December 15, 2011

Christmas Trees and Mantels

Since I seem to be going through a peacock phase, this year my mantel is decorated with peacock feather ribbon, gold mesh, mercury glass and gold, and a collection of vintage and antique mirrors. Peacock blue ornaments with flocked paisley detail are nestled in tall glass hurricanes and our gold tree topper angel reigns over all this glittery goodness.

One client has a large accent wall in her family room with a niche for the fireplace and aquarium. The 12-foot tall tree lights up one corner. I filled several wire bird cages and boxes with small ornaments. Grouping ornaments in bunches of threes and fives for the tree for more appropriate scale, I topped it with a HUGE bow made of 5" wide ribbon, and smaller bows are spaced randomly. Once the larger bunches of ornaments and bows were in place, collected family ornaments were added. A collection of Santas is displayed throughout the family room.

The stair rails are embellished with garland and luxuriously draped gold mesh ribbon. More clusters of ornaments hang below the bows, and another huge bow tops the newel post. Christmas decorations are much more lush and full with plenty of ribbon, which is really inexpensive.

I didn't get a good picture of some of this, but here are some tips for decorating beautiful trees:
  • hot glue ornament caps on so that they will be secure
  • using green floral wire, string together clusters of like-color, solid color ornaments which can be used in place of, or in addition to, the really BIG ornaments you can buy in packs of 2 or 4. They're usually plastic instead of glass. These are preferable for any tree that is taller than 7'.think of your tree in three sections- from the trunk OUT toward the tips of the branches. Hang the largest ornaments (or clusters) toward the TRUNK of the tree to help fill in any gaps that may be between the branches. This serves two purposes: 1) it fills in gaps and 2) it reflects the lights so your tree looks like it has more lights. It REALLY does work. The huge ornaments should be shiny, not matte finish for more reflective quality, and should be the "main" color you are using on your tree.
  • if you have a green Christmas tree, hang your ornaments and decorations with green floral wire instead of those silvery wire hangers that come in little packets
  • the "middle" section of your tree should be the secondary color and should have the mid-size ornaments and a few of the larger ones
  • the "outside" section, or the ends of the branches, should have the smaller of the ornaments, often family-made and collected-over-time
  • stems and picks are also excellent fillers if needed

We've somehow managed to amass a large collection of stockings (perhaps because I LOVE stockings of so many styles and colors of them!), and since my mantel is currently CHOCK FULL of all kinds of prettiness, there is no room for stocking hangers. 

I decided to use the metal scrollwork hanging over my sofa table. Using the same ribbon as on the mantel, I made a large bow for the center and two smaller bows for the ends. After hanging the stockings where I wanted them I wove the ribbon through the metal scrolls and stockings, allowing some tails to hang from the bows. The whole display is 3 1/2' tall and 5 1/2' wide.


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