Monday, November 7, 2011

Voila! My Thanksgiving Mantel

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!




  1. Hi, Sass

    I love your Thanksgiving mantle, just lovely!


  2. Your mantle is wonderful, such beautiful elements and I love your flowers! I have joined your followers list and invite you to join my followers list; as well,I hope you will grab a blog button. Hugs, Gayle

  3. I hope you will come link this up at on Thursday. It is Thanksgiving week. We are a craft challenge blog and you may win the top prize or great giveaway. Come by and see the great Thanksgiving projects everyday this week.

  4. The blocks and Objects of Desire is my one of the favorite fabric. I did a quilt along with that fabric, but still haven't put the blocks together, I will share finished work soon.


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