Day 10 – illuminated old windows Christmas mantel

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

Nothing spells progress quite like when your mantel is decorated for Christmas!  And this year, my illuminated old windows Christmas mantel comes with a little heartwarming memory story attached.

12 Days of Christmas 2013 via Funky Junk Interiors-010

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

Create an old world rock fireplace without destruction – tutorial HERE

The fireplace mantel is glowy, snowy, with plenty of greens and a grapevine / pinecone garland to boot! There’s lots going on here, but everything couldn’t have been easier. 

How I did it:

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

 There’s nothing too complicated here. But there is an order for the stacking.

1. Place full size Christmas lights along the top of your fireplace. No mini lights this round, I wanted it bright.

2. Stack the windows in front of the lights, leaning them against the fireplace. Lightly spritz the window corners with spray snow as the wind would blow it.

Layered evergreen branches / Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

 3. Loosely place real evergreen branches around the windows until you achieve the fullness you’re after. 

My fireplace is pretty large, so I don’t mess around with scale. Go big or go home around here!

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

 Lots of layers and fullness!

How to add spray snow realistically / Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

 Tips for realistic looking snow:

* First use spray snow, then plastic faux snow placed in clumps, so they really do look wind blown.

* When coating evergreen branches, spray as blowing snow would land. Notice how just the tops are sprayed and not underneath evenly? That’s the key to making this look as realistic as possible.

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

Grapevine pinecone twig garland / Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

How to make this grapevine / pinecone garland is HERE. It’s ridiculously easy!

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

4. Embellish… I like using fruit for a pop of natural red. Also threw in a few ornaments for a little holiday bling so the light reflected off of something.

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

 5. Flick on your lights, and dig that orange glow! These photos weren’t orange enhanced at all. It really does have an orange glow to them, no idea why. But I love how it resembles a warm, toasty crackling fireplace.

So why old windows? Deep breath…

I no longer have my parents. Christmas isn’t easy when you miss someone you love so desperately. But we make do because we have to.

That window in front is from my parent’s farm. I remember one year finding it in my mom’s garage, gasped and promptly redid her mantel highlighting it. She giggled because she thought it was a little rustic for her, but being the good sport she was, she shrugged her shoulders, said, “That’s very Donnaish!” and left it. For me.

Winter on the farm reminds me of Dad towing us in a toboggan behind the tractor. We had a large circular driveway, so during a snowstorm, we’d bundle up, and he’d tow us around and around and around until we laughed so hard we could no longer breathe. 

An illuminated window during winter brings to mind walking into the kitchen after a sleigh ride, cheeks, fingertips and toes stinging with cold, with the fragrance of mom’s homemade hot chocolate simmering on the stove. Every. Time. 

Warm, comfort, love, home. 

That’s what these windows say to me. And what better time to honour and cherish those sorts of memories than at Christmas?

This isn’t the first time I’ve decorated around my parents. The first year my mom passed, I decked out THIS tree with things from her jewelry box and even made a video.

Illuminated old windows Christmas mantel via

My illuminated Christmas old windows mantel shines brightly, as if the front porch light is on at the old farmhouse, waiting for all of us to come inside.

If I can’t have my loved ones, I can sure have my memories! 🙂

Christmas decorating 2012 Funky Junk Interiors-011
Just for fun, here’s my Coke inspired Christmas mantel last year.


Visit the blogs below for more 12 Days of Christmas


Inspired by Charm



Shanty 2 Chic

Thistlewood Farms

See you tomorrow for Day 11! 

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Categories: 12 Days of Christmas 2013, Blog Series, Christmas, DIY, Fireplace mantels, Junk Drawer, Reclaimed wood projects, Seasonal, Staging / decorating
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10 thoughts on “Day 10 – illuminated old windows Christmas mantel

  1. Donna, I love your blog and all your work but I have to ask please get rid of the opinion counts thing. It won’t go away no matter how many times I click the close and therefore doesn’t allow me to read your blog in full without navigating around it. I don’t like answering surveys because they get your info and then you get lots more spam. Please consider another ad alternative. BTW if anything is misspelled n this comment it is because the blasted opinion thing sat over top of the comment box and so I couldn’t see fully what I was typing.

    • So sorry Erin, those types of ads are totally not allowed on my site and are unintentional. I’m attempting to track it down and have it removed. They never pop up for me so it’s really hard to nab them!

      In future, please feel free to use my contact form in my navigation bar to alert me of any bothersome ads, and it also helps to know:

      What device you’re on
      What browser your using
      Which ad that thing jumped out of if you noticed.

      It’s the only way I can stop them. Thanks so much!

  2. I too have lost my parents and I moved back into the house I grew up in because us kids couldn’t bear to sell it with all the memories it holds. So Christmas is always a very sad time for me remembering times past when we were all in that house and now it’s just me now that my daughter is grown and married. This is a wonderful idea and I just love it. That warm glow is so comforting and since I don’t get snow in San Diego, I love the snow on the windows! I have three old windows sitting on the side of my house that I couldn’t decide what to do with and now I am going to do this 🙂 Thank you so much for such a great idea. P.S. I need that “Gray Beverages” crate of yours since that is my last name. 🙂

  3. I love the ethereal quality you’ve created with the snow and the lights behind the window. It really does look like the warmth of a cozy home you’re entering from outdoors.

  4. How do you get your work done in the winter? Looks like you live in the frozen tundra too (we just moved up to N. Michigan) and I’m trying to figure out how to do my wood cutting in the house instead of the garage where it is not heated. I so look forward to your posts, especially during the holiday season 🙂 -Bev

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