Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Fireplace Mantle Garland and Lights Installing Solution

My 9-year old son is a lot like his mommy :) He loves Christmas! He especially likes the lights and music.  One such situation is our fireplace mantle.  I love to have lights and garland on our mantle. I just love the way it sparkles when the light is in the midst of the garland.  I have those stocking holders that sit on the mantle and has a hook that hangs off the edge for your stocking to hang by.  You know the type -the kind that tip over and fall off if you put anything more than lightweight things in them? I'm sure you are familiar with the struggle :)  But that's not the topic of this post. (I'm still looking for a good solution to that problem.)

No, THIS problem I finally fixed this year (yay me!) (Or I sure hope so...I'll update you after Christmas to let you know if it lasted the whole season or not :) )

THIS problem is the lights and garland.  Evan loves to go up and look at the lights and in the midst of it would invariably touch a little stronger than he should and the whole things, lights, garland, and stocking hangers would go tumbling to the hearth. Ugh...and after I'd spent SO long getting all those lights put in all those little plastic clips just so and clipped to the edge of the mantle. I'd have to put it all back together all over again...and sometimes again...

This year's solution?  I looked around in the basement and in the corner of the storage room it came to me.  Use something long and narrow to wind the lights around and attach the long and narrow thing to the mantle.  But I didn't want to hammer a whole lot of holes in it to hang the long and narrow thing.  My eyes settled on some curtain rods leaning in the corner.  You know, those ordinary, not-so-fancy telescoping kind?

Shades of Safhire -Mantle lights and garland solution


I knew it would be light enough to not destroy my mantle and the lights could wind around it easily enough.

Next I knew the only way for it to stay on strong enough for Evan to not tear it down again, it would have to be attached firmly to the fireplace.  So...I'd have to drill at least ONE good hole, but I didn't want it to be obvious that a hole is there once Christmas is over.  I didn't want to use those cheapy little curtain rod brackets that take about 4 nails to install.


I went digging through my hardware odds and ends box and found a few fancy gold curtain tie-back hooks.  Kinda like this:
Shades of Safhire -Mantle lights and garland solution

The hook part was just the right size to gently hold the curtain rod once I just laid it in there.  It only has one screw instead of four and it's a little fancy if someone does notice it.   This is the finished result (I'm not sure why the picture turned out grainy....it was taken with my cell phone and granted, it is about 2 1/2 years old, but it usually does better than that).  Anyway...

Shades of Safhire -Mantle lights and garland solution

Ta dah! So here's what I did:
  I put the telescoping rod up to the mantle and checked to see the right length to lengthen the rod.  Then I just simply wound the lights around it (after making sure the lights still worked).  I wound and wound and wound :)
Shades of Safhire -Mantle lights and garland solution

Then I got my drill out and drilled one solitary hole from the UNDERSIDE (so nobody could see the hole once Christmas is over and I store the tie back hook with the lights and garland) and screwed the tie-back hook into place. I did that on the left and the right. (Once you put the garland on it, you won't notice the curved part hanging down).
Then I just laid the rod into place in the tie back hook.  That thing isn't going anywhere unless someone purposely lifts it out of place!
Shades of Safhire -Mantle lights and garland solution

I used that kind of rod because that's all I had on hand at the time.  Before next year, I plan to get a nicer one -something like one of these (if I can find a telescoping one or luck out and find one exactly the right length AND if the rod fits in the tie back hook):

Once the rod is in place, arrange your lights evenly from end to end and then just kind of lay the garland around the lights.  You could probably wind it around the rod too, but I didn't see the need and it would be a lot of extra work when it comes time to take down.  It was easy enough to just wind it around the lights which held it in place, and if Evan pulls on the garland, only the garland is coming down. He's been really good so far this year though, and even hung the stockings on those tipsy stocking hooks for me. We'll see :)  (Our tree sits in front of the far right corner, so you don't notice the extra length of light wire going down to the outlet unless you climb behind the tree).
Shades of Safhire -Mantle lights and garland solution

And there you have it.  One nice bonus is that I can see my nativity scene better on the mantle too! The plastic clips that used to hook to the edge of the mantle hooked to the very top edge of the mantle and with the garland sticking up a little, it partially hid the nativity scene, so now you can see the whole thing.

Oh, and you might remember that small ornament wreath in the middle if you saw my post about that a while back. This one is a little imperfect, so I kept that one for myself.
Shades of Safhire -Mantle lights and garland solution

I started hanging a stocking up with Jesus' name on it last year.  It helps me focus on the true reason for the season and I also to put a slip of paper in it every day during advent with something you thank Him for, or a praise to Him written on it.  Then when Christmas is over and you start the job of un-decking the halls, you can pull all the slips out and read them to remind you of the joy of the season.  It's also fun to save them in the stocking and pull them back out the next year when you hang it up for that year's festivities and remember what you were thankful for the year before!

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