It’s cold here in the Great Lakes.
I woke up to a fresh blanket of sparkly snow and a big fat zero on the thermometer this morning.
It was a gloriously beautiful morning with deep blue skies and sunshine casting dark purple shadows between the rows of trees.
As I ate my blueberry banana pancakes this morning, I noticed a large flock of birds flying around the backyard. When I got up and went to the slider, I looked up to see a host of Cedar Wax Wings* flitting around in the tops of the maple tree, their breasts a gorgeous gold, illuminated by the rising sun.
That’s the beauty of winter!
The flip side is getting up early to shovel a path to the car, brushing it off, and starting it early so your bum doesn’t freeze when you finally slide behind the wheel.
Here in the Great Lakes, winter means bundling up with fleece and down and wool….layer upon layer…feeling like a mummy or the abominable snowman.
It’s walking the dogs with the wind howling and the snow stinging your cheeks.
If you live anywhere north, you’ll agree that winter is one half of the year and the other three seasons fill the other half.
Am I complaining? No. That’s my reality. And yes, we choose to live in this frigid climate. The upside is that we don’t have hurricanes. But, maybe even more important…in the heat of the summer…which is too short….I can maintain some semblance of dignity…most of the time. How do you southerners do it? I would be one sweaty mess.
There’s plenty to do in the north in winter if you want. We used to ski…downhill and cross country. But, after a several warm winters and moving around the country, we unloaded our ski equipment. I’d love to cross country ski again and even try my foot at snowshoeing.
One thing I’ve learned to do is make the best of winter. Inside as well as outside.
Actually I do it much better from the inside.
Lately I’ve been having fun with birch branches. You’ll remember my winter tablescape, and the birch branch wreath. So of course, when I got around to decorating the mantel for winter, you know what came back out.
To begin decorating the mantel for winter, I placed a few larger birch branches on the mantel horizontally. Then, for fun, I stuck a big bunch of birch branches in a container and hung the book page snowflakes I created from them. I really like the look. You know my love affair with book pages. I got a bit creative with them here and here.
I mentioned on Facebook that I finally learned how to cut paper snowflakes. Someone suggested that I might have learned how to cut snowflakes in grade school. Maybe because there was so much of the real white stuff around there was no need. Haha! You probably are a snowflake cutting pro, but on the outside chance that you are not and want to know how, leave a comment, I just might create a little tutorial. [Note: The tutorial is now up here.]
It’s the little details that make decorating the mantel for winter, or bookcases, or anywhere else, look appealing and put together.
The birch was the main ingredient here. Pine cones provided color and textural contrast to the birch and I had several shapes and sizes which also created visual interest. The grapevine wreath, leftover from Christmas, was relieved of her now-dried evergreen finery and left with this perky burlap bow. Because repetition is always important, I added a little more burlap around the top of the container holding the birch branches and snowflakes. It also gave that brocade an earthy twist.
And because I think we need a hard metallic contrast to the natural elements, an old silver compote was added and filled with pine cones. It also was a small way to pick up the silver in the birch bark and the mirror’s frame.
The pine cone garland was spruced up a little, too. You might have remembered seeing it in the fall with maple leaves hanging among the pine cones. I pulled off the leaves and hot glued more pine cones to the jute garland. It was just the extra touch needed to pull the mantle top and the box of birch and pine cones below, together
If you like this look, I think that it has possibility for fall too…just shovel up the snowflakes and rake in some leaves.
After your Christmas decorations come down, do you find yourself decorating the mantel for winter, or your home in general for winter? I’d love to hear what you do or don’t do for the season.
*I might have shared a glimpse of the birds on Facebook…
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