fall-owing up

Now that I finally finished all the last details for W’s nursery updates, it was time to knock out some of the holiday decorating tasks on my pre-baby to-do list. So, I decided to start with the fall mantel.

Fall Mantel Front

For the last 10 years, we have had a big bicycle hanging over the fireplace in our den. A bicycle that I painted. That Michael has been telling people recently that J painted. And, I’m pretty sure people have believed him. Let’s just say it wasn’t my best work… Most of the paintings I’ve made in the past were very abstract, and well, the bicycle was going for not-so-abstract but ended up looking like, well, a tricked out cartoon dirt bike.

Fall Mantel Bicycle Painting

So, I thought it was finally time to make a new mantel centerpiece. This time, I decided to make something more neutral that I could change for the seasons. Enter our awesomely giant new chalkboard. I made it with a few 1x4s, a piece of plywood, some stain, some primer, and some chalkboard paint. And built it based on the instructions from Young House Love’s big wall-leaning chalkboard.

Then, Michael helped me put a few pieces of hardware on the back to make it easy for me to hang wreaths and buntings and what-not from it to jazz it up and make it super easy for me to change it out.

Fall Mantel Chalkboard and Wreath

So, once the chalkboard was done and up on the mantel, it was time to figure out how I wanted to decorate it for fall. I knew I wanted to hang a wreath with burlap ribbon, so I started with an old leaf wreath I had in the basement. Then, I gathered up some (faux) bittersweet branches (from Garden Ridge), some grapevine pumpkins (from Old Time Pottery, Michael’s, and Home Goods), and some paper mache pumpkins (from Jo-Ann and Michael’s).

Fall Mantel Bittersweet

Then, I just kinda stacked them all around on the mantel in hopes they would style themselves. Strangely, after a few weeks of resting there, they hadn’t resituated themselves at all. So, luckily Michael’s mom came over and arranged them for me. She is great with decorating for the seasons at her house, so I don’t know why I didn’t ask for her help sooner.

Fall Mantel Helper

As she got them all into place, I started snapping pictures. And I have to say I love the end result. Simple but still fall. And lots of pumpkins for J to admire. The boy loves his pumpkins.

Fall Mantel Right Side

Fall Mantel Right Close

Fall Mantel Left Side

Fall Mantel Left Close

So, yay, a simple, neutral-with-a punch-of-color autumn mantel. So glad my mother-in-law helped me or I may have never gotten around to finishing it. Can’t believe it’s almost time to start thinking about my Christmas mantel already…

Fall Mantel Front

Between this baby being due any second and almost having missed the window to decorate for fall, I seem to be getting a lot done lately. Finally. Is the last-minute the most productive for you, too?

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