I decorated the mantel today. I'd cleared it of the regular decorations (although there aren't currently any "regular decorations" as I haven't replaced any yet since painting), and I've been setting possible items up there for a couple of days, but hadn't yet tried to put it together. I'd wanted to do a gothic candles/skulls/ravens theme. I got the candles, skulls and ravens but not so much the gothic. I moved stuff around several times and really didn't want to take away the items I knew weren't "gothic enough" - in part because I liked them and in part because I really didn't have anything more gothic-y to replace it. Instead, on a whim, I added the banner and that pulled it all together. Sort of whimsical/Nightmare Before Christmas. Not what I'd planned, but I like it. I'll keep a lookout for treasures so I can do an Edgar Allan Poe look next year.
It came as a surprise to me that I couldn't decorate the fireplace as I had in the past - as we now USE our fireplace. For twelve years we've lived here with no heat except a woodstove, so if we were going to start a fire, we started it in the woodstove. We NEVER used the fireplace. Not once. I always intended to, for the atmosphere, but it just never happened. The fireplace was just for looks and I hung things in front of the glass fire doors, spread things out on the hearth. Now the woodstove is gone and we have a gas heater. And since we still have several cords of wood stacked outside, we use the fireplace when all we need to do is take the chill out of the air. It's very pleasant although I had to explain to city boy hubbby that a fireplace is NOT a woodstove. You can't start a roaring fire in the fireplace and then go off to bed. It's got to be timed for when we're here to keep an eye on it.
We had a baby gate wedged up here to keep Joli from redecorating the tree or scurrying around the corner to play in the "kitty pool" (water dish). Lisa had the idea to make a pumpkin barricade instead. We think it looks a lot more decorative than the gate. All Joli has to do to get over it is to pull the little white pumpkin down and climbe over that end of it. Instead she stands there and tries to get her leg up over the large pumpkins. We'll see how long before she figures it out and we have to go back to using the gate.
We also finished decorating the front yard today. It looks great. There are a few photos (it got too dark and I have to take more tomorrow) over at Beach Treasure.