In order to display my pretty glass bottle stoppers, I have tried interspersing them in my mantel vignettes, but they just look a bit lost and I worry that the light of my life, the very BUSY little cat whose name starts with P, will knock them off during one of her illicit forays into the mantel-scape on her way to perch on top of the living room armoire…
BUT, another moment of magpie impulse led me to acquire a lovely bowl, edged in my favourite aqua shade.
Serendipitously, it is perfect for displaying my hoard, er, collection of stoppers!
I have tried to do the modern, edgy Christmas thing in the past. The first year we were in our house, I had two live trees– one in the living room, all decked out in black feather boas and chartreuse feather decorations; and one in the den with all my traditional ornaments on it. Both looked beautiful, but the old-fashioned tree was my favourite.
Part of my love of Christmas (besides the mulled wine!) is a love for vintage ornaments and sentimental bits and bobs, including the collection of Santas I started in my 20s. I have always been partial to the old-fashioned, Father Christmas types– I’m a fan of the tall, skinny ones in particular. My dear mum is great at buying me a new Santa every year; she challenges herself to find unusual ones
(knowing that those are the ones I prefer)
and she is a champ at it!
I have been lucky to have a mantel in both my houses and that is where I put my Santa collection every year. This year, I combined my vintage books and some amazing nubbly wool garland to show off my treasures. For many years, my favourite has been the one we call “turnip Santa”– he perches on the edge of the mantel, jauntily dangling his legs. This year, however, my mother outdid herself with a tall, willowy fella holding a lantern.
Are Christmas decoration collections tacky? Maybe. But I don’t care– I love these guys.
Thanks, Mum, for being so thoughtful and for always getting it right.
Okay, perhaps I am overselling a bit. In fact, I am willing to bet that the only people who notice much difference from Version 1 of the mantel to Version 3 of the mantel are me and a few equally finicky folk out there. 🙂
For this (final?) version, I added the candlesticks back in– I felt that the vignette needed the height they bring.
I like the way the lights drape across the mantel– looks sort of casual and brings the light down to the larger owl.
So, that’s that. I may or may not change it up at Christmas…
So, the frosted bulbs that looked so great in my dreams (and, admittedly, in the photos!), proved to be just a bit “too much” in real life. The mantel-scape just looked far too busy and the room looked confused and overly full.
Time for Plan B. Swap out the frosted bulbs (sob!) for the clear ones. Try the larger sized bulbs b/c there are fewer on a string and that might solve the “too busy” problem.
Try it without the candlesticks– one of the problems with the first version was that the candlesticks were competing with the frosted bulbs, but without them, things looked wrong somehow… I love my little owls from West Elm, and all the vintage books from my childhood (some were my dad’s and some my grandmother’s when they were little)
so I wanted to keep them in the vignette.
Still not happy with this version, I knew I’d have to try a third version.
Do you have “summer” and “winter” looks for your home? I do.* I started doing the seasonal decor switch-up (in our living room) when we bought our house. The summer look is lighter, more neutral; the winter look includes pops of ruby red. While both include a few of my favourite things, there are a few differences between the two. The summer look includes shells, jute twine, beach glass and white pebbles. The winter look includes pine-cones, old books, mercury glass.
In a classic case of the shoemakers’ children, the living room’s summer decor ended up looking a bit mish-mashy and messy this year — one day, I just shoved all the mason jars I’d been using as candle holders for a dinner party onto the mantel– too lazy to put them away properly. I couldn’t get the garland on the picture frame right; there are usually two, one made of beach glass, and they usually look quite pretty. This year, I put up a fabric one I’d made from Liberty prints and antique chandelier crystals; I usually love it, but this summer, it just left me cold. Meh.
I just never really got this look together.
But then the seasons changed and I began to fantasize about using my sweet little café lights….. It took several tries over the course of a few days, but I ended up with something I like.
Here is Version #1. Looks pretty good in photos, but looked too “busy” in real life.
Stay tuned for the rest of the process!
*I am pretty sure this practice was invented by decor junkies as an excuse for us to “redecorate” twice a year. Don’t even get me started on holiday decor! 😉