This Year's Fall Mantel


My fall decor usually starts with a big trip to the garden center/nursery for lots of real pumpkins, gourds, berries, and whatever else strikes my fancy while I'm there. Then I come home and go from there. This year though, between trying to save some money, it getting harder and harder to do long, drawn out errands (that involve thinking and focusing and imagining) with Maura because she doesn't want to sit still, and the fact that the pumpkin harvest got hit pretty hard up here led me to try a different route. Work with what you already have. Or at least cut way back.

This was not what I had in mind when I started out, but here's where she ended up. (I think I just gave my fireplace a gender.)

My only new purchases were this grapevine wreath from Michaels ($2.99) that I hung on the mirror and the two white mini pumpkins.

I ended up with a kind of vintage book and dried botanical theme thing going on. That screams fall to you, right?!

I had/read a bunch of these Cherry Ames books when I was a kid (she's a mystery solving nurse, you already saw my stash of Hardy Boys books here).

Finding this beautiful book I had of my grandmother's stashed away sort of inspired the whole look. She signed it in pencil, with her maiden name - and she married my grandpa when she was 19, and the date June 12, 1937.

I'm not sure why I have this red book or who it belonged to, but the inside cover is signed in pencil with "something (Maria maybe? its hard to read) Muller 1907". In this case I faced the spine towards the wall because it served me better to have the golden carmel color of the old pages showing (to help balance out my long skinny wheat bundle on the other side) than the red of the cover.

Something about this James and the Giant Peach was speaking to me. I like the peachy tones in combination with the sea foam and turquoise and green of the other books. The illustration is so charming and doesn't Roald Dahl just sort of bring back good childhood memories? It was given to me when I was 10 by my aunt. She signed the inside cover with a message and the year 1987. (What's with all these dates ending in 7? Maybe these books were meant to come together here!)

On the left side of the mirror, next to Cherry, I cut out and framed a page from a collection of Beatrix Potter stories that I have. I tried to choose one that sort of gave off a fall vibe (scarecrow?) and had similar colors in it to the rest of the pieces here. I had this yellow frame lying was a bit too vibrant, so I just white washed it a bit with some white acrylic paint to tone it down and blend in more with all the soft shades of cream and butter, etc. that are going on.

Do you think the mantel reads fall enough or is it too subtle for you? Thanks!

PS. To see how fall has gone down in past years at our place, check out the 2010 mantel here and the 2009 one here.

**edit: Sweet! I'm linking this up to the Saturday Nite Special over at Donna's Funky Junk Interiors. She's got a Fall Mantel party goin' on and a linky for Home Decor and Crafts, Sewing and Cooking projects. Phew! Lots of awesome inspiration all in one place:)

Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


  1. The textures and warmth all look fall to me. What a special look you've got going. Books always remind me of my childhood and such a special way to keep those memories alive too. You've done a really great job (I'm chomping at the bit for a mantle!) And I hear you about quick errands - ain't that the truth these days?! Have a great weekend Sarah!

  2. I adore old books and would never have thought to display them on my mantle, great idea.

  3. It absolutely says "Fall"! Love the books -- I'm a 'book nut' so I love seeing them incorporated into designs like you did! The bundle of wheat is beautiful with that wide ribbon!

  4. It is truly lovely putting all of these pieces together!! Very meaningful!

    Oh I have a designer pillow Giveaway I hope you will join! (a great resource as well),


    Art by Karena

  5. I do love what you have done here..the books speak to me..the history, they are meaningful to you and they have so much character. A great vignette.

  6. When I think of fall I do think about having time to get cozy with a good book so I think your vintage books fit in well with the fall decor. Looks really pretty :)


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