House Tour, Houseware Crafts

Christmas Mantel Decorating. I May Have a Problem.

Is there a way to arrange that my Michaels coupons come with some sort of “parental control?”

(Of course, my mom is 97, lives in Ohio and, at this point, is about 4 feet tall so I’m not sure how much “control” she could exert but it’s worth a shot.  Perhaps she could just deploy the “withering look” that she mastered in my childhood.  That could stop anyone dead in their tracks)

Here’s the deal.  I went into Michaels with a coupon to buy one, very specific, necessary, practical, thing.

And left with a bunch of galvanized metal house lanterns.

I’m still not sure what happened.  It’s kind of a blur.

All I know is that I had a “30% off your entire purchase” coupon and I saw the houses.

And then, suddenly, I had ALL of them.


And a quest.

Because ALL. OF. THEM. was not ENOUGH. OF. THEM.

I had to have every metal house lantern I saw.  Target (check!), Home Goods (check!), Marshals (check!), Joanns (check) and back to Michaels…..

There were just so many!

And they were so affordable!!

I was sure they’d look super cool on the mantel.

Anyway, after collecting a moderate 12 or so (no, there aren’t more than that – don’t believe anyone who tells you differently) I set them up, turned on the lights and was….underwhelmed.Most of them came with either no lights or a spot for a electric tealight.

But the light from the tealight didn’t really do any anything much illumination-wise and I didn’t like that you could see the lights and wires through the windows.

However, I had, for reasons I cannot explain (seems to be a theme), a pack of vellum.  And I thought it might diffuse the light and give it something to bounce off of.

I grabbed the vellum, scissors and a bunch of those mini-light strings  (another thing I seem to have a lot of with no memory of purchasing and…..OK, I really need my mom to step up here…..).

I cut out the velum to the shape of the houses

used double sided tape to hold it in place and…


Light up houses that really light up!

Some of my houses don’t have an opening on the back and I had to get creative about rolling the vellum up, inserting it through a door and letting it unfurl into place – which took some patience.

Unfortunately, some of my houses don’t even have doors (which seems impractical).

And, sadly, this seems to be a high-crime mantle because when the “unfurling” maneuver didn’t work we, um… had some break-insBut, in the end, they looked great!

All glowy and properly lit up

I did actually put them on the mantel  – just sitting on some cotton batting.

However, when I tried to take pictures for this post it looked like either:

A) Heaven had an exclusively galvanized metal-based architectural requirement or

B) a really alarming, Stephen King-worthy, fog had rolled in.

I swear it looks great in real life!

Next year I’ll work out a more photogenic version.

And don’t worry about me.

I’ve made a vow not to go to after-Christmas sales.

I did, on a totally unrelated mission, go to Target today….

They had so many left!!!!

But I exercised self-control.

I only bought two.





17 thoughts on “Christmas Mantel Decorating. I May Have a Problem.”

  1. Thanks a lot, David. Now I have to grab some coupons and go buy some little houses. They are very cute ( and I have vellum). Does your mother’s withering look work on others not related to her?

  2. David, I ALways know I’m going to get a great story (laugh) seeing a post in my emails. Another delivery when I really needed it!!!
    MERRY CHRISTMAS to you- and your “Stephen King” mantel! 🎄🎅🎄

  3. I just had an idea. You should develop an app that shows your mom giving “the LOOK” . Then everytime you feel tempted to buy something you think that you maybe shouldn’t, just hit the app button! You could make ZILLIONS!

      1. Frightening? I don’t see it. Looked nice to me. As for Terrain’s, I haven’t seen it in person, but they probably have a whole Christmas area. They added a bunch of West Coast locations since they became part of Anthropologie. (even at 1/2 price, I think I’m going to skip the salt box house–I just don’t need a new collection)

        I have a lot of vellum from papercrafting.

        Hope you had a Merry Christmas!

    1. Yes, I definitely fell for the seasonal trend – they really were everywhere! It’s kind of fun to have a quest don’t you find? I saw the Pottery Barn ones but deemed them too expensive but I know I missed many other opportunities.

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