A Christmas mantel, au naturale

November 29, 2009


I started our Christmas mantel with natural looking pics of greenery from Big Lots – I used three at $3 each. 

I just laid one on each end of the mantel, one in the middle, flattening them out as much as possible:


Then, I took the magnolias and all of the glammy (word?) stuff out of the greenery I had used last year (see previous post), then just folded it in half, and it ended up being exactly the length I needed. I laid it right on top of the greenery above.

Because I really loved the look of the long pine needles, I used more garland from Big Lots, for $9, and cut it up into a bunch of pieces, just sticking it here and there in the greenery. Then I cut up some sparkly branches and stuffed them in too:


The BL garland had the huge pinecones in it, but I added a few more of my own as well.

I took my clearance WalMart lanterns from our deck and repurposed them to work on the mantel. I was so pleased with how it turned out…


I was still craving a little somethin’ though – some color! I just can’t do completely natural – it’s against my nature. ;) So I cut up some red beady stuff I had and stuffed it in here and there, and then hung my dollar store stars from each piece of ironwork:


I took some of the beady thingamabobs and sprinkled them on the pinecones in the lanterns:


Which was super easy to do, because the blasted things were flying off everywhere anyway. Argh.

The result? Lurve:


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I found this little reindeer at HomeGoods and I seriously could not resist him. Adorable. He picks up the red touches in the mantel perfectly:


Hang in there – I took a crazy amount of pictures…



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I used dollar store candleholders in the lanterns, and made them a bit taller by putting them on top of blocks of wood. I wanted to put faux snow in the lanterns, but they only open in the front, so it was next to impossible to get the snow in there. (Believe me, I tried.) So I just used my fluffy snow stuff instead:


Because the greenery is so full (sigh), I propped up the lanterns and the tree with books and boxes so they wouldn’t disappear. You can’t even see them when you look at the mantel:


Do you luuuuurve it? Huh? Do ya??


I hope so! I do. I had so much fun with this! One more mantel to go, and I hope to have that up this week. It’s MUCH simpler though. :)

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  1. Gorgeous Sarah! I haven't been by forever...I've missed you! I have not wanted to be inspired...because I never seem to have time to copy all your ideas!

    I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving, and I'm off to browse around and see what I've been missing!

  2. That turned out great! I love how you put together all of the ideas from your pictures! Nicely done, once again!

  3. I just started reading your blog this past week. I LOVE it! Your mantel looks fabulous!!! Great ideas & at such a good price!!

  4. It's breathtaking and I would so go for that look in my home too. Great job!

    The Blue RIdge Gal
    Just Vignettes

  5. I LOVES the pop of the red stars...perfect.

  6. This makes me sad I have no mantle :( It looks sooo fabulous and festive!

  7. Ok, as ALWAYS...I love it!! I just also have to say that I love that you post late at night...I check all my blogs late at night and when I start you usually still have the previous post but I know I can count on you by the time I shut down the ole computer!! Thanks so much for all the awesome inspiration and for always keepin' it real!!! ;)

  8. How funny...I'm watcing the Disney Special on DVR while I'm reading your post! Disney is a great source of inspiration for my holiday decorating. Hubby and I usually go there for Christmas but not this year.

    Your mantel looks beautiful! You did a great job! I enjoy reading your blog...you inspired me to start a blog of all our DIY projects. Please stop by soon, I'll be posting our christmas pics soon. Thanks! ~Lisa

  9. Oh I DO Love it!! It is just gorgeous! The lanterns are my favorite part. Enjoy it and cozy up next to that fire. :) Perfect post for today because I was just working on my mantel today too!

  10. i am totally inspired by your mantel decor that i started a project of my own. i do not have a fireplace in our current home. :( i did, however, pick up a heavy wooden mantel style shelf from a yard sale a year ago and it's been in my attic since. i dug it out earlier today and sanded it's wood stain finish down and painted it a satin black. i have a wall that is perfect for this "mantel" and i intend to embellish it with stockings and photos and garland. thank you for the inspiration!

    happy holidays,

    Amy W.

  11. Thank you so much for your post on mantel decorations. I have a beautiful stone fireplace and have wondered what I should do. This year I ended up with the natural look with red candles = and much to my surprise, it was similar to one in your post. I love your ideas and decorations, I'll be back often.

    Happy Holidays!!!

  12. This is absolutely stunning! Thanks for sharing.

  13. So pretty! I love the natural elements. Pine-cones look beautiful on your mantle.

  14. I LOVE IT!

    The natural look works great with your mantel, and honestly I think it turned out better than any of the inspiration photos you posted! Really gorgeous! If I had a mantel I'd be copying you :)

  15. Love it! I am going to Big Lots today and see what I find.

  16. Beautiful! I also picked up some of the pine needle $3 sprigs for my mantle at BL. Tossed on some pine cones. Had to use things to bring up the height on some barn stars and such. Mine is not near as fancy looking. Still needs something and I can't figure out what. So it will be a few days before I post it! Got my tree up though and used pine cones there. A totally new theme for $20! (well, $21) LOL

  17. This is so beautiful that it should be in Southern Living Magazine or any magazine! Your pictures are so lovely and hats off to you for a job well done and oh, so Christmasee!

  18. Yes, I lurve your mantel! I like the fluffiness of the garland you did. The red added just the right amount of color. Candles are always a nice touch and I like that you put them in your lanterns.

  19. OOOOOH!! Soooooo pretty!! Nice job thrifty chick. BTW I made your easy bulb wreath from a few posts ago. It came out, as you would say, GORG! Love it. Thanks for sharing the great ideas with all of us in bloggy world. :)

  20. Love the red stars...they add so much color. I'm a "color" kind of girl too :-)

  21. Wow, I love what you've done...it's so beautiful! I love how you hung the stars...what a gorgeous idea! I really like your garland too...very pretty! Thanks for sharing! ~Liz~

  22. Beautiful, Sarah! I'm using lots of stars and pinecones as well this year. Love them! Thinking about you lots~

  23. I lurve it too!!! You are so talented!
    SLaHOME is having a huge sale starting tomorrow; you can check it out at my website:


  24. Sarah,
    I love it!! Very natural looking. The very look I am going for this year. I plan on working on my family room tree (the big guy) and mantle today. Have to make a trip to HobLob and Michaels first though. After a trip to PB over the weekend I got some really great ideas, but plan to do on the cheap!!

  25. Oh, your mantel is soooo pretty! You got just the perfect pop of red, and I especially love those lanterns. Thank you for the step by step assembly...I need all the help I can get!

  26. Beautiful! Love the pops of red.

  27. pk @ Room Remix

    The natural look is so pretty, and the touch of red is perfect! Really like the addition of the red stars on the iron pieces. Have a good day!

  28. Hi Thrifty Decor chick,
    I really love your blog. Also, love your mantel especially once you added all the red. I am like you I gotta have that color. Natural is pretty but can be a bit blah without the use of some color. Great ideas hon! No one could tell you like decorating or anything!! lol
    Thanks for sharing I enjoyed it very much, I am about to get started myself, so I needed a lil
    inspiration! lol
    Have a great week,
    Blessings, Nellie

  29. What a cozy mantel...I want to curl up. Love it.

  30. I love the natural look... maybe I will do that next year, but this year I have gone BLUE and SILVER, that I love too!

  31. Very Pretty!!! I love the red stars!

  32. Gorg! I'll be unveiling my mantel soon (does that make it sound special?). I just have a little more tweaking to do...ahhh the curse of being a quasi perfectionist.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  33. Now THAT is precious. Soooo pretty!!!

  34. SARAH--your lanterns (or very similar ones) are on sale at Walmart for $5 each...originally $20 each! I bought four for a Dirty Santa game (@ a Thanksmas Party) it was a FIIIIIGHT! I didn't get them, so I'm going back for the last four today :))

  35. I *do* love it! I do! I think I need one of those reindeer, ooh and some red stars. ;)

  36. Absolutely stunning!!! Now, if we only had a mantle to decorate. . .oh well, you've inspired my outside decorating this year so I'm happy.

  37. Your mantel looks lovely ... I was scared to look ... I thought you were doing it in the "au naturale" ... hahaha

  38. Holy cow, that's gorgeous!! I love the pops of red.

    You can see my own fab holiday decor on my blog today. Ugh. (sarcasm)

  39. Just beautiful, I love all the natural elements. The lanterns look great.

  40. It looks great!! Lovin' the fluffy-ness!!!

  41. I love it! You are so inspiring. I loo forward to reading your blog every day. I was going to put my PB lantern on my porch with pinecones, and love the idea you had of the "snow" and raising the candle. Thanks again for sharing!

  42. It looks gorgeous and I'm so loving your cute pops of red. I try to go natural too and always end up adding some extra bling along the way :). However, I just decorated my bathroom and it's the most natural project I've done so far and I'm in love with it. Come visit me. It's feeling a bit showy-offy today :). http://bethcrabtreehunter.blogspot.com/2009/11/coastal-christmas-in-bathroom.html

  43. Beautiful! I love your creatively thrifty ways -- short on cash but never short on style.

  44. I have always known that God works in mysterious ways…and WOW…He has done it again! I just read your “Full of Thanks” post. I have been feeling quite a bit“pessimistic” for much longer than I care to admit. The past few years have been tougher than any I ever imagined that I would go through. In short, my husband was diagnosed with Melanoma (talk about feeling like you were hit by that proverbial “BUS”)!! Thankfully, his surgery was successful and he is cancer free, at this time. After owning a thriving business for 12 years, we were forced to close it (thanks to this wonderful economy). Those are the “big” things, there have been numerous not so big things in the mix. Anyway, my point is…I have been having a “Oh woe is me, pitty party” for what seems like forever. I stumbled across your blog a few weeks ago and have enjoyed reading your posts and “borrowing” a few of your ideas (thank you very much for sharing). I think you are witty, crafty, quite the “decorating diva” and most of all “INSPIRATIONAL”…and I don’t mean just when it comes to decorating. Reading how you are determined to find the silver lining in all of the “curve balls” that life throws, made me realize that it’s time to “put on my big girl panties” and make some lemonade! Not real lemonade (although…I am from the south and I DO LOVE ME SOME LEMONADE), but, find the silver lining or “hit a grand slam” when that curve ball is thrown my way. I DO have SOOOO much to be thankful for. My husband is doing very well and he loves and adores me and our two beautiful girls. He does have a job and is the HARDEST working man on this, or any other, planet. I have the two most precious girls that God ever made. The most wonderful parents and the greatest brother on earth. And THEY are ALL that REALLY MATTER in this world. So, THANK YOU, Mrs. Thrifty Décor Chick, for being the INSPIRATION that I so desperately needed tonight. I have already said a prayer for your father-in-law. I WILL CONTINUE to pray for him and your family. Please keep us posted. I am with you in spirit (and in cyber-space). Keep the decorating tips and make-overs coming! Hold your family, especially your son, a little bit closer. May you always see the
    mysterious” way that God is working. I promise to keep my eyes open a little bit wider! Thank you again…God speed!

  45. I am so sorry to hear of your father in laws illness. I lost my mother 16 years ago to cancer, it was and is still the most painful thing I have gone through in my life. That said you and your family take every moment that you have with him and cherish it, make memories, tell stories, take pictures, lots of pictures. If you do not already have it you need to get Steven Curtis Chapman's new CD Beauty Will Rise, there is so much healing and grace and just great words to help you in this great time of need. I and my family will remeber not only your father in law in prayer but your family too, because Cancer is a family disease it changes everyone... lot to the Father of Light and Healing.... let him walk you through this journey for only HE can comfort you.... In my prayers --- Curtis Chipley, French Gulch CA

  46. Gorgeous- you were right to go with your instincts- the red stars add a whole layer of lovliness!!

  47. I just started reading your blog and it is great! your ideas are awesome and i love how u tell where u bought things from, how much they were and how u put them up. its inspiring because i am getting married and about to have my own house and i love getting ideas to decorate. thanks!

  48. this is truly beautiful! i luuuuuuuuve it!


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