Holiday Fireplace and a DIY Garland

Are you guys ready for some holiday house updates?????????

Let’s dive right in!

The fireplace is the center of our living room, and an obvious focal point to decorate for the holidays.  I was so excited to be able to string up garlands, and doll it up this year since our old apartment didn’t have a central focal point in the living room.  Everything was centered around our TV which was practical, but not the most attractive option.

As stoked as I was to decorate the fireplace, I REALLLLLLYYYYYYY wish that it had a mantle.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that it’s a flat facade, surrounded by a piece of crown molding, so there’s no spot for long beautiful taper candles, leaning art, or cool decorative accents like that on top of it.

I’ve spent many hours scheming about how to create a mantle here, but with the fireplace being completely surrounded on all sides by a slab of mirror, it just won’t work… unless I dare risk 7 years bad luck by breaking it… which I’m not down for. Sometimes we just have to make do with what we’ve got…. right??  Kind of the story of my life, but let’s be honest – I’m just happy to have a fireplace to decorate this year!

When I lived here before, I always loved how we strung a pre-lighted garland across the fireplace, but after digging that garland out of storage it was looking pretty sad.  It was all smushed, and had little (if any) resemblance to real greenery.  Imagine something like this… but faded, and flattened after being stored in a box for several years….

It was time to find a new game plan for our mantle – I loved the idea of a garland, but wanted it to be super full, and really eye-catching.  And what would be more eye-catching than a bunch of gold ornaments strung together and wound up with fairy lights and greenery??  This garland DIY is super easy to pull together, so for anyone looking for a fun holiday project, this is the one for you!  In fact, the more wine you drink while working on it, the better.

May I present to you our Gold and Green(ery) Garland.  It’s two separate garlands woven together to make one massive, awesome, holiday focal point.  It’s sparkly – especially once the garland is plugged in at night – and a little over the top but I’m totally in love with it.

The ornament garland was a DIY project I worked on one afternoon while catching up on bad reality TV.  Nothing to get you in the holiday spirit than watching the Kardashian’s bicker.

I actually tested it out last year on a smaller garland that we now have hanging in the kitchen (yep, even the kitchen got a little holiday love in 2014), and making it is soooo easy.  Look back at this post for the original instructions, but there isn’t much to explain.  
Basically you need to start with a TON of ornaments – do not use glass.  They WILL shatter.  I used 4 boxes of plastic balls in assorted gold tones from Ikea… LOVE the Ikea holiday section this year.  They win the award for “best everything”.  More on them later… back to the DIY.
Start with tons of balls {insert joke here}.
Get your hands on a long strand of thick wire.  Ribbon might work but I like that the wire forms to the shape you want.
Sting balls onto wire while accidentally drinking the better part of a bottle of wine and watching trashy TV.
Here’s what you’ll end up with:
Super technical DIY project *wink wink*
Once I had all the ornaments strung on the wire, it was time to hunt down a pretty green garland to replace our sad looking one.
I wanted one that was hefty, and that looked natural (at least somewhat).  I looked into ordering a fresh garland for about two-seconds until realizing fresh garlands in SF ran about $160.  Um, no thanks.  
Off to Michael’s I went (with my coupon of course) and scored this beauty for something like $25.  I think without the 40% off coupon it was in the high $30 range.  Still, not bad for a lighted green 9′ garland with pine cones interspersed and several types of faux greens in the mix.

Once I got the green garland home, I wound the two garlands around one another, and secured them to the wood molding around the fireplace with two small nails, and more of the wire that I’d used to string the ornaments.

The nails will leave the smallest of holes, and will be easy to conceal with wood putty, and a coat of white paint.

Another new addition to our holiday fireplace, is this starburst mirror.

I love a good starburst – we have one hanging over our bed as well – but this is one of the best finds of my shopping career… EVER.

Such a score!

I consider myself to be a pretty serious bargain hunter – not on the same level as those crazy extreme couponers, but I take the sale sections seriously.  As I was at the Home Depot over the weekend, wandering the aisles in search of a ceiling medallion (another story for another day), I found myself in the aisle with decorative moldings, hollow core doors, and what else… mirrors!

Easily distracted, I ventured over to the mirrors, and there, hanging on the wall was a mirror very similar to this one that I’ve been trying to hunt down!!  It was a bit smaller than I’d wanted, but I was intrigued.  I picked up the box below the sample mirror, and guess what?  It a box for a completely different mirror.  A sunburst mirror.

A sunburst mirror that was marked down to $6.

SIX DOLLARS.

I cannot make this stuff up.

I grabbed that box so fast, and was out of there before anyone could fight me for my $6 mirror.

Not only was it SIX DOLLARS (which I still cannot wrap my mind around), but it was bigger than the octagonal mirror I was originally admiring, and it fills out this space above the fireplace so well.

Here she is close-up – isn’t she pretty??

 

I also love that the center of the sunburst is convex, so it sort of distorts the reflection.  Very cool.

It was a Christmas miracle actually.  I’ve been agonizing over what to hang here for a while.  The empty expanse of mirrors above and on the sides of the fireplace felt really 80’s to me.  
On the one hand, all these mirrors make the room feel larger, but with no mantle above the fireplace to lean art on, place picture frames, flowers, branches… basically anything to draw the eye up, and compliment the spot above the fireplace, it was just so empty.  It needed something.
I toyed with the idea of trying to hang a large piece of art here, but wasn’t loving that idea.  Every time I had Kris hold something up there it just felt odd.  I also toyed with the idea of hanging a mirror over here, but never found the right thing 

I am so thrilled with how this looks but I’m not completely sold on the ribbon that secures it to a nail above the mirror.  For now, with the holidays, it’s fine, but I’m not sure if the ribbon will stay – perhaps a string of clear fishing wire or something similar would be best, so it looks more like it’s mounted to the mirror, and less like it’s dangling from above.
Surprisingly enough, Kris is on board with the ribbon, so if we do keep it, I won’t have to worry about his complaints.
Also in the living room are several wrapped presents – I like to get them wrapped and under the tree as early as possible since they just add to the festive feel.  I’m liking the simple feel of this brown paper, and bold ribbon, and a sprig of douglas fir finishes it off so nicely!  And guess what… the branches were free! I may or may not have been scavenging the discard bins at the Christmas Tree Tent at Home Depot, but it’s fair game!  The guys working the saws at the tree lot confirmed that these branches that get stripped from the bottoms of the trees are headed to the chipper at the end of the day, so I see it more as rescuing them.
And how awesome is that red cardinal ribbon??  Michaels was having 60% off their ribbon over the weekend, so 25 yards of this stuff was $3.  Yes please!!  Red cardinals and festive tartan ribbon for everyone!!!

I’ve been spoiling myself this year with fresh flowers only in the house, and have found that I can make hydrangeas last for a solid month, if I take care of them JUST right.  I made this arrangement feel a bit more holiday-like with the addition of woodsy greenery, and some cool burgundy branches.
Apparently hydrangeas like HOT water, with a little bleach.  Cut the stems vertically so they can soak up as much water through their woody stem, and they are good to go. I learned this little trick from an episode of the Barefoot Contessa, and I never forgot it!  Just change the water out once a week, they tend to last and last and last.  
I think my record was 7 weeks of keeping a cut hydrangea alive. #impressive
So that’s our holiday mantle fireplace!  More festive updates coming your way soon, but the whole house got decked out – there’s a tree, an inappropriate Santa, and a really festive dining room still to share!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s