Vintage Postcard Garland

Many years ago my parents stumbled upon a dusty box in my grandparents’ attic that was filled with vintage Christmas postcards sent to my grandparents over the course of several years. It’s so sweet to think that Grandma, who developed early onset Alzheimers when I was a toddler, loved to collect all that correspondence. Discovering her stash gave me a little more insight into her thoughtful character and leads me to think that my inclination to save every birthday and Christmas card ever sent to me  may be genetic. :)

My mom has always wanted to do something with those cards but never quite landed on the right idea.  The cards continued to live in the dusty old box until I had a light bulb moment back in October when I spotted a product on Decor Steals and immediately suggested that we DIY something similar. Nearly two months later there is wonderfully sentimental vintage postcard garland hanging on my parents’ Christmas mantel.

DIY Vintage Christmas Postcard Garland

This is such an easy project!

Supplies:

  • Small chain from the hardware store cut to the length of your mantel with extra to allow for draping
  • Small drapery clip rings (we used these from JoAnn, currently 40% off)
  • Small cup hook, nail, or Command hook to mount it to your mantel (my parents mounted it to the wood beams on either side of the brick fireplace)

postcard garland
Instructions:

Simply attach either end of the chain to your mantel, hook the ring clips through the chain, and clip your postcards or anything else you’d like.

vintage postcard garland No vintage postcards? No problem!

Since vintage Christmas postcards like these aren’t exactly common, you could also clip family photos, mini Christmas stockings (like these), card stock letters to spell out something seasonally appropriate, or even just card stock triangles to make a banner.

If you love the vintage postcard look, eBay sellers sell them in lots.

I’m so happy that my mom can finally enjoy these postcards, and when we spend Christmas day at their house you can be sure that I’ll read the messages on each of them and think fondly of my Grandma (and the yummy Christmas cookies she used to keep in red and gold tins in her pantry).

How to do you incorporate meaningful Christmas decor in your home?

If you missed our Christmas mantel and easy mantel crafts you can whip up in an evening after the kids are in bed, check it out here!

Tips for a Traditional Christmas Mantel

When we got back from our Thanksgiving trip to the West Coast, my three year-old son asked me, “Mommy, when is Christmas coming to our house?” Now that the mantel is decorated and the stockings hung with proverbial care, I can safely say that Christmas has arrived (even if our tree only has the lights on it and nothing else!).

Traditional Christmas Mantel Ideas

Our traditional Christmas mantel is filled with green, red, gold, silver and some woodland touches that were inspired by a little bird and hedgehog that I found at my annual visit to World Market (we don’t have any stores New England, which is tragic).

World Market Christmas critters

I’m so pleased with how our mantel turned out! Here are a few tips to incorporate similar decorative touches in your own home.

1. Frame festive fabric and embellish bargain finds to make them yours.

This large frame (from IKEA) usually displays a photo from our visit to Monaco, but to make it a more interesting backdrop for Christmas I cut fabric that I already had on hand and just placed it behind the photo mat (the original photo is still hiding back there). The fabric is by Premier Prints, but I purchased it at a local shop a few years ago (Fabric Place Basement in Natick, MA – an awesome store!).

“Rudolf” was found at TJ Maxx, sans red nose. I simply hot-glued a pom-pom to make the simple wood reindeer’s nose shiny and bright. If you find something you love but it’s not quite right, don’t hesitate to do a little surgery to make it your own by adding ribbon, fabric, or pom-poms! Slight modifications like that are great ways to use a-seasonal (that’s a word now) decor during the holidays.

Christmas mantel art

2. Update basic candle holders in 5 minutes with fabric and ribbon.

You may recognize the hurricanes from our fall mantel, and it was so easy to give them the old switcheroo. Using pinking shears, I simply cut strips of plaid fabric to the desired width and hot glued the ends of the fabric in the back, and did the same with some shimmering ribbon. Don’t glue the fabric or ribbon to the candle holder, otherwise you won’t be able to remove it easily when you want to change the look. My plaid fabric is from JoAnn a few years ago (this fabric is similar), and the twill ribbon with gold flecks is from The Container Store (this ribbon is similar).

DIY Christmas candle holders

3. Freshen up old decor and reuse pieces from past seasons.

I’ve had the faux greenery for ages, and wrapped it with some metallic berry garland a few years ago. For this year’s mantel, I added some inexpensive wreath picks (50% off at JoAnn last week) to give it even more sparkle. The DIY Moroccan “tea glass” votive holders are from our fall mantel and I still love them!

Traditional Christmas Mantel with a Twist

These simple touches, along with my easy-to-make rustic ornament garland and our stockings (from Pottery Barn Kids), make this a traditional Christmas mantel that I’m proud of! It’s truly a shame that there’s a giant train table parked in front of it now to make room for our tree. Le sigh.

Do you decorate your mantel the same way each year, or change it up?

Later this week I’ll show you my parents’ mantel with a really unique feature!

I’m linking up with Hi Sugarplum! for Holiday Cheer in the Blogosphere Party.

How to Make Rustic Ornament Garland {So Simple!}

Happy Monday, folks! We finally put up some Christmas decor, so I’ve got a few fun little projects to share with you this week. First up is a preview of our mantel and some super simple DIY rustic ornament garland. Since I had all the supplies on hand, this project was free! Those are the best kinds of projects, aren’t they? It hardly took any time at all, and made me feel productive while watching Carrie Underwood’s amazing singing but terrible acting during “The Sound of Music.” Seriously, who else thinks she’d have trouble acting her way out of a paper bag?

how to make rustic ornament garland Supplies:

  • Jute rope/twine
  • Shatterproof ornaments
  • Ornament hooks (if the ornaments didn’t come with them already)
  • Small clear Command hooks, like the ones you might use to hang a calendar (optional, if you plan to attach to your mantel)

Instructions:

  1. Measure your mantel and divide by however many swags you want to create, then place your Command hooks evently. I used the same Command hooks from my fall leaf garland as a guide to figure out how much jute twine I needed.
  2. Tie a loop at one end of the twine and attach to the Command hook. I used a bit of clear tape to make it more secure. Then, drape through each hook and adjust the swags to your liking before tying another loop at the other end.
  3. Use your fingers to separate the twine just enough to slip the ornament hook through. Pinch the hook to secure it. DONE!

Here’s what the hook and tape looks like underneath the mantel:

how to attach garland to mantel The jute twine is pretty stiff, so it was a minor pain to separate it enough to enable the hook to slip through. You could try the same technique with yarn as well.

simple rustic ornament garland This simple rustic ornament garland is such a refreshing change from your typical metallic garland while still adding plenty of sparkle.

DIY ornament garland How’s your decorating coming along? Do you put everything up as soon as your Thanksgiving turkey’s been gobbled up, or take your time? We bought our tree this weekend but it’s sitting naked in our living room right now. Check back tomorrow to see the rest of our mantel!