I have finally finished all the little projects I was working on that, all together, comprise the Thanksgiving mantel vignette at MMM's. You recall that enormous fireplace from the PB Knockoff Halloween mantel. That one was a lot of work. This one was, too, but I think I enjoyed it more because it was my own creativity, rather than my attempt to copy someone else. (Not that I wouldn't do a knockoff again. In fact, I have one in process.)
I was determined to do this on a real budget. I don't think I spent over twenty dollars. We'll figure it out as I go along, OK? I went to one of my favorite local thrift stores, Good Samaritan. I like Good Sam the best for furniture and home decor items. Goodwill is my go-to for clothing. I spent quite a while among the fabric remnants, picking through and finding little bits that would work for my plan. I intended to slipcover the entire mantel, and then work from there to prettify it.
I was very fortunate to find a really pretty plaid fabric with sufficient yardage to do the job. Of course, at that time, I had no idea just how big the mantel is (eighty-eight inches), but I got lucky. I sewed an open-ended envelope that I could just slip right on the mantel. The rock can be very crumbly, but I was careful, and worked it on gently. I did have to do a bit of tailoring to make it really snug, but it all worked out in the end.
I also bought a length of moss green acetate (the kind of fabric that is frequently used for lining). I knew it was 100% synthetic and would respond well to heat. In addition, a length of black wool. As it turned out, the fabric leftovers from my grandson's Halloween costume were also a perfect coordinate. I had a bit of burlap, leftover from a wreath I'll show you later, so that cost me nothing. I threw in a small skein of soft green chenille yarn. My last purchase was a pair of beautiful moss green stretch velvet jeans. All in all, I think I spent $8.
In addition to the burlap, I also already had a couple of metal zippers on black webbing, some gold felt, a bit of ribbon, and some pretty buttons. I had made more flowers than I needed for my Punkin Stack, so I had a couple of rolled T-shirt roses on hand, as well.
First, I cut up those velvet jeans, then cut a bunch of leaves from the resulting fabric scraps, sewed them, turned them right-side out, and embroidered a vein up the center. I made more than I actually needed, so don't be surprised to read about velvet leaves in some future post! Then I cut both small and large - 3" and 5"- circles out of that green acetate. I held the edges over a candle to make them curl. If you haven't seen this before, you can go here to see the how-to. I assembled these as a stack with two small and two or three large circles, so they made a kind of cabbage rose. Then me and my hot glue gun went to work. I made five ornate flowers, using buttons, ribbons, bits of burlap, etc.:
Two more flowers were made from scrap fabric and leftover felt:
I judiciously cut out banners from the burlap and black wool, layering them and pinning a flower to each. I left the edges of the banners raw. I had made crocheted lengths of the chenille yarn to make imitation soutache stems for the flowers. I wanted them to wind down, in a tendril-ly fashion, from the mantelpiece. I just hot-glued these to the black wool pennants.
You've already seen my squishy squashes (MMM calls them that - and I love it!!) and my Scrabble-tile Thanksgiving blocks. I decided that I had worked plenty of time on that dumb branch from the Halloween mantel and I wasn't about to just put it away. It can do double time for Thanksgiving, as well.
I needed some balance for the opposite end. I am not necessarily a stickler for traditional balance, per se, but I must have balance. I was fortunate to find this wonderful, rich brown beanpot for my flower arrangement. $2 at Goodwill. Now I have read any number of times about various folks being too good for silk flowers, unless they cost an arm and a leg. That's just not me. You will not find me apologizing for silk flowers. (And I know they're not actually silk, just so you know!) I love them. They add such a nice touch. I had two bunches of flowers from Michael's ($4 apiece) that I snipped apart and arranged. They're perfect for the opposite end, and I accented it with a small pottery bird I made earlier this year:
MMM has a Silhouette. I know - how lucky for me, huh? He uses it for stencils for his pottery. I ran across this really big platter, with a wheat-like pattern on the perimeter. Good Sam, again. I believe it was $1. I
screwed up cut out some vinyl on the Silhouette. (Man, was that an adventure!) This lovely platter will remind us to give God all the glory in this special season:
I did a little house-shopping to come up with the last item. MMM's mom had a beautiful little copper lantern. I used one of MMM's pottery bowls to give it some height and importance. It was the perfect finishing touch:
Then, the real ta-da moment, with the branch all lit up:
I still have some Thanksgiving decor items in mind. But this frees me to do menu planning for the big meal. I am cooking this year, expecting around 8-10 guests. And the wheels are turning for Christmas!
And by the way, I added up the costs as I went. It came to $23.69 - more than $20, but still, not bad!
Have you decorated your mantel for Turkey Day? Do you love it! I do!