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Thursday, December 16, 2010

Our “we don’t have a fireplace” Mantle

Ahhh, the long awaited “Mantle” has arrived!

We have this piece of wall  that doesn’t really serve much of a purpose, other than keeping the refrigerator in the kitchen.

Before decorating I just had a wall mirror there. We used to have a little bench and hooks there for the kid’s clothing and bags before we had a mud room. I’m much happier having all that mess in the mud room and not in the walkway between the kitchen/dining room and the living room. But this wall is so bare now. And since it is part of our “walk way” from living room to dining room/kitchen, I can’t really have much there or anything that protrudes too much!

We don’t have a fire place, nor do we actually want one, but I sure would like to have the mantle that comes with fire places to decorate seasonally. So for the longest time I was on the hunt for a mantle ledge/shelf that would fit that space, without being so shallow that I can’t decorate it – or stick out so much that it would be visually disturbing! Or well a hazard for the kids. Or cost a fortune! NOT an easy task I tell you!

So eventually I found somebody on Etsy who makes these shelves to measure!


Gorgeous right? Unfortunately it took a bit longer to arrive than anticipated, so everything else got decorated before the mantle.

Now before I show you what I did to our mantle, let me introduce you to a very handy little thing! Especially handy when decorating a space with fragile things where people keep on walking by, children are running and toys will be wielded: Museum Gel!! Love that stuff for various reasons! It works on any clean, smooth, finished surface.

It’s a clear gel. You take a little of it, roll it into a ball and stick it to the bottom of your fragile stuff. Then you place the fragile thing where ever you want it on the  shelf and it will bond with the surface. No more accidental knocking over and all that! No little tugs from toddlers causing disaster … no dusting accidents for your nick knacks.

If you want to remove the item, you just give it a little twist and the bond is instantly broken and you can just peel the gel off your item! I use this stuff all over the house and one of those jars goes a really long way!

If you have unfinished wood however, the museum gel won’t work very well. I use removable Glue Dotsfor those occasions.

But I digress!

Here’s the finished mantle! As you can see I continued with the sparkly, silver, glass and frosty theme I also have for the Christmas Tree this year!


And here’s what I did:

1.) The mirror and the wreath are from Target. I wanted a real sparkly mirror there anyway and the one I had there before was a little on the rustic side.

I just added some ribbon to the wreath and hung it from the mirror.


2.) The tutorial for the little votive candle holders is here.


3.) I got the bauble garland from Crate and Barrel and the branches from Michaels. The glass vase is from the dollar store.


I might still “frost” the branches though. I keep on wanting to sparkle them up with the german glass glitter to simulate frost, like I did here:

PC0160862[1]When filling a vase or other transparent vessel with something, it is always advisable to insert another container inside, so the filling can be sandwiched between two containers.

This enables you to take the flowers/branches out without the whole display collapsing on you every time.

Since mine is filled with a glass garland, ie very fragile, ie no give at all, I opted for something else. I took a piece of acetate paper, cut it to a rectangular shap to fit the vase, and made a tube secured with a bit of tape. Then I wound the bauble garland around that, inserted the lot in the vase and THEN added the branches!

And I was glad I did the 5 times I had to pull one or the other branch out again because it didn’t look just right Open-mouthed


4.) The rhinestone sparkly snowflakes on the wall are scrapbook stickers I got from Hobby Lobby on sale. They just peel off the wall and mirror and from what I have found, they probably stick again as long as I don’t get them dusty!


6.) I wound the wire bead garland around everything on the shelf. Also much easier when the museum gel is keeping things in place!


7.) Since we don’t have a real mantle, I didn’t want the shelf to have to take the weight of the stockings (once filled), so I dug out the stocking stand! The feet are adjustable and right now I have it all pretty flush to the wall, but once the stockings are filled I will turn them in a little more to make it a really sturdy stand! Those stands are a great alternative to hooks!

I just wound an artificial garland and a sparkle garland through the top of the stand to decorate it a little more! Then my kids stuck in a few more branches of this and that to add their own touch Smile


Seems my displays change daily – courtesy of 5-year-old decorating style. Every day I find new additions or alterations made to the various decoration areas in the house.

Yesterday evening I found a frighteningly real looking little toy rat hanging in the Christmas tree!


8.) The mirrored and silver ball Christmas tree are from years ago. The silver one is from Target I think but I might be wrong. The mirrored one I made myself with an old mirror and some left over grout.



9.) I dropped a few of aquabrites into the display, so at night time I can just push their little buttons and light it all up a bit.

{insert night time photo here once I have one!}

10.) Here’s the tutorial for the snowball.


11.) For the “center” piece I used one of our Rosenthal plates, imported my PC166281[1]

12.) The little gift ornament is made from left over mirror tiles and some white ribbon.

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  1. Your mantle is gorgeous!! I love the stockings hung under it too. Thanks for telling us where you found everything too! JenT

  2. Very creative! I love it, especially as someone who lives in a 700 sq. foot condo with no fireplace or mantle.

  3. Absolutely beautiful! I love your creativity, and style! The sparkle, silver and crystal elements make for a very sophisticated look! Stoppin' by from Look at Me Saturday. Warmest wishes, Jenn

  4. WOW! I love the mantle and the stocking stand and the mirror and all the explanations/tips on how you created this stunning display! Thanks so much for sharing it. Merry Christmas!

  5. Great post! I'm hopping over to say Good Morning. I enjoyed my visit to your lovely blog. hugs, Katherine P.S. stop by for a visit and don't forget to enter my giveaway!

  6. Birgit, everything is so beautiful! I love your sparkling style!! I am fascinated by the tip about the Museum Gel. I have a brick mantle... and 4 kids.... I am so afraid to do much with it because anything that falls of will shatter on the bricks below. I wonder if the glue dots that you mentioned would help me? I am going to go buy some. I also love the idea of lighting it up. I will be trying that too. ...and the trick about the acetate is priceless. I have had that problem many times!

    Great stuff! What an info-packed post.

    Thanks for linking up with Theme Party Thursday. I hope you and your family have a Merry Christmas.

  7. I mostly love the title to this post, as I'm in the same boat. But what a lovely "mantle", so festive. I'd love to have you submit this to the M&T Spotlight: http://www.makeandtakes.com/spotlight

  8. very creative and detailed :)


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Birgit Kerr