Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My Jane Austen Christmas mantel


This year I tried something different with my living room mantel. I decided to go for a romantic-- mostly white-- theme to compliment my red and white toile stockings that I made last year from vintage curtains. They’re very imperfect since I don’t really sew, but I pretend it’s part of their charm.


I also decided this would be the first year where I restrain myself and attempt to have a simple mantel. I decided to skip all the lighted garland –fake and real- on my mantel and simply go with white snow and white candlesticks.


Instead of using red bulbs I decorated with vintage books that had tattered red covers.


And I used candy canes to add color.


And for a whole night I looked at the mantel and I really did like it. I especially liked how easy it was to get pretty photos with all the white. And I loved the texture of the old mirror next to the distressed candlesticks…


But my little banner bothered me. I thought it looked so bare and lonely.


And since we’re getting our fresh tree today and I was going to need some garland anyway, I bought this sweet little wreath for the mirror and added French ribbon and berries to it.


And then I found my old Charles Dickens books in my bookshelf and I thought, “of course these have to have center stage,” so I moved one under my silver creamer.


And this change led me to add a few pieces of fresh cedar on the mantel because I already had a green wreath, and oh well, I do love the smell of fresh garland. So then I had to remove my candlesticks…


And one little change led to another…

And once again I have garland back on my mantel. If you don’t like this new look, I prefer to blame the sun.


Because today the sun has disappeared behind the clouds so my photos don’t look quite as pretty as the snowy white mantel ones.


But I couldn’t help myself. The mantel didn’t feel right without some greenery on it.  Do you know that feeling? When you decorate something but you keep going back to look at it because you’re not sure you really like it?


So this is my very simple Christmas mantel.

  • Fresh greens,
  • candles tied with paper doilies and white grosgrain ribbon.
  • Old Charles Dickens books
  • candy canes in mason jars
  • and my little “Joy” banner I made from beautiful damask napkins I found in an antique store.

Very Jane Austenesque, don’t you think?

And now I’m on to other things. Like decorating our tree and

like this project:


I snapped this photo late last night. It’s my dining room that I’m redecorating for Christmas with a new paint color. You guessed it, I’m changing from my taupe colored walls to a creamy white. With a few more changes. Stay tuned because I’m almost done.

And I hope you’re enjoying your Christmas decorating whatever you decide to do. I think even the smallest changes around the house can usher in the feeling of Christmas, don’t you?

It’s really about creating a feeling of warmth and happiness around your home.


Thanks for visiting.



I’m linking up here:




ℳartina @ Northern Nesting said...

Love love love your mantel Leslie!!
Can't wait to see the changes your making in your dining room. I went lighter and brighter in mine last year too.

Unknown said...

I love it either way! I have been thinking about something very similar for next year (never to early, right?) I love your use of the books and the fresh greenery. Beautiful.

Daniela @Frugal Aint Cheap said...

well done. Jane Austen would be proud

Sew a Fine Seam said...

I like it - both ways! And I'm with you - many times I decorate something and then I keep tweaking, adding or changing! I've already changed up a few things around here with my Christmas decor!

Debra@CommonGround said...

wow, this is just wonderful! LOVE the red vintage books, that element really makes it so special!

Brandy~GreyLaneHome said...

The books look fantastic Leslie. I love the simplicity and the bells are the special touch. Loves it.

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

I always love the addition of vintage books in decorating - perfect on your mantel!

The Divorced Lady's Companion to Living in Italy said...

I love the process and the detail. And books! I haven't started yet - must find my box of tricks xcat

Heather said...

I love the idea of an Austen inspired mantel! Your toile stockings are beautiful.

Teresa@1800 Farmhouse Rd said...

Your mantle is so pretty, and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE those stockings! Visiting from Pamela's FMFPTY mantel party.

Pamela said...

Leslie your mantel is fabulous! I can't wait to see you r dinning room all completed. Thanks for joining my mantel party.

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