The holidays are over, the decorations are put away, and I’ve been busy around the house with our annual “strip down and simplify” approach to home décor.
It’s a refreshing change after having everything layered up for Christmas… fluffy fresh greenery, sparkling ornaments and silver votives… it felt cozy and beautiful, and I loved it..
...but now it’s time for a clean slate and a fresh start.
I seem to have fallen into this pattern over the past few years, and it feels good. By the end of the year, it seems things get added and added and added… and while the layers are good and homey and warm and perfect for the holidays, by the time the New Year rolls around all that just feels like “clutter.” So I re-worked the mantel, and I’m happy with how simple, almost bare, it feels.
I just wanted a “winter” feel, without it looking like extended Christmas. So, I used bundles of birch logs to add texture and some natural coloring, without having to add greenery (which would have still read ‘holiday’).
I really had to restrain myself from that.
I kept up one of the oversized mason jars, moved a lantern I had in another room to the other side of the mantel, added a few small touches and called it a day.
When I put up my Christmas decorations, I discovered that I very much liked having a banner across the center. However, my DIY “Merry” garland, however nice it looked, wouldn’t really work post-Christmas.
I had seen these chalkboard pennants in the most recent Pottery Barn Kids catalog, and thought they would look great in that spot.
I also knew I could make my own for a fraction of what it would take to buy them, and with minimal effort. Since I had all the materials on hand, I ended up making my version for Free! (my favorite price ;) )
I had leftover hardboard from our planking project above the fireplace, so I used that and quickly measured and cut my pennants.
(I used the dimensions listed on the PBK website: each individual banner is 6" wide x 7.25" high).
Once they were cut, I drilled two holes in each one for hanging.
I added a coat of leftover chalkboard paint from the garage and some jute twine from my crafting stash, and voila – it was ready to hang!
I tied my knots on the front of the pennants, rather than on the back like PBK did – I wanted them spaced out and didn’t want them sliding into each other. Also, I made several extra in case I want to use them for a larger space someday, or if I actually want to write on them and need more flags.
I don’t think I’ll write on them now 1) because I don’t know what they would say, and 2) I think leaving them plain really fits in with the simple feeling I’m going for in this space.
So that’s this year’s simplified mantel – are you clearing out and decluttering this month too?