brenda from arkansas

  2. says

    Brenda- The pinecone topiaries are simply hot-glued to floral foam in the pots. They aren’t the sturdiest things, but then they don’t get moved much, either. :-) I used 3 Sugar Pinecones- two for the topiaries and the third I took apart and hot glued the individual pieces on the foam to cover it up. Though I suppose moss would work as well!

    Thanks for the comments!!

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