Simple and Sweet: How to Decorate Your Mantle for Christmas

Merry Mantle

Your fireplace mantle is likely the focal point in your room.  Here are some easy ways to keep your design simple and sweet as you decorate it for Christmas 2017!  And BTW, I cheated a little bit by adding candles instead of a real fire.  Lefty is the only one who knows how to turn the thing on!

Farmhouse Chic

Some say that Farmhouse Chic is on its way out. I say, “No way, Dudette!”  Even if you’re not into the farmhouse style, try to add different textural elements to your display such as wood, stone, metal, and fabric.  My favorite part of my display is how the straight lines on the picture frames come together with the organic texture of the swag that I bought from Hobby Lobby.  I’ll let you in on a little secret:  home decor trends may come and go, but this farm-raised girl from rural Alabama is always going to be about distressed, flea market-esque, farmhouse chic!

Simple farmhouse design Christmas mantle.

 Have Yourself an Earthy Little Christmas

What would Sweetgum Life be without the sweetgum balls? For my natural elements, I went out back and filled a cylinder with sweetgum balls and twigs from the sweetgum trees. To keep the twigs upright, I cut open a Gatorade bottle and stuck the twigs inside.

Mad for Christmas Plaid

Princess Buttercup thought that my display looked too earthy. She suggested that I add a pop of red. Plaid is trending like crazy in north Alabama! From Pottery Barn to my beloved Hobby Lobby, I’m seeing plaid everywhere. Like I said, I’m not really a trend-follower, but this red plaid ribbon speaks to my Scottish roots. BTW again, I bought the ribbon and the swag at Hobby Lobby. I probably got some of my Santas there, too.


Simple farmhouse design Christmas mantle with Great-Grandmother's rocking chair.

Add a Little Traditional Christmas Decor

I’m not much of a collector, in general, but I do love my Santa and Snowman collections. I’ve had these little guys for years. Here’s something critical to keep in mind–only display the ornaments that bring you joy. If your late Aunt Dossie gave you an ornament back in the 80’s but it’s not your favorite, let it go. Or at least pack it up to give your kids one day.

My Santa Matryoshka Family

Lefty and I bought these little Santa matryoshka dolls in Germany one year, so they’re pretty special. When she was little, Princess Buttercup used to play with them so much that they rarely stayed put as a display.

Baby Santa Matryoshka

So what do you think?  Is this a perfect-for-Pinterest Christmas Mantle?  Pin or Pitch?  I love hearing from you guys, so please post in the comments.  I promise I’m not selling your email address to a 3rd party.  I don’t even know a 3rd party! 😉

Pink DIY Cottage-styled Lamp

pinklamp4It took me most of yesterday afternoon to finish a lovely pink lamp that I made from a plain, white thrift store find. Then I had to book it down to a few other thrift stores to find a lamp shade with the right bones. Here’s how I made it.


Lamp (If you are buying from a thrift store, ensure that light actually works.)

Lamp stand (with good “bones”.  More below.)

Painter’s or masking tape

Paint primer for wood, glass, plastic–or whatever the stand is made from.

Acrylic paint (I used #632 Rose Pink by FolkArt (but any acrylic should work fine). Bought with Hobby Lobby coupon.  Yay!)

Pink fabric scraps (all recycled from what I already had)

Scissors or a craft knife




Ugh! Boring lamp!

Cover areas not to be painted with painter’s tape.

Paint lamp stand with primer and allow time to dry.

Paint lamp stand with acrylic paint. (I used a damp art sponge to give the stand texture.)


Set aside lamp stand to dry.

Meanwhile, remove fabric from lamp shade. (Note: You need use a lamp shade frame with vertical wires. Otherwise, the top of the lamp cannot hold up on its own. I found out the hard way and had to dash off to the thrift store to find a replacement shade that works.)

Tie fabric between top and bottom wires of lamp shade frame.

After lamp stand dries, reattach lamp to stand.



I am going to put this on Craig’s List for $15. Please let me know if you want it before I list. It’s perfect for a little girl’s room! I just don’t recommend it for children under age 3.


Let me know what you think, too. I’d love to get your opinion!

My Visual Journal

I’m loving this Visual Journal! I bought it at Hobby Lobby with a gift card that Mom and Dad gave me at Christmas.

Love it!


I’ve got a Journaling board on Pinterest where I collect ideas for the journal and the artwork therein.

I got this 100 Things that I Love idea from Liz Bernard, right here.


100 Things that I Love.

And I made this one from magazines and junk mail letters that I cut out and pasted together. I got the idea from Amy at Mod Podge Rocks!


Love Collage.

Be sure to follow me on Pinterest! If you like the ideas, please use them as you wish and link back to me.

The River City


“Steamboat Bill” Memorial Bridges

They call it the River City.

Can you guess why?

About 25 or so miles south west of Huntsville, the views of Decatur from the bridge are amazing as you drive into the city from across the Tennessee River.

I tend to be a bit imaginative. Whether consciously or subconsciously, I always think of my escape plan if some semi accidentally runs my car off the bridge. Unlikely? Of course, but a good Girl Scout is always prepared, right?


The train bridge.

I ventured onto the historical Bank Street with all of their unique antique shops. At the end (or the beginning, depending on your perspective) of the street is the old bank. The oldest bank in the state, according to some sources.


The old bank. In the foreground is one of several trees that they are planting along the wide street.

This weekend there will be the Festival of the Cranes until January 10th. Doesn’t that sound lovely? The brochure touts workshops, films, and special guest such as the Auburn University Southeastern Raptor Center Presentation–a can’t miss event for both kids and adults.


Random wall mural that I thought looked cool.

I hope you like the photos, and I encourage you to Pin, Pin, Pinterest all you want…It’ll help my cause, which is to creep out of literary obscurity with the novel that I wrote. It’s in it’s first draft, unfit for reader consumption, but one day…you know, a good Girl Scout is always prepared.


Random park bench that I thought was uber cool.


This is my magnus opus purchase for today! My brand new visual journal and markers! I bought this at Hobby Lobby and also met a new friend who seems to be as passionate about journaling and smash books as I’m about to be! (P.S. Thanks to Mom and Dad for the Hobby Lobby gift card for Christmas!)

Finally, if you have made it down to this far in my unusually long blog, I encourage you to follow my Pinterest board. If I were clever at all, I would know how to stick a Pinterest logo on this page, but…oh well! This is the best I know how to do for now. 🙂