Tuesday, November 30, 2010


I've always wanted to live in a house with a fireplace and large mantel and then go all out and decorate it to the nines for the Christmas season.

We moved into this house last summer and by the time Christmas came around I felt like I was just getting my feet back under me five months into Jude's life. So needless to say, I didn't go all out.

This year, however, I have found a gusto for decorating with style {and thrift} and scoured the internet looking for ideas and inspiration.
I finally found some inspiration when I stumbled upon a mantel decorated with a large sign that said, "Peace" and had a picture of a dove.
I was all set out to copy it and put it on my mantel, except life just doesn't work that way. {I couldn't find the materials I needed and then was inspired to use the word "peace" in another, simpler way that fits my lifestyle of having two very busy, active boys - who currently cannot stop pushing each others buttons - but I digress. That is a post for another day.}
So I took that idea and turned it into my own.

 This was last weekend when my in-laws came and helped us put up our tree. Note the mantel with our family pictures.

Bare mantel. All nekkid.


I love it. I have to admit, this is one honkin' huge mantel and I found the space somewhat difficult to fill up, but I think it works. {I may alter the final product, we'll see.} 
Don't you LOVE the golden tree/cones? I love. They were .... FREE! My sister is kindly lending them to me as they were part of her February wedding decor. {Thanks, Bean!} Gorg.

So here it is, broken down:

I love this piece. "Peace" With the nativity in the "A". Love, love, love it. This was what inspired me to drop my other idea, or at least to let it evolve into this one. I found this {and the "JOY" piece} at Michaels and they were both 40% off. Score!

Ah. I love this. This is a hand-carved nativity scene that I picked up during one of my trips in Tanzania. I love it. I love the dark wood and I love that it is centered in the middle of my mantel, causing me to remember what it is that I have to be thankful for, to anticipate and to take joy in.

And speaking of joy...again with the nativity scene in the "O". Love. and joy. 
The rest of the things {tinsel, small ornaments, pinecones} I either already had or bought cheaply from the dollar store or borrowed {from my lovely sister}. 

But in case you think {as it seems to happen in the blogosphere where you can show only the pretty parts of your house/life} that the rest of my house is gorgeous and clean and fully decorated, check out what I still have to clean up:

Booyah. I'm normal. {and so are you.}


  1. WOOO I LOOOVE IT!!!! Looks SOOO awesome!!! I love how it is very Christ centred, a great reminder of WHY we get to decorate our mantels all lovely like :)
    And your welcome for the trees :)

  2. Vanessa - It's beautiful. I love the gold. I love the multiple nativity scenes. It's simple, elegant, golden. :)
    And thank you for sharing the picture of the "behind the scenes" reality.
    So raw. So honest.

  3. I love the glimpse into normal at the end. So needed for women, who do nothing but compare ourselves to each other.

    And by the way, the mantel looks great!

  4. Gorgeous! I love the words with the nativities inside, I've never seen that before. I would love to find something like that...

    I have a couple of the tree cones too, so simple yet pretty.

    And yes, we are all as "normal" as you! Thanks for sharing that part too - ha!

  5. it looks beautiful! well done!

  6. Well done Vanessa!! and well said too! I love how both of my girls have huge gorgeous mantels this year:)
    What an amazing focal point...On Christ, Priceless Gift!


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