Well hello and welcome to the start of our holiday linky parties! Today we kick it off over at The Lettered Cottage with mantels:

Holiday_Home_2012_banner

I like to change up our mantel every year, but I do have one ingredient that MUST be there every time – big, fat, chunkaaay greenery.

Since we reworked our fireplace last fall we now have a much bigger mantel to work with. It’s just a normal size but to me it’s positively dreamy after so many years with a dinky corner fireplace.

This year I was envisioning something more natural, more subdued. I started with my greenery of course, and like always added a few more sprigs of white pine-like stuff I found at Big Lots years ago. (It’s still some of the most realistic greenery I’ve ever seen!) This just helps to chunk it up even more.

Then I added my snowy sticks and pinecones to fill in the empty spots:

natural holiday mantel natural holiday mantel

I already had some pinecones, but I really got to fill ‘er up this year courtesy of little sis. She had a ton leftover from her wedding reception and I gladly took them off her hands. :) (Thanks Stink Eye!!)

Then came my very favorite part – I was browsing one of my favorite nurseries last week and came across big branches of gorgeous magnolia leaves. I fell in LOVE with the deep green side, but even more so with the soft brown sides:

decorating with magnolia leaves

I got two big branches for $4 each and just cut off the leaves and stuck them in here and there.

I rarely use pics and sticks and stuff as it comes – I always cut it down (fake and real greenery) to smaller pieces that I can use as filler. It goes SO much further that way!

Even with all the fluffiness, the mantel still needed some height, so I grabbed some of my metallic candlesticks from last year’s dining room table and placed them behind the greenery: 

 copper Christmas mantel

To make the candlesticks stand up a little higher I just cut down some wood and stuffed it behind so I could put them on top.

No, I won’t be lighting these – yikes. :) They are way too close to the wall. But I love how the metallic and green combo repeats the colors in the greenery! 

I had tons of magnolia leaves left over so I used then to hot glue a quick wreath:

DIY magnolia wreath

It covered the wreath form a lot better a few days ago – the leaves are starting to curl up a bit. :)

The wreath was incredibly easy – I just sat down with the hot glue and started sticking them on:

DIY magnolia wreath

I have NO idea how these will hold up. At first I was hoping I might be able to keep the wreath year to year, but the leaves are already losing their deep green color. The brown side is looking good though.  I’m assuming these will be toast in a few weeks. (I hope they last that long!!) But I love this look so much I may have to invest in some faux magnolia.

Either that or plant a magnolia tree. :)

I LOVE love love how it all turned out!:

magnolia Christmas mantel

It is exactly the look I had in my head! Gotta love when that happens.

It’s simple in that the colors are muted, but it’s still festive and full and IT’S SO FLUFFY:

natural magnolia Christmas mantel

Our sweet dog had to be in every shot…again. :)

See.

magnolia mantel

Nice blogger reflection in the glass. ;)

All together the mantel cost me about $8 for the magnolia leaves, not too shabby for a whole new look!

natural magnolia Christmas mantel

And it’s even prettier at night with the lights turned on!:

 natural copper Christmas mantel natural copper Christmas mantel

That soft light is one of my very favorite parts of the Christmas season. :)

I can’t wait to see your beautiful mantels (or shelves, bookcases, whatever!)over at Layla’s today!

I think the mantel is my one of my favorite spots to decorate for the season – what’s yours?

 
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