Every holiday this year, I’ve kept decorations to a minimum. Rather than stressing about getting everything taken out, set up, and put away, all for only a couple of weeks of enjoyment, I’ve used only what I really love. After sorting out the Christmas decorations, donating what I didn’t want to keep, I noticed I didn’t have anything to put on the mantle.
To fill the void, I knew I wanted to add a wooden sign (for warmth) with a song lyric on it. After tossing out several options, Ben said he liked ‘A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices’ best.
To create the sign, I used two 1 by 12 inch reclaimed cedar boards, salvaged from our neighbors replaced siding. After cutting the boards to 36 inches wide, I flipped each over to secure together with scraps of tongue and groove pine and 1 1/2 inch wood screws.
Using Photoshop, I created a digital design and had planned to print it as an engineer print to transfer. I didn’t have time to get there, but when I picked the boys up from school, I asked a teacher friend of ours if I could use the projector to trace it.
Sure, it took some time, but it wasn’t terrible and the boys decided to ‘help’ me trace. When I returned home, I laid the paper out, centering it on my boards, then taped one end to keep it from shifting. Transferring the text is so easy with carbon paper. Years ago, I bought a pack of 20 sheets and have used them for different projects. I just shift my sheet around to the parts I haven’t gotten and trace the design with a mechanical pencil tip, minus the lead.
Then, I turned on the Gilmore Girls revival and started filling in with paint. It’s far from perfect, and you’ll see there are still bits of the carbon peeking out if you look closely. If you have a cutting machine, that is certainly a great option to save time.
It’s the center of the mantle, with a white ceramic house (filled with a battery-powered strand of twinkle lights) and simple bottle brush trees round out the mantle top.
A string of adorable wooden and plaid trees, from Target’s dollar spot, and stockings identified by initials hang from railroad spikes.
I’d love to get a few bigger brush trees to add more height and color on the sides. New stockings are also on my to do list, since these aren’t my favorite. I don’t think the boys really appreciate the dangly beads on theirs.
Another super holiday addition is a red plaid throw and a vase of evergreen branches clipped from our trees.
No mess, no stress, and all is easily stored away once the season has passed.