“You must have been taking photos for the blog today,” my husband said when he got home.

Yep. Here’s one.

Joy Christmas Mantel with Grain Sack Tree and evergreen and holly

“How did you know?” I asked.

“Because the doors to the TV cabinet are closed.”

Ah, he caught me. And now you know one of my dirty little decorating secrets.

We have a beautiful fireplace, two of them actually. One in the master bedroom and one in the keeping room.

But our house was built in the era when TV cutouts were popular. So, both fireplaces have gaping holes above them. At least the one in the keeping room has doors.

But I am a blogger, obsessed with home decor, and I like to do up my mantel for the seasons. You may remember my rustic aqua chippy wood fall mantel.

rustic fall mantel with blue mason jars by AttaGirlSays.com

Oh so cleverly disguised to look like a mantel whose only job is looking pretty.

But who am I kidding? We are Americans. We worship at the altar of the almighty talking box. I fall asleep every night sitting in the recliner, watching HGTV and reading blogs on my iPad. I wish it weren’t true, but it is. I’ve turned into my father. Snoring and all.

The fall mantel lasted all of maybe five minutes. Just long enough for me to snap some photos. Then I tore down those boards like they were the Berlin Wall.

So for Christmas, I was determined to design a mantelscape that didn’t interview with the TV. Still gotta be able to aim the remote at the cable box after all, if I’m to catch all those life-altering episodes of Love It or List it, Sarah’s House and Property Brothers.

Christmas mantel keeping it real

Here it is in all its open-door glory.

Dressed in cedar sprigs and holly berries and leaves (ouch!) snipped from my front yard and the neighbor’s woods. With the moss-covered word JOY dangling from some hidden 3M Command hooks.

twig deer head mount by AttaGirlSays.com decorated for christmas

My handcrafted twig head deer mount standing sentry on the left with a pair of real antlers, a red candle and some more greenery and berries to complete the vignette.

grain sack wooden Christmas tree by Simply Janelle Deisgns at AttaGirlSays.com

On the right, my French grain sack-inspired wooden Christmas tree from Simply Janelle Designs, an amazing local artist who sells her signs and handmade furniture online. She’s making a smaller green version of this tree for me, too. Can’t wait to add it to the mantel.

Again, I chose traditional red and green for Christmas decorations, just as I did on the front porch.

It seemed the right choice for this space where green predominates throughout the year.

keeping room decorated for Christmas in red and green

To inject a Christmasy feel, I just added a few touches of red to the room. A matelasse throw on the sofa, a vintage red-and-white quilt, some red and linen pillows and a little grain sack rabbit. And oh yeah, the pick-up truck you see out the right window.

I was afraid you’d see my junking truck in the photos. But it was cold and rainy and I didn’t feel like going outside and moving two cars or the recycling bin for that matter. Sorry. More keeping it real.

I wish I could take better photos of this room. I always struggle with that. It’s so cozy, and it’s where we spend most of our time.

And in case you’re wondering, those gifts on the fireplace, they’re for my son. Part of Nana’s efforts to spoil him rotten as she showers him with 24 days of advent gifts leading up to Christmas. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see what he unwraps each day. It’s a fun little family tradition.

Don’t miss the rest of my Christmas House Tour 2012. I’ve already shared my front porch, and I’ll be sharing other rooms and vignettes later this week.

And sure to stop back here tonight at 8 p.m. to link up to the Better Late Than Never Christmas Inspirations party I’m hosting with these fabulous bloggers:

Better Late Than Never Christmas Inspirations Blog Hop Party

I’ll also be partying over at:


  1. Your Christmas decor is completely enchanting! I love all the festive touches.

    May the beauty, joy and peace of the season be yours.
    Laura Ingalls Gunn recently posted..Magical GlimpsesMy Profile

  2. PS. I am joining in on your party tomorrow!

    For me the first day of Christmas is on the 25th and culminates with the true 12th day of Christmas on the Epiphany (Jan. 6th) so by my count we’re not late, but all right on schedule. :)
    Laura Ingalls Gunn recently posted..Magical GlimpsesMy Profile

  3. You.are.a.nut! Do you have any drool to go with that snore? I sure do. lol Your mantle is fabulous, Amy. I love it all and I really love the way you have Mr. J’s gifts from Nana displayed in a tiered stand. You HAVE to get together with me after the holidays and help me make on of those deer heads. Pretty please with a cherry on top? See you at the party tonight!
    Suzy recently posted..Rustic and Refined Christmas Dining RoomMy Profile

  4. you are one funny lady! :)

  5. Love your mantle!! And LOVE the fact that you can close the doors over the Big Black Box that is a TV!!

    Debbie recently posted..Christmas Home Tour 2012, Part Seven, the UpstairsMy Profile

  6. I’ve gotten that comment too….”You must have been taking pictures for the blog..” blah blah. Our poor husbands. They know us well, don’t they? I was cracking up at this post. We have a tv cabinet too, in our hearth room, which is probably akin to your keeping room (which is beautiful, by the way…your keeping room, not my hearth room). I always try to close up before taking pictures or guests come over. The other 95% of the time, it’s open with that great big black screen staring back at us!

    Debbie recently posted..Let’s make some toffee!My Profile


  1. […] my red-and-green Christmas front porch with touches of vintage and natural and my rustic natural keeping room decorated for Christmas. .nrelate_related .nr_sponsored{ left:0px !important; } /* Categories: Atta Girl Amy, […]

  2. […] you want to see what the keeping room looks like most of the time, you’ll have to click here to see the halls of our family’s favorite space decked for the […]

  3. […] know Christmas is a ways off but I couldn’t resist this grainsack inspired tree on Amy’s mantel at AttaGirlSays. Another example of how to add this style to a room in different […]

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