FREE Christmas Mantel

by Chris on November 30, 2010

I have done the red theme for the past several years on my mantel, and I wanted a more natural, softer look this year. You know, you gotta mix it up every once in a while.

white mantel

Since I have a plethora of red decorations for this space, I couldn’t really justify spending a lot of money on new items. So…I had to get creative.

fresh garland

Thanks to some inspiration from Stephanie Lynn, I cut up some old sweaters I had and used the sleeves as little “socks” for some vases I had in the basement. I hot glued the base to smooth out the bottom, but the tops just have a natural tension that wraps around the vase.

sweater vase

I think when you use a monochromatic scheme, you need to incorporate some texture to vary it. Luckily, the free sweater sleeves did just that!

fresh garland       feather wreath

The garland itself? Well, it’s a whole bunch of hodge podge. I used the garland I’ve always used on the fireplace, but I wanted it much airier, fuller, and (again) textural.

christmas mantel

I went into my backyard and clipped a bunch of long-needle pine branches. I don’t suspect they’ll withstand the heat of the fireplace for very long, but they sure are pretty!

christmas garland

My neighbors never trimmed back their tall, ornamental grasses from this summer. In true creeper blogger form, I ran next door and clipped a bunch of them off.  It was just the filler I was looking for!

neutral mantel

I will admit that resting the garland on top of the mantel definitely intrudes upon your decorating space. Getting all those candles and stands to stay straight felt like the clown spinning plates at the circus. I’m going to choose to walk away. For now. And not let it bother me.

christmas mantel

I’ll be linking up to Layla’s place later today for her “Holiday Home” mantel party. Come join the fun!



Michelle @ Sweet Something Design November 30, 2010 at 5:07 am

This is really beautiful Chris. I love the natural look, great job!

The Mulberry Girl November 30, 2010 at 5:07 am

So pretty! You know you are going overboard when you start thinking of grabbing extra floral adhesive to gum up the bottoms of vases and candlesticks so things don't topple over in a mantle arrangement. (Or I am just brilliant?? Hmmm – try it – it green gum like goo in the floral dept and works like a charm to make things stick.) You can thank me later! Sweater sleeves? Fantastic!! Would my old neon Pac Sun surfer girl shirts work?

cyndi November 30, 2010 at 5:09 am

i love the sweater arm idea! and gotta love the natural (and free) elements from outdoors!

Megan {Honey We're Home} November 30, 2010 at 5:11 am

This is exactly what I'd like my mantle to look like. Exactly! Except I don't have a mantle:( And where's your cutie pie dog??

Rachelle November 30, 2010 at 5:12 am

Sweaters.. Gah! Love it.


Sixty-Fifth Avenue November 30, 2010 at 5:23 am

Love all the nature mixed into the faux garland. Your mantel is beautiful!

Tricia - A Rosy Note November 30, 2010 at 5:38 am

Looks great! I like the natural look too. I think it's all about the texture :)

Nancy November 30, 2010 at 5:45 am

Love the clean look of your mantel this year, but I know I'll gravitate back towards the reds and greens, or burgandy and creams, or maybe gold and silver!

Robin November 30, 2010 at 5:55 am

Looks so pretty. I just love the sweater idea. It gave you such a great look.

Life In The Thrifty Lane November 30, 2010 at 6:01 am

What a beautiful mantel!

Erin @ Two Story Cottage November 30, 2010 at 7:46 am

Love those sweaters! Okay so I am not the only one who stole from a neighbor's bush for the sake of a mantel. Good to know I am not alone. :)

Marianne@Songbird November 30, 2010 at 8:17 am

I love it!!!
I am not doing a single red thing this year either, and you pulled the new look off perfectly.
Love that furry wreath, so fairytale winterlike.

Pam November 30, 2010 at 8:24 am

I love this! I wish we had a mantel to decorate…. love, love, love!

The British Homemaker November 30, 2010 at 10:37 am

this looks amazing! i wish i had a fire place in my house to get all creative with!

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut November 30, 2010 at 10:42 am

Candle sweaters! Of course!

So gorgeous…and warm…and CHEAP! Love it all!

Madigan at madiganmade November 30, 2010 at 11:45 am

You definetely achieved a soft look. I think it is very cozy, too, with all the different textures. Beautiful!

Kelli @ RTSM November 30, 2010 at 12:54 pm

I love the all white! So calm and wintery!

Chrystie November 30, 2010 at 1:27 pm

WOW! Beautiful! I love everything you did! So creative! Love the sweater idea & the wreath!! Nice!

Autaven November 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

oh my god stunning!!!

Aura November 30, 2010 at 2:01 pm

What a great idea, they look BEAUTIFUL!
I switched to lighter creams, golds, and green a couple years ago and I adore the look of it.

pam November 30, 2010 at 2:25 pm

looks really nice

Toya November 30, 2010 at 3:20 pm

The mantle looks beautiful!!!
I love the idea of using old sweaters on the candles. I am actually looking for some sweaters at thrift stores to do the same thing and make some cute stockings for me the hubs and the pup.

LacyHolly November 30, 2010 at 3:23 pm

This is absolutely beautiful! It looks like you would have had to spend tons to get that look! I love the idea of the the sweater sleeves…genius!!! I'm sitting over here jealous as heck of your mantel…

Aimee November 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Oh my goodness this is just gorgeous!!!!!

becca jordan November 30, 2010 at 3:55 pm

i love this! and i think its so original! subtle but great. and i may or may not copy that wreath, mmkay?

Richella November 30, 2010 at 6:08 pm

It's beautiful, Chris! I love the way you added interesting textures–the sweater vases are great, and the ornamental grasses–now that was brilliant, not creepy! I've loved your red mantelscapes, but this is also lovely!

Cassie @ Primitive & Proper November 30, 2010 at 6:24 pm

i am drooling over that wreath. the whole set up is serene and soft and just beautiful. but i want to reach into my screen and take that wreath.

Melissa @ It's Fancy Schmancy November 30, 2010 at 6:25 pm

I think it looks great! I love the sweater idea. Never would have thought of that.

Lani @ Diapers and Divas November 30, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I love the wreath, and those sweater vases…I die!! Gorgeous!

Alexis @ Our Inspired Home November 30, 2010 at 6:28 pm

I'm a big fan of the neutral color scheme. This is beautiful! I also love that idea of the sweaters on the candles. Too cute!

Rhoda @ Southern Hospitality November 30, 2010 at 6:32 pm

Beautiful, Chris! I love that natural look too. Fun to see all the different mantels this year.

Gail @ SimplyOney November 30, 2010 at 6:44 pm

It's beautiful and so warm and cozy feeling! What a great idea with the sweater arms for texture!

Kim @ Starshine Chic November 30, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Gorgeous!!! I love everything about your mantel. Love the natural look.

Diapers and Divas November 30, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Love the sweater idea! Definitely adds the right about of texture and a great DIY project to boot!

Ginger@cottageonrosewood November 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm

Gorgeous. My favorite mantle of the party!

Pam November 30, 2010 at 8:03 pm

I love that look. Very fresh and neutral. And the sweaters for the candles are cute.

Beth@The Stories of A2Z November 30, 2010 at 8:15 pm

I love it Chis! I actually went thrifting for sweater sleeves for a similar project on my sideboard, but couldn't find what I was looking for ;). It looks light, airy, and fantastic!

Dana and Daisy November 30, 2010 at 8:47 pm

i might just have to go out there and cut my grasses now! I usually leave them for winter interest in the garden, but they are stunning on your garland!

Robin November 30, 2010 at 8:59 pm

That is absolutely beautiful!

MrsJenB November 30, 2010 at 9:40 pm

Completely gorgeous! I LOVE the sweater-on-vase look – I might just have to try that one myself! Thank you!

Paige @ The Wandering Cottage November 30, 2010 at 10:01 pm

This is lovely!

Carmen @ Life with Sprinkles on Top November 30, 2010 at 10:17 pm

I love the natural look. So pretty! I love the sweater idea. Fab!

Lettered Cottage November 30, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Candle sweaters!? GENIUS!!!!!!!!!
I love the garland and wreath too. LUH. SHUSS!!!!!!!

Thanks for linking up friend!
Layla :-)

Colette November 30, 2010 at 11:13 pm

Simply Beautiful! Love the sweater sleeves.

lauren@{burns house} November 30, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Gorgeous! I love the wreath…very pretty! And the garland looks lovely…nice and full:) Great idea in reusing the sweaters too!

Shaunna November 30, 2010 at 11:18 pm

Beautiful! love the textures and warm glow. I, too, decided to go more neutral this year and tried to pull from what I had. Fun! -shaunna :)

Libby December 1, 2010 at 12:11 am

L O V E the idea of using sweater sleeves on glass globes! Ingenious!

Steph @ BirdhouseFamily December 1, 2010 at 1:32 am

Looks fabulous! Natural but with some oomph!

Kathysue December 1, 2010 at 1:50 am

Chris, I love the simplicity of your mantel. It truly is warm and inviting and etherial. Love it,Kathysue

KarenB December 1, 2010 at 2:00 am

Love the use of sweaters! Very creative!

InMyOwnStyle December 1, 2010 at 2:19 am

Hi Chris-

Your pine branches not only look pretty, but I bet they smell wonderful. I love what you did on the mantel – the sweater covers create a warm and toasty feel – perfect for the holidays.
My best- Diane

Country Dreaming December 1, 2010 at 3:02 am

The natural theme looks really neat.
Sometimes a change is good.


Carrie Rogers December 1, 2010 at 3:43 am

I LOVE the simplicity of it!!! Gorgeous!

Jen December 1, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Absolutely Gorgeous!
Love that wreath!

Irene Robertson December 1, 2010 at 3:52 pm

I love it. It looks very wintery but no specifically Christmas-y, so it would work anywhere.

I wrote yesterday about my desire for a mantel and fireplace.

Michelle @Shellsshabbyshack December 2, 2010 at 3:05 am

The sweater candles are to die for… and don't get me started with the wreath! It looks like a winter wonderland! Gorgeous!


Barb December 2, 2010 at 10:05 am

Again Chris this turned out fantastic! I loved the term serene and soft, fits perfectly. Not to mention creative (sweater candle covers!) It looks sooo beautiful. Don't you just love the real pine needles and items borrowed from nature? You are so good at what you do. Can a mom get any prouder? I decorated my window boxes tonight. I added lights, red twigs from a dogwood bush, dried beige hydrangeas, shrub leaves from the yard that looks like uccalyptus (spelling?) and the pine needles from the tree farm we went to.

Jenni December 2, 2010 at 6:54 pm

I love your mantel. I had a similar thought this year and kept my red in the living room while doing my family room in white. I love the freshness of it.

House of White

Diana @ Photodee December 2, 2010 at 10:33 pm

LOVE the sweater vases! I am a knitter myself, so that would be a fun project. I have seen vases before like that, but they were made out of clay and much pricier. You always have such great ideas!

Christy Wheeler December 5, 2010 at 4:02 am

Where did you get that wreath? I am thinking that I need one… did you make it or buy it? Thanks so much!

Anna See December 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm

So cozy and lovely!

Ray* December 6, 2010 at 12:58 am

Your mantel is gorge!!! I love the white color sheme.

I'm working on mine right now. Love your fluffy wreath. I just finished, and blogged about, feather wreath. You should check it out – I know you'll love.

Las Garcia Girls December 8, 2010 at 3:30 am

I love that wreath that you have hanging over your mantel. Did you make that and if so how? If you bought it where did you get it from?


Joan December 8, 2010 at 6:54 pm

Brilliant! Soft whites due to that texture. So creative. Love how you took a base artifical garland and just dolled-it-up with some local fresh greens. Easy and fragrant.

Hope it stays in place for you all season.

Do you keep flameless candles inside the sweater vases? No heat and a bit of lite could be an interesting effect.

Stacy@{share and remember} December 12, 2010 at 3:09 am

It's gorgeous, I love it! Wish I had a mantel!

Robin Rakes July 11, 2011 at 2:43 pm

OK- we need info on the wreath… please?

Chris July 11, 2011 at 11:40 pm
Ingrid November 16, 2011 at 6:56 pm

I can’t believe no one asked about the wreath……so I have to. What is it made of??? Please tell me and how do I do it? ;)

Ingrid November 16, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Oh Yeah! and once I ask about the wreath, guess what? I find it! haha

Chris November 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm

Ha! Glad you found it, Ingrid. Thank you!

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