By Tony Hinshaw and Kelly Caldwell
Decorating for Christmas for a lot of us is about nostalgia and tradition. I have my favorites from childhood and then I have my own ornaments and trinkets I have picked up on my travels over the years.
Now, in my house, I don’t have a mantel, so I took a road trip to Senoia and borrowed the mantel at my friends Jim Preece and Tony Hinshaw’s house. I also borrowed Tony’s decorating skills to accomplish three different looks I absolutely adore.
We went with Southern Charm, Grandma’s House and High Society Winter Wonderland. These mantel displays are to be used to inspire you to do a little something different this year when it comes to decorating your fireplace. (Change it up a little and Santa will notice!)
We took inspiration from nature with this one. We brought in magnolias and cotton, but the focal point was a special treasure Jim has lugged around for many, many years.
“The picture is from the Savannah Symphony Orchestra. Back in the 1970s, they did a fundraiser where they sold wrapping paper. This was the sheet music for ‘The Nutcracker’ that the orchestra would perform.
“It literally cost me like $2,” he said. “Granted I spent a small fortune getting it framed, but we love how it turned out.”
To finish the look we used pillar candles for height, a yarn spindle, tarnished silver ball ornaments and garland consisting of pine cones and holly berries.
Really this reminds me of my childhood because my great grandmother Burson actually had a ceramic light up Christmas Tree. It makes me smile when I see reproductions in the stores now.
This embraces the more the merrier attitude with vintage figurines and decorations making their way to the center stage.
We elevated the look of our wreath simply by placing a Santa Claus wall hanging in the center. We used shatterproof red Christmas balls to bring attention to the garland cascading down the mantel. We also used multicolored lights because every grandmother should, right?
We have the main players of a children’s Christmas represented including Frosty, Rudolph and of course the main man himself!
High Society Winter Wonderland
How beautiful is this? I mean really. I think it may be my favorite but I am supposed to be unbiased.
Different greenery including eucalyptus, green berries, pine created the base of the mantel. White lights are used in this display and make the twinkle even more special with the flocked miniature tree with a gnome inspired Santa Claus. The floating bookshelves add a nice dimension of height and you can always use Christmas books from your collection. The metal trees reflect the white lights nicely.
Father Christmas stands to the side with glittered snow trees.
By Elizabeth McGiffert
After a hot and humid summer, I believe that we all look forward to Fall. When I think of Fall, I envision beautiful foliage, cooler weather and football. As a native of Tuscaloosa, I equate Fall with football as do most Crimson Tide fans. My fond memories of Fall include a cozy season with natural beauty and snuggling up to the fire with a fresh cup of hot chocolate. Another reason that I love Fall is that it signifies the beginning of holiday season. I truly cherish family time during the holidays and spending quality time with our extended families.
One of my favorite things to do is to prepare my house for the season. Decorating is a fun hobby of mine. The first thing I do is grab a big stack of magazines and go through them for inspiration. I turn down all of the pages that I like and get organized. I love new ideas combined with some of my old favorites. For Halloween, I pull out my favorite punch bowl and fill it with candy. I use my Halloween punch bowl more for decoration than I do punch. Pumpkins are a necessity to begin the season. As Fall approaches, I cannot wait to see the pumpkins pop up in our neighborhood. I am always curious to see which house will have the first pumpkin displayed on their front porch.
As we transition from summer to winter, Fall is our first opportunity to begin decorating. For Fall, I concentrate on my front door, foyer, dining room table and my island in my kitchen. Pursuant to my front door, I can never get enough pumpkins and gourds. I especially love big ones, but have all different colors, shapes and sizes. Orange does not work as well inside my house, yet I feel like I need some orange ones outside. The softer colored pumpkins have grown in popularity over the years. I am a firm believer that your foyer needs a glimpse of the season. I have a great French jardinière that can be filled to suit any occasion. My ingredients of choice are pumpkins, gourds, cabbages, squash, and fresh flowers. For Fall you can also use fun dried items that fit the season. My favorite decorating assignment is my dining room table. As a rule, it is more formal, but for Fall I like my wooden table to show. The dining room table is an original piece to my house. Each room is an octagon and so is the table. Setting my table is a pleasure as I build it around beautiful hand-painted china from my mother-in-law, Betty McGiffert. I also look for any excuse to use my sterling silver and heirloom linens. The more you use sterling the better shape it stays in. Florals are my favorite on the dining room table. I am definitely a flower person and can never have too many fresh flowers. For Fall I utilize florals, pumpkins, and natural elements of different textures in my centerpiece. Only the fresh flowers would need to be changed out over time. I do like a little yellow and a touch of orange in my arrangement for an Autumn look. I go very formal for Christmas, so a more casual look is interesting to me for Fall.
Our comfortable, gathering place is the kitchen. Therefore, I always want something fun and unique on my island because we are in there so much. My huge French scale is the perfect piece to do something in that you don’t ordinarily see. My advice is to embrace the colors and textures of Fall in your arrangements to reflect the beautiful foliage outside. We love to sit in the kitchen at the island with a fire going, a football game on the TV and a pot of soup on the stove.
A look back at fall decorating ideas by Amanda Henderson
Fall often conjures images of oranges, reds, and golds, but as of late neutrals have come on the scene with a sweet sophistication that many find hard to resist. Creams, whites, and muted greens have taken center stage in fall decorating and won’t be bowing out any time soon.
Whether you’re decorating your dining room, your front porch, or for a fall gathering, using neutrals can be a great way to bring in elements that are earthy and rustic. Rather than the overall aesthetic looking haphazard, however, the effect is generally a refined palette that pleases the eye.
Use these five tips to create a stunning, neutral scene in your own home.
Texture is key
When decorating with neutrals, be sure to use lots of varying textures rather than contrast from different pops of color. A great way to incorporate texture is by using grasses, such as Purple Fountain Grass, Hakonechloa, or Carex.
Change is easily attainable as the season progresses
Using neutrals will allow for subtle changes as the season progresses without having to do a complete redesign. Add in some new elements as October ushers in a season of ghouls and ghosts. Add in yet other elements in November for Thanksgiving.
Don’t be afraid of artificial items
Blending artificial pumpkins and floral picks with living specimens is a great way to get the desired look. Those gorgeous white pumpkins or trailing floral picks can be found at your local craft store. Be sure to look for high quality, life-like items that will mesh well with your living pumpkins and plants.
Glean from your yard or garden
Gather branches, dried cornstalks or hydrangeas, or spent Echinacea flowers to tuck into pots or centerpieces. Find sturdy grasses with pretty plumage or dried seed pods to use, as well.
Find inexpensive pumpkins at the dollar store and use white latex or chalk paint to get that neutral palette you’re going for. Scour thrift stores and flea markets for items to use. As long as the shape is right, don’t be afraid the alter the color with a little paint.
Story and Photos by Amanda Henderson
Follow Amanda's DIY endeavors, home projects, and journey to get healthy at www.cultivatecreate.net