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Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Mantel

chalkboard christmas, LyndisProjects
This was SO.MUCH.FUN!!  This process really is one of my favorite things to do.  Think, plan, look at Pinterest, soak in inspiration from stores and nature and catalogs, then come up with a concept,  SHOP and get everything home and experiment with what looks good.  SO FUN. 

And I love when it is complete and I'm so happy with how it turned out.

I knew my overall theme was chalkboard/red/antique.  I knew I wanted a giant chalkboard and a boxwood wreath. 

Giant Chalkboard:
I measured the wall above my mantel and went to Lowe's and asked them to cut a thin board to my dimensions.  Unfortunately, I did not get the amazingly-helpful-level of customer service that I usually get there, but nevertheless, I loaded this giant piece of wood in my car and got it home. 

Then I started chalkboard painting.  I bought a spray chalkboard paint at Lowe's and used the entire can and the coverage was terrible.  So then I bought a can at Wal-mart and rolled it on, which worked well.  When using chalkboard paint, several thin coats is best. 

Then I took all my Regular Decorations down.  So the pic below looks really sad.
And put the chalkboard up - just to make sure it fit!

Then I took sidewalk chalk and seasoned the entire board with chalk.  This is so that the first thing you write won't be "burned into the board".   Then you brush it off with a soft cloth.

This is how it looked up - with no decorations. 

 Boxwood Wreath:
These projects were running concurrently and the wreath project began in October.  I found this hideously decorated wreath at Goodwill.  I took all the embellishments off and left it waiting for me to make it a beautiful boxwood wreath.

We have boxwood bushes in our front yard, so I grabbed a bucket and some floral cutters and went to work.  I had to refill the bucket about two more times!

I didn't know if I'd need to wire branches together or wire them to the wreath form, but I didn't, I just stuck the boxwood branches in the grapevine.
It was fun seeing it take shape.

And very exciting to see it up on my chalkboard - it adds so much!!
I will note, I didn't do anything to preserve my branches and I didn't water them at all, since it is up against a chalkboard.  I read a blog that said they made a wreath like this and the boxwood still looked good after two months (although I think they regularly misted their wreath).  I made this at the beginning of November and probably...after three weeks, it started looking dried out.  Even dried out, it still looked good, just like dried leaves, rather than glossy ones.
 And then I added "joy" in the center of the wreath.

From there, I had three different ideas for the rest of the mantle.  I used things I had laying around and experimented. 

-empty frames
-lots of white candles, varying heights, in mixed metal vintage holders
-tin containers holding greenery 

Surprisingly, Goodwill was the deciding vote.  The frame selection wasn't great and the ones that worked were $40 each.  No good.  And the candle holders were...gaudy.  But they had two different tin containers, which were around $1 and I thought when grouped with others, would look excellent!

 My local antique store was just as accommodating - in the first booth, there was a a tin pitcher, with fading red (so full of character) and an ADORABLE tin flour sifter with a little Christmas-green handle. 

Finally, my good friend Hobby Lobby had many choices at 50% off and I chose this one.  HL also had the perfect pine branch greenery that I needed.

The mantel is the focal point of the room and ties all my other décor together!

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