Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Magnolia Christmas mantel

Well hello and welcome to the start of our holiday linky parties! Today we kick it off over at The Lettered Cottage with mantels:


I like to change up our mantel every year, but I do have one ingredient that MUST be there every time – big, fat, chunkaaay greenery.

Since we reworked our fireplace last fall we now have a much bigger mantel to work with. It’s just a normal size but to me it’s positively dreamy after so many years with a dinky corner fireplace.

This year I was envisioning something more natural, more subdued. I started with my greenery of course, and like always added a few more sprigs of white pine-like stuff I found at Big Lots years ago. (It’s still some of the most realistic greenery I’ve ever seen!) This just helps to chunk it up even more.

Then I added my snowy sticks and pinecones to fill in the empty spots:

natural holiday mantel natural holiday mantel

I already had some pinecones, but I really got to fill ‘er up this year courtesy of little sis. She had a ton leftover from her wedding reception and I gladly took them off her hands. :) (Thanks Stink Eye!!)

Then came my very favorite part – I was browsing one of my favorite nurseries last week and came across big branches of gorgeous magnolia leaves. I fell in LOVE with the deep green side, but even more so with the soft brown sides:

decorating with magnolia leaves

I got two big branches for $4 each and just cut off the leaves and stuck them in here and there.

I rarely use pics and sticks and stuff as it comes – I always cut it down (fake and real greenery) to smaller pieces that I can use as filler. It goes SO much further that way!

Even with all the fluffiness, the mantel still needed some height, so I grabbed some of my metallic candlesticks from last year’s dining room table and placed them behind the greenery: 

 copper Christmas mantel

To make the candlesticks stand up a little higher I just cut down some wood and stuffed it behind so I could put them on top.

No, I won’t be lighting these – yikes. :) They are way too close to the wall. But I love how the metallic and green combo repeats the colors in the greenery! 

I had tons of magnolia leaves left over so I used then to hot glue a quick wreath:

DIY magnolia wreath

It covered the wreath form a lot better a few days ago – the leaves are starting to curl up a bit. :)

The wreath was incredibly easy – I just sat down with the hot glue and started sticking them on:

DIY magnolia wreath

I have NO idea how these will hold up. At first I was hoping I might be able to keep the wreath year to year, but the leaves are already losing their deep green color. The brown side is looking good though.  I’m assuming these will be toast in a few weeks. (I hope they last that long!!) But I love this look so much I may have to invest in some faux magnolia.

Either that or plant a magnolia tree. :)

I LOVE love love how it all turned out!:

magnolia Christmas mantel

It is exactly the look I had in my head! Gotta love when that happens.

It’s simple in that the colors are muted, but it’s still festive and full and IT’S SO FLUFFY:

natural magnolia Christmas mantel

Our sweet dog had to be in every shot…again. :)


magnolia mantel

Nice blogger reflection in the glass. ;)

All together the mantel cost me about $8 for the magnolia leaves, not too shabby for a whole new look!

natural magnolia Christmas mantel

And it’s even prettier at night with the lights turned on!:

 natural copper Christmas mantel natural copper Christmas mantel

That soft light is one of my very favorite parts of the Christmas season. :)

I can’t wait to see your beautiful mantels (or shelves, bookcases, whatever!)over at Layla’s today!

I think the mantel is my one of my favorite spots to decorate for the season – what’s yours?


  1. It's beautiful! I think it is so cute that your dog is posing in the pictures... sweet.

  2. For years my Mom took leaves from our Magnolia tree in the back yard (Louisville, KY), spray painted them gold and decorated the mantle at Christmas. No shriveling or curling. Lasted from Thanksgiving to New Years. Wish I had one in my backyard but Columbus OH isn't real conducive to Magnolias!

  3. Oh, you know what would be really pretty? Add some mini white lights to the wreath, then it will really glow with the beautiful garland on the mantel! Can you tell I like the wreath best? ;)

  4. That dog is getting a little chubby, haha! Its a beautiful mantel, even if this isn't very festive weather!

  5. Beautiful mantel and wreath! I just magnolia leaves as well and used them in my mantel and made a garland this year. Like you, it was the first year I've used them and wasn't sure how they would last and sadly mine are drying up to :( I think I need to spritz them with water to keep them lasting until Christmas.

  6. Wow! Your mantel looks fantastic! I also like the basket of (birch?) branches that you have in front of the fireplace.

  7. Nice job...looks beautiful day and night.

  8. Very pretty - and your dog is very cute!

  9. Love the use of Magnolia leaves in your garland! I always try and use natural elements in my holiday decor.

  10. I love the way you matched the candlesticks with the color scheme, it pulls it all together. Great look!

  11. What a darling dog--a complete scene stealer! However, your mantel is just gorgeous--the magnolia leaves are beautiful, and I love the natural look of it all combined together--well done, Sarah!

  12. It looks great...so fresh! You make it sound so easy: "just hot glue the leaves and stick them on...". You are talented!

  13. your fireplace has come a long way! love the coppery colored leaves and candlesticks, and great tip with the wood to make them a bit higher.

  14. Love it! Simply elegant!

    Linking up from Holiday Home Link party. :-)

  15. ValenzMom (aka Helen)December 4, 2012 at 11:41 AM

    I have a faux magnolia leaf garland that is already a shade of antique gold that I used on my mantle this year. I added both natural and gold pinecones, then I grabbed some 2" wide cream/gold ribbon and wove it through everything from one end to the other.

    I love how you used the greenery with your magnolia leaves for contrast and the candles for height. It makes such a lovely, warm display for Christmas!

  16. I've never done it, but I read years ago about how to preserve magnolia leaves by leaving them in a mixture of glycerin and water for several weeks. You might google it up and give it a whirl. I live next door to a huge tree (and if you've ever lived by one you know what a mess they are) and have an unfortunate supply of them handy.

  17. I love love LOVE the magnolia wreath! One of these days I'm going to plant one of those trees in my backyard. Your mantel is beautiful and the metallic candlesticks work great with everything!

  18. Love Magnolias. Your mantel is beautiful.

  19. Sarah, where's the outlet that you have the white lights plugged into? Do you have a secret outlet on the fireplace or mantle? :-)

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  21. Your mantel looks great! I love your pretty greenery.

    I'm giggling about your little dog...it cracks me up how they like to sit in front of the camera when taking pictures. My two do the same thing only they don't pose quite as nicely as yours. I often get a big dog body but the head turned away, a wagging tail, a rear end... lol

  22. Very classy! I love how neat and tidy your style is. So inspiring!

  23. Love! I'm a magnolia girl myself! Very nice...merry Christmas!

  24. How. Beautiful. I LOVE the fluffiness of that garland, and at night it looks so gorgeous. That soft lighting is my favorite part of this season's decor, too. How nice is it to sit in a dark room that's only lit up by the tree, the mantel, and the fire? *Sigh* Love it!

  25. I love it! The magnolia leaves look so beautiful and adds such a nice Southern charm!

  26. I bet you could spray paint the wreath with a clear coat finishing spray to have them last the season.

  27. This is gorgeous! I love how earthy and natural it is!

  28. Ah, those colors are AMAZING! I love it that I haven't seen anything like it (hey, it gets really hard to do that with all the amazing talent out there!) Happy Holidays to you Sarah!

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  32. Beautiful mantel! I love the magnolia leaves in Christmas decor! Gorgeous! I think the mantel is probably my favorite too!

  33. Your mantel looks so pretty- I love the greens & browns of the magnolia leaves. I'll bet the mantel is much easier to decorate now, isn't it? I keep thinking, though, that it would be cool if that hollow space in your corner was a secret compartment you could access. I know, too much Nancy Drew growing up! :D

  34. This is fantasic. I love magnolia leaves, I wish I could get my hands on them but not in NJ. The mantel is beautiful and the wreath fantastic.


  35. I think your dog is giving you the stink eye. That is definitely fluffy! Love the cozy look at night

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  37. Love the magnolia leaves mixed in with the other stuff. Your mantel just looks beautiful,


  38. Hmmmm, I thought I was through with my decorating, but now, I'm off to visit my friend who has several magnolia trees with lots of leaves and pods to share. Thanks for the inspiration. Lovely!

    Christi @ A Southern Life

  39. I love your garland and wreath. I am a huge fan of magnolia flowers and their leaves.

  40. This is just stunning, I love the magnolia leaves. They aren't something we find here in wintery middle of Canada. Seeing your mantle all nicely decorated really makes me want a mantle. We have a gas fireplace, but it's a stove style - so there's not even a way I can fake a mantle, as the chimney gets in the way. :) So - I will just enjoy watching your mantle change from season to season.

  41. Very pretty! How do you anchor your garland down on the mantel so it doesn'tcome off?
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  42. HA HA HA! Your pup thinks he is a people child! How does he know to pose like that EVERY SINGLE TIME? I have one child in particular who does the same thing, but she can also read and write.

    Oh, and the mantle is really amazing too. :)

  43. One of the pretties mantels I've seen this year!


  44. Please tell me the exact color on your walls. I don't want to risk getting "pinked" like you did and I'm in love with your color.

  45. Beautiful! I love your magnolia leaves and wreath - even the brown bits. I was in the "natural mood" as well this season. I just used evergreens, pinecones, green apples, tealights and votives and tapers in glass bottles - so mine were higher up - but I love your wood risers that you used! That's going in my memory bank.

    Your dog is so adorable. I have to get a dog back in my life - I had the best dog in the world for 9 years and he passed away a few years ago right before Thanksgiving. A dog really makes a home - and a great pic by the beautiful fireplace.

    I am posting my mantle in the linky parties.

    Happy Holidays!


  46. Your mantel is beautiful - I would love if you would stop by to link up to the Christmas Mantel Linky Party happening now!
    Stacey of Embracing Change

  47. We used to have a HUGE magnolia tree in our backyard. I had a love/hate relationship with that thing. I loved the shade it provided us in the heat of our Virginia summers but I absolutely hated all the raking that we had to do--nearly nine months of the year. After 4 years in that house I finally made peace with the magnolia tree when I made a simple cardboard wreath shape and hot glued the beautiful golden yellow leaves in a layered sunburst around the wreath form. All the stems were in the middle and the leaf tips pointing out. It was stunning!!! I knew the leaves would turn brown and they did.... But here we are a year later, with a lot of caution when we moved, I still have my wreath. A few leaves have broken off but otherwise, it looks beautiful still.

    Your mantel is gorgeous!

  48. The magnolia leaves will dry to a beautiful brown color and the wreath will keep for years.

  49. Sarah, this is so pretty, I love magnolia leaves. I wonder if you could spray paint it for next year? Merry Christmas!


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